Latest George Will atrocity

Carl Zimmer summarizes:

In earlier days, Will liked to claim the World Meteorological Organization as an authority when he wrote that there has been no global warming since 1998. Now that the World Meteorological Organization has set things straight, he's claiming a columnist at National Review as his authority. That's quite an upgrade.

Actually, it's worse than "a columnist". His authority is fact averse Creationist Mark Steyn.

More like this

Quoting myself: One of the less pleasant parts of my job is talking to students that I have caught plagiarizing assignments. All too often, rather than admit to copying they will tell me clumsy lies and blame somebody else. Like Mark Steyn. When he was caught stealing from a blog post by Geoff…
Some of the readers of this Mark Steyn column might have wondered why he seems oddly determined to dispute one date in the 9/11 Commission's time line: they seemed oddly determined to fix June 3, 2000, as the official date of Atta's first landing on American soil Of course, those people who heard…
Johann Hari reports on the National Review cruise: The idea that Europe is being "taken over" is the unifying theme of this cruise. Some people go on singles' cruises, some on ballroom-dancing cruises. This is the Muslims Are Coming cruise. Everyone thinks it. Everyone knows it. And the man most…
This afternoon in Washington DC, Texas Republican Ted Cruz, who does not believe in global warming yet is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing called “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact…

You really think that "creationist" is the right word to describe Steyn? Disagree all you want with what he thinks, but you provide no evidence that he meets the definition of creationism:

Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible.

Thinking that there may be more to life than evolution is not the same thing as being a "creationist."

Steyn -- good with words, bad with ideas.
Will -- people who can't acknowledge their own mistakes are not to be trusted.
Fact checkers -- is this incompetence or something else?

David Kane: By that definition, the numerous Hindu creationists aren't creationists. What you're defining is something known as Biblical literalism, and while Biblical literalists are creationists (unless they do some serious liberalization of Genesis), there are other types of creationism out there.

The only defining characteristic across all forms of creationism is embodied in their name: They believe that (man in particular, occasionally all life or all of the universe) was specially created, typically by a deity or other supernatural event, and could not have arisen naturally.

Evolutionary views counter this (in the human case; the other cases run counter to different theories such as abiogenesis and cosmology), but even *then* it's not a complete counter - theistic evolution (probably the most common stance among non-scientists in the West, but don't quote me on that) suggests that evolution is true but guided by God, and deistic evolution suggests that God's universal design included evolution and He/She/It hasn't tinkered with it since. Granted, not accepting evolution is not the same as accepting creationism, but that's about the only defense of Steyn you can provide.

However, when Steyn says our observed world is "pretty much the world the Psalmist outlined in the Old Testament thousands of years ago" (a world where cattle and beasts are different kinds (Gen 1:25), by the way), combined with a rejection of evolution, it leaves little doubt where he stands.

It has been explained that the difference between weather and climate is 30 years. This period allows for the natural cycles that can, for a short period, dominate the incremental changes produced by the steady accumulation of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

In other words, the natural cycles that influence global temperature can act quicker than the steady rise in CO2e. However over the long term (30 years) CO2e forcing is greater, due to it operating in one direction, while natural cycles are, cyclical.

So what does a plot of 30 year mean temperature [look like](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/mean:360)?

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 23 Jul 2009 #permalink

Don't like that definition? Complain to Mr. Webster.

No, complain to those fundamentalist hair-splitters who themselves differentiate between YEC, OEC, and a variety of sub-genres.

If you're going to suggest they're not real because Webster's doesn't pick up on it, would you like my fundamentalist OEC sister's phone number, and will you tell her she's not really a xtian fundamentalist because you can't find her definition in the dictionary?

Thinking that there may be more to life than evolution is not the same thing as being a "creationist."

What on earth else are you going to call someone who believes that there was some willful act of creation involved? (I admit I like "cdesign proponentsist".)

Don't like that definition? Complain to Mr. Webster.

Is there a point to this? Are you trying to say that we should all conform to an incomplete definition for the sake of Mr. Webster? While those who believe in some sort of creation in spite of the findings of science first came to the attention of Webster and his USA-centric book buddies via American fundamentalist Christians, it has become apparent to those who pay attention to the subject that there is more to it than the definition would lead one to believe.

I thought the Conservapedia article was surprisingly good. It turns out there's a reason.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 24 Jul 2009 #permalink

OK, so according to the system of logic known as David Kane Logic, if Mark Steyn is not a "creationist" but rather a "cdesign proponentsist", then there has been no global warming since 1998.

After all, they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Webster, and they also laughed at Bozo the clown! Perfect logic!

I am glad Kane is putting his brand of epistemology on display again. It all needs to be accumulated, so the next time anything public or semi-public uses him as a source, sane people can be prepared.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 24 Jul 2009 #permalink

Well, as to which definitions David Kane is aware of, there's prior evidence of people having this sort of narrow vision:

"These are the only ones of which the news has come to Havard,
And there may be many others, but they haven't been discavard."

-- Tom Lehrer.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 24 Jul 2009 #permalink

creationism - The Catholic doctrine that each individual human soul is created by God, as opposed to traducianism

Clearly, Mark Steyn is no creationist. He believes souls are mass-produced commodities, to be sold by the possessor to the highest corporate bidder.

If you disagree with this definition, take it up with Mr. Ratzinger.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 25 Jul 2009 #permalink

Partially OT Tim, but how appropriate is it for Scienceblogs to place Creationist ad banners along the top of your webpage? Is someone taking the mickey?!?

We discussed the "unwanted ads" issue here last August, except then it was Lomborg & Cool It!.

That was a good discussion, with input by very knowledgeable folks, which helped me in writing this. So, it actually turned out to be useful. :-)

By John Mashey (not verified) on 26 Jul 2009 #permalink

"Is there a point to this?"

Tim is a great blogger because he is very careful to get the details right, even the small ones. He makes very, very few mistakes. But referring to Steyn as a "creationist" is such a mistake. He is not a "creationist," at least as that word is commonly used in English, as all the definitions I link to demonstrate.

Tim should correct the post. (On the other hand, referring to Steyn as "fact averse" is perfectly reasonable.)

Well, David, dictionaries don't always reflect common usage. Creationists themselves differentiate between "old earth creationism" and "young earth creationism", with only the latter holding to the literal six-days interpretation of Genesis.

You can argue this one until you're blue in the face, but anyone who has dipped a toe into these waters will just laugh at you - creationists and biologists alike.

Go tell this guy that he's going to hell if he persists in calling himself an old-earth, non-literalist creationist

And, I might add, the diverse use of the word "Creationist" is embodied in US Court decisions, as well.

This diverse usage, then, is common among christians and lawyers, both.

OT alert:

OK, Greenman3610's Climate Denial Crock of the Week is my favorite series on Youtube (He or AronRa). Well his last video "Watts up with Watts?" just got DMCA'ed by Watts.
From Youtube:
"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org"

Watts was asked about fair use on his site, replying with:

" I donât care to discuss my reasons here as they are private and unrelated to this discussion. Google agreed that complaint was valid and removed the video. â Anthony"

Ha, well don't make a compliant that is publically announced by Google. Also, as anyone familiar with the DMCA problems on YT knows, they remove videos after all complaints. That doesn't imply agreement.

In the vid, Greenman talked about Watts' "publication" "Is the US Surface temperature reliable?" while showing the cover picture.
Let's hope Greenman files a counter complaint. It was a great video about the publication and Watts prefered publication outlet, the Heartland Institute.

Re #21.

I'm sure Greenman3610 will have it up very soon, with the cover (or whatever else Watss might have perceived as being infringed) removed. If he has a sense of humour about him, Greeman3610 will replace it with something that will make Watts wish he'd kept his trap well and truly shut...

I'm curious - did Watts actually have a copyright notice on the questioned material? If not, is he able to claim copyright on something that was put in the public domain on the web, in the same fashion that one might so claim in a printed context?

And even if he has copyright protection - if Watts has the courage of his convictions, why would he be so averse to allowing his material to speak for itself, especially when its appearance on YT really does seem to constitute fair use?

Methinks Anthony has a virtual glass jaw.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 26 Jul 2009 #permalink

Watts is in trouble anyway since copyright requires some creative content...

Here's another global-warming denier "atrocity" to consider:

Anthony Watts just sicced the DMCA on Peter Sinclair aka greenman3160.

Sinclair, of course, is the producer of the excellent "climate denial crock of the week" video series over at youtube.com (Just search for greenman3610's channel).

The latest video, "Watts up with Watts", completely demolished Watts' surfacestations claims -- and so how did Watts respond? He submitted a bogus DMCA copyright infringement claim! As a result, Youtube just pulled greenman's excellent "Watts up with Watts" crock-of-the-week video and replaced it with this message:

"This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org"

By caerbannog (not verified) on 27 Jul 2009 #permalink

Sorry -- I posted without looking at the previous comments first. Reminder to myself -- always wear my reading glasses for stuff like this!

By caerbannog (not verified) on 27 Jul 2009 #permalink

(OK, I checked the comments first to make sure that I was not duplicating anything...)

Just checked greenman3610âs youtube channel to see if he had anything to say about the Watts/DMCA thing.

Found this little item in the comments section:

I am normally against euthanasia but in the case of aggressive dishonest creatures like greenman3610, we should change the laws quickly enough before this scum starts to influence our lives.

It turns out that the individual who posted this little gem is none other than Lubos Motl!

By caerbannog (not verified) on 27 Jul 2009 #permalink

I'm curious - did Watts actually have a copyright notice on the questioned material? If not, is he able to claim copyright on something that was put in the public domain on the web, in the same fashion that one might so claim in a printed context?

Yes, copyright is inherent in any creative work. Things get tricky with the DMCA. If Greenman used the image of the cover Watts had up on his site, then Watts may have an arguable claim, since fair-use issues have been muddied by the DMCA. On the other hand, if Greenman printed the publication and made his on photo of it, clearly it's fair use under Section 170 of traditional copyright law.

Watts is in trouble anyway since copyright requires some creative content...

Actually, his report is 100% creative content - there's nothing scientifically defensible in the whole thing!

> Actually, his report is 100% creative content - there's nothing scientifically defensible in the whole thing!

> Posted by: dhogaz

No, creative content requires IMO the input of thought. After all, a monkey chucking paint can make "a painting" but it's not really art, is it.

Isn't DMCA about digital locks for digital content control? The paper was analogue. And didn't have any locks either, apart from copyright, and the frontpage of a document is fair game for reporting.

How else would the news be able to tell you about Goldman and Sachs if they couldn't use their copyrighted and trademarked name and icon?

And I thought that this Watts was all up in arms about copyright MUST be broken for the HADCRUT data because it was wanted....

The paper was analogue.

It was available as a PDF, that's how I got it when I looked at it.

The DMCA, in this context, is being used to challenge things that would normally be covered under Fair Use. Things get a bit muddy due to odd wording and precedent on DMCA cases.

It is, however, an absolute favorite of anti-science activists. YouTube has a standing policy of treating all DMCA challenges as valid until they're successfully contested by the defendant. Naturally, this means that wingnuts can file DMCA requests, valid or not, against people who mock them (it's particularly amusing when the work being mocked is explicitly not copyrighted but the DMCA is still employed - yes, it's happened, on videos critical of Kent Hovind). It's a favorite tactic of the creationists (and I use that word in every sense of the term, so David Kane can't complain about semantics), both of the YouTube variety (i.e. VenomFangX) and the professional variety (i.e. Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis).

In short, although the DMCA is an attempt to defend copyright in an era of digital communication, it's been seized upon by anti-science activists as a weapon of censorship. Doesn't surprise me that Watts jumped on the bandwagon that so many other Not Political Activists have started.

This is one of the stronger methods of censorship that these folk attempt. Others include votebotting and false flagging campaigns (that last video has, itself, been flagged, so you need a YouTube or Google account to view it). Watts hasn't stooped to that point yet, at least to my knowledge, but it's probably only a matter of time.

> It was available as a PDF, that's how I got it when I looked at it.

> Posted by: dhogaza

OK, but unless a password was broken or encryption broken, DMCA doesn't apply.

Just standard copyright law.

And the frontpage is both de-minimis AND fair use under reporting. The informational content of the front page is nil, but the identification of the paper by it is unique, hence making the MINIMUM use of copyright to identify the correct item.

And you can still just print it out and scan it in: the analogue hole is known to exist in DMCA which is why the US entertainment industry ^W^W government are busily trying to craft a new DMCA to close it.

If you were casting fake statisticians and denialist niche media darlings who post imbecilic things on science blogs as characters in "The Phantom Tollbooth," I know who I'd cast as "The Terrible Trivium."

Just saying, if you were!

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 27 Jul 2009 #permalink

Caerbannog, I don't know where else to post this to in the hopes you'll read it, but I posted a comment on Greenman's profile indicating that resources existed to tackle false DMCAs. (I mentioned some of this in an earlier comment with a metric ton of links that's held up in moderation.)

Peter Sinclair responded via PM with "definitely want to challenge. will follow up".

If he comes to me I'll point him to the folk who have successfully countered other deceitful DMCA attacks on YouTube in the past. Dunno what else we can do to support him short of mirroring the video (which isn't an option unless he releases the raw file somehow; to my knowledge nobody mirrored the original - though I'll definitely start doing that soon.).

This is Watts waxing-lryical on supposed censorship of the crock-science he defends;

This reminds me of Galileo and his fight with the Roman Catholic Church in 1632. Galileo wanted to publish a book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems which totally revised the earth centric view of the universe favored by scientists, scholars, and clergy of the time and built on the work of the earlier astronomer Copernicus. Galilieo was tried and imprisoned for daring to speak out against the âconsensusâ of the time for what he saw as a scientific truth.I think we would all do well to follow this maxim: âPeople who live in greenhouses shouldnât throw stonesâ.

Yes Mr Watt's, People who live in greenhouses shouldnât throw stones - so why are you hefting a breezeblock? Sacred of debate? It seems the answer is yes.

Mark:

And you can still just print it out and scan it in: the analogue hole is known to exist in DMCA which is why the US entertainment industry ^W^W government are busily trying to craft a new DMCA to close it.

Yes, which is why I said earlier:

On the other hand, if Greenman printed the publication and made his own photo of it, clearly it's fair use under Section 170 of traditional copyright law.

By "it" I meant the cover shown in the video ...

OK, but unless a password was broken or encryption broken, DMCA doesn't apply. Just standard copyright law.

The problem is that you can file a DMCA complaint directly to a content provider, while under standard copyright law you typically have to go to court and collect damages, or if the usage is ongoing, get a cease-and-desist order or injunction or whatever.

The issue isn't really whether or not the DMCA applies, it's that filing a DMCA claim requires the provider to either take down the material, confirm that the DMCA claim's invalid, or risk some serious court consequences.

Since the provider's typically not in a position to determine if such claims are valid or not, they respond by taking stuff down and telling the submitter "prove to us it's not a valid complaint".

Total PITA ...

> The issue isn't really whether or not the DMCA applies, it's that filing a DMCA claim requires the provider to either take down the material, confirm that the DMCA claim's invalid, or risk some serious court consequences.

It doesn't have to be taken away. The notice must be ACTIONED.

Mailing the poster and asking if they (under penalty of perjury, just like the DMCA takedown notice) disagree with the takedown and if they say "yes, that content is not in violation", then leaving it there is perfectly adequate.

It's more work than the webmaster wants to do, but it is still perfectly actioned.