Category Archives: Jo Nova

Crank alert! Organisers of the Oregon petition also have a cure for cancer

TinFoilHatArea

The recent paper by Cook et.al demonstrating the 97% consensus among the climate scientists has generated considerable angst among climate sceptic movement.

However, rather than accepting the research they’ve resorted to denial – see here for Anthony Watt’s particularly amusing response.

Perth sceptic and conspiracy theorist Jo Nova has pulled out the old Oregon Petition Project arguing that 31,000 scientists don’t agree with the consensus:

You want authority? Skeptics can name 31,500 scientists who agree, including 9,000 PhDs, 45 NASA experts (including two astronauts who walked on the moon) and two Nobel Prize winners in physics.

I won’t bore you with yet another dissection of this deeply flawed petition, but simply direct you to DeSmogBlog.

However, what I find curious is the credentials of originators of the petition project: the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM).

Firstly, this grandly named organisation operates out of what can only be described charitably as a shed:

 OISM_Faculty

Ok – perhaps it is not fair to judge a book by its cover.

They could be doing some amazing, cutting edge research in their shed in rural Oregon (not to disparage what is most likely a charming part of the world).

So let’s be fair and evaluate the bona fides of the OISM by the quality of the research they conduct. After all they claim to conduct research into the following:

Current projects include work on the deamidation of peptides and proteins as it relates to fundamental biochemistry and to protein aggregation diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; research on improved techniques for medical diagnosis; improvement in precollege education curricula, especially in the sciences; and improved civilian emergency preparedness.

In other words they sell kits to survive a nuclear war.

More interestingly they claim to have found a cure for cancer. No really they do.

Let me step you through this discovery of mine.

First, let’s start at the OISM homepage:

OISM_Home 

Note the left hand navigation menu and the option “Nutrition and Cancer”? This is what you get after clicking on the link:

Nut_Canc

Note the text:

This website presents a paper on Nutrition and Cancer that may well be the most important information a cancer patient can find to help him fight this dread disease.

Clicking the link takes you to yet another page:

Still_more_clicks 

Let me say for the record, this is really bad web design: three-click-rule be damned.

They’ve buried the “most important information a cancer patient can find” in a thicket of interlinked pages lacking a consistent design or user experience. It’s like they don’t want you to find it!

Eventually you get to the following essay subtitled “Beating cancer with a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.”

Let me quote:

A surgeon telephoned me to ask some questions about this diet. During the conversation, he told me why he had become interested in it (to the great displeasure of his colleagues).

A patient had come to him in whose throat was growing a completely inoperable and soon-to-be-fatal cancer. He told the patient that there was nothing he could do for him and that he would soon die.

The patient, however, went to Ann Wigmore’s establishment and started eating their initial diet of strictly raw fruits and vegetables. He pursued this fanatically, however, and never switched to Wigmore and Hunsberger’s phase-two diet including additional staples.

Many months later, the patient returned to the surgeon. The surgeon told me that there were three things that were unusual about this patient.

1. He was back. He should already have been long dead.

2. There was not a trace of cancer in his throat.

3. He looked like he had just stepped out of a Nazi or Communist concentration camp. The patient was almost dead of malnutrition. He was a walking skeleton.

The surgeon nursed him back to good nutritional health – but the cancer never returned.

Note the anecdotal and highly suspect nature of this claim: neither the surgeon nor patient is named. As far as personal testimonials go, that’s pretty p*ss weak.

Oh and the cancer – like totally gone.

Like it was never there…

Wooooooooooh waaaah woooh!

Amazing right?

Just so you know, the “raw fruit and vegetable” diet is pure alternative-medicine crapola.

What they are suggesting is a version of a macrobiotic diet: as far as science is concerned, it is totally implausible as a cure. Actually, it may be dangerous to cancer patients who elect to follow it.

It is one of the many alternative cures to cancer sold by hucksters who prey on those dealing with a life threatening disease.

This is yet another variation of the “extreme diet” cure, which the Cancer Council of Victoria (CCV) notes:

There are hundreds of alternative cancer therapies. You may hear about them from friends and family, or come across them in books, on the Internet or on radio, TV, etc. There is no science-based evidence to prove they can treat, control or cure any type of cancer.

There is some evidence a balanced diet – that includes raw fruit and vegetables – can help reduce the risk of some cancers.

But what our friends at the OISM claim is what experts in the field call “woo”.

To quote the CCV, promoters of such therapies are acting unethically:

Unfortunately, there are people who falsely promote treatments which don’t work or are even dangerous as ‘cancer cures.’ There are also people who wrongly claim that mainstream or conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapies don’t work. These people are acting unethically.

Whose opinion do you trust?

The peer-reviewed work of John and his team, or the “We have a cure for cancer!” woo from the cranks at OISM?

——

[Note: I will not be sanctioning a discussion on the merits alternative treatments: the evidence against them is compelling. Nor will I allow this bog to be hijacked by promoters of therapies known to be dangerous to people undergoing treatment for cancer and/or other serious illnesses.] 

 

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Cooling the planet with fake trend lines: deniers making up cooling trends with cherry picked data all the rage

With temperature records tumbling across Australia the (fake) sceptics are doing their very best to convince themselves and the gullible the planet is cooling.

However it is not enough to simply shout at the top of ones lungs the planet is heading for another ice age: one must produce evidence. And what stunning evidence the climate denial crowd have amassed this past month.

As long as it has an X-Y axis and presents the trend they want, the deniers are happily proclaiming victory over climate science and “mainstream scientists”.

That the evidence is nothing more than cherry picked data massaged to produce made-to-order trends is beside the point. What matters is producing graphs that look “sciencey”.

Some call it fun with statistics: I call it lying. But hey, I have an old-fashioned attachment to reality.

Tamino was the first to pick it up in his post Cherry picking is child’s play:

Anybody can do it.

Fake “skeptics” of global warming do it all the time. One of the latest and most extreme — this one is a real doozy — comes from John Coleman. Of course it’s regurgitated by Anthony Watts

Indeed, anyone can do it, and it seems to be all the rage within the denial-o-sphere at present.

Evidence of this latest sceptic trick?

Today Perth sceptic Jo Nova claimed the planet has been cooling for the past eight years:

The cooling for the last eight years is statistically significant in 4 of the 5 major air temperature datasets. One, UAH, shows a small (statistically insignificant) rise since 2005. And here’s the political point: how many of the policy makers, the media, or the public are even aware of the current trend? Approximately no one. I’ll bet even most skeptics didn’t know it.

The ever gullible Andrew Bolt picked up Jo’s claims and promoted it on his blog, yet again proving his blog is Australia’s premier clearing house for the disinformation produced by Australia’s wing-nuts.

Nova produces a series of graphs using data taken from the four major temperature sets from across the globe, including this one utilising HadCRUT4 data:

hadcrut4-2005-2013-global-temp

Never mind that data Nova is using are temperature anomalies relative to a 1961-1990 period: its all about producing the trend she wants. 

How long till the next ice age then? At least the polar bears will be happy.

Of course I looked at that and was curious. 

So, I popped on over to the website of the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre to download the monthly temperature (HadCRUT4) data to try and reproduce Nova’s graph.

I grabbed the data and ran it through Excel and applied a trend line.

Low and behold similar results:

HadCRUT4_1

But my graph lacked something: a trend line pointing to the 2020!

Sure, my trend lines points down – but not at the same angle as Nova’s. You can’t have a real cooling trend without fiddling with the graph a bit more. So I extended the date range to 2020 to produce a graph identical to Nova’s:

HadCRUT4_2

Ahem – a “eight year cooling trend”.

However I don’t like downward temperature trends. Being a warmanista I always want to see temperature trends going up.

Or at least according to the cartoon version of climate science the fake sceptics promote. In their mind, scientists are stunned by any slight variations in data. If the trend is not perfectly linear they claim a) the science is suspect or b) scientists are at a loss to explain it (or make both claims at the same time).

So if the fake sceptics are manufacturing cooling trends, I might as well take a leaf from their book and randomly cherry pick data to produce warming trends. Cherry picking is easy – and fun!

How fun? Let’s find out!

I choose to start my graph at 2008:

HadCRUT4_3

There you go: back to a warming trend.

Up, down! Weeeeeeee! This is fun!

It’s like geoengineering the planet’s climate: pick a start point and push the trend line up or down. One minute we’re all heading for a Venusian hell world: the next snowball Earth.

Luckily none of this has any real world consequences like misleading the public…  oh wait.

Still, my graph didn’t produce enough of a warming trend for my liking. I need to make it scarier, after all presentation matters.

Thus I turned the trend line into what I affectionately refer to as the “Red Trend Line of Doom”. I also fiddled with the background colour and font:

HadCRUT4_DOOM

See how I made the trend line all fiery, a scorching wave of doom propelling us into a Venusian hell. The black background emphasizes the drama of the “OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING TO DIE” spike in global temperatures.

Scared now people?

You may think I’m not being fair, given that Nova’s claim that the world has been cooling for eight years was ripe for ridicule.

So in the interests of fairness I’ve reproduced a custom version of Nova’s graph. I call it “Ice Age Now” in honor of the global cooling trend she has discovered through the magic of Excel trend lines:

HadCRUT4_Brrrrrrr

Notice how I made elements of the graph blue to signify the cooling trend?  Break out the thermals guys, an ice-age is coming.  

Obviously statistical tricks and fiddling with the presentation of data is a meaningless exercise. As Nova admits:

Cue critics who’ll tell me I’m cherry-picking data…  

Note I’m not suggesting that this shows CO2 doesn’t cause warming, I’m not suggesting this is evidence (yet) that the models are wrong (they’re wrong, but for other reasons), I’m not even saying that the world is definitely cooling. I’m pointing out that if we were entering a cooler phase, this is what it would look like.  

Perhaps the most important thing about these graphs is to juxtapose that claim the world is “still warming” in recent years. If statistical significance is where you hang your hat, the warming trend is not statistically significant, and yet (at the moment anyway) it is statistically significant to say the opposite about the last 8 years in 4 out of 5 datasets. 

But what about the last 4 years of warming – surely that is statistically significant?

How many policy makers or sceptics are aware of the 4 year warming trend?

Some may accuse me of cherry picking, but honestly it’s all in the presentation.

Telling the difference between science and pseudo-science: easier than you think

We could play tricks with statistics all day. Alternatively, we could marvel at the recent work of scientists who reconstructed the temperature for the last 11,500 years:

 

Now that is a trend worth noting.

Philosophers of science often refer to the problem of demarcation, the supposed difficulty in telling the difference between science and pseudo-science:

The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how to distinguish between science and nonscience, and more specifically, between science and pseudoscience. The debate continues after over a century of dialogue among philosophers of science and scientists in various fields, and despite broad agreement on the basics of scientific method. 

Contrast Nova’s eight year statistical tricks with the analysis of 11,500 year of data.

I think the line between science and nonscience is rather clear.

The coming assault on AR5: get ready for the next war on the IPCC in 2013

Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

The Australian government has begun its review of the latest draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, pledging ‘‘an open and comprehensive approach’’ as it taps selected input.

The review will draw on comments from experts, state and territory governments, industry groups and research organisation, the government said in a statement. “IPCC Assessment Reports are a vital reference and evidence base for policy considerations on climate change by governments around the world,” Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet said.

The review will run to the end of November and involves a ‘‘second-order draft’’ of one of the three working group reports, examining the physical aspects of the climate system and the changes under way.

These include observations of changes in air, land and ocean temperatures, rainfall, glaciers and ice sheets, and sea level, as well as evaluations of climate models and projections of future conditions.

The first working group’s report is due for public release in September 2013. Draft IPCC reports are typically not made public, with the review process intended to test the data and analysis, and identify any errors.

So what can we expect from the sceptic movement?

Time for some predictions!

Coming soon to a climate sceptic blog: conspiracy theories and cherry picked facts*

As we get closer to the release of the next Assessment Report (AR5) we can look forward to renewed attacks on:

  • the integrity of the IPCC
  • those associated with the IPCC
  • the integrity of individual scientists and scientific institutions
  • the idea of a scientific consensus on climate change.

We will no doubt see the deployment of the following tactics:

  • dragging out all the old complaints about AR4
  • sceptics hunting for anomalies and small errors in the report
  • mutterings about global conspiracies and scientists fabricating data
  • counter-conferences and publications that present a “counter-consensus”
  • climate sceptic bloggers working themselves up into frequent episodes of rage.

Since the publication of the last IPCC synthesis report  (AR4) the science has become even more settled. Thus in that context it will be interesting to see how the sceptic movement responds to both the report and media coverage.

Will the media allow the sceptics to frame the debate again?

How much the mainstream media will pander to the sceptics and repeat their accusations remains to be seen.

Increasingly we are seeing their views getting less and less airtime in the mainstream press. 

It now seems parts of the maintream media are a) bored with the messages of the sceptic movement and b) has twigged to the fact the sceptics are in the business of manufacturing faux scandals and outrage.

“Another typo in the IPCC report? Gosh, how clever of you Mr Climate Sceptic (yawn).”

2013 sceptic response: expect the spectrum of outright denial to luke-warmism

So what to expect? 

Parts of the News Corporation will pick up sceptic talking points and quote all the usual climate sceptic suspects on Fox News, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other parts of Murdoch’s empire.   

More respectable outlets such as the WSJ may change their tone from outright denial to a form of luke-warmism: “Sure the climate is changing, but it will be fine – or we will adapt – so no need to change!”

The Australian will strive for its usual balanced approach (i.e. war on science) of trotting out professors that have gone emeritus and surrender occasional column space to cranks like David Evans and Joanne Nova.

Lets hope those two start talking about the Rothschild’s and the climate scam on the pages of The Oz.

Andrew Bolt will speak approvingly of cranks on both his show The Bolt Report and on his blog.

Fox News will continue to offer fair and balanced commentary by getting the science wrong and promoting outright falsehoods.

Climate sceptic blogs will run amok with the usual dross – getting especially shrill both prior to and after the release of AR5.

I anticipate Anthony Watts will release another special pre-peer reviewed analysis of temperature data in the later half of 2013 to counter the work of the IPCC (lulz).

Reader predictions welcome

So readers, what are your predictions for the sceptic response?

As we get closer to the release of the first draft I’ll start pointing tactics and sceptic responses.

But to be frank, I think we can condidently predict the sceptic response.

 

* In other words, nothing will change.

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Lewandowsky et.al versus the “We’re not conspiracy theorists but…” brigade (part 1)

Latest scandal to rock sceptic blogs brings out their best…

Without doubt the phrase “Here we go again…” comes to mind as the latest scandal de jour rocks the climate sceptic community on the interwebz.

Around the globe, grumpy sceptics have grabbed mugs of warm coco and thrown on their favorite terry-towel dressing gowns in an orgy of sugar fuelled rage, posting voluminous comments on nearly every sceptic and warmists blog a basic Google search can yield.

In a show of solidarity and commitment to the cause of climate scepticism many of them have stayed up well past bed time, missing their favorite reruns of 1970s classic Brit-TV. Yep, they’ve given up watching special screenings of The Two Ronnie’s for a much more important cause.

And the cause of this online militarism?

The recent paper by Lewandowsky et.al titled NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax (full text) showing a link between conspiracy ideation and climate scepticism.

Without doubt this was bound to stir the demons of denial: especially when the paper started getting traction in the mainstream media.

The denial machine is hyper-sensitive to any and all forms of criticism. Dare to suggest that they are in error and sceptic bloggers and a swarm of angry, cantankerous wanna-be science experts will go into default attack mode. The entire movement is built on the perception they are a credible alternative to the world’s scientists: start to question that carefully cultivated veneer of false authority and expect them to go-in-hard.

This is exactly what they have done in response to the NASA paper.

This is exactly what every one expected.

I mean, is the only position of the denial community a reflexive and angry defensiveness?

No?

It’s a bit like that old guy sitting on the front porch, yelling at “Those damn kids!” to “Get the hell of my lawn!”

…and then drawing a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun and loose off a few shots for good measure.

Not only is it an overreaction, but disproportionate to the perceived slight.

WtD predictions on reaction to NASA paper

Now recall I made three tongue-in-cheek predictions as to how the denial machine would respond:

  • Prediction 1: expect the usual collection of climate sceptics to claim they’re not conspiracy theorists, and that scientists are involved in an orchestrated campaign to exclude them from the debate and smear their good names
  • Prediction 2: the sceptics and deniers will reject the research, cherry pick its arguments and refute it with their own amateur analysis – just like climate science
  • Prediction 3: I expect the likes of conspiracy theorist and climate sceptic Jo Nova to go ballistic, calling the research “witchcraft” or some such nonsense and a form of ad hominem attack.

So how’d they stack up?

Prediction 1 confirmed: we’re not conspiracy theorists! But it’s a conspiracy!

Just go here to see confirmation of that fact with deniers complaining about being called conspiracy theorists while proposing conspiracy theories to explain away Lewandowsky’s research.

I suspected that the comments section of which ever blog or media site feartuing the paper would be flooded with comments not only dismissive of the research, but claim it was part of an orchestrated campaign to besmirch the good name of climate sceptics:

“There is only one answer to the question – who profits most from what is looking every day more like a scam. Those who oppose the theory or those who support it…………cui bono……..always the answer to those questions which produce two sides in which there can never be agreement. So far there is clear indication that many politicians have personal financial interests in keeping the ‘debate’ going for as long as possible. Cui Bono………..”

The blogger over at Australian Climate Madness sees it as all part of a greater plot:

“I think they dreamed up their dramatic headline conclusion of “climate sceptics are nutters” and worked back from there.

Once they got headline exposure in a couple of major newspapers, their mission was accomplished…”

Mwah ha ha!

Foolish climate sceptics, you have no idea how much control we have over the worlds academies and media! And banks. And the UN. And the world’s military. And every government on the planet. They are all in our pockets, acting out our orders…

As the average conspiracy theorists likes to say: nothing is as it seems, all will be revealed…

Prediction 2 confirmed: they will reject the research, cherry pick its arguments

Throw the sceptic movement a piece of empirical research, and they will switch to motivated reasoning mode and search for the smallest of errors.

Bishop Hill and Jo Nova are leading that change, being cheered on by Anthony Watts.

The comments fields on these blogs are filled with the exact same misinformed reasoning and misinformation that accompanies most of the discussion on these sites.

Yawn.

However, they’ve also started a campaign of FOI requests and other tactics straight form the “lets-harass-the-scientists” play book (I’ll explore in next post).

Prediction 3 half confirmed: I expect the likes of conspiracy theorist and climate sceptic Jo Nova to go ballistic

Well I have so say I was a little disappointed with Jo.

I had the popcorn out and was waiting for some classic Nova/Evans “OMG it’s the international bankers coming to get my money arrrrrgh! Where’s my gold? Under the bed!?!?!?!”

I’d built my expectations on the last time Jo responded to research produced in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, one of the world’s foremost scientific journals. In her fury she redesigned the front cover of the journal:

 

Which I thought was just adorable.

The whole “It’s evil! Evil!” and “It burns! It burns!” shtick gave me a good giggle. I have sooooo many favorite Nova quotes, but the text that accompanied the above image is amongst her hyperbolic best:

Shame on you Schneider, traitor to science. Shame on the NAS editors who allowed this pathetic excuse for research into their publications. And shame on any member of the NAS who doesn’t shout in protest at this denigration of the good name that took decades to build.

R.I. P. The Scientific Method. Hello totalitarian government, where money buys you authority and authority passes for reason.

As predicted, Jo commented on the NASA paper.

But I was really hoping for some “Nova Gold” with claims about tyrannical government, bankers, the “death of civilisation as we know it” and all the chum she normally throws out to her readers.

Much more muted than I expected:

This could be the worst paper I have seen — an ad hom argument taken to its absurd extreme, rebadged as “science”.

Actually, anything that smacks of genuine scholarship, Jo will refer to as “the worst I’ve ever seen”… so as one can imagine, the list of what Nova doesn’t like is rather long.

Standard Nova reply, but hey – I’m still watching and waiting for the lulz. 

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Disclaimer: I was never formally asked to participate in the survey; however I did come across the survey on other blogs and directed readers of WtD to the survey if they were interested. As the comments section attests there is a large number of climate sceptics and “warmists” commenting here.

Coming up in the next post: how the sceptic movement resorts to claims of fraud, misuse of Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) and other bullying tactics…

The protocols of the elder climate scientists and “banksters”: is the media twigging to just how extreme some sceptics are?

Statement by WtD: let me state I do not equate climate change denial with holocaust denial. The term “denier” is used to refer to one who denies a consensus position in science. This includes climate change, evolution and Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. All three scientific theories continue to elicit opposition.

For some time I have been travelling the darker corners of the climate change “sceptic” movement, investigating the some times puzzling and absurd claims of the movement. I have posted extensively on the culture of conspiracy that permeates parts of the sceptic community.

I have stated that the Australian media has ignored the very public, and easily sourced, claims about conspiracies, international bankers and world governments by the likes of Lord Monckton, David Evans and Jo Nova.

However the media is now starting to became aware that this something not-quite-right about parts of the sceptic community.

To his credit Andrew Bolt has distanced himself from the extreme views of the Galileo Movement and Malcolm Roberts.

Bolt reproduces an email he sent to Roberts:

On now receiving an email from Malcolm Roberts, I’ve sent this reply:

Malcolm,

Your conspiracy theory seemed utterly stupid even before I knew which families you meant. Now checking the list of banking families you’ve given me, your theory becomes terribly, shamefully familiar.

Two of the three most prominent and current banking families you’ve mentioned are Jewish, and the third is sometimes falsely assumed to be. Yes, this smacks too much of the Jewish world conspiracy theorising I’ve always loathed.

Again, I insist: remove me from the list of people you claim are prepared to advise you.  I’ve never advised you, Malcolm, and would never want to. I am offended to be linked to you.

Andrew Bolt

Bravo Andrew!

But Roberts is merely the tip of the iceberg Andrew… you need to spend far more time investigating the claims of the “sceptic” community to see who you have aligned yourself with.

Without doubt climate change scepticism is held by a variety of individuals, of different political views, religious beliefs, demographics and level of education. I respect that many sceptics are honest – if mistaken – in their scepticism. Ones values will shape the acceptance or rejection of scientific facts.

The climate denial spectrum

On one end of the spectrum we have “luke warmists” such as Bjorn Lomborg, who accept that humanity is having some impact on the climate and that “it won’t be as bad” or we’re better off simply adapting to changing conditions.

The middle position is taken by those like Andrew Bolt who think the science isn’t settled, and somehow its all just a fantasy of those on the left who love government intervention and tofu.

At the other end of the spectrum are the true outliers, the “super conspiracy” theorists like the Australian sceptic Dr David Evans, Monckton and Jo Nova.

If you want to understand how extreme parts of the sceptic movement is, then look no further than the paper published by Evans, “Manufacturing money and global warming” on October 27 2009 through the Science and Public Policy Institute.

This is the same institute that counts Christopher Monckton, Bob Carter and Ian Plimer as personnel. Another recent “convert” to the super conspiracy theory is James Delingpole in his latest work “Watermelons” (more on this coming).

It was this paper that alerted me to the fact that climate change denial had merged with the pulse of conspiracy culture. Indeed, climate change denial slots easily into the pre-existing fantasies of “super conspiracies” and hidden agendas.

New world order and the finance industry

For several decades’ conspiracy theorists have posited a mysterious “them” have been influencing events and shaping history through financial institutions such as banks and the United Nations. No doubt you would have heard of phrases such as “New World Order”: it is the belief that the world is about to be taken over a shadowy cabal that has been planning such a coup for centuries. They work behind “front groups” such as the media, academia, UN… and just about everyone else in the world.

Understanding conspiracy culture

In seeking to understand conspiracy culture I have been guided by the work of Michael Barkun (A culture of conspiracy), Mark Fenster (Conspiracy theories) and Robert Alan Goldberg (Enemies within: the culture of conspiracy in Modern America).

Much of what I will post over the next few weeks is rough drafts and research I’ve accumulated over the past few years. I had hoped to shape this into a more coherent – and published – form.

What is important to note about the work of these scholars is the links conspiracy communities make between banks and the coming NWO. According to the more extreme theorists “they” have been planning a “coup” for centuries.

Sadly, many aspects of this belief draw upon older, and more sinister forms of anti-Semitism.

Conspiracy belief defined

Barkun provides the following definition of what a conspiracy theory is:

“…a conspiracy belief is the belief that an organisation made up of individuals or groups was or is acting to covertly achieve some malevolent end.”

Attributes of conspiracy belief include (again Barkun):

  • Nothing happens by accident
  • Nothing is as it seems
  • Everything is connected

Types of conspiracies

Barkun classifies conspiracies into the following classes:

  • Event conspiracies – limited objectives and a discreet event or set of events (i.e. the Kennedy assassination)
  • Systemic conspiracies – “the conspiracy is believed to have broad goals, usually conceived as securing control over a country or region, or even an entire world
  • Super conspiracies – multiple conspiracies are linked together.

Thus, some sceptics see climate change as an event conspiracy, i.e. scientists are lying or fudging temperature records to obtain funding. Climategate is an example of an event conspiracy (allegedly) exposed by hackers. This event conspiracy grew in scope as the event merged into the greater conspiracy “narrative” of Evans et.al.

Without douht the writings and activities of Evans and Monckton indicate belief in a super conspiracy:

Manufacturing money and global warming: “gold smiths” and “international bankers control the world

I will state this: the tone and content of Evans paper is very similar to not only “New World Order” conspiracy theories but to the language of anti-Semitism.

It demonstrates all the attributes that Barkun describes: everything is connected in Evans world, and there are conspiracies within conspiracies.

Evans blends “New World Order” conspiracy theories with climate change denial to weave a pattern of events that has been centuries in the making. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic, given Evans receives the support of the likes of Gina Rinehart.

The following extracts highlight what I regard as deeply concerning, in particular the repeated use of terminology used as “code words” by extremist right-wing groups.

Evans on the “goldsmith” and “international bankers” link

Evans on “gold smiths”:

“…In the Middle Ages, goldsmiths took gold deposits from individuals for safekeeping. The receipts for these deposits circulated as money, because they were more convenient than the metal itself. But the goldsmiths learned they could issue many more “receipts” than they had gold. They would typically lend out receipts for ten times as much gold as they had, on the assumption that not everyone would try to redeem their receipts for metal at the same time. Money was thereby manufactured, or created out of thin air. Furthermore, the goldsmith would charge interest on the receipts they lent out, to compensate for the risk of not being repaid and to make a profit.

For example, if customers deposited 200 ounces of gold with a goldsmith, then the goldsmith would issue them with receipts for 200 ounces. But he would also issue receipts for another 1,800 ounces to people as loans, and charge interest on them — for a total of receipts for 2,000 gold ounces. Notice that 1,800 of the gold ounce receipts that the goldsmith manufactured were for gold that did not exist. For a typical interest rate of 5%, the goldsmith is earning 90 gold ounces per year by lending out these receipts to gold he does not have — pretty profitable eh? If any customer came to the goldsmith with one of the goldsmith’s receipts and asked for “their” gold, the goldsmith would hand over some gold and destroy the receipt. In normal business, they knew from experience that keeping back 10% of the gold was enough to keep this scheme working and, if it wasn’t, they could simply borrow gold from another goldsmith. The only downside for the goldsmith was an unpaid loan—he owed gold on all the receipts issued, so he would ultimately have to pay any unpaid loan out of his own pocket.”

This quote in particular is alarming:

“…Over time the goldsmiths became bankers, governments introduced central banking, and finally, in 1971, the world financial system switched from using gold as its base money to using cash (paper money). The world financial system is now unpinned by cash, which governments can print at will. We have a fully paper system, with no hard constraints on how much money there is.”

In Evans reasoning is that “goldsmiths” from the medieval period – let’s be frank he is clearly talking about Jews – founded a “paper aristocracy” that secretly rules the globe.

Gold.

Smith.

Got it?

Do I really need to spell it out? [1]

Evans use of the “banksters” term: they killed two presidents!

The term “banksters” came into vogue in the 1920s and 1930s at the height of the Great Depression when feelings against banks ran high. It was also a term used by the so-called “Austrian” economists.

However it also has darker connotations in that it is a code word used by anti-Semites for Jews (search Google for “bankster and Jew” for evidence if you must, I refuse to link to such sites).

We see Evans using the term:

“The paper aristocracy has overwhelming wealth. They own or influence all the media – if only because every media organization borrows from banks. They influence almost all the institutions that employ professional economists, by supplying the money for PhDs and providing most of the lucrative consulting jobs for economists. They buy politicians by the truckload. The banksters have even killed the occasional thorn in their side—including, probably, two US presidents, Lincoln and Garfield. If no one knows or objects to their activities, why shouldn’t the paper aristocracy do what they want? If they don’t flaunt it, and the system seems to basically work for most people most of the time, what’s so bad? (In southern Italy some people say the same about the Mafia.) If people don’t know that the system would run better if the paper aristocracy weren’t there skimming off their take, are they really being ripped off?”

Yes, the banksters killed two presidents. Come on really? These people are feted by conservative politicians and the Murdoch Press?

It gets better, as Evans explains just how “cunning” the banksters are:

“Bankers know far more about banking and its subtle ramifications than politicians, and have usually been able to persuade, con, or bribe governments to do their bidding. The politicians, our representatives, are the patsies here. The banksters have conned government big time, including when they talked US President Woodrow Wilson into setting up the Federal Reserve in 1913 (which, by the way, Wilson later bitterly regretted)…”

Climate change and the international bankers

For Evans climate change is a manufactured “crisis” created by the “paper aristocracy” as part of a conspiracy to control the globe. No really, that is what he states:

“Like fiat currency and all the games with money manufacture, this is another game brought to you by the paper aristocracy: you pay, they enjoy. Ultimately people who produce real goods and services will pay—because there be will another bunch of bureaucrats and financial smarties living off our efforts.

Controlling who can emit carbon dioxide gives the government and the paper aristocracy an excuse and mechanism for controlling every activity on the planet. We all breathe out carbon dioxide, and nearly all energy use emits carbon dioxide. Further, the whole world has to be involved for the emission restrictions to be effective, so this will be the start of world government—you will no longer be able to escape by moving to a different country.

Note the “parasitic” metaphors that are sprinkled throughout Evans paper. Clearly he is drawing on much older and darker analogies about “Jewish financiers”.

Paper aristocracy: the inheritors of the “gold smith’s” power

Evans is engaged in broadening and furthering the conspiracy culture in drawing together long-standing views on the roles of Jews, international bankers and the coming New World Order.

This is typical of conspiracy theories: in general they broaden pre-existing theories and reshape them to incorporate contemporary anxieties.

Evan’s chronology of world events posits the “paper aristocracy” as the literal inheritors of money and power from centuries ago and that they have been actively shaping history for centuries:

“There are a small number of families who, over the centuries, have amassed wealth through financial rent seeking. They are leading members of the paper aristocracy. For example, the Rothschilds are the biggest banking family in Europe, and were reputed to own half of all western industry in 1900. That sort of wealth doesn’t just dissipate, because unless the managers are incompetent the wealth tends to concentrate. The banking families don’t work for a living in the normal sense, like the rest of us. They avoid scrutiny and envy by blending in and make themselves invisible. Since they own or influence all sorts of media organizations, it isn’t too hard. There are unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories, but nobody can really credibly say how much wealth and influence they have.

What are the paper aristocracy going to do in the aftermath of the current huge bubble? The course and end of the bubble are quite foreseeable, so they must have a plan.

There are unsubstantiated rumors that they influenced the system to make an almighty bubble, and intend to buy lots of real stuff, such as real estate and businesses, in the ensuing bust, when everything is dirt cheap. By the way, this is how the paper aristocracy has made most of its wealth over the last few centuries, and how those banking families originally became wealthy. Bankers would introduce excess bank money, then deliberately cut it back on it one day, watch prices plummet as businesses failed, then buy distressed assets cheaply. Earning interest was a second way of earning money but less important. Bank fees were just for pocket money and to keep customers distracted.

Perhaps today’s fiat currencies—the US dollar, pound, yen and so on—will go up in smoke in an inflationary crescendo in the next few years, perhaps as planned by the paper aristocracy. Maybe they will reintroduce an asset backed currency. And guess who has all the gold? Those banking families have been salting it away for years. Possibly a global currency, so one cannot escape the predations of the paper aristocracy. This is not just about money, but about power, of course. Anyway, these are only unsubstantiated rumors. We shall see.

Yes, we shall see. Nothing is at it seems, everything is connected…

As I and others have noted, the Rothschild’s have long been the favorite target of conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites for decades.

Evans and the conservatives: why such unqualified support for a conspiracy theorist?

What alarms me is that Evans is treated as a serious commentator on the climate debate.

In addition to written pieces in The Australian and The Age, Evans was one of the “experts” former Senator Nick Minchin took Anna Rose to meet in the show “I can change your mind about climate change”. Andrew Bolt often links to pieces on Jo Nova’s blog.

Let me stress, I do not believe Bolt and Minchin share these views: however I believe the claims of Evans and Monckton are glossed over and ignored because they have proven useful to vested interests and those fighting the culture wars.

Bolt and Minchin are culture warriors, they see AGW as a left-wing “belief” that should be countered in much the same way conservative Christians oppose Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is a case of values driving a world view and the acceptance – or rejection – of a particular scientific theory.

Quite frankly, on any other issue conspiracy theorists such as Evans would be ignored. However because climate change has become so politically charged that Evans scant qualifications (he has a PhD) and his seeming authority on the issue have made him a cause-célèbre in the sceptic community.

His claims are endlessly repeated throughout the climate sceptic echo chamber so by the time it reaches more “respectable” sceptics such as Bolt, Minchin and the pages of The Australian the ugly conspiracy theories are glossed over and weened out to make the climate scepticism of Evans more “respectable”.

Remember this as well: shock jock Alan Jones has been a vocal front man for the Galileo Movement. Jones nursed it into being… and that does my head in.

Think: some of the most powerful media players in the country have thrown their clout behind these people.

Unwittingly Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Minchin and the conservative movement have helped the trojan horse of radical conspiracy theories distort public debate in Australia. One wonders how quickly they will come to realise just what they have done.

The sleep of reason produces monsters.

Here Andrew, here Alan – here are your monsters.

[1] This is a bold claim, and thus will warrant further research and investigation. I’ll leave it in here because that is what I published originally, but I will expand on this point and a provide a far more nuanced explanation. At best the claims made by Evans parallel the language and claims made more more extreme forms of conspiracy theory. Mike @ WtD

Conspiracy culture: how the Australian media overlooked the paranoid politics of the deniers

“….[it] would appear to be the Rothschild plan: to create an international authority on the pretext of saving the world from global warming, this salvation being somehow achievable by creating a “carbon exchange” as another source of speculative profit for the Rothschilds, et al. The international authority leading towards a “new world order” would have The City of London as its world capital…   – NWO Observer

Yesterday Ben Cubby of The Age wrote a brief article on the response of the Australian denial movement to Richard Muller’s BEST study and his conversion from scepticism to acceptance of climate change.

What immediately caught my attention was the quotes by Malcom Roberts, a prominent member of the Galileo movement:

A prominent Australian sceptics’ group, the Galileo Movement, said its views would not change at all because of Professor Muller’s study. The group features broadcaster Alan Jones as its patron and lists prominent sceptics Ian Plimer and Bob Carter and blogger Andrew Bolt as advisers.

“We’ve based our views on empirical science, and there’s nothing in the Muller study to undercut that,” said the Galileo Movement’s manager, Malcolm Roberts, a former mining engineer and company director.

Mr Roberts said climate change science had been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”.

Mr Roberts said he understood that the group’s views might sound strange, but claimed they were increasingly popular. “It does sound outlandish,” he said. “I, like you, was reluctant to believe it [but] there are significant things going on in Australia that people are waking up to”.

This is a claim I’ve familiar with, and is common currency amongst climate sceptics across the globe.

I noted some time ago some of Australia’s most prominent climate sceptics were proponents of this conspiracy. Jo Nova and her husband David Evans are perhaps the main proponents of this conspiracy in Australia.

It was very much on display during the protests last year in front of Parliament house, with cranks and conspiracy theorists painting their beliefs on signs and waving them in front of the media.

The mainstream Australian media have failed to appreciate that climate denial in is an example of conspiracy culture.

I’d strongly urge journalists and the media to note Roberts claims about cabals, international bankers and the conspiracy theories pushed by the Australian climate “sceptics” and review the world view of the sceptic movement.

This feature of the movement has been overlooked in an attempt to provide (false) balance in reporting on the climate change “debate”.

Indeed, the media have rushed to publish the views of sceptics such as Nova, Monckton and Roberts without checking their statements on “international bankers” and NWO/socialist conspiracies. Climate denial has all the hallmarks of conspiracy culture that holds the following beliefs:

  • a conspiracy of individuals and groups whose powers and reach is all-pervasive
  • history is a product of these forces, there is no such thing as chance
  • the conspiracy acts covertly to achieve a malevolent end/s

So why do the sceptics get so much play? The fossil fuel industry disinformation campaign promoted via think tanks is a factor.

But there is more to this story.

Due to the challenge climate change prompts (and the attendant anxieties), the intensity of the sceptics disinformation campaign and the willingness of some parts of the media fully embrace climate scepticism, conspiracy theorists have been given a major platform to espouse they’re all too frequently unchallenged views.

Conspiracy theories, to quote Christopher Hitchens, are the exhaust fumes of democracy. We see the anxieties and fears of our society expressed. They serve as a soothing and comforting narrative for individuals trying to make sense of the world.

The true story here is the one about human psychology and how global warming forces us to question the core values and infrastructure of our society: what does AGW mean for energy use, justice and sustainability?

Since the 1990s conspiracy theories have gained in popularity, due to the internet and the media embracing it as a genre:

Climate change denial is both an anti-science movement and a form of popular entertainment. Through its various blogs, YouTube videos, Op-Ed pieces and think tank studies it delivers a steady diet of counter knowledge in perfectly packaged sound bites and memes…

…In this it mimics other pop-cultural phenomena as “The Secret” and “The Da Vinci” code. It’s slickly produced, packaged and marketed counter knowledge.

And our mainstream media is complicit in its dissemination; either actively through the work of journalists as the HUN’s Andrew Bolt, or by attempting to be balanced and giving credibility to the movement in interviews and guest spots in the opinion pages of major dailies.

Over the next two weeks I’m going to focus on highlighting the culture of conspiracy that infects the Australian climate sceptics movement.

For too long there views have recieved scant critical attention. So get ready to learn about post-normal science, the coming general economic collapse, international bankers, socialist plots to take over the world…

Get ready for some fun.

Rinehart vs the media: “disappointed and surprised” mining magnate had her climate change denial edited

Robert Mann has written an insightful piece on Lord Monckton’s role in “inspiring” Gina Rinehart’s Fairfax play. The now infamous video was initially taken down by the Mannkal Foundation but is now available online once more (see here).

“The Plan”: total control of the media?

Obviously there has been a great deal of speculation about Rinehart and her attempt to gain greater control of Fairfax these past few weeks.

Personally, I believe it demonstrates an attempt an eccentric billionaire and her coterie of pet climate sceptics to subvert the Australian media. Not satisfied with the anti-science agenda of News Limited’s Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and The Australian (and New’s 70% share of the print media), Rinehart & Co are looking to dominate the media landscape with their particular brand of conservative-libertarian politics.

Monckton names those apparently working to reshape the Australian media landscape:  

“…I would be very happy to work with people like Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt etc. to put together a business plan for such a thing if the idea would be generally supported and then we’ll see if we can get someone to be an angel funder…”

I think we can say with little doubt they found their “Angel funder” with Rinehart. However it concerns me greatly that cranks like Monckton and Nova – and Bolt – are having such a profound influence on Australia’s media.

Influential people: one billionaire’s frustration with the media

My concern has prompted me to dig into the some of the more prominent blogs and sites of the Australian denial movement for further hints of Rinehart’s activities. Thanks to Jo Nova’s need to name drop on her blog, we have an insight into Rinehart’s “frustration” with the media and her desire to reshape the industry.

In a December 2011 post on her blog, Jo Nova details a meeting with Gina Rinehart at the Mannkal Foundation’s Christmas party (a libertarian think tank that hosted the original video).

Nova notes a number of “influential people” who happen to be climate sceptics, but are also frustrated with the media and science community for their apparent “bias” against sceptics.

Nova then goes on to describe Rinehart’s disappointment at having an article she wrote for the magazine, Australian Resources and Investment, edited.  

“… Ladies and Gentlemen, the Internet is the gift of gifts. How easy would it have been for the government departments, coopted scientists, and obedient media to have gotten away with the outrageous scam of forcing us to pay to change the weather? Their lock on the mainstream media would have made it easy to disguise the truth. And yet, it crumbles (all bar the Antipodes).

Then last week, I met Gina Rinehart at the Mannkal Christmas party, and she was keen to let me know that she’d mentioned David and the key points of evidence in an article for the Australian Resources and Investment publication.

A day later, Gina Rinehart was disappointed and surprised that the editors decided to cut her description of the scientific evidence — though those of us who explain science have learnt to expect that. (It’s as if editors are deathly afraid a scientific argument might bore the readers, when here, below, if readers didn’t already know it, are the blockbuster points that back up her claims.) It’s clear she is well versed. She’s carefully picked out the most important points. I’m grateful she’s given me permission to reprint the excerpts of her article, most especially the unpublished parts. Naturally, any credit for what Gina knows belongs to Gina, but — credit where credit is due — thanks to Monckton, Carter and Plimer too.

What is interesting that even in a magazine extremely friendly to the mining industry Rinehart couldn’t get her climate change denial published. As a consequence, Rinehart expressed “disappointment and surprise”.

What better way to alleviate that disappointment than simply “buy-out” sections of the media? If you’re fast becoming one of the world’s richest people, why not add a complacent media to empire in order to “shape” the public debate?

Nova states in this post Rinehart had “given her permission” to publish the edited extracts of her article on her blog – clearly a lot of discussion and is going on behind the scenes.

Rinehart’s scepticism: channelling Plimer, Carter, Evans et.al

Nova reproduces the missing part of Rinehart’s article which I’ve captured below. It contains the usual grab bag of climate sceptic arguments. Indeed, Rinehart simply regurgitates standard denier talking points:

  • “CO2 has no effect”
  • “The climate has always changed”
  • “Temperature records are unreliable”
  • “Computer models cant’ be trusted”

She cites David Evans as a primary source for arguments. Rinehart also repeats many of the discredited talking points made by the likes of Ian Plimer and Bob Carter.

Given Rinehart’s wealth, power and influence it pays to have some insight into her views on climate and her brand of “scepticism”. It gives us the necessary context in analysing her moves into the media industry, support for climate change scepticism and her obsession with the ANDEV project.

Rinehart on Climate Change: in her own words

Here is what didn’t go into Rinehart’s article, in which she attempted to present the “scientific evidence” against climate change:

Please consider the following scientific evidence:

1. The atmosphere currently has <0.04% CO2, in former times it was up to 30%.  Six of the six great ice ages formed at a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide was far higher than now. Clearly, this did not drive warming.

2. For 80% of past geological time, planet Earth has been warmer than today, with far more CO2 in the atmosphere. Clearly, this warming was neither irreversible nor catastrophic.

3. At times in the past (Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Eocene) the Earth experienced sudden injections of CO2 into the atmosphere.  In response, the planet warmed slightly but less than daily changes we experience now and not in an irreversible or catastrophic way.

4. Ice cores from Antarctica show that atmospheric CO2 increases around 800 years after natural events of warming i.e. natural warming drives carbon dioxide emissions, not the inverse.

5.Over the last 120,000 years, there have been 25 periods of warming where temperature rose by up to 8 deg C. These were not driven by human emissions, were natural and were neither irreversible nor catastrophic.

6.Sea level rose 130 metres between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago and temperatures were at a maximum 6,000 years ago. For the last 6,000 years we have been cooling with intermittent warm periods (Minoan, Roman, Medieval, Modern). In the first three warming periods, it was far warmer than now, sea level did not rise and such warmings clearly were not a result of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. The Modern Warming commenced 300 years ago.  It has not been demonstrated which part of this warming is natural and which part is of human origin, and since 1998 the Earth has been cooling despite a rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

7. Since thermometer measurements were first being taken the Earth has warmed (1860-1880), cooled (1880-1910), warmed (1910-1940), cooled (1940-1977), warmed (1977-1998) and cooled (1998-present). Humans really started to emit carbon dioxide from 1940, and the two earlier warmings were at the same rate as the 1977-1998 warming.  Hence it has not been shown that there is a human influence on warming. At present, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing yet we are cooling.

8. The IPCC states that 97% of carbon dioxide emissions are natural and only 3% are human. It has not been scientifically shown how the 3% contribution can drive global warming when the 97% does not.

9. There is no science-based argument for CO2 being the dominant greenhouse gas; instead, CO2 is a minor greenhouse component whose effect is greatly overshadowed by that of water vapour.

10. To get carbon dioxide, a plant food, into perspective, for every one carbon dioxide molecule of human origin there are 32 of natural origin in a total of 88,000 other molecules. It has yet to be shown that this one molecule in 88,000 drives climate change and there is only information to the contrary because no past climate changes (which were larger and more rapid than anything we measure today) were driven by carbon dioxide, certainly not human induced, and what we measure today is within variability.

 ”Further you may wish to consider the scientist and mathematician, Dr David Evans view in an article titled “Evidence Speaks – It’s a Scam”, he has recently provided four other evidential tests against which global warming can be assessed, which have been independently confirmed by others.

The four key pieces of evidence that Evans presents, and the graphs which relate to each, are available here at (http://sciencespeak.com/evidence.pdf). They concern the complex computer climate models that provide the main basis for warming alarmism, and in summary are:”

1. That the climate models used by the United Nations (IPCC) to promote warming alarm are fundamentally flawed, and exaggerate measured atmospheric temperature increases.

2.That the climate models predict the oceans should be warming. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since 2003, using the ARGO system, and now 3,000 ARGO buoys patrol and measure ocean temperature constantly. They say that the ocean temperature since 2003 has been basically flat. Again, reality is very different to the climate models.

3.That the climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming, which is the presence of a so-called hotspot of warming at about 10 km height in the tropics. But we have been measuring atmospheric temperatures by weather balloons since the 1960s, and millions of weather balloon measurements show that there was no such hotspot during the last phase of warming between 1975 and 2001.

4. And, satellites are now able to measure the outgoing radiation from the earth, and have established that the earth gives off more heat when the surface is warmer, and less heat in months when the earth’s surface is cooler. But again the climate models say the opposite, and predict that the Earth will give off less heat when the surface is warmer.

“There’s talk that the government will subsidize this cost for some of us – look at what’s happening in Europe and USA where governments became too big, overstretched themselves and their expenditures, created extensive debt problems, with the obvious consequences of pressure to raise taxes, and, recession.  What happens in recession, the rich have less discretionary expenditure, but those who are most hurt by recession are those on limited fixed incomes, pensioners, those on low and low to middle incomes, those on middle incomes especially where only one adult is in the work force.”

I noted this article some time ago, and it gave me pause back then. Rinehart and Nova in discussions? But I didn’t write on it, as I’d put WtD was on hold.

The whole affair has made me acutely aware of the need to pay better attention to the publications, videos and articles of the denial movement. More care and diligence is required.

Pepper spraying the truth and speaking in dead tongues: how the deniers seek to irritate, confuse and blind us

There is much to be said for stepping away from the climate change “debate” and coming back refreshed.

In many respects it’s disheartening in a way to see to the same old deniers trotting out the same old tired arguments: “the climate has always changed”; “it’s the sun”; the absurd “it’s not happening”; and the wonderfully insane “it’s a conspiracy!”

Watching Plimers recent performance in London reminded me of  some of the basic tactics employed by the denial machine and its operatives.

Firslty, just how proficient the deniers are at what is called the Gish Gallop: throwing out hundreds of little factoids and arguments in order to a) sound authoritative and b) confuse.

Fact checking their statements is both tedious and time consuming: the “Gish Gallop” allows them to make dozens of absurd claims without risk of being challenged. Both Ian Plimer and “Not-really-a-Lord” Monckton are practitioner’s par excellence.

Playing dress up

Coming back into the debate also reminded me how much the deniers love nothing better than playing the adult version of dress-ups by assuming the garb and vocabulary of scientists and other authority figures.

Plimer loves to take the “trust me I’m a scientist” line in order to assume the authority of science, while simultaneously attacking what is settled science.

It is why Monckton is so strident in his attempts to claim he is a “member of the House of Lords” when he clearly is not.

But in order to accept the claims of Plimer and Monckton and the roles they want to play, one needs to also wave away hundreds of uncomfortable facts.

Even though Monckton is famously not a member of the House of Lords, to his supporters he “really is”.

It helps explain why Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt will accept Monckton’s claim to being a “Lord’ over official statements by that very body. One only has to see Jo Nova’s post on the issue to see the depth in which the denial community is desperate to protect the status of one of their “tribal elders”.

Can Monckton claim to be a member of the House of Lords Nova asks rhetorically?

According to a constitutional lawyer. Yes, quite so.

Monckton, on returning fromAustraliafrom his tour this autumn, consulted Hugh O’Donoghue, a leading constitutional lawyer at Carmelite Chambers, overlooking the River Thames just a mile downstream from the Houses of Parliament. His question: “Am I or am I not a member of the House of Lords?”

O’Donoghue, who specializes in difficult human-rights cases and Peerage law, spent months carefully researching Monckton’s question. He says Lord Monckton “was and is correct at all points”. The conclusion of his 11-page opinion (see PDF at bottom of this article), reviewing 1000 years of Peerage law, is clear on the issue:

Yes… because the opinion of one single lawyer trumps the official view of the UKs upper house.

I mean this lawyer sits just one mile downstream from the Houses of Parliament! Golly gosh, that makes them really authoritative. And its 11 pages!

To have any real validity, either statute law would need to be changed or the matter taken to court where a Judge would make a determination.

Until then, this advice is merely an unsubstantiated opinion.

Caution, extreme usage of dead languages ahead

The classically trained Monckton loves to sprinkle his monologues – and I say monologues because Monckton doesn’t have conversations, he simply talks and talks, and talks – with snatches of Latin.

Monckton’s use of dead languages is intended to do two things: intimidate his critics and demonstrate his arcane knowledge to impress his gullible audience.

It very much reminds me of the very things George Orwell noted in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language“.

Cautioning the reader against words used to “dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements”, Orwell notes:

“Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones…”

Monckton arguments are so fatuous, fact free and incredibly fanciful that he needs to dress them up what is essentially verbal pyrotechnics.

To which all I have to say is caveat emptor.

Pepper spraying the truth

So why all this dressing up and verbal pyrotechnics?

The denial movement exists to do one thing, and it does it very well: to confuse.

It uses a variety of tools and techniques to support this strategy of confusion: denying climate change is real; attacking the reputations of scientists; hacking into computer systems; threatening scientists with death threats; engaging in email campaigns of intimidation and  harassment; plastering online forums with sound bites and denier memes.

Their campaign is nasty, relentless and effective.

I call it “pepper spraying the truth” because their tactics are designed to itimidate, bully and force us to look away.

The millions of words generated by the denier blogs posts and Andrew Bolt articles are simply the individual particles of a pepper spray applied to the public debate. It forces the closure of our eyes, blinding us to urgency of climate change.

In their application of their pepper spray, the deniers have degraded public discourse.

There is no “debate”.

There is no “reasoning”.

There is the denial machine whose only function is it is whip out the pepper spray and violently apply it to the public “eyes”.

“But what if climate change is real? What can we do? What should we do…” asks the public

“It’s not real! Look away! “ the deniers scream as they keep up a steady spray of false memes.

Read any online forum or comments section on a newspaper article discussing climate change and you’ll see the “spray” of denier memes and arguments. Every word, every post, every article from the deniers angrily sprayed into our eyes.

Don’t look.

Don’t engage.

The “pepper spray” makes it too painful to engage in any form of discussion or debate.

Tragically all of us are left irritated, confused, and blinded

Jo Nova: telling porkies about BoM rainfall predictions

Should we really be surprised that deniers cherry pick data and distort the truth? 

In addition to her usual war on science, Jo Nova frequently attacks the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). 

In today’s post produces a predicted rainfall map produced by the BoM on August 24 2010 for the September-November period contrasted with actual recorded rainfall. In her mind it proves BoM can’t get it right:

   

Shocking! How much more wrong could the BoM be!  Says outraged Nova :

How many billions have we lost thanks to farmers who might have been able to harvest early, or plant different crops, or avoid seeding in droughts, or any one of a thousand other choices that would help them to make the most of our highly variable climate.

Oh wait, there is something she neglects to tell her readers…

I’m sure alert readers of this blog now what she’s done.  

Nova neglects to show us is the forecasts made following this August outlook which actually predict wetter conditions for most of Australia.

Here is their prediction released on 22 September 2010. 

And the map:  

 

BoM state:

Wetter conditions favoured for most of Australia

The Australian rainfall outlook for the December quarter (October to December) favours wetter than average conditions over large parts of the continent, with strongest odds across northern Australia. The October to December outlook is the result of warm conditions in the Indian Ocean and cool conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, both of which are associated with the current La Niña event.

Probabilities versus observed rainfall

BoM refined their predictions in light of new data and observing trends, standard practice. Nova’s post is a gross mischaracterization of BoM’s predictions.  

More importantly, the BoM predictions indicate probabilities for increased (or decreased) rain, not actual predicted rainfall. It’s a subtle and important difference and means the BoM was actually correct in stating in there was an increased chance for wetter conditions in parts of Australia.  

She is employing a standard trick of all anti-science movements: asking the impossible of science. Predictions about future events are made with a certain level of confidence, and then refined as more data is available. Between August and September, BoM refined their predictions.

It took me less than two minutes to check this information.

An “honest’ oversight on Nova’s behalf? 

You be the judge…

Jo Nova reveals climate science’s endgame: controlling the world BWAH HA HA!!!

 

Tin foil hat alert!

Jo Nova likes to call climate change the second biggest scam in history? And the largest scam? She is still hinting at the real agenda of the bankers, scientists, governments, and /or aliens who really control the world.

As I noted earlier in the year, Nova and her husband subscribe to a fringe conspiracy theory known as the “economic collapse”.

In short, the “elites” are about to usher in an age of hyperinflation in order to cement their hold on power:

Amongst the conspiracy “community” there is often talk about the coming “general economic collapse”. According to this theory – and it has many forms – an elite will usher in an age of hyper-inflation in order to impoverish citizens in the developed world. Having achieved this they be in possession of the only real assets (property, gold) and thus have even greater political power… Depending on the conspiracy these “elites” are either the Freemasons, Fabians or Bliderberg Group.

This week Nova is starting to hint at her deeply held beliefs about this conspiracy:

You might think inflation and climate science are only linked metaphorically. But the corruption in science is fed by the corruption in our currencies.

The monetary system that allows a privileged few to print money from nothing is the same system that allows massively misdirected spending. When there are so few controls on the growth of money, there is less negative feedback, fewer brakes and virtually no limits. If the system is swimming with easy money, people can “afford” to build wildly extravagant and unproductive things, like wind-farms, carpets of solar panels, or symbolic rivers of blue plastic.

The argument, if you can follow it, goes like this:

  • the “paper aristocracy” are manipulating the markets in order to usher in an age of hyperinflation
  • scientists made up global warming to help create a “fiat” currency (carbon credits)
  • the purpose is to fund the building of wind farms

Of course, it was there for all of us to see!

But wait, there’s more… just how far down the rabbit hole are you prepared to go?

Well… it begins with Wall Street and ends with the US under a military dictatorship.

I kid you not.

Actually, it’s not about wind farms: it is about Obama the antichrist!

Fortunately Jo Nova has spotted the warming signs:

But while inflation may be the only road out of the debt-pit, no one in power will be issuing a press release. Those in control of the currency will be doing all they can to ensure the appearance of inflation lags far behind the reality, to keep inflationary expectations low. The “best” kind of inflation for the central banks that inflate our money supply to the advantage of banks and government, is the invisible kind (and we’ve had a lot of that in the last two decades). Once the punters wake up to it, they start demanding wage rises, and then the exponential acceleration takes off like an A380.

Yes, yes! It all makes sense!

How could I have been so foolish to think global warming was an issue, when in reality a cabal of vested interests is about to usher in the Economic Collapse!

Nova trumpets a video by the “National Inflation Association“, a group dedicated to “preparing Americans for hyperinflation”. The NIA prepared the video as it was “apparent” the US is headed for a complete societal collapse:

“There are now countless warning signs all around us on a daily basis that the U.S. is headed for a complete societal collapse. NIA received an overwhelming response from its members when we asked you to submit any signs you see that a societal collapse is near. The response we received was so strong that we are now beginning to produce a documentary about America’s upcoming collapse of society. The documentary will be over an hour long and we are hoping to release it by the end of October. It will go beyond the economic facts and statistics that were discussed in ‘Meltup’ and help expose the upcoming collapse from a real life perspective…”

Watch the video here:

It suggests:

  • The US is about to an economic collapse that will take place over the course of a morning
  • It will descend into societal collapse in a matter of hours
  • It is an excuse by Obama to usher in a military dictatorship
  • Cats and dogs living together in sin! Madness!  

Nova thinks this is real, as she states “parts of this projected scenario are happening”. 

The NIA has released a series of videos on this conspiracy theory with such tag lines as “How the U.S. is headed for a complete societal collapse! The most important film of all time!” 

How could you resist watching them?

I couldn’t. 

And I loved every silly, nutty moment of them. I have a fondness for conspiracy theories, I think they’re rather fun and interesting products of the zeitgeist.

And as I’ve noted before, Nova’s thinking is infected with a conspiratorial world view.

I think we can we all agree these people are insane.

Seriously – how much longer are we going to take the likes of Nova, Evans and the like seriously?

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