Category Archives: Monckton

Monckton questions Obama’s status as President: states there is enough to cast doubt on POTUS place of birth

Monckton now believes there is “compelling evidence” to cast doubt on where Obama was born. No, really he does…

If further evidence is needed to support to the contention that many climate sceptics have embraced a cluster of conspiracy theories, look no further than Lord Christopher Monckton.

The prominent climate sceptic – who has been feted by figures such as Gina Rinehart, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Australia’s climate change “sceptics” – now claims the birth certificate on the White House is a forgery (which many of us know, he has been for some time).

Monckton has been spending time in Hawaii “investigating” Obama’s birth certificate and detailing the results of his investigation in a series of ongoing interviews with Alex Jones, host of InfoWars.

Jones is known for his  support for New World Order conspiracy theories and that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks:

Six weeks later, on the day the Twin Towers fell, Jones began his broadcast by declaring that, as he had predicted, the Bush administration had taken part in a staged terror attack. “I’ll tell you the bottom line,” Jones said. “98 percent chance this was a government-orchestrated controlled bombing.”

Monckton’s claims: yes, he really is a Birther

On a recent InforWars show (8 June 2012) Monckton makes some incredible claims. The segment goes for over 2 hours, but Monckton’s discussion of Obama’s birth certificate begins at 1:33:40 onward:

Here are some direct quotes:

Alex Jones: “…what’s the latest you’ve got breaking from Hawaii?”

Monckton: “Well its very clear now… that somebody in the Hawaiian Health Department knew the document that now appears on the White Hose website is a forgery… it is clear it is a forgery…” 

He then goes onto say:

“…there must be an opening up of the official record of Mr Obama’s birth to independent forensic scrutiny… there is now sufficient doubt as to where he was born…”

See also here on the InfoWars site.

Monckton paper that questions the President’s legitimacy: end results of his “investigation”

The end result of Monckton’s investigation is a paper titled “Is the President the President? A Hereditary Peers’ Briefing Paper“.

He even uses that logo that his own variation of the House of Lords logo which potentially breaks copyright:

In the paper Monckton outlines an incredible theory the that birth certificate on the White House web site is a forgery.

Citing the work of “bither” Sheriff Joseph Arpaio of Arizona,  Monckton goes at great pains to demonstrate “anomalies” with the birth certificate.

From there he questions the legitimacy of Obama as President of the United States.

Monckton even links his climate change scepticism to his support of “birther” claims:

Does the issue matter? An eminent constitutional lawyer has given advice that it does. He says: “We amend the Constitution, or we abide by it.” Judge Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court in the McInnish case also considers the issue important, in that it raises “serious questions about the authenticity of both the ‘short form’ and the ‘long form’ birth certificates”. Mr. Obama’s legitimacy is now materially in doubt. Though his political supporters dismiss questioners of his birth certificate as “birthers”, much as they brand questioners of Man’s influence on the weather as “deniers” or questioners of the European Union as “xenophobes”, the subject will move up the political agenda in the coming months, notwithstanding the studied indifference of the media and of both parties to it.

At the end of the paper Monckton launches into a rhetorical flight of fancy that leaves little doubt that the man is a fantasist:

The implications of this affair for Her Majesty’s Government are considerable. The apparent forgeries, with the failure of Mr. Obama and of the State of Hawaii to ensure access to the original long-form birth certificate of which the document on the White House website is said to be a copy, have cast legitimate and growing doubt upon Mr. Obama’s fitness to hold office. His hostility to the United Kingdom, evidenced by his removal of the bust of Churchill from the White House, may have been somewhat assuaged by his relationship with the present UK Prime Minister: however, almost any other foreseeable candidate for his office would be less inimical to the United Kingdom.

If any successful moves are made against Mr. Obama or his key supporters, whether via ballot challenges in the civil courts, or via the exercise of Brady rights by a defendant accused of a crime signed into law by Mr. Obama, or via a disqualification from office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, a dislocation considerably more severe than the fall of Nixon may be anticipated, leaving the free world leaderless at a time of great financial uncertainty. Therefore the issue, peripheral though it may at first seem, is not only of central importance to the United States, whose Constitution may have been flouted and circumvented in a material respect, but is also potentially of great consequence to Britain and to the West.

Apparently Obama has a hatred for the United Kingdom, evident from removing a bust of Churchill. Monckton also believes the fate of “the west” is in the balance.

There can be little doubt this provides support to the the recent research by Lewandowsky et.al.

Oh Lordy: Monckton rejected by his own political party, but “Uncle” Monckton’s effect on Australia’s media landscape is still playing out

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is typical of the right-wing extremist parties plaguing the European political scene: anti-immigration, anti-European Union, demands more funding for the military, small government and against same-sex marriage.

You know – the usual grab bag of idée fixe of older, angry white men.

With such a platform it was little wonder that “Lord” Christopher Monckton – he of climate denial fame – was attracted to the UKIP. Indeed, for some time he was the party’s deputy leader.

Well no more it seems as DeSmogBlog reports.

It seems Monckton is too extreme for the extremists. Guardian reporter Leo Hickman reports the UKIP now regards Monckton as a “loose cannon” and is cutting ties with the eccentric “Yes I am!” (but not actually) wannbe member of the House of Lords:

“…I asked if there had been a falling out between Monckton and the current UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. Towler said not, but said that Monckton – whom he described as a “17th century pamphleteer” – was sometimes the source of “frustration” and was “very much Lord Pearson’s man – they own contiguous shooting estates in Scotland”. Towler added that Monckton had been active in the party at a time when it was “not drowning in talent”, but the recent surge in popularity for the party had seen a fresh influx of personnel. Monckton was a “loose cannon”, said Towler, but Helmer is a “tied-down cannon, pointed in the same direction”.”

Rinehart and “Uncle” Monckton

Earlier this year Monckton was caught on video advising that a very rich “someone” invest in Australia’s media in order to reshape the political debate:

As many of pointed out, Gina Rinehart’s play for Fairfax seems to be part of the strategy outlined by Monckton. Rinehart has a penchant for listening to the advice of eccentric daddy figures like Plimer and Monckton – she takes her climate scepticism from “Uncle” Plimer and her “politics” from “Uncle” Monckton.

The thought that an extremist rejected as a ‘loose cannon” by the extremist UKIP somehow shaping the Australian media landscape is indeed terrifying

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

A very modern climate crank: Monckton tries to shut down the BBC exposé, fails badly

[Hat tip Open Mind]

Good lord, but doesn’t climate sceptic (*cough* denier *cough*) Viscount Christopher Monckton have a glass jaw?

Monckton has just lost a High Court challenge trying to prevent the BBC screening an expose of the climate sceptics:

The BBC has fought off a High Court challenge to tonight’s broadcast of a documentary about climate change skeptics.

 Lord Monckton had applied to Mr Justice Tugendhat for an injunction stopping the programme being shown until it included his right of reply.

He said that he felt he had been “unreasonably treated and misled” and complained of breach of contract.

He told the judge in London that he wanted the programme, Meet the Climate Sceptics, to include his 500 words or three minutes which, he said, was proportionate in the context of a 60-minute film almost exclusively about him.

“What I’m not trying to do is extinguish the BBC’s right to freedom of speech.

“I was for many years myself a journalist and it is not appropriate to say a programme should not be broadcast. I am merely asking for a right to reply to which I say I am entitled.”

He said it was the least remedy that would meet the case as the damage to his reputation would otherwise be “grave”.

It would seem a camera team followed Monckton for a year filming his activities, and now he isn’t happy:

The programme filmed Lord Monckton over [the] past year as he travelled across Australia and the United States challenging the proposition that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes climate change and global warming.

I wonder what they saw and filmed…

Clearly it has the Good Lord panicked.

Given parts were filmed in Australia, I wonder if our friends Joanne Nova, Andrew Bolt et.al make cameos.

Note to self: must watch.

Monckton: flailing, failing and falling flat on his face

Just who is “Lord” Monckton?

Some salient facts.

 He is a journalist by training, with no scientific qualifications. He has a classics degree and spent a couple of years as an “advisor” in Thatcher’s cabinet.

Mostly he tours the world spreading misinformation.

Monckton likes to claim an association with the House of Lords, but last year the House of Lords wrote to Monckton asking he stopped associating himself with them.

Professor John Abrahams – an actual scientist – decisively rebuked his arguments. Turns out Monckton pretty much lied.

Peter Sinclair’s two-part video showcases Monckton’s cheap tricks, and should alert you to just how dishonest this man is.

Maybe we should consider the fact Monckton took over $100,000 from Australian climate sceptics eager to hear him pontificate. While Monckton likes to attack “greedy scientists” he is charging hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread disinformation.

And Monckton is concerned this documentary might do damage to his reputation now!

Oh my!

A very modern climate crank 

Monckton is the very definition of a modern climate crank.

NOT Monckton, but you get the idea...

 So let us honour Monckton with his own song:

I’m very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General climate crank   

Monckton shares the same cognitive bias with a great deal of many “sceptics”: the “Dunning-Kruger” effect.
 
It is the sincerely held belief their expertise in one areas allows them to speak authoritatively on everything. The trap is, they can’t recognise just how limited their own skill set and knowledge is.
 
There is a profile for these “modern major generals”: male, older, Anglo-Saxon and with some form of tertiary education. They believe they have the “skills” to take down an entire scientific discipline. 

Copy of High Court decision: not yet available

Copy of decisions made by the High Court (Queens Bench) can be found here, however it appears the Monckton one has not been posted. Details are:

Monday, 31st January 2011, At half past 10 Before MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT
APPLICATION NOTICE
IHQ/11/0042 Viscount Monckton of Brenchley v British Broadcasting Corporation

As soon as it has been made available I’ll post a link.

The blog post where I dismiss climate science

I’ll admit I was very inspired by this very amusing post over at Genomicron and this brilliant piece over at the Guardian. In short, here is my guide to writing a blog post denying climate change.

In this paragraph I’ll attempt to appear a sincere seeker of truth

In this paragraph I’ll explain some of the basics of climate science, but with extensive use of “scare quotes”. It will be a highly distorted version of the science: the “big picture” may be correct, but wrong on more detailed aspects.

I’ll note that for years I’d accepted the mainstream consensus on climate change, however out of sheer intellectual curiosity I decided to look into the issue myself.

Fortunately, my background in engineering/economics/physics or some other non-climate science related profession that requires maths has given me an understanding of the scientific method.

This how I establish myself as an authority.

At this point I will make reference to my intellectual journey, which in most instances involves extensive Google searching. I’ll note that after several days of trawling the Internet I was amazed to find blogs and web sites offering alternative views on climate change.

My use of search terms such as “climate change and fraud” will prompt Google to produce only the most authoritative materials. I will then muse why such information is not more accessible to the general public.

Here I will take down the IPCC in a paragraph

At this point I’ll take cherry pick quotes from the IPCC report and/or actual scientific research:

[Cut and paste text here…]

In this paragraph I’ll feign mock surprise that the claims in the quote appear to be exaggerated, as my own careful reading of blogs offering alternative explanations cast doubt on the claims of “experts” (natch, more scare quotes of course).

This is probably the appropriate time to make reference to the work of Steve McIntyre, a retired physicist or professor of geology. I might choose to include an image showing the famous “Hockey stick” and question it’s reliability. I’ll describe it as “broken”, without understanding what that means. However, it is an effective meme, and it’s stuck in my brain.

I’ll then post a link to Watts up with That? post that tears down climatologist (boo hiss!) Michael Mann and his stick (Ha ha! Did you see my pun!), pointing readers to bloggers more qualified to dismiss the science.

This is how I help repeat the same discredited claims.

This title indicates my distrust of “science”

Here it is appropriate to mention the “liberated” Climategate emails as proof that the workings of science have been corrupted. I’ll quote some very selective parts of said emails:

[Oh look scientists said nasty thing…]

I’ll feign surprise that scientists could act so un-professionally.

I’ll then move on to discuss how the “peer review process” is now “totally corrupt”. I’ll talk about the government funding of science, and allude to the fact that research funded by governments must be tainted.

Sometimes I’ll resort to Latin phrases. Ipso Facto sounds good. As does Caveat Emptor. I heard a very prominent sceptic uses Latin, therefore my post will sound much more authoritative.

I’ll dismiss the notion of scientific consensus as a kind of popularity contest.

I will make exaggerated claims about the stifling of alternative views: that scientists questioning this new “orthodoxy” have been shunned, picked on and called nasty names. Over 1 BILLION [cough] scientists [cough] have signed the Oregon Petition, stating they do not believe the planet is warming! What further proof do you need!?!?

I’ll throw in the line “They laughed at Galileo!” – but never “They laughed at Darwin!”, because that would betray my genuine doubts about evolutionary theory.

Here I will talk about Nazis, because it always about Nazis!

It is now at this point I usually descend into complete and utter paranoia, claiming the IPCC is the tool of socialists, lizard people and shadowy cabals. I’ll resort to Godwin’s Law and compare scientists with Nazis.

Or communists.

Or Nazis.

Or maybe both.

Clearly both were bad, so scientists must be equally bad.

Or I could term scientists eco-fascists, eco-terrorists or warmists.

By now I’ve worked myself into a rage, demanding that scientists be charged with FRAUD!

I will resort to even more UPPER CASE!

People such as myself – angry, white males feeling threatened by a loss of status – ARE ANGRY AND NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS LYING DOWN!

Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun understands my rage, he writes articles carefully constructed to provoke my sense of grievance and entitlement.

DID I MENTION I WAS ANGRY!

Here I just MAKE STUFF UP because I’M SO ANGRY!

My conclusion will be an appeal to personal liberty, god and small government

I’ll note the age of the Earth – except of course if I’m a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) – and that the climate has always changed.

However if I am a YEC, I’ll note it is presumptuous to claim humanity has any control over the climate. After all it is THE LORD who RULES THE HEAVENS:

[Appropriate Bible quote here…]

But then I might tone down the crazy creationist talk, as drawing attention to my support for other forms of denial might undermine my credibility.

My post will then end with an impassioned defense of liberty and how global warming is really a scam designed to raise taxes and limit your/our freedom.

I’ll end my post with a question.

Shouldn’t we just hope for the best and do nothing?

Guest post: Lord Monckton, are you a creationist?

[Peter from Citizen’s Challenge has an interesting question, and one I’d be keen to here more about. How much of Lord Monckton’s opposition to the science of climate change is fueled by his religious faith?

Peter comments on a recent presentation by Monckton that was sprinkled liberally with references to God and the Bible.

It is not uncommon for Jo Nova – who has published papers under the Science and Public Policy Institute of whom Monckton is an advisor – to also cite the work of religious conservatives.

Roy Spencer is a scientist on record for doubting both climate change and evolution. Indeed, the links between creationism and climate change denial may be deeper than we think.

Thanks again to Peter for another great post.]

Lord Monckton,

I’ve been reviewing your Minnesota Free Market Institute presentation. One of many disturbing aspects of your performance are the following statements. But, first to borrow from your 466 questions to Professor Abraham: Could you, Christopher Monckton, confirm that the following quotes accurately encapsulate your recorded comments?

5:20:  “… we all love the planet that the good Lord has given us. And he’s given us the stewardship of it, Genesis 1:22, very clear what our obligations are as stewards of the planet. We are to look after all that is in it, and over it and under it and swimming in the sea. We are not therefore to exercise that stewardship given to us by our creator in an irresponsible fashion. Therefore it is important that we do not waste money, effort, time, or resources on non-problems such as global warming. As I shall show you that it is.”

9:22 to 9:45:  A long Latin dissertation…{I guess to impress us}

9:45:  “‘Unto this was I born, for this came I into the world that I might bare witness to the truth.’ Now those words of our blessed Lord are a perfect mission statement…”

10:25:  “The truth is the truth whether you or I or anyone believe it or not. And here is why the truth matters. It was all very well for jesting (Pontius) Pilate to ask that question and then not to tarry for an answer. But that question that he asked: ‘What is the truth?’ Is the question which underlies every other question, it’s the only question in the end that really matters…”

It seems to me that for someone to deliver those words as movingly as you have, the infallible Bible must be central to how you view everything. That being the case, I’m puzzled – How can you claim to be an impartial conveyor of scientific information? This portion of your talk begs a few questions. But, first some clear definitions are needed, please consider the following.

You conveyed a commitment to the one and only true word of God Bible. That being a belief in a made-in-man’s-image of “God” sitting on a throne, looking down and judging all. Now, I have nothing against this faith-based image of God within the hearts of people and their families and churches. There is much tradition, comfort and strength there.

But, taking this personal need fulfillment to some absolute “I know the One Truth!, because of My God” level, mangles the honest pursuit of science where all must keep an inquisitive skeptical mind. We have a real world biosphere that your ancient Bible is oblivious to – why shackle your exposure to new information and learning with two thousand-year old tribal dogma? Which is exactly what you do! Talk about a dishonest “Appeal to Authority.” This is but one reason I claim your presentation was political showmanship and not science, and even worse, not education.

Beyond that, another unavoidable implication of glorifying your personal “blessed Lord” is that you believe your Lord on his Throne executed that six day rush of creation, six thousand years ago… the entire cosmos, poof, just like that. Are you, Lord Monckton, a Creationist?

I ask because honest science has unhitched itself from that made-in-man’s-image God. Today we appreciate the true God of time and creation is well beyond the understanding of us Earth bound sinners, filled, as we are, with our own self absorbed natures, our self serving greed and follies, and tragedies, leavened with a touch of love now and then. This does not mean the religions are wrong… it simply means there is so much more that no religion has, or can, encompass. God is in your heart – but, beyond your understanding.

Lord Monckton, if you are a Creationist – how is it you can use graphs going back hundreds of thousands of years? This is central because understanding our climate demands an appreciation for Earth’s processes on very long time scales. It has no room for a six thousand-year ago creation, nor the notion that God is just chomping at the bit to call it quits with his personal Armageddon. There’s room for that within ones heart, if that is what you want or need. But, not without, in the real physical biosphere, nor within the science struggling to understand it.

The science is extracted from the real living Earth… which is, after all, where we come from and what sustains and nurtures us. Lord Monckton, your right-wing, Republican glorified, contempt for understanding that real living Earth, is contemptuous in itself.

As for your grand allusions to the Christian ethic: Why does that allow you to handle your “adversaries” with such venomous scorn, bordering on hatred? How is it you find it so easy to broad-stroke many thousands of serious scientists as frauds – as the whole of your presentation clearly implies? Why are you so dismissive of learning about Earth’s Biosphere – as your bitter attacks on Earth observation funding proves? Do you actually believe there is nothing outside of your bubble for you to learn from?

You finished off your slide program with another pompous Latin quote: “OMNIS SPIRITVS LAVDET DOMINVM,(All breath praise to the Lord) emblazoned above crossed USA & Canadian flags, with your seal superimposed upon the bottom portion of the flags. Incidentally, another grosser example of you’re symbolizing some notion of “dominion” over the USA, came in slide #2. How dare you!? I’ll never understand how those salt of the earth Minnesota Republicans so loved you.

But, back to the matter at hand. Understanding what is going on within our biosphere and its climate. Lord Monckton, I will agree, lefties and Democrats have made plenty of mistakes, fine. But, even Republicans must notice their own track record of pushing very bad, very long term, very hideously destructive, very costly mistakes themselves. Don’t you?

Why your eye for an eye until the whole world is blind attitude? Why can’t we all try to start learning about our climate in a serious manner rather than hiding behind politically motivated, corporate driven entertainment? Why can’t you, and your Republican backers, open your minds to real world information?

The scientists are not the bad guys!

Why not shut up and sit down to listen, think and learn for a while?

The ‘orrible pink portcullis: House of Lords not happy with Monckton

For a good laugh you can’t go past the pranksters at the wonderful Friends of Gin & Tonic (FoGT).  

FoGT have also notified the UK’s House of Lords (HoL) of Christopher “Lord” Monckton’s claims to be (a) a member of the HoL and (b) his suspicious use of their trademarked symbol.  

Monckton is one of the world’s most prominent deniers, and has been decisively debunked over the last few months.

Now it seems others aren’t happy with him…

An email from the Information Office of the HoL to the bloggers at FoGT would indicate the good Lord’s abuse of their trademark and their name will be shortly dealt with:  

From: House Of Lords Information Office
Date: August 5, 2010 5:07:52 AM MDT
To: Friends of Gin & Tonic
Subject: RE: inquiry

Dear Derek,
 
Many thanks for your emails.
 
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is not and has never been a member of the House of Lords. However, allegations that he has claimed to be a member, and that he has used an emblem resembling the parliamentary emblem, have been drawn to our attention.
 
The House is currently taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.
 
Best wishes, 
Information Office
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
020 7219 3107
www.parliament.uk/lords

Monckton liberally sprinkles the ‘orrible pink portcullis “symbol” throughout his presentations:  

While the HoL symbol looks like this:

I’d not be surprised if the HoL took exception to Monckton abusing their image.  

Currently Monckton is throwing threats of legal action around like confetti. One wonders if the HoL is next on Monckton’s list of people he threatens to sue .

How long can Monckton continue to cry wolf before he becomes an even greater laughing stock?

Guest Post: A Scientist Replies to Lord Christopher Monckton

This week I’m delighted to have Peter Miesler – a reader and blogger from Durango, Colorado – a guest writer.

Peter is the author of Citizens Challenge, and offers not only a good summary of the Abraham’s masterful deconstruction of Christopher “Lord” Monckton, but insight to his own interactions with climate “sceptics”.

Peter comes to the conclusion that climate denial is may actually be a “faith based” position. No matter how strong the evidence for AGW, they’ll find a way to rationalise the evidence away. My personal opinion is that climate change denial mimics creationism and it’s denial of evolution. They use the exact same techniques and tactics. Both are deeply hostile to science.

Take the time to have a read of Peter excellent summary of the events of the last few weeks.

I’d also encourage other readers to submit pieces. Not only does it help me keep up a steady stream of content for this blog, it can allow you to have your say on the debate.

Mike @ WTD

Cascading denial: when in doubt, expand the conspiracy

I have been carrying on a virtual conversation with various scientifically informed folks who are vocal “skeptics” regarding man-made global warming.

This past winter that conversation flared with a spat of emails offering up “Climategate” tidbits along with a lot of overblown, even slanderous, charges toward the scientists whose personal emails had been stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. Having read the full texts of the emails being singled out, I was able to carry on a spirited defense of the scientists integrity.

Since then, the thousands of stolen UEA-CRU emails have been scoured, yet “skeptics” have been unable to dredge up a single instance of real malfeasance. As for the original half dozen hollow accusations, in February a Penn State academic board of inquiry cleared Michael Mann of scientific misconduct. In March, the British House of Commons issued a report exonerating Professor Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit. In April, another international panel of inquire set up at UEA also found no wrongdoing. 

Predictably, now the diehard “skeptics” are claiming everyone is in on the “fraud.”

All the while these contrarians continue to ignore what Earth observation satellites and monitoring instruments are telling us.

I’m disappointed that my email pals never acknowledged any of their mistaken pronouncements and that the conversation becomes quiet as a black hole unless they have something to toss at me. What should we think of the AGW “Skeptical” Community when they refuse to look at anything that disagrees with their mindset?

After all, isn’t intellectual integrity about a genuine desire to learn and being able to admit one was wrong and that new information justifies reorienting ones thinking?

Abrahams v Monckton

One of the most outspoken proselytizers of such obstinate denial is one Lord Christopher Monckton who has been spending the past years flying the globe, demeaning every aspect of AGW science. Recently, he gave a guest lecture at Bethel University – where University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) professor, PhD. John Abraham was listen. What the scientist heard so disturbed him that he spent the next few months doing a detailed examination of Monckton’s talk along with the data slides used. The result is an 83 minute presentation titled “A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton: Abraham v. Monckton.”

Having watched a number of Lord Monckton’s presentations I was struck by the contrast in styles. Whereas Monckton is bombastic, self-certain and loves tossing out catchy insults, Abraham is soft spoken, polite and rigorously sticks to examining the issues. He acknowledges Monckton’s skills and admits:

“After listening to his comments, and viewing his presentation, any reasonable audience might feel that climate risks are not as serious as we’ve been led to believe… If you believe him you’d have to conclude that: The world is not warming; Sea levels are not rising; Ice is not melting; Polar bears not threatened; Oceans not heating; No ocean acidification; Scientists are lying, (and) there is a conspiracy.”

Abraham begins by giving his scientific qualifications, which are impressive. Then, in stark contrast to Monckton who explicitly proclaims he possesses the “truth,” Abraham makes the following disclosure: “Just because I’ve published all of these papers doesn’t mean I’m right. All this says is that I have a background in energy, heat, and fluids which is germane to the topic of climate change.” He then goes on to list Monckton’s credentials which when you get to climate science are quite frankly zero. Abraham goes on to ask:

“Now does that mean he’s wrong?… Does that mean non-experts are not allowed to have an opinion on this? Absolutely not. We welcome everyone with an opinion on this topic, you can be knowledgeable about things outside your formal area of expertise. But, nevertheless we want to think about the background that people have when we ascribe credibility to the comments they make.”

With that introduction PhD. Abraham proceeds down the list of Monckton’s claims.

Abrahams dissection

Presenting both sides and leaving it to the viewer to decide which side possesses credibility. While examining these claims and graphs two trends become obvious, one is that Monckton disagrees with all major scientific organizations who have official positions on climate change – portraying himself as the lone valiant warrior of truth battling against everyone else’s conspiracy of lies. The other being that Monckton consistently misrepresents the scientific work (along with graphs) of other scientists.

For example (slide #22-24 ), regarding the “medieval warming period”. Monckton condemns the 1990 & 2001 IPCC reports for hiding the data, but he’s basing that on studies that were not published until between 2002 and 2006. (#25 ) Monckton then claims 700 scientist say MWP was hotter than today.

Among them showing graphs by Huang 1998, Noon 2003, Keigwin 1996, Esper/Schweingruber 2004. (#26-32 ) Abraham contacted these scientists and shares a pile of quotes making clear that everyone of these scientists is concerned about global warming and that it is real and of concern and that MWP was cooler than today’s trend.

At slide #33 Monckton’s claims that IPCC’s published climate sensitivity estimate rests on just 4 scientific papers – when in fact the number of references in a single chapter of a single part of the report is 275 (C1-wg1), there are 43 chapters in total. It goes on and on. But, perhaps what sums it up best is slide #36: NASA-GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index – 1880 2009. I won’t be a spoiler, check it out for yourself.

This exposé of Lord Monckton’s base dishonesty continues for another seventy some slides.

Yet, Monckton is still shamelessly broadcasting proven lies, somehow feeling justified in using graphs that are falsifications and misrepresenting the real science others have worked hard to gather. What’s most troubling is how typical he is of the operating style of the multi-million dollar Global Warming Denial propaganda campaign in general.

Given Professor Abraham’s thorough smack down of myths presented as scientific truth, I’m reminded of my virtual AGW conversation mates, with their obstinate refusal to acknowledge a single error of judgment, or take into consideration any of the ominous data being gathered these days. What’s going on? Have “global warming skeptics” become so blinded by immediate self interest, or perhaps frozen by fear at this self-created brave new world we are entering, that they believe hiding is a better strategy?

Ultimately the question is: Are “global warming skeptics” even capable of responding to data and factual arguments or is it a hopeless “faith-based” position they cling to… rather than an exercise in genuine skepticism about the data?

The cautionary tale of Lord Monckton: from rising star to smouldering “deep impact” crater

Lord Monckton comes down to Earth... the one with the changing climate and all*

  

Many of those familiar with the climate debate are now aware of the “fall” of one of the denial movements prominent members.   

Christopher “Lord” Monckton’s reputation as a credible voice in the debate is severly compromised to the point he is now a global laughing stock.  

His rise to the leading voice of climate scepticism was meteoric: from obscure advisor under Margret Thatcher’s, he rose to strutting the global debate on climate change debate.  

Monckton had it all. He was the “Rock Star” of denial.  

Feted by the denial community, he conducted speaking tours around the world to the fawning adulation of people such as Jo Nova, Andrew Bolt and  conservative elements of the media. He even recently appeared before a US Senate hearing on global warming, the only “expert” the Republicans could bring to the table.  

And now like a shooting star, gravity has brought him to Earth.  

All that is now left is a smouldering crater with debris scattered across a large area.  

The damage to the entire denial movement is starting to be felt. Having hitched themselves to Monckton’s “celebrity” status, they now find their association embarrassing.  

Guardian journalist George Monbiot sums up the last couple of weeks:  

“…Another one bites the dust. Every so often, someone with a strong stomach and time to spare volunteers to devote weeks or months of their life to a grisly task: investigating the claims of a person who dismisses the science or significance of man-made climate change…  

Now another fallen idol of climate change denial must be added to the list: Viscount Monckton’s assertions have been comprehensively discredited by professor of mechanical engineering John Abraham, at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.  

Abraham, like the other brave souls who have taken on this thankless task, has plainly spent a very long time on it. He investigates a single lecture Monckton delivered in October last year. He was struck by the amazing claims that Monckton made: that climate science is catalogue of lies and conspiracies. If they were true, it would be a matter of the utmost seriousness: human-caused climate change would, as Monckton is fond of saying, be the greatest fraud in scientific history. If they were untrue, it was important to show why.  

…The results of Abraham’s investigation are astonishing: not one of the claims he looks into withstands scrutiny. He exposes a repeated pattern of misinformation, distortion and manipulation, as he explains in the article he has written for the Guardian. Some of Monckton’s assertions are breath-taking in their brazen disregard of facts. He has gravely misrepresented papers and authors he refers to, in some cases he appears to have created data, graphs and trends out of thin air: at least that was how it appeared to Abraham when Monckton gave no references and his graphs and figures starkly contradicted the published science.”  

Abraham’s masterful dissection  

Titled “A scientists replies to Christopher Monckton“, Abraham’s careful, precise analysis of a 2009 presentation by the venerable Lord Monckton has shattered any credibility he once had.  

Said Abraham about his motivation:  

“…It takes a lot to make a scientist mad – even today, when it seems that science and scientists are under siege, particularly over the topic of climate change. But everyone has a breaking point, one straw too many that inspires them to act.  

For me, that time came last October when I learned about a British import we have had the displeasure of experiencing here in the United States.  

That import, Christopher Monckton, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, had given a rousing speech to a crowd at Bethel University in Minnesota, near where I live.  

He started checking Monckton’s sources, and what he found was incredible:  

“I actually tracked down the articles and authors that Monckton cited. What I discovered was incredible, even to a scientist who follows the politics of climate change. I found that he had misrepresented the science…”  

Abraham emailed the authors of papers Monckton cited to proof global warming was a myth: in every instance Monckton had misrepresented the research, stating the complete opposite of what was actually reported.  

Monckton either lied or misunderstood what he was reading. Whatever the case he was wrong. Not even close to being wrong.  

As a blogger, and someone with a keen interest in “debunking” the claims of deniers I can only say that Abrahams 80+ minute presentation is a masterpiece.  

Indeed, I aspire to produce something half as good as Abrahams work.  

Abraham presentation is devastating. Indeed, if there is a “climate sceptic” reading this then I dare you to listen to Abraham’s presentation and respond.  

I’d love to know how you handle such truths.  

With denial perhaps?  

Monckton: fallen star  

Very shortly Monckton will find himself with not an ounce of credibility left, and his speaking engagements and media profile will evaporate. Now doubt he will continue to haunt the fringes of the climate debate, but outside the denial community his reputation is in tatters.  

And rightly so.  

Monckton, as one of the leading figures of the denial movement has done enormous damage to the reputation of science and the publics trust in scientists.   

He’s also a rather tragic figure: a man so sure of his own genius he can’t see his own flaws or limitations. **  

Monckton now stands as a precautionary tale.  

This is what happens when you try to take on an entire scientific discipline without the training, understanding or wit to understand the basics of the science.  

All I can say is “Who’s next”.  

Let’s take Abraham’s example to heart and apply the same rigor and analysis to the claims of the other prominent denialists out there.  

* Image source: http://www.psi.edu/explorecraters/background.htm  

** That he is not a genius is very clear.

The “Lord” hath spoken: Monckton’s war on salt

Hat tip to Anarchist606 who is paying close attention to the UK general elections and the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP).

In late 2009 Christopher Walter, aka Lord Monckton, joined the UKIP as their “science advisor”. For those not familiar with UK politics, the Guardian nicely sums them up:

“…this party has become the last refuge of a marvellous collection of cranks and fabulists. In fact this seems to be its main role: care in the community for political eccentrics.”

Monckton is well known in the climate debate. He is the classics “scholar” who is feted and lionised by the denial movement, touring the world giving lectures (at AUD$10,000 a pop) in which he claims climate change is a conspiracy orchestrated by scientists and greens in order to facilitate a the establishment of a communist world government.

Yes, that Lord Monckton who our local deniers – Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova – fawn over like star struck teens at a Twilight premiere.

It would seem the Lord has a range of views that could be described as, well, non-consensus. Let’s take his view on salt consumption. Yes, the issue of how much salt is healthy for your diet. In the Lord’s very own words:

“..Consider the prolonged campaigns to tell the public that salt is bad for them. There is little sound scientific evidence for any such campaign, since any excess salt is merely excreted harmlessly via the kidneys.”

Little such evidence? Try decades of research by the medical community.

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