Cranks cry persecution, Nisbet listens

Ever since we began writing here about denialism we’ve emphasized a few critical points about dealing with anti-science. For one, denialists aren’t interested in legitimate debate – they are not honest brokers and the tactics they use exist to artificially extend discussion of settled scientific issues. Second, one of the most time-honored traditions of cranks is claiming persecution in response to rejection of their nonsense. Take for a recent example Coby’s exposure of the “environmentalists want to jail global warming denialists” myth. You don’t need to do anything to make a crank cry persecution, if they have to they’ll just make up some persecutory event or tale.

So, I don’t have a lot of tears to shed for global warming denialists who insist they are being falsely compared to holocaust deniers. In that they use the same tactics as holocaust deniers to create the false appearance of debate, they are the same, true, but the comparison largely ends there. Unlike holocaust deniers their ideological motivations are different. And, of course, any reasonable person realizes that holocaust denial has not made the use of the term “denial” itself an assertion of antisemitism. If a doctor confronts an alcoholic about their denial of their alcoholism, they’re not suggesting they hate Jewish people too. When a psychiatrist tells their patient they’re in denial, that’s hardly comparing them to the Nazis. When we say a public figure has issued a denial of some scandal, we’re not suggesting they advocate a new holocaust. And finally, when we suggest any number of other people are denying reality, whether it be holocaust denial, evolution denial, HIV/AIDS denial, etc., the point is clear that we are referring to their methods more than their motives which are necessarily varied. It should also be clear that holocaust denial has not ruined the word deny or denial or denier for any number of other applications – this is just another example of denialists claiming persecution after being called on their BS.

Nisbet disagrees, and he sides with Timothy Ball of all people who is very upset that he’s being called a “denier” in this PRI segment. Cry me a river. Bizarrely Nisbet suggests that in this radio segment he is so persuasive that we will never use the word “denier” again. I disagree, and it sounds like the reporter, Jason Margolis, disagrees as well:

The relevant section follows (forgive transcription errors):

Jason Margolis: Denial is a loaded term, often associated with the denial of atrocities in Nazi Germany and because of this, Mathew Nisbet, a communications professor at American University, doesn’t like using the term.

Nisbet: It sort of violates a third rail of political rhetoric in that it immediately puts or triggers people’s interpretations of the holocaust in the implication of the holocaust denier.

Jason Margolis: Nisbet says when you refer to your opponents as “deniers” you’re associating them with some of the most evil people in history.

Nisbet: The counter charge would be “how dare you call me a denier”, when that happens now the debate goes in the direction of exactly where you don’t want it to go, it becomes a discussion of the personalities involved in the conflict, rather than the substance of the issue, which was your original goal in the first place, so ultimately it end up being very distracting.

Imagine that, a denialist figuring out a way to divert the discussion away from the substance of the issue and figuring out a way to make it a distraction. And not to nitpick, but I’d argue the most evil people in history are the people who actually committed the atrocities, not the people that deny them, but nevermind. Nisbet thinks this is the fault of those who point out the dishonest tactics of the denialists – I think that the author of the piece and his next interviewee have a better idea of what’s going on…

Jason Margolis: At a conference of self-labeled climate change skeptics in New York they agree, the term denier is offensive. Yet the speakers themselves continually bring up the term and the idea of the holocaust.

Tim Ball: About five years ago the Times of London referred to me as a climate change denier with all of the holocaust connotations of that term.

Roy Innis: We are deniers, in a very slick way of pushing us into a corner to look as if we like the moral equivalent or the immoral equivalent of the Nazis – holocaust deniers.

Wow, imagine that. They’re upset at being labeled yet they repeatedly bring up the label as a point of pride. Could it be that they’re not really upset. Could it be that cranks consider such labeling a point of pride? Could it be they’re calling persecution? I can’t believe Nisbet fell for this nonsense. For one, there is no substantive debate to be had with people like Ball and Innis and looking for it is foolish. The only possible outcome of a debate with denialists is distraction. Why would you think terminology would change that?

Jason Margolis, doesn’t leave it there, and is on to their persecutory delusions:

Jason Margolis: By referring to others referring to them as deniers, climate change “skeptics” are making themselves the victims says large group psychology expert Vamik Volkan. A very common trait across cultures

Vamik Volkan: If you are a victim you are going to put it as a marker and tell the whole world that “my god I am victimized and I am going to let everyone know”

Jason Margolis: And no matter how much evidence is presented some people just won’t accept a different version from what they believe…

If we didn’t call them deniers they’d figure out a way to make themselves appear persecuted because that’s what cranks do. Worrying about making them feel persecuted is foolish, they want to appear persecuted for their beliefs, will invent persecution no matter what, and play the victim for sympathy. They’ll do it, no matter what you call them, so why not call them what they are and expose them for what they are – including fake victims?

As a last example take this comment from Nisbet’s site

What prevents you from calling for the next logical step? Considering the apocalyptic consequences of our efforts, why aren’t you calling for “denialists” to be officially censored and sanctioned? Why not make it illegal to voice our opinions, considering the billions of lives and species at stake?

Why not arrest us?

Why not have us executed?

Delusions of persecution are part and parcel of being a crank. In this guy’s mind, the next step from calling someone denialist is arrest and execution. They aren’t going to stop crying foul no matter what terminology we use, anything short of agreement results in claims of persecution. I suggest we stop worrying about denialists’ crocodile tears and call them what they are.

Nisbet, despite all his experience writing about anti-science and denialists remains amazingly obtuse on this central problem of the fundamental dishonesty of denialists and cranks, as evidenced by this post announcing the interview:

The frame device “denier” should be laid to rest in the same rhetorical grave as other terms such as “anti-science.” They serve little purpose other than to feed polarization while also frequently backfiring, turning the debate into a discussion of the alleged underhanded or sensational tactics of science defenders rather than a focus on the substance of the issues themselves.

Does anyone else see the problem? Nisbet still naively thinks they’re interested in legitimate debate! The point is not to debate them at all, to recognize the rhetoric of denialism and dismiss it out of hand for what it is. The problem in these debates with denialists isn’t one of information. The information is out there, in abundance. The real problem, the fight that we need to dedicate ourselves to, is to teach people to accept good information and conversely, to dismiss bad information.

Framing, while helpful in the short term, is a strategy that fails to address the central strength of the enemies of science. That is that there is no end to the fount of BS that they can tap into to endlessly argue against legitimate scientific data and facts. Framing may give you an argument that works in a ten-second pitch, but long term the focus must be on teaching people how to recognize BS in the first place, and not listen to it. Teaching people about denialism and the demarcation problem between science and anti-science has the potential to cut off the BS supply at it’s source – and undercut all their BS arguments.

Frame an argument and your audience may support science for a day. Teach your audience to distinguish between science and anti-science and they’ll support science for a lifetime.


  1. I had a definite WTF moment when I saw that Nisbet’s little ejaculation on the front page of scienceblogs.

    What the hell else do you call these guys?

    I think Nisbet has failed to realise that the fight is not to convince deniers that they are deniers but to get other people to recognize denier arguments when the appear (we can’t stop them arguing, so we might as well try and teach people to tune them out).

  2. Oh, I dunno. Some days I think Nisbet is just working his way down the list of ScienceBlogs, trying to piss off each one to get himself a little traffic.

    He started with PZ,
    and will one day
    work his merry way
    all the way down to me.

  3. For a guy who is supposedly an expert on communication he doesn’t exactly do himself any favors with these sorts of posts.
    I think the fundamental problem is that Matthew Nisbet’s ‘Framing Science’ is a political rather than scientific blog. If you read it in that light it makes a lot more sense – and you might avoid the inevitable frustration at his lack empirical backing for his opinions and pronouncements.
    Remember, its ‘Framing Science’, not ‘The Science of Framing’.
    From a scientific point of view its easy to dismiss cranks of one sort of another but, in the US at least, its not always politically sound to do so (look at how politicians in the US tip-toe around evolution, one of the best substantiated subjects in current science).
    That said, most of us scienceblog readers are scientists or science friendly and are entitled to follow the evidence rather than the politically expedient path of one region of one particular country in the Northern Hemisphere and might well be justified to tell Matthew we respectfully disagree with his suggestion.

  4. Blake Stacey:
    Some days I think Nisbet is just working his way down the list of ScienceBlogs, trying to piss off each one to get himself a little traffic.

    Add in a bit of concern trolling and I honestly think that’s exactly what he’s doing.

  5. I always see Nisbet’s core constituency as moderate Republicans and socially conservative Democrats. If he can get some ‘extreme left wingers’ to yell at him, then it helps him to present himself to his constituency as a fellow moderate whose agenda should be listened to.

    He could easily have phrased his core point (that some words can trigger an irrational reaction in an otherwise fairly rational audience, i.e., people deluded by the deniers but not of them) in a way that avoided the sciencebloggers’ reactions. He didn’t.

    I thought at the time of the Expelled brouhaha it actually suited both Nisbet and PZ quite well to have the other to be seen to be yelling at them.

  6. I think we can shorten your post a bit:

    Nisbet…remains amazingly obtuse

  7. Nisbet has no problem tarring anyone who disagrees with him as a “screechy monkey”.

    Is he even a scientist? He really does seem clueless about what is really involved with science education and communications. Whenever I read him I think it’s that “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” pseudo-cult, turned up with more journal jargon.

  8. You’re surprised that Nisbet says these things? I’ve got to go with Blake and Tincture on this…he’s interested in ratings traffic and is deliberately provoking other science bloggers in order to get it.

  9. Listening to Nisbet talk about “framing” science is like listening to Joe Lieberman talk about how to be a good Democrat.

    (I’ve tried repeatedly to make this comment on Nisbet’s site. He’s never approved it, as far as I know.)

  10. Nisbet disagrees, and he sides with Timothy Ball of all people who is very upset that he’s being called a “denier” in this PRI segment.

    Timothy Ball has his own category on deltoid .
    See also Eli’s post on Timothy Ball’s resume.

  11. He could easily have phrased his core point (that some words can trigger an irrational reaction in an otherwise fairly rational audience, i.e., people deluded by the deniers but not of them) in a way that avoided the sciencebloggers’ reactions. He didn’t.

    If he had only tried to make that point, I bet just about everybody would have agreed with him. He would have been linked once and forgotten. Lasting infamy requires a certain amount of sleaze.

  12. Sorry, don;t know anything about this character. I do get a little miffed when the Denialist label is applied in the AGW(GW) case. By your own definition

    “they use exist to artificially extend discussion of settled scientific issues”

    Okay, some of that cut doesn’t make sense – but the key element is “settled scientific issues”. The Holocaust is not a scientific issue, it is a historical fact. Evolution is not “settled” but what remains unsettled is believed to be sufficiently minor.

    There are serious political, economic and scientific issues which have arisen from the GW analysis. I guess I would qualify as a “denialist” as I am unsettled in my understanding of the topic. I have spoken to climate scientists who are solidly in the AGW camp, those who teeter on the edge and a few who support GW but not AGW and no one who seems to counter GW as a whole.

    So if someone poses ridiculous arguments (like the DAN! crowd) or faulty assumptions based upon cherry picked data – they should be repudiated as ill informed or simply plain in error.

    Crank seems to be a good moniker. To me denialist speaks of the worst of historical and political machinations seeking to conceal facts from the populace.

    I know, it’s the name of the blog – but at times it seems like the righteous speaking to the unclean. Just my two cents.

  13. I really think Nisbet has worn out his welcome around here. Hell, I don’t even see much from Chris Mooney talking about him anymore (though, admittedly, despite having very similar agendas, Mooney is usually far more reasonable than Nesbit about any given subject anyway).

  14. Citizen,
    It’s not to say that AGW or evolution or even the entire historical record are totally settled. There are always more questions to be asked on each of these topics, but they aren’t questions like “is AGW real or just an environmentalist hoax” or “is evolution a real or did a magic man done it”.

    I realize AGW is far from settled science but the AGW denialists argue settled points. Look at the CO2 science nuts who refuse to recognize CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Look at the people who insist it isn’t happening because “Mars is warming”. There is no name for such bad rhetoric but denialism.

    Remember there’s a five-part definition to denialist argument, and we generally consider denialist arguments to contain a majority of these spread out over the course of someone’s argument (you usually don’t get 5/5 in any given article or speech). From AGW denialists we get conspiracies (like the great one from the late great Michael Crichton and many others) that consensus is a scam, that AGW is a hoax that it’s a liberal plot, that the IPCC is all in cohoots for a left wing agenda etc. And conspiracy is the strongest indicator you’re about to hear some total BS. Then examine the enormous amount of effort expended to cherry-pick results to support their side while ignoring the overwhelming opposing consensus. The fake experts are rife, there are few better examples of fake expertise than that used by the AGW denialists (from lauding Crichton, to Lindzen, etc.). Moving goalposts are often in clear evidence (now many denialists refuse to ignore CO2 as a potential climate changing gas but insist we don’t know that global warming will be bad). Finally we have the outrageous flaws in logic – “Mars is warming therefore AGW explains nothing”, the medieval warm period red herring, the Al Gore is a fathead liberal nonsense etc.

    When you look at the proponents of the anti-agw position you see this again and again. If you find yourself believing these arguments – that AGW science is a liberal hoax etc., then yes you should be worried and maybe reflect upon why you don’t believe in what climate science is telling us. These aren’t good arguments. And maybe you should look at the history of where this stuff came from or our coverage of who we are calling the denialists to see what we’re talking about. I doubt you’d disagree with our analysis.

    Now, if you’re saying you accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that there is a man-made component to our current warming trend you’re probably in good shape. There’s room to argue the finer points but people who deny the main gist of the last 50 years or so of climate science are worrisome.

  15. Speaking of persecution complexes:

    Check this guy out.

  16. > “Moving goalposts are often in clear evidence (now many denialists [recognize] CO2 as a potential climate changing gas but insist we don’t know that global warming will be bad)”

    Where do you want to draw the line, between denialism and milder forms of inactivism?
    (Robert C Balling Jr now fits the above description but insists that he’s not a denier; maybe it’s time to clarify and/or subdivide the term.)

  17. What works is derision, and NEVER,NEVER SAYING YOU ARE SORRY.

    “With reactionaries, never argue on content or with logic. The only thing that works is to make them feel really, really bad and really, really stupid.”

    or as Michael Berube put it they need to be ridiculed and given a double minor for unsportsmanlike bullshit

  18. Can’t we just drop the term “Nisbet” from our lexicon? It would be so much simpler.

  19. Why? It’s a convenient shorthand for kowtowing to antiscience. 😉

  20. MarkH in his defense of labeling AGW skeptics as “denialists” says,

    The fake experts are rife, there are few better examples of fake expertise than that used by the AGW denialists (from lauding Crichton, to Lindzen, etc.).

    Uh Mark, Richard Siegmund Lindzen, Ph.D., (born February 8, 1940) is a Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his research in dynamic meteorology, especially planetary waves. He has published over 200 books and scientific papers. He was the lead author of Chapter 7 (physical processes) of the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC on global warming (2001).

    So how is he a “fake expert”?

    Who’s the “denialist” now?

  21. Talking of fallacies, here’s the slippery slope fallacy in action:

    What prevents you from calling for the next logical step? Considering the apocalyptic consequences of our efforts, why aren’t you calling for “denialists” to be officially censored and sanctioned? Why not make it illegal to voice our opinions, considering the billions of lives and species at stake?

    Why not arrest us?

    Why not have us executed?

    What prevents us is that it’s not the next logical step. It’s not even any kind of logical step.

  22. Interrobang

    Ironically, Orac was already here, because I was about to say that I feel about Matt Nisbet approximately the same way Orac feels about Michael Egnor. Matt Nisbet is the creationist neurosurgeon of the communications profession, and speaking as someone who could probably go toe-to-toe with Nisbet in terms of communication expertise (and certainly beat him on praxis), he pisses me off. What a disgrace.

    Sometimes when I’m feeling paranoid I wonder if he isn’t some kind of right-wing plant aimed at discrediting the communications strategies that have started working very well for the US political left, since, wittingly or not, that seems to be his function in the discourse. At the very least, he’s what the old anticommunist paranoiacs used to call a “useful idiot.”

  23. Lance, on a science front, Lindzen still clings to his pet Iris Hypothesis despite the lack of evidence to support it; assuming such evidence is found, that hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the observed effects of climate change. This puts him fairly close to the “crank” category, as he refuses to turn. (Svensmark fits this bill as well, since there’s about the same amount of evidence supporting his cosmic ray hypothesis. The odd bit is that he knows this — he submitted a paper that shows cosmic rays only correlate with temperature after you remove a pesky linear warming trend virtually identical to the observed warming.)

    On a more Denialist note, Lindzen recently put forth the mother of all climate conspiracies, which is a delightful joy of crankpottery. It’s full of logical fallacies, cries of persecution, and of course downright bizarre conspiracy claims, up to and including causality errors, implication of pretty much every authority on the planet (corporations included), and claims in abject contradiction of available evidence.

    (This isn’t some archaic thing either. He delivered that address this year.)

    This is not the behaviour of an honest scientist. This is the behaviour of a denialist. It’s not their opinions that matter, it’s the tactics.

  24. To add to the irony, the ‘Galileo-like skeptics’ who scream persecution don’t see any problem with making their own Nazi comparisons:

    When the American Physical Society clarified that no, the 50,000-strong APS had not suddenly turned into global warming skeptics, Steve “Junkman” Milloy called this the Nacht der langen Messer.

    Arthur Herman of the CIS outright compared AGW proponents to Nazis.

    Monckton also compared AGW to Nazi eugenics.

    And they’re complaining about the use of the word “denier”? (Based on their ‘logic’ that if you add the word “Holocaust”, you get a Holocaust reference?) Boo hoo. When they themselves do it, it’s suddenly OK.

  25. Well Lance, it depends on what you consider an expert. We’ve discussed appropriate legal and scientific definitions before, and I don’t think Lindzen qualifies for several reasons. The relevant section:

    Therefore I would say a fake expert is usually somebody who is relied upon for their credentials rather than any real experience in the field at issue, who will promote arguments that are inconsistent with the literature, aren’t generally accepted by those who study the field in question, and/or whose theories aren’t consistent with established epistemological requirements for scientific inquiry. Sheesh. I just described Michael Egnor, Bill Dembski, Michael Fumento, Patrick Michaels, Steven Milloy, Richard Lindzen…

    He’s not the most glaring example of a fake expert. He is at least credentialed. But in that he is used by denialists merely for those letters rather than any capacity to accurately describe the science he is, in fact, a fake expert. It would be similar to having someone that is an MD advocating reiki. Sure, they’re credentialed, but so what? They’re pushing bullshit.

  26. MarkH

    Your objections to Lindzen are completely predicated on his conclusions not on his qualifications or expertise. Calling him a “fake expert” is an attack on him personally and cannot negate the obvious fact that he is indeed a bona fide expert.

    That you don’t like his conclusions or that they are not part of the “consensus” changes that not one jot.

    Freeman Dyson is another lauded scientist that gets universal respect until people of a certain political persuasion find out that he also doubts the “consensus” and then he is derided as an old out of touch crank.

    It seems you just can’t admit that there exist competent qualified scientists that disagree with what you accept at least partially based on your politics.

    That you attempt to deride them by calling them “denialists” is more a reflection of your prejudices than an indictment of their qualifications or abilities.

  27. minimalist

    “credentialed” != “expert”

    “expert” != “always right”

    Individuals who ignore evidence and make shit up (see Brian D’s post, whoops you ignored that already of course) cannot be considered “experts” by the only useful measure of expertise within a scientific field: by the ability to produce verifiable, reproducible results that other scientists can work with and build upon. Expertise is as expertise does.

    However, they make dandy “experts” for those whose agenda explicitly includes ignoring evidence, making shit up, etc.

    Hence, fake experts.

  28. minimalist,

    I ignored BrianD’s post because it is just more ad hominem BS (much as yours is). Lindzen’s expert status is not refuted by his most recent work, the iris effect, being as yet unverified by replication by independent sources nor by his paper lamenting the politicization of climate science.

    As for the “iris effect” here is what the NASA Earth Observatory website says about the current status of the theory,

    Currently, both Lindzen and Lin stand by their findings and there is ongoing debate between the two teams. At present, the Iris Hypothesis remains an intriguing hypothesis?neither proven nor disproven.

    Even if it were to be totally discredited in the future it wouldn’t change the fact that Lindzen is a highly accomplished and respected climate scientist. To call him a “fake expert” is inaccurate and dishonest in the extreme.

    As for his paper criticizing the current state of climate science one need look no further than the abysmal treatment he has received at this site to see evidence of the abusive unscientific, political shit storm that has descended on the field.

  29. That last post is mine. The “H” was a typo.

  30. Pointing out Lindzen’s own climate conspiracy is an ad-hom now?

    He already claims persecution, Lance. He doesn’t need minions to do it for him.

  31. Screechy Monkey

    Nisbet is complaining about other people “turning the debate into a discussion of the alleged underhanded or sensational tactics of science defenders rather than a focus on the substance of the issues themselves”?

    The same Nisbet who keeps bashing other sciencebloggers for their supposedly underhanded tactics, then refuses to engage in any substantive discussion?

    The same Nisbet who resorts to namecalling on a regular basis? (but thanks for giving me the idea for this handle!)

    I agree with Blake — the guy is just trolling for traffic. PZ seems to have deprived him of attention lately, so he’s looking for other sources.

  32. minimalist

    As for the “iris effect” here is what the NASA Earth Observatory website says about the current status of the theory,

    2002 is “current”? Okay.

    Say, I wonder what happens to hypotheses that languish for 6+ years without corroboration (either by the proponent or by other labs)!

    Or does concocting ever-more-elaborate conspiracy theories count as “work”?

  33. Matt has responded to Mark, Mike, and me:

    As usual, he makes straw men out of our substantive arguments and then proceeds to gleefully tear down the straw men he’s created.

  34. I’m curious. What brought this on? I know Nisbet has had a hard on for noisy atheists like PZ for a while, but when did he start targeting those who use terms like “denier” and “anti-science”?

  35. Anonymous

    about 48 hrs ago

  36. If the Lieberman-Warner Bill failed, the failure clearly has nothing to do with Nisbet’s ‘theories’ — even though Nisbet was boasting about how this “framing” thing worked to bring bipartisanry to the bill.

    If Obama got elected, the success clearly has everything to do with Nisbet’s ‘theories’.

    Like bullcrap conservatism, Nisbet’s “framing” can never fail… it can only be failed.

  37. Lance is not competent to evaluate our counter arguments guys, I suggest you don’t bother with him. I doubt he read the explanation of what makes someone an expert because he immediately suggested again that Lindzen and Dyson are experts because of credentials. He also doesn’t recognize the incredible giant glowing warning sign of your expert promoting conspiracy theories.

    It’s pointless to argue with someone who doesn’t even read what you write in reply – they’re on autopilot.

  38. Tim Ball is “is very upset that he’s being called a denier”? Who is that dastardly villain who slanders him so? What liar said Ball denies global warming? Shame.

    Oops. Oh, yeah, he did. He says it has been cooling since 1940.

    “On the real danger for Canada, global cooling.” – Tim Ball

    On the real danger for Canada, global cooling.
    Tim Ball

    Tim Ball- Yes, it warmed from 1680 up to 1940, but since 1940 it’s been cooling down. The evidence for warming is because of distorted records. The satellite data, for example, shows cooling.

    Q – Could you summarize the evidence that suggests the world is cooling slightly, not warming up?

    Tim Ball- Yes, since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling.

    Prepare for Cooling, not Warming. By Tim Ball. October 5, 2007. Also posted as:

    Prepare for Cooling, not Warming.
    By Tim Ball and Tom Harris.
    October 5, 2007

  39. MarkH,

    I read all of the posts, and responded with facts. Lindzen is no fake. He was an IPCC lead author for Christ’s sake.

    His recent paper criticizing the current state of climate science and the attendant socio-political entanglements is an insider’s expose of the reasons the field has become so virulently politicized and provincial.

    Ironically rather than address my points as to why Lindzen is a credible expert you attack me as “not competent”. Hardly surprising since personal attack is the raison d’etre of your little blog.

  40. LanceR, JSG

    Hardly surprising since personal attack is the raison d’etre of your little blog.

    Reading Comprehension Fail! Lindzen is *not* an impartial source. Where does he earn his living? What is his position on Smoking/Lung cancer? Do you even know?

    Stating that you are not competent to evaluate the counter arguments is not a personal attack. You have showed time and again that you not only cannot understand the counter arguments, but that you refuse to make the attempt.

    Consider the real reason climate science has become politicized and provincial: Follow the money. Seriously. Look at who is funding each side of the “debate”. Then ask yourself the next question.

  41. minimalist

    an insider’s expose of the reasons the field has become so virulently politicized and provincial.

    You kind of skipped the steps where he actually substantiates anything he says about these so-called conspiracies. For instance, he repeats the Revelle/Singer story as fact despite the existence of testimony from the people who knew Revelle best.

    Not to mention stellar reasoning such as “Enron and Lehman Brothers believed in global warming, and they collapsed! What up with that?!?” Indeed, you can’t argue with logic like that.

    Instead, it’s best to point and laugh.

  42. LanceR re Lindzen,

    Where does he earn his living?

    In the 1990’s Lindzen accepted about $10,000 in expenses and speaking fees from energy company concerns. Boy he really sold out cheap! Not only is he an evil oil industry shill but he is condemning future generations of innocent children for less than the price of a Hyundai Accent!

    James Hansen accepted a $250,000 award from the liberal Heinz Foundation which is headed by John Kerry’s wife Teresa. If you want to start impugning people’s motives you might start with people that actually recieved enough money to buy something more than a used Korean sub-compact.

  43. LanceR, JSG


    Taking money from a “liberal” foundation? Is that all you’ve got? Really?

    Go learn something, and stop lying. It’s bad for your soul.

  44. “Liar”

    What are you twelve? Then you link to Source Watch? You might want to investigate who and what Source Watch is all about, unless you like being a “useful idiot”.

    You make a couple of Google searches that reinforce your preconceived political ideas and then start throwing names at people.

    Grow up.

    Doesn’t it seem odd to you that Source Watch makes a big deal about Lindzen’s paltry pay from “big oil” but utters nary a peep about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Hansen received from the Heinz Foundation?

    I doubt either one of them made their minds up based on these pay outs but you certainly look rather foolish and biased when you try to smear Lindzen for a few grand but look the other way when Hansen rakes in a quarter million.

  45. LanceR, JSG

    The word is liar. You are either lying, or being lied to. You have bought the bullshit line fed to you by the oil companies to protect their obscene profits. Follow the money. The truth is there is no scientific debate about AGW. There is just a large, well-funded campaign to sow doubt among the common person. They did it with smoking, they do it with evolution, and they do it with AGW. The tactics are all the same: deny, obfuscate, and lie.

    You are obtuse, dense, and absolutely refuse to look at actual evidence. You have been shown reality many times, but “there are none so blind…”

  46. LanceR, JSG

    BTW, don’t like SourceWatch? Try this. Follow the money.

  47. LanceR,

    I have done no “obfuscating, lying or denying”.

    I notice you totally ignored my post linking to the UAH satellite data showing no statistical warming over the last decade and ignored the fact that current temperatures are the same or lower than those recorded nearly thirty years ago.

    You would rather hurl invective than answer the tough questions.

    Of course you’re just doing what MarkH is advocating, call people names and hope that sways public opinion. Just don’t pretend you are making a scientific argument.

    You’re a disgrace to the name Lance.

  48. LanceR, JSG

    You’re a disgrace to the name Lance.

    Typical denialist, get personal when things go badly. Oh, and fuck you very much.

    Post about satellite data? I don’t see any such post. One more lie.

    Is it time to mock this twit now?

  49. “You’re a disgrace to the name Lance.”

    Typical denialist, get personal when things go badly. Oh, and fuck you very much.

    It was an obvious joke referencing our shared first name.

    Post about satellite data? I don’t see any such post. One more lie.

    Look in the thread labeled Denialists’ Harvest right after your post dated Dec 1st 1:52 pm and before your post dated Dec 1st 9:42 pm then post an apology for calling me a liar (again).

    Is it time to mock this twit now?

    Well you might try responding with a cogent argument first. Maybe your anti-smoking meds are impairing your cognitive abilities. You may want to check the side effects for “may cause dementia” and “incoherent speech”.

  50. LanceR, JSG

    In a different thread, with no link, and I’m supposed to chase down your insanity? No.

    Why do assholes always think they can get away with any offensive behavior by saying “it was just a joke”? And to follow it by implying drug-induced dementia?

    You’re more than a liar. You’re an asshole. You have not posted a single argument with any substance, just bald assertions with not a shred of truth, and then resorted to ad hominem when you can’t handle the criticism.


  51. In a different thread, with no link, and I’m supposed to chase down your insanity? No

    Uh, it was in between two of your posts and was in the only other thread in which you and I have had discussions on the exact same topic, two days ago! Also it DOES have a link. That is what those blue underlined letters are. It’s called a hyperlink. Try clicking on it.

    So instead of admitting you were wrong to call me a liar, and discussing the data to which I linked, you pull a childish, profanity laced hissy fit.

    Did you check those side effects yet? I wouldn’t operate any machinery or do anything else requiring mental acuity. You seem to be exhibiting some very unstable behavior.

  52. LanceR, JSG

    Whatever, asshole liar troll.

    Get personal with me, you get called an asshole, a liar and a troll. Deal with it. Get a helmet.

  53. Denialist? Fantastically scientific term. This is a term used by cult leaders and followers to keep their subjects in line.

    In a cult the leaders attempt to brainwash their followers into believing that only they have the truth. Then anybody who disagrees or tries to leave the fold is labeled a denier, and subjected to ridicule.

    Gee… where have I seen this behavior before? Grown men and women claiming to be scientists, such as yourselves, who act more like mafia thugs than mature adults. If you can’t defend it with a rational argument then maybe the argument isn’t as strong as you think.

    Personally I prefer the less-emotional, more topically focused terms of “supporter” and “non-supporter”. This allows opposing parties to focus on the issues rather than the religiously-connotated, emotionally-charged, topic-avoiding “believer” and “denier” terms.

    I am glad to see that people supposedly so educated are so blatantly cultist. Did they teach you how to do this in your universities or were you all members of the Branch Davidian Cult?

    True scientists need to weigh every piece of evidence, every idea for truth; not to nonchalantly discard anything that doesn’t fit into their mold of science without a thought of evaluating the substance of the argument.

    How can you call yourselves scientists? Ad hominem attacks have never been a valid form of argument, never will be. Neither will they ever be a valid means of proceeding in the scientific method.

  54. Barry:

    “Denialist” is a perfectly accurate description of people who ignore evidence in order to complain that there’s no evidence. To some people, no amount of evidence will be enough, because they simply ignore all evidence — that’s why we call them denialists.

    If you don’t want to be called a denialist, then don’t be a denialist.

    Plain and simple.

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