Exclusive: Climate Change Philosopher A Target Of Abusive Hate Campaign

Tue, 2014-03-25 19:07Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Exclusive: Climate Change Philosopher A Target Of Abusive Hate Campaign

DIE you maggot,” reads one of the hundreds of emails from climate science deniers that have dropped into philosopher Lawrence Torcello’s inbox in recent days.

“Fortunately, your kind will be marched to the wall with all the other leftist detritus,” says another.

Others accuse Torcello, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Philosophy in the west of New York State, of being a fascist, Stalinist and a Nazi.

The catalyst for the bilious outpouring was an article Torcello had written for The Conversation website arguing there was “good reason to consider” that “the funding of climate denial” was morally and criminally negligent.

I knew there would be debate in the comment section, which I was welcoming,” Torcello told me, adding he also knew the “usual climate denialist blogs” wouldn’t like it too much.

But I didn’t expect the wide level of exposure that the misrepresentations would get in the press and I didn’t expect the intense storm of hate mail and Twitter harassment the article experienced.”

At one point, he says he picked up his phone to be told that soon he would be “paid a visit”. One email told Torcello — in customary all-caps angriness — that he was a “FAGGOT” and that global warming was “A LIE STRAIGHT FROM THE JEWS”.

“When I include phone calls and twitter harassment in addition to the emails I’ve received, then somewhere above 700 items of correspondence seems like a good estimate,” says Torcello.

“I did stop keeping count after the first few days of constant bombardment, but over a week later mail is still coming.”

Online misrepresentations

More accurately, it seems the catalyst for the hate campaign was not so much the article itself but the way it was misrepresented in conservative media.

Climate science denialist James Delingpole, now writing for the conservative activist website Breitbart, managed to twice misrepresent Torcello’s article in his very first sentence. 

Under the headline “US Philosophy Professor: Jail 'Denialist' Climate Scientists For Criminal Negligence“ Delingpole wrote Torcello had argued “scientists who don't believe in catastrophic man-made global warming should be put in prison”.

“This was a blatant misrepresentation of my article,” says Torcello, whose article did not mention climate “scientists” or say that anyone should be put in the “slammer”, as Delingpole had claimed. Torcello says:

One crucial aspect of the scientific process is that ideas are tested against rigourous skepticism. Scientists who challenge conventional understandings of climate change in the course of their research are doing exactly what scientists are supposed to do.

Despite Delingpole’s misrepresentation, things soon got worse. The Daily Caller’s Education Editor Eric Owens wrote that Torcello “wants to send people who disagree with him about global warming to jail.”

Owens, whose story was reposted by FoxNation, also thought the chilly 18F temperature in Rochester on the day Torcello’s story was published was in some way relevant.

Conspiracy-friendly Infowars.com went a step further, claiming that Torcello had “called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity.” Traffic-heavy The Drudge Report reposted the Infowars.com story.

Promoting complaints

Lord Christopher Monckton wrote to the provost at Torcello’s college to encourage them to consider if he was a “fit and proper person to hold any academic post at the Institute”.

Lord Monckton’s outburst seems particularly ironic, given that he once told a partisan Australian crowd of climate sceptics: “So to the bogus scientists who have produced the bogus science that invented this bogus scare I say, we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.”

Climate science denialist blogger Anthony Watts promoted Monckton's letter and provided his readers with the email addresses of senior university personnel and encouraged complaints. In another post, Watts gave links to Torcello’s academic home page containing his email address.

“If you choose to lodge a complaint, be sure to be courteous and factual, we don’t need to surrender the moral high ground to anger,” wrote Watts.

Despite this apparent plea for civility, several comments were allowed to stand on Watts’ blog making references to Torcello’s looks and calling him various names including “bozo”, “idiot” and “crazy lunatic”. One commenter suggested that someone should “put [Torcello’s] ass in prison”.

Torcello says:

Perhaps this sounds naïve in retrospect, but I expected that anyone who had a response to the article I wrote would have read it. One thing that almost all of the calls and emails I know of shared in common was a lack of having read my article.

Now it is clear that the bloggers misrepresenting my views knew exactly what they were doing with the scandalous headlines and crafted misquotations. Even when they linked to my article, they felt secure in the judgement that their audience wouldn’t read it.

Support among the hate

Torcello did receive some supportive emails sent to his bosses. One came from philosopher Brian Leiter, a professor at the University of Chicago and founder of its Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values. Leiter said:

This kind of organized harassment of faculty by the far right happens too often, and universities should be encouraged to take a stronger stand against this malevolent behavior.

The Rochester Institute of Technology president Bill Destler released a statement saying Torcello had “a right to free speech” and that universities and colleges should be forums for the discussion of “controversial issues”.

Another hate campaign

But the treatment meted out to Torcello is just the latest in a long list of attacks on climate scientists and other academics that accept the risk of human-caused climate change and speak publicly on the issue.

Scientists in Australia have similar experiences with bursts of threatening hate mail, not forgetting the hacking of email accounts, regular public vilification by mostly conservative commentators and steady streams of Freedom of Information requests asking for correspondence, raw data or working documents.

Most recently, the journal Frontiers in Psychology withdrew one climate change paper after contrarians made a string of complaints and claimed the research was defamatory towards them. The journal said it had withdrawn the paper even after a “detailed investigation” had found no academic or ethical issues with the study.

Torcello told me his experience had taught him a “vitally important lesson”.

Those of us who write on climate change need to be prepared for just this sort of harassment. Our universities and other organizations need to be prepared to support their employees during such assaults, and they probably need training in how to do that.

Academic journals and the other news outlets have to be prepared to stand with their authors against abuse, and they may need to be urged in that direction.

Previous Comments

This is uncool. There's sadly no old media to temper this goofiness. Frankly, many of the networks like CBS, NBC and ABC are almost as culpable as the cable news outlets like Fox for stirring the brew. The old grey lady, NYT, hides from the discussion. And even contributes to the confusion by not saying much. Except, weirdly enough, in obtuse language. Local media doesn't even exist.

You keep ignoring that

- alarmism is funded by government

- government stands to make massive advances on the back of alarimism

See the problem now? 

No excuse for the threats. 

But he really is a half-wit for saying there's good reason to consider that “the funding of climate denial was morally and criminally negligent.

Being on goverment money, I guess he drinks the government kool-aid at lunch times, and thinks “the science is settled”, because all the climate scientists - who are also on government money - and who both make and drink the alarmist kool-aid, say so.  

Cocooned in the public sector,  he also proabably doesn't know how corrupt and biased government climate science has proven to be - as we saw eg in the Climategate coverups.   And that for every (private) dollar spent on non-credulous / skeptic climate science, probably $5000-$10000 (of tax dollars) are spent in academia on fomenting alarmism.   How morally and criminally negligent is that, 'professor' ?

And especially questionable for a philosopher to be so narrow-minded as to oppose questioning of fundamanetals and overall paradigms.    Truth and political correctness in direct conflict, as usual…



  

Here's the preamble to this comment: Carbon dioxide is the major cause of climate change acceleration. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) is generated predominantly by burning fossil fuels - along with natural sources. GHG origins can be traced at the molecular level from that which is from fossil fuel combustion and that which is naturally occuring.

First of all, the oil and gas industry is doing very well. Under Obama they've never done as well. There is no government entity stopping development, when there's not a concern where coal, oil and gas development could impact someone else's rights or interests. This is typically public lands and some states where to population isn't all really dumb. Since we live in a democracy and not a petrostate, that is what we have.

The onus to prove its operations are mutually beneficial, protective of the environment and safe for human health - should be on coal, oil and gas to demonstrate this. It may be assumed that fossil fuel companies could have decided to hire more lobbyist, public relations firms, image consultants, sideshow Bobs and lawyers to gut environmental protection measures, instead of focusing on loading up with more scientists and engineers to dovetail its exploration, production and marketing operations with pollution control and rigorous environmental protection. This is perception and maybe not reality.

OK, now that fossil fuel seems to be loaded up with uselessness - they may find themselves in a pickle. Its expertise maybe can't address how to continue operations in a world undergoing climate change accelleration. Maybe upper management know that there is a problem with emitting carbon dioxide willy nilly up into the atmosphere. However, maybe they just don't have the brain power to address it. And since they're, again, loaded up with uselessness - obfuscation and denial is there only hope.

This is kind of like when a dog takes a dump on the carpet. Even a dog knows it screwed up. So it will skulk away in shame and give its human friend that look, “it wasn't me.” Fossil fuel companies are maybe like that dog who just took a dump on the carpet, when it comes to addressing climate change.

Climate Science and R&D Spending

The US spends roughly $425 billion on research and development. This is typically abbreviated as R&D. R&D spending is roughly $300 billion from private sector and $125 billion federal government.

Of the $300 billion private sector spending, $150 billion is IT and communications. That would be this here internet thing here. $100 billion is spent on life sciences. That would be things like pills, hospital tech and foodstuffs. A grand total of $8 billion is spent on energy. Fossil fuel companies burden themselves with less than 1 percent of its income on R&D spending. Why? Because they've pretty much been doing the same thing over the past 75 to 150 years. And if they need to do R&D, they have the government pay for it. For example, a big chunk of the R&D for fracking and many other drilling technologies was governmentally funded.

Of the $150 billion spent on R&D by the federal government, about $2.5 billion is spent on R&D investigating climate change. About $2.5 billion on R&D for technologies to deal with climate change.

So to recap: the US spends about 1 to 2 percent of all R&D spending on the addressment of climate change.

A wonderful report on this was prepared was prepared by Battelle and R&D Magazine.

http://www.battelle.org/docs/tpp/2014_global_rd_funding_forecast.pdf?sfv...

 

Here is a recap on government spending for research, development and actions taken to address climate change, that weighs into the issue of R&D spending. The R&D Magazine report didn't specify climate science R&D - so I made an attempt  from the following report:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_rep...

Michael,
Your preamble is flawed : we do not know that carbon dioxide is the major cause of climate change acceleration.   That claim is but a mantra, largely politically motivated.  We simply not have the science to properly measure it yet, and climate models are all basically off the rails. 
Yes, we do know that CO2 is a GHG.  But we do not know how serious it is.    Yet.

 

Let's compare climate science to major league baseball (MLB). The core business of MLB is to field a team of highly qualified baseball players. And with this team, win games. Now from this core mission, MLB benefits from sales and marketing of its product. Sure there are MLB products salesmen, sports experts, and sports writers who could be included in all of this. But at its core, MLB relies on highly qualified athletes to field nine positions on defense and at least eight of those players who can hit a baseball + a designated hitter, if where talking the American League.

Climate science requires highly skilled scientists and engineers to perform its core mission and that is: investigate the phenomena of our earth's climate system. This includes: sampling and analysis of metrological and environmental data, development of mathematical (both mechanistic and statistical) models, preparation and running of computer models, data versus model interpretation, giving recommendations for further investigation, and finally giving recommendation for actions to take as a result of their findings. 

To perform its core mission climate science needs scientists and engineers with many skill sets: physical science, environmental science, meteorology, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science, sampling technology, satellite engineering, report writing, etc. These skill sets require that people have gone through high school, college, graduate school, post graduate school, and have worked many years in their respective fields. It is tuff stuff, man.

On the other hand, there are people without any of these skills, who have carved out a niche as climate experts. Anthony Watts for example. There are also think tanks who have staff that may be educated and may be smart, but they don't have the essential skill sets to do climate science. The Heartland Institute for example. To use the MLB analogy - these guys can't hit or field. They are what's referred to in baseball as bums.

Now about carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases impacted earth's climate. You could ask everyone with the essential skills for being a climate science if GHG chemicals impact earth's climate. They all probable will say yes. Maybe the janitor at NOAA in Boulder or a receptionist at NASA, would say they didn't know.

Or you could ask someone who dropped out of school and started a blog - as well as “climate science retreads” at some think tanks, if GHG chemicals impacts earth's climate. Less would say yes. 

So to end. Do you want to live in a world, where major league baseball is played by a bunch of bums - but you still have to pay dear for the ticket, purchase baseball swag, and listen to never ending blabbering on ESPN?

Do you think temperature changes because some out of this world being thinks it is time to change or do you believe that climate changes because forces acting on it have changed and so the climate changes?

The first is a belief in magic or religion, the second is determined by using a scientific approach. Scientists have identified a number of factors, called forcings, which affect the temperature on the earth. All of these are factored in when they determine how climate has changed in the past and how it will change in the future. Scientists know that the forcings, as they are at present, are causing an increase in the earth's retained energy. This causes temperatures of the oceans and atmosphere to increase.

Are you suggesting that there is a forcing that scientists have previously missed that is responsible rather than the increase in CO2? If so please tell us what it is and how it works. Also please explain how it negates the known physics of the green house gas effect.

I doubt that you will be able to do this but unless you offer some sort of scientifically reasonable reply what you have said above will be shown to be rubbish.

Ian,

No, scientists do not know that GHGs are in fact having significant warming effect.    We don't even that there is warming,  from AGW or otherwise. That is all but speculation, tending for many into a pseudo-religious belief, and wishful thinking for those with totalitarian political beliefs.   The bottom line is we don't yet have the technology to measure it.  It may turn out to be true,  it may not.

  

You have obviously got no background in science but get all of your information from well known dishonest denier sites. Please go and read some real and honest science, you know, the papers that are published in the peer reviewed scientific literature or for a basic starting point for science, elementary text books. The radiative physics for green house gases has been known for 150 years.

To repeat :  the science is still young.

- The climate models are off the rails, increasingly disagreeing with the thermometers.  They cannot even begin to account for the fact that, despite CO2 content steadily rising, there has been no warming of the atmosphere for nigh on 20 yeras now.  There is clearly a lt more we need to know before basing any major political decisions on the notion that CO2 is the major driver, the 'control knob' driving us to catastrophe.

- We do not yet have the technology to measure the radiation budget in absolute terms - crucial data needed before we can relate (heat_in minus heat_out) of the earth system, to changes in GHGs.

- Measuring ocean temperatures still has a very long way to go.  We don't really know what they are doing yet, we have only rough estimate with huge uncertainties.

 

You lie when you say:

“there has been no warming of the atmosphere for nigh on 20 yeras now”

Here is a plot of temperatures for the past 20 years:

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1994/plot/uah/from:1994/trend/...

Trends for both sets of data is 0.13 K per decade. Please admit that you are either completely ignorant of the facts of climate science or that you deliberately lied. You have to admit to one of these choices.

You are also completely wrong when you say:

“We do not yet have the technology to measure the radiation budget in absolute terms”.

The energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) has been known for some time. There is more heat being stored by the earth than is leaving.

http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/website-archive/trenberth.papers-m...

 

Tuppence, you are regurgitating a common denier's myth. First of all, the “no warming since 1998” line is based on cherry picking and goalposting surface temperature data (nearly 20 years is it??) and presuming that the least-squares “trendline” actually indicates a “flatline”. Anyone with 101 level statistics would see that a) there is too much noise in that short sample to define a significant trend, b) starting at an outlier point (defined by an exceptional high value) skews the linear “trend” and c) the 2-sigma uncertainty values defined around such a trend are so broad that it makes the sample interval statistically meaningless. 

Using the Foster-Rahmstorf trend calculator at Skeptical Science, I will illustrate this point using the leading combined land/ocean surface data sets, plotting trend estimates with 2σ values, for the periods 1998-2014, and 1994-2014 (your “twenty years”) showing how this “no warming” argument is based simply upon bad data parsing.

GISTEMP 1998-2014: Trend: 0.067 ±0.102 °C/decade (2σ)

1994-2014: Trend: 0.129 ±0.070 °C/decade (2σ)

NOAA 1998-2014: Trend: 0.041 ±0.083 °C/decade (2σ)

1994-2014: Trend: 0.108 ±0.071 °C/decade (2σ)

HADCRUT4 1998-2014: Trend: 0.042 ±0.118 °C/decade (2σ)

1994-2014: Trend: 0.112 ±0.091 °C/decade (2σ)

HADCRUT4 Hybrid (Cowtan/Way) 1998-2014: Trend: 0.109 ±0.130 °C/decade (2σ)

1994-2014: Trend: 0.158 ±0.075 °C/decade (2σ)  

Of course, none of the above provide a very strong trend indication with such high 2σ values, but it is noteworthy that the “20 year” (still too short-term) analysis pields a stronger positive signal, and that the HADCRUT4 Hybrid data interpolating high-latitude satellite readings (Cowtan/Way) shows more warming in these short-term intervals as well.

However, starting with an exceptionally strong El Niño year (1998) followed by a time period dominated by ENSO neutral and La Niña conditions, also during a decline in Solar radiance through the same timeframe, is a cherrypick by definition. The deviation of values within that sample in all datasets can not be defined as a “flat line” just wildly fluctuating points. It's well past time for that sorry charade of curve-fitting data into a “no warming” argument, was put to bed.

And remember, that's just _surface_ temperature data. Tuppence, if you claim that the 1998-2014 interval is statistically meaningful you just failed Stats101.

Walrus

You are just regurgitaing an old alarmist myth,  gleaned probably from leftist truebeliever sites - even the IPCC, constitutionally committed to proving CAGW no matter what the evidence,  has accepted that surface tempertatures have levelled out for almost two decades now.  It's the “missing heat” Trenberth has long fretted over.

Once again your talking points are hopelessly garbled.

1. As I demonstrate above the notion of “levelling out” is not supported by statistical analysis. The 2-sigma ranges are plus/minus a wide range of “slopes” no more or less likely that dead-level. The IPCC uses inverted commas around “pause” at every reference because they do not support that as a conclusive indication.

2. Trenberth's “missing heat” refers to the inadequacy of instrumental records for deep ocean thermal transfer. Yes, a famous piece of quote-mining from “Climategate” which has been twisted into every out-of-context strawman argument the deniers can muster. No, *not* about surface temperatures specificaly nor incidentally.

3. You do know what a strawman argument is don't you. Now go look in the mirror.

gleaned probably from leftist truebeliever sites “

See thats the thing with deniers. You believe and are told by the political sites you frequent like WUWT, that its a thing of the left and you want to believe it. It fits with your world view. However, it doesnt fit with facts. Considering most conservative governments either back AGW science, or have mitigation strategies already in place, plus conservative scientists support the science, a prominent one being Hansen.

Whereas, there is no denying, that denier sites, are the exclusive domain of right wing partisans and libertarians. There is no denying that. And that deniers opposition to AGW is not based on science, but is entirely political. You give weight to that premise by your statement.

 

Tuppance,

Wat you've written here is an embarrassment to every public relations (PR) contractor who works tirelessly at posting argumentative comments on environmental blogs. PR flacking, in the negative, is a noble profession and should be appreciated more than it is.

Anyway, have you ever talked to a climate scientist? One who studied the science and works in the many areas of the field. Anonymous commenters on mountain states survivalist websites/blogs do not count as scientists. Real science takes real people to perform it. Math and science are hard areas of study. It must be frustrating for many who decided, at a relatively young age, to not study in school - to be cool - as the world becomes more math and science focused. 

Just because a person has a science degree, doesn't mean what does is science.  It could just as easily be advocacy masquerading as science.

Government climate science has repeatedly been shown to be corrupt and biased.  

“Why should I show you my data when I know you'll try and find something wrong with it”.  This virulently anti-science comment came from a leading alarmist high up in the IPCC,  Prof Jones.  Precious few in the establishment saw anything wrong with this.

And let's not forget the Climatetgate crooks, including Michael Mann (already famous for the Hockey Stick fraud).  Again, few in the establishment saw anyting wrong withe blatant fraud it revealed;  far from it,  they went to great lengths to cover it up with phoney 'investigations'.

 

This smearing and insulting of climate scientists should be removed. This person is an obnoxious troll.

Stop your malicious smearing of science and scientists. You know nothing about science but greedily lap up every lie and misinformation you find on dishonest denier blogs.

the official coverups run by the universities involved”

Please point to anyone that was prosecuted Tuppence. 

and the deafening silence from the bulk of the climate establishment in regard to this  dogged dishonesty

Kind of like during the tobacco wars where dozens of scientists lives were destroyed by litigation and subpoena's, because they wouldn't tow the corporate line. The bulk of he scientific establishment were also strangely silent over accepting the tobacco lobbyist view then too. Wonder why? Did you ever think that mybe, some people have a conscience and can't be bought like deniers?

 

It's the bought alarmists we need to worry about - ie virtually the entire climate science establishment, all funded by government,  naturally handpicked “

Wow, just listen to yourself. This has gone out of the real of half lucid denial and into full blown tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theory. Funny how there was apparently no need to worry about these government funded climate scientists until there was proposed legislation to curb fossil fuel use and ultimately fossil fuel profits. 

to advance the interests of government.”

I love this myopic argument. It's a favourite of conspiracy theorists and fails to take into account the possibility that governments yes, have an interest in revenue and how to find new streams of revenue, but they also are interested in what could cause them financial loss through wars, droughts, floods and general disaster recovery. When you balance your budget at home, do you factor in things that are currently and can cost you too much in the near future? Or do you only concern yourself with the income side of the balance sheet?

which explains the 'consensus'.    (A situation replicated in each country).”

I know, amazing isnt it? The same as all the other sciences that government fund. Somehow……..they arrive at a consensus!!! :0 OMG OMG it's a conspiracy and it's happening simultaneously across ALL sciences! And they didnt consider the feelings of the lobbyists. 

 

You obviously do not need a conspiracy to explain an organisation working to benefit itself  - as government is in funding climate science alarmism.    That is just business as usual, no cause for surprise at all.  A conspiracy would only be needed to explain an organisation working against it's own interests.

That's why skeptics as a rule don't do it - they don't need to claim a conspiracy.   This though doesn't stop dishonest (or mindbogglingly stupid) alarmists of claiming skeptics do - falsely attributinig to them something they feel will be easy to demolish.  

Alarmists who persist with this, merely indicate their utterly desperate position.
  

The point is precisely that noone was prosecuted

Precisely.

when clearly Mann, Jones et al should have been punished in some way

According to people who spammed them and couldnt understand the science? Conspiracy theorists you mean?

 

Mann & Jones hid tax-funded data from those who disagreed with them, for years.
And went about destroying evidence that they had.

That's why they should be disciplined. 

the trouble is,  those in charge are just as corrupted and as they are, caring mor4e for political correctness than science, so nothing was done.


  

The Nuisance FOI requests from McKitrick and McIntyyre extended to all the data Phil Jones and the CRU team were granted, but they were. not. authorized. to share all of that with third parties, particularly in the case of data which was the intellectual propertie of foreign (ie: Russian, Chinese, etc) science academies. No that was *not* British nor American “tax-funded data”, which could be acessed free of charge from NASA and NOAA as public domain material.

You will note that they are not facing any charges. Of course, you have a conspiracy theory and a strawman argument for that as with all else. You're recycling dead in the water, five year old debunked fact-free garbage Tuppence. Impressive! not…

 and realise government climate science is quite predictably skewed to benefit government. “

Again, you fail to realise the other side of the balance sheet for governments. Extra spending on health, military, drought assistance, flood assistance, disaster recovery, foreign aid and not to mention a lack of revenue they could have thoroughly exploited and enjoyed through the revenues fossil fuels brings in for a country and have to wrestle with the fact that they now need to leave most of that valuable resource in the ground, instead of using it to prop up the economy.

Instead, you look at the measly revenue they would gain through a fossil fuel carbon tax, or ETS and all the resistance they endure. When they could just ignore AGW and benefit from digging up resources for the next few hundred years. Plus save on wages and capital expenditure, by sacking climate scientists and stop commissioning satelites and research vessels.

Your argument makes about as much sense as an ashtray on the back of a motorbike.


Government climate science

  • Its $spend outranks everyone else's put together by orders of magnitude
  • It preaches alarmism.
  • Government - its paymaster - stands to benefit handsomely from this alarmism it preaches,  by being able to justify further subjugation of citizens via more powers and taxes.
  • It is thus founded on an inherent and huge vested interest problem, much like smoking research conducted by tobacco companies
  • It is demonstrably corrupt, biased and advocacy-ridden.
  • It is still very young and incomplete.


  

Get rid of this nonsense

Needs to be fixed if you truly do want to de-smog.

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate alarmism (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) government has done more than endanger and threaten the citizenry.  It has undermined democracy.

There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion.
Free speech does not include the right to deceive.

It necessarily must do.  Otherwise the powerfull will simply censor the weak by declaring them to be deceivers. 

Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.

Yes it does - same point as above.   While it is indeed regrettable that government deceives and intentionally subverts public awareness, censorship just rubberstamps the view of the powerful by silencing dissent - thereby undermining democracy.
  

 

However she does get one thing right:

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate alarmism (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) government has done more than endanger and threaten the citizenry.  It has undermined democracy.

There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion.
Free speech does not include the right to deceive.

However it is the deniers like this obnoxious troll who are spreading inaccurate information designed to disinform the electorate of the true facts of climate science. They are also the ones who say that their lies should be protected by freedom of speech legislation.

This sowing of doubt by dishonest means is clearly outlined in the infamous API memo:

http://www.euronet.nl/users/e_wesker/ew@shell/API-prop.html

Trust an AGW denier like lara to go muck raking at the bottom of the stinking slimy goo in what is considered to be “facts and truth” in denier land.

The author  (notice how lara refuses to acknowledge who the author is and the source?) does get one bit right”

Reality doesn’t pay. Politicized and prostituted science does”.

Good and honest scientists do not get the lucrative perks flowing to the scientific prostitutes such as Lindzen, Curry, Michaels, Ball (though hardly a scientist), Spencer, Christie, Plimer, Cartwright, Salby et al.

but that will never exonerate them. 

It's generally accepted among reasonable persons that shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre is not defensible as free speech. Lawrence Torcello's article suggests that shouting “sit down, calm down, everything's fine” in a crowded theatre that actually is on fire, is equally indefensible.

Let's not mince words. There are a high number of serially-confirmed liars among those who claim to be 'climate sceptics' and they are hardly blissfully ignorant of that fact despite also suffering from confirmation bias and Dunning-Kruger syndrome. Like many politicians who have played fast and loose with the veracity of their claims, their first line of defence is offensive, and attacking messengers such as Mr. Torcello is a predictable response.

Fear is their counsel, and truth is their enemy. Their last defense may be idiocy, when it's all they've got left. There are many just causes for punishment, that could be defended under no better excuse. That many prominent (pseudo) sceptics orchestrate well-funded campaigns of deception, should indeed have consequences with a retributive measure at least in proportion to their paid work as shills. For those funding such deceptive propaganda, being forced to apply equal or greater funds toward public retractions and corrections, would be a good start.

But for deniers Walrus Jr. They honestly believe that truth and facts are subjective. They don't believe there is one truth, or one fact. The worlds major scientific organisations are collectively wrong and political and fossil fuel lobbyist opinion writers are right. 

“Calling for your opponents in a debate to be jailed is idiotic. It drives away all but the most fanatical of supporters, and it makes everyone else shake their head or laugh at you.”

You guys just don't get it, do you!

Did Lawrence Torcello say that Chas?

Again we see how dishonest AGW deniers are since cr failed to name the author of that piece of rubbish he posted. Seems like they do not want to be associated with some of the more obnoxious deniers.

Anyone else notice how often lj and cr appear one after the other on this blog and use very similar dishonest tactics? mmm do I smell smelly socks?

Here we have a typical appeal to ignorance. Climate science is by all definitions (and across many areas of research) multi-disciplinary: informed by physics, chemistry, geography, biology and paleontology. These are all fields of knowledge that have been established over several generations of peer-reviewed science. 

The basic facts concerning climate and the factors which most strongly influence it would be comprehended by a scientist living a century ago. Compared to his/her presumption of “infantile” climate science, more recently established fields such as quantum physics, computer science, genetics, and epidemiology must be currently mired in their “embryonic” phase of development, despite the fact that they are all applied in technology and practical applications.

Practical research continues to confirm what we already know. For instance, with regard to seasonal Arctic sea ice extents, (literally) rock-solid proxies are now established for several centuries previous to satellite observation records, by analysis of coralline algae layers in sea bed rocks. This is a living record of growth on an annual basis like tree rings, by which the length of a growth season (ie: not under the shadow of sea ice cover) is empirically measurable. http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/missing-sea-ice-data-found-in-crusty-c...

This is not an infantile science, but one which like all historical science, stands upon the shoulders of its forebearers. Appeals to ignorance, such as those attempted here by Tuppence, might be familiar to specialists in litigation, logical fallacies, and infantile psychology. However, that has no bearing whatsoever upon the physical sciences, of which climate has been a shared area of interest for several generations.

Here we have a typical appeal to ignorance. Climate science is by all definitions (and across many areas of research) multi-disciplinary: informed by physics, chemistry, geography, biology and paleontology. These are all fields of knowledge that have been established over several generations of peer-reviewed science.”

The ironic and frustrating thing about deniers is, they will say ( similar to the other planets are warming too argument) with absolute conviction and authority, that the earth has warmed and cooled inthe past, it has been hotter before, as well as more CO2 before and oh look, even in recent history we had the MWP!! They trust with absolute certainty those records even though they arent sure of the causes or that there isnt a complete picture, but good enough one to accept that the data is correct from back then.

But we have thousands of times more measuring, monitoring and observations NOW, about what is happening NOW, but somehow it's all wrong.

 

So Tuppence, a science that has been around since 1859 and built upon by thousands ever since is not mature?

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

Your beliefs dont make facts.

 

That is disgusting, no one deserves that kind of abusive hate. I've seen some hate in person in regards to issues of climate change/sustainability. I run a company that provides cleaning services Toronto and we have a big focus on sustainability. When we bring supplies to houses to clean they are all eco friendly and green. Even though our website states this, some people feel the need to complain and at times mock our cleaning staff for using these types of cleaners. Luckily nothing like Lawrence is receiving though. :(

The abuse of Lawrence Torcello is absolutely disgraceful, and is a sad reflection on the way technological communication - in particular the internet - seems to have prompted anonymous bad-mouthing of any point of view. This is not, despite what is said here, a monopoly of “conservative” media. There is just a lot of it about and it's awful. 

That said, I read Lawrence Torcello's article and it's not very good. It's not what he thinks but how he makes his case, which is pretty poorly set out. It stretches a very, very, very long bow to strike a worthwhile analogy between what happened to seismologists in Italy, who were members of an official body with a duty of care, and any person or organisation having any opinion at all.

His statement about “scientific consensus” is bizarre. There is nothing at all scientific about consensus. If 100 per cent of the human race agrees that the sun revolves around the earth, that does not make it true. A good read of Karl Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery would do Mr Torcello wonders.

He and others on this blog might also read and ponder Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolution. In a way, the entire debate - if it can be called that - that is going on now about climate change is wrapped up in the issues canvassed in this short text. 

Sadly, Torcello's willingness to label people with what appears to be a pejorative intent doesn't cease with him. Anyone who doubts the IPCC's conclusions isn't just a skeptic it seems, but a “climate science denier”. Who would such a person be? I am not a climate science denier, but a person with a very high regard for science and the scientific method. Is Hans van Storch a denier? I don't think so - I think he is a highly regarded scientist. Is Ian Clark, professor of paleoclimatology at the University of Ottawa, a climate science denier? I don't think so. I think he is a scientist - a real climate scientist! The name's on the door! Check out what he says about “global warming”, and about the role of carbon dioxide in the climate, and read why he says what he says. Disagree by all means, but do it sensibly.

It is true that there are quite a few people who are unpleasant about this issue, but they are on both sides of the divide. Rabbiting on about “consensus” instead of about science isn't going to shed any light on anything. Giving people are bad name because they disagree isn't very pro-active, either. 

This is all pretty sad.

The abuse of Lawrence Torcello is absolutely disgraceful, and is a sad reflection on the way technological communication - in particular the internet - seems to have prompted anonymous bad-mouthing of any point of view. This is not, despite what is said here, a monopoly of “conservative” media. There is just a lot of it about and it's awful. 

That said, I read Lawrence Torcello's article and it's not very good. It's not what he thinks but how he makes his case, which is pretty poorly set out. It stretches a very, very, very long bow to strike a worthwhile analogy between what happened to seismologists in Italy, who were members of an official body with a duty of care, and any person or organisation having any opinion at all.

His statement about “scientific consensus” is bizarre. There is nothing at all scientific about consensus. If 100 per cent of the human race agrees that the sun revolves around the earth, that does not make it true. A good read of Karl Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery would do Mr Torcello wonders.

He and others on this blog might also read and ponder Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolution. In a way, the entire debate - if it can be called that - that is going on now about climate change is wrapped up in the issues canvassed in this short text. 

Sadly, Torcello's willingness to label people with what appears to be a pejorative intent doesn't cease with him. Anyone who doubts the IPCC's conclusions isn't just a skeptic it seems, but a “climate science denier”. Who would such a person be? I am not a climate science denier, but a person with a very high regard for science and the scientific method. Is Hans van Storch a denier? I don't think so - I think he is a highly regarded scientist. Is Ian Clark, professor of paleoclimatology at the University of Ottawa, a climate science denier? I don't think so. I think he is a scientist - a real climate scientist! The name's on the door! Check out what he says about “global warming”, and about the role of carbon dioxide in the climate, and read why he says what he says. Disagree by all means, but do it sensibly.

It is true that there are quite a few people who are unpleasant about this issue, but they are on both sides of the divide. Rabbiting on about “consensus” instead of about science isn't going to shed any light on anything. Giving people are bad name because they disagree isn't very pro-active, either. 

This is all pretty sad.

Geez, here we go * rolls eyes*.

His statement about “scientific consensus” is bizarre. There is nothing at all scientific about consensus. If 100 per cent of the human race agrees that the sun revolves around the earth, that does not make it true”

The difference is, the public are not qualified to make an educated opinion. Scientists in the relative field are. We are a long way away from the limited technology of the days of Copernicus or Galileo. If 9 heart surgeons say you are going to die within months without an immediate operation, but one doesnt, that is a consensus. The majority agrees. The 1 who said no, might be right, in a very long shot, but the majority are most likely correct and their advice should be heeded.

If the majority of publishing climate scientists say climate change/global warming and it is happening because of us. That is a consensus. Can it be overturned? Of course, but skeptics havent brought a suffiecient case to the table in over 100 years. And only more scientists are added to the consensus once the ideological blinkers are taken off. You dont need thousands of deniers to prove the theory wrong, as Einstein said ” If I were wrong, it would only take one”. So far, deniers havent produced one. They have provided millions of opinions and science that didnt stack up, but they havent overturned the theory and we need to act.

 

I am as entitled to roll my eyes as you, maybe more. The public “IS not qualified” sunshine. Grammar matters too. Actually it is qualified to have an educated emphasis opinion and is also entitled to have it. The public might be wrong, just as the scientists can be - well, scientists can explain better, or worse. 

You do only need one. How about Ian Clark? Is he a scientist? He is. Does he disagree? He does. I have yet to see what he has to say debunked. 

Hans van Storch? He is a “warmist” as they say, but he is also someone with an open mind. He is a scientist who understands the scientific method ;and who goes to some effort to explain what he is on about. Try a translated i/v with him on Der Spiegel last year. 

A consensus is sociological. It isn't science, which is why Einstein said what he did. We may have come a long way from Galileo, but how far from Albert? It was only an example.

I'm out of this. Have a nice time feeling good about yourself.

 

Indeed, here we go again with a poster claiming authority over the definition of scientific method and consensus. This in lieu of any discussion of the more comprehensive basis by which consensus in science is normally defined.

Stevve cites the opinion of Ian Clark, who has been on record, during his well-known cameo appearance in the 2007 film The Great Global Warming Swindle, stating the following claim: “Solar activity of the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years correlates very nicely on a decadal basis, with sea ice and Arctic temperatures.”

This is an extraordinary claim, requiring extraordinary evidence. Has Clark been successful in establishing that his version of climate science is correct? As he has claimed that Solar activity is the strongest variable and thus the dominant factor in current climate change, it is up to him to provide the supporting argument. Has this been reviewed or accepted?

I cite the recent statement by the International Astronomical Union, published in their July 2011 Bulletin:

====

One of the activities undertaken by our Division was related to questions posed to our Organising Committee, from non-IAU scientific bodies, about the relation between Global Warming and Solar variability. Division II Organising Committee was contacted twice last year about IAU's position on the role of the Sun in Global Warming. We were being asked about alleged claims that appeared in the media, and promoted by interested parties, about IAU supporting the idea that solar variability is responsible for the observed warming effect. Scientists from the University of St. Tomas (Minnesota, USA) and from the University of Western Australia (Crawley, Australia) contacted the Division II OC members asking if, indeed, IAU was backing such position. They were being referred in public talks stating that IAU's official view, as issued in 2004, was that “most climate change results from solar changes and that global warming will end soon.” Similarly, we were specifically asked if “IAU believes that our Earth will soon begin cooling because of solar activities.” IAU was being cited to support these views. The contacts to our Division happened as a consequence of a world-wide tour made by specific activists in the field. While some of this confusion might have been raised in the media, and originated by the recent unusually deep solar minimum (for which an IAU Symposium is dedicated this year in Mendoza), it was clear that some formal answer to these claims was needed. The scientists contacting Division II all received the following paragraph that they were allowed to quote in public:

“There is not such a formal position endorsed by the IAU. Let alone any claim

from IAU that suggests that global warming (defined as the heating trend observed

on Earth during the last mid 20th century) can be explained by solar variability.”

While it is clear that the Sun does have an impact on Earth's climate and that changes (over the past few centuries) have been tentatively ascribed to solar irradiance changes, there is a common consensus by the solar community that the recently observed warming trend cannot be related to changes on the Sun. As a consequence of these contacts, the OC of Division II has decided to create a group of experts from Commissions 10 and 12 to issue a brief, strictly scientific, report on the status of our understanding of solar influences on Earth's climate, with specific focus on the changes observed in the past century, where the consensus is clear. Once a formal resolution is received from this group of experts and discussed in the Division II OC, it will be elevated to the IAU Executive for their evaluation.

[p. 19]

http://www.iau.org/static/publications/IB108.pdf

===

Clark's position at U of O Earth Sciences is noted. However, his claim that Solar variability trumps all, and is the most significant factor in current climate change, is clearly not accepted by the international scientific consensus, in the area of expertise (Astrophysics, Solar studies) which he refers.

And Stevve, that is somewhat more than the “consensus” defined by a bunch of chumps commenting on the internet. If Clark had a compelling and strongly supported argument, it would have been long since acknowledged by the IAU.

 Prof. Torcello's viewpoint now has morphed into others proposing jailtime for AGW skeptics:

Arrest Climate-Change Deniers
Adam Weinstein
3/28/14 2:53pm

http://gawker.com/arrest-climate-change-deniers-1553719888

 Definitely NOT a good thing.

   Bob Clark

 
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