Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The disinformation machine

Joseph Romm at Gristmill immerses himself in the garbage heap that is the Wall Street Journal editorial page so that we don't have to. Besides pointing out the WSJ's failure to honestly characterize this year's Nobel Peace Prize winners (they are Al Gore and the multitude of scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Romm does a good job of making the point I have made in earlier incarnations of this blog: the reasoning process of the denialist conservatives and libertarians is backward. Since they disapprove of many of the solutions proposed for global warming, they pretend it's not a problem rather than acknowledge the clear and present danger, using every trick in the book to spread disinformation about the established science.

I repeat: They are not honest disputants. I have personal knowledge of this from reading Fred Singer and Dennis Avery's abusive book (blogged here), which I chose because it was promoted by Chicago's local denialist outfit, the Heartland Institute. No one could cherry-pick the refereed scientific literature as Singer and Avery do without knowingly committing intellectual perjury.


JB Powers said...

Romm is quite right "The scientific consensus is most certainly not established by counting heads" is very correct.

The consensus is established by counting how many research dollars you can extract from the government and donors. Nothing makes worse science than the whims of politics.

“I’m proud to join my fellow Midwestern governors to strengthen our energy security and fight global warming"-Gov. Rod Blagojevich


Harold said...

Climatology isn't politics. That's a good thing. And when climatologists come to a professional consensus, as they have, smart politicians pay attention. (This may be one of the very few smart things Blago has done. In general he's a disgrace to Illinois, in part because of his irresponsible no-tax pledge.)

Not one denialist has tried to defend Avery and Singer on the substance. It's OK if you don't have time to read them and observe their misuse of scientists' work. But honest people who don't have time to learn about a subject shut up until they do.

Case in point: there's been some to-and-fro among the commenters on the previous incarnation of this blog about inequality and how serious it is and what the trends are. I haven't had time to study it, and I'm not going to post on it until or unless I do.

Same here: If you want to comment here about global warming, John, I suggest that you answer my old post about Avery and Singer's bogus book. In substance.

JB Powers said...


Though I have happily refused to read much of anything about global warming, I am quite familiar with the intersection of Politics and Research.

You can rest assured, if there is grant money available in a research field, you will find the scientific method on the side of the road, while the scientist drives towards the lucre.

It is also a good practice to use the Wilheim Klink method with Governor Blagojevich. If Klink/Blagojevich claim one side of an argument, you can be plenty safe by staying on the other side.


Harold said...

Proud ignorance is irrefutable.

JB Powers said...

Reminds me of seeing John McCain in February, who was rattling off some long winded global warming diatribe in the middle of an extreme (-20F) blizzard.

The audience started a muffled laugh, then full scale howls as McCain theorized about how someday global warming may endanger a muskrat or something. McCain wisely said, "oh, hell with it, this can wait" and went on to another subject.


Michael said...

I don't understand why the "denialists" continue their absurd denials of global warming, either. They would be better off coming clean with their real beef about the potential solutions for climate change. The concerns are real; when Gore or whoever else says that averting climate change should be a "central organizing principle of our civilization" that should be alarming. Every other civilization with a "central organizating principle" - dictatorship of the proletariat, Islam, pursuit of profit, law and order - hasn't gone so well. While climate change is important, there are other incompatible goals for a society and saying that shouldn't make one a nut.