Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More charity/NGO horseshit: Greenpeace

Iain Dale has received an email from Ben Stewart, chief media officer of Greenpeace UK, in response to a request for them to send a representative to debate with Dominic Lawson over climate change.

We have a policy at Greenpeace that we no longer debate people who don’t accept the scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change. It’s similar to the policy undertaken by cancer specialists who used to debate the tobacco industry but discontinued doing so. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, if we debated Dominic Lawson on climate change it would look great on his CV, not so good on ours.

I would make clear that that doesn’t mean I don’t think there should be freedom of speech for people with DL’s view, there should be. He is welcome to write about it and speak on it all he wishes, even though I disagree. But by debating him and his fellow-travelers we perpetuate the myth that this is a ‘he said/she said’ issue, a 50/50 where there is still a debate.

I’d debate Bjorn Lomborg, who accepts the science but disagrees vehemently on the need to take action on climate change. But not Dominic Lawson.

All the best


Consider me staggered, but not surprised. As Dizzy points out, science is about asking questions; that is the very nature of the discipline.
However, the way I see it, if someone is convinced of their argument they should not feel the need to refuse to debate something with someone.

For me it exemplifies the problem with the environmental lobby these days. It is the policisation of science pure and simple. Science is not about proven realities, it's about testing hypotheses. Refusing to engage with someone who questions those hypotheses is, putting it simply, wrong.

The entirety of scientific enquiry is founded on the principle, espoused by the great Sir Karl Popper, of empirical falsifiability: any scientific theory can only be considered correct in the absense of anything proving it not to be. In other words, a scientific theory is only considered to be "right" if it has not yet been proven to be wrong.

If you shut down debate on any scientific issue, then you can no longer question the theory and thus the theory cannot be proven wrong. This is why politicians and snout-in-the-trough NGOs are attempting to stifle anyone who questions their "scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change".

Late contender for Dangerous Fuckwit of the Month, Ben Stewart, says:
But by debating him and his fellow-travelers we perpetuate the myth that this is a ‘he said/she said’ issue, a 50/50 where there is still a debate.

No, Ben, this is not a "he said/she said issue" but there is still very much a debate to be had. Are you saying that you would rather that Mann et al.'s so-called "hockey-stick" temperature graph should not have been questioned because it was utterly discredited? I know that it was awkward that so much of the global-warming scare-mongering hung on that incorrect graph, but shouldn't one also be questioning some of the other data?

The answer is yes; the very basis of scientific theory formation says that, absolutely, yes you should. One should always debate and challenge scientific theory, because that is how science is advanced.

But the climate change scientists do tend to make it very difficult to debate because, as the excellent Bishop Hill has been discovering, they really aren't tremendously keen on publishing their data.
I posted a while back about the failure of climate scientists to archive their data or to release it on request - a scandal which has been carefully documented by Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit blog. Another post on the same subject developed a very interesting comments thread with contributions from McIntyre and Maxine Clarke, the executive editor of Nature - one of the journals who have failed to enforce their own policies on data availability.

Do go and read the whole of the good Bishop's post, as it is extremely interesting; why on earth would climate change scientists be unwilling to allow others to examine their data?

One imagines that it might be for the same reason that the IPCC has released several "summaries for policy-makers" of their latest review, but still not published their results. The only explanation is that all of these people have something to hide.

Scientists are not above being corrupted. Nor are they always right. And even if every, single scientist in the entire world agreed that anthropogenic climate change is happening, your humble Devil would carry on questioning it because that is how good science works.

But, in the meantime, I am hardly going to accept the word of a piss-scared media officer from an organisation that has been proven to lie and ignore the evidence of its own reports, deliberately and with malice aforethought, in order to advance its twisted agenda.

Ben Stewart: you are an arsehole.

In the meantime, here's Lawson on 18DS.

Lawson is well-informed and reasonable; but this month's Stupid, Ignorant, Cliche-Ridden Cunt is Professor Ivor Gaber. I would love to debate with him, and I'd slap him into next week; is arguments are the same, old pap trotted out with total and utterly ill-informed conviction. The man is a fool.


Mr Eugenides said...

Actually I don't entirely agree with you.

I loathe environ-Mentalists, but since when was it the job of a lobby group to give publicity to opposing views?

Once you've won the debate (and they have; no matter what dissenting voices like Lawson or yourself may argue, there are no serious politicians in Britain, and very few in Europe, now on the sceptics' side), why would you want to reopen it? Why shouldn't Greenpeace tell you to fuck off, now they've got a majority of MPs chugging back their man-paste?

Greenpeace are not scientists. They are a lobby group, same as the tobacco lobby, the gun lobby, same as the NSPCC or a trade union or that weird bunch that represent paedophiles (not Googling it to check the name). They're not there to debate with you: they're there to tell you what to do, over and over again, till you crumble and accede to their demands. Which all our political parties have now done.

The questionable tactics of the environmental lobby are a matter of public record, going back 25 years and more. The scandal is not, to my mind, that Greenpeace etc are unwilling to debate their detractors on the issues, because they seldom have been - on this or anything else.

The scandal is, rather, that there has been no political debate on the issues. And there won't be. Just lots of lovely, shiny new taxes for Gordon's new bitch to spend.

Roger Thornhill said...

There was an interesting comment from Maxine (4/5/07) I felt obliged to react to:

I'm also not a climate research specialist, so would not comment on those aspects. I do know, however, that IPCC is an assessment of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, among other things. "Just because 2500 scientists agree". Well, you would trust a pilot to fly a plane, rather than ask the guy sitting down the end row without qualifications, wouldn't you?

Well, madam, if the pilots have baracaded themselves into the cockpit, pushed the stick forward and begun yelling "Allah Akbar!" then my faith is in the old git at the back, even if he has helped himself to a couple of Johnny Walkers from a plastic cup.

How else can I express my deep distrust at the blind fanaticism of the climate Econazis?

Anonymous said...

In my locality we have a grey bin for general rubbish and a green bin for recycling. In the green bin we have to put card, paper and plastic containers. How much does it cost to sort this lot out? Where does all this recycling stuff go? How much does it cost to sort? Do they bother sorting? Doesn't it just get sent to China or somewhere for landfill? Are we doing this sorting just to satisfy someone's targets?

Bag said...

Lucky you.

In our gulag we have to sort it ourselves. I have four bins but six areas to sort.
1) general rubbish
2) Paper
3) Cardboard
4) Glass
5) Cans
6) Green garden waste
Glass goes in the same bin as cardboard and cans get a special see thu plastic bag.

My hobby is to sort concrete and the like into the cans and green waste. Oh! and concrete etc. has to be manually taken to the tip as well as metal, paint, car batteries and any large items. I find an angle grinder useful at this point.

Guido Faux said...

"Scientists are not above being corrupted"

Too right. Show me a scientist funding his/her own research.

Guido Faux said...

"Greenpeace are not scientists. They are a lobby group"

Absolutely. No different from GSK et al. A scientist with funded research must always product the 'right' result. 'Good' data can be reported. 'Flawed' data can be shelved.

That's 'Allahu Akhbar' BTW Roger.

Mr. Hughes said...

God - this eco-fascism business is really getting out of hand. If I hear many more self-righteous zealots condemning 'global warming deniers' I shall lose interest in protecting the environment altogether! Also, have you noticed how trendy liberal-left causes increasingly use this strange 'pc' language that bears only a limited relationship to proper English? Surely anyone knows you don't 'debate' someone, you 'debate with' someone. This may seem trivial, but actually I think this sort of weird use of English is a symptom of their distorted thinking.

Tom Bombadil said...

Greenpeace are a bunch of lying tree hugging hippies who want us all to live in the stone ages why don't they FOD.

Guido Faux said...

'debate' vs 'debate with'

Maybe it's an Americanized^H^H^Hsed usage.

After all they 'write someone' instead of 'write to someone'.