Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Denial… is not a river in Egypt!

with 7 comments

People like Anthony Watts and Barry Woods will be incensed by the title of this post; and I will no doubt be accused once more of failing to comply with the need for civilised debate on the subject of climate change “scepticism”. However, let us get this straight, once and for all:

“It is hard to convey just how selective you have to be to dismiss the evidence for climate change. You must climb over a mountain of evidence to pick up a crumb: a crumb which then disintegrates in the palm of your hand. You must ignore an entire canon of science, the statements of the world’s most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals.”
George Monbiot (10 May 2005)

Therefore:

If you dismiss all the evidence that we have a problem because you have already decided that we do not or cannot have one…

If you ignore the vast majority of data that tell us we have a problem, and cite instead the very few studies that appear to indicate we do not have one…

If you question the integrity of genuine climate scientists based on cherry-picked quotations from emails, and ignore the fact that such quotations were twice published on the eve of UNFCCC conferences in an attempt to prevent progress being made…

If you label all those that say we have a problem as anti-progress, anti-Western, anti-human, eco-Fascists, or Watermelons; rather than accept that such people are merely highlighting the fact that we live on a finite planet with a finite waste recycling capacity…

If you cannot see the link between the way in which the tobacco industry denied that smoking causes lung cancer and the way in which the fossil fuel industry has denied that burning their product is damaging the Earth’s climate…


That is not scepticism; it is either ideologically-driven prejudice or willful blindness.

(Sorry Barry!)

Still not convinced? Just look at this wonderful piece of reality inversion regarding politically-conservative (Mormon) Professor of Geological Sciences, Barry Bickmore, from a recent visitor to this blog – John Douglas Swallow:
“Martin, I did waste my time watching ‘How to avoid the truth about climate change’ and I discovered yet another individual who, if he knows what the truth is (and I do believe that he does), is as deceptive and as untruthful as most of the fools in the anthropogenic global warming crowd… A number that has declined, as I saw just yesterday while watching Al Jazeera TV, to only 35% that now believe that there is anthropogenic climate change (or whatever you call it).”

According to Swallow, Barry Bickmore (a long-standing “sceptic”) has now decided to promote the need to take climate change seriously even though he knows it is all a hoax… To all but the most hardcore ‘delusionistas’, this must surely be the most spectacular piece of conspiracy theory nonsense you have ever seen? Hopefully, too, it is therefore a salutary lesson for all to see what happens when you fail to apply Occam’s Razor appropriately.

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Written by Martin Lack

20 June 2012 at 00:02

7 Responses

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  1. Martin… [Snipped – Repetition of ad hominem attack against me that has been fully and repeatedly rebutted elsewhere. – ML]

    Actually, this whole concept of a greenhouse-like effect surrounding the earth like a pane of glass is a ludicrous attempt to present a vision in children’s heads… [Snipped – A 100-yr old experiment that demonstrated that a greenhouse does not get hot by trapping radiation just shows that it is an imperfect analogy; it does not change the fact that the Earth is warming up as a consequence of a 0.6W/m2 energy imbalance. – ML]

    That H2O is what causes the green house effect… [Snipped – Repetition of fallacious argument – The existence of other factors incluidng Water Vapour, Volcanoes and the Sun is not contested; but ongoing climate change cannot be accounted for unless CO2 is the main driver because, unlike H2O, it stays in the atmosphere. – ML]

    Carbon dioxide is one and one half times heavier than “air”… [Snipped – Contrarian junk science can be read in many places; but this is not going to be one of them. – ML]

    There are some obsessed with the increase of CO2 from 280 to 400 ppm. May be this information will help people understand just how insignificant this increase is… [Snipped – Repetition of fallacious argument – CO2 may only make up 0.04% of the atmosphere; but a 40% increase is unquestionably significant. – ML]

    jdouglashuahin

    20 June 2012 at 03:25

  2. Martin

    say what you like if it is your opinion.. BUT I resent it when you say this:

    “If you label all those that say we have a problem as anti-progress, anti-Western, anti-human, eco-Fascists, or Watermelons; rather than accept that such people are merely highlighting the fact that we live on a finite planet with a finite waste recycling capacity… ”

    – When – I sent you to a blog, where I say the complete opposite, and you are well aware of it..
    Your article clearly implies that this is what I believe, when you KNOW it is the opposite.

    Barry Woods

    29 June 2012 at 18:13

    • Hi Barry. Thank you for being polite (when many others might not have been). I am genuinely sorry if you feel I have misrepresented you. However, none of the statements made (i.e. my words) have quotation marks around them or have your name next to them. I know you say you are not a conspiracy theorist – and you say you do not believe all Greens are Socialists – but you have yet to give me a satisfactory justification for the fact that you have decided that you know better than the vast majority of relevantly-qualified genuine experts and professional bodies such as the Royal Society (here in the UK) and the NAS (in the USA).

      It is simply not credible to say you are not a conspiracy theorist and that the science is not settled when even the US Court of Appeal (normally a highly-conservative institution) declares – as it did last Tuesday – that it is settled: The EPA does have a sound legal basis for treating CO2 as a pollutant (as indeed the Environment Agency does here).

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/26/506499/breaking-us-appeals-court-upholds-epa-ghg-emmission-rules/

      I think that the biggest problem you have is this: You have invested so much emotional energy into insisting that the science is not settled that it makes it very hard to admit that you were mistaken. I am therefore fearful that no amount of evidence will ever convince you. Even when one weird weather event is followed after another and another and another, you will continue to insist it is just random variability. This is nonsensical and irrational. The fact that, for example, a flood followed by a drought in Texas was in excess of 3 Standard Deviations away from “normal” just does not seem to register. Just how many weird weather events must be concatenated together before you accept that what is now happening is not random variabilty any more?

      I am genuinely sorry to have to be so blunt but, the intellectually honest thing to do would be to admit you are wrong.

      Martin Lack

      29 June 2012 at 18:58

      • Martin. My complaint is that you imply that I consider people to be ecofacsist or watermelons. I sent you to a sceptic blog, where I was saying I detest those words; and having an argument with Delingpole about it. You know this. Yet you imply otherwise. Intellectual honesty indeed. This is my specific concern; it is separate from – and irrelevant to – your opinion about me in your reply.

        Barry Woods

        29 June 2012 at 20:56

        • I do not refute anything you say, Barry. You directed me to those posts; I read them; and I am happy to acknowledge that you have argued with James Delingpole about his use of language. However:
          — The only reason either you or Anthony Watts is mentioned above is because of your sensitivity regarding use of the word “denier” or “denial”; and the hypothetical statements that follow my Monbiot quote are very clearly not attributed to you or anyone else.
          — I have fully defended what I have written and confirmed to you that I am not characterising you personally as believing in anything other than scientific conspiracy, collective hypnosis and/or incompetence.
          — I have invited you (yet again) to explain why your feel the need to dispute the reality, reliability, or reasonableness of the scientific consensus (without invoking conspiracy theory), but, (yet again) you seem to choose to be offended instead…

          Although I would welcome any explanation of your “scepticsim”; please do not repeat assertions that I have now comprehensively rebutted.

          Martin Lack

          29 June 2012 at 23:06

  3. […] Unfortunately, in any large-scale disagreement, people on both sides of an argument will often accuse the other party of confirmation bias. However, if you continue to reject the vast majority of empirical (i.e. observational) data; in favour of an extreme minority of data capable of supporting an alternative hypothesis, I am afraid the most likely explanation is that you are suffering from cognitive dissonance. Insisting that you are right and everybody else is wrong; or that everybody else is deluded, incompetent or mendacious just is not credible (especially if you are unqualified to comment and/or being paid by an oil company to spread misinformation). See Denial… is not a river in Egypt! (20 June 2012). […]

  4. […] I guess I should have called this post, “Confessions of an environmental alarmist” but, I do not see that I have much choice because… Denial is not a river in Egypt. […]


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