Lack of Environment

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

The Three Monkeys – Monckton, Foster and Peiser

with 15 comments

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Why the picture of monkeys?

The short story:
1. Lord Monckton believes Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) is a myth (i.e. a hoax or a false alarm).
2. Rev. Foster believes that ACD is inconsistent with God’s plan for humanity (i.e. as revealed in the Bible).
3. Dr. Peiser presumably believes ACD will go away if he ignores it (i.e. he has not responded to my emails).

The slightly longer story:
I recently sent an email to Lord Monckton (ex-UKIP), Rev Philip Foster (Repeal the Act) and Dr Benny Peiser (GWPF). I thought my email was reasonable and polite, whereas the response I got from Monckton was neither. Both my email and a summary of Monckton’s response were posted on this blog last week. However, as I have explained, Monckton was not willing to admit any possibility of his being wrong: Anthropogenic climate disruption is a myth. End of story. Therefore, he appears to be the Hear No Evil monkey. Today, as promised, I will explain why Rev. Foster appears to be the See No Evil monkey; and Dr Peiser appears to be the Speak No Evil monkey.

Rev. Foster is actually a retired Church of England vicar and a published author. He is also, unsurprisingly perhaps, a very nice person. However, just like me, he is not infallible. I have previously tried to engage Rev. Foster in debate regarding the content of his book, While The Earth Endures: Creation, Cosmology and Climate Change. In order to do this, I apologised to him for any offence caused by the humorous title I gave to my factual review of his book on Amazon. However, he will still not even admit that the famously unreproducable 1909 experiment of Professor R. W. Wood (demonstrating that a greenhouse gets hot by preventing convection not by trapping radiation) means that our “greenhouse” analogy is poor: It does prove that atmospheric CO2 cannot trap outgoing long wave radiation. This is just as well really; because Life on Earth would be impossible if CO2 did not do this.

Another favourite tactic of Rev. Foster is to accuse me of what C.S. Lewis called ‘Bulverism’ (i.e. telling someone they are wrong without first demonstrating why they are wrong). This is a very facile criticism to make; especially if you are in the habit of rejecting as suspicious any evidence that does not confirm to your pre-existing view of reality: If that is the case, this then becomes an entirely self-referential position; a completely impregnable fortress of confirmation bias; and an utterly unfalsifiable argument.

Finally, there is Rev. Foster’s theology; as set out in his book and expounded to me in his emails. Although he is clearly not a Young Earth Creationist, I think Rev. Foster is an eternal optimist; because he appears to believe that:
— Ecological scarcity is not possible because the Bible says God has made abundant provision for humans;
— Over-population can’t happen because we have been commanded to go forth and multiply; and
— We cannot trash the planet because God won’t let us.
I have suggested to him that the history of the Jews as set out in the Old Testament – and indeed the entire history of human civilisation – suggests he may be wrong about these things. Sadly, Rev. Foster doesn’t see it that way… He is the See No Evil monkey.

As for Dr Benny Peiser being the Speak No Evil monkey; that’s an easy one: He has never responded to any email I have sent him; whether it was addressed to him personally or copied to him. Presumably, like Monckton, he has also chosen to be offended by my use of humour (e.g. in my entirely factual account of his misrepresentation of climate science and scientists). As does Monckton, he presumably also mistakes this for an ad hominem attack. Unfortunately, they are both wrong, because the term is conventionally used when someone attacks the messenger because they cannot falsify the message. However…

I don’t need to falsify their messages because they have been falsified already; and
the Laws of Physics cannot be changed by endlessly repeating erroneous ideas.

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Written by Martin Lack

20 August 2012 at 00:02

15 Responses

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  1. You should get an award for sheer dogged persistence, Martin!

    Christine

    20 August 2012 at 03:40

  2. Monckton is the master of the Gish Gallop. I remember reading the blog of someone who had sent him an email asking for clarification on one assertion and received a 20 minute email in reply mentioning just about every denier canard in existence. I might give that a go.

    uknowispeaksense

    20 August 2012 at 06:03

    • Very true Mike, but Monckton is unusual in his reliance upon sounding pompous by using Latin to justify his inversions of reality.

      What might you give a go? Are you going to email Monckton? Very unwise IMHO. You might as well go and poke a crocodile in the eye.

      Martin Lack

      20 August 2012 at 09:34

      • He’ll have to get his dead language dictionary out because I plan to send the whole thing in Latin.

        uknowispeaksense

        20 August 2012 at 09:47

        • I like your style, Mike. However, using Greek might be easier; as Word can translate it from English at the click of a button.

          Martin Lack

          20 August 2012 at 09:55

        • You’re assuming I can’t speak the dead language Martin. I studied 3 years of Latin in school and have an ok handle on it.

          uknowispeaksense

          20 August 2012 at 09:58

        • Aha. I went to an expensive school that insisted I give up Latin rather than fail it at O Level. Per ardua ad astra…

          Martin Lack

          20 August 2012 at 10:03

        • lubricum clivum – a slippery slope

          uknowispeaksense

          20 August 2012 at 10:19

  3. I am not so sure that Benny Peiser is the Speak no evil monkey.

    Martin I have just read your review of Foster on Amazon and noted the fact free criticism of your arguments too. Having not read Foster, and I don’t intend to for his track record of making sense is so poor, I cannot of course comment on his book but I could certainly weigh in against that ignorant protagonist of yours.

    I don’t know how you find the time to make these posts here, there and everywhere but then maybe my point of view is from having four children and ten grandchildren (one of my children not having started as yet so that could change) to keep me busy.

    Lionel A

    20 August 2012 at 12:09

    • Have you noticed the date on my review of Foster’s book, Lionel? It was over a year ago; and I have long since given up responding to most of the knee-jerk criticism by people who accuse me of having an agenda simply because I post reviews of books I don’t like. They are right of course, I do have an agenda – promoting the widespread acceptance of the basic Laws of Physics and the realities of a finite planet with finite resources; and I don’t like books full of conspiracy theory and unscientific garbage.

      As for Benny Peiser – I do not think it is just his failure to respond to my emails… He has gone remarkably quiet in recent years – quite possibly as a result of being shown to be so scientifically-illiterate and, indeed, incapable of doing even social science research properly.

      Martin Lack

      20 August 2012 at 18:42

      • Martin, Yes I had noted the date of your Foster review but consider it worth a shot at your antagonist for sometimes reviewers elect to have e-mail updates indicating that a reply has been added.

        TBH I find wading into most such arguments on Amazon rather like not getting a crossing boy to assist with crossing the Georgian London streets. In other words stepping in filth is bound to make your feet dirty. But sometimes perhaps we should gather up our trousers and step off for it is the otherwise uninformed lurker who may be persuaded.

        Lionel A

        20 August 2012 at 20:21

        • Are we looking at the same review? In the wake of my posting a comment on the WSJ last week, some twit posted an identical comment in response to every single book I have reviewed (except Dobson and Eckersley), so I decided to reciprocate. In other words, I have rebutted his criticism. What else exactly do you feel I need to do?

          Martin Lack

          20 August 2012 at 20:40

  4. More monkey business with the continuing saga of the Wegman Report and associated lacklustre (could use a stronger expression here) performance of GMU (George Mason University) which continues to try to cover its nakedness rather than come clean.

    Under the side-heading Lawyers in the article cited above is one to a tale of persecution of Andrew Dessler and Katharine Hayhoe which itself contains a link to a New York Times article which includes a good run-down (take that anyway you wish) on Richard Lindzen.

    Lionel A

    20 August 2012 at 17:06

    • Thanks for those links; they look quite interesting. I am just back from 4 days away from home and, thus, just in the door having completed 4 hours in a car (i.e. doing 56mph to maximise fuel efficiency). My goodness, there are still a lot of people out there with more money than sense (i.e. speeding -they might as well just throw the £5 notes out the window). Must go and eat something…

      Martin Lack

      20 August 2012 at 18:47

  5. [...] I was forced to conclude that Rev Foster thinks that overpopulation, climate change, sea level rise and mass extinctions cannot happen – simply because God will not allow it.  For those that are unaware of this back-story, please read ’The Three Monkeys – Monckton, Foster, and Peiser’ (20 August 2012). [...]


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