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November 30, 2009

As I Was Saying: A New Heretic Begins Spouting Blasphemies

Not a scientist, but apparently a science columnist on the "green" beat.

As I said, this is too rotten and stinking to be ignored much longer.

Allah quotes the head of the IPCC of course acting as a denier and pretending, as seems to be the party line, that this doesn't mean anything. The science, you may have heard, is settled.

The blubbery idiot Gibbs also instructs us that there's "no real scientific dispute about global warming," of course.

But check out this reversal from Clive Crook, who writes at both the Financial Times at The Atlantic.

First, his kneejerk response, taking the easy route of denial:

It isn’t the world he needs to convince on global warming, it is the electorate back home.

This is all the harder since the climate science email dump, which showed leading experts–people calling for enormous changes in how the world’s economies work–discussing ways to keep their data private, manipulate public opinion, and deny dissenters access to the professional literature. (None of those emails surprised me, by the way. When it comes to public relations, the climate-science cabal is its own worst enemy. I’m surprised so many people are surprised.)

Ah, nothing surprising here. Scientists are manipulative liars; didn't you already know that, you naive fool? We always knew they were manipulative liars so this news is no shock. (Oh, but by the way, trust scientists -- they're the only truth-tellers in the world.)

But now, having read the emails and thought them over, he sings a different tune:

In my previous post on Climategate I blithely said that nothing in the climate science email dump surprised me much. Having waded more deeply over the weekend I take that back.

The closed-mindedness of these supposed men of science, their willingness to go to any lengths to defend a preconceived message, is surprising even to me. The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering. And, as Christopher Booker argues, this scandal is not at the margins of the politicised IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] process. It is not tangential to the policy prescriptions emanating from what David Henderson called the environmental policy milieu [subscription required]. It goes to the core of that process.

One theme, in addition to those already mentioned about the suppression of dissent, the suppression of data and methods, and the suppression of the unvarnished truth, comes through especially strongly: plain statistical incompetence. This is something that Henderson's study raised, and it was also emphasised in the Wegman report on the Hockey Stick, and in other independent studies of the Hockey Stick controversy. Of course it is also an ongoing issue in Steve McIntyre's campaign to get hold of data and methods. Nonetheless I had given it insufficient weight. Climate scientists lean very heavily on statistical methods, but they are not necessarily statisticians. Some of the correspondents in these emails appear to be out of their depth. This would explain their anxiety about having statisticians, rather than their climate-science buddies, crawl over their work.

I'm also surprised by the IPCC's response. Amid the self-justification, I had hoped for a word of apology, or even of censure. (George Monbiot called for Phil Jones to resign, for crying out loud.) At any rate I had expected no more than ordinary evasion. The declaration from Rajendra Pachauri that the emails confirm all is as it should be is stunning. Science at its best. Science as it should be. Good lord. This is pure George Orwell. And these guys call the other side "deniers".

Another heretic.

Here is what is going on here, psychologically.

People like Crook want to think well of themselves, and how they think well of themselves is to associate themselves with those they consider rationalists and humanists and concerned and just-liberal-enough.

Note how blithely he dismisses those who actually want "scientists" to reveal their data and assumptions for inspection and testing as "anti-science." I'm anti-science? Hey, Fuckhead: Out of the two of us I've been the only one pushing for actual science. Skepticism? Testing? Challenging? Do these ring any bells, Prickface?

But you see, psychologically, why he has, without looking at the evidence, chosen to align himself with Jones, Mann, etc.: Because, again without looking at the evidence, he has deemed them "pro-science" and actual scientists like McIntyre "anti-science."

This is not a rational, scientific impulse. This is an emotional and personal one: He likes one group of people more, likes what they stand for and what they believe, thinks they'd be great mates to have a beer with, good smart logical "pro-science" guys of the sort he respects and admires.

And their persecutors, then, must be "anti-science."

But note what ClimateGate is doing and will continue to do: It forces dickheads like this Clive Crook to reevaluate his initial entirely-unscientific bias that Jones and Mann are the "Good Guys," the White Hats, the rationalists. Now he sees they're actually bad guys, black hats, irrationalists.

He hasn't joined the skeptics yet -- he still brands us anti-science deniers -- but notice the huge change in attitude: He now calls his former heroes "deniers" too.

Believe me, in case it's not obvious: 99% of the public has no fucking clue about climate "science." They know 1% of what you know, at best. They have no idea of what the facts are, or the evidence.

All they know is that one side is "pro-science" and the other side is "anti-science."

But what happens when that belief -- the only reason they have to mouth these idiotic claims about us all drowning in 20 years -- is displaced by a new belief, that Jones and Mann are themselves "anti-science"?

Christopher Hitchens had a great point about Clinton's impeachment, why he would never be removed from office. "The American people," he said approximately, "wish to believe they are open and broad-minded about sex," and so Clinton would skate. People's brains -- primitive, predictable things, really -- find "The Narrative" in every story, as simple and as emotion-based as possible.

Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? And based upon such gut level, lizard-brain judgments important decisions are reached.

The Clinton-supporters deemed his detractors to be "anti-sex," and sex is a good thing, and being pro-sex is a good thing, so... no actual arguments about perjury, obstruction of justice, and so on were relevant. The major criteria for judgment was that the pro-sex people were good and the anti-sex people were uptight and wicked and no fun at all, so hey, you want to be on the fun partying team, don't you?

Pretty much all of liberalism works this way -- that's why it persists in the face of so much contrary information. Here are some fun, smart, rational guys and here are some uptight, bigoted, ignorant haters; which side do you want to be on? Nevermind reason or evidence; which crowd do you most wish to associate with? (And, fyi, for the young: Our girls put out more in college, in case that matters to ya. Wink.)

Politics, it has to be kept in mind, is mostly emotional and mostly aspirational. Who we choose as heroes and who we choose as models says, we hope, something about us. We signal to others what kind of people we are (or what kind of people we'd like to imagine we are) by the sort of person we choose to emulate and offer respect to.

In the last election, more people wanted to be Obama -- fun, loose, hip, cool, cosmopolitan -- than John McCain -- dour, old, ungraceful (due to injuries sustained being a war hero... but it's the surface that matters).

This is partly why I get on some commenters for their casual use of nasty racial put downs. Not only do such comments offend me, but those making them make for poor ambassadors for conservatism: Note that every time you do this, there's some reader out there thinking These are not the sorts of people I wish to be around, or to count as my political brethren. I'd rather be part of the team that doesn't think watermelon jokes are all the rage

Be that as it may -- there is a sea-change a-happening. I doubt we "deniers" will ever get credit, except of the most begrudging kind. We'll be told, ultimately, we were "right, but for the wrong reasons," and that sort of thing.

But what is happening now is almost as good: The veneer of aspiration has been stripped from the lying bastards Mann and Jones, and they no longer seem like the sorts of guys you'd want to befriend, let alone be.

Loose, casual kinds of guys? Only, it seems, as regards their coding and methods.

I think it will be interesting and important to watch this unfold over the next several weeks, this psychological paradigm-shift.

The next step, psychologically, is to limit the damage and to claim that these are just a "few bad apples." That allows them to cast out a few bad actors while keeping their aspirational fantasies, and their conceptions of self, alive: They get to continue thinking of themselves as "pro-science" while they throw a few token irrelevants under the bus. They want to heal the psychic damage as quickly as possible, and with as little change as possible.

But will it be possible to do that? Can they just convince themselves that, but for a few "Rogue Operatives," the "science is settled"?

We'll see.

But this is a first, critical step. We have been presented the truly indefensible, and some, at long last, are finding that they cannot defend it.

Hang On: DrewM. tells me the big change I thought I saw here might not be a big change; Crook called these guys a "cabal" in his first posting, indicating he always thought they were crooked.

I may have misread this, a bit, and be calling Crook a "a new heretic" when in fact he's been a heretic all along.

Still: I think the initial response shows him pooh-poohing the matter, and claiming that the only real problem with this "cabal" is its PR efforts.

So I think I'm right, but I don't know, so I'll note Drew's disagreement.

Ether way: I'm still holding to my prediction. I already have green fool Monbiot calling for Phil Jones, to resign. There will be more.

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posted by Ace at 07:13 PM

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