RealClimate logo

Monckton’s deliberate manipulation

Filed under: — gavin @ 2 May 2009

Our favorite contrarian, the potty peer Christopher Monckton has been indulging in a little aristocratic artifice again. Not one to be constrained by mere facts or observable reality, he has launched a sally against Andy Revkin for reporting the shocking news that past industry disinformation campaigns were not sincere explorations of the true uncertainties in climate science.

The letter he has written to the NY Times public editor, with its liberal sprinkling of his usual pomposity, has at its heart the following graph:

Among other issues, it is quite amusing that Monckton apparently thinks that;

  • trends from January 2002 are relevant to a complaint about a story discussing a 1995 report,
  • someone might be fooled by the cherry-picked January 2002 start date,
  • no-one would notice that he has just made up the IPCC projection curves

The last is even more amusing because he was caught out making stuff up on a slightly different figure just a few weeks ago.

To see the extent of this chicanery, one needs only plot the actual IPCC projections against the observations. This can be done a number of ways, firstly, plotting the observational data and the models used by IPCC with a common baseline of 1980-1999 temperatures (as done in the 2007 report) (Note that the model output is for the annual mean, monthly variance would be larger):

These show clearly that 2002-2009 is way too short a period for the trends to be meaningful and that Monckton’s estimate of what the IPCC projects for the current period is woefully wrong. Not just wrong, fake.

Even if one assumes that the baseline should be the year 2002 making no allowance for internal variability (which makes no sense whatsoever), you would get the following graph:

– still nothing like Monckton showed. Instead, he appears to have derived his ‘projections’ by drawing a line from 2002 to a selection of real projections in 2100 and ignoring the fact that the actual projections accelerate as time goes on, and thus strongly over-estimating the projected changes that are expected now (see here).

Lest this be thought a mere aberration or a slip of his quill, it turns out he has previously faked the data on projections of CO2 as well. This graph is from a recent presentation of his, compared to the actual projections:

How can this be described except as fake?

Apart from this nonsense, is there anything to Monckton’s complaint about Revkin’s story? Sadly no. Once one cuts out the paranoid hints about dark conspiracies between “prejudiced campaigners”, Al Gore and the New York Times editors, the only point he appear to make is that this passage from the scientific advice somehow redeems the industry lobbyists who ignored it:

The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential for a human impact on climate is based on well-established scientific fact, and should not be denied. While, in theory, human activities have the potential to result in net cooling, a concern about 25 years ago, the current balance between greenhouse gas emissions and the emissions of particulates and particulate-formers is such that essentially all of today’s concern is about net warming. However, as will be discussed below, it is still not possible to accurately predict the magnitude (if any), timing or impact of climate change as a result of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Also, because of the complex, possibly chaotic, nature of the climate system, it may never be possible to accurately predict future climate or to estimate the impact of increased greenhouse gas concentrations.

This is a curious claim, since the passage is pretty much mainstream. For instance, in the IPCC Second Assessment Report (1995) (p528):

Complex systems often allow deterministic predictability of some characteristics … yet do not permit skilful forecasts of other phenomena …

or even more clearly in IPCC TAR (2001):

In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states….

Much more central to the point Revkin was making was the deletion of the sections dealing with how weak the standard contrarian arguments were – arguments that GCC publications continued to use for years afterward (and indeed arguments that Monckton is still using) (see this amendment to the original story).

Monckton’s ironic piece de resistance though is the fact that he entitled his letter “Deliberate Misrepresentation” – and this is possibly the only true statement in it.

513 Responses to “Monckton’s deliberate manipulation”

  1. 1
    pete best says:

    Oh come on now the Arctic sea ice has returned to normal levels and hence AGW must be incorrect, natural variability cannot be that big ;)

    Good story, but some of the 2007 Arctic summer peices seem to have been founded on a short termism and hence maybe we all learn a lessen there.

  2. 2
    Alan Vallis says:

    You’re describing this man’s rantings as “amusing”.
    I find them very worrying.
    Unfortunately he, Bjørn Lomborg, and others like him practise an erudite obfuscation which sways many intelligent people.
    They aren’t amusing — they’re dangerous and usually duplicitous.

  3. 3

    My question is simple — why does he do this? Is he not aware his false statements will be exposed? Is he not aware they are false?

    Like I do with the young earth, I try to understand him.

    With the young earth people, there is an answer. Their interpretation of the Bible says the earth is young, and since (1) the Bible must be true and (2) their interpretation must be correct, the science must be missing something.

    With this guy, I can find no corresponding rationale. But — maybe — I am missing something.

  4. 4
    James Staples says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one who would need to brush up on the Trig, before I’d even try to plot projections of this type on a graph!

  5. 5
    Steve Missal says:

    People concoct tall tales, misinformation or similar ilk for various reasons: they either need attention, even if it is negative, or they hope to derive some (perceived) gain from their actions. Of course, the converse of the latter is that they hope to delay or stop others’ gain or progress (maybe this gives them a sense of increasing their own, um, powerfulness?). Perhaps the latter is a complicated acting out of their own personal lack of worth, or some ancient trauma…somehow, like the vandal who spray paints their graffiti on freshly pristine surfaces, they too hope to leave their mark. It never ceases to amaze me that members of our species can deliberately act in ways that are contrary to survival ‘instincts’; it may be that our ability to cleverly conceptualize isn’t such wonderful thing after all.
    Moncton, like Lomborg, obviously has some agenda; the pair are too knowledgeable is some areas not to recognize their own mendacity. In other areas, not so educated. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Like Dyson, maybe it makes you overreach.

  6. 6
    Martin Vermeer says:

    My question is simple — why does he do this? Is he not aware his false statements will be exposed? Is he not aware they are false?

    John, the simplest questions are the best — and the hardest.

    You must have been leading a very protected life :-)

  7. 7
    Ike Solem says:

    Does this argument really need debunking? Or more to the point, why did the NY times public editor decide to print it? Maybe an attack on the NYT’s ‘unbiased reporting’ from an outside source was called for, given the in-depth coverage of the Heartland Institute’s skeptic meeting, along with several other inaccuracies and omissions.

    For example, one-sided energy analysis from the coal-electric lobby viewpoint isn’t news or analysis, it is propaganda. “Environmental articles” that warn of the dangers of concentrated solar power while ignoring the far vaster water use and pollution produced by coal and oil fall into the same category.

    It is a sad state of affairs… we’ve even got the NYT publishing blogs about how the growth of renewable energy might lead to a disastrous population explosion. Odd theme – does that also apply to life-saving drugs?


    The perfect nonpolluting cheap energy source might simply increase our appetites (Jevons Paradox) and encourage ever-rising populations given that energy easily translates into water and food. …. If we come up with new technology or practices that greatly boost crop yields, creating a second Green Revolution, doesn’t that simply boost the planet’s carrying capacity?

    Ummm… No. For one, simplistic notions like ‘carrying capacity’ rely on stable ecosystem theory, and if climate changes rapidly, that goes out the window. For another, the goal is to replace fossil fuels with renewables, not add renewables on top of fossil fuels, so there won’t be a second mythical “Green Revolution” – note that the increase in food supplies lagged behind the increase in population. Population increases were primarily due to the invention of antibiotics and knowledge of the importance of hygiene and sanitary water and sewage systems. Finally, here is a lump of coal to eat and drink – since the claim was that “energy easily translates into water and food” – so dig in.

    If you only read the U.S. press, you’d think that renewable energy is the most environmentally and socially devastating idea we’d ever had – paving over deserts, killing birds in wind turbines, promoting communism, fascism and moral depravity of all sorts, and now, threatening global catastrophe via overpopulation – and did you know that species extinction in the tropics is all due to the expansion of biofuels for export?

    If we just stop all renewable energy projects, the world will be saved from environmental catastrophe. What a curious theme…

  8. 8
    dhogaza says:

    My question is simple — why does he do this? Is he not aware his false statements will be exposed? Is he not aware they are false?

    Because he’s hoping his FUD attack will impact policy. He doesn’t have to be right, he only needs to be effective in providing those who oppose doing anything ammunition. Remember, a pistol firing a blank doesn’t sound that much different to the untrained ear than a pistol firing the real thing.

  9. 9
    Alder Fuller says:

    Obfuscators like Monckton infuriate me. One can only hope that they are remembered in history for their treachery to the human species.

    “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    Or, as Wally Broecker once said (I think I’ve got the quote right), the climate system is a capricious beast, and we are pokiing it with sharp sticks.

    This leads to a question I’ve been meaning to ask you all at RealClimate for quite a while, but waiting for the right time.

    My question relates to a distinction between “type 1” and “type 2” climate change.

    (In reality, I think that the issue that I’m raising here deserves a post or two of it’s own.Perhaps I haven’t searched thoroughly enough, but I have searched. Forgive me if I’ve missed something.)

    I teach multiple courses & workshops at my school (I’m the founder), a small, independent, college-level school offering intro & advanced courses in systems sciences & non-linear dynamics, mostly applied to living systems.

    One of the texts that we use is With Speed & Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce.

    Pearce makes the assertion (that I’ve also seen advanced by other authors) that IPCC models (that is, those upon which it bases its reports along with study reviews)do not adequately represent non-linearities in the climate system, & in particular do not correctly represent the potential for abrupt & rapid phase transitions. That is, they are – in the nomenclature that he uses – type 1 models.

    Thus, as bleak as some view the IPCC reports, in a sense they underestimate the urgency of the situation.

    Below is a quote from Pearce’s introduction. For me, a person with a solid background in mathematics (MS probability theory) & a PhD in ecology & evolution, who has studied & taught about complex system dynamics for a couple of decades and studied climate change intensely for the last 5 years (using RealClimate, Spencer Weart, Paul Mayewski, James Lovelock & others as information sources), Pearce’s assertion seems accurate.

    But I’d like to read opinions about it from RealClimate persons, please. In particular, do you think it is accurate?

    And if not, if you indeed take issue with his position, finding it hyperbolic or extremist, then why?

    Thanks as always for your informative site, and in advance for your comments on this quote.

    “Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong & packs a serious counterpunch … Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet’s climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches – virtually overnight. We have spent 400 generations building our current civilization in an era of climatic stability – a long, generally balmy spring that has endured since the last ice age. But this tranquility looks like the exception rather than the rule in nature. And if its end is inevitable one day, we seem to be triggering its imminent and violent collapse. Our world may be blown away in the process.

    “The idea for this book came while I sat at a conference, organized by the British government in early 2005, on ‘dangerous climate change’ and how to prevent it. The scientists began by adopting neutral language. They made a distinction between Type I climate change, which is gradual and follows the graphs developed by climate modelers for the [IPCC] and Type II change, which is much more abrupt and results from crossing hidden ‘tipping points’. It is not in the standard models. During discussions, this temperate language gave way. Type II climate change became, in the words of Chris Ripley, director of the British Antarctic survey, the work of climatic ‘monsters’ that are even now being woken (xxvii).”

  10. 10
    Hank Roberts says:

    It’s a gig.
    Lord Christopher Monckton – Global Warming Expert
    Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, is chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute. …

  11. 11

    Just remember to forward the RealClimate email to your Congressman. Votes in Congress count. Does the New York Times get a copy of RealClimate?

  12. 12
    Igor Samoylenko says:

    With his latest shenanigans in the US, Monkton managed to catch the attention of Private Eye (a satirical current affairs magazine in the UK).

    In the latest issue 1235, they noted several things (quite apart from his dodgy science).

    One is his reference to himself as “a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature” in a letter to two American senators. He is not of course and never has been. As Private Eye notes: “Since inheriting the title, Christopher has stood at a “by-election” for a hereditary Tory seat in the Lords, following the death of Lord Mowbray and Stourton two years ago. He received precisely zero votes.”

    The other thing Private Eye notes is his logo, which he is using on his graphs and letters – a portcullis topped with a crown, bearing a striking resemblance to the insignia of the House of Parliament. This is also very dodgy indeed as the official parliamentary guide states very clearly that “the usage of the crowned portcullis was formally authorised by Her Majesty the Queen for the two Houses unambiguously to use the device and thus to regulate its use by the others. The emblem should not be used for purposes to which such authentication is inappropriate, or where there is a risk that its use might wrongly be regarded, or represented as having the authority of the House”.

    Monkton’s has been caught out making stuff up many times in the past, his artful tricks are too numerous to list. In addition to the latest example provided by Gavin in the main post, this one is quite entertaining:

    Monckton & the case of the missing Curry

    It is hard to see anyone still taking this guy seriously…

  13. 13
    David B. Benson says:

    “Not even wrong.”

  14. 14
    MikeN says:

    How do you know he’s lying, and not just wrong and ignorant?

    There have been plenty of studies that have passed peer review that have made math mistakes like this.

  15. 15
    dhogaza says:

    How do you know he’s lying, and not just wrong and ignorant?

    You would think he’d know whether or not he’s actually a member of the House of Lords, wouldn’t you.

    But maybe you’re right, maybe he just doesn’t *know* he’s not a member of the House of Lords!

  16. 16
    Séretur says:

    The Lord calls for all believers to send complaints to the editor of NYT. Why not do just that, and forward the complaints about the complaint to the Editor? After all, we can’t let the NYT be left with unbalanced information.

  17. 17
    Alexandre says:

    Igor #12,

    “It is hard to see anyone still taking this guy seriously…”

    Unfortunately, I´ve seen a bunch of educated people that cling to any denying blog or article, no matter how fragile the claims are.

    Willful ignorance, as someone already said.

  18. 18
    Pierre Allemand says:

    Curves for CO2 observations vs IPCC prévisions should be more understandable if colors for different scenarios were chosen different…

    [Response: Agreed! But for reference, the ordering is the same as in the key. – gavin]

  19. 19
    Steve Missal says:

    Now I see, with a more complete history, that it seems L. Monckton (corrected sp…sorry) has a chronic problem with the truth. This supports the notion that he (and others like him) are the disablers, just like I thought…it’s not just a gig, it’s also a mirror of an internal deficiency of some kind. They take the job as a convenient means to toss the wrench in the machinery. Making something grind to a halt is power. In my 61 years experience, power is more, well, powerful, than behaving nicely with others. I doubt he truly believes everything he espouses.

  20. 20
    Jim Cade says:

    didn’t nyt print a correction to Andy’s piece after Monckton complained?

    [Response: The correction has nothing to do with what Monckton complained about. Read it again. -gavin]

  21. 21
    nofreewind says:

    But what about these projections from IPPC 2001: Synthesis Report

    found on this page
    They certainly look closer to Monckton than your comparison charts.

    [Response: No they don’t (How could you tell? The period involved is less than ten years), and the values I plotted are in the linked files. – gavin]

  22. 22
    Jerry Steffens says:

    Consider a traveler heading from Kansas City to Denver. Having been told that Denver is at a higher elevation than KC, he becomes confused when he DESCENDS into a river valley. Convinced that he is headed in the wrong direction, he turns around and is reassured when he finds himself going up! Thus, he ends up back in Kansas City. When a friend asks, “How was Denver?”, he answers that he never made it because he was given incorrect directions.

  23. 23
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike N. asks “How do you know he’s lying, and not just wrong and ignorant?”

    You’re kind of new to this, aren’t you?

    Well, for one thing it is Christopher Monckton, for whom the truth has never been quite good enough. For another, he’s pulled stuff like this for years. It would take serious work to be this stupid–years and years of trying to get it wrong.

    As to studies this bad that have passed peer review…hmm, there’s Miskosczi, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, anything published in E&E. What else?

  24. 24
    Hank Roberts says:

    Mistakes get published. Good papers are those, whether correct or not, that lead to interesting results as other researchers work in the area and understand it better.

    In good journals mistakes get noticed, letters get published, and discussed, and corrected, and acknowledged — that’s routine.
    E.g. Google “Mears pointing out a sign error in C+S’s dataset”

    Sometimes bad publications involve more than simple errors that can be dealt with in the routine way.

    Blogs claim all sorts of wacko stuff about scientific work being mistaken. If the claim is sound, it gets dealt with. If not it’s usually ignored, or maybe someone eventually writes something publishable about it.

    Don’t believe what people on blogs tell you unless they have some publication record in the area or other basis for credibility.

  25. 25
    Alan of Oz says:

    Thanks for this, trolls on slashdot have been pointing to the icecap site for a couple of months now. Their about page states they do not take money from corporations, However following the money trail for this site leads directly to the “tobacco scientists” over at “Frontiers of Freedom” who get quite a bit of funding from ExxonMobie.
    Most people think it’s the oil industry in general that is promoting this FUD but ExxonMobile seems to be the only major oil company standing with the coal industry and their ex-tobacco scientists, could this be because they have heavy investments in coal but it’s easier to scare people by telling them the greenies will take away their SUV’s?

  26. 26
    Richard Steckis says:

    Ray Ladbury,

    “As to studies this bad that have passed peer review…hmm, there’s Miskosczi, Gerlich and Tscheuschner, anything published in E&E. What else?”

    Didn’t someone say that they were going to get their physics undergrad students to come up with a rebuttal of Miskolczi (right spelling)? I have not seen it. In fact I have yet to see any published rebuttal in the peer reviewed literature. Could you please direct me to one?

  27. 27
    lichanos says:

    Monckton aside, the error in the article that Revkin corrected is significant. AGW people claim there is no doubt about “the science.” Critics often agree, and respond with:

    Science tells us that CO2 contributes to warming the earth. C02 is increasing. Therefore, the earth MAY warm. We don’t know how much or when.

    The argument is all about the nature of the change: negligible or significant? Or perhaps none at all because other factors control?

    Thus, for the passage to have been unreported in the article is serious because its inclusion shows that the science was not being ignored. But the scientists working for the group simply had a different point of view on it.

    The fact that Exxon or whoever else funded that group sought to spin the science a certain way is totally unremarkable and is no different from the legal and ethical lobbying that goes on every day in our political world. (The illegal and unethical lobbying is another story.) The reason this little passage is important is because it implies that this line was not crossed to the dark side, much as AGW people would like to think.

  28. 28
    Mark A. York says:

    Why does he do it? It’s his business as a lobbyist against AGW. It has to be something other than burning fossil fuels. You know, Gore’s Folly. It’s a defense of business as usual, political gamesmanship and the plot of my novel. Resistance to change has a big following.

  29. 29
    Pete W says:

    The denialists have already won. They kept the US away from Kyoto. And there is no sign that they will ever let up. This reminds me of the tobacco execs sitting in front of congress in 1994 and swearing, “Nicotine is not addictive”. Even though the jig was up, they just kept on denying & lying. Their prime motivation? Short-term financial gain.

    So what type of earthly event will it take for mankind to wake up? A full meter more ocean water? Iceless poles? Droughts becoming common where there had not been droughts before? Or will they just keep spinning these events as being natural, and good for the health of earth? (This does no require a response. I’m just getting frustrated.)


  30. 30
    François Marchand says:

    This is definitely not peer to peer reviewed stuff. You can’t possibly put yourself on par with such a noble person.

  31. 31
    chris says:

    Does anyone have the URL for the Private Eye article mentioned in 12 please? I’ve looked at their site but can’t find anything…

  32. 32

    Well, I’m really not that surprised. I told you about one of his “amendments” here:

    I think he is 100 % aware of what he is doing. He is deliberately creating false data and graphs.

  33. 33
    Geoff Beacon says:

    I met Viscount Monckton at a conference on climate change in January organised by IqSquared in London. He told me he would be happy for the slides from his presentation to be published on RealClimate. Might be good for you to check this an take him on more directly. I have his email if you need it.

  34. 34
    Ice says:

    As for CO2 concentrations, i find it interesting to note that they stay “on the tracks” of projections, while CO2 emissions seem to recently exceed emissions projections (see Global Carbon Project). Probably too few years to say anything, though.

  35. 35
    Ike Solem says:

    I think the NYT is responsible for a more obfuscation of climate science and renewable energy science than Monckton is. Notice that they have been refusing to print any corrections with respect to their claims that atmospheric brown clouds are “mostly due” to smoke from wood fires.

    Where’s the correction there? Does the realclimate group support that assertion?

    Then, what about the claims by the Electric Power Research Institute on the true price of renewable energy? Why would the NYT print coal-lobby propaganda from a one-sided source without seeking out an alternative viewpoint from the renewable energy industry?

    It seems to me that the most likely explanation for the NYT “correction” was that the paper’s editors were worried about creating a legal basis for global-warming lawsuits against fossil fuel interests, as ‘prior knowledge of harm caused’ played a central role in the tobacco lawsuits – and the head of the American Petroleum Institute PR push is Edelman, previously of ‘second-hand tobacco smoke is not a problem’ fame.

    The general point made when talking about people like Singer and so on is that they recieved major funding from fossil fuel interests – but isn’t that also true of the New York Times, and doesn’t it raise similar questions about the quality of their coverage?

    Really, the New York Times has done an atrocious job of covering many important energy and climate stories, and one of their directors is also a director of the Carlyle Group, heavily invested in fossil fuels. The Iraq war was a fossil fuel venture, and had no bigger cheerleader than the NYT’s “unbiased reporting”. I seriously doubt their objectivity on any issue related to fossil fuels, and that’s backed up by a lot of evidence.

    It really points to very serious widespread problems in the U.S. academic and journalistic professions – you can’t do research on renewable energy in the U.S. academic system, because of fossil fuel influence, and you can’t get honest coverage of renewable energy initiatives in the U.S. press, also because of undue influence by vested interests – and more often than not these days, those vested interests are in finance, not in industry. It is the financial interests who are co-owners of both media and fossil fuel corporations, after all.

    The failure of a country’s academic and media institutions to deal with a serious crisis should not be taken lightly, as it points towards looming governmental and societal failure. There is no better example than the media response to the latest novel influenza hybrid (not so novel, sourced to 1998) – first, it was overhyped (which benefited the drug manufacturers), and then, the level of hype caused people to stop flying on planes and eating pork (which hurt airlines and pork dealers), causing a rapid turn-around by the press. Over the course of the entire episode, commercial interests ruled the coverage, and rational scientific discussion never even made it onto the stage.

    What is the difference between an independent press and a propaganda service, and on which side does the U.S. press fall?

    James Hansen referred to a “failure of democracy” on the climate response issue – but it is a pretty clear historical rule that successful democracies are impossible without a professional and independent media.

  36. 36

    Great information. But I think the message is diminished by the use of words like: potty peer, paranoid hints and Monckton has been indulging in a little aristocratic artifice again.

    My suggestion is to not stoop to their level and keep the dialog at a higher level. Those on the other side want you to crawl into the mud with them. Their goal is to confuse and if you get dirty with them, then they have achieved their goal.

    Be above the pettiness!

    [Response: Normally I’d agree – but Monckton is a special case. The only appropriate response is ridicule. – gavin]

  37. 37
    Lawrence Brown says:

    “Notice that they have been refusing to print any corrections with respect to their claims that atmospheric brown clouds are “mostly due” to smoke from wood fires.”

    What was actually said was:
    “The smoke is rising mainly from cooking fires fueled with firewood or dried dung.”
    No mention of atmospheric brown clouds here.

  38. 38
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Steckis, I believe it was Ray Pierrehumbert who gave the refutation of Miskolczi as an undergraduate assignment. Eli Rabett has pretty well eviscerated it on his blog.

    If the fact that it sas published in an obscure Hungarian meteorological journal were not enough to raise your suspicions, his rather “creative” application of the virial theorem ought to peg any reasonable BS detector. His treatment of Kirchoff’s law is pretty well nuts. Anyone who embraces this twaddle cannot reasonably be considered skeptical.

  39. 39
    Chuck Booth says:

    RE # 26 Richard Steckis Says:
    2 May 2009 at 10:01 PM

    I have yet to see any published rebuttal in the peer reviewed literature.

    Well, no legitimate scientist would be inclinded to waste valuable space in a peer-reviewed journal article to reference, let alone rebut, inaccurate statements published elsewhere in a hack journal. Likewise, no legitimate peer-reviewed journal, or its reviewers, would allow valuable (and expensive) space in one of its articles to be devoted to comments on inaccurate statements published elsewhere in a hack journal. When published work is so bad that it has no heuristic value whatsoever, it is best ignored. Rest assured that good science will not be ignored.

  40. 40
    MikeN says:

    >You’re kind of new to this, aren’t you?

    Yeah, I’d never heard of Monckton, and still have no idea who this Singer fellow is that you guys are always ranting about.

  41. 41
    John Mashey says:

    re: #38 MikeN

    Try: Naomi Oreskes’ American Denial of Global Warming, whose second half is mostly about the George Marshall Institute, but is relevant to Singer as well.

    For a long compendium and analysis of Monckton behavior, try this, as Naomi’s work put her high on Monckton’s Bad List, to the point of outright harassment.

    For the denouement of that silliness , see DeSMogBlog.

    Read including the full set of comments, including Monckton’s ((I’m on his Bad List, too, among other things, for “interfering in an unlawful manner on the blogosphere” and breaching doctor-patient confidentiality), and the various replies to all that.

  42. 42
    Steve Missal says:

    Just remembered where the name connected…(sp. slight difference)…”Mad Monkton”, by Wilkie Collins, about a family curse of madness passed from one generation to the next. Pretty well-known story.

  43. 43
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #12Igor Samoylenko:

    “…his reference to himself as “a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature” in a letter to two American senators. He is not of course and never has been. As Private Eye notes: “Since inheriting the title, Christopher has stood at a “by-election” for a hereditary Tory seat in the Lords, following the death of Lord Mowbray and Stourton two years ago. He received precisely zero votes.”

    That ought to be repeated every 5 or so posts in this thread, or anywhere one finds Monckton’s science fiction under discussion. He’s psychotic or a liar, we get to choose. If he can’t tell or we can’t trust him to tell us the truth about something so easy to verify, why bother reading a single thing he writes?

    We seem to have an atavistic response to impressive titles such as that sported by Mr. Monckton, even when the very minor lord in question is a flaming crackpot. I have to wonder if the NY Times would publish his stuff if he were simply known by his established track record of eccentric causes, which include suggesting the incarceration of anybody testing positive for HIV and espousing the goal of closing down the U.K. government because it is “atheistic and humanistic.”

  44. 44
    Rod B says:

    Pete W., it’s neither here nor there but just for nit picking clarification: tobacco was never addictive until the pols and FDA (and others that smelled money) chose to dumb down the accepted definition in the 90s. The feds were cajoling tobacco to find a way to get more nicotine in their new low-tar cigs in the 70s. I know it is accepted carte blanche by the chorus, but find a better example of “lying.”

  45. 45
    Peter Williams says:

    Maybe the French had it right with that little revolution of theirs. You don’t hear much about looney-bin French nobles now do you? Not advocating violence here – just can’t figure out why you Brits still have nobles. Talk about atavistic!

  46. 46
    Steve Missal says:

    Re: nicotine and addiction, this is instructive:

  47. 47
    robert davies says:

    Re: #43 and similar…

    There seems to be a general misundersanding among many of those commenting here that the NYT published Monckton’s submission; They did not. More accurately, I’ve been unable to find any evidence that the NYT referred to it at all…

  48. 48
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John Mashey says of the good Viscount: “I’m on his Bad List, too,,,”

    Wow, you’re my hero. :-)

  49. 49
    Igor Samoylenko says:

    chris said in #31:
    “Does anyone have the URL for the Private Eye article mentioned in 12 please? I’ve looked at their site but can’t find anything…”

    No, sorry. I don’t think they have it on-line. I have read the article in a hard copy I receive on subscription.

    The article I referenced is in the latest issue #1235, 1 May – 14 May 2009, page 7, titled “The Crowned Clown”. It is a short article and I have pretty much reproduced the gist of it in my post above.

    Doug Bostrom said in #43:
    “I have to wonder if the NY Times would publish his stuff if he were simply known by his established track record of eccentric causes, which include suggesting the incarceration of anybody testing positive for HIV and espousing the goal of closing down the U.K. government because it is “atheistic and humanistic.””

    He inherited his tendency for following eccentric causes from his father, it seems. From the same article in the Private Eye: “His [Monckton’s] late father, the second viscount, put himself forward at the 1999 Lords election in which hereditaries chose which of 92 of them should survive the Briarite cull. However, despite an eye-catching manifesto (“All cats to be muzzled outside to stop the agonising torture of mice and small birds”), he didn’t make the cut.”

  50. 50
    Hamish says:

    on telly the other night, aussie politician Pru Goward made what seemed to me a new point in the ‘debate’ – that climate science – and modelling in particular – are relatively new sciences and hence should be subject to some caution in interpreting their results.

    just wondering if anyone else has encountered this argument before. i practically had to restrain myself from jumping up and yelling at the tv, but i had to admit it was a novel and seemingly designed to convey an understanding of the science rather than outright rejection of it.

    apologies if this is slightly off topic, wasn’t sure where else to post it