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Peter Hadfield Letter to Chris Monckton

Posted on 25 March 2012 by Rob Honeycutt, dana1981

Peter Hadfield (potholer54) has been engaging in a debate of sorts with Christopher Monckton on WattsUpWithThat; however, Monckton has failed to respond to Hadfield's latest crushing salvo, in which he caught Monckton misrepresenting his sources (as usual).

Monckton has asserted that he has been too busy on his latest speaking tour to respond to Hadfield.  Indeed, we can attest that Monckton has been busy, and will soon publish a post regarding one of his latest misinformation seminars.  However, as Hadfield notes in the video below, Monckton had promised a response prior to leaving for this particular misinformation tour, and failed to deliver one. 


Dear Mr. Monckton,

A couple of months ago you entered into a debate with me on wattsupwiththat.com (See “Update on the Monckton-Hadfield debate”) about alleged errors in your public lectures — allegations that I made in a series of videos on my YouTube channel “Potholer54″. But as soon as I presented documentary evidence to back up my claims, you suddenly fell silent. Despite promising Anthony Watts that you would respond when you returned from Australia mid-February, you have not done so, and now you have written to tell me that you are, in effect, running away. Sorry, I don’t know how else to phrase your abrupt retreat from our debate as soon as I showed evidence that supports my allegations and starkly contradicts your claims.

I am referring to your e-mail to me dated March 22nd:

"I am on a very busy tour and will be still more busy when I return to the UK, so I do not know when I shall have further time to respond. Many people like to engage in debates on inconsequentialities and, while I try to accommodate them, other priorities must sometimes come first."

Let me address the first excuse first. I understand you are currently on a busy tour, but you promised Anthony Watts you would respond when you returned from your last tour, and you did not. Meanwhile I note that you have had plenty of time to respond to a university newsletter that criticized you, and you spent two hours talking on skype to a small classroom of students. I fail to see why these are “priorities”, while my 57,000 subscribers and the hundreds of thousands of subscribers to wattsupwiththat are not deserving of an answer from you concerning clear evidence that you seriously misled your audiences over a period of several years. The people watching this debate have watched you vacate your chair, and are still expecting to see you to re-appear from backstage at any moment with some incisive rebuttal after checking my evidence. I am sure they will be as shocked as I am to hear the squealing of car tyres as you make good your escape.

You have, after all, been given every advantage in this debate. It is taking place on wattsupwiththat, a regular forum for you and one that YOU chose, so there can be no suggestion that the umpire is biased against you. In fact, even though he and I disagree on the climate issue, Anthony Watts has been good enough to give us equal space for our responses. You were given not just one but two to rebut my videos, responding first to a summary of my videos that was made by someone in a WUWT comments forum, and then directly to something that was, as you put it: “not word what [Peter Hadfield] said, but I hope that they fairly convey his meaning.” (“Monckton responds to Peter Hadfield aka “potholer54″ — plus Hadfield’s response”)

With respect, no, the points you wrote did not fairly convey my meaning — in fact they ignored the substance of the allegations altogether and a lot of your response focused on ad hominem attacks questioning my integrity, honesty and intelligence.

So when I responded with the actual allegations, along with supporting documentary evidence –17 video clips of your speeches, 13 scientific papers and studies and one newspaper article that you yourself cited — and showed that you had clearly misquoted or misrepresented your own sources, you inexplicably fell silent, and then failed to deliver your promised response.

Your other excuse: “Many people like to engage in debates on inconsequentialities”

If you think these issues are “inconsequentialities” then why did you bring them up time and again during your many public speeches? The sun is largely responsible for recent warming — there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature over the last 500 million years — only one Himalayan glacier is retreating — the Earth has been cooling — Greenland isn’t melting — there is no long-term decline of Arctic ice…. etc. etc. It was you, not I, who decided these should be the bedrock of your case against anthropogenic climate change. I simply asked you for the sources of your assertions and when you gave them to me I checked them — and it turned out that you either misrepresented or misquoted these sources, or your source does not have the authority you claim it does.

And if you think they are inconsequentialities, why have you decide to expend several thousand words on wattsupwiththat trying to rebut them? You were quite happy to do so when you thought the debate would be easy, and when you addressed your own rather crude summary of what you thought I was alleging. It was only when I came back with details and a wealth of supporting evidence that you apparently decided it was better to beat a hasty retreat than try to answer such prima facie evidence.

I appreciate that you would much prefer this kind of debate to take place on stage, where oratory is paramount. It is much harder to engage in this kind of debate online, where everything is written down and can be quoted back, where sources are demanded for any facts you give, and where these sources can be checked and verified. But this is the nub of our debate — whether you have chosen reliable sources and quoted and represented them correctly.

Nowhere in my videos or in the WUWT debate have I suggested that you are making these errors deliberately, or that you are being dishonest ( a courtesy you did not extend to me), and neither have I descended to ad hominem attacks or name calling (also a courtesy you did not extend to me.) Errors are simply errors in my book, and if you unintentionally misled your audiences over several years then I accept that it was unintentional.

After all, the truth alone is worthy of our entire devotion… as you yourself said at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy last year.

In the same speech you said: “Before we subjucate the truth to mere expediency, convenience or profit it is first desirable to discern the truth.”

And again: “What matters here are the facts; what matters here is the truth.”

For a man so dedicated to the truth I am surprised that you did not jump at the opportunity to either rebut my allegations by showing that it is I, not you, who misread these sources and quotes, or check your sources again and acknowledge that you made these errors. In that spirit, I urge you to rejoin the debate that Anthony Watts has so kindly agreed to host.

This may be the triumph of hope over experience. My experience tells me that you won’t be too busy to issue a long response addressing the issue of the debate itself and why you shouldn’t have to continue it, or an attempt to deflect the debate onto some other subject or forum, combined with another ad hominem attack on me — instead of what everyone would LIKE to see, which is a clear rebuttal or acceptance of the evidence I provided.

 

Also check out Peter Sinclair's informative blog post with includes other relevant Potholer vs. Monckton videos.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 54:

  1. Monckton is sandwiched between Hadfield's rock of logic and science's hard place of scientifically defensible fact.

    It doesn't seem to be a comfortable location for Christopher.
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  2. Typo: "misinformtion tour"
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  3. Brilliantly summed up, Bernard.

    This is still a squabble in a tea cup, but it may yet make more mainstream news and bring some focus to the facts.

    Now that it appears that he has become a liability to those that seek his services, perhaps he'll have to consider a new career whether he responds or not.
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  4. andylee wrote: "...perhaps he'll have to consider a new career"

    Sadly he can always fall back on promoting his miracle cure for pretty much everything (i.e. Graves' Disease, AIDS, Multiple Schlerosis, the flu, et cetera)... he just needs the desperate sick people to send more money so that he'll be able to bring it to market. Monckton will always land on his feet. After all, he is a member of parliament and a Nobel prize winner.

    There is something seriously wrong with the world when a person like Monckton is treated as an international hero rather than rotting in jail.
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  5. Listen to this conversation between Peter Hadfield and Peter Sinclair of Climate Crock.

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/03/24/potholer54-and-the-search-for-lord-monckton/

    I think we have all see Monckton on stage, and we all know how good a salesman he is, and how he knows what buttons to push with his audience. However, debate in print is another matter, and here the Lord has been caught short.
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  6. Snap. It feels like a wet towel. Lord my #ss.
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  7. Apparently, according to Anthony, there is no further need for his Sublimely Scented Excellency to further debase himself and address the impertinent Hadfield any further, as Hadfield has now contaminated himself by association with an untouchable, greenman3610:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/23/moncktons-slide-presentation-to-the-california-assembly/

    See comment and response at 8.13 a.m., March 24.
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  8. He is not a journalist, not a scientist, and not much of a lecturer.

    Monckton is an entertainer.
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  9. To be fair, His Lordship has been extremely distracted by issues of enormous moment, busy as he is with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establishing that... wait for it!... Obama's birth certificate is a fake!

    Seriously.

    Now, anyone prepared to download a trial of Adobe Illustrator, or who has it already on their computer, and who has a scanner with OCR software (also download-and-trial-able) can quite innocently replicate the damning 'separate layers' (actually separate groups on a single layer) in a scanned PDF of a document that this high-profile posse claims proves conclusively 'this thing has been fabricated'.

    Simply find a printed document with text placed over a graphic background of some variety, and then let the software - I used ABBYY FineReader - scan it to a PDF. Open this in Illustrator, and notice how it has all the separable bits and bobs in a number of groups - just like the Birth Certificate does!

    Not the world's greatest scanning practice, perhaps, but a pretty-damn-good refutation of their argument, I'd have thought.

    It would appear to me that some people just forgot to be skeptical! ;-) ...
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  10. OK folks, I took one for the team and went to see Monckton do his thing.

    Drove up to the USD campus (where Monckton was speaking), parked the car and started looking around for the auditorium -- when I spotted a parked car with a "Show Us Your Birth Certificate" bumper-sticker, I knew that I was close.

    Saw some other (ahem) "interesting" bumper-stickers, including a variation on the ecumenical "Coexist" bumper-sticker. But instead of being spelled out with various
    religious symbols in an inclusive manner, the "Coexist" letters were formed from various types of automatic weapons.

    Well, when I got to the auditorium, I very quickly found myself in a parallel (no, make that *orthogonal*) universe. There might have been as many 500 people there (300-seat auditorium and a big overflow room) -- can't say exactly, but there were way more people than could fit into the auditorium.

    The event was MC'd by California GOP assemblyman Brian Jones, and he was not shy about serving up plenty of full-strength Koolaid.

    There were references to the UN, "Agenda 21", evil, lying scientists, etc. etc... The global conspiracy against America is truly far-reaching, nebulous, and ill-defined.

    Based on the reactions to the MC's dog-whistling, it didn't take me very long to realize that many of the people sitting around me were completely unhinged -- we are talking tinfoil-hatville to the max.

    Monckton served up plenty of "red meat" during his presentation -- he did not hesitate to dish out hate and bile directed at the scientific community -- he singled out Naomi Oreskes for special attention, referring to her as "that monstrous woman", and then he said something along the lines of "We in the UK are working to decertify the University of California as a legitimate academic institution". This California crowd then erupted into loud applause.

    I knew that the tea-party types are a bit "off", shall we say -- but the paranoia and conspiracy-mongering were even more than what I was expecting. It's really a bit more than spooky, when I come to think of it. When I was a kid, people like these would be seen handing out leaflets at airports -- now, they call the shots in a major US political party.

    And as for Potholer54, all I can say is that as much as I appreciate his efforts and love his videos, Monckton has tapped into such a lucrative "mother lode" of American loonery that he can simply ignore the good Potholer. Any refutation of Monckton's claims, no matter how well documented and presented, will simply be folded into the right-wing paranoid conspiracy narrative. From what I saw tonight, I would have to say that most of the people who attended the Monckton show are very unlikely to be moved by appeals to evidence and logic.
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  11. caerbannog, doesn't sound like a good event to express opposing opinions. I assume you kept your mouth firmly shut on the night? ;-)

    Looks like Monckton's doing a runner and isn't going to reply to potholer54's points. This post (24/03/12 8:13am) from Anthony Watts seems to indicate that he wants to end this embarrasing debate early, without needing any reply from his Lord:

    REPLY: While I can’t hear what Hadfield is saying (he sounds like a British mumble to me) they seem totally infatuated with their manhunt, so much for Hadfield’s repeated claims of being “dispassionate and logical”. Thanks for posting this. When he starts colluding with that hateful “greenman”, all semblance of rational debate is destroyed.

    This video then cements my decision not to provide any further space to Hadfield here. – Anthony
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  12. Um so Watts can understand His Lordship's British accent, but not Peter Hadfield's British accent? Extraordinary!

    And strikingly convenient.

    Throw in a little guilt-by-association, and a handy strawman about 'obsession', and you can wander away from the scene while whistling just a little too loudly in the dark, all the while waiting for something shiny to turn up and distract the troops from the whole sorry mess.

    As it will.

    Inevitable conclusion: Monckton cannot answer Hadfield. And Watts knows it.

    But on the whole their audience doesn't care, because they'd rather believe - it's what they're good at - whether it be in faked birth certificates, global Communist conspiracies, or English aristocrats who are smarter than the entire trained scientific establishment, don'tchaknow?
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  13. caerbannog
    thank you for sharing your experience with the Monckton-Tea Party crowd. Although in any country we have skeptics and deniers there are traits characteristic of the anglo-saxon world that aren't easy to decipher for us "barbarians" (as strangers, the original meaning of the greek word).
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  14. "From what I saw tonight, I would have to say that most of the people who attended the Monckton show are very unlikely to be moved by appeals to evidence and logic."

    Well, I spent more time than I would have liked yesterday--on a beautiful Saturday, no less--"debating" with just such idiots (Canadian ones, FWIW.) Second Law, yadda yadda, Faith-based AGW, yadda yadda, lying scientists, yadda yadda. I (and a few other masochists dedicated posters) keep giving 'em facts, which invariably sink without a trace in what passes for consciousness with such denialists.

    I just have to keep reminding myself that it's the reader passing by, not the ostensible opponent, for whom the truth may be important. (The worst of that is, there have got to be very few lurkers as such threads spin out--sensible, normal folk must flee them in droves. It does raise questions about the efficient use of time.)

    All of which is to say that my appreciation for Peter Hadfield's efforts runs deep. It takes a lot of work and patience, and he's done a magnificent job. There can be no question as to whether Monckton is a serial fabulator--you can, IMO, write QED on the file.
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  15. caerbannog: Do you know how this event was publicized beforehand? It would be interesting to see how 'they' were able to attract such a distinguished audience and get some of those folks out of their bunkers.

    This could be an early warning of another active summer for the teabag crowd - like the summer of the health care debate.
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  16. Caerbannog, I've spent many good hours also, wasted, debating things with the intellectually derailed or dishonest, and I have to say the efforts have helped me fill in holes in my understanding of the science. By now (and in fact, probably for the last year), the diminishing returns have gotten infinitesimal.
    There seem to be now three kinds of postings- those by conservative ideologues with no intellectual integrity, hired shills, and the truly paranoid. The first are, unfortunately, people I think still must be engaged. The second should be identified and exposed ( I have NO idea how to do that, but it's got to be possible) and as to the third, as soon as you realize it, I think the response should be the same as during an in-person exchange, when you suddenly realize that you are speaking with someone delusional or psychotic, you back away slowly, showing your hands, making calming sounds.
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  17. Off course, Monckton can't answer. Hadfield's video is full of footage of Monckton himself putting his foot in his mouth and ramming it down as far as it will reach. It is so plain and obvious that it takes Watts all his denial power to wiggle away from it.
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  18. #11:
    At the beginning of the event, the audience was told about opponents who were trying to get the event cancelled, to suppress their freedom to "hear the other side", yadda, yadda, yadda. It was made clear that anyone disrupting the proceedings in any way would be tossed out immediately.

    When Monckton asked people in the audience to raise their hands if they thought that global-warming could really be a potential problem, I raised my hand, and was almost the only one in the audience to do so (in fact, I may *have* been the only one).

    Questions to Monckton were to be submitted on 3x5 cards, and he did trouble himself to answer several "backside-kissing" questions. No need for question-screening with this audience! The event was structured in a way as to prevent any direct challenges to Monckton.

    Monckton just *loves* adoring fans, and events like this are specifically taylored to serve those fans up to him.

    BTW, Monckton got *three* standing-ovations during his show.

    At any rate, trying to engage Monckton in any sort of "reality based" debate would have been about as productive as taking on Duane Gish in a megachurch. One of Monckton's talking-points was the old "hockey-sticks from random noise" claim. To rebut that, you would basically have to explain stuff like autocorrelation lengths, eigenvalues, etc. to "Bubba".


    #15
    AFAICT, the event was publicized only in the right-wing "orthogonal universe", i.e. via "tea party" web-sites, etc. I found out about it when I saw a climateprogress.org piece about the California GOP inviting Monckton to speak in Sacramento. Did a bit of Googling to see where else Monckton might be going; got a hit on a tea-party web-site and followed a couple of links from there.

    In retrospect, I feel a bit silly and naive about my on-line attempts to get some UCSD/SIO folks to attend the event -- I mean, just what *was* I thinking???
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  19. Perhaps we as a species really do not deserve to survive. Just look at the facts: The powers that be observe that the climate is changing and are sufficiently alarmed to set up the IPCC. This enables the world's leading climate scientists and other leading scientists in related fields to pool their expertise and analyse the state of the science in the relevant papers on the subject. From this analysis they then advise those in the legislature regarding policy on the issue. By way of 'thanks', they get a whole army of people: Delingpole, Philips, Hitchens, The Tea Party, The Republican Party, etc. etc. ridiculing them for all their hard work on all our behalves, while speaking from positions of breathtaking scientific ignorance and even invoking Genesis on occasion. They, like sks, get their private details hacked, and in some instances they get court proceedings taken against them. In fact, the list of 'retaliatory' acts seems endless.

    Perhaps the denialati don't realise that Mother Nature has declared war on us and she has some heavy armaments her arsenal. In a war situation, the last thing anyone should do is try to disrupt the work of the intelligences agency (IPCC) in formulating a 'state of play' regarding what the enemy is doing (Mother Nature) and offering advice on what our strategy should be in response. Yet that is exactly what Monckton and a whole army of like minded individuals are doing.

    Perhaps, difficult as it is to believe, the likes of Monckton actually want Mother Nature to have her wicked way with us. Perhaps they think that they and their progeny will be able to survive the troubles that lie ahead and come out on top, so to speak, in much the same way the collaborators in WW2 believed they were in for a good life at the end of hostilities.

    Perhaps those who are fans of Monckton have not spotted that His Lordship has a much more interesting life than they almost certainly do, flitting around the world as he does giving the same old same old (complete with known misleading statements) to audiences of adoring fans. Keith Barry and Derren Brown deceive their audiences, but only for the purposes of entertainment. It is difficult to work out the motives behind Monckton's audience deception. I for one would love to see who pays for all this globe-trotting and associated expenses. Perhaps his need to be in the limelight is so desperate, he pays for it all himself.

    Perhaps Peter Hadfield is right in allowing for the possibility that Monckton's misleading statements are genuinely unintentional. I would do the same if they did not include so many misrepresentations of hardworking scientists who are engaged on our side of the fight; misrepresentations that appear very deliberate to me.

    Perhaps we should not view Monckton as a collaborator, but it is hard not to. Perhaps he is not receiving any benefit from his actions on climate change other than a fun life being the centre of attention, something that he appears to crave. But there again, perhaps we really should view him thus. What really saddens me is that so many young people support his efforts to blight their future; like the cannon fodder of WW1 admiring the generals who were sending them 'over the top' to their almost certain deaths in a war they had been told was the war to end wars. ("Well, young Willy McBride, it's all happened again and again and again and again.")

    Perhaps Mother Nature is not really at war with us. Perhaps all she is doing is reacting as Gaia to a virus infection called humankind that has reached a tipping point in terms of its population and needs culling. When a person gets sick with a virus infection, the usual response is a rise in temperature. It would seem that the earth is only doing likewise. Perhaps Monckton is only acting as an anti-body, or somehow sees himself as such.

    Perhaps I should admit defeat, but I cannot. I regard Monckton and all those like him, together with their supporters that give them the oxygen of publicity, as my enemy, my children's enemy and the enemy of their children, unborn and unnamed. With that in mind I will fight them with all my might. Perhaps in Monckton's case Mother Nature will do the job for me. When a soldier runs away, as Monckton has so clearly done on this occasion, instead of standing their ground, the usual response is a court marshal for cowardice, followed by a blindfold and a target marker over the heart. I wonder how Mother Nature will deal with his cowardice. If he were genuinely worth his peerage, he would have the courage to either offer a defence of his seemingly misleading statements, or admit his error and amend his presentations accordingly. Perhaps he will, but I doubt that he has the courage.
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  20. Lord Monckton has appeared more than once on Russia Today. This government-owned TV channel belongs to the Russian government's press agency RIA Novosti and used to feature Western denialists, but on March 17, the famous climate scientists Michael Mann was interviewed.

    RT was very gracious to Dr. Mann, but they seem to have amnesia, because they blamed denialism on the American politicians and the Heartland and did not take responsibility for also spreading the Climategate lies.

    RT criticized the Heartland, but the Heartland has cited RIA Novosti's attacks on the climate scientists.

    Heartland and other denialists deserve our contempt, but the Russian government's press agencies were also spreading the same lies. Now the line has changed: The Heartland, Monckton, and others are tossed under the bus. Still, RT and its parent RIA Novosti were spreading the same propaganda as the Western denialists.

    Shouldn't the leaders of Russia also be held to account?
    I think if the Russians are having Dr. Mann on TV, they should also apologize for the lies they told about the climate scientists. I don't know if the Russian leaders will do this or not, but I think they are the leaders of a superpower and will do this before Inhofe or Cuccinelli apologize.

    Here are the details.

    http://www.legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2012/03/climate-change-scientist-michael-mann.html
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  21. caerbannog @ 18... That is a truly frightening accounting of the event.
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  22. Yes, it is kind of scary, Rob.

    I'm having a flashback to a M*A*S*H* episode where the 4077th is caring for a bunch of Korean orphans. Col. Potter is reading an army jeep maintenance manual to several kids (probably 1-3 years old), as if it were a kids' bedtime story. The kids don't speak a word of english, but they are loving every minute of it.

    The moral of the story: it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it. The speaker is the coach - there to pump everyone up for The Big Game - and the audience only hears the Rah-Rah-Rah boosterism and couldn't care less that the content is jibberish.

    To paraphrase Elmer Fudd: be vewy, vewy afwaid. They're *not* just hunting wabbits.
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  23. What's really fascinating is to think back to 1972 when John Lennon was deported for FAR milder rhetoric.
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  24. Monckton is the dominate climate demagogue.

    And his name should be added to the Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demagogy

    "20th-century American social critic and humorist H. L. Mencken, defined a demagogue as "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots."

    But unlike other demagogues - the stakes here are are total. On the spaceship Earth - we are hosting a climate demagogue spouting dangerous hallucinations of how to manage our atmosphere. Disturbing, like seeing a navigator in a jet fighter, playing with the ejection lever.

    Until now, our imperfect species has always managed to survive by tolerating a 15% lunatic fringe... but now that it applies to technical life-support systems, we are stymied by our inability to shut them down or re-educate them.

    What a pity.
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  25. I am continually amazed that some US politicians look to Monckton for advice on anything at all. He self-evidently does not believe in democracy. Here is the proof. In 1999 the British government passed a law taking away the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords. The 1999 Act is quite short and is very clear in its meaning. The House of Lords Act 1999, section 1, provides firstly that "No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage". Section 2 provides for exceptions. The only exception rule which might apply to Monckton is 2,(6):"Any question whether a person is excepted from section 1 shall be decided by the Clerk of the Parliaments, whose certificate shall be conclusive."
    The Clerk of the Parliaments has publicly certified that Monckton is not entitled to sit in the House of Lords - Letter to Viscount Monckton of Brenchley from David Beamish, the Clerk of the Parliaments.
    According to the constitution and common law of our British democracy, the highest law in the land is an Act of Parliament enacted by both houses and signed by the sovereign. Accordingly, the 1999 Act is a manifestation of democratic and sovereign power. Monckton's continual assertion or implication that he is a member of the House of Lords is contrary to fact, contrary to law and contrary to the democratic and constitutional principles and practices of the United Kingdom. In effect, he is trying to apply his own diktat as a trump card over and above democracy.
    Given what Americans have been through in the past to protect their democratic freedoms I am surprised that they even let Monckton into their country, much less listen to his tosh and piffle.
    The public also deserves to know that what Monckton doesn't know about science would probably fill the world's science libraries.
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  26. Just posted interview of Peter Hadfield by Peter Sinclair - Potholer54 and Greenman3610

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZKzJwMOWAI
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  27. caerbannog - my experience at Monckton's talk in Sacramento was similar, though probably not as extreme. Lots of Tea Party folks, conspiracy theorists, the same "Agenda 21" nonsense, applause when Monckton accused climate scientists of fraud, etc.

    I'll have a post on the event next week.
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  28. Caerbannog, your name is highly appropriate for the flack you could have taken, Raising your head above the parapet (or Bannog) is a brave thing to do when in the middle of such a hostile and illogical crowd. Hwyl Fawr !
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  29. As if his Lor'ship's nonsense didn't go deep enough, he's publicly thrown his hat in with the birthers:

    I’m no birther [sic], don’t get me wrong… I haven’t a clue where Obama was born ... on the White House website is he has put up a document which he is plainly a forgery and I would regard that as a very serious matter.

    A 'birther' is someone who believes that President Obama was not born in the US and that his Hawaii certificate of birth is a forgery. This group is the lowest form of right-wing nutters. But it is even a step lower on the evolutionary ladder to admit being one and simultaneously deny being one.
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  30. Muoncounter @29.

    Yep, Monckton's not a 'Birther'; he just knows the birth certificate 'has been fabricated'. You know, like the, um, Birthers...

    He knows this because the egregious Sheriff Arpaio and his truth posse have devoted themselves to researching this 'for 6 months', and have discovered... a scanning artifact! (See my comment @9)

    Some of the more lunar theories (and, because of the starting base, we're talking lunar² here!) hold Obama to be a Kenyan foreign student taken in by his kindly 'grandparents' and passed-off as one of their own. The Mailman proved it, it seems.

    But nobody can handle The Truth, because, as Monckton says -

    nobody is saying anything because the entire electorate has been fooled.


    (Sound familiar?)

    This is the kind of crowd Monckton is working. Evidence don't really enter into it; their 'truths' arrive more by way of revelation. So counter-evidence is probably equally unlikely to be effectual...
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  31. Here's what I don't understand about Monckton's birtherism. He says he's not a birther because he doesn't know where President Obama was born, but he's certain the birth certificate is a forgery. Well, why would Obama create a fake birth certificate unless he wasn't born in the USA?

    Monckton's position is akin to saying "I'm not a climate denier, I just think climate scientists are falsifying data." Oh wait, that's his position on global warming too.

    Well, at least he's consistent.
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  32. Reposted with editing corrections:

    The claims that I saw Monckton present could all be easily shredded by students at UCSD/SIO. The professors wouldn't even need to bother. Franky, I didn't see Monckton present anything that would be worth even a minute of a busy professor's time (unless it was to use as an exam question intended to start the grading-curve somewhere above "0").

    The scientific community is not kept on the "up and up" by asking scientists to waste their time correcting freshman blunders.
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  33. Good point, Dana @#32!

    And, similarly, they just can't get The Word out properly because of the suppressive impact of all the co-conspirators and their masses of dupes.

    I've been surprised by Monckton's leaping right in on this, because he's been relatively cagey on the Birther thing previously.

    Sure, he said this to a Tea Party Rally in 2010:

    “America!Land of opportunity! You can be born in Kenya and end up as president of the United States!”


    But then upbraided upstart journalists who dared credit the English meaning of these words; this was, after all -

    what we on the Right call “A Joke”


    - and it's also what the crowd wants to hear.

    If he's really decided to nail the Nutters' colours squarely to his mast on the basis of Arpaio's 'research' I'd suggest he's made a significant tactical error in what 'I on the Left' might call "the Real World". ;-)

    Because it's such a clear indicator of the quality of 'evidence' on which he is prepared to make the most outlandish of claims, and his capacity to critically examine that evidence.

    And the parallels to other aspects of his position on climate are also clear, as pointed out by Dana.

    Now, holding this example in mind, anyone with their critical facilities somewhat intact is bound in turn to be somewhat leery or similar Lordly pronouncements...

    The base won't care, of course.
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  34. Why didn't I think of that?..........Caerbannog's #10 and #18 accounts of Monckton's chosen venue of an unpublicized appearance to an underworld-from-reason of the right wing could have been predicted. When the debunkers are always there after every public appearance, correcting his errors, for all interested people to see - it was always inevitable that he would some day have to retreat. And leave the lecture circuit of simulated scientific discussions for something else. Here, to that of rabble rousing applause lines.

    Even so, it is depressing and scary now that it has happened. These are people who don't believe in evolution. Despite the obvious proof that every single fossil has been found positioned in evolutionary order. And none in creationsist order - no giraffes amidst the dinosaurs.
    Think about how much harder it will be for creationists to learn from experiencing global warming's consequences - which will always be interspersed with the occasional old fashioned cold spell (resulting from weather variability).

    However, though we decry what comes next, this is progress, and a success for the debunking community. The more he's quoted from such appearances, the less welcome he will be at semi-serious-science occasions, to spread his climate science errors.

    After watching all of Potholer54's Youtube videos..........I'm inclined to give Peter Hadfield (and Peter Sinclair) much of the credit. Video, Marshall McLuhan's "hot" medium, is best for exposing the errors of a denier like Monckton.
    Typeface on paper or screen is better for presenting ideas or science. A reader can proceed at his own speed, go back, repeat, scan forward, and generally jump around. It is also simpler, less labor intensive, and cheaper: since all one needs is a keyboard. However, it cannot convery as much as quickly [that picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words thing].

    Show, don't tell..........Peter Hadfield, in his 5 part Youtube series, amply demonstrates that video is the best medium for Monckton. And that it can be effective without resorting to the boring scientific details that might be misinterpreted by a general audience.
    .....Him misstating a research paper, followed by a visual of the paper and the contradicting statements in it.
    .....Him misstating a quote, followed by a visual of the original source of the quote.
    .....Him misusing graphs, as by cherry picking. Which is quickly demonstrated, by showing the correct graphs.
    .....Him being contradicted by himself - via videos from his other presentations.
    .....Him denying in emails that he'd made the mistakes pointed out by Peter Hadfield, followed by examples of same.

    Monckton's non response..........could also have been predicted by anyone who had just viewed those 5 videos. It's obvious that it has always been a mistake for Monckton to engage with Peter Hadfield. Because Monckton would always be expected to lose the least gullible among his potential believers - if they actually watched the videos.
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  35. Snake oil salesmen are good entertainment as long as we understand the joke. When they are believed and stop us from taking the medicine we really need, the joke is wearing a little thin.
    0 0
  36. I met my first honest-to-God conspiracy theorist on Saturday, while handing out 'How to vote' cards for our State (Queensland) election. He genuinely believes that 9/11 was a USA conspiracy and that there is a small group ruling the world, amongst a raft of other ideas. I didn't engage him on AGW, not surprisingly. Up until then in my life, I have been treating everyone as reachable and teachable. Not any more. I now know there are genuine conspiracy theorists, who sincerely believe propositions that I regard as completely insane.

    For that reason, my attitude toward the Mighty Monckton has mellowed a little. Previously, I regarded him as an intelligent person who is deliberately spreading misinformation for reasons of his own. Now, I have to admit there is a possibility that he is like my voter: a simple soul who genuinely believes what the voices in his head are telling him. If so, it would explain his religious zeal in spreading the Word to the masses.
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  37. Look 16% of the population is rational and analytical by birth For the rest of the population, it is an ill-fitting suit. So roughly half of the non-rational are going to get it right, and half won't - maybe 75% of the rational will get it right (GIGO).

    so right now it appears we are losing. But CA and BC and Australia and most of Europe are already preventing climate change. We are due for one wallop of an El Nino - polling data tells us people "believe" in climate change more as it gets warmer each summer. So a particularly hot summer could turn this whole thing around, and these ignorant-on-purpose folks will find something else to be silly about.

    We just need that hot outlier soon, ideally in a US election year....
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  38. Peter Hadfield deserves a medal for holding Monckton accountable for his nonsense. Peter's efforts have placed Monckton (and those who aid and abet Monckton's fallaccies and misinformation) between a rock and a hard place :)

    A very sincere thank you Peter!
    0 0
  39. Watts says "While I can’t hear what Hadfield is saying (he sounds like a British mumble to me)"

    And it is because of people like Watts that they replace Sir David Attenborough's distinctive clear voice with American actors thereby taking a superb documentary and turning it into just another bunch of pretty pictures with nothing to distinguish it from other nature films. I saw 30 seconds of Frozen Planet while visiting friends and it had Baldwin narrating--it was turned off quite quickly. Without saying anything to each other we all agreed it was much better to wait for it to air in Canada as they'd keep Attenborough's voice in it.

    On some consideration, I wonder if Anthony needs a hearing aid?? My dad started complaining that people with accents mumble (he's British so pretty much everyone he met in Canada was "mumbling"), but once we talked him into getting hearing aids--only took five years--he could understand people quite well again. Peter H certainly doesn't mumble. He enunciates quite well and is easily understandable.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [RH] Anthony Watts does have a hearing impairment which would cause this video to likely be somewhat unintelligible for him. I sent him a private email (cc'ing both Peters) saying I would take the time to transcribe the video for him. I have not heard back from him. It's one thing to not be able to hear it, but it's quite another to not want to and to come to conclusions about what is being said without actually knowing what is being said.
  40. Daniel #39: Watts is indeed hearing-impaired. He even used that as a defense when he made false claims about the initial BEST analysis.
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  41. I have been wondering if Monckton, when he gets back to his hotel room after the applause has died down, feels even slightly embarrassed by the quality of the audience he attracts. For some reason, it made me think of a professional magician who will not show his tricks at a magician's conference, but has to find an audience that is still amazed that he can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
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  42. Hadfield provided a transcript - it's also provided in the above post, below the introduction, before the video.
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  43. re 41- and my apologies to those magicians who can pull a real rabbit out of a real hat.
    0 0
  44. Dana... Anthony's issue was with the interview Hadfield did with Sinclair. There is no transcript of that. In fact, I just got an email from Anthony rejecting my offer to transcribe the interview for him.
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  45. jimb Not magicians, rather tv wrestlers.
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  46. Notwithstanding the glorious Lord Monckton's oratorical skills which are a frightening example of rabble rousing McCarthyism, the "serious sceptics" one finds online are zeroing in (being forced to zero in) on only a few real debating points. Rob Honeycutt and myself have been hammering away at one of these incorrigibles on a Greenman video recently

    What they have is only this:

    1) It hasn't warmed as much as expected recently
    2) Lindzen and Choi 2011, with a side order of Spencer and Braswell have shown that climate feedback is neutral or negative
    3) Errrm - ?

    Nail these two in a manner that could convince the general public in a debating type forum and we win. Fail to do that and we lose the political credibility necessary for sufficient action to be taken soon enough.
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  47. #46: SkS has some comment on Dessler's 2011 paper that deals with Lindzen and Choi here and also in a little more detail here. As for "it hasn't warmed as much as expected recently", Foster and Rahmstorf 2011 show that it has warmed just as much as expected, given recent solar and ENSO variations and the ongoing GHG forcing increase. The 2000s were also hotter than expected given the decadal trend through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

    Convincing the general public is a different matter - new temperature records will go a long way to dealing with your #1 IMHO, and #2 is largely irrelevant as LC11 is a poor, debunked paper at variance with a mountain of evidence. New temperature records look distinctly possible in the next few years, largely dependant on ENSO, and are virtually certain after a few years regardless with the continuing rise in forcing.

    I don't think all this is that much about debating type fora anyway. That people like Monckton continue speaking rubbish shows you don't need evidence to claim to have a debate. But there's so little hard evidence to support any of the various mutually contradictory skeptical stances, they are finding it increasingly hard to support pretty much any points. This is leading to increased infighting and marginalisation amongst skeptics as they try and decide which points to follow.
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  48. Long time lurker; first time poster. jimb, you wrote: "I have been wondering if Monckton, when he gets back to his hotel room after the applause has died down, feels even slightly embarrassed by the quality of the audience he attracts."

    I don't think he is at all embarrassed. I think he is a classic narcissist who (a) believes all he writes, (b) loves and needs the adulation, (c) realizes he is onto a very good thing: someone who will pay his way, audiences who love him because he supports the status quo they want, a network of deniers who support him and to whom he in turn can offer support. If he ever doubted that what he writes is nonsense, that cognitive dissonance is easily overcome by all the support he gets from adoring audiences--"they love me so I must be right!"

    His debate with Peter Hadfield is done and Anthony Watts has cemented that. He will just steer clear of any real debate; Tim Lambert got to him on stage, but he's the only one, AFAIK.

    I get a kick out of some of his nonsense: you've just gotta laugh at his pompous claim that he and others are trying to get U of C. shut down, but his audience would love (and obvious did love) him making such a threat.

    The only thing that could deflate his circus tent is if he libels someone with one of his outrageous ad homs and someone takes legal action.
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  49. I have followed Monckton's progress from the time that he was the designer of a mathematical puzzle in the 1980s (the Eternity Puzzle). Before then he was a ‘parliament botherer’. Very good friends of mine was a civil servant in the Thatcher government and has related how Monckton would turn up unannounced, and assume a position of authority within a department when no authority was given.

    Monckton is superb with words – an excellent speaker with a formidable lexicon. He has a phenomenal grasp of both mathematics and human nature. He is a showman – a master of reading the subtle signals in a crowd so that he can give them what they want to hear. In this way, Monckton appeals very much to an older generation, those who do not want to believe that the climate has been changed by human activity. He gives them relief from guilt and permission to continue their lives without what they may perceive to be a threat to their hard-earned lifestyles.

    However, Monckton is quite obviously not a figure to be ridiculed and ignored. He has presented to (and misled) the US Congress on (two?) occasions. He is deputy leader of UKIP, a political party here that aims to separate the UK from the EU. He is a popular speaker all over the world with a dangerous message. He is – as one commentator has suggested – the epitome of a demagogue.

    There is always one thing that is overlooked about Monckton that fascinates me. His illness. A friend of mine is a doctor who watched a video of Monckton with me. She guessed without knowing that he suffered from Graves disease, both because of his eyes and his personality.

    This seems to be considered unworthy to mention. I can understand that we should be fair to him because he is not guilty of causing his hyperthyroidism – and because it is a horrible complaint that he obvious bears with fortitude. However, I can’t see why, when the stakes are so high, that we have to ignore that thyroid disorders are usually accompanied by mental illness and symptoms such as Histrionic Personality Disorder which results in the need to be the centre of attention . At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law – Hitler suffered brain damage from gassing in the trenches during the First World War. I wonder if he would have been quite so popular if more people had known. I wonder how history will judge us for sweeping Monckton’s illness under the carpet.
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  50. bibasir,
    Watching a tv wrestler pull a rabbit out of a hat would be an entertaining treat indeed
    0 0

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