In my opinion this entire sorry episode goes straight to the heart of the difference between the way alarmists like Williamson see the world, and the way normal people view the world. Alarmists seem to want their models, theories and opinions to be accepted as established fact. But the reality is their shaky theories are full of poorly supported conjecture and extrapolation.

Eric Worrall on WUWT, quoted by Dellers who has criticised Williamson's facile alarmism:

Friday, 21 January 2011

Climate Scaremongering Antidote: look at the quality of the scaremongerers

IPCC Nobel Laureates Lack Scientific Credibility

' IPCC insiders say many of those who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize have weak scientific credentials. They were chosen because they are of the right gender or come from the right country.'

Here is some good quality journalism - researched, penetrating, well-expressed, and giving a real sense of an independent, thinking mind at work and looking for clarity and insight.  Refreshing.  Three cheers for Donna Laframboise!    Shocked by an article which casually described an Argentinian scientist as a 'Nobel prize winner', she put that in the right perspective (he was merely part of the IPCC which was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, not a science one) and then she dug through the IAC report and summarised some of the comments from IPCC insiders about their coworkers, e.g.

'Many scientists are [selected] by their political position and not by their competence. (p. 373)

'The most important problem of the IPCC is the nomination and selection of authors and Bureau Members. Some experts are included or excluded because of their political allegiance rather than their academic quality. Sometimes, the “right” authors are put in key positions with generous government grants to support their IPCC work, while the “wrong” authors are sidelined to draft irrelevant chapters and sections without any support. (p. 542)

'The whole process… [is] flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance. All decisions are political before being scientific. (p.554)

'I tried very hard to engage my [Working Group 2] bureau…only one out of six was really helpful. Two others meant well, but didn’t know the science well enough to be constructive, and the other three were simply unprepared to help in any meaningful way. (p. 587)'

This has been picked up on Bishop Hill, where there is some further discussion of the quality of scientists in the climatology area.  Haunting the Library also has it, and highlights this quote:

'…two [lead authors] on our chapter (one from a developing country and one European) never wrote a word or contributed much to discussions– nevertheless they remained credited. I felt this was unfair on those that actually wrote the text. (p. 35)'

It is not just the IPCC that gives grounds for concern.  I do get the impression that the more strident alarmist scientists are less impressive in several ways that those who are calling for a calmer approach, but that may be because I expect that to be the case.  I think there are also grounds for believing many of the leaders in the CO2 alarm movement are also not of the best that we poor mortals can find amongst us.  I stumbled upon a site the other day which captured quotes from Al Gore, mostly from over 10 years ago around the US presidential election in the year 2000.  Here it is: One of the links given is to an essay here: which is particularly trenchant, e.g. commenting on his performance in a TV debate:

'Gore also seems to have a very shaky hold on reality. He keeps stretching it, undoing it, remaking it. His exaggerations, lies, made-up stories, suggest that he ought to be a novelist rather than a politician.

'He is robotic in his loud, assertive campaign slogans, which are supposed to pass for serious argument. The monotonous repetition of the same words and phrases are supposed to leave in the minds of the audience indelible impressions that will make people vote for him.'

And this:

'I believe we saw the real Al Gore in the third debate. Eleanor Clift, unhappy over Gore's performance in the first two debates, told her colleagues on the McLaughlin Group, "Let Gore be Gore." And that's what he was in the third debate. He was sanctimonious, unctuous, overbearing, rude, monotonous, repetitive, smug, belligerent, wooden and unbelievable. He constantly broke the rules of the debate by interrupting Bush. The trouble is that no one can trust Gore's figures or assertions because the label of liar hangs over his head. And yet, many millions will vote for him.

'The dictionary defines a psychopath as "a person suffering from a mental disorder," and it defines hysteria as "a psychiatric condition variously characterized by emotional excitability, excessive anxiety, sensory and motor disturbances." If you observed Gore in the first debate, you saw a man contorting his face, reflecting emotional excitability of an extreme kind. His body language reflected excessive anxiety about his ability to win the debate. His psychopathic behavior indicates that he does suffer from a mental disorder. He is unable to adhere to the truth, to reality. His behavior suggests an obsessive personality, so determined to become President that he is willing to say anything, and perhaps do anything, that will get him there. He does not have the temperament required of a President. Because his word can never be trusted, he is disqualified from the job. '

Now is this genuine insight, or merely vicious snark from a biased commentator during a close-fought election campaign?  More research needed.

But I do note that Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' has been distributed to schools throughout the UK, in England by government fiat, in Scotland by an energy company.  I note further that a court in England ruled that the film was so political, that to avoid prosecution under a law against political indoctrination in schools, a list of cautions and examples of major errors had to be provided at every viewing (

One of Gore's catchphrases is 'the science is settled'.  It seems to me that the science is settled only in the sense that we know we know nothing like enough about the climate system to make useful forecasts over tens and hundreds of years ahead.  Our computer models are puny in the face of a great complexity, and serve only to provide illustrations of how crude models behave when programmed this way and that.  In my own deservedly humble opinion, the scientific case for alarm is not at all convincing.  It follows for me that the wave of political action and alarums around climate is driven by other factors, not least the personalities and inclinations of the leading players.  This is an area which I hope will receive deep and prolonged study, if only to make society more 'resilient' (to borrow a catchword).  In other words, spending some time on personalities is not a distraction, not a search for cheap jibes, but rather is one of the crucial areas for investigation.  As the IPCC sinks in its own quagmire of deceit and manipulation, we want to learn as much as we can about how and why it has been so influential for so long.  Some theories for that are given here, largely asserting that successful propagandising is the key:

In the midst of this swirl of agitation, propaganda, and assertions, schools and educational leaders generally would surely be wiser if they concentrated on basic science, on observations, and on calm reason, rather than thoughtlessly going with the flow and adding to the consternation and confusion, not to mention the fear and destructiveness, by pushing such travesties as 'An Inconvenient Truth' on to the young.  The moral, and the scientific high ground has been occupied by those who see no evidence to justify acute alarm about manmade CO2 in the atmosphere.  Would that the political and educational systems moved there as well.

Note added 23 Mar 2012.  More on sociopaths/psychopaths in politics here and here.

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