The public climate science debate (not the debate among scientists) has seen some of the most blatant info ops in modern American history. True believers mark the boundaries of acceptable thought by pissing on those who transgress them. These are powerful demonstrations of John Robb’s “open source networks, where like-minded people work together without central direction towards a common goal (for more about this see his website, Global Guerrillas).
In this case, to discredit any voices opposing the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Since they’re saving the world, many otherwise evil methods are meritorious. Misrepresentations, lies, smears, never even acknowledging the other side’s rebuttals. In a nation of sheep, the dogs need not work too to herd them into the pen.
Today’s example is SuperFreakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt. Deliveries begin October 20, but already the AGW propaganda machinery has revved up to discredit it. From their first replies to these attacks, the authors appear to believe its a debate. Posted at their New York Times blog:
- “The Rumors of Our Global-Warming Denial Are Greatly Exaggerated“, Steven Levitt, 17 October 2009
- “Global Warming in SuperFreakonomics: The Anatomy of a Smear“, Stephen Dubner, 18 October 2009
Watch them try to crayfish back to the safety of the pen. Soon they’ll learn that only confession and penance will satisfy the believers in the Green Religion. Otherwise their names will feature in the Green’s two minute hate sessions.
For an example of the more rational critiques of this book see “More Superfreakonomics: emails from Steven Levitt“, Yoram Bauman, at his blog, 18 October 2009 — I recommend reading it in full; the following are just brief excerpts.
About joining the smear swarm based on one blogger’s accusations: “I will wait for your post about Caldeira, my apologies for jumping the gun.” Bauman’s an extraordinary individual, considering how rare apologies appeear on the Internet. I doubt we’ll see such statements from many other critics.
About the errors in SuperFreakonomics:
- “My perspective is that you are probably correct that there are few factual errors in the book … but that you are ignoring the overall thrust of the chapter, which is terribly misleading.”
- “… It’s not factually incorrect to write … but all of these statements collectively give a terribly misleading perspective …”
- “… Yes there are agnostics who “grumble that human activity accounts for just 2 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions”, but this is not a reason to doubt the theory of anthropogenic climate change. The book makes it sound like YOU are among the agnostics, and this is bad.”
- “… Yes the earth’s climate has changed a lot even before humans, and I’ll assume your story about the methane fog is correct; but you’re clearing giving the impression that the “true believers” are wrong and that the “heretics” are right. This is not factually incorrect but it is terribly misleading and makes it seem like you are casting doubt on the current scientific consensus.”
- “… So that’s my two cents: Your chapter pains me not because it’s factually incorrect but because it clearly gives a misleading impression of the scientific consensus on climate change.”
Facts are OK, according to this PhD economist, but not if they cast doubt on “the scientific consensus” — which apparently should be regarded by the laity as a papal bull — subject to change in the future, but unquestioned since it is without possibility of error.
Short version: The masses must not be exposed to thoughtcrime.
Using Google you can easily find the other ten thousand blog posts and articles attacking this book, few of which even approach Bauman’s precision of thought and fairness. Most are just agitprop, many of the crudest kind. Esp since the book is not yet out.
The previous such campaign was against Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Another book so evil that its publication was preceded by intense attacks, often based on little but the writer’s imagination or delusions. My impression is that the attacks diminished once the book hit the shelves, suggesting that their goal was not debate but to prevent people reading the book.
For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp relevance to this topic:
- Science & Nature – my articles
- Science & nature – studies & reports
- Science & Nature – general media articles
- Articles from the 1970’s about global cooling/warming
Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.
Some posts about the public dimension of the climate science debate:
- Is anthropogenic global warming a scientific debate, or a matter of religious belief?, 22 November 2008
- Another pro-global warming comment, effective PR at work!, 1 December 2008
- The definitive rebuttal to skepticism about global warming!, 10 December 2008
- High school science facts prove global warming! Skeptical scientists humiliated by this revelation!, 31 December 2008
- The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2008
- George Will: climate criminal or brave but sloppy iconoclast?, 23 February 2009
- A note on the green religion, one of the growth industries in America, 17 March 2009
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