There are so many idiots writing nonsense blogs for The Telegraph it’s barely worth highlighting individual examples of their boastful ignorance. Sometimes, however, I can’t help but be encouraged by the gushing veneration of their commenters.
Thusly, it was Stew’s comment on Gerald Warner’s post, BBC: forecast of a mild winter ‘wasn’t actually wrong’. And they called climate sceptics ‘deniers’, that spurred me into writing this inaugural post for 2010.
“Devastating; and brilliantly argued. Thank you, Mr Warner.”
Now, after reading just a few paragraphs of Mr. Warner’s paranoid rant, I would not have considered it “brilliantly argued”. Nor would I have considered it sensible, rational or relevant. Still, I can’t help but think that maybe it’s me who is at fault here; that I’m just too blinded by my liberal sensibilities to spot the luminosity of the polemic. I must therefore stick my surgeon’s cap on and dissect the article, in the hope that I might learn something.
Let us first ascertain the thrust of Mr. Warner’s argument, by means of a quick precis:
Warner begins by focusing on a quote from the BBC’s Science Editor saying that recent weather predictions were not wrong but gave “the wrong impression”. He uses the fallibility of the MET, and the obvious cold weather of this January, to claim AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is a scam inspired by an ideological agenda. He chucks the brainwashing of kids in there too.
Okey dokey. Let’s get started… (I’ve included as much of the original article as I thought relevant to prove I wasn’t selecting the silliest paragraphs – however, I did cut some sections out that seem to have been included merely for the purpose of adding sarcasm but didn’t further any argument)
Note: this isn’t really an attack on Warner. He only wrote a stupid article and, as far as I’m aware, doesn’t claim that it’s anything more than a piece of shit. This is intended for Stew and others like him who can’t seem to distinguish between a good argument and a typical right-wing crudfest.
Fasten your seat-belt before you read this one. It’s a corker.
Hm. The inherent assumption here immediately reveals what’s coming. As far as Warner is concerned, his readers already agree with him. This isn’t how you begin a devastating argument, it’s how you kick off a bawdy joke…
It is a quote from Susan Watts, BBC Science Editor, on Newsnight, as she attempted to explain why the abysmal failure of climate “scientists” to predict current weather conditions does not in any way reduce their credibility in predicting global warming. Watts said: “In fact that seasonal forecast predicting a mild winter wasn’t actually wrong, but it left people with the wrong impression.”
Getting to the meat of the article here. The quote Warner uses here does sound like a lame cop-out. Unfortunately, this is an example of cherry-picking a sentence and misrepresenting it. I watched the episode of Newsnight Warner refers to (you can find it here, helpfully positioned at the relevant point in the programme – annoyingly, Warner doesn’t provide any links) and the quote used was not an attempt to enhance the credibility of global warming predictions – merely a summary of why were led to expect a mild winter. Susan Watts continues to talk about how scientists predict the weather and why this extreme cold was not anticipated. The “science bit” if you will. As the reality of hoaxiness of AGW is mostly dependent on the science, you would expect Warner to tear apart the rest of Watts’ segment in the next paragraph of his article. Before we move on to see if he did or not (spoiler: he didn’t), I want to point out the scare quotes Warner places around scientists. Is he implying the “scientists” aren’t scientists? On what grounds? Such theatrics and lack of clarity does not bode well for a so-called “brilliant argument”.
If you think I am making this up, I cannot honestly blame you. I can only invite you to go to BBC iPlayer and view Newsnight for 7 January, in order to hear this garbage for yourself.
Again, starting with a very non-argumental assumption. Oh, and he didn’t say anything about the rest of the Newsnight segment – the section that contained the explanation and justification for why the prediction wasn’t wrong and why this cold spell isn’t contrary to global warming theory. As Warner doesn’t actually challenge any of the statements made, I can only assume that they are factually accurate. This is particularly important as one of the points made is that these record lows in the Northern Hemisphere is being matched by record highs in the Southern Hemisphere. Also, when the question about trusting global climate predictions IS raised, there’s a very clear and succinct answer.
If you look out the window you might get the impression of Arctic conditions.
Not if you live in Bulgaria…
But please remember, that is only an impression – a wrong impression. In scientific terms, it is baking hot.
Sarcasm. The cornerstone of every great argument.
In Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited there is an entertaining passage in which Rex Mottram, an adventurer, is taking instruction in the Catholic faith, in order to marry an heiress. Devoid of belief, he is anxious to conform. Asked by the priest, if the Pope predicted rain would it be bound to happen, he says yes. And if it didn’t rain, persists the priest? “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.”
An intellectual quote, highlighting the folly of unquestioning belief when faced with a lack of supporting evidence. I would consider that ironic.
That is the territory we are now in with climate change. Global warming is all around us, only we are too sinful/sceptical/denying to see it.
Who’s saying you’re too sinful to see global warming? Clumsily linking your argument to a barely relevant passage from a book does not make your argument better. And, of course, the people who have seen the evidence and believe in global warming WOULD think you’re too sceptical/denying to see it. I still don’t know what you’re basing your scepticism/denial on!
The total, insupportable falsity of the whole AGW scam is so blatant that its apologists’ excuses are now not so much infantile as cretinous.
This is an awesome claim. Total, insupportable falsity. So blatant. Unfortunately, none of the “excuses” used in Newsnight report have been countered by you. Am I supposed to simply take your word for it that they’re so obvious? So far, the only evidence offered by Warner that global warming isn’t taking place is that it’s snowing in the UK in January… more on that in a bit.
A week ago we had the Gulf Stream Guff, but that could hardly account for conditions in Beijing, so that has faded from the radar.
An explanation for conditions in Beijing is included in the Newnight report – minutes after the quote Warner cherry-picked. I wouldn’t trust an argument from someone who hasn’t bothered to watch the whole of the video they’re supposed to be arguing against – and someone who doesn’t respect their readers enough to expect them to watch it. Also, the “Gulf Stream Guff” has hardly disappeared from the radar, being mentioned by The Times weatherman on the 7th January.
Now we are urged, imperiously and superciliously, to distinguish between “weather” and “climate”.
Aha! Another ploy calculated to appeal to the “sophisticates”. “If you knew the first thing about it, you would not make the basic mistake of confusing weather with climate…” Zzzz… Coming from a bunch of clowns who have confused heat with cold, drought with snow, and fact with fiction – that is rich.
This is a nonsense attack. If you’re going to argue against a scientific theory you should naturally be expected to grasp the basics. In this case, it means understanding the difference between weather and climate. If that bores you, don’t bother with it. But that means you should take yourself out of the debate. Also note the unqualified, wildly exaggerative last sentence. “A bunch of clowns” certainly seems an infantile insult… Hypocrisy: not the making of a good argument.
[On the MET office website] under the heading “How our forecasts have improved”, you will read: “Through continual investment in research, supercomputing and observations, Met Office scientists have steadily improved the accuracy of our forecasts. All of the forecasts we produce are stored and their accuracy assessed, so that we can learn from what went wrong with inaccurate forecasts and make sure that they keep getting better.”
Not since Soviet reports, circa 1952, of record tractor production figures for the Ukraine have the claims of any government agency, anywhere on earth, displayed such detachment from reality.
Another claim that is hard to take seriously. Also note that the MET office are only saying that its forecasts have improved and that they learn what went wrong with inaccurate forecasts. Nowhere does Warner provide evidence (or even claim) that forecasts have not improved or that the MET does not try to improve them. If the detachment from reality he’s referring to is not the claim from the MET office website but the weather forecast (which isn’t made clear) then this statement is even more bizarre as nobody is denying the reality of the cold weather. In fact, as Watts points out in the Newsnight report and Warner doesn’t challenge, short term predictions have been highly accurate.
When the writer of an argument doesn’t even bother reading the quotes he’s using, does that count as “brilliant” or “devastating”?
[The BBC] is now churning out lies on a scale that would have made the commissar in charge of Radio Moscow under Stalin blench. The breathtaking words of Watts were followed by a studio debate involving two supporters of climate change orthodoxy. (What did you expect – Monckton, Delingpole, some revisionist deviationist from the party line?)
What exactly are the ‘Stalinist’ lies the BBC are churning out, Mr. Warner? Had he listened throughout the segment Warner would know that Watts’ words were based on the explanation that weather forecasts are a matter of probability. While a mild winter may have been more likely, the chance of a cold winter was 1 in 5. Judging by Warner’s utter amazement at Watts’ report, he must dispute this method, but he doesn’t actually say this nor does he offer any reason why he disputes this. Therefore, this isn’t a bloody argument.
As a side note, Warner’s view that the studio debate should have had a voice from the denier side is an interesting one. On one hand, you can almost understand the need for an opposing view. On the other, you can see that giving an equal weighting to non-conventional, fringe opinion does not help further the debate. The reality or unreality of climate change is a scientific question. Considering that the scientific consensus says global warming is real, it doesn’t make sense to frame the argument so it appears to be more divisive than it really is.
In this specific example, the global warming question was not the central theme of the segment. The two guests were both relevant to the topic and were, presumably, not invited on because of their opinions on climate change. So the point is irrelevant and stupid. Warner’s suggestion would be like that vapid prick Delingpole guest-narrating a BBC nature documentary with David Attenborough.*
When confronted with the fact that the map published by the Met Office early last month still shows Britain in orange (the warmest category), Keith Groves, Met Office director of operations, responded: “I think you have to be very careful about how you use this information.” I’d go along with that. The Met Office predicted a “mild winter”. The definition of a mild winter is temperatures above 4.3C. While Newsnight was broadcasting this twaddle, temperatures were plunging to as low as – 22.3C.
Groves followed the quote chosen by Warner by reiterating the point that the map prediction contains a “20-30% probability of having a colder than normal winter”. He goes on to say that compared to the statistics of the last 10 years the MET predicted a higher probability of a colder than normal winter. Just to be clear, I’m not making any statement about whether or not the MET office was right. I’m only sharing the relevant information that Warner didn’t so you can develop a better understanding of the issue and form your own opinion. Again, Warner doesn’t dispute Groves explanation, he merely dismisses it as twaddle. This is not making an argument: the definition of a mild winter Warner drops in is a red herring but is actually irrelevant to the wider argument.
The line being taken among climate alchemists now is: “We admit we cannot predict whether a season will be hot or cold; we are lousy at forecasting the weather over a week, a month, a quarter or a year. But when it comes to forecasting conditions in 2030, we are infallible.”
A search for the source of this quote did not come back with any results, so I can only assume that Warner’s being sarcastic again. This isn’t made clear. It’s also an example of a straw man argument, which isn’t good practice. In reality, nobody’s taking that line.
Next is the really scary bit…
The references above to the Soviet Union are deliberate. I employ them because of the very real parallel with the present situation. The global warming frauds always had Plan A and Plan B in preparation. Plan A was to brainwash the population of Britain, America and the rest of the developed world into believing in man-made global warming. That was the preferred option; but it has failed.
Plan B, which will now come into operation, is to replicate what happened in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Nobody believed in the economic illiteracy that was Marxism-Leninism any more; but jobs, promotion, status, even retaining one’s liberty depended on paying lip service to it. Those are the terms on which the ideology of Global Warming will now be imposed on a sceptical population: by bribery, coercion, brainwashing of children, employment and promotion blackmail.
That is the agenda. Unless, of course, we do something firm, decisive and possibly very nasty about it.
This is the point where I stop looking at this article as a really shitty argument and instead view it as the digital equivalent of words smeared on the walls of a padded cell in excrement. I have no idea how this paid writer with a regular blog on the website of a prominent national newspaper came to this theory. But it clearly isn’t based on, or supported by, anything referenced in the article.
Who is behind this agenda and what are their motives? This is where the denier conspiracy theory completely falls apart. Surely to be able to coerce the population with promotion and employment the conspiracy would require the buy-in of the vast majority of business community? Where is the evidence of Plan A? How does Warner know what are the terms of Plan B? What the fuck is he talking about!?
I want to know why Warner is such an idiot. His article lacks a logic or coherence, but I assume he’s capable of intelligent thought and must be aware that he’s churned out a stream of spurious self-contained opinions backed up by cherry-picked quotes. I can only conclude that he (and that deplorable Delingpole) is a controversy whore. Nothing more than a well-paid troll.
And, obviously, I’m falling for the bait. I just couldn’t help myself. I apologise.
Final word: Warner, stop being a dick. It isn’t big, it isn’t clever and you’re adding absolutely nothing to the debate – nay, the world. I hope you understand that and secretly despise yourself for your lack of intellectual honesty.
Good night. X x
*Yes, I know I’m guilty of gross exaggeration but it was part of italicised text so it doesn’t really count…