Monday, May 31, 2010

Maybe Some Inconvenient Similarities

A recent commenter (the only one to date concerning Uncle Joe and the Watermelons) seemed to have trouble making the link between the posting concerning Stalin’s reign and the antics of the AGW + Green crowd. In the previous posting I didn’t realize the need to be so explicit concerning what I thought to be the obvious.  In the following I have tried to make these inconvenient similarities a little more explicit. Each point could be the basis of a lengthy essay but responses here are kept much shorter.

I should make one point clear here. I am not a raving skeptic. I am not at all in favour of raping and plundering the planet on which we live for the sake of short term gains. But I am in favour of informed rational thought and rational action. I guess I have a rather moderate view concerning climate change. But if once in a while the parties involved would step out of the box and put the climate change issue (and all that surrounds it) into the perspective of a political philosophy (as opposed to a plitico-scientific issue) they might see things a little differently.

1. To begin, Koba’s reign of tyranny, was a reign that was indulged by Western intellectuals.

Climate change, particularly its remediation, is a point of contention. It is, however, indulged by Western intellectuals as if there only facts and no assumptions . (See statement by professional/scientific organization)

2. The Cheka - The Extraordinary Commission - (a soviet state security organization) operated by instilling fear in people. People needed to know they were never safe for the Cheka to operate successfully.

The IPCC and Co. tend to let people know they are never safe and people need to be kept this way if the IPCC and Co is to maintain its existence. (Although recently, the IPCC has been accused of understating the potential dangers of global warming and the public are beginning to have their doubts.)

3. Stalin, history books will tell us, waged war on the truth. Torture and fear were used to force people to collude in a fiction.

Well, we don’t have torture yet, but we do have some healthy doses of fear instilled in the public,  (although, it is beginning to subside, at least according to recent polls). The extent of the fear even gave rise to new forms of therapy for those individual no longer able to deal with the daily bombardment of environmental threat (at least in the USA).   And, according to the fall out of climategate there is definitely an attempt to wage war on the truth.

4. Bendy, the poet, was evicted from the Writer’s Union for writing a satirical opera (Bogatyrs).

While no one, to my knowledge, has been evicted from any scientific institute yet (for being a skeptic) they have certainly been penalized in pal review system.

5. Stalin was noted as saying ‘There is a man, there is a problem. No man, no problem.’

Much to do with global warming often comes back to issues of over population and the evils of humanity.

6. Tsipko, a noted Russian philosopher characterized the Bolsheviks as having a desire to astonish the world.

Some of the alleged global warming impacts certainly seem astonishing.

7. In December 1930 Stalin told the Institute of Red Professors ‘We have to turn upside down and turn over the whole pile of shit that has accumulated in questions of philosophy and natural science.’ According to Volkogonov, ‘... philosophy dried up ...’ and ...‘ no one had the courage to write anything more on the subject.’

See Climategate

8. Kolakowski: ‘Half starved people, lacking the bare necessities of life, attended meetings at which they repeated the government’s lies about how well off they were, and in a bizarre way they half believed what they were saying ... Truth, they knew, was a Party matter, and therefore lies became true even if they contradicted the plain facts of the experience.’ According to Kolakowski, means define the ends and means, in the USSR, were all you were ever going to get.

Half starved populations of developing countires are continually told to act on behalf of the greater good.  Closer to home, there WAS a large public majority that believed in AGW. Experience so far seems to be contradicting facts (as far as I know I still don’t need to go by ferry to visit the Cologne Cathedral). Measures taken to combat AGW are always decried as being not enough - i.e. while the means are being implicated there never seems to be an end in sight. Witness the perpetuation of talk-fests.

9. Santayanas description of Stalin the fanatic: He redoubles his efforts while forgetting his aims. He doesn’t want to think to know. He just wants to believe.

We just know there is AGW and we just know it will lead to Armageddon.  Some time.
10. Malia, talking on the ubiquitous unreality of Soviet socialism tells us: In short, there is no such thing as socialism, and the Soviet Union built it.’

Maybe: There is no such thing as global warming to the extent it is professed - silicon created it.


Anonymous said...

Possibly this channeling of Glenn 'I'm not saying I believe this, but isn't it interesting that ... ' Beck is supposed to promote intellectual debate, but do you have any idea how offensive this post is?

Comparing a volunteer scientific review body to an organisation known principally for disappearing dissidents in the middle of night, and people who think that increasing emissions of CO2 is not a good idea, to a murderer of more than 20 million people?

Really? Really??!!!??

This is possibly the worst kind of pointless blogging.

geoffchambers said...

I agree with anonymous that this is the worst kind of pointless blogging. I just hope the comments which follow won’t divide on left -right lines.
My political views are diametrically opposed to those of most of the politically motivated sceptics (In England that means Bishop Hill, Delingpole, Booker) which doesn’t prevent me from appreciating their work. There may be interesting comparisons to be made between Warmism and other irrational movements, from National Socialism to Scientology, even including Stalinism - but not like this.

Anonymous said...

I think the commenters before me are not aware of the real situation in the world for the last 20 years.
The money that was wasted on Climatology and mitigation of a fairy tale could have been used to save those lives that were lost and the lives that are being lost. Stalin is a good example of a historical figure just as Hitler is also an example of what is before the world if this farce continues.
The entire UN should have been dissolved long ago as it has promoted every thing but what it was set up to promote which was world peace and Civil rights for all humanity. It is promoting slavery and impoverishment.

Anonymous said...

Time will show.

Frugal Dougal said...

This, I think, is an entertaining and important post exposing the real thinking behind the climate change lies we have to live with. I refer people who are sceptic on this to remarks by James Gaia and Dr "Graft" Pauchauri on how democracy is not conducive to the pursuit of climatological righteousness.

Hammiesink said...

I love it. An attempt to link an idea to Hitler or Stalin in order to discredit it.

The creationists are busy trying to do the same thing with evolution by linking it to Hitler.

This is, of course, fallacious reasoning called guilt by association.

Absolutely beyond pathetic.

AnonyMoose said...

Those who are so concerned about human population growth haven't been paying attention to it, or are only paying attention to fifty-year-old information.

Mike D. said...

The new post-modern science is at least as fanatical as science under Stalin. Skeptics have indeed been booted out of universities. Lysenko-like apparatchiks have commandeered the funding of science, and the "findings" are political rather than framed by rational inquiry and the (former) scientific method.

The new carbon tax structures proposed, based on Lysenko science, will indeed cause mass impoverishment and deaths. Pseudo-scientific CFC and DDT bans have already killed millions. Converting food to fuel, tearing down power dams, shutting off electricity to millions, all have real world consequences to public health and safety.

Stalin's terror was "science-based", as was Hitler's. Those tyrants did not commit all those murders by themselves; they needed the acquiescence and assistance of the populace. They achieved that cooperation through "science-based" fear mongering.

The conflation of politics and science is no different from the conflation of politics and religion. Tyranny begins in the mind. The body (or bodies) follow.

Anonymous said...

Firstly in response to Hammiesink, the AGW fraternity have calling sceptics "deniers" trying to link them in some way with the Holocaust deniers, which is intellectually corrupt - so lets not throw too many stones whilst in the greenhouse.

My wider point is that climate change and AGW has always been about politics not science and if politics is the driver then money is at the root. Events over the last 12 months have shown that the science is at best uncertain at worst complete junk and finally the alarmists are begining to see their "concensus" which is being propogated by political organisations such as the UN and IPCC crumble before their eyes. Step forward Lovelock and Co who seeing the political message fail argue that democracy should be suspended whilst their views are imposed on the populace. Is this not Stalinesque ?

Anonymous said...

Dennis says: "I should make one point clear here. I am not a raving skeptic. I am not at all in favour of raping and plundering the planet on which we live for the sake of short term gains."

Can I say that I don't think that is a very helpful comment. I have never met a skeptic yet who is "in favour or raping and plundering the planet on which we live for short term gains."

That is an emotional statement that completely misrepresents the position of skeptics.

Skeptics, quite reasonably, ask questions of those who proffer dodgy 'science', engage in fear mongering, and seek the real answers to the complex and poorly understood issues of climate science.

I have met some "raving" skeptics - these are generally people so infuriated by what they see coming from the CAGW crowd that they tend to rave on about it. But never do they support raping and plundering the planet.

Not helpful Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Bravo. Spot on.

The methods are not yet as extreme, but the anti-human, "we define the truth" of the environmental pantheists is EXACTLY the same as Papa Joe.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this post. In Australia we have had a green so called "Public Intellectual" (whatever that means) who ran for parliament actually say that we may need to suspend democracy to put the right measures in place. This type of totalitarian thinking is prevalent within the Global Warmist and environmental activists groups. The main reason that they want to work through the UN is that countries actually sign away some of their national sovereignty to the UN with these treaties and, if the greens can control the UN committees they can bypass the democratic processes in those countries. Can you imagine the next series of steps if the pesky humans still refuse to cooperate. How long before we are contending with another Adolf or Uncle Joe.

Zajko said...

I think these comparisons are not very productive and easily misunderstood. In my opinion Mr. Bray has been digging a bit of a hole with this theme.
There are certainly some worthwhile points but totalitarian comparisons smack of lowest-common-denominator argument. Sure, there is always the danger such views will become reality, but we are far from that sort of state and in the current "climate" comparisons to Stalin or Hitler create more problems than they explain. We should never lose sight of the extremes of social possibility, but I see no need to invoke such characters at this point.

Anonymous said...

Zajko, And when do you think would be a good time to invoke such characters. We have already seen calls from the proponents of CAGW to prosecute the "deniers", or to strangle them in their beds and even a call to violence against them with the Greenpeace "We know where you live" article. We have seen a rather cynical and secretive attempt at Copenhagen to foist a regime of global government on the world which was only short circuited when the terms of the proposed treaty where made public by a third party. Perhaps we should wait until all avenues for the ordinary person to have a say on these issues is already gone and they are rounding up people in the middle of the night. Remember "The price of liberty is continual vigilance". I think that it is past the time we were all watching these would be dictators and clearly telling them in a loud voice that we do not intend to be enslaved by their green ideology.

Zajko said...

There are threats of severe violence going both ways in this debate, and I do not accept that Copenhagen ever came remotely close to instituting a One World Government, even if some of the participants may have desired it (additionally, we have currently have many global governments - the main "threat" of Copenhagen was to add another to the list). Simple political disagreements/divergent interests sunk the Copenhagen treaty, not Monckton waking up the world with his viral video.
Yes, I find totalitarian/persecutionist rhetoric despicable, on both sides. But there is no need to imagine the Holocaust or Communist purge to criticise such claims.

Anonymous said...

Zajko says: "There are threats of severe violence going both ways in this debate."

There is a thesis that parties for whom the end justifies the means use death threats against prominent members of their own side in an effort to make it seem like the other side is using threats of violence, and so weaken their image in the public arena.

By their nature, death threats are anonymous, and how would anyone know where they come from in actuality.

Death threats still get publicity. Numerous CAGW activists have claimed that they have received death threats. And they have the effect of influencing attitudes of the public towards those who receive the death threats.

Of course, I don't expect anyone responsible would ever acknowledge that this is what they have done. In the meantime, the 'debate' is more and more compromised.

sHx said...

Stalin also said "if one climatologist lies, that's a tragedy. If a million climatologists lie, that's statistics". :)

ghost said...

interesting post... revealing, actually.

Werner Krauss said...

The Stalin or Hitler comparisons don't make any sense. They are ahistorical, merely offending and mostly plain stupid. Either those comparisons have to be marked as explicitly polemical, or else they have to be handled with care. Yes, it makes sense to look for historical comparisons for example in the green movement, but it does not make any sense at all to call environmentalists or green parties as per se 'eco-fascist'. Yes, it makes sense to look for 'Stalinist' manipulations of facts in the climate debate, but it does not make any sense to call a Phil Jones, a Schellnhuber or even James Lovelock a 'Stalinist' in the strict sense of the term. Yes, if you are not a purist it is allowed to use Hitler or Stalin for satirical purposes (this is how I understand Dennis' contribution); but what if this brings out the worst in other people? It comes as no surprise that there are many right-wing folks among the skeptics; it is also no surprise that the tea-party-folks use climate change as an example for eco-dictatorship conspiracy theories. It is also true that many environmentalists have deeply elitist and anti-democratic feelings. But we - klimazwiebel - have to take care not to become a forum for these political agendas. It is fine to analyze the climate onion layer by layer and from all imaginable perspectives; but I think there is a common ground which is to take climate as a serious problem. This is indeed a line I do not want to cross. I don't want to be in bed with those right-wing tea party whatever folks, and I don't want this blog to become a forum for their weird conspiracy ideas. Is that too much to ask?

Dennis Bray said...

Hi Werner

Have a bad night? Your rantings are difficult to follow. No one called anyone Stalin. You are the one that applied names of living individuals, no one else has made such reference. Ever heard of 'Ideal Types'? Also, I don't think I impilied a conspiracy theory. Anyway, a series of comments follows (too much text for one single comment according to cyber rules) and I hope thye clear things up.

Dennis Bray said...

Before I start referring to specific comments I would like to make one thing clear. I DO NOT think that MOST climate scientists are aware of the larger political connotation of the climate issue. I DO think most climate scientists are mostly interested in their science, be it good or bad science. I DO NOT think that most people working as activists or for NGOs have hidden agendas. The scientists and activists most likely operate under good intentions (sometimes apparently blind, admittedly). They are not political strategists with domination in mind - this is simply one possible off shoot of things they have unwittingly set in motion. They have become weapons for higher aspirations.
I am quite open to arguments that would prove my (Stalin) observations worthless. In fact, one example even comes to my mind. Soviet film making for example was required to emphasize realism: the bronzed muscular male and female bodies happily harvesting fields of mythical plenty. It was a happy scene not designed to invoke fear. Now, compare that to an Al Gore production. Both are films I guess.

OK, now to the comments

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 1. anonymous: I don’t recall saying anything about disappearing people - there was more to Stalinism than that. I can’t say the blog is any more pointless than your comment.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 2. geoffchambers: I am not too sure why you are so excited. Could you please be specific about which points of the posting you find so offensive. How would you go about making what you deem an acceptable comparison between Satlinism and Warmism, the possible interesting comparison that you mention. To commenter 1 and 2, a little substance to your criticism would help me, and possibly some of the readers understand your point of view. Take a deep breathe and construct a logical counter argument. Please, empiricism, not simple value judgment - this is the reason we are in the mess we are in.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 3. another anonymous: I don’t think that currently there is any deliberate intention to promote slavery or impoverishment. If these are indeed a result, they are unintended consequences and are an indication that most policy makers tend to confine solutions to only the short term immediate goal with a short and narrow perspective. Albeit, not intentionally. We all operate with different time horizons.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 5. Frugal Dougal: I can’t agree that this is the REAL thinking behind ‘the climate change lies’. I don’t think anyone has consciously sat down and prepared an agenda. Those who have said ‘democracy is not conducive to the pursuit of climatological righteousness’ might simply be lacking in political forethought and understanding, or if not, they might simply be power hungry ferrets. As I said in the post, once in a while it might be good to step outside of the box.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 6. Hammiesink: I am not trying to discredit anyone or anything. I simply pointed out some observations that I thought (rightly or wrongly) showed some similarities. I am quite open to arguments that would prove my observations wrong.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 8. Mike D: I am glad you refer to POST-MODERN science and not POST-NORMAL science. I do somewhat agree with your comment concerning the funding of science. But only somewhat. I don’t know but I would guess that the budget for medical research somewhat belittles the amount for GW. But then again, I would guess that the budget for GW belittles many other endeavours. But just a note: I don’t think we have a single solitary ‘Stalin’ figure as a vanguard, although perhaps there are a few competitors (said with tongue in cheek).

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 9. Anonymous: I think you have a point about the name calling and I agree about throwing stones, etc. But I don’t think I have sunk to the level of those who label skeptics as being the same as Holocaust deniers. I simply pointed out some similarities between two political philosophies. I didn’t say Alarmists are the same as Stalinists. What I wanted to say is that there are merely some similarities, nothing personal. I am also not so certain about the intention of Stalinestic science: wasn’t it the myth of plenty? Fear was the result of not accepting the myth. Today it seems fear (in the general populace) is the result of ACCEPTING the myth. Those who agreed with Stalin Science had little to fear (except the reality) and those who agree with Alarmists have everything to fear (except the reality). Then again, I could be wrong.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 10. Anonymous: Sorry, but I do believe a lot of misunderstanding can be avoided by carefully reading what is before your eyes (and not just in this case, and not just you). Indeed, I did say ‘I am not a raving skeptic. I am not in favour of raping and plundering the planet ...’. These are two different statements. I DID NOT say ‘Skeptics are in favour of raping and plundering the planet.’ I said “I am not ... . If I said ‘I am not a raving skeptic’, ‘I wear blue jeans’, I would not be implying that raving skeptics do not wear blue jeans! There was no intention of characterizing or misrepresenting skeptics. It was simply a comment concerning my own position. As for raving anything, they usually tend to rely on more than rational argument. Don’t confuse raving skeptic with rational skepticism.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 11. Choare: There is some truth in what you say, but I don’t think the totalitarian thinking is much in the mind of most climate scientists. A few radicals in a few groups perhaps. But the long term outcome may just be towards totalitarianism if we are not watchful. Science has perhaps become a weapon for the aspirations of other.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 12. Zajko: Zajko says the comparisons made in the posting are not easily misunderstood. My apologies, I tried to keep them as simple and straightforward as possible. On the other hand, I don’t know how my comments ‘smack of the lowest common denominator’. I am really not sure what you mean - the denominator of what? Just a thought: If we can invoke the extremes (of extreme events) in presenting the GW issue to the public, why not the extremes of the possible political outcome? You, yourself, say ‘We should never lose sight of the extremes of social possibility’.
And I don’t think I mentioned Hitler.

Dennis Bray said...

Comment 13: Choare: Nothing to add

Comment 14. Zajko: Ah, extreme events again. Hmm - Some of the participants in Copenhagen championed a ‘One World Government’. Interesting. The ‘Despicable Reality’: totalitarian/persecutionist rhetoric on both side’. On this I can agree.

toby said...

I have never read more arrant nonsense on what purports to be a serious blogging site than this.

Standards have dropped ... were even high.

Dennis Bray said...

For the non-English reader:

Arrant: openly criminal.


It is open for discussion. The comments of the critics that have responded are typically without reason.

so again: WHY?

ghost said...

Dennis' post is just the revealing post of the basic tone of this "honest broker" site. They always tried to put Greens or environmental groups or some climate scientists into a totalitarian corner. This is only the low point.

to go back to a harmless example: Dennis, you said Phil Jones or some other scientists are post moral. Why? How strange must you be to think the stolen emails affair is comparable to the finance crisis? Disappointing and disgusting.

BTW: Please, remove the "Honest Broker" label from the site, you are insulting the concept.

Dennis Bray said...

Ghost - I have never mentioned Phil Jones in any post. And no where do I compare stolen emails to the financial crises. Do you have a short term memory problem? What I compared was the uncertainty of the finance crises to the uncertainty of climate change and it was in the context of 'post-normal TIMES' not anyhting else. I suggested that perhaps we should consider this to be post-moral times instead of post normal times. Then again, I can only assume from your comment that you view the recent actions of some financial institutes as being moral? Is that what you are saying? It is difficult to get a clear message from your comment. As for the Moral Broker, I have not seen the site nor read the book so I am not sure what you are getting at: 'Dennis' post is just the revealing post of the basic tone of this "honest broker" site' and 'Please, remove the "Honest Broker" label from the site, you are insulting the concept.' Sorry, I am realy not sure what you are talking about.

sHx said...

Following on from comment #12, here is what Clive Hamilton, Green candidate for a recent by-election, said two years ago:

"In short, we are already past the point that locks in 2C of warming, and will without question go well beyond it. Even a 3C rise is looking very hard to avoid.

Very few people, even among environmentalists, have truly faced up to what the science is telling us.

This is because the implications of 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of "emergency" responses such as the suspension of democratic processes."

His website describe him thus:

"Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. In June 2008 he was appointed Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne."

ghost said...


"Given the role of credit institutes in the recent economic meltdown and the role of scientists in the recent climategate fiasco, perhaps we should begin to consider coining new terms: postmoral science in a postmoral age. As for the postmoral science I have faith that it would consist of a small crowd, perhaps those driven mostly by (ill formed) values."

explain it to me... wGiven me an example? Which role played scientists compared to financial institutes? I consider the role of financial institutes as quite questionable, you say it: post-moral. Who do you mean? Say, it which scientist are postmoral?

Well, maybe I misunderstood this paragraph, but it is a comparison between the role of banks and scientists, which you both consider as post-moral. My short-term memory is not so bad, I assume. Who do you consider as the small crowd of postmoral scientists? Your reference to the stolen emails let me think you mean Phil Jones or Mike Mann, two main protagonists. Or do you mean the persons who waded through the stolen emails? I do not think so. I assume, Hand and Eduardo could tell (and told) some internal stories that show that Prof Mann and prof Jones should have acted differently. I believe them.

BUT post-moral like some financial institutes... distorted view and a disgrace for the "honest broker" approach you are claiming to have.

ghost said...

PS: sorry, for my first paragraph... actually, I wanted to delete it ;).

PPS: and Hand is of course Prof von Storch. As I said: now I do understand some of the critics of Prof von Storch and Eduardo, they showed it with good arguments. But, post-moral... sorry.

Werner Krauss said...

Dennis, I did not have a bad night, but a bad feeling after reading the thread.

Dennis Bray said...

Hey Ghost


The finacial institues- it deosn't seem that larger powers are condoning the activities that led to the finacial crisis. If the leaders of the financial institutes were aware of the goings on, we could harly call it moral behaviour, hence - post-moral, a time without morals in this case
The GW fiasco (climategate) - if the providers of knowledge and information were knowingly altering information or knowingly misprepresenting the knowledge/information and its implications, we could hardly call it moral behaviour, hence - post-moral, a time without morals in this case.

I would not say that post-moral is a term that could be applied to all of current life anymore than the post-normal in the context of the original blog post. Both 'concepts' are plagued with problems.

Short term memory - glad to hear it. But I did not allude to any individual. And I have no intention of doing so. Only those nearest those individuals would be qualified to say - the rest is medaiesque.

As for post-moral, it is was not intended as a 'concept'oer se, but merely as passing metaphor.

Dennis Bray said...

Hi Werner

Glad to hear all is well. Sorry about your bad feeling, that wasn't my intention. Although I fail to understand the smoke and flames.

Why don't we look at the post like this:

I have posed a hypothesis of sorts. Somebody please provide the reasons to reject the hypothesis.

Dennis Bray said...

Ghost - sorry about my spelling but some vision problems these days. Take that for what its worth :-)

ghost said...


okay, I apologize, partially, but I am little fed up with "comparisons". The finance institutes caused a lot of harm to many, many people. Not speaking about the harm caused by Stalinists and fascists or other totalitarian regimes.
I do not like such comparisons anymore. Actually, I try to avoid it because mostly I was wrong when I did.

I know, you do not want to set them on one level, but alone the comparison is more or less a statement.

You are right: if somebody is saying we need a "suspension of democracy", we have to be upset about it. At least, I am. I think, it is stupid. However, one have to name an individual or group but not a cloudy something.

And I wanted deliberately to personalize "the small crowd of scientists". It makes an accusation more perceptible. So often people say somethings in this debate, what I consider as insults. I admit, I have to improve this, too, certainly.

I think, some scientists did not show good scientific behavior in some cases. There was too much pressure, for example, in the review process of papers in the "Hockey arena". Some (prof Mann for example) were sooo defensive, caring almost more about the perception of a paper in the denialosphere (esp. together in connection with his papers) than about the content. At least, it seemed to me like that.

But, data was not manipulated. The WMO paper curves did not show the uncertainties by blending observational data and reconstruction. But basically, they showed the simplified idea of the original curves.

I consider this as bad mistake. One must always show the uncertainties, IMHO.

I am still thinking, the post was not really the best here.

Anonymous said...

In my previous comment I was not thinking about the climate scientists who are more interested in advocacy than science. These people are who Stalin referred to as usefull idiots. The same goes for Clive Hamilton and most of the green politicians. The main concern is with people like Al Gore and Maurice Strong. I am sure that the third world ganster who run the UN are also of concern.

Dennis Bray said...

Hi Ghost

On some matters I agree with you 100%. Comparisons, and God knows there have been hundreds applied to all sides of the debate, might be humourous, entertaining (and on the rare occassion, perhaps even enlightening) or the like, but are typically very unproductive. They can however, sometimes act as a caution.

Perhaps pairing the two alone, as you say, I have made a comparative statement. If nothing else, it points to some level of absurdity the issue has taken - it has become just that - an issue. What has happened to the science.

The declarations of the 'suspensions of democracy': the sorry part is that we take such moronic statements seriously. The climate change issue, with is assumptions, MANY assumptions I think would be agreed upon, should remain within the confines of science at the moment. The PRE-RELEASE to policy and media was perhaps a little premature. And here, I would say that is not peculiar to climate science. Many recent examples exist.

Accusations were not directed at anyone in particular in my posting. I think the accusation is more to do with the conduct of modern science, its reward systems etc., and the current quest for instant gratification (in western society in general, not just in science). Fortunatley scientists are human and as such sometimes get caught up in the moment.

I think some allusion might be made to the call for extended peer review also. We have seen over the last decade or so what happens when incomplete information is put in well intended but perhaps unknowledgeable hands. Don't get me wrong here, I am not advocating technocracy, but knowledge, once it is released, unlike cars, is impossible to recall and readjust or repair. It tends to take on a life of its own. With no ownership it can be used as a means for whatever end by whoever chooses to use it. I would say that perhaps sometimes scientists are a little naive in (under)estimating the consequences of their products (not just in climate science.)

As for the post itself, I have no idea how one would judge its 'qaulity'. If it was to provoke debate it seems to have done a reasonable job. It it was to make Werner feel ill, then it was a success. What I hope it has achieved is to open some eyes as to the many contexts and dimensions the debate has taken on. Now, if we can just admit that the 'science is not settled' and so maybe stall the larger debate, then maybe we can all return to more meaningful work.

Anonymous said...


Ok, are we allowed to say that "the end of democracy" means a totalalitarian thing and that the leaders of a totalitarian system are called dictators.

Is a lovelockian dictator better than any other, let's say Hitler or Stalin?

Imagine posting on a climate blog (called primaklima, hello Georg) and asking questions about the MWP and the LIA and glaciers in the Alps. Imagine asking questions about the actual climate stagnation and about (auto)correlation, when the temperatures stay nearly the same for 15 years.

And now imagine being called an idiot, a morone, stupid sceptic. Imagine several scientists under their real names insulting you and trying to make other readers think you and your ideas are inimaginable crap, and saying that in exactly these words (in german).

And after being treated like that and the blogowner having warned you to be banned from his blog if you are not polite. Now imagine that you are really starting to get angry and you start to tell this behaviour being totalitarian, like Hitler or Stalin.

And woosh you are banned for one week. Other people, most of them scientists, are continuing to insult you with absolutely no "contenance" and remorse, but you don't have the right to answer.

You know, I've been writing about Chris Landsea, Schlüchter, Hans Von Storch, the Roger Pielkes etc... nothing really scary or totally un-scientific!

The Blogowner Georg Hoffmann even insulted Roger Pielke Junior at his own blog (during these happy days).

But I (a layman) am a criminal asking questions about glaciers, the MWP, solar irradiance etc ...

I know this behaviour from climate scientists and oeko-activists but this was the first time it did hit me that hard and the first time I met scientists believing every word from one climate scientist, who was known to be rather rude, and they thought they had the right to treat me like a guantanamo prisoner.

I can tell you that I didn't like this behaviour. It was not funny and I still can't really believe what happened to me.


Realist77 said...

Brilliant post - and as always, the true believers in Mann-Made Global Warming are oblivious to the fact that they have been conned...or are they... ?

Chris S said...

Interesting post. Of course there will always be those who believe the issue is simply about AGW, rather than absolute control.

Anonymous said...

Denier, flat earther, oil shill etc. who robs the future of our grandchildren .... modern day version of the enemy of the people.

Judy Curry talked about how the righteous consider the sceptics as the "Dark Side" and how even talking to them may be interpreted as going over to the "Dark Side".

Perhaps we are witnessing how "Not to believe in science is a crime" becomes "Not to believe is a crime"?

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Comparisons to the most murderous regimes are certainly over the top and if meant as satire may not be that helpful either (simply because people do not get the satirical elements).
But leaving civilized debate to justify superior goals (like humanity, socialism, the planet) is a real danger.
Someone has writen this on their blog:
"What matters is that Roger Pielke Jr. is the most heinous climate villain academia can muster. He’s a Green Herring, a liar. He doesn’t deserve to be eaten by hyenas from the future. He deserves to be kicked in the nuts in the present."
It is documented over at Roger's blog.

Dennis Bray said...


Satire or no, is it ok to be called the likes of a holocaust denier if one is a skeptic but unacceptable to be called something of a Stalinist if one is an activist? The names often given to skeptics are by no means meant as satire.

I would agree that such labelling adds little to the scientific debate, but the debate now extends well beyond science. It is both large P and small p politics and politics are typically of one bent or another.

Just for the sake of provocation (and my interest) is moving to extremes in political philosophies any differnt than moving to the exaggeratyed extremes of climate change impacts, a practise that has been deemed acceptable if it done so to raise public concern and/or whatever? Should we be concerned about the politics or limit discussion to just the science? After all, the politics can have an impact equal to any change in the physical climate system.

Dennis Bray said...

Let's go back to the beginning. Recently I read a small book by Martin Amis. The book is called Koba the Dread. As I read the book the random accounts and anecdotes of Stalin's regime - those points used in the intial posting - waved at me like a red flag. (Pardon the pun, it wasn't intentional.) Some of the behaviors seemed to associate with some of the current GW politics, the GW politics being of course in a much more subdued manner. I suppose if we look hard enough we could associate GW politics with just about any other political regime. But I was reading about Stalin. Now, Stalin's goal obviously differed greatly from the goal of the Warmistas (if I may call them that for the matter of distinction). Goals however, are not my point. My focus is on means. So goals aside, are the comparisons I made in the post inaccurate? I would agree that perhaps the association is (or could be) an exaggeration. But, in substance, are they inaccurate?

Werner Krauss said...

Dennis @ 53
Yes, your associations are in substance inaccurate. They are merely polemical. Do we have to go through all of them? Here we go:
1: Western intellectuals - just forget it. Who exactly? How many? Statistically relevant? What about intellectual skeptics?
2. There is no logic in this argument. Of course, the IPCC warns people. And you really want to compare the IPCC to the Cheka? Dennis?
3. Yes, those who think that climate change is a danger instill fear. Because they think it is dangerous. What is this remark about therapy? Did you read a newspaper? And climategate a war on truth? All those who criticized were censored, tortured, muted? Hans von Storch or Pielke jr in a GULAG? What a bullshit.
4. this is ridiculing real censorship.
5. Sure, James Lovelock and Co permanently execute people.
6. no comment. Too stupid.
7. ???? who has no longer the courage to write on the climate subject only because of climategate? I don't get this point.
8. Dennis, did ever the idea come to your mind that the spiegel-title was a metaphor? Didn't you learn the difference? And which party sends half-starved people to endless climate talks? It's fine that you think there is enough done in respect to climate emissions. Other don't think so. But why blame them?
Am I like a half starved fanatic only because I think there is not enough be done in respect to emission reduction?
9. don't get the point.
10. don't get the point.

Yes, most of the points are inaccurate. I hope you don't mean it like that. No one is executed, no one ends up in jail, no half-starved fanatics are around. Just forget the comparison. Drink tea instead of flirting with tea - party arguments.

Dennis Bray said...

Hi Werner

My response to you is a little too long for a single 'comment'so again, it will come as a series of comments. Sorry about that.

First, a word of caution: high blood pressure is dangerous.

Polemical - pertaining to the nature of controversy
Polemic - argumentation against some opinion

In my post I did not argue against anything as far as I remember.

1. Western intellectualism: who, how many etc. I have no idea but there seems to be a lot of support in academic bodies who issue a statement concerning AGW. Of course the are skeptics who are intellectual. The initial point does not say ALL intellectuals. I would have thought though, that the Nobel Prize might be an indication of intellectual acceptance.

2. Instilling fear: Well there have been admissions by the Warmistas that they do in fact see it as a reasonable practice. (Didn’t Schneider once produce a pamphlet on how to relay scary stories to the press and public?) How many time have we seen the ‘end is nigh’ due to climate change - Spiegel was given as just ONE well known example. And how many times have we seen an outcry from the scientific establishment saying ‘Wait a minute, this is a bit of an exaggeration.’.I don’t recall many.

Dennis Bray said...

You seemed have been a bit confused after: Therapy - I cannot help it if you have not read the material. I guess you could start here go to here
and end here: Doctors even fear climate change will have a "psychosocial" effect on health with patients requiring counseling over the fear of global warming and the effects it will have.
and such counseling services do exists (in the USA at least). - and guess what, it is indeed a newspaper.

Dennis Bray said...

3. War on truth: (nothing about instilling fear???) Well, I think climategate did sort of indicate that truth was being misrepresented and withheld in some cases, but that’s only my assessment. I can’t honestly say I am an expert on climategate. And wouldn’t a lack of comment regarding the Armageddon Scenes presented to the public be guilt by omission?

1,2,3,4, ... torture was mentioned in 2 but anyway ... I think I made it very explicit that no one has been tortured yet, at least to my knowledge. I haven’t seen Hans or Rodger for a while so for all I know they might indeed be in a Gulag, but I doubt it. I don’t even think I mentioned Gulags. I did mention instilling fear - that was the point raised above. Number here are consecutive, not random.

4. I am not ridiculing censorship at all. I am saying that it happens in the climate sciences. Like I said I am no expert on climategate but it seems to me there is talk of censuring some results. Maybe you should discuss this with Steve McIntyre.

5. No man no problem - (no data no problem.) But I didn’t realize that Lovelock was an executioner! My God, someone should report him. I am talking about populations, not executing individuals. Like population pressure, too many people, etc. It has been a considerable part of the debate.

Dennis Bray said...

6. ‘too stupid’ . Reports of doom and gloom are always astonishing. And wow, did you see Dr. Fahrenheit’s last scenario run - and increase of 15 degrees in the next year. As for sea level rise (sorry another report in a newspaper - but then again, the public read newspapers.

7. No, Werner, you don’t get it. Before climategate many people would not contest the going standards for fear of damaging their careers.

8. We did the Spiegel already. What’s a metaphor? I don’t think I mentioned send people, half starved or not, anywhere. I said we ask Third World countries to retard development for the sake of climate change. I never mentioned whether I had an opinion on emission controls. And I didn’t blame anyone for anything. I am simply stating behaviours - no blame. I haven’t seen you for a while so I have no idea if you are like a half starved fanatic. And what to half starved fanatics have to do with this debate? And I am also not sure what half starved fanatics have to do with emission controls.

Dennis Bray said...

9. ‘Didn’t get it’.: Given the ‘scenarios’ and the uncertainty in the physics of the climate system, some very ‘certain’ futures are presented, at least to the public. The dangers of AGW are ‘just known’. The potential benefits are seldom discussed. That of course is assuming that AGW will reach the magnitude to make much of a difference.

10. ‘Didn’t get it’.: As of yet, with most scientists I have t surveyed (sorry, empirical data) saying the reality of damages is not yet manifest (some questioning if they ever will be) we can only assume that so far we have an ubiquitous unreality. Of course we have all heard of the damages, but few (if any) of us have seen them. But we know it has happened.

I’m sorry, but you have failed to convince me they are inaccurate. Simply saying ‘they are’ doesn’t necessarily make it so. I know in Stalin’s time people were indeed executed, ended up in jail, and there were half starved fanatics running around. (And they also drank tea.) But these are not the aspects of Stalinism I was talking about. Certainly the GW debate cannot be said to be the same, just that there are some similarities in some aspects.

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it." Joseph Joubert

“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney

The dissipation of fear (that some say never existed)

Anonymous said...

Alright, so you are making a point about Stalinism and the "antics of the AGW + Green Crowd". Enough commentary on that. I want to ask you, however, for your opinion on the "other" side in this debate, and, in the interests of fairness, I would hope that you would respond.

In your commentary is the notion that the AGW crowd is caught up in some sort of group think that was sustained through a veneer of scientific credibility, fear tactics, and a suspension of rationale and critical thought.

However, it seems to me that this same shoe has a fairly comfortable fit for the skeptic crowd (although they lack the support of scientific bodies): Group-think? check; Fear tactics? check; Belief in their viewpoint (We just know there is AGW (alarmism) and we just know it will lead to (economic) Armageddon. Some time.?) check

I could go through this list and adapt them to skeptics quite readily (I would, if I didn't have to get back to work), so I would be interested to hear a critique of the skeptic crowd here.

Thanks, M

Hans von Storch said...

This has become a long thread, with many passionate comments - and many bad and hurt feeling; many have felt insulted, a few amused, others may have felt that finally their own bad treatment has been expressed properly. But in the end it did not lead anywhere, no clarification, but mostly clustering among one's own social group.

Today, I got en e-mail, with somebody wroting "Perhaps I am missing something, but I personally found this to be insulting as well as just plain stupid. How is this remotely consistent with your expressed desire to avoid insults and disrespect of "opponents"?. Even if nobody was personally (by name) insulted, there is such an enourmeous connotation when comparative (right word?) references to monsters like Hitler and Stalin are made, that any attempt to just use small doses of "Stalinism" and "Hitlerism" will almost certainly be misread by many. Any try to bring in sub-issues of Stalin and Hitler, even if these would be technically fully adequate, will bring in the big issue, and all the emotions, passions, horrible memories, personal tragedies and disgust.

I understand that Dennis wanted to point out a few valid points, but he may have overseen that he opened Pandora's box - and I suggest that we try to close this box now again (if possible). Therefore I ask for your understanding if I am now closing tis thread, and ask you all to go back to our big issue, namely how we can establish an open and possibly even constructive discussion across the big divide of - I have no better terms: warmists and skeptics - who sometimes, as Dennis correctly points out, have a righteous attitude, which is also hurting and insulting.