Dissed By Thunk Tank Climate Flacks In Nature Magazine

I’m going to have to start charging you guys for reading this blog. For I am now a named person and known associate of top minds. Like Freeman Dyson.

Yes, sir.

The great Dyson and I have been named together as “contrarians” in the Nature article “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians” by Alexander Michael Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent & Anthony LeRoy Westerling.

Petersen is a member of UC’s Management of Complex Systems Department, and Vincent and Westerling are part of UC’s—I kid you not—Center for Climate Communication. Which sounds like a thunk tank.

A thunk tank is not a think tank. A think tank is where people go to think. A thunk tank is where sketchy thoughts are imported and given makeovers and botox injections. A thunk tank is also known as a public relations firm, a place where officially approved ideas are massaged, oiled, and sugar-coated for citizen consumption. A thunk tank is the natural home of flacks and apparatchiks, a place where Communications and Journalism “degree” holders go to congratulate each other on their perspicacity.

Here’s the opening of the abstract, a lovely example of how to do thunking well: “We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists by tracking their digital footprints…”

Prominent contrarians against expert scientists.

That’s some good thunking! The battle is over in the first sentence. The well has been poisoned, and no one need read more.

Who are these charlatan contrarians to lecture their betters, the expert scientists! Expert scientists by definition are the experts, and being scientists are therefore right, or at least the only people worth listening to. Contrarians are nobodies, non-experts out to sow dissension and doubt, probably for filthy lucre.

The abstract also intimates these non-expert contrarians “contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation”.

Doubtless Petersen, Vincent and Westerling are well paid. They should be. This is class A propaganda.

The contrarian scientists, like myself, say “Here’s why we think we’re right”, and the thunk tankers say “Contrarians aren’t expert scientists”. Who could argue with that?

This paper is cheese food science, the kind Nature increasingly specializes in. Just like cheese food isn’t real food, which tastes good going down but which starts to come back up in a mean way twenty minutes later, this paper has a sciency name but which nauseates minds.

It doesn’t say a damned thing about whether anything any contrarian said was right or wrong, or even whether any expert scientist ever gets anything right or wrong. It only says, over and again, with slick graphics and thunk-tank prose, that contrarians aren’t to be respected solely because they aren’t in the The Club. It’s an article designed to make its cheese food authors, and their cheesy readers, feel well about themselves.

I learned of the paper from Judy Curry: The latest travesty in ‘consensus enforcement’.

She found UC’s press release. If the paper is cheese food, the press release is that yellow stuff on the clearance shelf of the dollar store long past its sell-by date.

“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” Professor Alex Petersen said. “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate-change-denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.”

It’s well to note Petersen himself according to his own bio doesn’t know diddly squat about the subject he’s lecturing us on. He therefore has a false authority, and it’s thus time for respectable people for giving him visibility. Cheeseball.

Here is the official list of Contrarians. On which is Yours Truly (even though I’ve done nothing in the field for two-some years). With a score of “61, 0.04918032786885246,110”. I have no idea what these numbers are, but they’re numbers, which is what makes them scientific. Cheese food.

All I know is my grocery-store brie is matched with Freeman Dyson’s Parmigiano-Reggiano. Whatever else I don’t have going for me, I’ll always be able to say, “At least I made the list.”

There is also a tally of the expert scientists. The guys who are awarded and feted, courted and caressed, and welcomed by every elite organization seeking payouts. Whether they’re right about their predictions of global cooling—who cares! They’re experts!

I, on the other hand, have only suffered for the work I’ve done in global slight-warming. I’ve given about five (as in less than six) speeches over the course of my entire life for which I’ve received honorariums that kept me well stocked, for a brief time, in factory-discard cigars. And that’s it. Overall, the work I’ve done has only cost me money.

Meanwhile, the experts grow fat sucking at the teat of big government, a tremendous conflict of interest they never acknowledge. Cheeseballs.

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20 Thoughts

  1. There is another guy named Peterson; Jordan, Canadian I think… That’s the guy I’d want on my team!,

  2. Let me add this if I may. The article concludes with a practical recommendation, that expert scientists should work harder to get their point across. How much money did it cost them to reach that strategic conclusion? Didn’t they “know” it long before they started? Their statistically generated graphs are some of the most aesthetically pleasing I’ve seen, but wouldn’t Spirograph designs accompanying another Nature editorial have been quicker and cheaper?

  3. With a score of “61, 0.04918032786885246,110”. I have no idea what these numbers are

    110 is clearly your rank. Who nose if 110 is more rank than Anthony at 12?

  4. In other words, why did they need “science” to prove what they already “knew”? I get tired of statistical proofs that, e.g., most broken arms follow physical trauma to human upper appendages.

    But in this case it’s more than that. It’s statistical “proof” used in the service of “expert science” to push experts’ “authority” around, because statistics give more “authority.”

  5. I love it when they put Steve McIntyre on these lists. His picture always looks so serious. I think that each evening he sits back in his comfortable chair with his favorite adult beverage. And smiles…

  6. (even though I’ve done nothing in the field for two-some years)

    But your a listed author in a contrarian paper … that’s gotta count for a lot

  7. “I’ve done nothing in the field for two-some years”

    Well, that’s rather a matter of interpretation. Consider, for example, “X factor” presentation at last month’s Heartland climate conference, memorialized at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj43O98HL5c. Your picture appears at about 8:00.

    Unless you really agree with that presentation’s appallingly bad math, you may want to consider asking Christopher Monckton not to exploit your likeness in that fashion.

  8. A very useful list, many names that I did not know, very handy to seek out more information! I daresay the public “naming and shaming” may have the opposite of the intended effect.

  9. OK, here’s “The Science”.

    61 is the number of media articles that you appear in. But most of these, contrary to the misleading claims made in the abstract and press release, are blog posts, from places like WUWT and Climate Depot. That’s where the next scientific number comes in. 0.04918032786885246 is the proportion of those 61 articles that actually are media articles. Which if you are a math genius you can deduce means that you are mentioned in 3 media articles.

    Now, of those 3 media articles, 2 are personal attacks on you in the Guardian. So the climate numbskulls who wrote this paper seem to be criticising another bunch of climate numbskulls for attacking you in print. That leaves only one media article (Al Gore Explains ‘Snowmageddon’ in Fox News) in which your views are presented.

    This information comes from the dataset that was originally published with the paper. They have now deleted that, since they have belatedly realised it was defamatory.

  10. “For I am now a named person and known associate of top minds. Like Freeman Dyson.”
    Didn’t he invent the famous bag less vacuum cleaner? If he’s so smart why didn’t he just send the dirt off into a black hole?

  11. “Expert scientists” – anyone who possesses a math/science/physics background can read climate science reports and, thus, realize that CAGW alarmists have no science to support their wild claims. Of course, one extra molecule of CO2 per 10K air molecules can increase temperatures, but to what degree, no one knows for certain. So far, the data indicate CO2 is still a very minor greenhouse gas.

  12. Using a super-precise number like 0.04918032786885246 is a clear indication of how sciencey their process is.

  13. Since 2008 Jim Donald has written some excellent articles debunking the Global Warming hoax: https://blog.jim.com/category/global-warming

    Every climate proxy shows the Medieval Climate Optimum (c. 950-1250) to be significantly warmer than today in all parts of the world, and it was a time of bountiful harvests and growing population, followed by famine, plague, and severe depopulation when the climate turned colder. We have no data on polar bears from that time, but they obviously survived it.

    The “hockey stick” only appears when two different proxies are spliced together with the appropriate scaling factors. It’s fake.

    Also notice that despite large fluctuations in global temperature, there has been no change in sea level for over 2000 years, and very little since 4000 BC:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_sea_level

  14. I wish that I understood all of this, but even so, I enjoy reading this. Bits make sense anyway. Good brain exercise as they say that old people must needs keep mentally active! God bless, C-Marie

  15. “It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority…”

    So by naming you, Dr. Briggs, by name, in their super-creepy scienterrific article in the famous big-time Journal, they somehow are making you invisible? Will you be “disappeared” by their Secret Climate Police? If so, how do you plan to spin that? Like a top? Like sheep wool? Will you be knitting an authoritarian sweater in your secret sound-proof underground holding cell? I shudder to think, which is their goal I suppose.

    “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles …”

    They have methods! Like Dr. Mengele? What are their methods? Water boarding? Very loud bad music? Bamboo splinters under the fingernails? Short pants? I am scared for you; you should be scared too. You vill be held in ze accountability room, in ze position, you foolish old man. Ve have ze methods!!!

    I suggest you submit by registered mail a copy of this this “journalista” threat with your attorney (or firm of attorneys), and have have him/her write the authors and publishers a very nice letter indicating that torts and threats of torts are actionable, and that such actions will be forthcoming unless a retraction is issued post haste. And if not then sue them blue.

  16. “… the next scientific number … . 0.04918032786885246 is the proportion of those 61 articles that actually are media articles.[So] you are mentioned in 3 media articles. Now, of those 3 media articles, 2 are personal attacks on you in the Guardian. So the climate numbskulls who wrote this paper seem to be criticising another bunch of climate numbskulls . ”

    So, they had data. And they applied their algorithm TO their data. But they applied it in the fashion exactly “upside down” from the intended and published usage of the original authors.

    This must be about the most dramatic and obvious torture of data since the Nobel Prize winning Master of the Tree Ring Circus Michael ” Sandusky ” the Man himself analyzed the Tiljander sediment climate/temperature proxies.

    Wow. I can’t even. I am literally shaking. I just — can’t.

  17. More SpaceBalls than Cheeseballs.
    https://youtu.be/sen8Tn8CBA4?t=6

    Also, what Uncle Mike (August 16, 2019 at 11:45 pm) said.
    Perhaps they wouldn’t play fast and loose with terms like “accountability,” if they they had a first hand knowledge of what those terms actually meant?

  18. I’m on the list at the #131 spot, and from commenter Paul M’s deciphering, I apparently appeared in some media publication. I wonder which one that was, I can’t think of any major ones off the top of my head. So, since the labeling of me as a “prominent contrarian” by the paper’s standards is false, and since I offer the public no climate science assessments of any significance, and since the paper relies on a demonstrably unreliable place – Desmogblog – as a data source, I suggested to the editors of the magazine that those are good enough reasons to retract the paper. I’ve reproduced it as the current top post at my GelbspanFiles blog.

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