Angela over at Liberal Vision produces some, um, less than damning arguments against the Copenhagen summit.  Like the cost of flying 15,000 people there. Or the fact that the agreements will outlast a UK parliament.

And she seems to be learning off the London Citizen’s Forum that asking People what they Think is the right way of solving a massive systemic crisis.  50% of people doubt it is happening.  Oh, that’s ok then – it can’t be happening.  Man on Street is Dubious.  Man on Street is in favour of all sorts of things that Lib Vision Libertarians would regard as odious majoritarian bullying, but never mind that.

Paul’s excellent post on the downsides of a free media is an excellent antidote to this. He compares to the “is smoking bad for you?” ‘debate’.

By creating the illusion of a lack of scientific consensus, tobacco companies delayed measures being taken against them (an illusion strengthened by the fact they also repressed findings and lied).

Angela complains about the lack of ‘an open honest debate on this issue’?  How?  Was she personally relying on the East Anglian Scientists and their tree-ring data?  Do the hordes of bodies that believe in this problem as real growing and serious provide her with no information?  Has she read it all and still thinks “umm, need more.  Something missing”. What a very demanding scientist Angela is, clearly.

No.  She seems to have a model in her mind of “Do you like Marmite” as the ideal debate – something which goes on endlessly and cannot be solved by any amount of evidence or argument.  The reason the pro-AGW theorists are impatient is because they feel strongly that they have brought the matter to 99% closed.  Most of the tired arguments about it not happening are very tired, and are not taken up in the same way as Tobacco brings you Health! is not taken up.  Like “oooh, 1998 was warm!” which is a statement about the El Nino of 1998.

Asking the full time climate scientists continuously to take bad arguments seriously, and then accusing them of being closed and conspiratorial for losing their rags, is rather silly.   In the same way, we don’t have an open debate about the earth being flat, about Santa Claus, or indeed whether communism is a good system.  It is not a conspiracy of obfuscation – just a refusal, after a while, of highly qualified professionals to continuously humour politically motivated scepticism.

I remind people again to watch the video Paul posted if they are to really hold up the sniggering and misquotation of the East Anglian Cabal for World Confusion as an example of how the debate has gone skew whiff.  And read again the economist article about what exactly the “Trick” referred to is.  It is not “trick everyone into thinking something I don’t believe is actually true”.

What I remain to be convinced of is that any sceptic comes to their position because of some independently founded scientific information, taking all information into the mix, rather than a pre-existing political disposition.   People don’t want it to be true, find the people who do care about it “holier-than-thou, great-and-the-good”, and therefore scrabble around for reasons not to believe it.   Like all politics – just as a Spectator reader will believe, passionately, that 50% tax rates on the people earning £150k signals death to the country, whilst the Guardian just loves it.  Neither are going at it from the point of view of the IFS.

But in this case, we are not dealing with a debate like the 50p tax band.  And the equivalent of the IFS, the body of professionals qualified to work it out, has come down heavily on one side of the equation.


2 thoughts on “Liberal Vision bemoan a lack of a debate

  1. I am finding the people who are putting a non-statistical interpretation on the “trick” line very trying. You don’t even have to be a scientist to acknowledge the likelier interpretation. Plain Common Sense (TM) should suggest that people don’t really cackle and stroke white cats and talk about “tricking” the innocent. You’re just not going to find four senior scientists swapping emails in which they casually discuss deliberately falsifying their results and thereby willingly invalidating their entire careers and undermining the scientific process in the eyes of each other. If they had been out for deliberate falsification, I would expect a lot of lofty angsting about doing the “right thing” because whatever people do, even if they’re doing utterly evil things, they justify to themselves somehow. They don’t talk about tricking people. It’s perfectly obviously a technical email.

    That said, I think a sign of superior management at the East Anglian Cabal for World Confusion (brilliant!) would have been to make the underlying workings to the data available, even at the risk of running contrary to normal scientific practise. It’s not enough to protest that the data cannot be released in case the anti-lobby “cherry-picks” it. I daresay they will, but the internet is actually pretty good at policing itself, and if all the facts are available I have a perhaps absurd faith that the facts – whatever they are – will triumph. It happens to all manner of other complex cherry-pickable data and so far, on balance, I’d submit the internet has been a source of net (hehe) truth rather than net falsehood.

  2. I was going to mention white cats as well – damn! – but had already used it on an earlier conspiracy rant. Apart from their consistent pet colouring policy, it is always the astonishing organisational skills of the supposed conspirators that blow me away. Accordinging to the sceptical nutters, we have all be in thrall to the 28th best university in the country

    one of those that normally finishes with 20 points against St Noggins College Oxford on University Challenge. Thank god Cambridge hasn’t decided that, say, Faeries exist, because no doubt they could fool us all in a trice.

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