The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

More Billboard Fun


Some observations from Matt Flannagan over at M and M reminded me of the existence of the atheist campaign to evangelise the world through billboards. In honour of that campaign, I suggest launching another, much more important campaign:

Any lifeguard who tells me this is sure to put my mind at ease.


How the queerness argument (possibly) backfires


Divine Command Ethics and the Epistemological Objection


  1. Pat

    Here is my effort:

    ‘There’s Probably No AIDS-Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Homosexual Fun’

    Hows that?

  2. Hi Glenn

    And There Probably Ain’t No Morality Neither . . . ?

    Eh, what?

    Cheers and love


  3. Pat, I suppose you believe that AIDS is a scourge sent by your all loving God to discourage homosexual behavior. You are a sick puppy.

  4. Pat

    TAM, if you have read any of my other comments on Dear Glenn’s blog I think that you would see I am an atheist and a rather balantly obvious one at that.

    Now what other assumptions do you want to make about me or about my Christian companions? Go on, I would like to hear your ignorance.

  5. Pat, I guess my revulsion got the better of me. I haven’t heard anyone draw a sarcastic connection between AIDS and homosexuality since I was in Catholic boys high school in the mid 1980’s.

    Back to the point of this post: Glenn, this is exactly what I will tell my 5 year old when we go swimming in Lake Huron this afternoon.

  6. Pat

    Making a comparision between your god and a shark are you Glenn? Between lifeguards and atheists?

  7. Ken

    This is quite amusing.

    These billboards have been a very cost effective and successful campaign. They have even enabled the bigots to provide free publicity. Just imagine the extra attention we atheists will get when these bigots start defacing the billboards.

    However, the straight-faced attacks on these billboards by Matt and Glenn do cause me to laugh. I just can’t help it.

    I keep getting this image of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza on a donkey charging a billboard instead of a windmill.

    Anyway, thanks Glenn for the extra free publicity.

  8. Pat, use your imagination. If my God exists and you deny his existence, he’s a threat.

    The point however is more along the lines of “There’s this absurd risk you could take. It will probably be OK. Go for it.”

    Ken, the sad thing is – YOU see that the billboards are worthy of a laugh, but those who put them out there were dead serious. See their genuine (but failed) attempts at making profound points that they include on them: for example, their comments about goodness and God. If you find it amusing, just imagine how laughable I find them (take note of the “humour” tag that I attached tot his post).

    What’s actually amusing here is that the Billboards were erected to gain one sort of publicity, but they turned out to gain a different sort altogether. The hope was that people would see them and nod thoughtfully “hmmmm, hey that makes me think about it.” Instead, the obviously silly implied arguments are being defended by online atheists with claims like “don’t look at how logical it is, just see it as an awareness raising exercise!”

    I’m sorry, but when this is the type of defence these monuments to intellectual vapidity require, you just know they’re not working. In fact, I really suspect you do know this.

  9. Ken

    I suspect, Glenn, the firmest evidence may have to wait for the census next year. Mind you the “no religion” group has been on an upward trend for a while and there are all sorts if other factors encouraging that trend.

    However, most response to the adverts have been positive – overwhelmingly so. And I believe one reason for this is reaction to the raving of Christian bigots.

    So, thanks again for the free promotions, Glenn.

  10. james

    That thing that just happened in the comments was funny:
    “You stupid disgusting religious bigot – I can’t believe how terrible you are!”
    “I’m an atheist”.
    “Oh, sorry.”

  11. Ken, firmest evidence of what? That the billboards are convincing anybody of anything?

    Seriously Ken, you yourself say that the “no religion” trend is upward, yet you say that the very best evidence of the persuasive effects of the billboard will be in the census?

    Has anyone ever told you that you suck at science?

  12. “Mind you the “no religion” group has been on an upward trend for a while.”

    Pretty firm evidence that atheism is right, then, eh?
    Or at least, rather more factually correct than previously?

    Specially if you’re also a materialist, which means that belief and morality are just rather odd characteristics* of a particular segment of the general mass of interconnected molecules . . .

    [* a.k.a. “emergent properties”. ]

    Cheers and [love**]

    Bunch-of-molecules labelled Martin Woodhouse

    [** No, no, hang on, wait a minute . . . ]

  13. Ken

    Yes, Glenn – you have – repeatedly. But then again you are the guy who refuses to accept evolutionary science, the geocentric solar system (remember your post – “Galileo was wrong”?) and climate science. (On the later you made a great play of the climategate fraud. Now it’s exposed you remain silent. I would have thought an apology was in order).

    So, I don’t take your criticisms in this area seriously. They are, if anything, reassuring to me.

    Don’t forget that scientific researchers are used to criticism – their work is always being exposed to critical consideration from colleagues. it helps keep us honest. We are quite used to making mistakes and being corrected. It’s a very valuable process.

    As far as evaluating the effectiveness of the billboards and bus ads (remember they are still to come) – I suspect the best way is a market survey. It’s the usual procedure but may really only test people’s memory rather than change of views.

    While statistically it could be possible to pull out the effect of this particular ad campaign from objective data (like census results) I suspect that there are too many compounding factors. We have the huge book sales, lecture tours, etc., for people like Dawkins, reaction to 9/11 and religious terrorism, the Vatican behaviour over child rape, etc., etc.

    Anecdotally, what has intrigued me is the overwhelming support for the ads in comments on forums, newspaper feedback, talkback, etc. Many poositive remarks coming from Christians, too.

    The critical religious leaders are out of step on this one. And I think their criticisms have actually fed the response – both in bringing the ads to people’s attention and in arousing feelings of fair play. Only naturally people think it is a bit much for religious spokespersons to complain or ridicule when we have been exposed for so long to silly religious, and often spiteful, religious billboards.

    So that is why I honestly think that while you, Matt and Bosco are genuinely upset about the ads, your complaints are doing nothing more than advertise them. Free advertising for us, at that.

    And it does bring up an image of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza charging at a billboard instead of a windmill.

    So, again Glenn, thanks for the publicity.

  14. Ken, actually I’ve never said that you suck at science. Now, to avoid the charge of just making up fairy tales about me (yet again, after a brief hiatus), perhaps you can provide a link to these comments of mine about evolution. If it happened, I certainly don’t remember. And as for the same old legends about what i said on climate science – you already know that I was anything but silent. My answers may have made you angry or upset, but it’s no good pretending that I said nothing. On the contrary, I vindicated myself for you to see plain as day. Just waiting for some time until Ihaven’t said anything for a while and then acting like I’e gone all quiet out of shame is a wee bit juvenile, I daresay. Ken, I’ve noticed this with you – you attempt a rhetorical smackdown, you get throroughly refuted, and then later, when you hope people have forgotten what was said, you trot out a new and fanciful version of how the conversation went down.

    Whatever floats your boat, but it sadly confirms my experience of you and dishonest from times gone by. You really ruin any trust people might otherwise have in you when you do that.

    And as for your attack on serious astronomers like Hoyle in their fair assessment of what we can now say about Galileo’s view, I hardly think that’s an indictment on me. It just suggests that you’re uncomfortable with perspectives that are more up to date than Galileo’s time.

    If you’re happy to be on record using your “argument from census even though I’ve admitted that the census figures are changing inedendent of the billboard,” then it is I who must thank you for the publicity. Feel free to be the public face of defenders of these billboards. It’s just the kid of undermining I’m happy to watch.

  15. PS – “upset”? Oh my, the armchair psychoanalysis never ends. 😉 Ken, since I first saw you online, you’ve progressively become angrier and angrier about any and all criticism of anything you like – such as these billboards. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to be this sensitive about any comments that don’t fawn over your favourite causes, then maybe the blogosphere is not the place for you. Just take a deep breath when you see a comment that you don’t agree with. It’s the nature of blogs.

  16. Pat

    Glenn, ‘If my God exists and you deny his existence, he’s a threat.’ Odd statement you have made hear from my perspective as he can’t be a threat if I have no interaction with him (which of course is one of the reasons I am an atheist).

    What is your position on evolution by the way? I’m a bit curious, I don’t want to be wasting my time on this website if you are scientifically challenged (or in other words a creationist)-best go to for that.

  17. Pat

    That’s another one of my antwortens.

  18. Pat, if he exists, then he’s a threat, surely. You know, that God who warns that he will punish those who reject him and all that.

    Another thing Pat – why are you joining Ken in trying to get everyone to turn their heads away from any comments posted here, and instead ask about my beliefs on evolution? The fact that Ken started doing that made me decide – in principle – not to play his game. I’m sure that in typical style he will invent some false tale of what this indicates, but it is a ruse nonetheless. He does this when he doesn’t like the way a current conversation is going – just throws out a red herring. It’s devilishly entertaining for me, especially since I know what I think and you don’t. 😉

  19. Incidentaly, “antworten” is already plural. “Antwort” is the singular.

  20. Pat

    If he does exist then he is a threat but as I am an atheist I do not think he does exist. So I do not feel threatened. Not sure that I want to believe in something that punishs its creations for nonbelief anyway-not a very nice being if you ask me (and certainly not someone who deserves to be worshipped and obeyed).

    I was merely curious in regards to your stance on evolution. Even before Ken raised his head I have tried to find this topic on your blod but to no avail. Pure curiousity nothing more. So are you going to give me some clues?

  21. Pat

    Is it Dutch?

  22. Pat

    Why not have a counter-atheist billboard campaign? You Christians could have one saying ‘You will be punished if you reject God.’ It will surely frighten some of the public into belief.

  23. Pat, well obviously you don’t think God is a threat, but the whole “so God is like a shark” comment surely was about what God would be like if God existed.

    And no, it’s German.

  24. Pat

    A shark? More people are killed by lightening strikes and bee stings each year. If God is like a a shark I’ve got other things to worry about. Still being eaten by a shark is not very nice.

  25. Glenn

    I wouldn’t worry about old Ken too much, he’s in the business of derision; along with a very high percentage of atheists, as anybody may confirm for themselves by trolleying over to

    I suppose this is because someone who doesn’t believe in personal existence after death and for whom, therefore, this is the only trot round the block is bound to find The Way Things Are depressing in the extreme (despite Dawkins’ blithe comments about how lucky we all are to be alive.)

    In fact such an atheist is being intelligent and honest.

    Where material atheists fall down is in the derision they express for any person who doesn’t happen to take the same view of TWTA. Such a person, in their opinion, is a pathetically self-deluded fairy-tale-wisher.

    Well, it’s a point of view, of course. Entertainingly, I note that I shall fairly shortly discover that I (along with nearly all theists) am right in this matter and atheism is wrong, whereas I cannot discover the reverse. (In this respect, atheism may be called an unscientific hypothesis, since hypotheses are supposed be be able to be shown to be wrong.)


    What’s certain is that the proposed atheist slogan on the sides of buses is not merely wrong, but unpleasantly dishonest.

    It is unikely, for example, to commend itself to many inhabitants of Haiti, nor to a slum-dweller in Jakarta with multiple sclerosis.

    It should read:- DON’T WORRY, IT’LL BE OVER SOON

    — a slogan which I don’t expect to see but which is at least morally sound.

    With love,


  26. Pat

    Martin, ‘such a person, in their opinion, is a pathetically self-deluded fairy-tale-wisher.’ Nice, good work there.

    Back to billboard fun: What could a Christian billboard say to the residents of Haiti or to the slum-dwelling mulitple sclerosis Jakartian? Here is one example; ‘There is a God who has the power to end your suffering but we can’t work out why he doesn’t, though you should still worship and obey him.’ What you reckon?

  27. Pat, or “What if there was something better beyond this?”

  28. Pat

    To add to your suggestion Glenn; beyond this…horizon-take a trip to Australia or New Zealand! Places that God has blessed more that your land, no massive earthquakes or other life ruining disasters there (well at least not on a Haitian scale).’

    This really is some billboard fun.

  29. Pat

    “Back to billboard fun: What could a Christian billboard say to the residents of Haiti or to the slum-dwelling mulitple sclerosis Jakartian? Here is one example; ‘There is a God who has the power to end your suffering but we can’t work out why he doesn’t, though you should still worship and obey him.’ What you reckon?”


    Or, maybe:

    “There’s a God who not only has the power to end your suffering and make you happy but will shortly do both. And you don’t need to worship him, though it’s a pretty good idea to obey him because that makes things a bit better for you and everyone around you.”

    That’s fairly cool, on the whole, don’t you think?

    Cheers and love,

    Martin (not a Christian as it happens)

  30. Uh, Pat – you knew what I meant, right? (correcting misrepresentation is probably less fun than you’re having)

  31. Pat

    Glenn, maybe? Were you saying that there is a better world beyond this one for the people suffering in Haiti and Indonesia? I guess you were refering to Heaven? I was just twisting/making fun of it and putting my own twist.

    Martin, are you Jewish? And perhaps a bit of a end of times type one?

  32. Ah, so you were saying “and there’s also a less great but also nice place called New Zealand (or Australia etc)”?

    Well I suppose I agree with that, but what of it, and how does it make fun of anything?

  33. Pat

    Are you some kind of categoriser?
    That’s intellectually lazy.

    So’s atheism, which thinks itself bright but is actually only half-bright.
    Get over it.

    Cheers and love,

    Martin (Anglo-Saxon from way back, and cheerful with it.)

  34. [ — though heavily pro-Israeli and very glad indeed that they’re sitting there with those nuclear warheads, many of which must surely be on board submarines and therefore invulnerable to first strike . . . . ]

    Cheers, love and Shalom

    Martin ( Anglo-Saxon )

  35. beryl

    Then there are the “Imagine No Religion” billboards, which are probably less well known than those mentioned here. A good spoof on those would be something like

    “Imagine No Religion. It Worked For Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.”

  36. Ken

    Gle\nen you say re your opposition to evolutionary science:

    “The fact that Ken started doing that made me decide – in principle – not to play his game. I’m sure that in typical style he will invent some false tale of what this indicates (and you are free to as well), but it is a ruse nonetheless. It’s devilishly entertaining for me, especially since I know what I think and you don’t.”

    Bit childish isn’t it, Glenn. For Pat’s information and to pull you up on your little fibs:

    Here is a comment of yours made, eventually, in May after persistent pressing, and your persistent avoiding, of the question:

    “As far as “modern evolutionary science” goes, don’t believe it”

    So whose telling fairy tales now?

    And why are you so afraid to be up front?

  37. beryl

    Hi Ken, was your last comment meant for this post? It doesn’t seem to relate to the topic at hand.

  38. Ken, saying that I don’t recall something is hardly a fib, so there’s no need to imply any dishonesty on my part. I was merely being on guard, given your demonstrable history at this blog of lying about what other people have said, that’s all. You’ve done it before, and I wasn’t sure that you weren’t just doing it again.

    Even now I have caught you delibrately misrepresenting history – again! You actually cut the sentence in half. Let’s introduce some honesty shall we?

    As far as “modern evolutionary science” goes, don’t believe it – in the same way that you don’t believe in aliens. It’s not that you have certainty that there are no such things, but you just aren’t in a place where you’re compelled to think that they exist.

    Slightly different now, no? Everyone just saw what you did, Ken. Same old story.

  39. Beryle: “Hi Ken, was your last comment meant for this post? It doesn’t seem to relate to the topic at hand.”

    Apparently you haven’t met Ken before. 😉

  40. Nick

    From my experience, Glen is a little bit antiscience actually, you should ask him about knowledge sometime, or have a look at his post on the subject. As far as I could tell, he seems to not like that scientific process cannott offer 100% certainty with the knowledge that it gains.

  41. I personally loved the followup billboard that used happy christian children to show how happy children would be in an atheist household.

    Besides, the only reason the existence of God would cause you worry is that you knew you were offside with him. Which, now that I think about it, says something about those who put them up.

  42. Nick, you’re referring to a previous discussion on epistemology – which as far as I can tell was your first exposure ever to the issues raised. As the concepts were new to you, you just misunderstood and rejected them without pausing for a second to think about them. Even though all scientists everywhere actually employ the model of knowledge that I was trying to help you understand, since it was new to you, you insisted that this could not possibly be the case, and as a result you now call me anti-science. I find the whole thing a bit amusing.

    For those who missed that wee chat, the summary is this: Nick thinks that the ordinary definition of knowledge as warranted true belief is anti-science. Yeah, I’m serious. Here is the discussion where this went down.

  43. Ken

    I have posted this – Theological critiques of billboards required. It’s meant as an invitation for you theological types to apply the same level of theological criticism to a few church signs that you have applied to these atheist ones. Now, remember the church signs are meant to be theologically pure (unlike the atheist ones) so it is in your interest to give them a good going over if they are incorrect in any way.

    Beryl, I was responding to Glenn’s comment criticising me and pretending he had a secret “It’s devilishly entertaining for me, especially since I know what I think and you don’t.” (He was responding to a question from Pat, not me. Yes, I know it is silly for him to drag me into this by he can’t help himself. I am a scientist and that sets his knees jerking).

    Glen – I think your statement as I quoted it is quite clear. No deception on my part as it was linked. However, you typically try to add some waffle becuase you realise opposition to evolutionary science in this day and age makes you looks silly.

    You are trying to have it both ways. Appearing to be a bit OK about the science but wanting to protect yourself from the criticism of your religious peers – many of who are unafraid to openly declare themselves creationists. But, I aren’t an idiot, I have you down as opposed to evolutionary science, as a creationist.

    Actually, I think Nick has a point. You have failed several times when it has come to science and the scientific method. From the jellybean jar (your happy acceptance of the numbers as a warranted true belief), to Galileo/Einstein (remember you post “Galileo part 2. Yes folks, he was wrong.?”), evolution – and climate science. (You are very quiet about you mate Lord Monckton’s latest performance. – But previously you had several posts attacking climate science and scientists and promoting Monckton – eg: Climate scientists caught lying, Lord Monckton vs Greenpeace, Kid and his dad: 1, Global Warming: 0). Of course the later really requires some apologies given that climategate has been shown a hoax.

    Given that the evidence for modern evolutionary science is at least as good as the evidence for the fact of the Holocaust – would you equivocate in this way when you referred to acceptance of the fact of the holocaust?

  44. Pat

    “Imagine No Religion. It Worked For Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.”

    What about Hitler?

  45. Ken

    And, Beryl, I was specifically asked by Glenn to provide a link earlier in this thread (July 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm):

    “perhaps you can provide a link to these comments of mine about evolution.”

    He is being a bit disingenuous to claim I have brought this up out of the blue.

  46. Ken – in comment #13 you dragged in evolution out of the blue. There was no antecedent to that subject, you just randomly threw it out there for no clear reason. I find you do that when you are unhappy about the way a conversation is going.

    And yes, I think you clearly tried to deceive readers here. You quoted a reference to me not believing a theory – but that can mean a few things. It could mean that I deny the theory, or that I denounce it or something. You creatively cut the sentence inhalf, but when I revealed the context that you had sneakily excluded, the truth was revealed.

    As a general warning to the reader: When Ken quotes anyone and claims that they hold a position, be sure to check for yourselves. History tells me that Ken’s version of events is unlikely to be the correct one. He has lied about me so many times in previous threads – and I have noted it each time – that I have lost count! He is arguably the most consistently dishonest people that I have met on the internet. It’s appalling.

    Ken, as for the whole post on Galileo, “Yes folks, he was wrong,” I hope people do read it. They will see what you’ve been going on and on about, and they will realise that it is you who looked rather silly in that exchange. The two posts on that subject (especially the first one) prompted a phenomenal number of clear lies and misrepresentations from you that it was just staggering.

    EDIT: Ken, I’ve just had another read through comments on the “yes folks, he was wrong” post, and basically what it amounts to is you rejecting and attacking the claims of modern physics. Maybe your memory of the actual exhange is fading as your legendary reconstruction takes over. Check for yourself!

  47. Ken

    What modern physics to I reject, Glenn? Or is the pot/kettle thing?

    Come on, the problem is your inability to admit when you are wrong – even when you make silly pronouncements outside your field of experience. You sound just like your mate Monckton at the moment. He has climbed out of his tree because Abraham made a calm, clear, and scientific analysis of the claims in his lecture. Now he lies, makes wild demands of Abraham’s employers and threatens legal action.

    And your mate Monckton is someone claiming to be an intellectual giant in scientific fields (“scientific adviser” to his own climate denial “Institute”) despite having exactly zero science qualifications or experience – just a big mouth and even bigger head.

    Emotional reaction is not a good way of understanding scientific issues.

    By the way, if anyone wants to give there support to Abraham have a look at Gareth’s post Support John Abraham at Hot Topic. Academic freedom is an extremely important issue.

    Sorry to be slightly off topic – but it is important. We should not allow honest scientists to be attacked and muzzled in this manner.

  48. Ken, it was absolutely cut and dry. I made some observations, and I quoted some modern physicists/astronomers including Einstein and Hoyle who made the same point. You attacked that claim as ridiculous, and along the way you pretended that I was opposed to science (in spite of the fact that modern astronomers and physicists, I believe, qualify as scientists). In addition to these two I drew on George Ellis and Ernst Bloch. If my claim was wrong, then all of these scientists were wrong too – and you, Ken were right. Maybe you were just a little too unwilling to admit that you were wrong and modern science might have actually had a point. It wasn’t me who was unwilling to admit that I was wrong. You were just threatened by a modern perspective that you weren’t accustomed to. Why not just grant that you got a bit hot under the collar and didn’t really give me a fair hearing?

    No need to reproduce it all here. I’ve posted the links to both of those threads, so everyone can check all the facts of what took place. You just reacted, you didn’t think, and now you are accusing me of being unscientific, when I was nothing of the sort. To reiterate, anyone who wants to check what happened in those conversations can check for themselves, and they do not need to depend on the authority of Ken. Here are those links:

    1) Einstein v the Church v Galileo?
    2) Galileo Part 2. Yes folks, he was wrong.

    And now when this thread turned out badly for you, you ran away to a whole other subject like Monckton and global warming. How long is your attention span? Why do you always just drag random things into threads when things don’t go well for you? Is it a kind of smoke screen to escape behind? Why not just say “*sigh* OK OK, I did react pretty badly back then. You had a point, and I was too proud to listen.” You’d earn genuine respect that way, insted of just looking like a troll.

  49. Ken

    Glenn, I am happy for people to go through those discussions. Those with a little bit of science will see the problem. Your insistence that Galileo was wrong and claim that there is no way of selecting between a geocentric and heliocentric solar system/universe.

    Just as well NASA, JPL, ESA etc (and Galileo) don’t agree . We just wouldn’t have made all those wonderful discoveries. Of course, it’s not the first time that poor old Einstein has been quoted irresponsibly to support a theist argument. And it was theist because you were defending the Church in their persecution of Galileo. 

    Yes, I can see you are ashamed of Monckton now (who isn’t?) but this is relevant because you are the one accusing others of poor understanding of science. And yet the record shows your consistent backing of the wrong horse in the science sphere. A common problem with the theologically inclined – for obvious reasons.

    My reference to the attempts to silence science and specifically Abraham was, I freely admit, a diversion. But considering the importance of preventing scientists from being silenced I think a worthwhile one. I am trying to bring the case to everyones attention and asking for their support.

    Monckton must be stopped.

  50. Ken, I am not interested in reproducing that discussion again here. The facts are there for anyone to see. Nobody is depending on your revisionary summary, they can check for themselves. Don’t you trust anyone’s readining ability? Do you feel the need to re-tell your version of the story here? Just trust people to read it themselves and draw their own conclusions. All I have done is agreed with Einstein and a bunch of other crazies. You are deliberately lying when you say that I defended the church against Galileo. That is why people should check those links. They will see that you intentionally lied, many times, just as you are now. Let’s not reproduce the discussion here. The links are there so that we don’t have to revisit it all over again, and I will not allow you to do that. You lost. Man up and deal with it.

    And yet again, you drag in your diversions. It was evolution. Now it’s Monckton. What will be next I wonder? Ken, I’m led to wonder why you’re even here.

  51. Ken

    Glenn, on these issues you are well outside your areas of expertise and experience. A little bit of humility might be in order. 

    That is the advice I gave you earlier. It’s amazing how the theologically inclined are so arrogant they dictate to scientists what is and what isn’t true. And after using science inappropriately and uncritically to support their erroneous wishes they accuse scientists of “scientism.”

    I think you are aware of this because you are childishly declaring victory over your claims, whatever they were (because I am not convinced you even understood them). Of course you don’t want to revisit them and I don’t blame you. Like your mate Monckton you made a fool of yourself, got yourself into traps and ended up looking silly.

    All that is left us to bluster and declare victory. 

    At least Monckton has an audience and money for lawyers which he uses to attempt to suppress the truth.

    But I am sure he will lose. We can’t allow tyrants like him to win.

    By the way. You have ignored my question about the holocaust. Would you give the same qualified answer when asked if you accepted modern scientific understanding if the holocaust? After all, evolution has at least the same amount if supporting evidence ad does the holocaust.

  52. Pat

    Ken, have you ever read anything from the Australian philosopher Clive Hamilton?

  53. Ken, your advice about humility is most ironic, given the way you behaved in the threads that I have linked to. You take yourself to be a better physicist than Einstein (and all the others that I referred to, who all made the same point I was making). The reason I cired them is that I, unlike you, recognise when I am talking about something that is not within my expertise, so I get expert help. You, on the other hand, just attack and reject anyone who doesn’t agree with you, regardless of their level of expertise or yours. That’s why I deferred to those experts, whereas you just rejected their claims out of hand, acting like you were the brilliant astronomer or physicist and they were idiots. There’s some pretty odd humility there! You’re bluffing of course, but not to worry – people can read for themselves. It’s pointless for you to continue falsely puffing up your chest and telling people, as the authorised historian, what took place. They can check. Why are you insecure about what people might find? Why don’t you trust people to observe the evidence and see that you were right? What are you worried that they might see, Ken? Just let them read and make up their own minds, OK? There’s no need to worry this much if the facts are on your side. But then, that’s the rub. 😉 Your confidence isn’t sounding too high (and I know why!).

    As for the holocaust – in fact I do believe in the holocaust because I’m in a position where I find myself compelled to believe that it happened. And regardless of the truth of evolution, to imply that the nature of the evidence for each is just the same is merely stupid. People in my generation know/knew people who actually saw the holocaust. Denying the holocaust would be about as unreasonable as denying the empty tomb of Jesus. The account of the holocaust is not an explanation of the evidence, as many aspects of evolutionary biology are. The holocaust was directly witnessed, so your comparison of the two is just bizarre.

    In other words, all things considered I cannot disbelieve that the holocaust occured. But because I’m not prima facie committed to any theory of the origin of species, I don’t have the same religious requirement to believe in evolution in the way that you do. What’s more, as a non-expert who is open minded, not only to I not have to make an authoritative determination on that issue, it would be arrogant of me to do so. I am, however, flattered that you find my beliefs and assessments so important that you’re just dying to know what they are. Really. Thank you.

  54. Ken

    No, I don’t think I have, Pat, altough his name is familiar for some reason. I note he is an ethicist so might chase him down. There has been some intetesting issues in New South Wales over the pilot ethics ptogramme for schools and I have followed some of that discussion. His name might have come up there.

    Is there amything you would like to recommend?

  55. Pat

    Hamilton is a climate change ethicist and has written a bit about climate change denial. I think it may be interesting for you to read some of his stuff to understand how Glenn ends up in the places he does about science. His latest book is called Requiem for a Species but also check out his I think.

    He also deals with idealism philosophy and virtue ethics and is an agnostic on the God question.

  56. Ken

    Thanks Pat. I’ll have a look.

    I am certainly inteterested in the psychology and sociology of climate change denial and science denial in general. Massimo Pigliucci discusses the issue in his recent book “Nonsense on Stilts” but I want to look a bit deeper.

  57. you _DO_ realise that “climate change denial” these days refers to the unintelligent few who remain convinced that anthropogenic climate change is a reality… right?

    Might as well still believe the earth is flat and the centre of the universe too.

  58. Ken

    Goeff – what planet do you live on? And what mythology do you adhere to? Welcome to the rational world.

  59. I know which planet I’m on.. the one with natural cycles of cooling and warming, on which the total effect of humanities “warming” is like a single drop in a 10000 litre bucket.

    I’m not going to argue with you about it. I’ve read the links Glenn posted, and read various discussions you’ve had with other people. You should give up.

  60. Pat

    Geoff, Glenn has written posts on some rather dubious sources and incidents. One being the Climategate email scandal which turned out to be a big non-event dreamed up by a newspaper in the UK.

    I suggest you look at a wider range of sources on climate change and use some critical thinking. Check out or read the articles on Clive Hamilton’s website (I talked about him in some of the posts above).

  61. Pat, you will, I am sure, be aware that the claim about climategate being “dreamed up” is a claim that some people passionately make, and other people regard as fantasy. I’m sure you have a view on which of those claims is right, but to just declare the “dreamed up” claim as uncontroversial fact is not really a very transparent way of speaking.

  62. Ken

    Goeff, I realise you will avoid any evidential discussion and are only interested in drive by sniping. But how arrogant for you to declare you know better than the qualified experts in the field of climate science. I wonder where that arrogance comes from. Have you any training in that field? Or, let me guess, you are another of the theological puersasian so know everything. Yes, that must be it. Well I have news for you. You aren’t in the real world. That’s why you are avoiding a real discussion. Just a drive by sniper.

  63. Ken, you mean a bit like claiming to know better on issues of physics and astronomy than those qualified in those fields? Whoops, your double standard just showed through.

  64. Ken

    Glenn, you were an enthusiastic promoter of the climategate hoax. You championed Monbiot’s call for Phil Jones’ resignation. Well now you are silent on the issue. The hoax has been exposed. Monbiot has the decency to admit he was wrong and sort of apologise. Several papers have recanted and apologised on some of the issues. Don’t you think it about time you apologised and recanted some of your attacks on honest scientists? Or is sorry not a word that vomes easily to you?

  65. Pat

    Ken sounds like a dick.

  66. Ken

    Glenn, you claimed Galileo was wrong. You attempted to apply Galilean and Einsteinian relativity incorrectly to justify your mistake. You were way off course and continued straw clutching by misinterpreting Hoyle. Strangely, I am the one who says the earth goes around the sun, as do all astronomerd and physicists. You disagree. And you call me arrogant! But then again you are on a different planet too.

  67. Pat

    Well this conversation has disintergrated. I was actually enjoying coming up with new billboard slogans for a while.

  68. Oh now Ken, you saw the support that I gained from Einstein and others. The links are there. Maybe you’ve forgotten. Go back and check. See how I line up with contemproary science while you mock it. Go on, have a re-read. You’d be amazed how it might look to you after a cooling off period.

  69. Pat

    ‘Cool off period’ …hehe funny phrase to use against Ken during this chat.

  70. And Ken, as soon as anyone can point to any lie that I told, I will apologise for it. See, I concede when I get things wrong. Remember that Galileo thread where I conceded one particular thing just in case I was wrong about it? Well, even though it turned out that physicists do endorse what I said after all, I conceded that I would be wrong about one issue of labeling.

    Now, go back and look at the huge list of claims that you got wrong on those Galileo threads, and you then went all coy about, never mentioning again. Remember that I even listed those claims for you? You and I have a consistent pattern of conversation: You make strong, unsupported claims about me and what I have said or what I believe, I correct them, and you don’t acknowledge it. I have always taken care to point out when this happens, so there’s no excuse for pretending it doesn’t happen. Then later you refer back to old conversations, peddling your own version of the truth, hioping that nobody will go back and check for themselves. I realise that it irritates you when I point these things out, but I don’t really care. Honesty is worth the irritation. Truth beats a lie (even a highly repetitive and often aggressive lie) any day.

  71. Pat,

    I dont think they were dubious at all. In fact the debate is still raging, just turn on talkback radio for an hour or so in the morning and see.

    And whilst I might not be a scientist, I’m an engineer of sorts, and at least consider myself minutely able to interact with the various bits of information and determine which bits are a load of rubbish and which are not. My critical thinking skills might not be PHD level, but… I at least have some.

    One thing is certain, the planet is messed up and and we need to protect it. What we DONT need to do is waste countless trillions of dollars on lies and misinformation, when we could be actually doing some good with it. Saving the rain forest in guyana. Protecting the whales. Rescuing endangered species. feeding the poverty stricken. Curing diseases.
    But nooooo, lets just blow it all on making the UN some cash.

  72. Pat

    Geoff, old people moaning on the radio does not mean ‘the debate’ is still raging. It means that there are just some old people sitting around with nothing to do and no-one to talk to.

  73. That’s a bit of an over generalisation… and in reality quite wrong.
    It shows that you dont appear to actually tune in and listen, so, probably you should have just said “nah, I dont listen, are they really talking about it?”
    And I would have said … YES.

    The range of people who comment is diverse, from said granny, to teenagers, to scientists and politicians… admittedly it does get boring and annoying, but mostly when people like ken call in 😛

  74. Ken

    So Goeff, you didn’t drive off after all. But still refusing to deal with reality I see.

    The facts are that the overwhelming majority of the experts – the climate scientists – agree with the basic conclusions in the IPCC’s advice to governments:

    1: The global temperature is increasing
    2: It is most like that human are a major contributor to the contemporary increase.

    There are of course uncertainties in such analysis but surveys indicate that something like 98% of climate scientists accept these conclusions.

    You are on another planet to suggest otherwise.

    Now, of course there will be debates on how we handle this problem. And there will be distortions of the information. At the political level your silly claim of wasting “countless trillions of dollars on lies and misinformation” is promoted by extreme conservative groups and the fossil fuel industry.

    But as for support for the science – and protection of science and scientists from those who wish to suppress the information – go to Hot Topic (Support John Abraham) and see the overwhelming support that is coming in defending Abraham against the attempts by Glenn’s mate Mad Monckton to censor the science.

    Currently over 900 expressions of support. Currently Monckton has produced copies of three (3) letters supporting his legal threats (see Letters to Father Dease in support of Monckton).

    And, for a matter of record, Glenn is still avoiding acknowledgment of his mistake in actively jumping on the “climategate” bandwagon now that it has been shown to be a hoax. He is quite happy to see his record of promoting lies against, and attacking, honest scientists stand.

  75. Pat

    Ken said ‘And there will be distortions of the information. At the political level your silly claim of wasting “countless trillions of dollars on lies and misinformation” is promoted by extreme conservative groups and the fossil fuel industry.’

    I’d like that the postmodernist are also to blame for the spreading of misinformation against the science of climate change. This seems to be one debate the far right and far left are joining forces.

  76. Pat

    I should have said ‘I’d like to add that…’

  77. “Failing to agree with me” does not equal “failing to acknowledge his mistake.” I know, it’s a bizarre way of thinking for you, Ken, but try to come to grips with the thought that people who disagree with you might not be just stubborn or evil.

  78. Ken

    I agree, Pat, although the conservative groups are most organised and well financed. The Heartland Institute for example.

    And then there are just the plain contrarians – often cranky old men.

  79. “And then there are just the plain contrarians – often cranky old men.”

    Why Ken, how honest of you. 😉

  80. Pat,

    I said I wouldnt waste my time with Ken, I didnt say anything about you.

    Again, all you have made is assertions, none of which are actually factual.

    See, I dont care about fossil fuels, I think that finding some other way of powering vehicles is a good idea. Finding a substitute for tires an even better idea. I’m all for being responsible and improving the environment.

    Yes. The planet is warming. A few hundred years ago it was AN ICE AGE. How can it do anything BUT get warmer? sheesh.

    Ice cores show that the planet has been warmer, and colder… Ever seen the documentary “Britain’s drowned history”? It shows that in the last 900 000 years, Britain has been under 1000 ft of ice, and also connected by land to Europe. Several times. Its natural. Planet cools.. then it WARMS. No human beings involved. The same ice cores ALSO show that times when Britain was under 1000 Ft of ice, there was several thousand more parts per million of CO2. It also shows the same when it was warmer and connected to Europe.

    Get over it.
    Anthropomorphic Climate change, the IPCC, and the ETS are the biggest scams, swindles, and lies since Hitler said “nah, its all good, i’m really a nice guy”.

    Also for the record, the IPCC has admitted that the number of “scientists” who _agree_ with their few numbers in the HUNDREDS.. and quite frankly… thats not even worth caring about.

    The IPCC has been proved dishonest. The climate change institute has been proved dishonest. The science has been proved dishonest.

    Just some examples for you:

    People like you are costing ME money, breaking my business, taking food OFF my table.. FOR NOTHING.

  81. Ken

    Goeff, your links indicate desperation and lack of even reading your material. Were you aware that one of them was a description of the dishonesty of Easterbrook’s Heartland presentation? Eastetbrook is a denier. Just like Glenn – although he seems too ashamed to actually admit it now. Keeps avoiding references to his climate denial, pro climategate posts.

    Yes, Glenn, that was my little joke. I often refer to myself as a cranky or silly old fool. But like racist jokes, agist ones are often a sign of bigotry shen used by others.

  82. Pat

    This article sums up climate change denialist rather nicely;

    I suggest you have a look at it Geoff and Glenn-there could be some learning in there for you two. The last section sums up the people who take part in denial movements (not just the climate scene but also Holocaust, evolution etc) quite well.

  83. “This article by one guy who takes a strong stance against the other side of the climate change debate sums up the issue nicely – and fairly. I’m sure you were all born yesterday, so just read it and learn.”

    And Ken, it’s fairly silly to make a joke about yourself, and then when I endorse it you subtly accuse me of bigotry. You certainly ARE cranky. Age has nothing to do with it, but if you consider yourself old to boot, so be it.

  84. And ken – what? Ashamed? When was I coy about the things I said? If I remember rightly, I was so insistent on forthrightness and truth on the issue that when you got so angry that you committed clear libel against someone on my blog I had to write a libel policy on account of it! I wasn’t in the least bit coy about explaining what I’d found and idenitfying errors in what you said. Are you leaping to conclusions about me because someone else brought up the issue of anthropocentric climate change int he last couple of days and I didn’t jump in? Do I really have to dredge up everything I have said and repeat it out of fear of you thinking that I’ve grown “ashamed”?

    Mercy me, you have a very funny way of connecting dots. It has been some time since I explained and defended moral cognitivism as well. Am I ashamed of that now? I’m not your puppet on a string, but I’m flattered (again) by the attention.

  85. Pat

    Glenn, have you ever thought about having a forum on your website so people like Glenn and myself can start random discussions?

  86. Pat,

    Did you ever think that this comments apply to you just as you think they might apply to me?

    It is YOU who is in denial. I dont deny the planet is warming, I definitely dont deny the planet needs saving from humanity.

    I DO deny that CO2 causes warming, and that humanities contribution to that CO2 level can have any effect what so ever.

    Its a true thing, that the fault one finds in another is usually because it is the fault one finds in oneself.

  87. Pat – I think Facebook already did that. 😉

  88. Ken

    Goeff, do you deny the well established physics of IR absorption properties of molecules like CO2, H2O, CH4, etc.? Well, if you can substantiate this claim get publishing. You would really establish your reputation as an outstanding scientist who has shown so many great minds mistaken. Or are you just spouting on anout things you don’t understand! I think the later.

  89. Anon

    They have to blame it on human, they won’t get rich from blaming the sun

  90. Pat

    Not much money in blaming it on the moon either.

  91. Ken

    Anon – if you want to get rich, follow the money. Have a look at Exxon still aids climate sceptics.

  92. Ken, any more straws you’d like to grasp at?
    Why dont you deniers read pats article on denying. 😛

  93. Pat

    Geoff, that article was about people who denial that climate change is happening and has human causes-people who entertain views that are the opposite of Ken’s. It also discusses how people who denial climate change also hold other irrational views, such as Monckton claiming to have found cures for many diseases. Perhaps someone who takes part in theology should take note.

  94. Anon

    Ken, I bet you taxing the world population and establishing world government will make you much much richer than milking any industry.

  95. Anon

    If there’s anything anti-science, it’s the attitude of name calling and labeling anyone disagreeing with ‘mainstream’ view (whatever that means).

  96. Ken

    Ah, the New World Order, World Government, conspiracy.

    It’s not at all about the science, is it?

  97. Pat,
    Yeah, but it also applies in reverse, even more so since the reverse is actually true.

  98. Geoff,

    Ken asked you a pretty good question up there. Given that we’ve known that CO2 was a greenhouse gas since 1896, and since the evidence for that is pretty basic radiation physics don’t you think you ought to explain how you can deny that C02 causes warming?

    Nature paper on the way?

  99. Pat

    Geoff, you need to expand on why you think the earth is warming and humans are not responsible for it. Until then I can’t really say much more to you about the issue than the scientist have already said.

  100. Pat,

    Because there is literally no decent, reliable, untainted evidence to show human CO2 emissions caused it.
    For one, we know that during the ice age CO2 levels were at 7000 or so PPM.
    The current levels are what? lol. We also know that in times that it has been warmer than now, CO2 levels were lower than now.. There is NO correlation between CO2 and warming or cooling. Well, except in the minds of a few crackpots.

    From what I can understand there is still considerable debate about CO2’s “greenhouse gas” status. Even then, supposedly it is about 10% of all the greenhouse cases, and of that 10% human being contribute what? Oh right, something like 2% (or less). So, we contribute 2% of 10% of greenhouse cases. But is OUR 2% thats the problem right? The other 98% has no effect..
    so, effectively Human beings contribute 0.2% of greenhouse gases.
    Some estimates show we have contributed something like 2.5% TOTAL to greenhouse gases since the beginning of the industrial age, thats like, a 2.5% contribution to 0.5C rise in temperature. LOL


    So, sure, it might be a greenhouse gas, and sure, we contribute some, but as I said earlier, its like drip of warm water into a 10000 litre water tank. Its nothing.

    Lets use our money and intelligence to fix the worlds REAL problems, instead of the fake money making ones.

    I don’t deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas (i dont care if it is), I deny OUR CONTRIBUTION to it has any effect on global warming.

  101. Hi Geoff,

    You should read some credible sources on climate change.

    The most skeptical of the skeptical scientists would say that CO2 is a greenhouse gas for certain.

    C02 contributes about 20% of the overall greenhouse effect at present. The major contributor is water vapour, but when you add more water vapour to the climate in rains, when you add more c02 sticks around for about 200 years.

    Humans contribute a small amount to the annual flux in CO2. But that includes the CO2 that gets released by the ocean in warm places (and is sicked up by the ocean in cold places) and the CO2 that is release by respiration (which is generally sucked up by plants). In the past those sources and sinks have been more or less balanced in the carbon cycle. When we burn fossil fuel we release CO2 that hasn’t been in the carbon cycle for millions of years, and as result we increase atmospheric CO2.

    Again, the most skeptical of the skeptical scientists would say there is no doubt that human emissions are responsible for the recent rise in CO2 (and in the fact the rise is less than the amount we’ve emitted since the ocean is acting as a sink).

    I don’t deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas

    Then prehaps you should stop saing you do.

    I deny OUR CONTRIBUTION to it has any effect on global warming.

    Perhaps you should read up a little before you make such strong claims.

  102. David,

    I’ve never said CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

    I have “read up a little” – enough to know you can NOT claim anthropogenic CO2 generation “warms” anything. There is NO evidence proper evidence to link it. As i said, and i quote:

    “For one, we know that during the ice age CO2 levels were at 7000 or so PPM.
    The current levels are what? lol. We also know that in times that it has been warmer than now, CO2 levels were lower than now.. There is NO correlation between CO2 and warming or cooling.”

    Since this is fact, there can be NO correlation, and therefore there is NO anthropogenic global warming by CO2. There is NO warming caused by CO2 period.

  103. Please tell me this is some kind of send up. You should re-read what you read up on, because CO2 concentration was about half what is now during the last glacial maximum.

  104. Ken


    One thing science research experience teaches you is to avoid dogma. Wild assertions of one’s prejudice (like those you make) are bound to be refuted by reality when we actively research something.

    Reality is what keeps us honest.

    And the reality is that the earth’s climate is very complex. It is influenced by a range of factors like intensity of solar radiation, changes in our orbit, precession, etc.  Albedo, extent of water and ice coverage, emission of greenhouse gases and aerosols. And so on.

    We have had a lot of success modeling past climate changes. Up until about 1970, modeling using natural inputs explains things well. Since then the changes are not successfully explained by natural inputs alone. However, inclusion of human influences like change in forest cover, and emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases enables a good fit with observed climate changes since 1970.

    This is one reason why the overwhelming proportion of experts accept the IPCC conclusions (although many find them too conservative because of recent findings regarding land ice sheets).

    Now, you are being dogmatic, clutching at straws including distorted stats. For example it might be true that only a few % of total flux of CO2 is from fossil fuel. But the net flux from natural pools is close to zero which makes the input from fossil fuels overwhelming. That is why the CO2 atmospheric levels have increased so markedly.

    Deniers like Wishart who continually woe the few % figure are blatantly dishonest.

    You are naive to rave on about previous CO2 levels and temperatures in the ice age and so on. These are easily explained by considering other natural inputs like solar radiation and albedo as well as CO2 and CH4.

    So get off your high horse. Accept that our climate is extremely complex. No simple story will explain it. You should respect the skills of climate scientists in this field (you wouldn’t ask a nutter spouting rubbish on a street corner to fix your car. You would get an expert – a mechanic).

    The climate scientists have no reason to bullshit you. People like Wishart and Monckton do. They have a political agenda.

  105. @david


  106. where’s the joke Geoff? 400 000 years of co2 with the sources clearly cited . Now, what do you think the troughs correspond to? And where is that 7000ppm peak you were talking about?

  107. Pat

    Geoff, please stop being such a clown (and I’d imagine that is a clown with a frown).

  108. David:

    Because you just proved my point.. we have an ice age with Co2 at several thousand parts per million, we have a “warm age” with CO2 at several parts per million. We have an ice age with half the Co2 of now, and same with a warm age.

    Get over it.

  109. geoff,

    what on earth are you talking about? Certainly not the graph I’ve linked to …

  110. Nope, I wasnt talking about the graph you linked to.
    Its a random graph with no way to verify its accuracy.

  111. Pat

    How about checking out the sources described at the bottom of the page? They look rather technical to me but from the expertise and knowledge you have shown in this discpline I think you will be fine with them. How about it Geoff?

  112. Pat,

    I’m not an expert, just done enough reading to make me dangerous (to myself).

    I dont (personally) trust any of those sources. Climategate and all that you know… there is no way in hell I would trust anything from any climate science place for quite some time. They abused our trust, now they need to prove their veracity. That’s a whole different story though.

  113. So Geoff,

    You want accept any data form climate scientists (it’s hardly random graph, it has four independant ice cores telling the same story) but you’ve somehow concluded that the recent warming is nothing to do with CO2 or us?

    Thanks for illustrating the difference between a denier and a skeptic

  114. Pat

    So Geoff there is no point even bothering to look at what any climate scientist is saying? You have dismissed every single one of them based on some dubious ‘climategate scandal’?

    By the way, why are these scientists behaviouring in an unethical manner in your opinion? What is their real agenda?

  115. Ken

    I think Goeff has defined himself. He is not a sceptic. He is a denier. In denial about the facts.

  116. @david, I was skeptical, until a few people ruined it for the rest, now I find it almost impossible to believe anything any of them say.

    @Pat, hardly “dubious”, considering a number of them owned up to it, and we ALL could actually read and see what they did in their own words.
    I’m not saying they are all bad, but I am saying we certainly can not and should not trust them until they can prove we should.

    Imagine this: Your doctor keeps telling you that you had cancer and needed expensive surgery, then referred you to a colleague for a second opinion, who then to a surgeon who wanted to charge you a gazillion dollars for the “life saving surgery”.
    You go there and do what they say and start finding the money to pay, even though its going to bankrupt you and your family. On the way, someone comes to you and says, hey look, it seems they were all in cahoots, you dont really have cancer, just a minor skin condition that can be easily treated and will go away.
    You go to another specialist, they confirm it, and eventually your own doctor admits it, under duress.

    Do you ever trust that doctor again? no. Do you ever trust another doctor? Sure, but it takes time and you check everything they say and are extremely skeptical for quite some time, until they prove themselves trustworthy.

    Their agenda, I dont know. I dont have to know, since the evidence of what they did is out there for everyone to see. Usual agendas are though, and feel free to pick one: religion, money, power, kudos, ego.
    Plus, it is the tendency of human beings to try and control one another by various forms of manipulation anyway… so by default thats a usual motivation.

  117. I just thought I’d throw this into the feeding frenzy: When Al Gore stood in front of crowd after crowd with his line graph showing a correlation of C02 and temperature, he was criticised – but NOT because there was no correlation. Instead, he was criticised for leaving out a vital detail that are clear on closer inspection: C02 increases did not precede temperature increases according to the data he was using. In fact, temperature increases preceded C02 increases.

    I mention this only for the sake of noting that those who are skeptical of anthropocentric global warming should not, as a rule, be characterised as denying a relationship between C02 proportions in the atmosphere and temperature.

  118. Ken

    Sure, Glenn. But that is well understood as a feedback after temperature changes due to things like changes in incoming solar radiation.

    The feedback is one of the pieces of supporting evidence for the influence if greenhouse gases. In these cases the temperature rise is greater than can be caused by the solar radiation alone. Because the released CO2 has it’s own eaing effect..

    Of course the current situation is that CO2 is released from fossil fuels, not by a preliminary temperature increase.

    While this phenomena is well understood the time lag is used by those who want to deny the science. They claim it proves temperature increases are not caused by CO2 increases. They are wrong.

    As I said climate change is a complex issue. It’s easy to take things in isolation to support predetermined incorrect conclusions. This particular one is classically used by deniers. 

    (I seem to remember you using the ice core plots in exactly that way in an old post).

    Climate scientists are experts in these matters. Do you think they would make such a silly mistake?

  119. Anon

    Experts can make silly mistake too. Especially when so much money at stake.

  120. “While this phenomena is well understood the time lag is used by those who want to deny the science.”

    That’s funny, because when it comes to how it is used, as we know it has been used by people (like the scientists who put together the graph that Gore used) to show that temperature follows CO2 changes.

    Now maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, but who was denying (or at very best, misrepresenting) the science in this case? It wasn’t the deniers. Remember, Gore’s presentation (created by climate scientists) used the graph as proof that CO2 caused the temperature changes, without telling the audience that the order of chnage was the opposite of what he was suggesting. It’s a culture that needs to clean up its act.

  121. Ken

    Obviously I don’t have Gore’s statements in front of me – and really aren’t interested in his position. I can remember from viewing his film several years ago that it had a few obvious mistakes in it. I have never regarded politicians as reliable sources of scientific information – even well intentioned one. Don’t forget that they also usually simplify issues.

    But the fact remains that those who study paeleoclimate are not as foolish as you try to represent them. Of course they are aware of time lags (they are the ones who took the measurements!). But they are also aware that the changes in solar radiation can’t explain the temperature increases without including the CO2 effect.

    And these records are good evidence for the operation of greenhouse gases in the past. Its just that the issue is not as simple as you attempt to present. (Things never are). Certainly the graph is NOT evidence against greenhouse effects as deniers often claim and you seem to assert.

    What you have to appreciate is that there must be a mechanism to produce these gases. Once in the atmosphere the greenhouse effect kicks in.

    In the past one mechanism was release from surface pools after warming was initiated by changes in solar radiation. Another was during continental drift volcanic activity released large volumes of CO2 (an example is during India’s move north).

    Today the mechanism is burning of fossil fuels. That is why the scientific consensus is that we are responsible for recent global warming.

    I am quite happy to accept that Gore may have presented a too simple story. But if he produced the graph as evidence of the greenhouse effect of CO2 he was not wrong, even if he simplified. The fact is that the graph is good evidence.

    But deniers who present the graph as evidence against this property of CO2 are definitely wrong. In fact they are purposely deceptive because the time lag is not relevant (except to the cause of CO2 release).

    Talking about cleaning up acts, Glenn. What about you trying to actually check the facts. Hunt down the actual scientific sources of this graph (Hint – Hansen’s latest book includes it together with references). Check exactly what they say. Check to see if they were ignorant of the time lag.

    Most climate sceptics do not deny the role of CO2, or the greenhouse effect. Those that do are just stupid, wishing to deny well established science.

    Their quibble usually is with the extent of input due to human activity.

    The deniers are a different case, of course. They will use any argument to misrepresent or hide the evidence. And this is one typical argument.

    The motive for their position is political. But they put themselves into an ethically bad position by misrepresenting the science in the way you have done here.

  122. OK Ken, well if you’re not interested in the way Gore and the scientists who produced his presentation misrepresented the data, then you’re not interested in the actual point I was making. If those who were responsible for that presentation were aware of the time lag (as you say they must have been), then that only casts them in a worse moral light as wilful tricksters. The deception is anything but one-sided, as you seem to want it to be.

  123. Ken

    I realize that conservatives have a thing about Gore and tend to overreact. But that’s politics which is hardly logical and can be bloody nasty.

    But your argument here is often used by deniers and it is just wrong. The changes in solar radiation input which precede the CO2 release are just not sufficient to explain the temperature increase. It is dishonest to claim the graphs as evidence against CO2 effects. Climate scientists use them as evidence for.

    They know what they are talking about.

    From my memory of Gore’s film I think the graph was fine. No misrepresentation there. Gore may have commented that the issue was complex (that’s my recollection) or he may not.

    Buy the fact is it is perfectly correct to take this ice core data as evidence for the greenhouse gas effect of CO2. He was not wrong to say that.

    Sure he was wrong about other things like resettling climate refugees on NZ. That got laughs from the audience I was in.

    So forget about Gore. Forget the politics. Climate scientists do use the ice core data as evidence for greenhouse effects. That evidence is very strong.

    Deniers, in contrast, use the graph as “proof” that CO2 has no effect. They have to either be ignorant or tell lies to do so.

    The ice core data does not support the deniers claims. It does not support your claims. You make yourself look silly by using it.

    Climate scientists are the honest ones here. It is the deniers who attempt to deceive.

  124. Ken, again, you simply don’t know how Gore presented this. You admitted as much, therefore you don’t know whether he was honest or not. Clearly this issue is a political one for you, and I’m just not interested in using the issue that way. Why even comment when you don’t know what the guy even said? Bizarre.

  125. Pat

    And this post just keeps going…

  126. Indeed Pat – as long as there’s a possibility that anyone might think that there’s at least one proponent of man made gloabl warming who isn’t a perfect saint and the model of moral vertue and honesty, there will be a desparate need on the part of some(one) to perpetuate the holy mission of setting the record straight (even after once already swearing off this blog forever). It’s like catnip. 😉

  127. Ken

    One thing about information these days is that it is generally easy to check. People who misrepresent things can get caught out!

    The transcript of Gore’s film is available on line. And I am amazed at how good my memory was – I am usually not that good.

    Referring to the ice core data figure which was quite new at the time, Gore said:

    “The relationship is very complicated. But there is one relationship that is more powerful than the others and it is this. When there is more CO2 the temperature gets warmer.

    So I remembered the word complicated but didn’t remember “very”. Pretty good for an old bugger like me.

    I think Gore’s statement is pretty accurate for a popular presentation. If I were giving it today I would point out the time lag and describe how deniers use this to tell lies. But at the time this particular piece of misinformation probably wasn’t even being used because the data was so new. 

    So, Glenn, nothing dishonest in what Gore said. Checkmate?

    Forget about Gore though. He is not important (although probably a very nice man). However, the science is and when it us distorted and misrepresented in the way you have it us important to counter with the truth.

  128. There you go. Gore’s claim was that the graph he had just begun to chow (obviously you can’t see the graph in the transcript) showed higher CO2 levels and then the temperature “gets warmer.” No need to even explain why the visual relationship was the opposite of what he claimed, he just went right ahead and said it. he didn’t even bother to say “now, the graph that I’m now showing you doesn’t show what I’ve just claimed, and here’s why…”

    Checkmate indeed. But not the way you think, Ken. 😉 Indeed, those who misrepresent things are easily caught.

    Edit: Unfortunately the actual footage of this on-stage presentation isn’t readily available online.

  129. OK, I managed to find it. I couldn’t find footage straight from Gore’s documentary, unfortunately. But I did manage to locate that excerpt in a documentary critical of the theory of man made global warming. I link to it here only so that you can see the clip of Gore I’m talking about. It starts at 1:35

    He makes it the sequence very clear: The timeline, he says, shows CO2 increases, and then “the temperature gets warmer.”

    If you can’t even concede THAT, then you have no business commenting. (PS, it’s convenient to say “forget Al Gore”, but my whole point was about something Gore did! For my part, I haven’t misrepresented the science in the least.)

  130. Pat

    Could you please close comments on this thread? I’m arguing from a utilitarian viewpoint-the level of happiness would increase if you did close it down. But maybe Glenn you would prefer a rights based argument to keep it open? Ken’s right to keep annoying the internet world?

  131. LOL Pat – you don’t have to read the annoyance! I have considered closing it because of its rather silly nature (I mean, it has got to the point of defending Al Gore!), but hey, Ken could be doing worse things with his time.

    EDIT: On second thoughts, I have decide to aquiesce to your request, Pat. Experience has shown that Ken loves my threads as avenues to promote himself. Just today I saw him again visit someone’s blog with no purpose at all except to provide two links to his blog. He’s welcome to pay me for advertising space, but this thread is now closed. I suspect that because I’m not giving Ken a forum in this thread anymore he will complain (somewhere) about censorship.

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