Wednesday, June 06, 2007

From the department of "you couldn't make it up"

This barking mad press release recently appeared in my in-box.

Scientists Rally Around NASA Chief After Global Warming Comments

Mostly it's just the same old motley crew:
Professor Robert Carter, observed...Dr. Tim Ball, a Canadian climatologist, responded...Said Ross McKitrick...Dr. Pat Michaels...
But like all the best jokes, they save the punchline to the end:
Finally, Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl praised Griffin's climate comments, calling them "sensible."
If "jumping the shark" refers to the point at which a TV series loses all credibility, perhaps "quoting a Motl" could be analogous in the context of coverage of climate science issues.

Actually, a quick investigation into the "organisation" behind this press release is mildly amusing. The website of the "Science and Public Policy Institute" seems abandoned, but Google links it to the slightly kooky Jill Ungar ("Research interests: Marine mammal care and rehab, especially involving more holistic medical care and less western medicine. Probiotic, herbal, energy work"). However, the first contact name on the press release (Robert Ferguson) runs the similarly-named Center for Science and Public Policy, as you can see from the front page seems to enjoy puffing up the septics and gets puffed in return by the Heartland Institute. 'Nuff said.


Simon Donner said...

I'm not sure that can really be called a press release. It is a list of long and unintentionally funny quotes from different people.

I think that the climate science community is beyond - way beyond - the point of organizing responses to such drivel.

Of course, if we were to respond, we could do the same thing. Gather quotes from a list of quotes from scientists, except that list would number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The sheer difference in length drive home the point that the remnant 'sceptics' community is, like you say, a motley crew, like the cast of one of those reality shows populated with washed-up former tv stars.

James Annan said...

I think that the climate science community is beyond - way beyond - the point of organizing responses to such drivel.

I agree, and perhaps it was a touch hypocritical of me to bother mentioning it given that I have occasionally ribbed RC gently for (IMO) giving the septics more oxygen than they deserve. But this particular case....well....quoted a Motl :-)

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I don't know James. I think I might give slightly more weight to a brilliant if somewhat deranged string theorist than to a collection of bought and paid for hacks.

Tom Adams said...

I think there have been two "Science and Public Policy Institutes", one dead and one newborn. The Unger one was on the other end of the spectrum, pushing the dangers of cell phone use.

The Ferguson one seems to exists solely to put out this press release, since if you goog "Ferguson" and "Science and Public Policy Institute" together all you get are hits for this press release.

"Science is Power" - Bacon
"Pseudoscience is Power" - Adams

PS: Your main blog page was out of date for a while. Seems OK now.

Unknown said...

Well, noe the basic point is, is Motl going to be better, or the sceptics are on decline? :-)