Two words of the headline are a pun on Liebig’s law, something we covered in the context of another big lie: the “hockey stick”.
Steve McIntyre in a post last Saturday writes of Cook’s Fake Ethics Approval and has this hilarious exchange:
The larger issue is, of course, the contradiction not faced by “climate communications” theorists e.g. Dan Kahan who are blind to the corrosiveness of misleading/deceptive statements by climate scientists and supporters on matters that can be verified (as in FOI disputes) on their expectations to be trusted on larger issues.
Nor is it easy to understand the purpose of some of these machinations. As I’ve said before, I took zero interest in Cook’s study (or in “skeptic” protests against it) as it seems evident to me that there is a “consensus” of climate scientists on many points. I believe that the strength of the “consensus” varies by proposition and that too often climate promoters will bait-and-switch from consensus on something relatively uncontroversial (e.g. GHG having some impact) to green solution fantasies, but that is a different story.
Nor do I think that there is some smoking gun in the rater ID data. So it’s hard to understand why Cook made such an issue of it. But we’ve seen very odd conduct from climate scientists: think of Cook and Lewandowsky on the SKS link, Jones on non-existent confidentiality agreements on data, Mann on excel spreadsheets, etc etc. On matters which can be understood and verified by non-clmate scientists, we’ve seen bizarre behaviour by prominent people in the field.
In drafting this post, I chatted briefly with Lucia about this seeming blindness. Lucia wrote (in her usual forceful style):
Yep. I don’t see how people can’t see that if UQ lies and climate scientists just seem to think that’s ok, then the public will see the climate scientists as likely to be lying on other things. We are seeing tons and tons and tons of “how to communicate” documents, but none seem to point out the obvious: We need to stop being caught lying. Oh… here’s a strategy to stop being caught: Don’t lie in the first place!
Both Cook and Lewandowsky were, of course, involved in a previous incident also involving lying: see here, a conclusion which Tom Curtis of SKS also reached in respect to Lewandowsky (see here) but not Cook, though, in my opinion, the evidence against Cook is overwhelming.
Full essay here: http://climateaudit.org/2014/07/26/cooks-fake-ethics-approval/
Indeed, lying pretty much ensures a failure to communicate.
Back in the days before the Internet existed, few people could challenge the big lies of institutions and governments. Today, pretty much anyone with a bit of intelligence, courage, and persistence can take down such false claims.
As we saw in ClimateGate, emails between scientists don’t stay private, and as we saw in Brandon Shollenberger’s exposure of the Double-secret Skeptical Science TCP forums where they discuss ratings, they don’t stay private, and in the earlier exposure where SkS members photoshop themselves into Nazi uniforms, they act as if they embrace the original idea of the Big Lie itself by making themselves in that image.
It’s a sad commentary on Climate Science that we keep going through this pattern of claims, followed by challenges, followed by denials, then ending in confirmation that the claims and the denials were both bogus. One wonders if the rest of science will ever stand up and say “Enough! You are giving us all a bad image.”.