Reports from the Guardian Climategate Debate

Here are a excerpts and links to reports about the debate that Steve McIntyre was originally shut out of.

The Guardian just put up the audio: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/audio/2010/jul/15/guardian-climategate-hacked-emails-debate

Guardian 'Climategate' debate

The Guardian's 'Climategate' debate in full swing. Photograph: Guardian

Via Maurizio Morabito

Report From Climategate Guardian Debate with Monbiot, McIntyre, Pearce, Watson, Keenan and some uea guy

As posted by Latimer Alder in my previous post:

Just back from the Climategate debate run by the Guardian tonight. We’re assured that the Guardian website will have a full video of the whole proceeding sometime tomorrow. So just some very sketchy impressions.

Steve obviously read the remarks from last night’s meeting and insisted on speaking from a lectern. This was a good move as it gave him more ‘authority’. And he was (mostly) crisper…making his points more directly. The others spoke while seated.

George Monbiot chaired the meeting and I think he did a fair job of it. He tried hard to be unbiased, and only once or twice strayed into partisan territory. And he managed to keep the speeches and questions mostly to time and to the point

Fred Pearce took a longer perspective than the others. He spoke well and described Climategate as a tragedy rather than a conspiracy…the tragedy being that the CRU guys had adopted siege mentality. Climategate has certainly widened his perspective.

Trevor Davies representing UEA/CRU was appallingly bad. He mouthed platitudes by the shedload, but was unfamiliar with the details of any of the subjects likely to be raised. And was several times embarrassed by doing so. Apart from the fact that he had a sharp suit. I can find nothing positive to say about him. Struck me as a devious smooth cove.

More here: http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/report-from-climategate-guardian-debate-with-monbiot-mcintyre-pearce-watson-keenan-and-some-uea-guy/

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The Guardian ClimateGate “Debate” 14 July 2010 by Piers Corbyn Thursday, July 15th 2010, 5:49 AM EDT Co2sceptic (Site Admin) Continuing cover-up and Dodging of the Science

The Guardian ClimateGate ‘Debate’ held at the RIBA London on 14 July*, organized by the Guardian and chaired by George Monbiot in full biased form was significant not for its predicted gross imbalance in debate but more for evident disquiet over the matter from card-carrying Guardian readers** and the continuing utter scientific bankruptcy of the Global Warmers.

ClimateGate “Debate” (Link now ended)

Monbiot started with his standard pejorative references to Climate Change Deniers (as in Holocaust Deniers) and then presentations proceeded with ‘Warmers’ including Monbiot outnumbering by 4 to 2 the more objective (Realist) speakers who had to endure somewhat negative introductions lest some of the audience pay them too much attention.

There were the expected wishy-washy meanderings and praise of whitewash by George Monbiot, Prof Trevor Davies pro-vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof Bob Watson former head of IPCC, and Fred Pearce environment apologist, which seemed to amount to insistence that fraud isn’t fraud if you only select rather than change data!

One can only wonder if the Guardian take the same view of tax fraud when a banker or politician only declares 25% of his income stream for tax purposes?! [“With regret we note their somewhat non-transparent procedures”, they would doubtless rage.]

However probably the largest applause was gained by Steve Mcintyre of the well respected site Climate Audit who has worked so relentlessly to expose false science; and by blogger & independent researcher Doug Keenan who steadfastly maintained the position that CRU scientists had engaged in scientific FRAUD – in the face of veiled threats from the chair.

Questions were limited to 20 seconds each – making it very difficult to develop proper debate. Nevertheless some probing such as by Johnathan Leake of Sunday Times revealed more and more the weakness and biased cover-up nature of the so called ‘independent’ inquiries’ into the sorry affair.

In a question I challenged the concept Climate Change Denier and asked that surely the key issue that must be addressed is the total failure of the IPCC predictions and the lack of any evidence that CO2 drives weather or climate while WeatherAction using solar-lunar understandings can explain the rise of temperatures in decades up to 2002, the cooling since and predict extreme events.

Responses avoided anything about extreme events despite the IPCC’s much vaunted claim to exist to defend the world from dangerous climate-change driven extreme weather events!

Instead they made the demonstrably false claim that ‘Oh yes the sun is important but only man’s CO2 can explain recent Climate Change’. Prof Trevor Davies to give him credit did say “Denialists” was not his term.

more here:

http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6006

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Guardian: ‘Climategate’ debate: less meltdown, more well-mannered argument

Posted by Damian Carrington

Polemical and partisan characterises the climate debate online – but at last night’s Guardian debate there was courteousness and a distinct warmth in the air.

Something remarkable happened last night in the polarised world of “warmists” versus “sceptics”: a candid but not rancorous public debate. I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong but, to my knowledge, never before have all sides of this frequently poisonous debate shared a stage. The outcome was illuminating.

With no little effort, I had persuaded a star panel to convene to discuss the fall out from the “Climategate” affair which followed the exposure of 1,000 private emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and their international colleagues. Three inquiries had emphasised that the science of global warming remained clear and that the scientists had not fiddled their data but also that there had been serious shortcomings in the transparency with which they worked and in how they dealt with freedom of information requests.

So almost 300 people squeezed into Riba in London last night, ready to witness a fight. Instead, they were treated to a heated argument, in the best sense of that word, with my colleague George Monbiot, who chaired magnificently, only having to threaten one heckler with ejection (yes, Piers Corbyn, it was you).

There’s a news story here, but here’s my take on the panellists and the debate:

• Professor Trevor Davies, ex-head of CRU and now pro-vice chancellor for research at UEA: Davies had the toughest brief, given the lurid nature of some of the emails, which he said had initially “shocked” him, as well as the pounding UEA has taken in the media. But he was clear and calm, if a little stiff, backing the researchers’ science while fully acknowledging the need to work more openly and be more helpful in responding to FOI requests. Inevitably, he failed to woo a sceptical chunk of the audience, who jeered when he failed to recall the exact date when the last inquiry panel was set up, but all were glad he was there.

• Steve McIntyre, editor of ClimateAudit: It was hard to reconcile the much-demonised McIntyre with the open and avuncular Canadian on the stage. Despite being the highest-profile critic of CRU, he pointed out none of the three enquires had asked him to give evidence. He ducked a question on how much the Earth was warming – “I don’t know” – he was convincing in saying his motive had always been wanting the temperature data only because he felt it was important and should be available. He noted that if he was running a government, he would be taking action on climate change. Hardly a classic sceptic.

more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jul/15/climategate-public-debate

The Guardian ClimateGate “Debate” 14 July 2010 by Piers Corbyn
Thursday, July 15th 2010, 5:49 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

Continuing cover-up and Dodging of the Science

The Guardian ClimateGate ‘Debate’ held at the RIBA London on 14 July*, organized by the Guardian and chaired by George Monbiot in full biased form was significant not for its predicted gross imbalance in debate but more for evident disquiet over the matter from card-carrying Guardian readers** and the continuing utter scientific bankruptcy of the Global Warmers.

ClimateGate “Debate” (Link now ended)

Monbiot started with his standard pejorative references to Climate Change Deniers (as in Holocaust Deniers) and then presentations proceeded with ‘Warmers’ including Monbiot outnumbering by 4 to 2 the more objective (Realist) speakers who had to endure somewhat negative introductions lest some of the audience pay them too much attention.

There were the expected wishy-washy meanderings and praise of whitewash by George Monbiot, Prof Trevor Davies pro-vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof Bob Watson former head of IPCC, and Fred Pearce environment apologist, which seemed to amount to insistence that fraud isn’t fraud if you only select rather than change data!

One can only wonder if the Guardian take the same view of tax fraud when a banker or politician only declares 25% of his income stream for tax purposes?! [“With regret we note their somewhat non-transparent procedures”, they would doubtless rage.]

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46 thoughts on “Reports from the Guardian Climategate Debate

  1. SM
    He ducked a question on how much the Earth was warming – “I don’t know” –

    Can’t get more honest than that.
    If we asked Jones how much is it warming, he would respond with “how much do you want us to show it is warming”

  2. The most important paragraph was the last one in the story at the Guardian web site. It read,

    “In the bar later, the extraordinary events continued, with Bob Watson and Doug Keenan swapping contact details and promising to stay in touch. Will the friendliness that broke out at the Guardian debate prove a mere holiday romance? Or will it be the start of a new way of conducting and communicating the science, especially online, that will shape how the world lives for centuries, as demanded by many?”

    The worst part about the AGW controversy is the lack of debate. It has allowed demonization of the proponents and antagonists that is not healthy. I recall contriversies in chemistry where there would be paper written on a disputed theory among some technical heavy weights and on occasion shouting matches in the same room but there was at least a debate going in, even if the debaters spoke past one another. It must have come as a real shock to find out that Steve McIntyre believes the world is warming, just not to the degree that many alarmists claim. More than anything else, the man wants to get an accurate answer to the question of how much, what caused it and how significant is it so an appropriate response is taken. There is clearly much to debate there because the answers are not known and the current projections very uncertain. Steve McIntyre did a lot to cast out demons this week and perhaps opened the door to the “old” way science is done, with face to face debate and arguing points directly.

  3. Ah, how nice. Now do it again with schmidt in there defending modeling and 1200km smoothing….

  4. This sounds like a very productive debate. I’m glad to see Steve McIntyre was himself. His experience as a CEO will have made him comfortable in public settings as he is in writing and analysis.

  5. OT: The National Post published today a rant by Jonathan Kay, visibly quite an uninformed and uneducated pundit:

    “(…) a columnist recently described the “growing skepticism about the theory of man-made climate change.” Surely, the conventional wisdom is on the cusp of being overthrown entirely: Another colleague proclaimed that we are approaching “the church of global warming’s Galileo moment.”
    Fine-sounding rhetoric — but all of it nonsense. In a new article published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, a group of scholars from Stanford University, the University of Toronto and elsewhere provide a statistical breakdown of the opinions of the world’s most prominent climate experts. (…)”

    Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/07/15/bad-science-global-warming-deniers-are-a-liability-to-the-conservative-cause/#ixzz0tlrCVy7O

    One can laugh at Kay’s presenting Jim Prall the IT tech from University of Toronto as a “scholar”especially when one knows how he assembled his database…
    If Jonathan Kay cannot even informed himself on the key paper he articulates his argument upon then what the heck is a news organization paying this clown for? Agit prop?

  6. Imagine how much better the science would be if the scientists demonstrated as much integrity as Steve Mc. Or even half as much.

  7. This was not a productive debate apart from what Steve Mc had to say. The issue boils down to this – do we have a theory about climate change or not. No we don’t. We can’t say where climate will go without a theory. And we are years off that.

  8. Gwrs’ self indulgence and self caressing as usual, all embedded, climate science to be found anywhere else. Where guests only play the part of needed “freaks” who help making the necessary contrast.

  9. Next global warmers’ carnal pleasures’ jamboree will be held next november at Cancun, but…will weather please them?

  10. ‘There were the expected wishy-washy meanderings and praise of whitewash by George Monbiot, Prof Trevor Davies pro-vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof Bob Watson former head of IPCC, and Fred Pearce environment apologist, which seemed to amount to insistence that fraud isn’t fraud if you only select rather than change data!’

    Statement of Dr. David Deming
    University of Oklahoma
    College of Earth and Energy
    Climate Change and the Media
    “I had another interesting experience around the time my paper in Science was published. I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. He said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

    The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a time of unusually warm weather that began around 1000 AD and persisted until a cold period known as the “Little Ice Age” took hold in the 14th century. Warmer climate brought a remarkable flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art to Europe during the High Middle Ages.

    The existence of the MWP had been recognized in the scientific literature for decades. But now it was a major embarrassment to those maintaining that the 20th century warming was truly anomalous. It had to be “gotten rid of.”

    IPCC to The Team: “Change history”. The Team to IPCC: “Done.”

  11. TomRude says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

    That PNAS article has done all it needed to do: give the MSM a new piece of “research” with which to berate skeptics. Most people reading their paper won’t look behind the apparently impressive statistics.

  12. Isn’t that wonderful, the children have learned to play nice together. This could be a group-hug moment!
    From what accounts I’ve read of the events, nothing new was covered or said. I suppose it was nice the warmistas learned Steve McIntyre wasn’t Satan, but I still find it disgusting it took so long to humanize the man and find it indicative of the character of the people whose judgment took so long to reflect reality.

    “It was hard to reconcile the much-demonised McIntyre with the open and avuncular Canadian on the stage.”……yes, Damien and George you are a couple of them.

    My impression, with the recent events after climate gate, is the warmists now want to play nice with the skeptics. The timing is obvious. It isn’t like they weren’t told what was happening. (the stonewalling, the distortions, the character assassinations, ect.) They were told, they simply didn’t care at the time because the public was kept ignorant of such occurrences. Thanks to the persistence of the skeptics,(worldwide) and egos of the people involved with MSM, coupled with the demonstrable ineptness of many climatologists, and the nuance of the internet as a source of information, the public is becoming aware of not only the abhorrent behavior of scientists and journalists but also of the uncertainty of previous apocalyptic precognitions. So now Steve Mc isn’t a demon. Nice. We should all just forgive and forget attacks on people, lives that have been lost, livelihoods, industries, economies, bodies of government that have been subvertedperverted, and the loss of individual liberties and freedoms.

    If you ask me, they lost their privilege to civility long ago. They gave none, they have none coming.

  13. I’m sure many of the warmists want to come in from the heat to a more civil and acceptable form of debate that has been forced on all by the climategate affair. However, I don’t see acceptance into a new respectful debate for some of the those who engaged in the heights of deception, character assassination, dirty tricks, dishonest manipulations and the like unless, on top of it, there are heartfelt apologies for the harm done to science and the dangers they have posed for the economic, poltical and social well-being of humanity. Phil Jones has shown that it is possible with his candid admissions on the manipulations and the uncertainties in climate science. Certainly, The Guardian has felt the need to find a civil forum for the science with Climategate having been a betrayal to them and their non-scientific confreres. A small apology from Monbiot and others who were taken in and who pressed the AGW cause with gusto and vehemence. I guess the conference is a form of apology. Can you imagine TG organizing a meeting of AGW scientists, their faithful and the skeptics who were labeled flat-earthers and deniers prior to Nov 2009. There is still some road to travel.

  14. James Sexton says:
    July 15, 2010 at 11:01 am
    You are right, it’s a kid’s affair, all embedded and bedwetting :-)

  15. Phillip Bratby says:
    July 15, 2010 at 10:06 am
    The audio of the debate is up.

    “Some parts of the debate have been edited out for legal reasons”

    The Grauniad obviously feels a bit vulnerable to publishing a libel.

  16. Gary Pearse says:
    July 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I’m sure many of the warmists want to come in from the heat to a more civil and acceptable form of debate that has been forced on all by the climategate affair. However, I don’t see acceptance into a new respectful debate for some of the those who engaged in the heights of deception, character assassination, dirty tricks, dishonest manipulations and the like unless, on top of it, there are heartfelt apologies for the harm done to science and the dangers they have posed for the economic, poltical and social well-being of humanity.

    ————-

    I could not agree more. The evident temper of this debate shows that the warmists now realize they have to tone back their rhetoric to preserve–or more accurately, to rehabilitate–their scientific reputations. At least if they’re finally willing moderate the ad hominems and demonization of skeptics as “deniers” and are forced by circumstances to respect “skeptical” scientists’ presentations of scientific evidence against AGW arguments, the scare should moderate naturally to its appropriate level i.e. non-existent. And then we can focus on finding out what really is going on with the weather. The social engineering environmental cockroaches will have to find other issues with which to pursue their totalitarian wet-dreams.

  17. “How much was the is the Earth warming?”

    If anyone says they know the answer to this they are talking nonsense. Nobody knows the answer, so asking McIntyre the question while pretending to know is bunkum.

  18. I listened to the whole debate. One issue stood out, to me, like a sore thumb. A lady in her qusetion talked about scientific consensus, and referred to Newton’s Law of Gravity. What was not brought out was that physics does not rely on consensus; it relies on hard, measured, independently replicated experimental data. And that is all physics relies on. In AGW, there is no experimental evidence to show that when you add CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels, global temperatures rise. Zero, nada, zilch. And that, to me, is what really matters in the debate.

  19. As we have read many times here in WUWT, and as Lord Monckton said, that the purpose of this tale was “Global Governance” and as this supposes the total obliteration of national states, national history and associated feelings and principles, there must be several countries and citizens which do not like this perspective, specially the citizens of those which have a leading role in the world, so it is very probable that we will have the opportunity of enjoying a new version of Climate Gate, before the next “carnal pleasures’ jamboree” at Cancun.

  20. Anything that includes Monbiot is not worth your time. He should be removed from journalism and all political debate, completely. Let’s see how he feels being a blogger looking for the truth instead of a wanker journalist using a position in the media to brainwash the public towards authoritarianism. Let’s always remind ourselves who this man is and who is allies have been when he’s not talking about the “climate”. Even his pal George Galloway, who took money from Saddam, appeared on Arab TV to lift the spirits of the most violent jihadists and is an ally of Syria’s dictator, has started talking about the environment.

    Environment my backside. When they came to control you in your community they called it communism. When they came to control you in your society they called it socialism. When they came to control you in your environment they called it environmentalism.

  21. Jim Cripwell says:
    July 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm
    In AGW, there is no experimental evidence to show that when you add CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels, global temperatures rise.
    And that will be for ever and ever impossible to demonstrate anywhere in the universe (except, of course, in their very wet dreamworld), because a mixture of gases at 1 atm. pressure having the composition of our atmosphere, no matter how highly “spiced” with CO2 will not EVER have the capacity of “holding” enough heat as to make any difference.
    Air volumetric heat capacity=0.001297 J cm-3 K-1; Water=4.186
    And worst of all: The earth has NO CEILING, sh**!
    So, Cry me a river, babies!

  22. -Bob Watson (~75min)

    The physics of the radiative transfer is quite straight forward and simple physics, and you can look at three planets, Mars, Earth, Venus and you can explain a difference, Mars, a frigid planet with no greenhouse gases, Venus abosolutely boiling with lots of CO2 and other greenhouse gases and Eath by luck has just the right amount…

    Really?
    Martian Atmoshpere: 95.3% CO2, 2.7% N2, 1.6% Ar, <1% others
    Venusian Atmosphere: 96.5% CO2, 3.5% N2, <1% others

    I am surprised that Piers Corbyn did not throw his show at him.
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6006

  23. On Steve McIntyre

    “He ducked a question on how much the Earth was warming – “I don’t know” – …”

    If he does not know and is being honest about it then what has that got to do with ducking anything? He is not a climate scientist but instead looks at their statistical methods and shouts out if he finds something questionable eg Mann’s Hockey Stick games.

  24. The evident temper of this debate shows that the warmists now realize they have to tone back their rhetoric to preserve–or more accurately, to rehabilitate–their scientific reputations.

    LOL
    no.
    It shows they know they must delay a bit, patch the fortifications, collect fresh ammo, try to coopt a few of the more effective rabble rousers, spin fresh fud. This is what they call hudna = retrenchment, not even ‘truce’. Be real.
    Enneagram is right.

  25. Has a transcription of the debate been made anywhere by anyone? My puter is being dead slow and I can’t listen the audio. Is it it available to download as a file to listen to on my ipod?

  26. The most hilarious crap was the bloke who on the on hand exclaimed that the climate system was just basic physics, no chaotic complexity what so ever, like put co2 in the atmosphere and it warms, bada bing. On the other hand later he explained how complex the system is to not have to answer a question. And I really liked the “stellar” explanation that Mars don’t have any GHG. But connecting co2 to the warming culprit on venus, was it?

    And what about trying to reduce Lidzen as the only one, but the once to trust are many. Cheap trick.

    But sure it’s all about risk management really, sure is, that’s why more and more people don’t want to hand over all their savings, and pay more tax the more they understand about that fantastic future risk, (if there even is one at all due to error bars,) is so minute the money is better spent on rational development. Otherwise we run the risk of just throwing billions, if not trillions, to find out how minute the risk really was. :p

  27. vigilantfish: “At least if they’re finally willing moderate the ad hominems and demonization of skeptics as “deniers”…The social engineering environmental cockroaches will have to find other issues with which to pursue their totalitarian wet-dreams.”

    Well at least you’re making good progress towards moderating the “ad hominens”.

  28. Having just listened to the entire Guardian audio, I concur with Jim Cripwell’s interest in the comments of the lady who apparently believed that Newton’s laws of physics stood on the basis of “consensus” as opposed to being independently replicable without resort to fixed authority.

    The central theme that distinguishes modern science (which developed in the 17th and 18th centuries) from its medieval Aristotelian predecessor is its bold claim to stand independently of established authority. The Royal society was founded by gentlemen who, despite whatever social pretensions they possessed, agreed with Francis Bacon that legitimate scientific knowledge is the product of the marriage between science and demonstrable empirical fact, not the marriage between science and tradition. “Nullus in verba” (“on the word of no one”) was their motto. The significance of Newton’s Principia was precisely in the fact that it did not rely on authority or tradition, but was the pre-eminent model of independent discovery.

    The broader significance in the current debates about climate is that they represent a struggle not merely about individual theories and claims, but about the very nature of the scientific enterprise and about shared knowledge itself. Will we reclaim the Enlightenment values of open inquiry and resistance to the idols of the cave, tribe, theater and marketplace that bedevil human inquiry? Or will we slide back to the science of an earlier time, when acceptable knowledge was required to conform to a mandated teleology, a specified moral code, and policed by an established cult or otherwise risk being declared heretical?

    Ken Smith
    North Dakota

  29. This ‘debate’ was not quite what it seemed. The avuncular Monbiot has a massive ego which has taken a lot of knocks lately, particularly from Dr Richard North, but last night was a chance, not only to come across as the genial chat-show host (shades of Paxman), but to get his revenge on the East Anglian scientists to whom he has just had to apologise (I love you really, Phil !).
    What better way to do this than to allow McIntyre to do it for him, by eviscerating the inadequate and ill-prepared professor Trevor Davies ?

  30. @intrepid_wanders

    That Bob Watson quote – I simply can’t process the stupid. How could he possibly get away with saying something so monumentally idiotic, especially given his position?

  31. I was impressed by the tone of the debate. It was civil for the most part.

    Do climate scientists not get the clue that their emperor has no clothes? They are losing the public’s attention on the warmist crusade because the public realizes that there are bigger fish to fry, namely real man-made environmental disasters like the BP oil spill and management of pollution policy. I daresay fewer taxpayers today are willing to let their governments waste money on the say so of the warmists.

    Climate scientists: Get back to honouring the scientific method and leave the advocacy to less ethical people.

  32. ‘How much is the Earth warming?’ is a meaningless question unless the questioner specifies a time period.

  33. Perhaps, for brevities sake, Watson was referring to the fact that atmospheric pressure on Mars is 600Pa, on Earth is 101300Pa and on Venus is 9,200,000Pa so even if the atmosphere of Mars is 95% CO2 there just isn’t much of it esp when the Martian atmosphere recieves 1/125 of the solar radiation that Earth does. It is why discussions aren’t the greatest place for unrehearsed scientific debates.

  34. @w kensit

    On any other day, I might be a little more tolerant, but he slipped once, Piers scoffed to the point of getting thrown out, and reiterated the same “stupid” with the opening of

    The physics of the radiative transfer is quite straight forward and simple physics…

    No, Bob has no idea the words that come out his mouth. Radiative transfers in an atmosphere is not “simple”.

  35. Watson is not a physicist and talks, because of his position as chief scientific adviser ot Defra, as if with authority. He obviously thought he was talking to his usual audience of know-nothing civil servants or the media who also know no physics and accept his word as gospel. When you get a brilliant physicist like Piers Corbyn in the audience, he can’t easily get away with his nonsense.

  36. Doug @ 8:41

    That’s a simple, powerful, and wonderful statement. Long may it radiate.
    ===============================

  37. POST POST-NORMAL-SCIENCE?
    a.n.ditchfield
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Post-Normal-Science claims to be the key to understanding complexity. It is invoked to support the need for a new world order with a different concept of progress.
    What is progress? To most minds it is the increasingly efficient use of energy and materials, capital and labour, that translates into lower costs, better income for all and ultimately to more means for proper care of the environment.
    Not all agree. The bitterness of Green extremists that swept with gale strength at the Copenhagen 2009 conference on climate pointed to the opposite direction: to limiting world economic activity even casting away the fruits of two centuries of the Industrial Revolution that they blame for a global warming that will render the planet uninhabitable. This is a controversial meaning of progress.
    Such scare-mongering is too puny to be compared to the 20th century menaces of Fascism and Communism. Although Green extremists have done some damage, it is still trifling when compared to the destruction brought about by two world wars and the waste of a long cold war.
    Totalitarians had weapons for their mischief while Green extremists can only brandish words that suggest they would have already capsized the planet, were it not for the ballast of common sense possessed by ordinary folk. They promote public policies too disastrous to be tolerated if implemented. The political reality is that the West refuses to be rolled back to an idealised Green agrarian past. Forget China and India.
    Again, the world is divided into two camps. One side of the climate issue is epitomised by MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen, who sees global warming as a political and journalistic phenomenon, not a physical one. He expects future generations to look back in wonder at the turn of the century hysteria about climate. On the other side stands Jerome Ravetz, theorist of the fashionable Post-Normal-Science, who contributed to the uncritical acceptance of anthropogenic global warming as settled science. It is not.
    Ravetz is no common-or-garden Leftist; he holds a Cambridge PhD degree in mathematics. Steeped in Marxism at the Philadelphia home of his Russian/Jewish parents, his US passport was withdrawn during the McCarthy era, although later restored. Disgusted, he adopted UK citizenship. A disgruntled Ravetz is the kind of articulate intellectual that Oxford likes to keep for a while to enliven debate, and certainly fits the role with his Post-Normal-Science. He admits that the scientific method cannot be surpassed in its realm of simple phenomena; he argues that there is another realm with different laws, to deal with complex matters, such as climate, in which the stakes are high and scientific certainties low. Enter the Precautionary Principle: if the cause is just and the science unsettled, uncertainties should not stand in the way of acts of government promoted by official propaganda. Enter the Ministry of Truth…
    The truth is that we don’t know – and may never know – how much of global climate change comes by hand of man or by hand of nature, to what degree and when. We do know that hiding uncertainties for the sake of expediency is at best misleading and at worst fraud, when it abets self-serving politics.
    The uncertainties of complexity are not new; they been around since the time of the philosophers of Ancient Greece. After them, Hegel and Marx believed they had the instruments to navigate on the uncharted waters of complexity in history, politics and economics. Others argue that questions concerning human nature will always remain in the domain of the intuition of statesmen, of the religious, of the mystics, poets and artists who have the feel, not the thought, to discern in matters beyond the reach of reason – and therefore of science. Their intuition cannot be generalised into a soulless ideological system.
    With Post-Normal-Science, Marxists try to bring back, as serious, their Alice in Wonderland thought. Their tactics have changed. They now follow the book of Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party in the 1920s. As an exile in Moscow, Gramsci saw the brutal realities of Stalin’s regime and realised the futility of seizing power with revolution and holding onto power with armed force. It led to oppression, not liberty. It is so because Christian societies are entrenched behind a rampart of values upheld for two thousand years; a frontal assault on them is doomed to failure. Gramsci proposed an alternative approach: Marxism should spread in concentric circles until it grows into a consensus. First win over the opinion formers; then the university professors, the intellectuals they educate, the journalists, teachers, leaders of civic and religious organisations, political parties. Finally, with the leadership in the fold, the masses would follow. Marxism would rule with no compulsion, in the place of societies founded on religious values. Christianity is the main opponent of Marxism. Evolution, not revolution, is the way to the ideal classless society, in a long but sure process.
    After Communist regimes collapsed into universal discredit Gramsci’s suave approach gained favour, and in now under way. This was perceived by Alan Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, who collected clippings of amusing things written by post-modern (Marxist) thinkers about hard science, especially those who use abstruse mathematical terms to make their text incomprehensible, so as to pass as profound. He grew weary of nonsense written about physics, held by social “scientists” to be white, male and euro-centric. He came to the conclusion that there is no such thing called a social science, because anything goes. He submitted his opinion to experimental proof.
    PROPOSITION
    That a prestigious sociology journal would publish an essay full of absurd statements, provided it was:
    · Well written and of scholarly appearance;
    · Cloaked in the garb of incomprehensible physics;
    · Attuned with prejudices of the editor.
    Sokal’s essay announced his discovery of Quantum Gravity, the synthesis of relativity theory and quantum mechanics, on a superior plane that supersedes both. He suggests he had done it with the methods of social sciences, in a feat that did away with the outworn formal logic and systematic experiment, still in use and unduly so. The implications were so revolutionary that the essay had been rejected for publication in peer-reviewed journals of physics, and this was the reason for its publication in Social Text, known for a mind open to innovation.
    The essay contains nonsense galore immediately perceptible as a joke by an engineering student. The essay favoured mathematics freed from the shackles of the rules of arithmetic and stood against the teaching of the outworn geometry of Euclid, a tool for oppression of the working class. There was anti-feminist prejudice in fluid mechanics. Truth is relative. Constants such as the number pi (3.1416), the speed of light and the constant of gravitation have values attributed by the social context in the current epoch but the values of such constants will change in a future context with a different social setting.
    No absurdity was contrived by Sokal; all were extracted from what was stated by post-modern thinkers about hard science and he supports it with more than one hundred references to published articles.
    PROOF
    Sokal’s essay, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity was indeed published as submitted, with no comment, although Sokal repeatedly asked whether there were any questions to be clarified.
    “Social Text” #46/47, pp. 217-252 (1996).
    QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM
    In another journal, at the time of publication, Sokal explained what he had done at Social Text and regretted that a silent tide of irrationality threatened institutions of higher learning to dictate, from a blind and intolerant pulpit, what is right to do, say and think.
    An inquiring mind shuns Gospel according to St. Marx. Critical reviewers at Social Text could have asked: if a future society decrees that pi = 4 would circles become squares and heavenly bodies cubes? None did.
    With its pretence of a short cut in dealing with complexity, Post-Normal-Science amounts to sophistry of the kind lampooned by Sokal. Its previous failure was in economics and the new one in climate. It is a grab for power to ration use of energy and thus control the lives of every human being in the world. Its followers are not above deceit to exploit emotions of a guilt-ridden West.
    A confident West had worked wonders. The contributions of France to mathematics are expressed in the work of Descartes, Pascal, Fermat, D’Alembert, Delambre, Fourier, Lagrange, Monge, Poisson, Laplace, Cauchy, Galois, Poincaré, Benoit Mandelbrot. Then came French Post-modernists with the thought of Lewis Carroll characters: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less”. It leads to proficiency in: Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, Derision. A Post Post-Normal-Science is unneeded to dialectically supplant the Post-Normal-Science of Ravetz; a return to Science would do.
    Sokal’s essay is available on Internet at: .

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