Quote of the Week – alarmists missing targets

Ross McKittrick writes in with this:

A bracing essay at Pointman’s. I particularly like this bit:

The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organization, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance.

Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerrilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organization orchestrating the resistance. While they wasted time and effort attacking targets that only existed in their head, each of the guerrillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way.



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David Davidovics

VERY well said as always, Ross. They cannot think in terms other than along ‘consensus’ [forces of light] or conspiracy [forces of darkness].

Worse…convinced to be fighting a conspiracy they justify themselves in conspiring to fight it back. From then on the slippery slope of fakehood and deceit is never far.


We are……the Minutemen.


Who is Pointman? I checked the essay but couldn’t find his name.


Or her name!

Joachim Seifert

Good observations……there is no coordination, everybody chewing like the ants at a
different corner….
and …. more observations:
(1) they march separately on their own, but bite simultaneously…..
(2) to avoid: to bite each other (or: ‘friendly fire’) ,
(3) some are blind, some walk backward …only some….but bite nevertheless…
.and soon they will have chewed CAGW to pieces ….
A few years of continuous cooling also helps…. lets enjoy the feast…

Jim Barker

each of the guerrillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way.
And now we can’t get rid of the taste!)



My nickle versus your ten dalla bill.

William Abbott

Ross is right; it is over. Fakegate is a strategic disaster for the Alarmists. The battle analogy works very well. We skeptics never concentrated our forces and our adversaries never could effectively engage us. They wasted all their energy trying to identify a concentration of force that didn’t exist. To press the battle analogy further: Fakegate is an exploding powder magazine within the fortress or below the waterline. It is a self-inflicted disaster caused by the futile search for the enemies’ concentrated force (which doesn’t exist). Look at what they have done to themselves!

pablo an ex pat

An Army of citizen volunteers versus paid conscipts. No contest in terms of motivation.

eric anderson

I love the description of us as guerrilla fighters. As America found out in Vietnam, Iraq, etc., these types of insurgencies are extremely hard to defeat, even with disproportionate advantages in technology and firepower. What the warmists don’t want to admit is that there are thousands of us out here, perhaps millions, who are simply looking for truth. Looking for an honest use of the scientific method. Finding spin, deceptions, censorship instead of truth, these multiple armies of one have become inflamed with indignation and determination. We’ve argued in the comment sections of newspapers, magazines, in blogs, on Facebook, on Tumblr. We’ve started our own blogs, asked rude questions in politicians’ town hall meetings, written to authors, organizations, legislators. And we’re willing to expend our own energies with no other reward than the inner satisfaction of trying to help people discern the propaganda.
Fight on, brothers.


Fourth Generation warfare. Most effective against a schlerotic command structure.


,distributed, guerilla, intelligence,


Don’t forget green movement is similar. You may point your finger at Greenpeace but close it down and you’re still left with millions of green fanatics ready to tie themselves to trees or railroad tracks.


Think death by a million bites.
Kind of like an elephant getting eaten by a school of small piranha!!

eric anderson says:
March 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

One Résistance member salutes another. Well said sir.


The concept of guerrilla fighters and insurgencies being extremely hard to defeat is pretty much an urban legend. The British showed this to be false in Malaysia in the 50’s. Contrary to popular belief, the US was winning the insurgency war in South Vietnam, even though it was handicapped with a Vietnamese government that lacked the confidence of much of the population. The Viet Minh were losing the fight prior to Tet and Tet effectively destroyed them as an operational force. In the end it was a massive invasion by conventional North Vietnamese forces that defeated the Sagion governement, aided in large part by Congress’ refusal to fund military supplies, mainly ammunition and helicopter parts. Iraq is another poor example of an insurgency winning out against a modern military force. In case you missed it, the insurgents lost and the US has pulled combat forces out.
Afghanistan may be an example where victory against an insurgency could prove true. As one of my nephews commented after his first deployment, it is a very difficult situation over there. In one valley they support and even love what Americans are doing for them. One valley over, they hate your guts and feed that hate to their babies through the breasts of their mothers. The one qualifier I might place on Afghanistan proving to be the exemption is whether or not you can classify it as a true insurgency. Large portions of the population have never really considered themselves to have any alliagence to a national government. Alliagence lies with the family, clan and tribe.

a jones

Shrewd and concise.
As I pointed out on this this blog a long time ago we always were a rag, tag and bobtail army.
As against their serried and well paid ranks: I won’t even bother to name them.
If you could even describe us as an army as such: I am not sure we were quite that organised frankly.
However, more or less we have done the job, effectually the war is over and the rest is mopping up. Credit to all.
The first true and major battle and indeed information war fought on the World Wide Web: and a lesson to those who imagine they can control the news and propagate propaganda with their mighty resources. Not any more.
They can try, and will fail.
This a new and open world, it may take a generation yet, which I will not live to see, to confirm that it is. Nothing on this scale has been seen since printing and the rise of literacy. How it will all work out I do not know.
But I think it will be for the better: and do assure you that your grandchildren will take it all in their stride.
Kindest Regards


William Abbott says:
March 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm
Fakegate is an exploding powder magazine within the fortress or below the waterline.
More like a torpedo that once launched, couldn’t find the target vessel, then looped back and attacked the only vessel it could find. The ship that launched it.

Roy says: March 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm
Think death by a million bites.

Ha! reminds me of T H White Once and Future King.
The storyline is the training of the young Arthur by Merlin. Merlin is particularly good at taking Arthur into situations where they become different animals and have to look at life through different eyes. Anyway, Merlin and Madam Mim engage in duel to the death one day. They start off in good wizard style with shape-changing into different animals, each change intended to outwit the other. Madam Mim starts to get narked with Merlin’s baiting strategy. When he turns into an elephant, she turns herself into an aullay – which sounds like a kind of mastodon. Merlin disappears. Then Mim as mastodon breaks out in spots, mumps, pustules, coughs, fevers, and finally rolls over, defeated. Merlin, who can time travel, has come back from the twentieth century with its knowledge of illnesses as living organisms, which he has impersonated, one after another.


Pointman, is a writer with a gift of perceptive insight some only grasp darkly. I think he is one of the best, he certainly hit the nail on the head in this piece [mind you he always does].
Thanks P, and Mr. Watts, Mr. McKittrick and not forgetting Mr. McIntyre.
Keep vigilant, stay true, comrades in arms and always, always make sure that you; “get your retaliation in FIRST!”


Kasuha says:
March 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Don’t forget green movement is similar. You may point your finger at Greenpeace but close it down and you’re still left with millions of green fanatics ready to tie themselves to trees or railroad tracks.
To succeed, a guerilla movement needs the support of the local population. That’s why the surge in Iraq worked. Once the locals no longer feared the terrorists, they were willing to work with the Allied forces to point out the terrorists.
ONce the populace no longer believes that these activists are working for the greater good, the populace is no longer willing to put up with the inconveniences and depravations the “activists” cause. At which point it becomes easier and easier for law enforcement to track them down and capture them.

Dan Lee

Skeptics have the only organizations that count: Mother Nature, and several centuries of sound scientific methodology to provide them with reliable constraints to discern what they know vs what they think they know about how she works and what she’s up to.
Post-modern science is post-constraint science.


Like tiny, independent but coordinated army ants taking a jungle tarantula slowly apart, piece by piece. The spider’s massive fangs are useless against them.


Timg56 talks sense. Two riders: the american generals and colonels of Vietnam had their formative experience in Korea; second US intelligence (hahhahaha) didn’t work out until quite late in the day that North Vietnam’s sponsors were Russia not China. Accordingly, the obvious strategy, of invading N Vietnam, was rejected on the grounds that it would risk another Korea, with the Chinese piling in.

Jenn Oates

Well, my part has been small indeed, miniscule, actually…but every student that comes into my classroom walks out at least hearing that AGW is bunk and that there is another side to the story. I hope hope it at least gives them a small pause for thought when they hear or read climate propaganda. Hope.


The bitter pill for me, is that none of them will ever stand in a court of law to answer charges of crimes against humanity for the deaths, starvation and poverty that their policies inflicted on the poor around the world. We must now move to get those policies reversed.

Amen, brother.

Ally E.

Powerful, powerful stuff, Pointman. Thank you!


Maybe, but some of us found that there were other people thinking the same things via sites like numberwatch.co.uk and john-daly.com (bless him).
We can thank the internet / web for givin
g us the chance to communicate with and learn from others.
And I still remember the first time I was accused of being in the pay of big oil. Something you never forget. Like, erm, never mind.


I know it’s a whimsy but…
AD9. Quinctilius Varus led his three legions, their auxiliaries, families and servants, a consensus of conquerors, apparently in pursuit of a great insurrection and a decisive battle. As they went through the forests and swamps they were picked off, split up, harried by guerillas and finally, exhausted, annihilated, never having brought the fabled enemy to open battle. It was an immense disaster and spelled the end for Roman hopes across the Rhine.
So it goes for Mann and his cohorts too (who have now reached the forests and swamps in this scenario). I wonder if Hansen will finally wander round his lab, like Augustus, tearing at his clothes and crying, ” Svante August Arrhenius, give me back my three degrees.”

Maybe the alarmists should try the truth?


Great analogy.

Yes, I am indeed one of the lone guerrilla fighters Ross mentions.

Good to see Pointman getting some wider coverage as he has written some very good posts across many areas of skepticism.

Charles Gerard Nelson

I’ve never actually thought of myself in that way…but hey it’s true!
And not only do I comment on-line…for the last 10 years, in my daily life I have
attacked the Hoax. Lost a few social contacts over it… well worth it though.
Looks like it’s working at last.

Roger Knights

rw says:
October 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm
This line about massive funding of skeptics is a constant refrain among all warmist groups. It’s really strange to watch supposedly serious people (as in academia – and not the PC fruitcakes) trot this line out when it’s so easily refuted.

I responded to the above thusly:
The warmists’ Big-Oil-funding charges aren’t so much wrong as misleading and exaggerated. Certain skeptics do work for free market think tanks; certain climate-skeptical foundations no doubt get some of their money from someone who has some interest in global warming being wrong; certain skeptical get-togethers and book-publications are provided by think tanks with links, however tenuous, to Big Oil; some skeptical scientists have received a portion of their grants, at least indirectly, from interested parties; and numerous skeptical scientists are members of, or have spoken at dinner-events sponsored by, free market think tanks, etc.
The main thing wrong with this line of thinking, as pointed out by Judy Curry, is that the scientists with the closest links to such think tanks aren’t the ones having the major impact on the debate. It’s mostly been scientists in academia like Lindzen and Spencer who have made an impact, followed by independent, grass-roots bloggers–who have had more impact than funded institutions with a web presence.
Second, the amounts have been exaggerated. For instance, a think tank like Cato may devote maybe 5% of its income to the GW topic, But its opponents will add up ALL the income that is received by such think tanks and claim, in the newsletters they send to members, that “GW-skeptical organizations have received $100 million this quarter,” falsely implying that ALL that money was devoted to anti-AGW activity.
Third, there’s a false implication about what being “affiliated with” a think tank implies. It may only mean speaking at a luncheon, subscribing to their journal, having an article published in their journal, or serving on a board of advisors about the topic. These are usually fairly peripheral associations, with little cash involved; i.e., looser links that the accusers’ language would lead readers to suspect. It’s not as though Lindzen and Spencer are hunkered down in a bunker with the Koch brothers, although that is the impression the accusers have successfully (in many cases) communicated to their readers.
Fourth, the money received by a grant doesn’t go into the recipient’s pocket. It goes through the university office, which takes a hefty cut for general overhead, then it goes mostly for expenses, like salaries of grad-student researchers and lab workers.
Fifth, most academic researchers have far more to lose than gain in terms of funding, career advancement, and social status by taking the skeptical side. So few opportunists would leap at an offer from Big Oil.


“guerrillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way”
Can you imagine if you’re a climate scientist the feeling of having Steve McIntire latched onto you and burrowing relentlessly inward like some godawful mutated insect in a science fiction movie? You try pullling it off, burning it off, using a harsh chemical, and yet it just keeps burrowing. Relentlessly. Can you imagine the terror of that? Get it off me! Get it off me! But it’s not going anywhere.
What’s that description of the Terminator?
“It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” – Kyle Reese (The Terminator, 1984)
Imagine facing that when you know your work is shoddy.

Roger Knights

In my Notes From Skull Island: I list nearly 20 things that we climate contrarians (“skeptic” is too mild a term) would be doing differently if we were truly well organized and well funded:

margaret berger

Sigh, all this is true but don’t celebrate too much. It is going to take years to rid the islands of those who don’t understand the war is over.

L Nettles

Pointman: her name is David


Warmists have convinced themselves that there is a [non existent] well funded climate [change] denialist machine out there somewhere. This is why Gleick is in so much trouble. $6.4 million or $7.5 million per year. WOW!
Finally, where is my OIL MONEY???? I have kids to feed and need a nice car. ;>)

Jenn Oates says:
March 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm
Well, my part has been small indeed, miniscule, actually…but every student that comes into my classroom walks out at least hearing that AGW is bunk and that there is another side to the story.
There’s an obvious witty remark to make from that, but I’ll pass and only state, ……That isn’t minuscule! Well done, Jenn

Pat Frank

The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. … there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organization, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance.
… HQ, big organization, massed ranks, third party backers, (scads of money, cynical serial liars) …
In other words, their mistake was that they thought we are like them.


so far as i can tell, who got the money won.
they got the money and they are getting more.
they aren’t being chewed apart, they’re being razzed – and they are whining all the way to the bank. they’ve lost nothing of consequence – we have.
and the good old days aren’t coming back. all gone with the 401k.
we lost and keep losing. still not one single trial or incarceration.
they don’t have to call it science any more if they don’t want to. they can just call it tithing to the church of climatology.
we get what we pay for and more- we get what we settle for.
we lose and we freakin deserve it. we didn’t chew anything but their rags. so they’re naked, big deal. they laugh to the bank naked, now is the only difference.
did we win anything? i don’t think so!

Barefoot boy from Brooklyn

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t much agree with a polarizing polemic like this. But the truth of the matter, as I have personally, directly experienced it is, that the top tier of AGW alarmists ARE bullies– who well deserve Pointman’s treatment. Well stated. Charge on!

John Blake

The peculating Green Gang of Luddite sociopaths continually reverts to Big Oil libels and slanders, when all are naught but Big Government, New World Order shills of the most compromised, corrupt, malfeasant sort.
Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth and all their ilk are nothing more that driveling placemen tooting bureaucratic/regulatory horns in sabotage of global energy economies. Not one exhibits any grain of character, integrity, or even self-respect, marching in proctocratic lockstep to paymasters’ drums.
“Omnia in Verba” is these poseurs’ Grand Theft battle-cry.

Ursus Augustus

Spot On with the assessment Ross. The alarmists are pretty much of the same mindset that saw the 60’s counterculture as a movement fighting the alleged “establishment” when it was really just fighting not just a set of shared mores and norms ( as outmoded as some of them might have been) but also that essence of the enlightenment, independent minded common sense. It is that tribal sense of conformity to the revolution that remains including all the kowtowing to their shamans, witchdoctors, icons, idols, fears, phobias and and pure , unadulterated prejudices the other detritus of tribalism. In that light it is very clear that there are a large number of journalists and commentators who joined up with the eco gangsters out of solidarity with them being the latest incarnation of the counterculture to who they owe fealty. These are not free thinking people, they are intellectual cowards who hunt in packs, chanting their slogans for courage.


I thought gorillas were at threat from AGW ………. Oh wait!
Sorry never could take this sort of thing too seriously – next thing us skeptics will think we’re so damn heroic and deserving of all sorts of accolades. But the true mark of a skeptical scientist is that they don’t care about other people’s opinions.