The OTHER problem with the Lewandowsky paper and similar 'skeptic' motivation analysis: Core premise off the rails about fossil fuel industry corruption accusation

Guest post by Russell Cook

Lewandowsky et. al’s faulty methodology is just one of the paper’s problems; like many other ‘skeptic’ motivation analyses, its central premise is unproven and relies on a SINGLE highly questionable source.

Experts like Steve McIntyre pore over the manner in which the Lewandowsky paper’s survey was conducted. But there is another basic problem with this paper and others essentially similar to it, where a collective analysis proposes to explain why anyone would deny the settled science of global warming. Such papers operate under a false premise, namely that analysis is needed because the science is settled and skeptic scientists – who arguably are the only people qualified in this issue to offer science assessment opposition that might be valid – are corrupt.

No need to go any farther into the Lewandowsky paper than its first page to see this, where it says in the top paragraph that “More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions”, followed with a statement in the second paragraph that researchers “in history and sociology frequently cite the ‘manufacture of doubt’ by vested interests and political groups….

This latter reference is in regard to the so-called ‘lies’ that skeptic scientists are said to be spreading via associations with right-wing think tanks. Immediately following each statement are citations from people who’ve made basically the same statements over many years: IPCC scientist Stephen Schneider and researchers William Freudenburg, Aaron McCright, Riley Dunlap, Chris Mooney, and Naomi Oreskes. A less evident but still troubling glimpse into this overall problem is the citation on pg 4 of Max Boykoff in regard to “the scientific consensus on climate change is often misrepresented in the media” and on pg 5 of Myanna Lahsen in support of the assertion that there is are “notions of a conspiracy among [skeptic] scientists.”

The core problem is the premise that skeptic scientists should be ignored because they are corrupt. The question is, who do these people rely on to prove this accusation? Rummage through any of the above individuals’ variety of writings and presentations, and a disturbing single source ultimately emerges:

  • William R. Freudenburg, AAAS 2010 Annual Meeting, February 22, 2010, Organizer: Riley E. Dunlap, Discussants: Stephen H. Schneider, Naomi Oreskes, Speakers: Myanna Lahsen, Maxwell T. Boykoff, William R. Freudenburg,Understanding Climate-Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies“(transcript here): “The Heartland Institute is one of the right-wing think-tanks that Riley [Dunlap] talked about, asking ‘can 19,000 scientists be wrong?’ Number one, that’s a very loose definition of ‘scientists’ that they use. And number two, a journalist Ross Gelbspan almost 15 years ago started saying ‘they sure can be’. What we’ve got here is a persistent and well funded campaign of denial.” (Note: At the above AAAS presentation, Naomi Oreskes said “the US coal industry launched a half million-dollar campaign … to challenge the scientific evidence regarding global warming….The number one point of this strategy was to reposition global warming as theory, not fact.”)
  • Chris Mooney, “The Republican War on Science” 2007 book: “…climatologist Patrick Michaels, a recipient of substantial energy industry funding” … End note 62 “Michaels’s industry ties are documented in Gelbspan, The Heat is On
  • Chris Mooney, “Is Climate Denial Corporate Driven, or Ideological?” Desmogblog, 1/19/11: “Recently, I’ve been reading some research by Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University who collaborates frequently with Aaron McCright, another sociologist at Michigan State. Together, they’ve done penetrating work on the right wing resistance to climate change science in the US…” (Note: Joe Romm stated in 2008, “Ross Gelbspan, whose defining books Boiling Point and The Heat is On were a big part of the inspiration for starting the DeSmogBlog…”)
  • Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright, Pg 144 Chapter 10, Organized Climate Change Denial 2011 book: “The blows have been struck by a well-funded, highly complex, and relatively coordinated ‘denial machine’ (Begley 2007)” (Note, this is the Sharon Begley Newsweek article in which she quoted without citation, “….the Information Council on the Environment. ICE’s game plan called for enlisting greenhouse doubters to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” ”)
  • And; Dunlap / McCright, Pg 148: ” …the fossil fuels industry pioneered the charge against climate science and policy making. (Begley 2007; Gelbspan 1997; Goodell 2007)” (Note, the latter is Jeff Goodell’s book “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy” in which he said, “Western Fuels was one of the key backers of the Information Council on the Environment, a front group whose explicit purpose, according to Gelbspan, was to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact”)
  • Jules Boykoff and Maxwell Boykoff, FAIR, November/December 2004 “Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias”: “In terms of the global warming story, “balance” may allow skeptics—many of them funded by carbon-based industry interests—to be frequently consulted and quoted in news reports on climate change. Ross Gelbspan … charges in his books The Heat Is On and Boiling Point that a failed application of the ethical standard of balanced reporting on issues of fact has contributed to inadequate U.S. press coverage of global warming
  • Jules Boykoff and Maxwell Boykoff, “Balance as Bias: Global Warming and the U.S. Prestige Press’ ”: …a small group of influential spokespeople and scientists emerged in the news to refute these [IPCC] findings (Gelbspan, 1998; Leggett, 2001; Schneider, 2001)” (Note, the Leggett citation is of Greenpeace’s Jeremy Leggett’s 2001 book “The carbon war: global warming and the end of the oil era” in which his acknowledgements section says, “to Ross Gelbspan for editorial assistance and for deploying his skills as an investigative journalist…” and where he says on pg 162, “Ross Gelbspan, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist… had been researching the carbon club’s dissidents for more than three years.”)
  • Myanna Lahsen, “Chapter 5, The Detection and Attribution of Conspiracies: The Controversy Over Chapter 8” 1999, Pg 116: “Oil and coal companies have spent millions of dollars to hire public relations groups to orchestrate such efforts as well as aggressive media campaigns seeking to undermine public concern about global warming (Gelbspan 1995; 1997). An early example of such campaigns was the Information Council for the Environment (ICE)
  • Stephen Schneider (& Richard Wolfson), “Chapter 1, Understanding Climate Science”, 2002 PDF file, pdf’s pg 41, “A concerted effort by a handful of climate ‘contrarians’ or ‘greenhouse skeptics’—scientists who do not share the views of most climate scientists—has kept the ‘debate’ on global warming very much in public view.22” … End note 22 “Gelbspan, R., 2000: The Heat Is On
  • And; pdf’s pg 46: “The amplified influence of these “greenhouse skeptics,” and their close ties to the fossil-fuel industry, are well documented by journalist Ross Gelbspan in his book The Heat Is On.
  • Stephen Schneider, “Laboratory earth: the planetary gamble we can’t afford to lose” January 1997, pg 160: “For an exposé of a number of prime “contrarians” and their supporters, see R. Gelbspan, Dec. 1995. The heat is on. Harpers 35. Gelbspan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.” (Note: Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer)

I could go on at length, and readers here are likely to find other connections I’ve missed, along with related problems which would take multiple articles to describe, such as the Boykoff situation I wrote about last June. But my point is the unmistakeable thread throughout all of this. It is eerily too easy to spot Ross Gelbspan’s associations with practically any given person who claims skeptic scientists are corrupt.

And Gelbspan, as I’ve pointed out earlier, has never proven he has any evidence to support his accusation that skeptic scientists are paid to manufacture doubt about man-caused global warming.

It certainly appears that what we have instead is around two decades of efforts by enviro-activists to manufacture doubt about the credibility of the skeptics. So, how many more attempts to smear skeptics can be thrown on this pile before the whole thing collapses?

Russell Cook’s collection of writings on this issue can be seen at “The ’96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists.” You may also follow him at Twitter via @questionAGW

[Duplicated text removed.  Robt]

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Richard M

Is there any documentation anywhere that lists oil, gas and coal’s spending on climate related topics?
PS. Story body repeat twice

NikFromNYC

This Gelbspan character sure is hamming it up as a beefy sophisticate:
http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/files/content/portraits/ross_gelbspan.jpg

jonathan frodsham

Great article. The warmists just cannot understand that the majority of us realists believe the following.
1. There has been warming since 1850, but mainly due to the fact of coming out of the LIA.
2. CO2 does cause some warming up to a point.
3. A 760 ppm of CO2 will not cause CAGW as there is just as much chance of a negative feed back as there is positive.
4. That the land based temperature data has been tampered with.
5. That we receive very little funding compared to them.
One needs to understand that these warmists are always “flipping” it is they who are the ones who have the belief system of conspiracy theory NOT US.
My bet is Lewandowsky (Mr WC) really knows very little of the science of global warming and that most people posting on WUWT know a lot more than he does.
Thank god for WUWT and all the other hard working realists.

Psychoanalyzing skeptics? Much better than providing predictions that actually allow testing of the theory instead of some disaster with a moving target 50 to 100 years in the future, so no one alive can validate the theory. I became a bit of a skeptic with the “panic” of the next ice age, which was going to happen in a couple of years. I distrusted climate science when we started getting barraged with disaster scenarios in science by press release. Each disaster prediction was worse than the last and they even seemed to be coordinated. One announcement of impending doom didn’t step on another.
Oh, and the AGW types want me to believe that they can control the climate. No reason to be skeptical about that.

Latimer Alder

I fervently hope that there really is a very well-funded sceptic conspiracy out there somewhere. And that it will soon take notice of my efforts here and elsewhere and begin to hose em down with oodles of lovely green and folding.
But sadly, reality strikes and both propositions seem highly unlikely.
The article raises an interesting point though. Even if there were such a conspiracy, how would that invalidate the points that sceptics raise? It is a long time ago since Einstein was not taken seriously because he had some Jewish background. It was his science that won through. His ideas made good sense and Mother Nature obviously agreed with him because through experiment we can see that he was right.
It made as much scientific sense to say ‘Einstein must be wrong because he is Jewish’ as it does for Mann to say ‘Any criticism of my work can be ignored because it comes from people who I think are paid by a Big Oil Denier Conspiracy’. And it is extremely unscientific of ‘the community’ to let him and his cronies get away with such errant vacuous tosh.

Michael Larkin

This appears to be posted twice, Anthony.

AlecM

The issue Lewandowsky faces, as with the rest of the academic dross who hang on the outside of the climate science gravy train, is that real world data show the apocalyptic predictions of Hansenkoism are wrong. These people have two choices: accept ‘the team’ got it wrong or attack those pointing out these serious scientific mistakes.
Pointman has written about this: http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/an-assessment-of-current-alarmist-propaganda/
‘The so-called psychological studies, I find interesting and encouraging for a number of reasons. Politically, it’s the usual stereotyping of the opposition, a way of dehumanising, and therefore writing off their influence as insignificant…..
The tone and intensity of these studies is becoming increasingly aggressive. The word denier is now appearing in published papers and the vileness of the stereotypes we’re accused of being, is getting worse…….They’re fighting a losing battle with public opinion and they know it. Their support is melting away more rapidly every day and most frighteningly, they can’t seem to find a way of stopping that, never mind slowing it down.’

To put loons like Lewandowsky out of their misery, someone needs to point out why ‘the team’ got it so wrong. It’s very simple. Read paper after paper and you see a mass scientific blindness, e.g.: http://forecast.uchicago.edu/archer.ch4.greenhouse_gases.pdf
‘The spectrum of the light leaving the earth going into space ranges between two different blackbody spectra, a warmer one of about 270 K, and a colder one from about 220 K.
……The most pronounced of these absorption bands, comes from the bending vibration of CO2. Light of this intensity that shines from the surface of the earth is absorbed by the CO2 in the atmosphere (Figure 4-4). The CO2 in the atmosphere then radiates its own light at this frequency…..
Other parts of the spectrum, most notably the broad smooth part around 1000 cycles/cm, follow a warmer blackbody spectrum. These come directly from the ground.’

So, the author assumes the Earth emits IR as if it were an isolated black body in a vacuum, totally false. He then says CO2 IR from the surface is absorbed in the lower atmosphere then re-radiated at TOA where it is much colder.
In reality very little CO2 IR can be emitted from the earth’s surface because as with all other GHGs, identical wavelength thermal radiation from the lower atmosphere turns it off, a well-established principle of radiant heat transfer. If not true, there could never be radiative equilibrium – think about it [it’s called Prevost Exchange]
This is a failure to understand that TOA attenuation of CO2-IR is self-absorption of thermal IR, nothing to do with what happens at the bottom of the atmosphere. The whole subject was constructed on a fake premise. It increases IR absorption by a factor of 5. Each failed prediction derives from this basic mistake.
Lunatics like Lewandowsky must accept they were conned by Hansen, Trenberth, Houghton etc. who failed to understand this most basic science. Engineers understand it because we measure such effects every day. This is science failure on an heroic scale.

ConfusedPhoton

Nothing like the smell of McCarthyism in the moring

Jim Butler

This isn’t done out of ignorance, it’s done out of purposeful intent. It’s the only answer they have, as they can NOT debate the science itself. It’s always amazed me when people shout at the top of their lungs that skeptics are funded by big oil, with no proof, while they rake in billions in grant money.
JimB

Mike McMillan

Looks like you’ve duplicated a bunch of text.

rogerknights

Latimer Alder says:
September 11, 2012 at 4:13 am
Even if there were such a conspiracy, how would that invalidate the points that sceptics raise?

Those who think that it would commit “the genetic (origin-tainted) fallacy.” (A logical fallacy.)

Well put. The thought crossed my mind when reading the questionnaire whether those who wrote it might themselves be believers in silly conspiracy theories. It would be an enjoyable diversion to review a “counter questionnaire” listing some favorite beliefs (lacking robust science and/or belying strong ideological bias) promulgated by the warmist/alarmist crowd.
Note also typo on next to last line in Par. 3: “…the assertion that there is are…” (one too many verb conjugations).
Kurt in Switzerland
P.S. Similar topic discussed at Revkin’s blog:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/obama-and-romney-weigh-in-on-science-questions/?comments#permid=38

Bob Shapiro

Latimer Alder says:
September 11, 2012 at 4:13 am
“It is a long time ago since Einstein was not taken seriously because he had some Jewish background. It was his science that won through. His ideas made good sense and Mother Nature obviously agreed with him because through experiment we can see that he was right.”
Let’s not forget that, after all these years and all the confirmations, it still is called the Theory of Relativity. Do these “scientists” really think that CAGW is more settled than Relativity?!

Jarrett Jones

Prompted by today’s date I wonder why the 9/11 conspiracy theory was not included in the survey since it is one of the most current of the grand conspiracies.
Could it be because Lewandowsky was aware of polling in 2007 which showed that 35% of USA Democrats believed Bush knew about the attack in advance and another 26 percent were not sure, leaving less than 40 percent of Democrats who believed Bush was not involved.
This same demographic contains the most fervent believers in CAGW.
Wouldn’t want to muddy up the desired result, would we?
Or perhaps Lewandowsky is a truther?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polls_about_9/11_conspiracy_theories

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

KevinM

After reading through all the quotes I got to:
“Note: Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer”
And spat my tea on the keyboard. The Pulitzer was a running theme appeal to authority.
Googling to factcheck…

Fred 2

Even if some coal company paid a few hundred thousand dollars to half a dozen people a generation ago for a study, so what? If so little money pollutes an entire field of study forever, what does tens of billions of dollars per year from government agencies being spent now do to the Warmist position?
PS: The original post is shown twice.

KevinM

http://www.pulitzer.org/faceted_search/results/Gelbspan
“Search: gelbspan
Your search yielded no results”
OMG thats hysterical.

kim2ooo

Had Lewandowsky et al even pretended at conducting a scientific study / survey – the very first bias they would have removed…is themselves.
There is no objective way to study opposing views, when one allows personal subjective views to taint the survey pool.
Any serious objective study would have farmed the polling and survey questions out to an independent third party….removing oneself as far from charges of improprieties.

kim2ooo

For a true accounting……Never hire a fox to count the hens.

more soylent green!

I would love to see a survey of AGW proponents/believers/non-skeptics and their persistent belief in the “Big Oil” conspiracy to undermine AGW. Also, we could survey their beliefs in support for socialism, redistrubution of wealth, belief in science as consensus, deference to authority, etc. I’d really love to see if they believe the ends justifies the means, their support for post-normal-science and science v. advocacy.

David Ball

” I have oil money?” – h/t Otto.

Bob K

*** MODERATORS ***
the text after first “@questionAGW” is the same article repeated again.
[Fixed, thanks. ~mod]

Following the money is generally used to ascertain motivation for political actions, such as why politicians vote a certain way. There is some evidence that money is motivating and this could apply to science. However, this does NOT apply to the actual truth or falsity of a theory. It only applies to the motive of the researcher and the possibility that their research is slanted. This may alert people to the need for verification of the results and certainly more testing, but it does not tell us if climate change is really happening. Wind turbine manufacturers can pay for a study showing wind is perfect, coal can do the same and conclude wind turbines are very bad. Science settles this with assessing the data and methods in both studies and looking for errors in the research. More studies are done if needed. Science is about the data. We need to get people to understand that while there are motivations for slanting research, you don’t resolve them by announcing “Coal paid for that study so it is wrong.” You review the data and decide if the study is flawed. Accusations about motive may move you to question a study, but the accusations have no actual relation to the truth of the study. Data is independent of speaker and funding.

RichieP

It may be nothing at all, or at least very little, but a few lines from Pielke Jr.’s correspondence with Lewandowsky’s colleague Hanich, found in this Andrew Bolt article, may speak volumes (they do to me) about how the ridiculous and meretricious ‘survey’ was actually conducted and manipulated:
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/lewandowsky_was_warned_his_survey_was_no_good/
Hanich:
“You have raised a very valid point. We are aware of methodological issues, one of which is dealing with repeated replies.
When we published the surveys, we had two options:
a) Use the provision offered by the hosting company to block repeated replies using IP addresses. This, however, will block legitimate use of the same computer, such as in our laboratory, where numerous participants use the same PCs. ”
I have an image of many grad and doctoral students, along with the post-docs and junior faculty, busy for days on end, repeatedly ‘taking the survey’ and brown-nosing their seniors. I wonder …..
(posted also on the Daily Lew thread)

NetDr

The alarmists themselves are the biggest conspiracy theorists on the planet !
Anyone that disagrees with them is being paid by big oil even me.

more soylent green!

Lewandowsky et. al’s faulty methodology is just one of the paper’s problems; like many other ‘skeptic’ motivation analyses, its central premise is unproven and relies on a SINGLE highly questionable source.

This is exactly how the media fact-checkers work in America. Often the source is a blog or column. The fact-checkers don’t even seem to try to verify the fact-checks themselves, but just pass on what they read elsewhere.

Pamela Gray

The obvious connection is:
At an AAAAAAAAAAS convention, they all acted like…
End of discussion.

pochas

The good thing about these warmists is that by constant repetition of transparent lies they teach the rest of us to recognize chicanery. The bad thing is that we also learn that lying is acceptable.

I decided the whole thing was too Lewdicrous to comment on seriously, so here’s my take.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/lewd-lew-and-aggie-w-a-failed-romance/

Craig Loehle

It is not just that warmistas believe in conspiracies in the form of the “oil-funded denial machine” (when ironically there is proof of conspiracy in the Climategate emails) but that they are gullible. For example, not batting an eye about 100 feet of sea level rise when it is currently rising by mm, or claiming that ice sheets the size of the USA can “slide” into the ocean, or that shutting down all power plants is somehow a feasible option (Hansen), or that wind power does not destabilize the grid, or that we are currently experiencing massive climate disruption when the data say “no trend” or……just willing to believe anything at all that fits the doom meme.

Bruce C

Can someone ask Mr Lewandowsky (or whatever his name is);
Had the UN / IPCC, M. Mann, J. Hansen et all, and your own Govt. NOT started campaigning or mentioning anything about cAGW / Climate Change, would you yourself have noticed any difference in the Earths climate today?

Jeff Alberts

No need to go any farther into the Lewandowsky paper than its first page to see this, where it says in the top paragraph that “More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions”, followed with a statement in the second paragraph that researchers “in history and sociology frequently cite the ‘manufacture of doubt’ by vested interests and political groups….”

I’m more interested in the motivations behind the manufacture of fear, than the manufacture of doubt. I think I know the answer, control.

beng

A study in mass psychological projection. We (unconsciously or otherwise) know we’re corrupt, so we’ll accuse anyone objecting to us of corruption.

Mike Mangan

The really disturbing aspect of this saga is not Lewandowsky’s foul deed. That’s to be expected from the warmist camp. It’s the fact that it has started to gain traction. It’s penetrated the outer ring of the main stream media and been reported in the Blaze, at Huffington Post, and on MSNBC’s website. Mann, Gleick, and Lewandowsky can spew any nonsense they want because academia and the media cloak them in credibility, truth be damned. Look at the lunacy of the “97% of all climate scientists agree” meme. It’s obvious rubbish and accepted, ironclad fact for thousands around the globe.
I was reminded of the fact yesterday while watching the twitter storm over Mitt Romney’s “my family owned slaves” comment. What, you say? A news satire site used a fake Romney quote in a humorous story and bingo! thousands of tweets go out touting it as real. The problem is that you can’t convince the ones condemning Romney that the quote is fake! How do you get around the two separate realities that have developed?
http://twitchy.com/2012/09/09/left-falls-for-fake-romney-quote-i-can-relate-to-black-people-my-ancestors-once-owned-slaves/

Bobl

I think the single biggest problem is Lewandowsky assumes the Theory of Global Warming to be an absolute truth while the IPCC itself say only that it is probable – Supposedly 90% or so. So therefore so-called denial of the science can’t be a conspiracy since there is a finite probability of it being Correct. That it there is a 10% Chance that the 75/77 scientists that agreed to the consensus of Global warming are wrong. Thus it is perfectly reasonable to accept the possibility of them being simply wrong – no conspiracy to do anything required.
Personally I don’t see any conspiracy, just some racketeering and profit making on the climate change Grant Money racket. Inducements to deliver a predetermined outcome in order to deceive the investor. Classic organised crime stuff.

Rob Dawg

Why haven’t the emails from Climategate been analyzed for insight as to the myriad psychological disorders revealed there?

… More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions …
Funny, this. This means that 10% of climate scientists do NOT agree. So the skeptics agree with the 10%: this group, minority that it is, still has the respect of the other climate scientists, does it not? Or do the warmists believe that 10% of climate scientists also believe that NASA faked the moon landing?
Who are the nuts? The ones who disagree, or just the ones who agree with those who disagree?
There is so little thinking-through in the climate dispute. A university education does not a thinking man make, just one who knows stuff.

ramspace

Most unfortunately, the Globe and Mail is providing uncritical publicity for Lewandowsky: Social Studies.
Anyone know Michael Kesterton personally–it would be good to set him straight.

DirkH

AlecM says:
September 11, 2012 at 4:33 am
“In reality very little CO2 IR can be emitted from the earth’s surface because as with all other GHGs, identical wavelength thermal radiation from the lower atmosphere turns it off, a well-established principle of radiant heat transfer. If not true, there could never be radiative equilibrium – think about it [it’s called Prevost Exchange]”
See also Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Radiation. Recently I pointed a warmist to an old WUWT post by Tom Vonk about that. He refused to read it, saying “WUWT has never changed the science.” I told him Kirchhoff ain’t a WUWT contributor – he’s dead!
Lots of fun with these folks. They actively REFUSE to process information.

DirkH

Mike Mangan says:
September 11, 2012 at 7:28 am
“The really disturbing aspect of this saga is not Lewandowsky’s foul deed. That’s to be expected from the warmist camp. It’s the fact that it has started to gain traction. It’s penetrated the outer ring of the main stream media and been reported in the Blaze, at Huffington Post, and on MSNBC’s website. ”
What’s so tragic about that? HuffPo and MSNBC are for the clinically insane anyway and make no qualms about it. Let them make asses out of themselves, it’s what they do.

steveta_uk

“identical wavelength thermal radiation from the lower atmosphere turns it off”
Oh dear – it’s a shame when the CAGW nutters who are so convinced about the conspiracy theories being pushed on WUWT are given evidence that there really are conspiracy nutters pushing theories on WUWT,

Russell Cook,
Your strategy to expose in detail one of LEW’s false premises is an important task.  Also, I think it is just one of LEW’s several premise problems.
I was happy to see your focus on premises this morning after I decided yesterday to try to do a blog that looks at argument premises in the climate science arguments.  
Coincidence!
John

Crispin in Waterloo

Spending on manipulating public opinion: There is a PR firm in Vancouver. I heard the lady in charge interviewed by the CBC one morning, asking about her receiving American funding to oppose the proposed oil pipeline to the BC coast from Alberta. She admitted they received 3.8m dollars (foreign funding as far as we are concerned) to run a campaign opposing the pipeline by ramping up local opposition and riling the natives. The spend rate averages $17,000 a week. They also have local money from various activist organisations trying to undermine or stop various things with a phalanx of compliant local sheeple in tow.
That is Canadian operatives accepting foreign money to meddle in Canada’s internal evergy affairs provided by who-knows-? in the US to harm the Canadian oil industry. The amount involved in this tiny example is 8 times the amount referred to above as the ‘oil industry’ trying to steer global warming conversations, is it not? Imagine how much is spent in the US to meddle in big projects, especially now that the drillers are coining it looking for new shale gas.
It seems there is no bottom to the pit of money available to the groups that are trying to promote natural gas as the ‘low carbon’ alternative to ‘fossil fuel’ and kill or cripple coal and oil production. Kind of a strange way to make a country energy independent. No doubt Big Solar and Big Wind are behind the scenes sopping up the subsidies as fast as they can be arranged.

polistra

Any assumption based on “Who pays you?” is flawed. Corporations support causes for their own strategic and tax reasons, which rarely connect with what the activists think they’re trying to accomplish. If BP or RJReynolds supports a foundation, it doesn’t mean that the foundation works for oil or works for tobacco.

tadchem

My admittedly informal study of Rhetoric – the classical art of getting people to accept a proposition as true regardless of its actual veracity, also known as the art of selling freezers to Eskimos – has taught me many things. The primary tools of rhetoric are also known among logicians as the “Fallacies of Informal Logic”.
Often those practicing Rhetoric will resort to ad hominem attacks (casting doubt on the integrity of the opponent rather than directly confronting the issue at hand), and one I call the “Old Switcheroo” (also called “the pot calling the kettle black”) wherein the opponent is openly (and usually falsely) accused of some nefarious action while the complainant is secretly performing that same action.
Look at how much money the ‘carbon industries’ are pouring into the environmental movement in a naive attempt to buy goodwill.

DaveA

Interview with Michael Mann, ABC Australia 15/03/2012

…our findings are finding that climate change is real and potentially poses a threat to civilisation if we don’t confront that challenge. That represents a threat to certain vested interests and they’ve tried hard to discredit the science, often by discrediting and intimidating the scientists. Unfortunately it’s not all that new a tactic. We saw the same thing back in the 1970s, 1980s with tobacco, with the tobacco industry trying to discredit research establishing adverse health impacts of their product. It’s an old tactic and it’s now being used to try to discredit climate science, mainly coming from vested interests who don’t want to see us shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels because they – understandably, they profit greatly from our current addiction to fossil fuels.
EMMA ALBERICI: Who are these vested interest groups?
MICHAEL MANN: Well I actually talk about this in some detail in the book and I refer to some other books that have been written on this topic that actually trace much of the attacks against climate science and climate scientists to various organisations and front groups that derive most of their funding from the fossil fuel industry and what they often do is issue press releases attacking mainstream science. They publish – they have folks publish op.’ eds attacking climate scientists. They sort of create what some have called an echo chamber of climate change denial that permeates the airwaves and our media and it’s been a real challenge for scientists, for the scientific community to try to communicate the very real nature of the climate change threat in the face of this fairly massive disinformation campaign.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3454652.htm

Rule #1. If you believe electricity generated by coal is cleaner than electricity generated by shale gas you are a member of a cult and need deprogramming.

Doug Danhoff

My Utilites have spent a lot of money promoting the “green agenda”….And I thought THEY were Big Oil. I suspect the boogie man is green.
Does anyone have figures on how much the conventional energy producers are spending on green programs?

sorepaw

A new book
http://www.amazon.com/Science-Left-Behind-Feel-Good-Anti-Scientific/dp/1610391640/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1LIX5K3G75CXZ&coliid=I1X6UBC8NB94CM
focuses on antiscientific beliefs common among environmentalists and “progressives.”
A proper survey relating attitudes toward science in general and attitudes concerning CAGW would include items about the nutritional virtues of organic crops, the supposed dangers of genetically modified “Frankenfood,” the alleged link between thiomersal in vaccines and autism, and the purported need to suppress nuclear power plants.