he has nothing else — his climate predictions have failed
he’s a disgrace
I received a report about Hansen’s address at Massey last night. Don says:
I have just returned from James Hansen’s lecture at Massey. The Japan Lecture Theatre was packed; I didn’t count, but there were probably about 200 people in the audience.
At the end I got to ask a question. I was very polite, and said how grateful we all were that such a distinguished expert had come to talk to us about his beliefs, but I was concerned that his whole talk rested on the premise that the science is settled. He had said the only dissenters are those in the pay of the oil industry, and I expressed regret that they hadn’t offered any lucre to me.
His reply was polite, but condescending. He conceded there are a few scientists whose chronic skepticism blinds them to the truth. For example, he said, he knows Richard Lindzen, who is a nice guy, but doesn’t dare, when he’s with other scientists, talk the kind of nonsense he writes in his newspaper columns. Also, Lindzen has never accepted that tobacco causes cancer, so obviously his judgement can’t be trusted.
Afterwards a few members of the audience came up and thanked me for what I had said.
The belief is strong in that one
Thanks for that, Don. That’s an intriguing look into ‘Slick’ Hansen’s attitudes.
First, congratulations for your criticism of Hansen for not sticking to the science; I’m sure many people noticed it when you thanked him for talking about his “beliefs.” The physical world works independently of anyone’s beliefs, so when he talks about them, he discusses no science. Well done.
Though Slick claims the science is settled, there is evidence of quite unsettled science (see my post Study undermines “science is settled” claims then Google ‘science isn’t settled’), yet the media seems unable to challenge him on it.
Slick’s repetition of the old saw about Lindzen’s denial that tobacco causes cancer is vile. I spent a couple of hours this morning trying to verify this allegation and found nothing more than unsupported allegations in blog comments, plus an inference that he once expressed doubts about the magnitude of the risks from second-hand tobacco smoke and so what? It doesn’t match Slick’s slimy insinuation. I had to move on, but if anybody can prove or disprove this allegation, please do so. I’ve emailed Richard Lindzen asking for his comments. Watch this space.
The time-worn allegation that climate sceptics are paid by “big oil” is rotten and loathsome because it is a lie! Nobody pays me for my sceptical articles, yet they take so much of my time I earnestly wish that somebody would pay me! Anybody — I’m not particular. As long as the message I’m passionate about gets a wider hearing, I don’t mind who helps to achieve that.
A senior scientist like Slick Hansen disgraces himself by echoing such counterfeit gossip and he does it for the sole purpose of deceiving us.
The funny thing about coal
You know, there’s a funny angle to the coal protest. Slick’s whole argument over coal is that it puts out more CO2 than other fuels per unit burned. He doesn’t argue that CO2 itself is bad, so much as saying that the CO2 from coal is “dirtier” than the CO2 from gas or petrol.
In other words, he strangely insists that we shouldn’t emit the CO2 from coal, but only from gas and petrol. He has likened trains carrying coal to the “death trains” of the Nazis and has called for leaders of coal companies to be locked up for “crimes against humanity.” He’s not complaining about the ordinary pollutants in coal — of which there are many which should be scrubbed out of the emissions — but to CO2, because it “damages” the climate.
Now, come on, Slick, tell us the difference between coal, petrol and natural gas! Why do you want us to continue burning petrol and gas but leave coal in the ground? Surely there’s no difference of kind, only of degree?
No belief in scepticism
I’m fascinated to hear that “chronic scepticism” apparently “blinds” a person to the truth!
An essential requirement of scientific enquiry is to be sceptical, so each and every observation is tested again and again, and in creative new ways, in a ceaseless effort to find fault with it. A true scientist reflects endlessly on trying to falsify his own work. Amazing! Nor should such scepticism be merely an occasional resort when one needs to project an image of sincerity, but rather a constant companion. It should not be an irregular condition but a chronic one, present at all times.
However, Slick claims that chronic scepticism is wrong, because it blinds a person to the truth! Now, that’s an argument greatly at odds with the understanding of the vast majority of us — an understanding that surely enjoys an overwhelming scientific consensus! Scepticism is to science what probity is to law.
Strange understanding Dr Hansen! What’s blinding him? In the absence of scepticism, it can only be strong beliefs. Beliefs which are, necessarily, empty of evidence.