This post could be considered tardy. However Donna Laframboise’s illuminating comments lose nothing with the passage of time. They deserve circulation and Auckland’s possibly best-known sceptical climate scientist deserves her thoughtful and eloquent support.
Four weeks ago, on July 16, the Herald published Chris Barton’s attack on Chris de Freitas’s integrity. The next day I posted a defence of a scientist who has given a lot of help to any number of keen climate amateurs like myself and has the courage to say out loud that things are not scientific if to him they appear in fact to be unscientific.
About a week later the uncompromising Laframboise posted a perceptive analysis of Barton’s attempted “critical thinking”. I encourage you to read the whole thing if you have a few minutes.
Here’s the end of Donna’s article. While passing on several nuggets from the world of climate research, she sets out simple differences between these two men who share only the name Chris: Barton, journalist, and de Freitas, scientist. For in motivation, fidelity and reason they are worlds apart:
On the one hand the article slams de Freitas for presenting his students with “a minority view” on climate-related issues. On the other it ends with quotes from Kevin Trenberth.
Remember him? He’s the gent who participated in a press conference that implied a link between global warming and more intense hurricanes – even though he has no hurricane expertise and even though his view was not shared by a single hurricane expert (see here). In other words, Trenberth is notorious for expressing a minority view of his own.
Whether or not the IPCC perspective on the world will turn out to be correct remains to be seen. My own research tells me its processes are so flawed that would be truly remarkable.
But Barton, the journalist, has appointed himself judge and jury. He has written an entire piece that implies that the IPCC view of the world is accurate and that de Freitas is shortchanging his students by not toeing the IPCC line.
This is ugly stuff – and it is an example of why many scientists choose to keep their heads down rather than publicly voicing their skeptical views.
I think de Freitas is a brave man who has been savaged by a journalist who brings shame on his profession. If you’d like to send this professor a kind word, he can be reached at c.defreitas AT auckland.ac.nz
Those New Zealand scientists and bloggers who accuse climate sceptics of the “corruption” of science would do well to contemplate the source and likely effects of Barton’s misguided but public belief in the non-existent climate science “consensus”.
Forming from the murky, undefined mysteries of the “greenhouse effect” and taking colour from some genuine environmental concerns, this imagined consensus was invented to silence difficult questions. Yet it is succeeding only in corrupting the very science it hides behind and claims to back.
The word ‘science’ means ‘knowledge’. But these character assassinations against the likes of the honest Chris de Freitas are the very antithesis of knowledge.
They are ignorance itself.