Barton earns Canadian rebuke

Chris de Freitas

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.

7 Thoughts on “Barton earns Canadian rebuke

  1. Alexander K on August 13, 2011 at 6:24 am said:

    I will probably cop some flak for having an opinion, but Barton is quite ordinary and is pretty much singing in the choir stalls of the Church of Warming and Kiwi Conformity. He is quite typical of NZ journos, who never let facts, scientific or otherwise, get in the way of a good piece of doom-mongering. There is an entire literary canon in NZ of utter and unadulterated gloom, (I once initiated and led a very cheerful revolt in NZ Lit 101 against having to read and ‘analyse’ another Catherine Mansfeild short story, always a heaped serving of gloom, sexual confusion and angst) one of the reasons that blokes who write/wrote cheerful ‘hard case’ best-sellers based on rural myths that the late Barry Crump mined for all he was worth, are reviled by the academics. Yer average Kiwi bought Crumpie’s books by the truckload despite the academic wimpering.
    Here in the UK, ‘environmental journalists’ in the dying MSM are equally as dreadful as their Kiwi counterparts, such as the cut-and -paste specialist Louise Gray and her Telegraph stablemate Geoffrey Lean, both of whom write mostly rubbish cobbled together from pseudo-scientific press releases. The doyen of this breed, however, is George Monbiot, known by the disrespectful as ‘Moonbat’, a committed Socialist who sees Greenism as a way of controlling the masses. His brand of environmental journalism is actually quite funny, but his followers on the Guardian’s infamous ‘Comment is Free’ blog are vile and indulge in really pointless bad language and attacking those who dare not to conform to their idol’s mad Deep Green preachings.

  2. Flipper on August 13, 2011 at 10:25 am said:

    Good stuff AK…
    Add to all of that Rupert Wyndham’s recent demolition of the NZ Listener while he was in New Zealand. Not unexpectedly, the Listener redacted Wyndham’s analysis and acerbic rebuttal.

    The problem for the MSM is that they are like a like a angry spirit wandering around looking for a home. Until the MSM accepts that print should be a matter of record and objective analysis rather than a competitor of the instant electronic media we will be subject to contiunuing BS dressed as “reporting”. And, sadly, radio and TV (with rare exceptions such as L. Smith and A.Jones (in AUS.)) are today little different from the MS print media.

  3. I’m looking forward to Donna’s book on the IPCC,
    Judging by this article, NZ scientists will feature in some way.

  4. Speaking of Canadian bloggers, mention should be made of Hilary Ostrov’s excellent blog “The View from Here”

    http://hro001.wordpress.com/

    which focuses mainly on IPCC process.

  5. Alexander K on August 14, 2011 at 12:37 am said:

    Thanks, Flipper.

  6. Thanks, Andy 🙂

    Hilary (aka hro001)

    P.S. I know that Donna’s book is going to be dynamite!

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