Gluckman stumbles, Part 2 – Sludge

Lies in truth

UPDATE 18 July – see end (Royal Society)

This is the second instalment of a review of Professor Sir Peter Gluckman’s speech of 9 June, entitled Integrity in Science: Implications from and for the Climate Change Debate. The first instalment was Gluckman stumbles on the truth.

In using the term “denialist”, our Chief Science Advisor descends to the sludge at the bottom of the barrel of scientific debate. It is a matter of profound regret that the CSA imports this malignant, divisive term to his prestigious office and the hallowed halls of the Royal Society.

Soaked in fallacy

There is no reason for an honest man of science to employ erroneous techniques of observation or debate, for what would it profit him? They would only ensure, first, that his argument fails and, second, that his credibility is damaged, the greater for being the higher in rank. So this is an enormous lapse in judgement by our top scientist and deserves the firmest reproach. Endorsement of Sir Peter’s comments, such as by the Royal Society (see below), is similarly reproachable.

In adopting the technique – or logical fallacy, whichever you prefer – of the ad hominem argument by labelling those who disagree with him as denialist and rejectionist, he engages in the worst scientific conduct. It is no less than poisonous, and that this toxic stuff now emanates from the summit of our scientific pyramid gives it a cachet it should never receive.

Whatever familiarity the term has achieved under relentless repetition, the ad hominem fallacy it is soaked in is undiminished and thus it can never be acceptable among the well-educated. Continue Reading →