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Government funds anti-science name-calling crowd: “deniers”, skeptics are old “will be gone soon”

There’s a mindset, a world view here that’s profoundly unreal, anti-science, and of course, fully funded by the Taxpayer from start to end (how could it be any other way?).

From the researcher who holds childish assumptions and misunderstands his own results, to the site that posts it all as if it were “higher thought”, to the trained communicator of science who then parrots the mistakes and insults half the population at the same time. Cheers! Private money couldn’t fund a satire likeThe Conversation”. (Well, it could if it were funny.)

The Conversation recall was funded with $6 million.

Stephan continues his war on science

Lewandowsky’s bread and butter stuff is breaking the central tenet of science — namely, that evidence is more important than opinions. His mission (though I don’t think he’s aware of it) appears to be to return us to pre-Enlightenment days when Bishops controlled the public conversation. In this post-post-modern era, some things are so post they’re posterior — some parts of science are returning to unscience.  This “science” is not about your data or reasoning, and not about your results — it’s about your ability to get a grant, a title, a university badge. Only certified practitioners of government authorized climate science grants are counted. On the gravy train, your opinion about the weather is bestowed with gravitas. In the old days, you had to make good predictions to earn respect, now dollars buys the substitute “authority” (case in point — S. Lewandowsky whose name is on $1.7m of recent grants, but virtually can’t speak without breaking a law of reason).

The big discovery this week for Lewandowsky is that the public “underestimate the level of scientific agreement” on climate science.

The “dumb” punters are sending a message to him in his research. In the real world there are independent scientists and government-dependent scientists, but Lewandowsky’s World has only the government kind and the “deniers”. This name-calling cripples his thinking (ain’t that the way?) The ritual name-calling hurts the tosser.  Try this theory on instead: perhaps the public are aware that “scientists” as a group can’t predict the climate yet? So Stephan asks them if there is a consensus, they say “No”, correctly. But Lewandowsky, blind to their wisdom, instead thinks that they don’t realize there is a consensus among his hallowed Bishops of Science — the government funded climate scientists. So half the public see through the propaganda. The prof marks them “wrong”.

The fools in the street are a step ahead of the prof. At least  31,500 scientists have put their names up to disagree with the IPCC, and readers here know the drill, there are 9,000 PhD’s and professors of real science (like meteorology). We can also name 2 Nobel Prizes in physics, and 4 NASA Astronauts. Of course, that doesn’t mean skeptics are right, but it means there is no consensus.

Underlying the prof’s assumptions that peer review always works, government scientists are right and independent scientists are mentally incompetent “deniers” or outright liars, is a kind of quaint delusion of his that unlike every other human endeavor, “Science” is free of corruption, and untainted by human ambition, networking or personality defect. In his mind, the peer review process could not be skewed by mass one sided funding, the granting bodies are pure and unbiased, and dedicated scientists work just as hard to prove their ideas wrong as they do to prove them right.  While independent scientists are tacky shills and zealots, government scientists are a breed above. They — the chosen ones — are immune even to the relentless campaign to denigrate “unbelievers” as old nutters bound-for-nursing-homes who squander their grandchildren’s future and pander to Phillip Morris while believing SARS was deliberate, 911 was an inside job and NASA faked that moment on the moon. If the chosen ones could just find evidence to show CO2 has no effect, they would publish it with joy (even knowing that they’ll be exorcised from the tea-room). Climate-angels fear not a fall from grace, to go from being a scientist to a denier. All the same,  Lewandowsky is on the border patrol with a bullies team yelling names at the scientists who left the religion. It’s a message the scientists can’t miss.

Now I’m not for a minute saying that government funded scientists are wrong because they are government funded. That would be an ad hom. Some are right and some are wrong, but it depends on their arguments and their evidence. (And this is what I mean by evidence.) What Stephan is doing, is his damnedest to stop that discussion about evidence from starting. Sure, if you pre-load a questionnaire with a statement that 97% of scientists tell you to eat cornflakes, then survey participants know which answer you want them to give. It doesn’t change a thing about that person’s belief about the power of a tax to change the weather.

Skeptics will be dead soon

This next quote tells you all you need to know about the philosophical depth of Science Communication in Australia. Skeptics are wrong because they want …evidence (the sods!) but it’s ok, they’re old and they’ll die soon. I don’t think Will Grant has thought too hard about this. (This ANU unit, by the way, is one where I once studied and worked. Sigh.)

Will J Grant from the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University said it was an interesting and useful study.

“We can say people are convinced by the consensus but the big caveat is sceptics and climate change sceptics in particular are never going to be convinced by this,” he said. “They will say science doesn’t work by vote, it’s about facts.”

“Realistically, though, most of those sceptics are of an older generation. We are never going to convince them but they will be disappearing from the political discourse soon.”

I’m guessing he doesn’t know a skeptic either.

If Grant accepts the deniers label, it figures the “old folks” just never got it and never will. But it’s tricky explaining the rise in skeptics since 2008, it’s like 30% of the population just suddenly got old.

Could it be a virus?

 …  and can I get a grant to study that?

Dear Will, the old folks are the wise ones.  A long time ago some were young and gullible.

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