Friday, April 5, 2013

Christopher Monckton Quote-mines

This evening I attended a talk by Christopher Monckton, the climate change denialist. The talk as a whole was particularly odious, beginning with a magnificent descent into New-World-Order/One-World-Government conspiracy theories claiming that the agenda behind climate science is to destroy families and establish a global communist government. Even on these issues Monckton is terribly confused, as he contradicted himself saying that these shadowy bodies of conspirators want to remove property rights (Communism/law of commons), while also claiming that the global communist government would own it all (State Capitalism).

Anyway, that's not the point of this posting. Monckton is well known for misrepresenting the honest academic work of others and I wanted to demonstrate a couple of those examples.

The first was a claim that Ben Santer admitted to completely changing the conclusions of the 1995 IPCC report. Potholer54 conveniently has already debunked this, which came from the television show 'Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura'. It is a fairly long video (17min), but covers in detail the tricks of the trade of television interviews, by which they misquote interviewees.

The second claim was that IPCC chair Rajendra K. Pachauri stated in February of this year that there has been no warming for 17 years. The claim came from The Australian, which happens to be a Murdoch-owned news media outlet. However, this was not an accurate representation of what he said, a thorough debunking of this can be found as SkepticalScience.com, complete with links to audio recordings of interviews from when Pachauri was in Australia, so you can hear what he ACTUALLY thinks about climate change.

As you may well know, quote-mining is a common tactic of pseudoscience advocates who just love to twist the words of recognised experts to deceive audiences into believing that they support the pseudoscientific view. It is a popular tactic of creationists in particular.