Sunday, 15 November 2009

John Mashey really should start his own blog

But as unfortunately for some reason he seems to be reluctant to start his own blog, let me just draw attention this way to John Mashey's latest effort.

As p.ex. my series on Dutch climate scepticism have shown, often there are close connections between climate sceptics throughout personal contacts and non/pseudo-scientific networks or movements.

In an attempt to try to convince the general public "scientists don't agree amongst themselves", one of the beloved ways of the the climate sceptic lobby is to produce petitions signed by scientist (rarely climate scientists) which should "prove" the academic world disagrees on the subject of climate change. And as there's no consensus, there's no need for politics to act on a subject they claim to be "unproven".

In itself, the argument is flawed itself as of course science is all about right or wrong, but those petitions do manage to create confusion amongst the public, just as the lobby wants to.

The latest lobby-effort is a petition towards the American Physical Society (APS) in an attempt to make the APS alter it's position on Global Warming.

When looking closer at who sings such petitions and open letters, often the same names return, and often they are related to right-wing or libertarian think thanks.
John Mashey took the immense effort to make an analysis of the people who signed the APS-petition. He starts his explanation like this :
The American Physical Society (APS) was petitioned by 206 people, about 0.45% of the 47,000 members, to discard its climate change position and declare decades of climate research non-existent. The Petition was “overwhelmingly” rejected, but this anti-science campaign offers a useful case study. The Petition signers‟ demographics are compared to those of APS in general.

Then, the social network behind the petition is analyzed in detail, person by person for the first 121 signers. This might seem a grassroots groundswell of informed expert argument with the existing position, but it is not.

Rather, it seems to have originated within a small network of people, not field experts, but with a long history of manufacturing such things, plausibly at the Heartland Institute‘s NYC climate conference March 8-10, 2009. APS physicists can, do, and will contribute strongly to solving the 21st century‟s conjoined climate+energy problem, but this petition was a silly distraction, and rightly rejected. However, its existence was widely touted to the public.
The entire 128 page pdf can be found here


  1. What would you like to see on John Mashey's blog if he had one? I'm his sys admin!

  2. Thanks for the kind words.
    I have a bunch of reasons for not (yet) doing a blog of my own, among other things, I'd never have time to do this kind of report.

  3. But then there's something mysterious and romantic about the vagabond Denier hunter,

    Mad Mash, alone in e-desert, just him and his supercharged laptop.

    Plus all of us gladly give him space any time he wants ... it's not that Mad Mash is nowhere ... he is everywhere!

    "they seek him here, they seek him there..."

  4. John, since you're reading these comments:

    An early new years resolution for me is to ignore anything on a preaching to the choir blog from emotional spam trolls and saving my energy for the most reasonable, effective and checkable comments and letters to the editor in the most public places I can. I've also been checking out climate books like crazy from the library so i can review them on Amazon.

    i.e. I for one am taking your oft posted advice on climate blogs.

    To John's sysadmin: My recommendation would be simply john reposting his comments and guest posts. that way the time is zero, just paste, and template the venues and so on, and people get an idea. I also think a weblog is unnecessary. It's like castling in chess. Everyone does it, but you should only do it if it helps you.

  5. Re: Marion Delgado said... Everyone does it, but you should only do it if it helps you.

    Man speaks for true!

  6. Amen. The game "Where's Mashey" is a rare glimmer of fun in the often grim pursuit of information.

    I think you should find a way to bring the sentient AI behind Captcha out into the open, myself.

    The Captcha word for this posting is: losted