In praise of peer-review on Amazon | James Delingpole

October 19, 2011

Some people, I know, have a very low opinion of Amazon reviews. Either they’re written by friends of the author; or they’re written – under a pseudonym – by enemies or bitter rivals of the author; or they’re written by people who not only can’t write but can’t even read either: at least not in the sense of being able to absorb the nuances of a book and then comment discerningly thereon.

But I disagree. I think Amazon reviews are (generally) great, thanks largely to what you might call the “peer review” function.This means that whenever anyone writes something particularly crass or stupid, you can be fairly sure that some other doughty Amazon commenter will shoot them down in flames.

Here’s a glorious example of peer review in action with my book Watermelons.

First, a review from a man named Martin Lack who kindly hopes that the book will be “a total commercial failure” based on his idea of what he thinks the book may have said, though he hasn’t actually read it:

I don’t need to actually read this book in order to criticise it because James has very kindly summarised its content perfectly on his blog. (So no simple dismissals, please, on the grounds that I have not read it#). Unfortunately, for anyone objective enough to investigate, every single one of the completely stupid things which he there invites readers to imagine might be true can in fact be found to be false on any number of scientifically-literate websites.

In James’ amoral fantasy world, there is no cause and effect; no right and wrong. In his revisionist utopia, there is no right or left; there is only right and green. However, as someone once said, “all generalisations are wrong; including this one!” Therefore, even if environmentalism may be seen by many as a left-of-centre entity (although some scholars such as Roger Scruton and John Gray would challenge even this assumption*) it is ridiculous to suggest that all environmentalists are socialists in disguise.

All sparrows may be birds; but not all birds are sparrows! In point of fact, it is much more likely that, as the German Green Party suggested in the 1980s, “Greens are neither left nor right; they are out in front!” Therefore, no matter what Amazon may think (or people may say), I am not attacking the messenger (who undoubtedly has a perfectly good English degree from Oxford); I am attacking the message (which is totally without any legitimate foundation).

However, given that James is always trying to be funny, accepts he is incapable of reading peer-reviewed scientific literature, and admits to being ideologically prejudiced against taking environmental protection seriously (i.e. as a “libertarian conservative”), it would be a very dangerous thing indeed for anyone to mistake as serious, sensible, or objective, anything said by James Delingpole in this book. It is utterly infantile in its misconception of reality; and dangerously so. Therefore, I hope it is an absolute unmitigated commercial failure; our planet certainly deserves it to be.

# A potentially-valid criticism of this review might be that I have only alluded to evidence to back up my hypothesis (rather than presenting that evidence). However, that does not mean the evidence or the websites do not exist and, in any case, as Ben Goldacre says in Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks, “You cannot reason people out of positions they did not reason themselves into” (page xii [2009 paperback edition]). Therefore, I would almost certainly be wasting my time (as if I am not doing so already) if I was to bother to elaborate further.

* See Scruton’s Chapter on ‘Conservatism’ in Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge (2006); and
Gray’s 2nd edition of False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (2009)

And now, the moment of retribution at the hands of first of Octavius 1:

“I don’t need to read this book in order to criticise it”…

And this is why your review means nothing.

And then, more thoroughly, from Magnumfore:

You know what’s puerile, Martin? The fact that you admit that you base a scathing, irrelevant review on a paragraph-sized summary of a book and then accuse your challengers of being the same. THAT is puerile. You disregard any of his potential sources, documents, or evidence in such a dismissive wave of the hand because it’s plainly obvious that you’re one of those climate goons who is so locked in his own hubris pseudo-science that, at this point, reading any legitimate criticism (or any criticism whatever!) of your so-called cause raises your hackles and, much like Mr. Occidental Petroleum Al Gore himself, refuses to take in or engage in any debate on the topic.

Your position on the book based on a summary only punctuates what I’ve written above, placing a huge exclamation point at the end.

Want to be taken seriously? Read the book, follow the sources, check the studies, THEN come back and say it’s all hogwash without a single grain of truth.

But you won’t do that because you’re like so many other climate goons brainwashed into thinking 0.036% carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is serious business when it’s been 15 times higher in human history and as high as 30% in world history…and plants and animals were still growing and we’re still here.

But ignore all the conflicting evidence at your peril.

Related posts:

  1. RealClimategate hits the final nail in the coffin of ‘peer review’
  2. Climategate: what Gore’s useful idiot Ed Begley Jr doesn’t get about the ‘peer review’ process
  3. In praise of patrons – particularly mine
  4. More integrity from the robust, peer-reviewed IPCC. Not.

10 thoughts on “In praise of peer-review on Amazon”

  1. Anonymous says:19th October 2011 at 8:28 pmIt has been a similar story with Donna Laframboise’s book: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.

    In this case the expert on the book who had not read it is a climate “scientist” with a snout/trough interface:

  2. Anonymous says:20th October 2011 at 12:21 amTranslation of. Lack’s terminology

    Objective – taking one’s prejudices seriously
    Scientifically literate – expressed as gobbledegook to confuse
    amoral fantasy world – not 1984
    revisionist – not socialist
    environmentalism – like all isms, a form of OCD
    perfectly good English degree from Oxford – jealousy
    without any legitimate foundation – see “amoral fantasy world”
    peer-reviewed – liked by Lack
    infantile – without sophistry
    my hypothesis – breach of copyright
    Ben Goldacre – approved bigot (cogn Billy Bragg)

  3. Anonymous says:20th October 2011 at 7:29 amReligious fanatics dont need the facts before they launch into criticism. Their faith guides them.
  4. John Fourie says:20th October 2011 at 11:11 pmJust came to your website to say that you are the lowest form of life. Lying and over exaggerating without even understanding the basics. Dont read anything this man says people he only wants you to go to his website to get some click, he is what we call an internet troll and does not deserve a second of your time. Please die so that the world can be a better place.
    1. Velocity says:28th October 2011 at 5:24 pm“..lying and over exaggerating..”
      You’ve pretty much summed up Govt, the UN’s IPCC and their crony climate change scientists (sizzling sensationalists) …and they’ve been at it for over 10 years

      “..lowest form of life..”
      Yep all forms of Govt and its crones are the very toilet of humanity and eevry country

      Hung yourself with your own rope there stupid

  5. NC says:23rd October 2011 at 8:46 pmMartin Lack was leaving ignorant comments on this site earlier this year. He wrote that he was doing a masters in environmental stuff, but if he thinks he can leave book reviews without reading the book first, then I won’t be wasting my time reading his thesis.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, James. It’s best just to accept that people who are right are always hated irrationally by those who are on an ideological crusade to promote some kind of left-wing or right-wing money wasting scheme, in the name of protecting the environment.

  6. Velocity says:27th October 2011 at 9:57 pmThe internet is a wonderous thing… dozens sometimes hundreds of brains can usually solve any problem and, bad news for con artists like climate change crones, expose any lie

    Yes there’s a large noise to signal ratio and you have to search for the diamonds. But isn’t that true of mainstream journalism which has never peddled so much trash and lies in its actually pretty appalling (and in the main dishonest) history

    It’s also exposed alot of journalists not only to superior and sharper brains but tough cross examination of anything sloppy or badly researched. Previously journos could gob off freely without retort except for the odd angry readers letter.

    The web has shaprened everything up massively …although TV and newspapers remain aloof in their ivory towers (probably why they’re still total garbage)

  7. Jack Cade says:4th November 2011 at 8:54 pmI must say, it’s very satisfying to see that the half-witted Delingpole gets so few comments on his blog (aside from fellow mouth-breathers). Just dropped by to sneer at the imbeciles. Shan’t bother again. Dullest blog this side of Boil An Egg With Delia.
  8. Gordonrear says:5th November 2011 at 12:30 pmIt’s funny Delingpole praising peer review on a comments page of an online shopping site after viciously attacking the scientific world’s peer review process. For all we know, the dimwit probably wrote half the praises himself, the other half written by wingnuts and fruitloops who buy into any conspiracy. Still, if that’s what he calls his peers….
  9. Gux says:24th November 2011 at 9:39 pmThe photo remark in this blog is racist and an insult for Amazon natives. I wonder if Delingpole knows where the Amazon is, and I wonder whether he knows that is one of the 7 wonders of the world and that it is worth preserving!

Climategate: What Gore’s Useful Idiot Ed Begley Jr Doesn’t Get about the ‘Peer Review’ Process

Here is an amusing video of an actor named Ed Begley Jr getting weally, weally, WEALLY cross about the Climategate scandal. (hat tip Breitbart TV)

Well no wonder he’s cross. His world is falling apart. Ed Begley Jr – now probably better known as a climate activist than for his role TV medical soap St Elsewhere – bought in so heavily to Big Al Gore’s Man-Made-Global-Warming meme, he actually became a vegan and is engaged in a competition with some other actor you won’t have heard of to see who can get the lowest Carbon Footprint.

He was also captured in one of the more revealing scenes in Not Evil Just Wrong using his Team-America-style ACTING skills to make moving tears come from his eyes and sobbing sounds from his throat while addressing an audience about the horrors of ManBearPig. Afterwards, he admits these were, in fact, recreated using the amazing technique of acting.

Anyway, the reason I show you that first footage from Fox News – apart from the fact that it’s funny – is to show you an example of how obsessed Warmists are with the notion of “Peer review.” Note how Ed repeats it, mantra-like, to ward off any possible suggestion that the scientists supporting his bomb-the-global-economy-back-to-the-stone-age cause might be wrong. How can they be? They’re peer-reviewed-peer-reviewed-peer-reviewed.

Here’s what poor Ed doesn’t get. It’s perhaps the single most important fact to emerge from the Climategate scandal. Peer-review is dead. Meaningless. Utterly void of credibility. More irredeemably defunct than a Norwegian Blue.

Why? Let’s just remind ourselves what some of those hacked CRU emails said:

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

What the CRU’s hacked emails convincingly demonstrate is that climate scientists in the AGW camp have corrupted the peer-review process. In true Gramscian style they marched on the institutions – capturing the magazines (Science, Scientific American, Nature, etc), the seats of learning (Climate Research Institute; Hadley Centre), the NGO’s (Greenpeace, WWF, etc), the political bases (especially the EU), the newspapers (pretty much the whole of the MSM I’m ashamed, as a print journalist, to say) – and made sure that the only point of view deemed academically and intellectually acceptable was their one.

Neutral observers in this war sometimes ask how it can be that the vast majority of the world’s scientists seem to be in favour of AGW theory. “Peer-review” is why. Only a handful of scientists – 53 to be precise, not the much-touted 2,500 – were actually responsible for the doom-laden global-warming sections of the IPCC’s reports. They were all part of this cosy, self-selecting, peer-review cabal – and many of them, of course, are implicated in the Climategate emails.

Now peer-review is dead, so should be the IPCC, and Al Gore’s future as a carbon-trading billionaire. Will it happen? I shouldn’t hold your breath.

Related posts:

  1. RealClimategate hits the final nail in the coffin of ‘peer review’
  2. In praise of peer-review on Amazon
  3. Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?
  4. Uh oh, global warming loons: here comes Climategate II!