Meet the Bullying Lefty Cockwomble Physics Prof Who Hates Actual Climate Science

Take this week’s climate prat of the week, Professor Jonathan Butterworth of the Physics and Astronomy Department at University College London.

Butterworth has just been caught red-handed trying to prevent one of his colleagues holding a conference for climate sceptics because, in his opinion, their views are “rather fringe.”

Here is the snooty email he sent to his colleague Dr Athem Alsabti, former Professor of Physics at Baghdad University, now working at UCL’s Observatory:

“It has been brought to my attention that you have booked a room at University College, London, for an external conference in September for a rather fringe group discussing aspects of climate science.

“If this event were to go ahead at UCL, it would generate a great deal of strong feeling, indeed it already has, as members of the UCL community are expressing concern to me that we are giving a platform to speakers who deny anthropogenic climate change while flying in the face of accepted scientific methods. I am sure you have no desire to bring UCL into disrepute, or to cause dissension in the UCL community, and I would encourage you to think about moving the event to a different venue, not on UCL premises.”

The conference – which is still going ahead, though not now in the university itself but at a nearby venue, Conway Hall – will feature a number of scientists every bit as distinguished in their field as Butterworth presumably is in his.

According to Lord Monckton, who is organising it, they include:

Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, who has published more refereed papers on sea-level rise than Professor Butterworth has had hot dinners; Professor Ole Humlum of the University of Oslo, who publishes a widely-circulated monthly data update on global temperatures and related matters; Professor Jan-Erik Solheim of Norway; members of the Swedish Polar Institute, of the Asociacion Rural de Paraguay; of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, of the U.S. Geological Survey; of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the former president of the Italian National Research Council; the Professor of Paleobotany at the Sapienza University, Rome; a world-leading physicist from the François Rabelais University in Tours; an analytical expert from the Laboratoire Analyse at the University of Paris; the brother of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the House of Commons; dozens of doctors of science; and a sprinkling of IPCC expert reviewers, including your humble servant.

Butterworth may think he knows better on climate than these experts, though how is not immediately clear given that it’s not his field. And while he’s perfectly entitled to his random, unsupported, prejudiced, haughty, third-hand, groupthink-induced opinions, what’s baffling is his decision to invoke in his own support the principle of the “scientific method”. (Or “methods” as he mysteriously chooses to pluralise it in his email to Alsbati.)

It must be really annoying for a physics professor to be told by an English literature graduate that he doesn’t understand the scientific method. But since what he’s doing here is the rough equivalent of an English literature undergraduate not knowing who wrote Hamlet, I fear I may have to take the risk of bruising his inflated ego.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

RIP Bob Carter: The Geologist Who Always Knew ‘Global Warming’ Was a Crock

Bob had known for years that man-made global warming theory was a crock. As a brilliant earth scientist – until 1998 he was head of the geology department at James Cook University in Australia – he understood perfectly well that on the geological scale our planet has experienced shifts in climate of a magnitude so vast as to make a mockery of the notion that humans can influence or control it.

His mistake was to admit this in public rather than keep schtum and take the money. As a result, Bob’s university decided to punish him for his heresy with a series of petty slights:

First  James Cook University (JCU) took away his office, then they took his title. In protest at that, another professor hired Bob immediately for an hour a week so Bob could continue supervising students and keep his library access. But that was blocked as well, even the library pass and his email account were taken away, though they cost the University almost nothing.

James Cook University didn’t even bother to pretend to be interested in whether or not Bob was right. All that mattered to JCU is that Bob’s views were not politically correct – and that therefore this might jeopardise their image:

The only reasons given were that the staff of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies had discussed the issue (without any consultation with Carter) and decided that his views on climate change did not fit well within the School’s own teaching and research activities. Apparently it took up too much time to defend Carter against outside complaints about his public writings and lectures on climate change. (Busy executives don’t have time to say “Why don’t you ask Carter yourself?” or “We value vigorous debate here.” Presumably they are too busy practising their lines and learning the litany? )

The harrying of sceptics is commonplace in academe. (See, for example, the even more shocking treatment of Willie Soon).

Read the rest at Breitbart.

Climategate: James Randi forced to recant by Warmist thugs for showing wrong kind of scepticism

You all know James Randi.

He’s the world famous Psychic Investigator whose rigorous scepticism has been the undoing of many a fraudulent spoonbender, dodgy faith-healer and ouija-board-wobbling spiritualist.

Randi is the expert magician and escape artist who is offering $1 million in his Paranormal Challenge “to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.” No one has yet come close to claiming it because that’s the kind of fellow Randi is: an utterly fearless seeker-after-truth; the kind of guy who, if you cut him in half – the result of a stage trick going wrong maybe – you’d find the word “Sceptic” right through his middle. Except, of course, being as he’s American it would be spelt Skeptic.

Sadly, it seems that there’s one form of scepticism that not even the great James Randi can be permitted. And that is scepticism towards the existence of Al Gore’s mythical creation ManBearPig, aka Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Randi discovered this to his cost when he tried posting on the subject at his James Randi Educational Foundation website. And it’s not as though he was outing himself as a full-on “denier”. All Randi was trying to do was express a note of caution about the notion of “consensus” within the world of science.

He wrote:

An unfortunate fact is that scientists are just as human as the rest of us, in that they are strongly influenced by the need to be accepted, to kowtow to peer opinion, and to “belong” in the scientific community. Why do I find this “unfortunate”? Because the media and the hoi polloi increasingly depend upon and accept ideas or principles that are proclaimed loudly enough by academics who are often more driven by “politically correct” survival principles than by those given them by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Bohr. (Granted, it’s reassuring that they’re listening to academics at all — but how to tell the competent from the incompetent?) Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a group of thousands of scientists in 194 countries around the world, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize — has issued several comprehensive reports in which they indicate that they have become convinced that “global warming” is and will be seriously destructive to life as we know it, and that Man is the chief cause of it. They say that there is a consensus of scientists who believe we are headed for disaster if we do not stop burning fossil fuels, but a growing number of prominent scientists disagree. Meanwhile, some 32,000 scientists, 9,000 of them PhDs, have signed The Petition Project statement proclaiming that Man is not necessarily the chief cause of warming, that the phenomenon may not exist at all, and that, in any case, warming would not be disastrous.

Happily, science does not depend on consensus. Conclusions are either reached or not, but only after an analysis of evidence as found in nature. It’s often been said that once a conclusion is reached, proper scientists set about trying to prove themselves wrong. Failing in that, they arrive at a statement that appears — based on all available data — to describe a limited aspect about how the world appears to work. And not all scientists are willing to follow this path. My most excellent friend Martin Gardner once asked a parapsychologist just what sort of evidence would convince him he had erred in coming to a certain conclusion. The parascientist replied that he could not imagine any such situation, thus — in my opinion — removing him from the ranks of the scientific discipline rather decidedly.

History supplies us with many examples where scientists were just plain wrong about certain matters, but ultimately discovered the truth through continued research. Science recovers from such situations quite well, though sometimes with minor wounds.

Just the kind of rational, questioning, thoughtful approach we’ve come to expect from James Randi.

But the eco-fascists among his readership weren’t having it one bit. Here are some of the comments which swiftly appeared below his heretical post:

“It would be hard to imagine Randi siding with one of the many similar petition projects against evolution instead of accepting the consensus of biologists.”

“The thing is, Climate Scientists aren’t publicly attacking anyone. Rather, they are under pernicious attack themselves. The East Anglia CRU have had their lives and reputations assaulted by people who were not prepared to spend the few seconds it would take to check the facts.”

“What disturbs me is the phrase, “Warming will not be disastrous”. Tell that to the millions in Pakistan, India, and South America whose river sources will die with the glaciers from which they spring. Tell that to the thousands of parents whose children will die of malaria, dengue fever, and the other tropical scourges whose ranges are increasing as the climate warms.”

“Objections to Randi’s position have been duly noted here and elsewhere, and they are not new — and neither is Randi’s cynicism disguised as skepticism. The logical fallacies are numerous in his post, and easy to identify, should someone wish to play a game of AWG-denial Bingo.”

“I was also saddened by Randi siding with the GW denialists. He seems to have fallen for a number of logical fallacies, and apparently prefers self-deception and ignorance when it comes to this issue. Very, very sad.”

and this one from an especially self-righteous fellow called John Huntingdon:

“I was at my computer today considering where to put my year-end charitable donations. I had solicitations from at least four skeptical
organizations, and was struggling to decide where to put my money. And so, I took a break and checked my Google reader, and saw PZ Myers’
posting on your foray into climate science. After reading your post in full, I removed the JREF from my donation list.”

Actually, when you read through all the comments, you discover that there at least as many in Randi’s favour as there are against him; and also, that much of the nasty stuff is the handiwork of a small group of (not desperately well-informed) eco-zealots, among them a horrid little tic named Arthur.

All the same it was too much for Randi. The poor fellow felt compelled to issue a semi-apology in a post headlined “I Am Not Denying Anything.”

Somehow, my AGW commentary was seriously misunderstood by some. Part of the reason for that is probably due to the fact that I took a much longer, 5,000-word piece, and cut it down to about 1,400 words to better fit Swift’s needs. Along the way, some clarity was lost. For that, I apologize.

Rather bizarrely, Randi ends his light grovel by quoting a journalist named James Hrynshyn (who he?) who, he says, “was kind enough to call our office yesterday to discuss the evidence for and against AGW.” What this Hrynshyn character apparently told him was:

“While we are both amateurs, I think it behooves us to give in to those who have devoted their professional lives to understanding this complex subject. And what they have to say can be boiled down to this: the world is warming and humankind is responsible for at least half of that rise in global average temperatures.”

Randi’s response to this piece of bullying?


To which I can only say:


UPDATE: Just found the site of this James Houyhnhm. Check out the photograph. At one point, he actually has the gall to suggest that Randi’s lapse may be the result of illness: “Could it be that the fact he is currently suffering through chemotherapy for intestinal cancer explain the lapse?”

Then he reports proudly on how he bullied an old man into submission:

I wondered if perhaps Randi, who is very good at finding simple explanations for chicanery masquerading as magic, is just too skeptical of anything that requires a post-graduate degree to understand. I pressed for a reason why those of us who are basically amateurs shouldn’t grant those who have devoted their lives to understanding the subject a little respect and take them at their word when they say we’re responsible for at least half of the observed warming. I am please to report that he replied that, yes, perhaps he has more thinking to do.


Related posts:

  1. Climategate: Green Agony Uncle ‘Dear James’ answers your Copenhagen questions
  2. Climategate reminds us of the liberal-left’s visceral loathing of open debate
  3. Climategate: the whitewash continues
  4. ‘Climate scepticism is the new racism’ says Gore

One Response to “Climategate: James Randi forced to recant by Warmist thugs for showing wrong kind of scepticism”

  1. Reyes says:December 21, 2009 at 3:33 amYour articles are very good, Mr Delingpole.

    On this occasion, I think the Americans are right and the British are “wrong” in their spelling (notwithstanding the borderline-amoral claim that “language is usage”). It’s a violation of the logic of English to write ’sceptic’ if you intend something like ’skeleton’ or ‘basket,’ and not ’sceptre’ or ‘adolescent’. For the letter c when followed by the letter e should be pronounced soft (as it is in French and Spanish and perhaps other languages). Most readers pick up this rule, if implicitly, which is why ’sceptic’ looks so bad.

    The only exceptions I’m aware of are Celt, ceilidh and soccer (which is a neologism based on an abbreviation, “assoc.”).