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Monckton messes own nest Ken Perrott Aug 03

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Ever get the impression the Christopher Monckton may have reached his use-by date? Maybe even well past it?

Looks like this might be the case as the climate change denier/sceptic/contrarian groups trying to organise a programme for him in New Zealand are having problems. Their hero has become so repugnant that dreams of huge publicity for their cause seems to facing the harsh truth of reality.

Apparently, TV programmes Q&A and Close-up are no longer interested. And the host for their Auckland event, Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), has pulled out and left the mess to The Climate Realists – a rather nasty little conspiracy group.

Avoiding reality

Of course this groups is unwilling to face up to the fact that Monckton has been caught out so many times telling outright lies, misrepresenting climate science, attacking scientists and their science, that he no longer has any appeal; except to the committed climate change denier or contrarian. After all, Monckton often compares his debate partners to Nazis, he argues that climate scientists should be prosecuted and imprisoned. And even that perhaps “. . . no one should be allowed to practice in any of the sciences, particularly in those sciences that have become the mere political footballs of the leading pressure-groups, unless he can certify that he adheres to one of those major religions — Christianity outstanding among them — that preach the necessity of morality . . .’. (see Monckton requires religious certification for scientists?)

Consequently, most serious legitimate scientists now refuse to debate with this guy. After all, such debates do far more for Mockton’s CV than they  for the climate scientist. The media is coming to see that he is so far out that without the appearance of a real controversy he is not worth interviewing.

But, true to form, these Climate realists must explain the problem as a conspiracy. As “things that have been going on behind the scene”. They explain the negative reaction of PRINZ members to their organisation being used in this way as conspiring to prevent “someone whose opinions are perceived as being ‘outside the politically correct mantra’ from speaking in public.”  (Of course no one has taken away that right from Monckton. he is still going ahead with a meeting but has lost endorsement of the PRINZ).

They see their inability to find someone reputable to debate with Monckton as another conspiracy. But again, what they have really lost is the opportunity to use such a scientist to provide credibility to the concept of a scientific controversy where none really exists. The same old tactic that creationists always attempt to use.

There is no conspiracy. This is just the result of Monckton’s own behaviour. He has made a mess in his own nest and is now facing the consequences.

Breivik’s terrorism and science Ken Perrott Jul 26

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People gather around a makeshift memorial outside the Domkirken church in Oslo on July 25, 2011 where a minute of silence was observed. Photographer: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

OK, the connection between the Norwegian terrorism and science may not be immediately obvious. And I don’t refer here to the chemistry of his bomb manufacture (which he relates at length in his compendium).

No, I refer to his attitude towards science as demonstrated by the little tirade in the compendium about climate change (see Chapter 2.72: Green is the new red – Stop Enviro-communism.)

Here he presents climate science as having an agenda “to contribute to create as world government lead by the UN or in other ways increase the transfer of resources (redistribute resources) from the developed Western world to the third world.” He calls it the “Anthropogenic Global Warming scam.” He recommends a video starring our old friend Christopher Monckton. And presents the classical denier rave about “climategate.”

It’s all stuff we had heard before – and actually local climate change denier Ian Wishart presents this very same conspiracy in his book Air Con (which I reviewed in Alarmist con).

And that is the thing about his compendium. it mostly reads like a cut-and-paste from conservative websites, blogs and forums. Sure, he may have added a little in terms of a programme to assassinate many people throughout Europe, listing organisations and political parties he targets. And the explicit threat or programme of violence is not usually articulated in those conservative sources. But his whole justification is based on that conservatism and the conservative issues like anti-communism, climate change denial, promotion of patriarchy and theocracy and opposition to liberalism and feminism. These conservative issues have fed his hatred, advocacy of violence and assassination programme.

I am actually intrigued that almost all the local blogs who have in the past promoted the ideas covered by this compendium have been strangely silent on the terror in Norway. There hasn’t (so far) been a squeak of condemnation or comment from the usual list of climate change denier and conservative Christian blogs. It must be embarrassing for them to see such an inhuman terrorist advocating for the same issues they have in the past.

Conservative “catalysts”

But there have been commentators who have argued in support of Breivik’s ideas. Usually they start by clarifying that they are opposed to the murder and terrorism, “, but . . . .!.” As a mate of mine used to say you can usually ignore everything that comes before the word “but.”

For example, a commenter here claims “the ’multi-cultural’ issue has provided the catalyst for this act.’  I bet conservatives throughout Europe are doing the same thing – opportunistically using this dreadful event to argue their extreme approach to the cultural problems in Europe. Fortunately the Norwegians have adopted a far more adult and humane response – and most people admire them for it.

This “catalyst” argument can, and probably will, be used on all these issues – feminism, religion, climate change, immigration, religious privilege, etc., – to divert the discussion onto conservative hobby horses. And away from the immense and real problem of hatred and terrorism.

And if we want to look for real catalysts none of these issues really qualify. The real catalyst for Breivik’s terror is the climate of conservative hatred that is so often promoted on these issues. The “them vs us” mentality promoted on issues like feminism, politics, reproductive rights, family, climate change, etc.

It’s not a terrifically big step to go from Christopher Monckton’s advocacy of prosecuting climate scientists and imprisoning the to the final solution – assassination of one’s political foes, even those with the same ethnicity and religion. Even children or teenagers (as in the Labour Party camp on Utøya).

So you don’t have to

Breivik has been very clever in preparing and making his compendium freely available before his acts of terror. He obviously fantasised that these ideas could lead to popular support for a patriotic, conservative, European revolution.

I certainly hope it has the opposite reaction. Once people see these relatively populist conservative issues connected with sich inhumane terror, surely this will help discredit those ideas? (Perhaps that’s why the local conservative bloggers are so quiet). So in a sense I think it is worth becoming familiar with his programme.

Few people will bother reading this tedious 1500 page document but much of it will be repeated on the internet and in newspapers. I recommend anyone interested to follow JeffSharlet (@JeffSharlet) on twitter. he is currently reading, and briefly reporting on, that document. Follow the tag  #ReadingBreivik. Sharlet is a published author – I recommend his books C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy and The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.  Jeff will probably be writing some in-depth articles on Breivik and there is rumour of a Blogging Heads interview.

Breivik has made problems of “multi-culturalism” worse

Finally, Sam Harris makes some valid points in his blog post Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia. He is critical of the presentation of  as a “Christian fundamentalist.” He is clearly a cultural Christian and advocates elements of theocracy and religious discrimination. But his writing don’t across as that of a fundamentalist. Clearly conservative and anti-Islam.

But that introduces another problem. There are religious and cultural problems in Europe. There is a lot of Islamophobia. The later makes proper discussion of these problems difficult. A simple discussion of religious privilege, problems of Sharia law, tax exemptions, faith schools, etc., can cause a naive liberal response involving charges of islamophobia.

So the diversionist tactic promoting the idea that the cause of this terrorism is the “catalyst” of Islam or “multi-culturalism” will only increase the reluctance to sensibly discuss these issues.

As Sam says: “the final irony of Breivik’s despicable life is that he has made that truth even more difficult to speak about.”

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Background Briefing for Mockton’s NZ visit Ken Perrott Jul 21

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Christopher Monckton speaking in Melbourne last year. (Photo: Australian Conservative.)

Apparently Christopher Monckton will visit New Zealand for a few days (August 4 – 7) at the end of his Australian tour. His fanboys in the local climate change denier/contrarian/sceptic groups will obviously do their best to make as much publicity out of the visit as possible.

Others who want a more balanced assessment of Monckton might like to listen to the Backgrounder prepared by the Australian ABC (see Background Briefing – 17 July 2011 – The Lord Monckton roadshow). It includes extensive recordings of Monckton’s statements plus checking of many of his claims (he is often completely wrong and misrepresents science and scientists). There is also information on his mining industry financial backers.

The backgrounder illustrates how Monckton is attempting to whip up an anti-science and anti-scientists campaign (listen to him present his aim to prosecute and imprison scientists). The experience of the reporter who was exposed to the hysterical anti-media campaign at one of his meetings is also enlightening.

Download Audio – 17072011
Listen Now – 2011-07-17

See also:
Background Briefing on Monckton
Monckton’s Nazi jibe over the top: Abbott
A letter to Viscount Monckton of Brenchley from the Clerk of the Parliaments
Astroturfing works, and it’s a major challenge to climate change
Monckton requires religious certification for scientists?

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Suzan does a mini- Monckton Ken Perrott Jul 30

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The journalist Suzan Mazur seems to be taking a leaf out of Christopher Monckton’s silly book.

A while back I reviewed Suzan Mazur’s book The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry (see Self-exposure — a journalist out of depth). I didn’t like it. My conclusion was that she had no real knowledge of evolutionary science. She approached the issue like a political journalist, believing the worst of the scientists she interviewed and thinking she had a “story” when she didn’t. The title of the book says it all. As does the fact that it was promoted by intelligent design/creationist websites and blogs.

Since then Mazur has had a few other digs at scientists particularly on the issue of peer review (see The Peer Review Prison). It is just so easy to get quotes from disgruntled authors to support a conspiracy theory of the “scientific establishment” censoring honest scientific work and new ideas. Nothing new there. And it is not honest reporting.

Now she has been called out by the scientist/philosopher Massimo Pigluicci. He described his experience with her work on The Altenberg 16 in his recent book Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk.* The discrepancy between the material he provided in his interview and the article she wrote allowed, according the Pigluicci, “a rare glimpse from the inside of a journalist’s behaviour once she thought (mistakenly) that she was on to something big.” Pigluicci said it revealed “how thin the boundary is between not only science and pseudoscience, but journalism and pseudo-journalism.”

This didn’t please Mazur at all. And like a mini-Monckton she climbed out of her tree, attacked Pigluicci, his employer (Lehman College) and Publisher (University of Chicago press). She describes Pigluicci’s comments as a “malicious attack,” “twisted,”  disingenuous” and “libelous trash.” She questions whether Pigluicci “is competent to teach with regard to moral and ethics at Lehman College.”

And she demands that the publishers removed Pigliucci’s book from circulation, cancel scheduled readings and “advise Massimo Pigluicci to cease and desist from further derogatory public statements with regard to me and my work.”

This is the sort of thing we have come to expect from lord Christopher Monckton when his claims are subjected to calm, reason, scientific critique (see Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying).

Two weeks after making her demands the University of Chicago Press and their legal counsel have advised Mazur they stand by  Massimo Pigliucci, won’t be removing his  book from circulation or stop public readings from it. Se has released the letter she sent to the publishers (see Pigliucci Deceit Drags Publisher Into Big Muddy) but no copy of their response.

Strangely, this little storm in a teacup was reported, as far as I can find, only at New Zealand’s Scoop (which was also involved in publishing her book).

*See Pseudoscience and anti-science nonsense for a review of Pigluicci’s book Nonsense on Stilts

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