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Pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners Ken Perrott Apr 07

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Screenshot-2014-04-07-11.19

Twitter time-line from an anti-fluoride propagandist – Click to enlarge

Social media can be bloody frustrating at times.

I do find Twitter useful for identifying interesting newspaper reports, scientific articles and videos – often long before I would see them myself on other sources. But, boy, there is loads of rubbish – especially when following a search term rather than people you trust.

Take search terms like #fluoride and #fluoridation – most of the time these are a complete waste because they are dominated by crazies who are using Twitter as a political propaganda tool. Click on the image to the left to see just a small part of the timeline from one of these propagandists.

But there are exceptions. Over the weekend these search terms went crazy with links to a great article in the Guardian by David Robert Grimes -  Politicians should stop pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners. I recommend you read this if you haven’t already.

Sound and fury of opposing ideology

Grimes

David Robert Grimes

Grimes is commenting on the irrational backlash against fluoridation in the Republic of Ireland – and expecting a similar backlash to last week’s report from Public Health England urging more councils to consider fluoridating their water supplies. He said “as with so many public health interventions, the sound and fury of opposing ideology often trumps rational analysis.”

“Fluoride has been added to water in Ireland since the 1960s and has substantially improved the nation’s dental health, even in the era of fluoridated toothpaste. Despite this, a small but highly vocal opposition repeatedly pops up to claim fluoridation is harmful to health. These claims have been debunked time and time again.

The current incarnation of the opposition relies heavily on a report by self-proclaimed “fluoridation scientist” Declan Waugh, who blames fluoride for a range of illnesses. The report has been roundly dismissed by the Irish Expert Board on Fluoridation and Health, its chairman Dr Seamus O’Hickey concluding that … in spite of its presentation, its content is decidedly unscientific … the allegations of ill-health effects are based on a misreading of laboratory experiments and human health studies, and also on an unfounded personal theory of the author’s.”

Despite this, clever use of social media and strong lobbying has gained fluoridation naysayers considerable political traction, prompting the Irish government to promise yet another full review of the practice.”

Appeasing politicians

And this is his concern –  appeasement by politicians:

“perhaps the ugliest facet of the Irish debate is how elected representatives have given such outlandish fringe assertions a sense of legitimacy. One Irish politician has claimed that fluoridation causes cancer and Down’s syndrome; others have demanded an end to the practice, parroting claims that would have taken all of three minutes on Wikipedia to expose as utter nonsense.

The Irish government’s response is appeasement, and a waste of time and public money. Not only is there already an Irish body that routinely reviews the safety of fluoridation, this is a Sisyphean task because anti-fluoride groups have already reached their conclusion, and will trust no expert body unless it agrees with their assertions. Almost certainly fluoride will get yet another clean bill of health, campaigners will reject the findings and the same tedious cycle will repeat again, in much the same way parents who oppose vaccination are impervious to the scientific literature undermining their position.

It is irresponsible for politicians to show such contempt for science that they’re willing to take the lead from pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists rather than experts. Leadership should be about making the best decisions based on the data available, even on emotive issues such as fluoridation and vaccination.”

Hear, hear – that is exactly how I felt about the Hamilton City Council politicians who gave far more weight to “pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists rather than experts” in their deliberations on fluoridation last year.

A quirk of human psychology?

Grimes makes an interesting observation that the sort of irrationality, conformation bias, motivated reasoning and conspiracy theories we see in the anti-fluoridation and similar movements is really just part of human nature.

“That such beliefs persist in the face of strong evidence may be a quirk of human psychology. Campaigners may see themselves as enlightened crusaders, so when their assertions are questioned or contradicted by the data, this is viewed not as a useful correction of error but rather an attack on their identity and narrative. Conspiratorial thinking is endemic in such groups with critics being regarded as agents of some ominous interest group – big pharma is a common bogeyman – that wants to conceal the truth. This becomes a defence mechanism to protect beliefs that are incompatible with the evidence.

If all else fails, attacking the messenger may be easier than accepting that your whole raison d’être is misguided.

Motivated rejection of evidence is often a symptom of cognitive dissonance, a psychological phenomenon that occurs when individuals are challenged by information inconsistent with their beliefs. They may reject unwelcome information, seek confirmation from those who already share their beleaguered viewpoint, and try to convince others of the veracity of their world view. This may explain why some people proselytise even more vigorously after their beliefs have been debunked.”

So, perhaps we can understand the psychological motivations of people promoting pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. But, as Grimes says,” this does note excuse the fact that “elected representatives have given such outlandish fringe assertions a sense of legitimacy.” That goes for Hamilton as well as Ireland.

Grimes finishes with a message to the politicians:

“what is crucial is that decisions are based on scientific research, not misinformation and fear. The cost of such folly is clear to anyone who remembers the human suffering in the wake of the misinformed panic over the MMR vaccine just a decade ago.”

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Fluoride and the 5 easy steps of a conspiracy theory Ken Perrott Mar 04

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flouridationjohn

This brief article by Emily Willingham in Forbes shows how  the internet has been a real blessing to conspiracy theorists – especially those who are attacking scientific consensus. In Hyping Your Conspiracy Theory In 5 Easy Steps. She  is using the anti-vaccination movement as an example. But it is just as applicable to the anti-fluoride movement.


“1. Find something online that is related to your subject. Like this Senate committee report on an investigation of government agencies regarding safety claims of thimerosal in vaccines.”


And there is no short of internet material on fluoride – Activists just have to do a bit of googling If you are too lazy for that others have done it for you. Just go to Fluoride Alert, Mercola and hosts af “natural” health web sites).


“2. Cherry-pick partial quotes that seem to support your position (here, that vaccines cause harm) and assert conclusions that support your claims. Be sure the conclusions are sufficiently scary and conspiracy worthy. Mention of children and/or pregnant women is always good.”


Again, other activists sites have done that for you. Most anti-fluoride activists may have never read any of the scientific papers they “quote.” At most they seem only to have glanced at an abstract.


“3. Ignore the full context that specifically presents the reverse conclusion from the one you want to claim. Full context like this, from the actual Senate committee report (italics mine):”


This is rife in the anti-fluoride community. Take this paper they are currently quoting as “evidence” that fluoridation is not effective:

Majorana et al. BMC Pediatrics 2014. “Feeding and smoking habits as cumulative risk factors for early childhood caries in toddlers, after adjustment for several behavioral determinants: a retrospective study.”  BMC Pediatrics

The study did not even consider fluoridation and their notes on the apparent ineffectiveness of  prenatal fluoride supplementation using fluoride drops have been misrepresented. (See this outline by Andrew Sparrow for further details). 


“4. Use quotable sound bites so that the misleading information spreads to those eager to take it up and use it in similar ways. Like this. And this. And this.”


Be very wary when the word “Havard” is used – misleading information coming up! For example - claims like Harvard study shows “exposing youngsters to fluoride could lead to brain damage and reduced IQ.”  Or a Havard paper “looked at 27 studies on children exposed to fluoride in drinking water in China, which on average resulted in a loss of seven IQ points.”

For the story behind these “Harvard studies” have a look at  Quality and selection counts in fluoride research and Repeating bad science on fluoride.


“5. Periodically resurrect dead debates that you lostshined up to look new and scary for a new cohort of anxious folk and make claims of a coverup, despite the fact that the allegations you’re resurrecting have been addressed and debunked again and again.”


Rubber_DuckyBoy does that happen on the fluoride issue. Sceptics call these stories “rubber ducks” It doesn’t matter haw often these fallacious claims get knocked over they continue to resurface – very often used by the same people.

So much for integrity.


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Fluoridation and conspiracy theories Ken Perrott Jul 07

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I am not one to stereotype people and in my blog posts on the fluoridation controversy I have so far steered clear of the more whacky arguments that come up. After all, some of my friends oppose fluoridation and I would not want to attribute these whacky reasons to them. (Mind you – I have some suspicions).

But it seems that even in little old New Zealand some of the leaders and foremost spokespersons for the anti-fluoridation activists are presenting these whacky ideas. So we can’t really avoid them.

Hamilton oncologist Dr Anna Goodwin appeared for the anti-fluoridationists at the recent hearings held by the Hamilton City Council. She spoke for them at a recent Auckland meeting as one of the 3 “expert” dentists and doctors (although she claims only to have had her road to Damascus moment in the last few months). These people just love titles, don’t they.

This first quote from her is a blatant example of Godwin’s law (rather appropriately in this case Go(o)dwin’s law refers to the  inappropriate use of Nazi analogies in articles or speeches – common on the internet and usually claimed as a sign of desperation). In her submission to the Hamilton City Council hearings she claimed

“Perhaps most disturbing is that the first efforts to fluoridate drinking water were put forth by the Nazis in concentration camps. They observed a mental “numbing” effect on the prisoners that made them easier to control.”

And in a Waikato Times opinion piece welcoming the Council decision to stop fluoridation (see Council’s bold water decision welcomed) she followed this with:

“America’s obsession with fluoridation (and their fluoridation induced brain damage) might explain the US’s dubious political choices over the past 25 years and reckless spending.”

She is promoting the conspiracy theory that fluoride is purposely added to public water supplies to ensure a docile population! (And perhaps giving us a wee peak at her political or ideological stance).

Her conspiracy theories stretches to collusion of the NZ government with fertiliser companies to dispose of a dangerous waste by putting it in our water supplies. (See Cheese is chalk if fluoride is fluoride, press release by  fluoride Free Hamilton):

“I was shocked to learn that, in the absence of any human studies to prove its safety or efficacy, the fertilizer industry held hands with government agencies (in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand) and fluorosilicic acid was deemed an “acceptable and equivalent” fluoride source, decades ago, completely without any real evidence for this assertion.”

I don’t know how widespread these ideas are among the anti-fluoridation activists in New Zealand, but clearly they are not far from the surface with some of the leaders. Conspiracy theories seem to be alive and well in the anti-fluoridation campaign

But here’s an example of an extreme form of these anti-fluoridation conspiracy theories in the US – an interview by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. He discusses addition of  lithium and fluoride to water supplies. The dangers of immunizations are also discussed along with how these poisons are used by design to chemically lobotomize people.

via Neurosurgeon Uncovers Fluoride & Lithium Conspiracies Part 2 of 4 – YouTube.

And there is more rubbish where that came from.

See also:

Fluoridation
Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument.
Poisoning the well with a caricature of science
Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton citizens

Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation
Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral?
Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?
Tactics and common arguments of the anti-fluoridationists
Hamilton City Council reverses referendum fluoridation decision
Scientists, political activism and the scientific ethos

Your computer is the enemy! Ken Perrott Oct 14

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I know many of us feel this instinctively. But think about it. Have a look at your computer’s motherboard.

Another problem to obsess the conspiracy theorists?

From Pundit Kitchen.

via So That’s How Computers Work! – Pundit Kitchen.

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Lynch mob mentality Ken Perrott Jan 14

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We have seen a wave of anti-climate change hysteria in the last few months – coinciding with the stealing of emails from the East Anglia Climate Centre  and the UN Copenhagen Conference. Posts and comments on internet blogs and forums have been particularly extreme. And for many scientists, who usually don’t have to involve themselves in such irrational debates, the hostility, even hatred, towards scientists and scientific finding has been somewhat of a shock.

We are so used to debating, even emotionally debating, evidence – not personalities. But in this global debate personalities have been demonised and defamed. Mud is being thrown – and of course mud has the problem that it sometimes sticks. While most of this hysteria has been coming from the usual conspiracy theorists and conservative political activists many of the non-aligned public may be left with the feeling that there is something wrong in the scientific community. Or that scientific findings should not be easily accepted, perhaps they should even be rejected because they are scientific. Science itself is being demonised.

It’s an ongoing battle, I guess. These sorts of conflicts are inevitable and just have to be fought out.

Local conspiracy theorists

Our local conspiracy theorist, conservative Christian activist Ian Wishart, is again promoting personal attacks on a New Zealand scientist. In his article NZ scientist at centre of Pachauri allegations refuses to talk, Wishart, together with a UK conspiracy theorist group, EU Referendum, is accusing Andy Reisinger* of involvement in money laundering (see Pachauri: money laundering? Part II – by Richard…). Wisharts links with overseas conservative groups are enabling this story to be spread more widely. For example American Thinker (sic) and UD/RK Samhälls Debatt are  repeating it in their posts When it comes to the IPCC, follow the money – if you can and Climate Gate — All the manipulations and lies revealed 219 . (For some strange reason EU Referendum and UD/RK Samhälls Debatt attribute an Open Parachute post to Andy Reisinger – I would love to get hold of the emails between Ian Wishart and these groups).

This, of course, parallels the articles Ian Wishart ran last November/December attacking our scientists at NIWA. This started with his peddling of the discredited (see New Zealand’s denier-gate and New Zealand’s climate change deniers’ distortions exposed) report (Are we feeling warmer yet?) written by Richard Treadgold for local climate change denial groups. Overseas conservative blogs and newspapers repeated Wishart’s biased reporting, further demonising our local scientists. Despite the basic flaws in the report Wishart and local conservative bloggers persisted with their attacks and displayed some of the lynch mob mentality towards science and scientists locally. See for example:

I confess I now believe in manmade Global Warming; Three Questions for NIWA; Auckland Public Meeting: Climategate, NIWA and the ETS; NIWA, Climategate and Evasive Fallacious Answers; The NIWA Emails; NIWA ClimateGate link hits MSM in NZ [Update 3]; Climategate — How the scientific community is responding; Climate scientists caught lying; New Zealand not warming?; CLIMATEGATE — A better study than NIWA, by an 11 year old! and Kid and his dad: 1, Global Warming: 0.

Fighting back

Micheal Mann

There have been a number of good blog articles internationally putting the whole UK email issue into its correct perspective. I think this does demonstrate the importance of science blogging because only good science communicators can really do this job. Particularly as science journalism is a dying profession.

Its worth reading a couple of articles written by scientists who have been targets for the internet lynch mob. Micheal Mann, particularly vilified for his working on global temperature changes over time, was one of the email writers. His article Climate expert in the eye of an integrity storm from the Philadelphia Inquirer explains the phrases used in the emails and his opinion of the attack. And another email author Kevin Trenberth makes some brief comments in The truth about carbon dioxide, climate and the weather.

Kevin Trenberth

*By the way Andy Reisinger is a senior research fellow with the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. He has worked in climate change science and policy as a research scientist and senior policy adviser on climate change to the New Zealand government. From 2006 to 2008, he was responsible for managing the production of the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is author of  the book Climate Change 101 (see A good climate change book) and blogs at Sciblogs NZ (Degrees of Change).

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Beware the retired scientist? Ken Perrott Jan 07

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The Lippard Blog has an interesting analysis of Who are the climate change skeptics? In this he identifies links of many of the sceptics with several right wing think tanks like The Heartland Institute and George C. Marshal Institute. One could do a similar analysis of our local climate sceptics and deniers. Some of them seem to be linked with the right wing NZ Centre for Politcal Research, the ACT Party and Conservative Christian organisations and blogs. Have a look at the discussion New Zealand’s “CLIMATEGATE”! on the Centre for Political Research forum. Obviously conspiracy theorists tend to congregate in these areas.

Professional status of sceptics

But – enough of the political connections. What interested me about Lippard Blog’s analysis is the likely age and professional status of scientists who are climate sceptics compared with those working in climate science who are generally accepting of the IPCC conclusions. (He identifies the latter groups as the “IPCC scientists.”)

The analysis used data for 623 scientists involved in the Working Group 1 of the IPCC and for 469 scientists who were signatories of documents skeptical of anthropogenic global warming. The data included the number of citations for the 4th most cited paper for each scientist and the year their last degree was obtained. This gives us some idea of scientific standing, age and working/retired status.

I have plotted the data in the figure. Unsurprisingly the number of citations increased with time since last degree, or age. Scientific standing does increasing with time and experience (and numbers of publications).

But there is a huge difference between the two groups in the average date for last degree. I take from this that as a group climate sceptics tend be older and many more of them will actually be retired, compared with those who worked on the IPCC documents.

Retired scientists

I am retired myself so I have often thought of the role that many retired scientists still play in scientific and political issues.

Some scientists like to remain active in their field on retirement. Some will continue to work without payment or retain academic positions – often for no payment. Great for their institutes – although I did hear of one lab which had been trying to  diplomatically  tell a still active long-term retiree that his shaking hands and poor eyesight had become a safety issue in the laboratory!

It’s also quite common for scientists to do a bit of consulting in their retirement. It brings in a bit of money, maintains some standing in the scientific community and often, to be frank, appeals to the vanity and self worth of the scientist. After all, one of the few negative features of retirement is reduced social contact and standing.

Problems with consultants

I see a problem with assuming retired scientists are always reliable sources of information, though. After all, it’s harder to keep up with the literature and to be aware of current findings – especially if one is no longer based in a working scientific institute. There is no longer the advantage of, and necessity for, peer review of one’s publications and public statements. Mind you, commercial and political interests may be more interested in the name and degree, the authority of the scientist, than the facts.  Maybe a win-win situation for some. A presentation of an authoritative image by the retired scientist, without the need to maintain research and reading or bother about consulting colleagues. While the purchaser of the information gets a “tame’ expert with suitable endorsement of their product or political campaign.

Now I am not, by any means, claiming this is so in every case. Far from it. Simple retirement doesn’t necessarily lead to loss of integrity. Nor does institutional employment necessarily imply integrity. I have seen scoundrels in both situations.

However, the graph above does indicate that climate sceptics are more likely to be divorced from peer review, familiarity with the literature and current findings  and the discipline of consulting colleagues. And maybe they can be influenced by commercial interests, or even just the fact that in the current political climate large numbers of people are willing to see them as authorities and uncritically accept and parrot their articles and statements.

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’A plot to rule the world’ Ken Perrott Dec 26

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We should differentiate between those who are sceptical of current assessment in climate science and those who outright deny the science. There are sceptics and there are deniers.

It seems to me that a feature more or less common to deniers is conspiracy theory. This is probably inevitable. After all, if one is going to reject all the science and make charges of dishonesty against scientists, politicians and activists concerned about global warming you do need some sort of explanatory framework. It seems simpler to just put the whole thing down to a giant conspiracy, rather than bother dealing with the intricacies of the science, commerce and politics involved.

The global warming conspiracy theory

It’s always a give away to me when I hear questioners of climate science peddling myths about Al Gore, referring to people like him in derogatory tones, or supporting the arguments and promoting the videos put out by Lord Monckton – a well know conspiracy theorist. You have to be a denier to do this.

Here’s an extreme example of conspiracy theory being used to reject the findings of climate science. Produced by Jesse “The Body” Ventura who has been a special forces operative, motorcycle gang member, WWF wrestler and governor of Minnesota, and who now promotes himself as a seeker of the “truth” in a new TV show called Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

So have a look at the video of his programme on global warming (Conspiracy Theory Jesse Ventura – Global Warming). It’s good for a laugh.

The sad thing though is that even some of our local deniers of climate change basically repeat some of this garbage. They, sadly, seem to be motivated by conspiracy theory.

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51xjrvr4bM

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGfyFw5LI30

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5vdnc8Jhtc

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gauMgwxjA5c

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2RAP-v84yk

Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM11NhZRing

Thanks to Guardian article Climate change denial as done by a WWF wrestler … and June Sarpong

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The global warming conspiracy? Ken Perrott Dec 07

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The hacked emails from the East Anglia Climate Centre in the UK have not been a big issue in New Zealand. At least for most people and for most news media. There are, of course, ideological motivated people who wish to promote the issue as a scandal. Who wish to attack our current understanding of climate science and climate change. Or who just have an anti-science attitude in general and attack the integrity of scientists as part of their nature.

A few bloggers have tried to mobilise on this issue (see for example  NIWA, Climategate and Evasive Fallacious Answers, The scientific community and self-criticism, Climate scientists caught lying, Climategate — How the scientific community is responding, WarmingGate, New Zealand not warming? and I confess I now believe in manmade Global Warming). And, as Peter Griffin pointed out recently, ’The comment sections of some blogs have become particularly grubby places to congregate’ (see Climategate brought out the worst in us).

Even the ACT party is trying to get in on the act (Auckland Public Meeting: Climategate, NIWA and the ETS).

Of course, we have been preoccupied here with attacks on NIWA scientists by the ACT party, the Climate Science Coalition, the Climate Conversation Group, conspiracy theorist Ian Wishart, and climate change deniers in the blogosphere. Obviously taking advantage of the climate gate email scandal they made serious attacks on the integrity of these scientists. However, this has also more or less fizzled out as NIWA released information to show the attacks were false.

Conspiracy theories

Of course this doesn’t stop some people. These conspiracy theorists who are presented the emails as evidence of a global conspiracy. They got the bit between their teeth. Believed their own propaganda and started to assert that the Copenhagen meeting would be canceled. That this is the end of the global warming story! The gobal warming conspiracy!

This short video by potholer puts the whole email scandal into context.

It investigates the two most used examples of “fraud” from these emails – the ones talking about “using a trick to hide the decline” an it being a “travesty that we can’t explain the cooling.” The examples that the denier alarmists (conspiracy theorists) have been concentrating on. The ones that have them frothing at the mouth. Poholer pours the cold water of reality over them.

It’s worth watching.

YouTube – 6. Climate Change — Those hacked e-mails.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg

Thanks to Pharyngula: Febrile nitwits and the hacked climate change emails

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’Climategate’ — the smoking gun? Ken Perrott Nov 26

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Some of the more extreme climate change deniers, and others who have an anti-science agenda, continue to dredge through the domestic debris of the emails stolen by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia. Their conclusions are, of course, predictable.  Meanwhile, the balanced media summary oif this fiasco is probably well represented by George Monbiot in the Guardian: “The leaked exchanges are disturbing, but it would take a conspiracy of a very different order to justify sceptics’ claims.” (see Global warming rigged? Here’s the email I’d need to see ).

I particularly liked his depiction of the email that the climate change deniers and their allies would dearly love to find. It’s a great satire and portrays some of the silliest conspiracy theories promulgated by deniers.

From:

Sent: 29 October 2009

To: The Knights Carbonic

Gentlemen, the culmination of our great plan approaches fast. What the Master called “the ordering of men’s affairs by a transcendent world state, ordained by God and answerable to no man”, which we now know as Communist World Government, advances towards its climax at Copenhagen. For 185 years since the Master, known to the laity as Joseph Fourier, launched his scheme for world domination, the entire physical science community has been working towards this moment.

The early phases of the plan worked magnificently. First the Master’s initial thesis — that the release of infrared radiation is delayed by the atmosphere — had to be accepted by the scientific establishment. I will not bother you with details of the gold paid, the threats made and the blood spilt to achieve this end. But the result was the elimination of the naysayers and the disgrace or incarceration of the Master’s rivals. Within 35 years the 3rd Warden of the Grand Temple of the Knights Carbonic (our revered prophet John Tyndall) was able to “demonstrate” the Master’s thesis. Our control of physical science was by then so tight that no major objections were sustained.

More resistance was encountered (and swiftly dispatched) when we sought to install the 6th Warden (Svante Arrhenius) first as professor of physics at Stockholm University, then as rector. From this position he was able to project the Master’s second grand law — that the infrared radiation trapped in a planet’s atmosphere increases in line with the quantity of carbon dioxide the atmosphere contains. He and his followers (led by the Junior Warden Max Planck) were then able to adapt the entire canon of physical and chemical science to sustain the second law.

Then began the most hazardous task of all: our attempt to control the instrumental record. Securing the consent of the scientific establishment was a simple matter. But thermometers had by then become widely available, and amateur meteorologists were making their own readings. We needed to show a steady rise as industrialisation proceeded, but some of these unfortunates had other ideas. The global co-option of police and coroners required unprecedented resources, but so far we have been able to cover our tracks.

The over-enthusiasm of certain of the Knights Carbonic in 1998 was most regrettable. The high reading in that year has proved impossibly costly to sustain. Those of our enemies who have yet to be silenced maintain that the lower temperatures after that date provide evidence of global cooling, even though we have ensured that eight of the 10 warmest years since 1850 have occurred since 2001. From now on we will engineer a smoother progression.

Our co-option of the physical world has been just as successful. The thinning of the Arctic ice cap was a masterstroke. The ring of secret nuclear power stations around the Arctic circle, attached to giant immersion heaters, remains undetected, as do the space-based lasers dissolving the world’s glaciers.

Altering the migratory and reproductive patterns of the world’s wildlife has proved more challenging. Though we have now asserted control over the world’s biologists, there is no accounting for the unauthorised observations of farmers, gardeners, birdwatchers and other troublemakers. We have therefore been forced to drive migrating birds, fish and insects into higher latitudes, and to release several million tonnes of plant pheromones every year to accelerate flowering and fruiting. None of this is cheap, and ever more public money, secretly diverted from national accounts by compliant governments, is required to sustain it.

The co-operation of these governments requires unflagging effort. The capture of George W Bush, a late convert to the cause of Communist World Government, was made possible only by the threatened release of footage filmed by a knight at Yale, showing the future president engaged in coitus with a Ford Mustang. Most ostensibly capitalist governments remain apprised of where their real interests lie, though I note with disappointment that we have so far failed to eliminate Vaclav Klaus. Through the offices of compliant states, the Master’s third grand law has been established: world government will be established under the guise of controlling man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Keeping the scientific community in line remains a challenge. The national academies are becoming ever more querulous and greedy, and require higher pay-offs each year. The inexplicable events of the past month, in which the windows of all the leading scientific institutions were broken and a horse’s head turned up in James Hansen’s bed, appear to have staved off the immediate crisis, but for how much longer can we maintain the consensus? Knights Carbonic, now that the hour of our triumph is at hand, I urge you all to redouble your efforts. In the name of the Master, go forth and terrify.

Professor Ernst Kattweizel, University of Redcar. 21st Grand Warden of the Temple of the Knights Carbonic.

Monbiot concludes: “This is the kind of conspiracy the deniers need to reveal to show that man-made climate change is a con. The hacked emails are a hard knock, but the science of global warming withstands much more than that.”

What do you think? Is he being a bit harsh?

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