How to be a denier: lesson #1 (shrivel and die)

By Gareth Renowden 17/11/2010

One of Hot Topic’s favourite sceptics is NZ C”S”C member Roger Dewhurst, best known for turning up from time to time to unload links to the denier meme du jour (and for his carefully cultivated grumpy old man persona). Yesterday morning he sent me a link to this “interesting” document prepared by Dr David Evans, one of Australia’s more active cranks (he’s Joanne Codling aka Nova‘s partner, for a start). Evans’ latest assault on reason is a series of papers asking Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? His answer’s easy to guess…

Let’s ignore the main paper (it’s nonsense) and examine Evan’s promotion of his conclusion. In an email to a climate sceptic list he wrote:

The climate corruption paper is finally finished:

It’s simple and pictorial, with a minimum of words, perfect for lay
people. It answers the usual objections of warmists, and focuses on the
corrupt behavior of the climate establishment.

Actually it makes heavy use of pictures of US weather stations culled from Anthony Watts “Surface Stations” project, and pretends that they prove the temperature record’s being fiddled. It isn’t, of course, and Watt’s own data proves it (pdf).

A “breakthrough”, says Ray Evans of Australia’s Lavoisier society.
Christopher Monckton: “trenchant paper saying exactly what needed to be
said about the corruption of the scientific process”.

Trenchant? More of a trencher, I’d say…

If this material gets widely distributed, support for man-made global
warming would shrivel and die within a year because no one will trust
the climate “scientists”.

Now there’s a hostage to fortune. Within a year, eh? But Evans has the perfect get out of jail clause — his paper will not (conceivably under any circumstances) have been widely enough distributed to have had its full effect. I am therefore pleased to aid his cause, because, well, it would be great if global warming would shrivel and die. Nobody would want to “support” that, would they?

There is also a “what you can do”, instigating an email campaign, at

If you like it, please spread it around.

And Dewhurst duly did his bidding. Now we’re getting to the crux of the matter — Evans wants the world to send his falsehoods to politicians. The NZ C”S”C offer more from the author explaining his motivation for publishing this magnum opus.

To win the political aspect of the climate debate, we have to lower the western climate establishment’s credibility with the lay person. And this paper shows how you do it. It simply assembles the most easily understood points that show they are not to be entirely trusted, with lots of pictures and a minimum of text and details. It omits lots of relevant facts and is excruciatingly economical with words simply because the lay person has a very short attention span for climate arguments.

The strategy of the paper is to undermine the credibility of the establishment climate scientists. That’s all. There is nothing special science-wise, and there is nothing in it that most skeptics haven’t heard before. It’s aimed squarely at lay people, and answers the usual objections they have to listening to us or believing us.

In other words, it’s a straightforward smear campaign. No science involved. No reasoned argument. Pure, unadulterated PR, with lots of willing little Dewhursts out there to spread the message. One year on from the release of emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, it seems that the stooges of inaction are not afraid of revealing their true face.

Politics is everything. The truth is worth nothing to the ideologues of denial. I hope the ghost of disasters yet to come haunts them all this Christmas.