The silliness of a self-proclaimed ’investigative journalist’

By Ken Perrott 15/04/2012 8


Just imagine it. You call on your car mechanic when you have a serious health problem. Or ask your oncologist to service your car.

Who would be so stupid?

Ian Wishart‘s "investigative journalism"

Well its amazing the lengths some people go to when they are in denial. New Zealand’s self-described leading “investigative journalist,” Ian Wishart, seems to be advocating doing just that with his article NASA rocked by climate change revolt.

NASA rocked by a revolt – my arse!

Ian is referring to the latest little “scandal” occupying the climate denial echo chamber. The letter from 49 retired or former NASA engineers and astronauts asking NASA to refrain from making statements on the findings of their climate scientists.  Skeptical Science points out that the 49 signatories  “include 23 administrators, 8 astronauts, 7 engineers, 5 technicians, and 4 scientists/mathematicians of one sort or another (none of those sorts having the slightest relation to climate science).”

So these guys want the public statements of NASA on climate science to be determined by anyone but the climate scientists! And local climate change deniers are delusional, (or dishonest) enough to describe these signatories as “specialists with intimate knowledge of the nature of atmosphere and space. “

This letters supported by lists of inappropriate non-experts on the subject are a common tactic of climate (evolutionary science, tobacco harm, etc.) deniers. They are not news. And Wishart’s promotion of this one just shows the pathetic levels of his “investigation” skills.

I like this comment made at Think Progress post about this “news:” – NASA Climate ‘Skeptics’ Respond With Science! Just Kidding:

Let’s put the astronauts in this group in a press conference and ask for volunteers from among them to serve as crew members on the maiden flight to Mars onboard a spacecraft designed, engineered, and built by 49 climate scientists.”

Make that retired climate scientists! And perhaps throw in a few self-described “investigative journalists.”

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8 Responses to “The silliness of a self-proclaimed ’investigative journalist’”

  • Never let the facts get in the way of sensationalism. I was intrigued (…) by the accompanying photo; the Feb 21012-isse has a photo of Kim Kardashian on the front cover so for a minute I thought this magazine (Investigate Hers; what a gobsmacking title for an investigative journal) was in the same league as other literary giants such as FHM. I also wondered what the nuclear physicists at CERN have to say about climate change. On a serious note though, non-experts can and do make useful contributions to scientific debates so we should not write them off by default; to quote Richard Feynman “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

  • Ken, I’m having double vision.

    No, I am not suggesting anything of the kind but the one thing I tend to agree with is that the science has not been settled. I love the reference to the former astronauts as “American heroes” and also the salutation “Dear Charlie”. One of the main drivers behind the letter was the organisation (?) “Plants Need CO2. Carbon Dioxide Is Green”; extending their logic ad absurdum: “Cows Need Grass. Grass Is Green. Cows Need CO2” and the cycle is complete. The letter itself did not contribute one piece to the scientific debate and most likely resulted in creating more confusion and doubts among people. The letter’s aim was to stir emotions and not to present or discuss any specific scientific facts. Ian Wishart is a stirrer of the third kind as far as I know.

    • No Fred, science is never settled. And in this area the IPCC has been careful and moderate in its statements.

      While the evidence for global warming is so strong most of us will accept it as fact. However, all they say about human causes is that these are most likely. Not settled.

      Settled is a word the deniers use in their propaganda.

  • Ken, I’m back to single vision, thank you.

    I agree that “science is never settled”, which is the one paradox that is hard to explain to non-scientists. Feynman again (this’ll be my last one for today) once said The paradox is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality ought to be. When I have some time on my hands I will watch his 4 Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures of 1979 (http://www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8); should be more worthwhile than reading Investigate Hers by Ian Wishart.

  • Ian Wishart is also an avid anti-vaxxer and pro-creationist. I have no respect for anything he says.

  • Simon,

    He hasn’t endeared himself to me – not so much by misrepresenting me on his blog (to my reading, a classic case of a creation trying to read additional meanings into things) but by after days of trying to get him to correct his error adding a weasel-worded phrasing to his post try have it both ways, rather than putting his error right as decent blogs do (and as I would expect of a professional journalist).