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The Guardian : Intellectually Bankrupt ?

I would like to bring before the court of public opinion some evidence that indicates that the leadership at The Guardian newspaper could be said to have become partially intellectually bankrupt.

Specimen A

Simon Hoggart pronounces on Climate Change Science despite not knowing a thing about it. I do not understand how this piece of writing was published, as it contains a number of inaccuracies.

“Is climate change the new faith? : Fanatics must stop playing fast and loose with global warming data : Simon Hoggart : The Guardian, Saturday 6 February 2010 : As a climate change agnostic – and I suspect most of us are, especially now, and more especially after the Guardian series this week – I’ve been bothered by two aspects of the argument. The first is the religious overtone. Humankind has always wanted to blame its own behaviour for natural events, whether Noah’s flood, plagues of frogs, or volcanos which demonstrate that the gods are angry. Three years ago a British bishop announced that gay marriage had caused our floods. I’ve often wondered whether global warming is another example of this, an irrational belief designed for a rationalist world. And there is an element of religious faith in the true believers. Those who disagree are “deniers”, with its echo of fanatics who don’t believe in the Holocaust. Years ago I saw a sceptic howled down at a British Association meeting; scientists shouldn’t behave like that. If people disagree with you they might not be morally wrong, or agents of Satan. (Or big oil, as the believers often claim.) This ties in with my second worry. Clearly many believers have played fast and loose with the data: since what they believe is true beyond doubt, they have a right – no, a moral duty – to suppress any evidence that might contradict them. Years ago I cowrote a book, Bizarre Beliefs, about various crazy things people believe in, such as astrology, the Bermuda Triangle and spiritualism. Most of them generated vast amounts of data from which believers simply cherry-picked whatever suited their case. The world’s climate produces millions upon millions of facts and figures, and it’s very easy to select the ones that suit you and ignore all the rest. Of course I don’t know who’s right. But I’m not surprised to see the true believers struggling.”

How could anybody claim to be a “climate change agnostic” ? Climate Change Science is not something you need to have a kind of blind faith in. Debates are going on all the time within the Climate Change Science community about how to test theories and interpret data. However, if you care to look at the facts, you could not remain on the fence. That you have not looked at the facts makes your statements invalid.

Excuse me ? What “religious overtone” ? When Climate Change Scientists try to put together a Media briefing, since most of the journalists have no idea what the Scientific evidence means, the Scientists try to explain things in ways that the journalists could possibly understand – rivers drying out, rains failing, extreme weather. This isn’t Moses prophesying plagues, this is trying to use ordinary language to explain potential change. Attempting to use descriptive means to interpret the data. Climate Change Scientists are not “fanatics”, they don’t hold “irrational beliefs”. Of course you “don’t know who’s right”, Simon, you say you haven’t a clue, so stop thinking you have the right to comment. I would suggest you get a proper Climate Change Science education before making judgements that appear to be ridiculous !

Nobody’s “played fast and loose with the data” – that’s just totally incorrect. If you want to see who the real “cherry pickers” are, go read the Climate Change Denier-Sceptics.

Sceptics are people who are genuinely not sure. Deniers are people who attack the Climate Change Science with a well-known set of fallacious arguments. You need to learn the difference. You need to know how deep the deniers will dig for even an iota of muck to rub in the faces of those who are valiantly trying to do their jobs and promote the truth.

Climate Change poses huge risks that can be estimated in terms of large numbers. This is not a trifling problem, and the Science that recounts the emerging data encompasses a raft of disciplines.

The “true believers” aren’t “struggling”. They just realise there’s no point in trying to come back at those who are wasting their time with endless, pointless non-arguments.

Specimen B

The Guardian editorial team appear to be dancing to the Climate Change Sceptic tune – falling right into their meaningless narrative and dubious agenda. Phil Jones’ e-mails do not indicate failure to comply with Freedom of Information Requests. Phil Jones’ work is important, but his e-mails are not. How the Guardian top ranks seem to have had their heads completely spun by this Climategate nonsense !

You would have thought that the last 200 years of Science has been proved unfounded. When you’ve finished showing that Geology is wrong, Chemistry is wrong, The Laws of Physics are wrong, then you might have a case. Until then, it’s all spin from the Climate Science Obstructers. Nothing’s changed since November. The world is still warming, on average, and faster than it did 30 years ago. It’s still humans that are to blame and it’s still the job of the governments to regulate Carbon Energy out of the economies without leaving us all poor, cold, hungry and unemployed.

“Global warming: Undeniable evidence : Editorial : The Guardian, Monday 1 February 2010 : The unwillingness of scientists at the University of East Anglia to release climate data to people who choose not to believe in climate change was a mistake. Science advances through openness, through the ability of others to replicate the same findings or demonstrate error in discovery and interpretation. Reluctance to disclose – revealed last week in the wake of the release of private email exchanges between climate researchers – invites suspicion. The hacked email exchanges were an embarrassment, and the refusal to disclose data was a bad call, but neither episode casts much doubt upon the science of global warming…There is plenty of room for argument about the rate at which the world is warming, the degree to which humans are culpable, the likely outcomes and the most effective steps to be taken…”

The Guardian editorial team have been completely sucked in by the agenda of the Climate Science Obstructers, those who seek to pervert the course of Climate Change Science. The CRU at the UEA was subject to an unreasonable level of harrassment by Freedom of Information requests, and they were not given the means to deal with this as effectively as George Monbiot thinks they should have done. That’s not saying that the research teams were not prepared to be “open”. Here’s what the CRU at the UEA say to the accusation that the research teams were not “open” :-

There’s not “plenty of room for argument about the rate at which the world is warming”. For somebody to make that statement means they don’t know what they’re talking about. There is plenty of data that shows a narrow band of values for Global Warming. It really is getting hotter, and it really is a problem.

And as for “the degree to which humans are culpable”, this has been well established as being closely correlated in a causal fashion with accumulation of Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere, which can only be explained by net emissions from mankind’s activities. All other proposals for mechanisms have been ruled out. “What about water vapour ?” I hear you ask. Well, water vapour concentrations in the atmosphere and the change of water vapour at different levels of the atmosphere are feedbacks from Global Warming on the Earth system as a whole.

I don’t know why The Guardian wants to appear to be somehow treading a middle ground between conflicting social perceptions of the Science.

The Guardian’s responsibility is to relay the truth, not suggest compromises, particularly if they don’t have any scientists on their reporting team.

What can the editorial team at The Guardian possibly know about Climate Change Science, if they don’t even know enough to make accurate statements ?

2 replies on “The Guardian : Intellectually Bankrupt ?”

[ COMMENT FROM JOABBESS.COM : Here at The Abbey, we can’t help chipping in to add that, we hope you don’t mind, but we’ve been praying for your good health and joyful mental well-being. Have a happier day. ]


I’ve read you blog from time to time and have a bit of a soft spot for you even though I don’t agree with much that you write. You’re well-intentioned and you write quite well for someone with a science degree.

However, something has been bothering me about you and I think I know what it is: you’re a left-wing fascist (as most fascists are: take a look at the BNP’s manifesto or Hitler’s for that matter). I suspect that will make you recoil in horror but it’s true. You believe you have the monopoly on the truth and you don’t think anyone else should be allowed to voice an opinion unless a/ they’re a scientist b/ they see the world the same way you do. You’re a climate change dictator, if you like.

It’s never very nice to be so c*ck-sure of yourself and your beliefs, especially over something as chaotic as climate change. The intelligent position to adopt is that of agnostic. You can’t prove that agw is happening – no you can’t. All you can do is point to hotly-disputed data and dodgy computer models. No one can prove that agw is not happening either. I was about to say it’s a bit like God but then, from a scientific point of view, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is a God and not even any hard historical evidence that Jesus existed so I suppose that comparison is inaccurate.

Although agw does not even have enough evidence to shift it from hypotheses to theory, there is still much more evidence for agw than there is for God or Jesus. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that and why some people are much more willing to believe in some things than others in the absense of hard evidence.

Simon Hoggart is an eejit; a kind of comedian who has never been worth reading unless you crave a jaded cynical view of uk politics.
As for the rest of the Guardian, i would hesitate before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. With the Indy’s position allegedly under threat, there isn’t an alternative mainstream news source. Personally I believe the Grauniad’s been doing a good job, if not the best of the dailys.

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