Monday, December 07, 2009

The Inconvenient Truths About “An Inconvenient Truth”

Hearty congratulations and support from Clameur de Haro to Deputy Phil Rondel, who in the States last Tuesday warned the increasingly supine Minister for Education Sport & Culture, James Reed, that “An Inconvenient Truth”, that provenly inaccurate, meretricious farrago of cod science produced by that execrable peddler of false green eco-wackery propaganda Al Gore, should not be shown in Jersey schools.
Mr Rondel’s reported comment about the judicial objections to its showing in UK schools, while correct, doesn’t go halfway towards describing the full extent of the criticism heaped on it from the Bench.
In 2007, Mr Justice Burton, sitting in the Administrative Division of the High Court, ruled that showing the film, without both correction of its errors and presentation of the alternative hypothesis, breached the 1996 Education Act and constituted political indoctrination. Not only did nine inaccuracies specifically have to be drawn to the attention of school audiences, but more importantly, not all of the film’s inaccuracies were considered, as Burton J requested only a sample for the purposes of considering the case.
Clameur de Haro’s readers can see here the summary of the judgement, and the links to the ancillary submissions. They really should be read, in full, to derive a complete picture of the extent of the errors and fallacies peddled as incontrovertible truth.
Since that time, even more, and serious, flaws, both scientific and in biased selectivity of data, have come to light. To recount just a few -
Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” temperature graph, on which Gore relied so much, was confirmed and subsequently accepted even by the IPCC as being a fraud: firstly omitting, then dramatically under-representing the Mediaeval Warming Period, and secondly being based on a computer algorithm which generated the desired headline-grabbing hockey stick result no matter what data was fed into the algorithm.
In claiming far more frequent use of the Thames Flood Barrier and increased flooding on the East Coast of England (due, naturally, to global warming [sic]), Gore presented flood instance statistics going back to 1930. Highly selective, and suspiciously so – had he gone back just two years earlier, to 1928, he would have had to include the worst Thames flood on record, which occurred during a period of cooling temperatures, and he neglected to mention that the East Coast of England has been geologically sinking at the rate of several inches a year, both from general slow subsidence and the extraction of water from naturally-formed underground reservoirs.
His apocalyptic predictions for the melting of the entire Antarctic ice sheet turned out to have been predicated only on data for the c.7% of the entire Antarctic land mass constituted by the Antarctic Peninsula, but which Gore then extrapolated to apply to the whole. The Antarctic Peninsula is now considered to merit a different climate classification from the rest of the continent under the Köppen climate classification system, due to the influence which the Antarctic Circumpolar Current has on it, while the main ice sheet of the entire Antarctic Continent, accounting for something in excess of 80% of all the world’s ice, is both thickening and cooling.
The best summary of all the main scientific errors and all the flawed conclusions can be found in this paper, entitled “35 Inconvenient Truths – The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie” prepared for the Science and Public Policy Institute. It too should also be read, in full, by anyone with even the remotest connection to the possibility that Gore’s discredited fallacy-fest should be foisted on to impressionable young minds as though it was established and undisputed fact, and without any qualification.
According to the Jersey Evening [sic] Post’s report, Mr Reed responded with nothing more than a typically weasel-worded reply to the effect that he would pass on Mr Rondel’s concerns to his department.
That is just not good enough. Mr Reed is, whether he likes it or not, the repository of both a statutory duty and a moral responsibility to deliver an education system to the Island’s children free from the blatantly biased and inaccurate propaganda of the type of which Gore’s film is such a baleful example. And with the scandal of Climategate and the revelations of data manipulation and concealment in the Climate Research Unit currently breaking all around us (has he not heard of this?), for him not to undertake to give it his urgent personal attention and ensure that the film is not shown in schools without further reference back, is little short of a grave dereliction of duty.
At one time Clameur de Haro was disposed to think quite favourably of Mr Reed, but no more. Recent events, in particular his reactions to the suspensions/discipline issue, his denial of falling primary school standards, and his falling in with the majority criminality-excusing view on the withdrawal of anonymity from young violent offenders, give the distinct impression of a minister who has gone native and become house-trained, and a minister who has quite visibly been captured by the triumvirate of producer interests which dominate the education industry – his department’s civil servants, the teaching unions, and the fashionable educational theorists - so his reaction is, regrettably, not surprising. He is beginning to look ineffective, and out of his depth.
So – once again – plaudits to Deputy Rondel for raising this issue: Clameur de Haro pleads with him not to let the matter rest.
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1 comment:

Nick Palmer said...

There's so much that is simply wrong in this post that I just wonder why you keep on posting this stuff.

You link to Monckton's ludicrous "paper" entitled “35 Inconvenient Truths – The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie”

Do you not know how much credibility Monckton has? Answer - less than zero and yet this stupid, ignorant, cherry-picking piece of rhetoric, masquerading as science, has got countless hits amongst the denialosphere. As you know, it was done for the Science and Public Policy Institute which should really be renamed the "We'll distort, misrepresent and partially quote from science to manipulate public policy to achieve our evil ends Institute".

As you also know, the denialosphere goes into ecstacies when cranks tell them that global warming stopped in 1998. Laughably, Monckton shoots those who would be his mindless followers in their collective feet at "error" 9 where his propaganda technique slips up badly by pointing out (in a post about coral bleaching) that there was an exceptional El Nino (ENSO) in 1998. By leaping on the coral bleaching "error" too quickly, he appeared to forget that deniers also use that same El Nino to claim that the globe has been cooling since 1998 (by cherry-picking the start points of their graph of recent temperatures)- what a bunch of maroons!

Apart from anything else, this paper is riddled with logical errors, mistaken inferences etc. etc. that exceed Gore's minor errors by orders of magnitude. His claims are also massively out of date. Oddly enough, Gore's 9 "errors" have come much closer
to being not errors at all but just about accurate as new observations have come in and the science has moved on from 2006.

Another thing is that AIT was a FILM, fer chrissakes - it was not ever supposed to be a bulletproof scientific piece - if so, it would have had to be hundreds of hours long.

Monckton's astonishingly stupid arguing tactic is like the person who can only see the mole on Cindy Crawford's face and shouts out to the world - "look everybody, this woman is ugly and lumpen and all those experts who say she is an exceptionally beautiful woman are just trying to pull off a gigantic hoax! Look at that lump - it's staring you in the face"

Most of Monckton's arguments are rather like that and yet peoples' ability to live in denial of reality has become so extreme in recent years that many lost souls think he is some sort of icon of rational debate.