Prat Watch #3: through the looking glass

Sunday morning laughs: over at his Climate Conversation Club, Richard “no warming in NZ” Treadgold fulminates about about the contents1 of a stolen email:

Appalling. It’s a free world, so even the “leaders” in climatology are entitled to express the opinion they like. But I draw attention to those who willingly follow these atrocious examples. Such people sabotage science, ransack reason and in the end destroy democracy. Though they imagine they do these things entirely for our own good, they must feel the heat of public opprobrium before they destroy us.

Change one word in that elegant little diatribe, and I would agree one hundred percent. The word? Climatology. Strike that through, and replace it with your word of choice for those would try to persuade us to do nothing.

It really is a looking-glass world on “the other side”: a world where the direction we know as up is called down, black appears to be white, and the laws of physics are puzzling Alice2.

  1. Interestingly, his horror is at the mundane reality of an author promising to put together a first draft of a summary for policymakers, which before publication will go through numerous drafts and which will be fought over line by line by the representatives of every government participating in the IPCC process, before being explicitly approved by them all. []
  2. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. Source. []

3 thoughts on “Prat Watch #3: through the looking glass”

  1. Gee, large scale projection from a Denier! Who’dathunkit?

    Oh dear, he’s on about nailing ‘these truths’ on the Cathedral doors, too. Such humility: the Galileo Movement beckons! Ah, that’s in response to dear old Australis, who’s spinning a highly entertaining conspiracy theory about the IPCC, don’tchaknow? Do they keep all the scientists in some sort of UN Guantanamo-style lockdown, Aus, do you suppose, while the sinister ‘activists’ and ‘careerists’ from the Environment ministries spin their material to suit? Ever known any advisers, BTW?

    I confess I’m still somewhat at a loss to see what’s so sinister about –

    The key to success for the Synthesis Report and the SPM will be punchy take home messages, and thoughtful tables and figures.

    Seriously. How could the world be otherwise?

  2. The allusion to Humpty Dumpty Is certainly apt. Just prior to his discourse on language and “subjective nominalism”, Humpty when discussing the number of “un-birthdays” one has, looks doubtful and says “I’d rather see that done on paper” ie a logical truth seems to escape him.
    As for his view on language, Humpty’s position is rather telling. There has always been a conflict between those who believe that the meanings of words are rooted in the nature of things, and those who those who see them as the product of human choice and convention. Humpty is clearly a conventionalist, and furthermore a nominalist, since he clearly believes that it is words, and not things, that posses meaning. Unfortunately he also claims that words mean just what he chooses them to mean. He is the master – they the servants! Wittgenstein argued strongly against this view – the extreme forms of which would be manifestly fatal to any form of verbal communication.
    Immediately following this discourse, “Alice was too much puzzled to say anything. So after a minute Humpty began again……..Impenetrability! That’s what I say!” This is a reference to Locke’s term “solidity” – the alleged simple idea most characteristic of “matter”. Were R’T’ to hold a similar world view as Humpty on this as well (and I suspect he might) it would explain a great deal.
    Common sense thinks of the world as composed of “things”, which persist in time and move through space, Philosophy and physics developed the notion of “thing” into that of “material substance”, and thought of material substance of consisting of particles, each very small, and each persistent throughout all time. However modern physics, following Einstein, does not have this world view at all! Space-time replaces space and time and from Quantum Mechanics it follows that “events” not particles, must be the stuff of physics. Thus “matter” is not part of the ultimate material of the world, but merely a convenient way of collecting events into bundles.
    The antiquated world view of Humpty would explain R’T’s inability to accept the proven science that the world is heating, for he has no conception of Quantum Mechanics – and says “the science is not settled”. Were he to have an understanding of the physics, he would readily see that following the massive increase in greenhouse gasses over the past Century there must inevitably be a corresponding warming of the planet! Were he still to maintain, that despite this obvious conclusion, Global Temperatures were not increasing (contrary to all observations) then he would have to explain where all that extra heat was going, and that he fails to do.
    One can only conclude that R’T’ holds a world view similar to that of Humpty Dumpty, and “impenetrability” is the key word.

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