… is sauce for the ganderRichard Treadgold | May 8, 2012
What an amazing experiment.
But the alarmists don’t like this. No, they don’t like this at all. Well, many sceptics don’t like it either — it’s the raw, bleeding, white-knuckled edge of hostility. It simply points out what is true: that some loathsome people believe in dangerous man-made global warming. But it sets an objectionable context and tars its opponents with a distastefully black brush.
Of course, it just turns the warmists’ own arguments back on them. They started it, and they’ve been at it for years. The sceptics have been immensely patient. The warmists are the ones with the shredded moral fibre.
For a sample of their complaints about this detestable sceptical tactic, a reader referred me to Stephan Lewandowsky’s article Are Heartland billboards the beginning of the end for climate denial? at The Conversation, where he opens with:
The inversion of reality and morality has been a long-standing attribute of the climate “debate,” which reached a new watershed low a few days ago with the latest travesty from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago “think” tank.
Heartland posted on its website that “the people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
I got the impression, reading how Stephan Lewandowsky is an Australian Professorial Fellow, Cognitive Science Laboratories at University of Western Australia, that he’s a scientist of some kind and sober and thoughtful. We’re told:
“Stephan Lewandowsky receives funding from public organizations (primarily the Australian Research Council) to conduct research in the public interest.”
But his approach to this topic is way outside academic standards. A selection of comments from the article reveals what seems a deep bitterness, an acrimonious hatred of opponents (at least on this topic) surely too ingrained to be assuaged by any therapy.
They include: this inverted universe; the chimerical construction of an ideologically-driven topsy-turvy reality; hallucination; Heartland … are also long-standing champions of the tobacco industry; robustly sociopathic fringe groups that believe, among other psychological nuggets, that Prince Phillip runs the world’s drug trade and is culling us for mass slaughter; Western history’s only precedent for such confluence between vested interests, extremist ideology, and outright abdication of reality is the Weimar Republic of the 1920s and 1930s; scurrilous accusations against actual scientists; climate denial will take ever more scurrilous forms; close to insane as well as depraved.
… the tobacco tank refused to apologise, and its website is still referring to those who accept the geophysical reality of the planet as “murderers, tyrants, and madmen”.
But only because the earlier statement is still there — here, Lewandowsky is simply deceitful.
In his press releases, Jo Bast makes a determined case for the controversial billboard and for climate scepticism and I find it easy to agree with him.
“This provocative billboard was always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention.
“This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message. We found it interesting that the ad seemed to evoke reactions more passionate than when leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence. We leave it to others to determine why that is so.”
Then, without self-pity, he curtly elaborates the crimes of the warmists.
“Heartland has spent millions of dollars contributing to the real debate over climate change, and $200 for a one-day digital billboard. In return, we’ve been subjected to the most uncivil name-calling and disparagement you can possibly imagine from climate alarmists. The other side of the climate debate seems to be playing by different rules. This experiment produced further proof of that.
“We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment. We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.”
A poll at Watts Up With That indicates that about three out of every four of their visitors (i.e., mostly AGW agnostics) think that Heartland has made a mistake in running the ads, because it has surrendered the moral highground that it had occupied before.
The trouble is, the moral high ground may well have made you feel good, but in 10 years it hasn’t attracted any press attention. The Heartland’s single provocative advert must have generated over a million dollars worth of commentary in the mainstream media. That the commentary is uniformly hostile makes the very point that Heartland wanted to make.
Of course, the warmists early on coined the term “deniers”, associated sceptics with “death trains”, accused them of genocide, threatened them with “war crimes tribunals” and produced a video showing even children being blown to pieces if they doubted dangerous man-made climate change.
How does it feel now, huh? How does it feel to be called nasty names, be accused of horrible crimes, feel the lash of public mockery?
Do they like it? They don’t like it. Serves them right.
That doesn’t settle the arguments, but perhaps it’ll make the warmists pull their heads in a bit, be less hostile; I’m sick to death of being called a denier. Perhaps it’ll settle the agitation so we can get on with the arguments in a better climate.
Perhaps. I hope so. I don’t want us to lose sight of the big picture: save humanity from the save-the-earth rot.
But what a stupid, brave, heart-warming experiment.