Monckton’s Gish Gallop Over Richard Dennis

I don’t want to waste much of my time and I shouldn’t need to; for most reasonable people now understand that Chris Monckton is perpetually wrong when attempting to reflect the science of climate.

That said, yesterday, Mike [WtD] forwarded to me the below debate between Chris and Dr Richard Dennis.

Firstly, it is good to see that this was addressed appropriately by both men. It was not a scientific debate at all. As Steven Lewandowsky rightly states,

“A demand to be taken seriously remains farcical unless accompanied by credible contributions to scientific debate.

“Climate deniers, such as Mr Monckton, have not made a credible contribution to scientific debate.”

In the presentation, both men obsess over consensus. Monckton again employed the “orthodoxy” angle. Yet, it’s nothing like the, “heavier than air flight is impossible” of yesteryears boffins as that idea was largely untested.

The Anthropogenic Climate Change [ACC] theory is the result of over a century of investigation, many thousands of research hours and countless data collection, validation and analysis. Every thought up question has been asked [ie. ‘is it the sun?’, ‘is it other gases?’, ‘is it cosmic rays?’ etc] and been rejected, except for ACC – leaving us with a treasure trove of independent sources of evidence all pointing to the very high likelihood of ACC.

Monckton even brings up that it only takes one study to undo this theory, yet he completely ignores the fact that the chances of this occurring today is exceedingly slim as so many avenues have been explored as discussed above. It’s unreasonable doubt in light of the wealth of evidence that supports the theory. Furthermore, as Dr Nurse puts it,

“Consensus can be used like a dirty word. Consensus is actually the position of the experts at the time and if it’s working well – it doesn’t always work well – but if it’s working well, they evaluate the evidence. You make your reputation in science by actually overturning that, so there’s a lot of pressure to do it. But if over the years the consensus doesn’t move you have to wonder is the argument, is the evidence against the consensus good enough.”

(Another point would be that Chris claims to be an expert on climate sensitivity, yet has on numerous occasions claimed climate sensitivity different values and confused forcing for sensitivity. Apparently Monckton doesn’t even have a consensus with Monckton – more here [h/t Rob H])

As was the case in the interview with Adam Spencer, Chris again alluded to a criminal case concerning a climate scientist corrupting their data-set. It seems, although he refuses to name the scientist involved, that he is referring to the endless pursuit on Mann. As with the investigations into the larger “Climategate” nonsense itself, it seems that it doesn’t matter how often nothing is found to be malicious or devious in the scientific activity, these people must be guilty, or as Tim Minchin puts it,

“Science adjust its views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.”

Even if, in the very unlikely event Mann was found guilty, that does little to undermine the wealth of mutually supportive evidence which this one scientist had no involvement in collecting! It doesn’t undermine the science of ACC.

Climate is chaotic. Yeah, but so is weather and we’re not too bad at predicting the short term trends with that. Likewise, on a climate timescale and coarseness, we’re getting better and better at predicting climate. Of course this relies on many unknowns (including GHG concentrations, solar activity etc), so you need to work within ranges of confidence, which is done and clearly demonstrated in the literature.

If a methodology proved to be rubbish, either it would be improved upon or scrapped. You wouldn’t continue to use the same predictive methods if they are proving completely useless, would you? If anything, the prevailing models seem to be too conservative.

Chris; show me the evidence that models have been and continue to be utterly wrong. It’s simply not enough to be bombastic in your approach and to hurl Latin – you need hard evidence to back up your claims; something that time and time again, you’re proven to be wrong about (such as…)

He makes the claim that the observed warming is only around 1oC for a doubling of CO2 so far. Yet, over the industrial era, we’ve had only about a third increase of CO2, not a doubling and more than half of that has occurred within the last 30yrs (not linear, not doubling) [h/t Rob H for the heads up]! If we wanted to use such simplistic an approach, this would mean that we’re on par for the 3oC of warming – but of course, it’s not that simple, hence why this isn’t a scientifically peer-reviewed report and unlike Chris, I’m not trying to suggest that this flimsy methodology proves/disproves the available scientific literature on the subject; only that he doesn’t get the literature at all.

He mentions Idso’s list of a thousand scientists which Prof. Abraham has already shown to be nonsense.

He makes the argument that Australia is too small to make a difference, which I’ve discussed already and in my previous post, I’ve also stated, many countries have already begun the transition – we’re silly not to invest in what is going to be the future backbone to human activity.

He argues that economists are unanimous on doing nothing to tackle climate change, yet Stern’s books and reports beg to differ as does a recent survey.

He states that he has lectured at a faculty level and written in reviewed literature, yet he fails to mention on what topic (hell, he could have lectured on theology – I won’t listen to him on scientific matters) nor if as an academic or paid by industry in a rented university venue (as was the case in the University of Notre Dame to give the Hancock Free Enterprise Lecture).

It’s also well known that he has written nothing that has been peer-reviewed in a scientific journal (2mins into the following video) and what has been reviewed by scientists, such as his report to the US congress and his lectures (most notably the review by Prof. Abraham) has been shown to be riddled with errors.

Lastly, his plea to the reporters was incredible!

Of course many Australian’s are scared when you have hypocrites like Tony Abbott screaming that industry will collapse and we’re all about to be hit by a big fat tax (contrary to the evidence) and crackpots like Chris screaming cold-war propaganda about hidden green-communists and that mining jobs will be lost (over a $2 per ton of coal tax on an industry that has nearly doubled its per unit value in recent years) running around the country out to inspire such emotions.

On that, it’s also noteworthy that a man quick to apply Godwin’s law at any social gathering is also the same character who, hypocritically, uses like tactics to inspire fear, anger and hatred within his audience. Take a listen to this podcast (40mins in) where his audience turns on and begins to shove Wendy Carlisle, an ABC reporter. It is his own anger rallying which lead to such vile behaviour and I couldn’t think of a more fitting comparison to behaviour we should leave in the 20th century.

Why he continues to get airtime and be taken seriously by anyone is beyond me.

3 thoughts on “Monckton’s Gish Gallop Over Richard Dennis

  1. I’ve just heard Monckton eulogising coal miners ‘menaced by PM called Brown’. Has he forgotten his idol, Maggie Thatcher’s attitude to coal miners?


  2. I thought it was a really good job by Dr Richard Dennis. He was a cool calm head with a sense of humour & never seemed perplexed or rattled. It was a real pity that some of the journalists didn’t do their homework on Monckton. It allowed him to play the victim & plead the moral high ground.

    A young female journalist asked Monckton why he didn’t meet scientists on their preferred ground?… the peer review process? ….That’s it, she never followed the story further through from there & allowed Monckton to say that he HAD submitted a paper to APS. If she had done her homework she would have caught him out & said to him “ahh yes, but they didn’t accept it & put it in the opinions section instead. A humiliating rebuff. ”

    In the absence of any judging, Andrew Bolt decided he would naturally be the best & fairest person to do this & awarded points as follows.

    Lord Monckton – 10

    Former Greens adviser Richard Denniss – 1

    Journalists – 0.

    Which was a real surprise for me, considering Bolt is a right wing denier nut job. I was expecting zero for Dennis.

    Fortunately Richard Dennis said from the outset that he had worked for the greens & democrats before, but also that Monckton worked for Thatcher ( who accepts AGW science) in the past. So it’s a bit deceptive for Bolt to point to Dennis’s previous employment but not Moncktons.


    1. I’m sure Bolt pictures Monckton surrounded by a near supernatural glow.
      I suspect giving Dennis a one was a pathetic attempt to seem unbiased. A flat out zero would expose him of his true nature, as does the full ten that he scores Monckton. Needless to say when a quick look into his claims yet again exposes numerous inaccuracies.
      At this point, it’s become clear that Monckton knowingly lies. I used to give him some room in that he may just be confused. That he continued to use Pinker’s work after hearing a report read out to him, written by her, that states that he uses it inappropriately (or that he uses Johannessen et al. (2007) when the conclusion explicitly opposes his interpretation), there can be no doubt that he is uninterested in the conclusions of research actually state nor is he interested in reasoned clarity that has resulted from the enlighten developments. He is a propagandist, plagued by cold-war delusions centered on control for industrial exploits over increased sustainability, the average standard of living or sense of happiness. He is everything that he demonises, to his devout following, in those he objects to. He is vile to the utmost and I’m shocked so many people take him at face value.


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