The police visited today

Last night in the Independent I spotted several more libellous comments about “deniers”,

denierplus one about “in the pay of oil”

payofbigoilOf course I reported these posts. But even after about an hour they were still sitting there. So, I posted a comment along the lines that “As Chairman of the Scottish Climate & Energy forum I would like to make it clear that Sceptics are not deniers because as “the Sceptic View” we do not deny global warming, we do not deny the climate changes nor do we deny that CO2 has risen and much of it could be due to mankind. And we certainly do not deny the science of CO2 warming, etc.”

Imagine my horror, when not only didn’t they remove the libel on their comment page, but my own comment was removed!

But the last straw and the reason I realised I had to contact the police was when I saw this:

killThe police came around within a few hours and were quite sympathetic. They (and later I learned the Independent) agreed that it was beyond the pale. But I learnt is is quite a difficult part of the law to prosecute and it would be difficult until we had more evidence of a sustained campaign or specific emails containing abuse or threats as there is better law in this area. However I was encouraged to come back if it continued and they were keen I spoke to a solicitor as the standard of proof is lower in civil cases.

To those who condone this

At this point most non-sceptic who have not been subject to this campaign of hate are going to be thinking to themselves: “that’s an over reaction”. The only way I know to show how serious this campaign of hate has been is to list of just some of the high profile comments that are  found on line:

  • “…every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”—–George Monbiot,
  • Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.” Richard Glover, Sydney Morning Herald
  • At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers?” influential U.S. website (Talking Points Memo)
  • In an odd way this [his death] is cheering news.” email between two very prominent climate academics regarding the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics)
  •  “Fighting Climate Change Deniers Is Like Fighting Hitler” Chris Huhne UK government minister
  • not long ago to question multiculturalism…. risked being branded racists and pushed into the loathesome corner with paedophiles and climate change deniers“ BBC
  • The people who are most vocal in denying human responsibility for the disastrous effects of climate change are mostly male. The people who control factories of wage slaves in the developing world are almost exclusively men, as are the commanders of terrorist regimes. Leaders who threaten or declare war are mostly men as are those involved in paedophile gangs’ BBC
  • Climate change sceptics are “crackpots and conspiracy theorists”,
    UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey
  • An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,” former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm

There is a clear pattern of repeated death threats and hate speech from very high profile people attacking sceptics. Plus individuals have received hate mail just for being sceptics. In January 2013 David Bellamy revealed that the:

BBC axed me for rubbishing global warming … Someone even emailed me to say I was ‘the worst paedophile in the world’, basically saying I was killing children by denying global warming.

Not to forget the 10:10 video:

Oct 2010 Richard Curtis who used to write many good comedies for the BBC like Blackadder and Not the nine O’clock news wrote a film called “No Pressure” which showed children who were sceptical of Global warming being callously killed in terrorist style explosions by teachers within a school.

A campaign of hate speech and death threats

These comments in the Independent are not isolated attacks. I’ve no doubt that this continued use of lies about denial, the lies about being in the pay of big oil as well, and the repeated insults linking sceptics to paedophilia and Nazism as well as the various death threats all constitute a campaign of hate speech against sceptics. And given the lunatic and zealous attacks by some of these (as shown by the way all these comments came from one individual) sooner or later this lunatic or another will carry out their threats.

In what civilised society would this be acceptable?

And what is the motivation for these attacks on sceptics? This quote gives us a very good idea of the intentions behind this campaign of hate:

  • It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on.” Michael T. Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Lets pre-empt the excuses

Like all abuses, those who attack sceptics will justify their abusive behaviour by claiming we deserve it. And how will they do that? By saying we are deniers? And why do they say we are deniers? Because the media like the Independent do not publish our views and when we put them in the comments (like last night) they get removed. And why is it they think it legitimate to review our views in the face of this hate campaign? Because we don’t deserve to be heard because we are deniers … and we get called deniers because our views are not allowed to be heard, so that is why we get called deniers and are the victims of this campaign of hate.

So, this lie about being a “denier” is fundamental to this hate campaign, because it justifies us being prevented from being heard which is what allows us to be called deniers and so legitimises this malicious campaign of hate.

And there is serious damage. People’s livelihoods are at stake. Sooner or later some idiot will carry out these death threats. And it damages our reputation. For example, just because I’m a sceptic, my own MSP (Fiona McLeod) refused to meet me on a constituency matter. For not other reason what-so-ever than being a sceptic … she refuses to meet with me to discuss a constituency issue.

1. But the sceptics also throw insults.

Yes, a while back I would have said the same. But it is not true. When I went to look the worst I could find is Lord Monckton describing some activists as “like the Hitler Youth”. Lord Monckton was saying this in the heat of the moment and said they were like the misguided people who followed Hitler. As the above comment shows, Chris Huhne also spoke of Nazis, but he did so as UK government minister in a preplanned attack using his public position in a way Huhne, his advisors and the civil servants knew would get publicity and was intended to use his public office to maliciously attack sceptics and liken us to Nazis. Monckton was speaking on the spur of the moment to his attackers. In no way were the two comparable. and Chris Huhne is no where near the worst offender.

2. But climate scientists get death threats.

There are two instances I know where climate scientists got death threats. The first was Phil Jones. We don’t know if these were sceptics and even in the remote chance they were, these death threats were condemned by sceptics as there was no excuse for this and it was right the police were called in. In contrast, when sceptics get death threats – if we complain we usually get told we deserve it.

The second was an Australian academic who claimed to get death threats. But to quote Delingpole’s blog:

Ten of the documents “did not contain threats to kill or threats of harm.
Of the 11th, the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said: “I consider the danger to life or physical safety in this case to be only a possibility, not a real chance.”

I’ve a strong suspicion that the emails I get in my inbox most days from the ecoloons who congregate at places like the Guardian’s Komment Macht Frei are far more foul-mouthed, repellant and poisonous than anything these junk scientists have ever received.

The claim that both sides are equally culpable does not stand up.

“…every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”—–George Monbiot,

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110 Responses to The police visited today

    • It is all too easy to find these types of death threats against sceptics. What I found most surprising is that it is virtually impossible to find similar comments made by sceptics.

      The attacks are almost all coming from one side.

  1. neilfutureboy says:

    There are not 2 cases where we know “climate scientists” got death threats. There are 2 where we know they claimed it. Jones did not produce any evidence and the police did not charge anybody. You have produced evidence, promoted by the Independent (& other instances). I’m afraid I cannot believe Prof Jones without supporting evidence.

    The Indy may have told the police that that threat was “beyond the pale” but the fact is that not only did they not remove it – they actively supported the fascist by censoring your unobjectionable reply.

    It is up to the Indy to publicly apologise, provide space to non-fascists on this subject at least as extensive as they have given to the fascists and either decide not to censor or moderation rules whereby they censor death threats and fascists to at least as great an extent as they censor rational debate.

    Until then the Indy is, by definition, a wholly corrupt fascist propaganda organisation. Not holding my breath.

  2. ScSc, as far as I can see your comment is now present and I can’t find any of the ones you highlight in your post. Just to avoid any confusion, I object to anyone – on any side of the debate – suggesting that someone (or another group) should be murdered or any such related comment.

    • Thanks. I think it was all put into context when I sat on a jury a few months ago. The case was one of domestic abuse. The most galling thing was that the woman who was quite intelligent had done nothing and just accepted the situation.

      As I’ve been posting on line as a sceptic for at least 6 years, I have been subject to what on reflection is quite a horrific series of personal attacks. Occasionally I’ve fought back, but as any reaction be sceptics usually gets us banned, I’ve just had to put up with this abusive behaviour to the extent, I’ve grown used to being attacked to the extent I often don’t notice.

      But that changed after the trial. I saw myself in her position and very much like that woman, I was just putting up with it day by day. I would just deal with each comment as it comes along, just sigh when posts putting the views of sceptics are removed leaving libellous ones lying about us being deniers.

      However, in the same way that woman must have finally realised that if things continued there was a good chance of her or one of her family being killed, so I think it is only a matter of time before these death threats get carried out by some extremist.

      That is why we have to stop this denial lie and so it is time we sceptics stopped taking this abuse and started asserting our rights to be treated with respect.

      • I think it depends on what you’re suggesting. If you’re suggesting not putting up with genuinely objectionable personal attacks, then I completely agree. On the other hand, if you are referring to objecting to the use of the term “denier” then I’m in less agreement. I typically don’t use it myself because I don’t think it helps if you’re genuinely interested in a discussion with someone, but it is just a word. It just means to deny something. There are many “sceptic” sites that use equally pejorative terms when referring to those on the other side of the debate. You should maybe read comment threads on Bishop Hill, Climate Etc, WUWT – to name but a few – before concluding that your side is subject to more online attack than the other.

        I also still fail to see how you can regard yourself as truly sceptical if you still think what Salby presented has merit. It’s hard to see how you can claim to accept the basic science when you still seem to think that the rise in atmospheric CO2 might not be anthropogenic.

        • neilfutureboy says:

          “Denier” is a deliberate and obviously fact free, attempt to associate sceptics with “holocaust deniers” ie Nazis. Apart from being a Godwin’s Law admission they have no argument it is obviously a fact free objectionable personal attack,

          If you know of an instance of a similar accusation being made on an alarmist without factual validity I would be interest to see a link to it. Note that when somebody has been caught lying, or making death threats, in the totalitarian fascist cause (eg Monbiot above) saying so is neither fact free nor objectionable.

        • I started a paper with the phrase: “it has been a heated debate with attacks by each side”. I then tried to find examples to back that up. Within seconds I had found many attacking sceptics. I then spent many hours trying to find something from sceptics. All that happened, was that the list of attacks against sceptics got longer and longer and longer and more and more vicious.

          I thought perhaps as a sceptic I didn’t recognise what counted as an attack. So I went and read some of the attack sites against sceptics to see if I could find any articles detailing all these presumed attacks by sceptics.

          Eventually I realised that what I was looking for did not exist. I even thought “well I must have made some attacks in all this time” and so searched for my various pseudonyms for likely phrases. Again I drew a blank.

          Eventually – the combination of reading all these vicious comments against me and the realisation that it really was a one-sided attack against us sceptics made me write the following article:
          https://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/climate-scientists-are-nazi-paedophiles/

          The simple fact is that there is a culture that sees it as legitimate to attack sceptics, to lie about our views and like all abusive relationships that is excused by those on your side because occasionally a sceptic has enough and responds back.

          If a group of University Students or School children participated in this kind of cyber bullying they would likely be expelled. But when those academics go home and engage in pretty much the same behaviour from what I can see by the way it is encouraged it is seen as praiseworthy.

          • I really don’t think you’re looking hard enough.

            • So this cyber bullying is the fault of the victim for not being able to find examples of the victim bullying the bullies?

              • Nope that’s not what I’m saying – and I don’t quite know you got that from what I said. I’m not trying to excuse any cyber bullying. I suspect I find it as annoying and frustrating as you do. If you want to try an experiment, though, go onto WUWT and post a comment suggesting that AGW is real, that IPCC is not a corrupt organisation or some other similar pro-AGW comment. Then just wait and see what happens.

                • neilfutureboy says:

                  [ScotitshSceptic: Neil – this is sounding a bit aggressive. I know it is difficult on such a touchy subject but please try to moderate the tone]

                  Well earlier on this offset on this thread I asked you “If you know of an instance of a similar accusation being made on an alarmist without factual validity I would be interest to see a link to it.” Since you are continuing to claim such abusive attacks by sceptics are common I believe it would have been proper of you to answer my query by providing a link to such any specific instance. It still would.

                  I, on “scienceblogs”, which is, I believe, regarded by alarmists as moderately scientific, have on a number of occasions asked them for what should be the simple task of naming a scientist who supports alarmism and isn’t government paid. With one exception* the answers have been abusive up to and including saying that, as a Glaswegian, I have regular sexual intercourse with sheep. I very much doubt if you can find even 1 such from a sceptic.

                  * The exception was the host naming himself – a little googling showed he was government paid and he wasn’t a scientist.

                • I have actually experienced that. I once made an ironic comment which was misinterpreted as being supportive.

                  However, it is worth remembering that the reason most people ended up going to WUWT is that if they tried to put comments in most other forums, they found that they were being relentlessly attacked.

                  This is one of the things that turned me into a sceptic. I tried to add a link to a neutral subject which was perceived as being sceptical. I then realised how heated the debate was and thought I could help tone it down. After about a month I realised that my own side were acting as a group and preventing even quite legitimate material from sceptics getting into Wikipedia.

                  So many people who post of WUWT have cited Wikipedia or similar warmist blogs as the reason they came to WUWT that I can understand why they don’t like those whose attacks drove them to WUWT.

                • Nah, it’s much more entertaining to go to skepticalscience.com and post something skeptical about whatever they just wrote.

                • Neilfutureboy, I didn’t actually claim that they were common. I’m suggesting that there are examples of what many would regard as unacceptable rhetoric on both sides of this debate. I don’t really want to have a “my example is worse than yours” type of discussion, but since you asked for one, how about this one.

                • andrew adams says:

                  neilfutureboy,

                  Can you really not see why people at scienceblogs might not have taken that question seriously?

        • catweazle666 says:

          “I also still fail to see how you can regard yourself as truly sceptical if you still think what Salby presented has merit.”

          I would be fascinated to know your opinion of Mann’s Hokey Schtick, or Hansen’s 1988 climate models, or, come to that, the performance of climate models in general.

          I’d be careful who you patronise at if I were you, what with the “pause”, the inconvenient truth of the polar ice cap refusal to behave as the Warmists desire and various other cracks that appear to be appearing in the whole CAGW hypothesis – most especially the absolute lack of any concomitant increase in atmospheric water vapour to match that of atmospheric CO2 concentration, without the amplification associated with which your whole hypothesis is effectively dead in the water – it is rapidly becoming apparent that it is you and your sneering associates who are becoming the “deniers” now.

          • You’ve put quite a lot into that comment and rather changed the topic. I think the idea that the atmospheric CO2 could be natural (rather than anthropogenic) is easily shown to be wrong, so why don’t we simply stick with that than charging off on other tangent before we’ve even had a chance to discuss this first topic.

          • P.S. You also seem quite comfortable using the term “denier” to describe someone else. Interesting that.

            • catweazle666 says:

              “Interesting that.”

              Nearly as interesting as your justification of the the use of the term with a dictionary definition, perhaps?

              • Ahh, you misunderstand me. I wasn’t trying to justify it’s use at all. I was simply trying to point out that it is not clear that using the term is a deliberate and obviously fact free, attempt to associate sceptics with “holocaust deniers” ie Nazis as suggested by neilfutureboy. I happen to be willing to accept that calling someone else a “denier” is unlikely to lead to a constructive discussion. It’s seem hard to believe, however, that some don’t deserve the label (climate change denier, rather than any other kind of denier).

                • Sorry, my attempt to end the italics failed.

                • When we sceptics talk about your side as “warmists” or “alarmists” which as far as I can see very accurately sum your views that it will warm or that there should be alarm about rising CO2 …. your side goes into fits about using such terms.

                  But when your side totally lies about our views by calling us “deniers”, you think it is entirely legitimate. In all the time I have tried to find a term to refer to your side, I have met nothing but disgust at the idea we should use any name at all.

                  In contrast, your side uses a name that is clearly false and therefore a libel, and then you try to justify it because you have no respect at all for us.

                  This is the tactics of the school bully. Name calling, refusing to accept the victim has rights or should be treated with respect.

                  And take e.g. this lie about “in the pay of big oil”. Have you ever met a sceptic who is paid, let alone one in the pay of any large multinational to be a sceptic?

                  Again this is the tactic of the bully. To assign characteristics to their victims which don’t exist and then to attack their victim for being the person they are not. This is done to legitimise the bullying. That is what you are doing when you try to justify the name “denier”. You are trying to legitimise on line bullying by people on your side.

                • What? You complain about being libeled and then write a comment like that. Completely mis-representing most of what I’ve said here. If you’re going to get upset about others supposedly mis-representing what you say, maybe try not to do the same yourself.

                • catweazle666 says:

                  And there you have it, “climate change denier”.

                  Absolutely no-one denies that the climate changes – or is even sceptical of the matter, come to that.

                  So your imputation is once again insulting.

                  You lot just can’t help it, can you? [That’s inviting a flame war]

                • I’m kind of getting tired of this, so I’m make one last comment. I wasn’t referring to anyone specifically as being one. I was suggesting some may exist. I’m unclear as to why this is such a terrible thing to say. Having said that, I have no real interest in discovering why you think so.

                • andrew adams says:

                  The definition of an alarmist is someone who exaggerates a threat therefore when you use it you are accusing the person(s) concerned of a particular kind of behaviour, just as those who user the term “denier” is using.
                  I’m not particularly complaining about it, these kind of labels get thrown around a lot in heated debates and people should to a large extent be prepared to put up with it, as opposed to actual physical threats which of course are never acceptable.
                  But throwing such labels around while playing the victim yourself because other people are throwing them at you is just pathetic.

        • DEEBEE says:

          [Scottish Sceptic: Your comment was removed because when I had removed the offensive language and libel there was nothing left.]

  3. catweazle666 says:

    Nice piece from the real WUWT on the subject, too.

    Anthony’s last comment is telling.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/15/we-need-a-conspiracy-to-save-humanity/

  4. TinyCO2 says:

    Well done. It will have been a bit of an eye opener for the Independent to have the police called. The media and prominent warmists need to tone the bile down because sooner or later someone will take it too far and it won’t be a case of bullying they’re dealing with it will be an assault or murder investigation. It won’t do anyone any good if they’ve turned a blind eye to threats.

    As for those muttering that the sceptics do it too, think on this. You’re the big guy. Much as you like to play the down trodden masses fighting the Big Oil company, the opposite is true. You’ve got governments, newspapers, universities, banks, multinationals, celebs and whole heaps of green organisations and their money behind you. In a court case you might not be able to hold onto the illusion of adversity. Your enemy is the guy in the street and so far you’ve treated each and every one of them with contempt.

    The biggest insult I can think to aim at warmists is ‘ineffective’. With all the assets and advantages at their disposal they’ve been losing ground since 2007 and they know it. It’s probably where much of the vitriol comes from. Although, they consort with anti capitalists and green nutters and they’ve always been angry for little reason so maybe it’s not a surprise. They endlessly waste their time fighting with sceptics when their real enemy is the growing apathy and distrust amongst the masses. Instead of trying to score points they should be trying to work out what might convince us. I guess that’s too much like hard work.

    Again, well done on drawing a line in the sand. At least for a while the moderators at the Independent will be more careful… even if they still gobble up perfectly reasonable sceptic posts too.

    • “The biggest insult I can think to aim at warmists is ‘ineffective’.”

      That may hit the nail on the head. This is because their (perceived) job is understand the climate and they are likely to perceive legitimate criticism about the quality of that work as a threat and/or personal attack. This may be what Wottsupwiththat really means by “attacks” – not that we are attacking them personally, but that they feel the attacks on their work are attacks on them.

      Perhaps what we need to do is somehow depersonalise the issue so that there can be legitimate criticism without it being seen as an attack on climate researchers?

      • TinyCO2 says:

        They need the equivalent of an HSE. They need a monitoring body that is tasked with finding fault and powers to demand improvements. Those who come under the scrutiny of the HSE don’t like it but they have to accept it’s part of society’s way of building safeguards and trust. At the moment we’re like the citizens complaining about the big bad factory spewing out pollution. They’re acting like Big Business, harassing those who dare to speak up and claiming they only have the public’s best interest at heart. They’re less self regulated than the news papers.

        It shouldn’t need people like you to go up against Big Climate with their bag of dirty tricks.

        • You have a very valid point there. I remember being absolutely astonished after climategate that nothing whatsoever happened to those involved. In effect it just gave a red light to malpractice and said that nothing was beyond the pale.

          • TinyCO2 says:

            It was a point I intended to make to the Sci Tech Committee back in the spring but personal issues took priority when I should have submitted my viewpoints. That’ll teach me to put things off. They’re supposed to be looking for a way to make climate science more believable and industry already has models to copy. It irks me how they keep trying to reinvent the wheel.

            • That is a very interesting comment. When I did some research into renewable development in the UK I found that the problem was that they kept trying to reinvent the wheel … when what was needed was to fix the problems they had and make it better bit by bit.

              It turned out that this particular culture I call “spontaneous innovation” is prevalent in the UK & US whereas the other strategy of incrementalism is that found in Denmark and I forget. But the paper was something like “bricolage and breakthrough by Karnoe”.

              • TinyCO2 says:

                I believe the UK nuclear industry had the same problem. Each new power station was a new design, whereas the French built a limited number of designs. In France, as a flaw was found and solved, they rolled the solution out to each station. In the UK, each station had their own unique flaws. So is stupiditiy fundamental to engineering too or can we blame government intereference?

  5. wottsupwiththatblog says: “Completely mis-representing most of what I’ve said here.”

    Oh dear that was not the intention. However on the “holocaust denier”, I heard just that on radio 4 and I’ve also seen it often enough online to know the two are intentionally linked.

    But the pertinent issue is that we simple do not deny “global warming” or “climate change”. I’ve shown this many times that you cannot say this when our views are those in “the sceptic view”.

    But just from a logical perspective – as you will know, we are quite cautious about stating absolute certainty. So it is just ridiculous that any sceptic would ever deny anything.

    A sceptic would not say “the climate is not warming” … because there is no scepticism at all in that.

    The closest you’d get would be a statement like this:

    “No one has shown the climate is warming” (which obviously isn’t true)

    So, this “denier” label is completely factually incorrect and in no way at all describes us sceptics.

  6. wottsupwiththatblog: how about this:

    “the article asked a question: Should Michael Mann be given the electric chair for having concocted arguably the most risibly inept, misleading, cherry-picking, worthless and mendacious graph – the Hockey Stick – in the history of junk science?

    Should George Monbiot be hanged by the neck for his decade or so’s hysterical promulgation of the great climate change scam and other idiocies too numerous to mention?

    Should Tim Flannery be fed to the crocodiles for the role he has played in the fleecing of the Australian taxpayer and the diversion of scarce resources into pointless projects like all the eyewateringly expensive desalination plants built as a result of his doomy prognostications about water shortages caused by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

    It ought to go without saying that my answer to all these questions is – *regretful sigh* – no

    The comment then says: .”I’d be quite happy for climate liars to literally feel the noose tighten around their necks……..”

    Yes its unacceptable.

    However, it should be possible to argue that some crimes are just too horrendous that they do deserve the death penalty. I think what makes this unacceptable is that it is an attack on individuals rather than an article on principles.

    Addendum: However rereading it, they do make it clear that it is “climate liars” which should be read as those found guilty of a crime and a hanging is a judicial murder. However, given that individuals are named and it says “happy”, I’d have removed it.

    • But you seem to be suggesting that climate scientists may ultimately deserve the death penalty. Have I interpreted what you’re saying in your second to last paragraph correctly?

      • I think one could argue that. I am told the scale of spending caused by this is about $trillion. If it were found that people knowingly allowed that much public money to be wasted in many jurisdictions that might result in a death penalty.

        Likewise there are some 23,000 extra winter deaths in the UK each winter. Over the last decade that is some 230,000 deaths – worldwide it must be in the millions. If it could be shown that illegal activity by climate scientists led to some of those deaths, then it might be that in some jurisdictions illegal activity leading to large scale death would merit the death penalty. However, as I’m against the death penalty I wouldn’t myself suggest it.

        So, I would not be against having a discussion on this … and likewise, I presume that you would not be against holding sceptics to account if they had a position of authority and intentionally and knowingly or recklessly used that to mislead people.

        However, it becomes very different when talking about an individual .. and particularly the idea of retrospective changes to the law. However, it is another thing when there is evidence they have broken the existing law – particularly as has happened and that law was not enforced.

      • Actually I was just thinking about my last reply. For sceptics who have held positions where they are legally accountable when things go wrong this idea of being held criminally liable for mistakes is not new.

        However, for climate researchers, this idea that you may find yourself in the dock for giving bad advice will be quite a shock.

        This is why sceptics are so cautious in the way we say things This is why we have been criticising you for making claims that could not stand up in a court of law.

        Call it friendly advice … but when the tide turns and the public want someone “to pay” … your side haven’t a leg to stand on. That is why sceptics don’t say things they couldn’t justify in a court.

        The public love the engineer when the building or bridge goes up … but if it collapses, the same public will turn on them.

        Likewise, the public and media were egging you on when it sounded a nice idea … but when they realise they are going to have to pay … they won’t be nearly so happy.

  7. stewgreen says:

    OK just an opinion and empathy thinking for the idiots
    “Skeptics Just shoot them. traitors…” now I guess that is not actionable
    It’s not a call to violence that will be taken seriously (similar to the rhetorical “I could bloody kill you”)
    nor is it unfair discrimination/hatespeak
    – discrimination : “we don’t employ any Nazis here”
    – Unfair discrimination : “we don’t employ any Norwegians here”
    note the second case is different cos it’s about something that the person doesn’t have a choice over ..You can’t choose your nationality, sex, or religion (due to apostasy laws)
    ..you can choose your political party, some religions, etc.
    – The Independent should have moderated it out on grounds of taste
    and secondly on grounds of protection for the idiot who said it
    ..cos bearing in mind there are lot of people with some kind of mental illness who would say such things.
    – However the word “denier” is defamatory so the Independent is breaking the law by allowing it.

    Why all the dramaqueening from the alarmists ?
    They haven’t got the science * so it’s all about PR with them
    * real validated science that makes reliable predictions, not just rhetorical tricks to try to claim the authority of science; like “scientists say” etc.
    – They play by Alinsky rules “ends justify the means etc.” e.g. dirty PR tricks

    there is a difference between derogatory (idiot, fools) and defamatory (liar,denier etc.)
    – Denier as an example of “Words that think for us.” was a basis for recent Judith Curry blog post http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/11/denial/

  8. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic,
    When I started reading this thread I had a bit of sympathy for your dislike of the term “denier” but then I get to the comments and see that you’re suggesting that it’s ok to discuss death penalties for climate scientists. I’m sorry, but these two things are not even in the same ball park. Calling someone a name is not the same as threatening them with their life. The latter is much, much worse and a serious offence. This is intimidation.

    According to this article in Popular Science, climate scientists have received death threats and hate mail and even a package of white powder through the post. I’m sure and I would hope that you don’t condone this sort of behaviour. It shouldn’t matter whether you agree with someone’s views or not, death threats are never ok.

    • TinyCO2 says:

      It is a bit confusing but I think Scottish Sceptic is saying that there’s a difference between discussing individuals or groups. Personally I think both are harmful when speaking about physical punishment either legal or vigilante. Choosing a victim is a short step from deciding a group deserves violence. Even financial punishment is difficult to justify because you first have to prove deliberate malfeance. Both sides believe their stand point. Ultimately if wasting money (which leads to deaths) was a prisonable offence then politicians would outnumber other inmates in our prisons. And if having an opinion that differed with public policy was an actionable offence we’d be in Russia.

      What is needed is the kind of accountability that other professions and businesses are held to. Once that is in place then there are standards people can be measured against and penalties can be specified and administered. Suitable warnings can be given. In those circumstances individuals are partially protected by the organisation they work for but can be singled out if they go seriously wide of standards.

    • Rachel, if someone argued for a death penalty I would strongly argue against it. However, if they discussed the principle of whether there might be an instance where a person in a public office who knowingly & intentionally misled the public causing large numbers of deaths might be subject to the death penalty then that I think is a legitimate area of discussion.

      However, this has highlighted a very serious difference between climate scientists and the people who normally have to take life critical decisions.

      As an engineer, I was responsible for any poor advice I gave. I was also responsible for the health and safety of workers involved in projects I ran. If I failed to do that job properly and there was serious injury death or financial loss, then I would might likely find myself in court.

      In contrast, climate scientists seem to think they can take on this type of role and advise their clients without fearing being held to account if that advice is wrong.

      So let me ask a very simple question. Rachel, (assuming you are a climate scientist) do you have indemnity insurance in case you are sued for your poor advice? Have you even considered what would happen if the advice you give proves to be very wrong? It does happen – that’s why people who give advice for a profession get insurance.

      If a lot of people lose money because they relied on your personal advice, you would be personally liable.

      Engineers work in an environment where it is known this is a real possibility. People like you may have inadvertently crossed the line from academia to that where you would be construed as legally liabile for your advice thereby opening yourself up to massive claims of compensation without really realising what you have done.

      That may be the fundamental difference between sceptics and academics. Our culture is naturally cautious because we know we can get sued for bad advice. In contrast academic don’t usually expect to get sued …. but in this case because you crossed over the line from researching academic knowledge into offering investment and policy advice, your advice is now relied on by others and if others lose money or lives, then you can be held to account for any poor advice.

      And remember that Hindsight is a wonderful thing … and a court case is always done in hindsight when advice always looks much more reckless than it did when it was given.

      • TinyCO2 says:

        Like the earthquake specialists in Italy.

        • Rachel says:

          With regards to the Italian seismologists, they were charged with manslaughter for failing to adequately communicate the risks. But it wasn’t a scientist who had communicated the risks to the public it was a civil protection official with no specialist knowledge in seismology. His statement was, “The scientific community tells us there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy. The situation looks favourable.”

          I think there is a lesson here for climate scientists but I think it’s the opposite to the one you’re trying to make. Scientists let public officials communicate the risks. Those public officials downplayed the risks. People died. The scientists were charged.

          Climate scientists needs to be clear of the dangers we face in a warming world and they need to communicate these risks accurately no matter how many of us do not want to know the truth. Otherwise they might face criticism in the same way as those Italian seismologists did, for not being clear enough on the risks.

          It is the Lord Monckton’s and Lawson’s of this world who are following in the footsteps of the Italian civil protection official and who are downplaying the risks to the general public to the detriment of us all.

          • Rachel says:

            Please forgive all my grammar mistakes. I was making pancakes at the same time as typing these comments and I was also educated in Queensland 🙂

          • TinyCO2 says:

            You assume that there is only one sort of risk. Better to always default to the worst case in that situation. But people die if you are over cautious too. Money spent cutting CO2 is money not spent on health care or foreign aid. In a recent series of cases, a doctor was over diagnosing epilepsy and as a result children were put on drugs that made them have seizures. Then their medications were increased and increased because the drug wasn’t suitable and generated a problem where none had existed. A climate prediction of increased drought and high temperatures will lead people to prepare for those eventualities. What are they supposed to do if they then get floods and snow?

            I personally don’t agree that the Italian seismologists were convicted but it’s an example where scientists who thought they were protected by the nature of their job, were wrong. What they failed to do was admit, clearly, that they couldn’t predict earthquakes. At which point the people employing them might have said ‘well what use are you?’ It’s a very hard thing to do when someone is hounding you for an answer, to admit you don’t know. It may lead to your dismissal. The alternative is to give a false sense of certainty.

          • Rachel says:

            TinyCO2,

            Those seismologists weren’t convicted for failing to predict earthquakes or to admit that they couldn’t predict them. They were convicted for failing to communicate the risks.

            Climate scientists today *are* communicating the risk of global warming and we should demand nothing less of them.

            • I think the line comes when one stops being a collector of the best information and one turns into someone giving specific advice to companies or government. It benefits everyone having academics who are free to state what they see as the facts and the interpretation without fear of prosecution.

              But that requires them to be impartial … and usually if a company or government want specific advice, they will go to people trained to give that appropriately insurable advice such as consultants and engineers.

              And it benefits society having the people giving such advice being culpable if that advice is deficient. Because that means there is a very high standard and as a result such people are very cautious in what they say or advise.

              However, we now have a situation where academics want to be free from prosecution and want to be able to say whatever they like to governments about what to do, but they do not want to be held to account if (or usually if you give enough advice when) that advice is faulty.

              This may be the big problem. Academics want their cake and want to be able to eat it. They want to be free to say whatever they like about the climate but do not want to be culpable if other people rely on their advice and then find it to be wrong.

              The difference is this. All predictions are probabilistic, so they could all prove wrong. So the question any consultant would ask themselves when giving a client advice is this: “could I justify what I said if what I said turned out to be wrong?”

              What I mean is that in the worst case scenario, when you can no longer say “I was doing my best” but where you have already been proven to be wrong, where the world is already against you and you are trying to prove your innocence, could you justify the advice you gave even though it had proved to be wrong.

      • andrew adams says:

        Wow what can I say. The notion that scientists should have their lives ruined, or even forfeited entirely for giving honest advice to politicians based on what their advice tells them (and you have not a shred of evidence that they are doing otherwise) is gobsmacking. There is a huge difference between advice which is based on the best knowledge available at the time but turns out to be wrong and that which is given dishonestly or negligently. You are either failing to distinguish between the two or actually accusing climate scientists of the latter. So who’s libelling who?

        • TinyCO2 says:

          In business ignorance is no defence. So giving advice based on best evidence at the time is no protection if it turns out that you’re wrong. Scientists may have been cusioned from reality while the subject stayed in academe but the signficance of CAGW should raise it to the status of any field that impacts the public.

          At the moment there are no standards for climate science to follow. No requirement for documentation. No formal processes for methods or results to be checked. Why should it be exempt from the same rigors that medecine or chemical industries are subjected to?

        • Ian Forrester says:

          I can’t believe all the nonsense the deniers are saying in this post. Of course they are deniers, just look at “Scottish” “Sceptic” in his post about Salby. He denies, there is no other word for it, that the increased CO2 concentration measured over the past fifty years is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. That is denying the science pure and simple. He “guessed” that is was due to out-gassing from peat bogs. A simple check of the scientific literature shows that peat bogs increase their sequestration of CO2 with increased temperature (http://tinyurl.com/m3gakbz). His behaviour is not that of a sceptic.

          Whose money is he going to use when his court case gets laughed out of court? Monty Python script writers couldn’t come up with the hilarity on display from these characters.

          • TinyCO2 says:

            Yep, we’re the comedians. Which is why everyone is rushing to cut their CO2… oh hang on. We’re so rubbish and still the public ignore you. That must really burn.

            • Ian Forrester says:

              You are completely wrong. The public in the USA know that the Earth is warming, that humans are responsible, that warming will be a serious problem and the Governments should do something about it.

              http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=page/stanford-university-state-level-climate-polling-data

              That is something else for you all to deny. Maybe it is dishonest bloggers like “Scottish” “Sceptic” who should be taking out insurance.

              • TinyCO2 says:

                Aww bless! A survey of people who have yet to start cutting CO2 in any meaningful way. Yes, the Brits were all for it when it didn’t cost them anything too. In fact most of them still believe that someone should be reducing CO2… just not them. Perhaps you could come back with your survey when the US matches were we used to be, let alone where we are now.

                We’ve had cross party support. All our major institutions were on board. Our main TV stations went full stupid on CAGW. Almost everyone has seen Al’s movie. We get deluged with propaganda all the time. All that and more, but belief in AGW is just fading away. People here have tried the easy CO2 reduction stuff and are handing over way more money for energy and fuel. How much have we reduced our CO2 footprint when imports are factored in? Zero.

                The US isn’t on the first rung.

                If that’s an example of your standards for proof for the easy stuff, I think we’re safe.

        • Andrew, if you bought a house and it turned out that the person selling it did not own it … would you be happy that the solicitor gave their “best advice” or that they gave “good advice”.

          As I said above, you want to have your cake and eat it. You want to be free to give whatever advice you like to politicians, and some of it is clearly political as Hansen shows and you want to be able to ignore all the obvious problems like the failure of the models to predict the climate … and then having got the world to spend more money on one issue than it has ever spent before you don’t want to have any liability if your advice was faulty and you were negligent in the advice you gave.

          If you don’t believe your advice could stand scrutiny in a court of law …that tells us all we really need to know about its quality.

      • Rachel says:

        …a person in a public office who knowingly & intentionally misled the public…

        The only climate scientist I can think of that has knowingly and intentionally misled the public is Murry Salby. He is also the only one that I know of who has been charged with fraud and misconduct. He was debarred from obtaining federal grants for a period of three years as a direct result. I definitely don’t think the death penalty should have applied in his case. [I said we could talk principles not specific cases]

  9. Derek Sorensen says:

    On “Denier” v “Alarmist”. If people genuinely wish to use non-emotive terms, and for what it might be worth, I’ve recently started using “Unconvinced” and “Convinced”. Much less emotive and, IMHO, more descriptive of the (main two) positions.

    • TinyCO2 says:

      Seems reasonable.

    • Rachel says:

      I don’t have a problem with convinced and unconvinced.

      • William Connolley had the previous best which was “pro-IPCC” and “anti-iPCC”. But yes, convinced and unconvinced would be better … although I’m not sure whether what people dislike most is being put into a “bucket”.

        Also, with regard to the “sceptics vs. Academic table”, I got a very poor level of feedback from the “convinced side”. That tells me that there is something quite fundamentally wrong. Here are a few possibilities:
        1. That the table format takes the comparison down a path which favours the sceptics. The reason I think this, is that if the sceptics like facts and graphs … then they will like tables. So perhaps I need to approach it in a totally different way.

        2. The log is always easier to see in the other person. So, it would be natural to highlight the areas where sceptics feel there are problems on the other side. That might suggest that whole issues have been ignored.

        3. That after all the propaganda about us being “denialist” that academics just don’t believe that sceptics could be reasonable people – so almost anything I write is going to be rejected unless it makes us out to be denialists and academics to be paradigms of virtue. (Is that the worng paradigm?)

        4. That academics may not really have any idea who sceptics are. So that they have no real idea what the differences are.

        5. That there are actually many different groups in each “side” and that many columns are needed each for academics, environmentalists, etc. and likewise for various types of sceptics.

  10. neilfutureboy says:

    Andrew I can see perfectly well why nobody at “scienceblogs” would choose to answer “Can you name a single scientist anywhere in the world who supports the alarmist and isn’t ultimately being paid by the state” because, experience shows, the only true answer is “no, with the possible exception of Greenpeace scientists”.

    But I cannot see why they, or anybody else would not consider it a serious question.

    Particularly when so much alarmist invective is claiming that sceptics are all funded by “Big Oil” etc.

    With millions of scientists worldwide, the majority not state funded, it is a statistical impossibility that all the alarmists are state funded by accident. It strongly indicates the cause of this scare story (& all the previous false eco-scares we have had over the last 50 years. It also means that, by definition, any claim of “consensus” is wholly false.

    Perhaps you could explain why this is not serious,

    • andrew adams says:

      Neil,

      Well I would have a number of problems in answering your question. Firstly, I don’t know how science gets funded in a lot of countries, and even looking at the UK the definition of “paid by the government” is murky – what about people like Myles Allen or Ed Hawkins working within the university sysytem? British Universities are not part of government, they are private institutions.
      But I suspect the main reason that peopel don’t take your question seriously is that they don’t accept your underlying premis(es) that the scientists are “alarmists” or that there is anything suspicious about them getting funding from government or that such funding distorts their work.
      But here’s a name anyway – James Annan.

      • Andrew, Neil does highlight an interesting point which is that the convinced tend to be from public sector organisations or like the Guardian from those catering for the public sector and the sceptics tend to be from the private sector.

        Some have suggested this is just political, but that doesn’t explain the nature of scepticism which is almost anti-politics. So there does seem to be something in the cultural outlook of these two groups which means that the convinced are predominantly from this sector.

        This is complicated because there are many sceptics in the public sector and many private sector are convinced, but as a general trend, would you agree that public sector/private sector tends to correlate with view on the climate.

        And if so, can you explain why this might be so?

      • neilfutureboy says:

        Wiki describes Annan as associated with the Global Simulator, a Japanese government project and Frontier Research Center for Global Change which doesn’t say who funds it but is advertising a doctoral job at the IPCC. I think if we are looking for the world’s sole independent scientist who supports “the scientific consensus” we should expect something a little more independent.

        I used to regularly get James Lovelock’s name but since climategate he is among the sceptics.

        • andrew adams says:

          Annan is currently unemployed but I don’t think he’s changed his views because of that.

          But I would probably guess that climate research tends to be done in government funded institutions and universities, because it is an academic subject in which countries have a legitimate national interest. So it will be to a large extend funded by governments. If there were/are private bodies paying for it I’m sure scientists would/are willing to work for them and the results of their research wouldn’t be any different.

          • neilfutureboy says:

            As you say, being between jobs he hasn’t changed his views. The point about such “research” all being funded by government is valid but we are talking about several million people – a clear majority of the world’s scientists – and it is statistically well short of possible that the fact it is impossible to find one of them supporting the alleged “consensus” is accidental.

            There are instances of non-government funded researchers being sceptical. Surely you have noticed. Every time it happens the alarmists complain about them being funded by Big Somebody-Not-The-State.

  11. Eli Rabett says:

    Scottish Climate & Energy forum. Membership of 2?

  12. stewgreen says:

    andrew adams November 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm
    However the word “denier” is defamatory
    Why all the dramaqueening from the alarmists
    That is all.
    What’s that supposed to mean ? It’s a bit irritating when people are not polite enough to explain themselves, and I have to divine what they mean.
    Let’s assume that he means “saying denier is defamatory is drama queening”
    “defamatory means to harm your business reputation.
    1- calling someone a denier is just the same as calling people a liar (they cannot deny something unless they know it to be true)..so yes it would harm your business reputation.
    2- Secondly it’s untrue. “denier” is banded about just as namecalling, they never specify what specific validated science the “denier” are supposed to be denying, so the use of it itself is a lie. There are no deniers they don’t cross the line beyond science : the temperature is what it is, the level of CO2 is what it is. However it’s the alaramist who are crossing the line saying things like “don’t you know the new IPCC report says 95% certain there will be disaster by the end of the century”. WRONG they are actually extrapolating the report as they actually extrapolate the science beyond the validated. When you check which alarmists almost never do) the IPCC line is”we are 95% certain that more than 50% of past warming was caused by man” *
    Strangeley even that statement is IPCC bunk, and the IPCC extrapolating beyond science..as ther eis no calculation for the 95% it’s just a number they made up.
    – So if I took you to court for calling me a liar – the court would ask you what I supposed to have lied about, and you’d automatically lose, cos I haven’t lied (denied) about anything.
    (there is a seconnd possibility that andrew adams means calling alarmists “dramaqueens” as defamatory. No it maybe wrong or insulting, but it is not NORMALLY likely to harm your business reputation.

    • andrew adams says:

      Yes, the last point was the one I was getting at, sorry it was not clear. I don’t actually think “alarmist” is defamatory but it is no better or worse than “denier”. They are actually mirror images – one exaggerates the risk from climate change, the other underplays it or claims it doesn’t exist at all.
      I don’t claim “deniers” are liars, being “in denial” means something else altogether. It’s a refusal to face facts which one believes are unpalatable.

  13. stewgreen says:

    oops typo – I meant 1- calling someone a denier is just the same as calling people a liar. [done]

  14. Pingback: Week in review | Climate Etc.

  15. David L. Hagen says:

    Mark Steyn reviews how moral codes and restraint are essential for civilization in contrast to the descent into thuggery as you exemplify above. See Knockouts High and Low

  16. Jimbo says:

    The word ‘denier’ is like water off a duck’s back to me. It is not the language of science but of losers. A sad bunch of arseholes arsenicus, now that is scientific. 🙂

  17. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  18. Brian H says:

    Apparently sceptics do not get as wrought up about saving the world from Greens as Greens get wrought up about saving the world from Global Warming. This is strange and unfortunate, as the former is far more important and difficult than the latter.

    • They are only humans who have made a mistake – or worse have trusted others who have made a mistake.

      They’re not evil just misguided.

      • Rachel says:

        That’s funny because I think the same of you. 🙂

        • Have you ever tried guiding sceptics? I heard someone talking about a group of people deciding where to go for a curry. At about twelve it takes an hour at about 17, they would starve before they made a decision.

          That critical figure is significantly smaller with sceptics.

      • neil craig says:

        Don’t agree. I don’t think any alarmist is unaware of the evidence that we are not experiencing catastrophic warming. They have made a specific decision to “believe” in despite of the evidence.

        Another touchstone is nuclear power. Anybody who genuinely believes CO2 caused warming is causing catastrophe must, by definition, support a massive increase in CO2 free nuclear power, yet the number who do is tiny. This is possible only if they know their warming scare is a fraud. Some of the statements you quoted on another thread also show alarmists clearly aware they are engaged in fraud. 28 gate proves the entire BBC knew they were engaged in murderous fraud.

        By comparison I have no doubt Hitler sincerely believed Jews should be killed & Stalin the same about Kulaks, for the greater good, but would not excuse them as merely misguided.

        The econazi movement has killed more than those 2 combined & has less excuse for alleging ignorance.

  19. Mr B says:

    Scottish Sceptic: ‘The claim that both sides are equally culpable does not stand up.’

    Scottish, you are clearly not reading your own blog, which features the term ‘econazi’ in the comments.
    [It wasn’t referring to an individual and as written is a subset of “Nazis” – however, on balance I think it could be taken as a suggestion that people who support the environment are Nazis so I think it is inappropriate as a label because of its implied moral overtones]

    There’s a deep irony here: climate sceptics seem to believe that holocaust denial is worse than the original atrocity. Something is very wrong with that scale of values.

    The problem may not be that sceptics are better people than warmers. It may just be that it is easier to see the faults in others than in ourselves.

    Where I think sceptics have a point is that the warming ‘side’ has much of the institutional power, and for that reason must take care not to abuse that power.

    But sceptics should also play the game. Besides the routine abuse and name-calling, many sceptics seem to go out of their way to discredit climate science and climate scientists.

    • Not sure if you meant what you wrote. On the holocaust denial – you are trying to say what we would say if we ever tried to defend a viewpoint that was denial.

      I’ve no idea what I would say in such a case. What I do know is that the aggression toward the Jews came as a result of the type of portrayal of them that sceptics have received.

      “But sceptics should also play the game.”

      If I am right, the very thing that makes people sceptics, also means they have little experience “playing the game”. I subscribe to the “average theory of IQ”, which is that we all have the same IQ, but that we have it in different places (I like theories that are obviously wrong because it avoids lengthy arguments about whether or not they are wrong).

      So, in principles, the skills sceptics have, make us much better at judging the evidence on the climate than any other group in society. But it also makes it damn near impossible for us to persuade any other group in society that we are right. Normally we contribute, because the sociological dynamics are different and we get champions to champion our views. Unfortunately, this time, the champions (maybe not meeting us personally and believing the false PR) have misunderstood the nature of our contribution to the detriment of society.

      The corollary is that there are areas where sceptics should not say anything – but do.

  20. Martin A says:

    Fighting Climate Change Deniers Is Like Fighting Hitler” Chris Huhne UK government minister

    And convicted criminal.

  21. Mr B says:

    Scottish Sceptic: ‘[It wasn’t referring to an individual and as written is a subset of “Nazis” – however, on balance I think it could be taken as a suggestion that people who support the environment are Nazis so I think it is inappropriate as a label because of its implied moral overtones]’

    You think the ‘econazi’ term is a mere suggestion? I’m not sure why individual slurs are worse than group ones, but your deletion of the word only underscores the obtuseness of those who focus on bad words: the accusation of genocide still stands in the above comment, despite the deletion.

    ‘On the holocaust denial – you are trying to say what we would say if we ever tried to defend a viewpoint that was denial.’

    No. My argument is: sceptics believe that ‘denier’ carries connotations of Holocaust denier. But a holocaust denier – however bad – is not as evil as the actual perpetrators of the Holocaust. Yet, skeptics are happy to brand their opponents with the Nazi tag. That’s the inversion of values I was referring to.

    ‘So, in principles, the skills sceptics have, make us much better at judging the evidence on the climate than any other group in society.’

    My impression of sceptics’ knowledge and understanding – of climate and other matters, and including sceptic scientists and commentators – is about average, no better or worse than warmers, so the question of superior understanding is moot.

    That said, climate sceptics provide a different perspective, so for that reason should be listened to. But of course the same could be said of warmers.

    (‘Playing the game’ is used in the old-fashioned sense of being true to principles of fair play.)

    • neil craig says:

      Somebody who wishes to use state power to silence dissent, through violence or censorship is a fascist. That’s what the word means. Mussolino held the opinion that a society in total agreement was stronger and used the fasces as a symbol of it.

      If they are fascists in the eco cause they are ecofascists.

      If they are in favour of mass murder in support of fascism that can properly be defined as Nazism. If in the eco cause then econazism.

      An example would be the gentleman who, when told that banning DDT was killing millions of African children replied “its as good a way as any” to get rid of them. Or somebody who doesn’t mind the 30,000 excess winter deaths we have had in the cause of windmills.

    • Neil & Mr B.

      I think you are both making well argued points about principles, so I’m letting the comments stand, but please avoid using them in general comments and particularly not about individuals. (And I reserve the right to change my view when I’ve thought about it more)

  22. Mr B says:

    neil craig: ‘If they are in favour of mass murder in support of fascism that can properly be defined as Nazism.’

    Nazism is a name, not a definition. What you are probably trying to say is that part of the definition of Nazism is being in favour of mass murder in support of fascism.

    But that’s by the by. What we’re talking about is equal culpability in terms of name-calling. You are effect agreeing with me, that name-calling comes from both sides of the climate debate, except that you are claiming justification for your brand of name-calling.

    • Surely the single most defining feature of Nazism, as e.g. opposed to the Germans in the first world war, is the way they systematically slaughtered innocent people on an industrial scale.

      It is not just the unintentional killing of innocent people – such as the shock figure of 30,000 deaths from cold in the UK last winter – it is the state planned killings which were known about by huge numbers of people in the Nazi party.

      • Mr B says:

        Scottish Sceptic: ‘Surely the single most defining feature of Nazism … is the way they systematically slaughtered innocent people on an industrial scale.’

        Yes, if there were a single defining feature of Nazism, it would be the racial policy. But note that the definition of Nazism as ‘being in favour of mass murder in support of fascism’ is not mine. I was simply helping Neil Craig to sort out the components of his own claimed definition.

        I’m not a big fan of argument by definition, because it tends to lead to sterile debates about the meanings of words.

        • neil craig says:

          I think getting the meaning of words right is important. Indeed I would go so far as to say that a lot of politicis is about using defining words. “Consensus” is obvious; “moderate” & “extremist” are used regularly; I once had a letter published in which I objected to an anti-smoking campaigner saying people should be “supported” to not smoke when she meant “forced”. Rewriting the language is a major theme of Orwell’s 1984 for this reason.

          So I am not using those terms merely as rudeness, though I grant they are often used so by those who have no knowledge of what they mean (eg the Anti-Fascist League). In the case of the Nazis the important point is their enthusiasm for mass death not the method used.

          • Mr B says:

            neil craig: ‘I think getting the meaning of words right is important.’

            So do I. But finding the meaning of a word is a relatively simple process: look up the word in a dictionary.

            ‘Getting the meaning of words right’ is not the same thing as calling someone a Nazi. When you call someone a Nazi, few people are confused about the meaning of the term.

            What matters is whether the word is used correctly or incorrectly.

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