As I’ve said on other threads far too often, I was extremely peeved to be banned for life from Comment is Free, the Guardian’s interactive website, since I think commenting there is one of the most useful things a simple footblogger in the Climate Wars can do.

The Guardian is read by Greens and the pro-green centre-left, so it’s possible to have a real debate, and perhaps influence opinion on the opposing side. Guardian readers are clearly far more numerous than those of any sceptical blog, they are more likely to be believers in global warming than readers of Delingpole or Booker, and they are therefore more in need of enlightenment. I also felt that if Guardian editors realised that a majority of readers did not accept the warmist argument, they might put pressure on the Environment Editors to be more even-handed in their treatment.

On the last point I was clearly totally wrong, as evidenced by a recent interview given by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger in “the Hindu” newspaper, in which he said:

“A year ago we decided the environment was the biggest story of our lives. So we have six reporters doing the environment … And then we built a network of … about 20 or 30 sites. A huge amount of editing and resources goes into the environment.” and by the comment by Environment Editor James Randerson that climate change is “editorial policy”.

Commenters here and elsewhere have objected that commenting on CiF is a waste of time, because of the distracting tactics of warmist trolls, and because of the apparent bias of moderators. Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) was recently prevented from commenting on the thread to his own article when he was subjected to “pre-moderation”. I’ve never been convinced that the moderators are biased, since warmist comments frequently disappear, even comments by Guardian contributors,  like Blucloud and GPWayne.

I’ve just conducted an experiment at CiF, and I’m fairly sure I know how the “censorship” works. I can state with certainty (well, let’s say, with IPCC-style 90% confidence) that:

  1. The moderators will not take the initiative in removing comments. They only act if someone presses the “report abuse” button with a justified complaint.
  2. One complaint is enough to get a comment removed.
  3. Since the rules list a large number of types of “abuse”, it is very easy for a determined troll to get an opponent removed by persistently reporting  abuse.

The debate on the infamous 10:10 “Splattergate” video is currently raging at:

At the time of writing, there were 100 comments on the above thread. Ten of them have been deleted, all of them posted by Onthefence, and all of them reported for abuse by me. They started at 15:28, when Onthefence addressed Ecocampaigner as follows:

“You laughed when Stephen Schneider died after being targetted in a hate mail campaign, and you went on to wish similar deaths on other climate scientists”.

Ecocampaigner replied, and Onthefence repeated his accusation at 15:34, 15:37, 15:45, 15:59, 16:15, 16:36, 17:27, 17:41, and 17:49. I reported abuse on two of the comments, adding that the statement was a lie. An hour later they had been deleted, but others kept popping up. I reported abuse each time, and they went, but I didn’t spot the first one until five hours later. I reported it, and forty minutes later it was gone.

The fact that the first abusive post stayed up after I’d reported and had deleted the other nine clearly demonstrates that the moderator didn’t read the other comments, even one posted six minutes before the comment he’s been invited to delete.

The fact that comments disappeared when and only when I reported them strongly suggests that I was the only one reporting abuse. It was obvious that Onthefence was being picked on, and it would  have been easy for anyone else to join in the fun and report his first abusive remark. The fact that it stayed up for five hours, until I spotted it and reported it, demonstrates that it was all my own work.

Clearly, the system is open to abuse. The fact that Ecocampaigner’s replies stay up, quoting Onthefence’s defamatory remarks, shows how ineffective the system is. If the Guardian carried out their stated policy of deleting replies to deleted posts, there would be nothing left on many threads. Clearly, the removal of polite, reasonable comments by the likes of Andrew Montford strongly suggests that dedicated warmist trolls are deliberately targeting the opponents they most fear. There is censorship at CiF, but it’s the work of commenters, not of the moderators, and it’s a result of a weakness in the Guardian’s system.

Let’s give the last word to the admirably even-tempered Ecocampaigner. Onthefence at 19:.41 complained that his comments were all deleted just after Ecocampaigner complained they were “off topic” To which Ecocampaigner replied at 19:54pm “It wasn’t me who complained, I’d have preferred it all stay up to be read. I want the world to see your viewpoint’.

Update 06/10/2010 20:40 :- The point I wanted to make is that, had I openly accused the commenter of lying on the thread, my comments would have been deleted. By secretly and anonymously accusing him of lying in my reports of abuse, I got his comments deleted. Clearly, there is something seriously wrong with the CiF moderation system.

116 Responses to “Moderation in Moderation: Comment is Free at The Guardian?”

  1. 1
    Alex Cull Says:

    Blimey, Geoff, that’s a savage thread even by CiF standards! And I would agree about the moderation, i.e., that the mods don’t actually read the comments but just react when someone pushes the report abuse button. “Moderation” is obviously not the right word for it.

    It’s a bit like a ref who spends the match napping in a deck chair next to the pitch, and participates only when he’s woken up by someone shouting “Foul”. And then starts to dish out yellow and (in your case) red cards without bothering to find out whether an offence occurred or what it was meant to have been.

    Basically, it’s sloppy, lazy and unfair; no wonder CiF has the reputation it has. Are the people at the Guardian masochistic, I wonder? This would explain a) the farcical, abuse-prone and counter-productive “moderation”, and b) their tone-deaf carry-on-regardless attitude to the 10:10 fiasco.

    If they really wanted the commentators to behave themselves and discuss the topic at hand in a civilised way, even the cycling Sumo wrestlers and all the other 10/10/10 happy fluff (not, it seems, that anyone wants to!), they would buck up their ideas and seriously re-think the way CiF is managed.

  2. 2
    Alex Cull Says:

    Geoff, yes I get your point now about the culture the Guardian is (unwittingly?) promoting. What a sad state of affairs it is, really.

  3. 3
    tempterrain Says:


    You say “…..commenting there is one of most useful things a simple footblogger in the Climate Wars can do.”

    Well I’m not sure about that. There are far too many “simple footbloggers” out there who have too much time on their hands anyway. And as the old saying goes its the empty vessels which make most noise. So I’m sure you won’t be missed!

    If you and and your other “simple footblogger” friends really would like to make a contribution, and you do have time and energy to spare, I’d suggest making the transition to slightly more complex footbloggers. First of all, by enrolling in evening classes to study basic Physics. Then maybe do a degree in the subject, and then you can take it even further and do Climate Science at postgraduate level.

    Who knows? You may even find you’ll have changed your mind by then, or maybe you won’t have. But either way you’ll at least know what you are talking about.

  4. 4
    geoffchambers Says:

    I love your example of the napping ref. The problem arises when one team is trying to play and the other is too busy reading the rule book, trying to bend the rules to their advantage. Almost every letter from a moderator I’ve had has been along the lines of “Why don’t you study the rule book, like the other players?”
    The net result is that, now I’m banned from contributing, I could, if I wanted, have a far greater effect ripping the threads to shreds with my big red button.

    Thanks for the advice, but I’m not the least bit interested in studying climate science, though I enjoy reading contributions from those like Tonyb and Max who are knowledgeable in this field.
    Everyone should know about basic physics of course. If you find any scientific errors in my article, please let me know.

  5. 5
    JunkkMale Says:

    I make no comment on the many ‘issues’ pertaining to climate science, politics, communications, etc. Another time; another place.

    But your ‘experiment’ with in theory free-speech commentary by and with the public by the MSM is indeed interesting, if obviously uncertain. At least you have outlined the clear limitations to the methodology. But then a senior BBC political editor yesterday based a whole post on what he called ‘strongly’ (as opposed to?) circumstantial support.

    ‘Clearly, the system is open to abuse.’

    I fear so. Where there are editors there will be editorial control. And behind that is corporate agenda. Always has been, always will be.

  6. 6
    James P Says:

    “Climate Science at postgraduate level”

    Failing that, there’s always the ‘Poetry and Climate Change’ combined PhD course at Durham, as pursued by one of the University Challenge competitors recently. Sounds like he’s hedging his bets!

    You have to wonder if the editors and contributors on the Grauniad ever pay any attention to the ‘recommends’ which seem to weigh heavily in favour of the sceptics, despite the attempts of their rivals to sabotage awkward comments. And they call us deniers!

  7. 7
    geoffchambers Says:

    “Where there are editors there will be editorial control”. And there’s nothing wrong with editorial control, based on editorial policy. The policy of CiF is “comment is free, but facts are sacred”. The policy of Guardian Environment is the unproven scientific hypothesis of Global Warming (now with new added Catastrophe / Chaos / Disruption). There’s a contradiction here.
    But my complaint was not about editorial control, but rather that the editors have effectively handed over control to the trolls. I can see how the “report abuse” system might work well on a thread on Middle East politics, say, where each “side” marks the other closely, eliminating abusive comments. On climate threads, the “game” is rather between sceptics trying to make substantive points, and believers trying by any means to stop them.

  8. 8
    JunkkMale Says:

    Ok, I see your point.

    But surely ceding control in such a manner is still a tacit form of editorial control, if trying to look like it’s not by a tenuous degree of separation?

  9. 9
    tonyb Says:


    You are a brave man enetering into that one sided arena. :)

    I have posted purely factual information there several times with a historic aspect to them.

    They were all deleted, except a couple which could then be taken completely out of context, so whoever was doing the deleting knew exactly what they were doing.

    I’m not sure if George Monbiot fully knows what is going on, but its difficult to believe he doesn’t due to his extremely close involvement over a period of years.

    However, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, so maybe a personal letter to him pointing out the situation might help?

    Its not right that the forum should be hijacked and abused in the way it sometimes is, especially when several of the usual trolls turn up.


  10. 10
    tempterrain Says:


    You claim to be “… not the least bit interested in studying climate science, though I enjoy reading contributions from those like Tonyb and Max who are knowledgeable in this field.”

    That does make sense in way! If you were genuinely interested then you’d really need to study the contributions of those who were actually qualified, rather than the musings of a couple of quacks.

    I’m not sure what the difference is, if any, between quacks and charlatans. Both would be completely unqualified in their claimed field of expertise of course. I found that one etymologistal trace of the word “charlatan” is from the Italian “ciarlare” meaning to prattle !

  11. 11
    manacker Says:


    You advise geoffchambers:

    If you were genuinely interested then you’d really need to study the contributions of those who were actually qualified, rather than the musings of a couple of quacks.

    Do you include yourself as a “quack”?

    If not, why not?

    Or are you more comfortable with the designation “charlatan”?

    Geoff is fully within his right to avoid getting into detailed discussions on scientific issues related to AGW without being berated by you for doing so.

    Instead of throwing out “ad homs”, Peter, address the real issues, as I have challenged you on the other thread. Show us that you can rationally discuss the “scientific issues”, not just throw out silly “ad homs”.


  12. 12
    geoffchambers Says:

    There’s been a long discussion of moderation on the article by the new editor of CiF at
    Commenter bosbefok (4 October 2010 10:22PM) says

    Confession time, folks.
    Once (or twice), when very bored and in a very evil mood, I have wreaked merry havoc on the threads under a couple of the more controversial articles, by reporting (repeatedly when the desired result was not achieved) any post which even vaguely transgressed community standards.
    By and large my bidding was done, and outraged comments about the out-of-control mods then followed.
    You see, folks, it’s oftentimes the mods just having to deal with abuse reports, so perhaps we should give them a break.

    and RapidEddie (5 October 2010 12:42AM) says:

    One type of comment that’s particularly prone to deletion is the passionately argued demolition of an ATL article. If you invest a lot of time in such a post – marshalling facts, creating a coherent argument and fashioning it with language that is forceful but not abusive – only to find it go down the moderation plughole because it shows up the ATL contributor as an incoherent sham, then why bother? … Bad moderation kills good debate.

    Tonyb #9
    One thing that gets you deleted is posting your own e-mail address. Also, I think a determined troll could zap you as “off-topic” if, for instance, on an article about the “worst arctic ice melt in thirty years” you insisted on talking about the ice melt in the early 19th century (how unscientific, quoting the words of an unlettered sailor!)

    JamesP #6
    I googled “climate change poetry” looking for a Guardian literary competition last year. I seem to remember a poem by “one of our leading poets” which started “I weep for you, polar bear” or some such. I got 2.9 million hits and gave up.

  13. 13
    Neil craig Says:

    I understand you can get back by using a different email. I decline to do so but I’m an arrogant bastard.

  14. 14
    geoffchambers Says:

    tempterrain #10
    I don’t need a degree in climate science to understand the meaning of “delete all e-mails”. I do feel the need for some input from specialists (journalists, social scientists etc) in order to understand the current behaviour of the scientific and political establishments.
    Here’s a thought I had, which I’d like to try out on you Peter, since I believe we are on the same political wavelength.
    The Guardian and its readers have been pushing a “progressive” viewpoint from a position of moral superiority for two centuries, opposing slavery, the oppression of women, colonialism, racism, etc. It comes as a shock to discover that modern conservatives (Delingpole, Brute, and half the voters of the western world) are no longer the racist, sexist , homophobic monsters of yesteryear. If we are to defeat them politically, it is no longer sufficient to claim moral superiority; we have to demonstrate that our policies work better than theirs. This involves hard stuff like economics and statistics.
    How much easier to read Naomi Klein and rage against the nasty multinationals! How nice it would be if some authority figure, with a better grasp of this hard stuff, could provide us with a scientific theory “proving” that the redistributive policies we believe in were necessary for the survival of the human race! And then along comes global warming, providing the moral authority we feel we’ve lost.

  15. 15
    JunkkMale Says:

    I’d hardly call it an experiment, but I did wonder a bit about a comment in this thread…

    … and sought to confirm its veracity, or at least any consistency in application.

    JRanderson 4 October 2010 1:31PM Hi The comments on this article ended after the standard 3 days.

    As it’s still active after 5 days, I’ guessing there are at least two standards.

  16. 16
    geoffchambers Says:

    NeilCraig #13
    I’ve resisted the temptation to comment under a pseudonym too. I can’t bear the idea of making a good point and no-one knowing it was me.
    Junkkmale #15
    Good point. I note above your comment at 8 October 2010 6:15PM a comment by Guardian journalist Juliette Jowitt that only four countries had not signed up for “’s global work party” (no mention anywhere of 10:10) and asking for residents of the four laggards to put pressure on them. This is politics for the militant stamp collector.
    Alas, just above your comment at 7 October 2010 9:09AM is one by Tempterrain suggesting that, if children shouldn’t be blown up, maybe “that Joanna Nova woman” should.

  17. 17
    James P Says:

    Geoff (12)

    “climate change poetry”

    I think it was ‘poetry and climate change’ rather than ‘poetry with climate change’, but I take your point. Either way, I think that confirms climatology as anything but a hard science!

  18. 18
    tempterrain Says:


    So it has come as a shock, has it, to discover “that modern conservatives, Delingpole, Brute, and half the voters of the western world are no longer the racist, sexist , homophobic monsters of yesteryear.” ?

    Have these leopards really changed their spots? I haven’t heard any public contrition from these ex-monsters of just how wrong they were in the past about the Vietnam War, South Africa, Chile, Segregation in the US, their reluctance to decriminalise homosexuality etc etc etc. They’ve begrudgingly accepted that they’ve lost on these issues and that the world has moved on. Having done that they may as well do what they can to pick up the votes of ethnic and sexual minorities.

    Incidentally, they haven’t accepted they’ve lost yet in supporting the notion that Israelis and Palestinians should be divided according to race and religion but that’s another and continuing story.

    The situation in the US has been compared to that of Germany in the 20′s and 30′s. That may be pushing it a bit far but just mentally substitute the word ‘Jew’ for ‘Muslim’ every time you see or hear it in the US media and you’ll see what people are getting at.

    Any changes are superficial. But even if they weren’t, this is all quite irrelevant to the question of whether mainstream science is correct on the question of AGW. These new Rightists are bound to have a difficulty with any issue which involves collective action as part of a solution. What they say is entirely predictable and I’m surprised you can’t see that.

  19. 19
    Brute Says:

    So it has come as a shock, has it, to discover “that modern conservatives, Delingpole, Brute, and half the voters of the western world are no longer the racist, sexist , homophobic monsters of yesteryear.” ?


    You certain you don’t want to retract that statement?

  20. 20
    JunkkMale Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Alas, just above your comment at 7 October 2010 9:09AM is one… suggesting that, if children shouldn’t be blown up, maybe “that Joanna Nova woman” should.

    I have mixed feelings on the matter of ‘two wrongs…’ in a debate. I can’t honestly say I am always above it, as sometimes rampant hypocrisy in the ‘Do as I say, not as me and my mates do’ mould needs highlighting.

    It’s a dodgy line to walk.

    And, sadly, just one rather extreme counter can undo a lot of worthy argument by many others if played back.. and to the crowd.

    The whole thing is becoming like a a Graham Greene novel in many ways. Over at BBC’s Editor’s Blog, there is a move suggesting that some posters, by being so grotesque, are in fact ‘plants’ for one ‘side’ to taint the efforts of the other by association.

    This is very subtle stuff. hard to try and second guess, too. I read what I read, and proceed on that basis, Any more is head doing-in territory.

    But it does go back to the relationship between mods and some posters. Though as hard for a mod to suss a play, they can often in my view seem very indulgent of the extremes, especially those that bury personal stuff in a screed of tripe.

    If organised/deliberate, beyond asking why anyone would, beyond aforementioned discrediting of ‘a view’, or indeed the blog thread value, I do worry about the mental state if these folk are just taking stuff very personally.

    Which is why using a pseudonym can be slightly reassuring, TBH.

  21. 21
    tempterrain Says:


    You ask “You certain you don’t want to retract that statement?”

    Yes I probably should. I was quoting from GC which is why your name got in there!

  22. 22
    tonyb Says:

    Brute #19

    Don’t worry, Max and I got roundly insulted in Peters #10. Yesterday I defended Dr Hansen in the other thread, today I’m defending Peter (just this once) I think if you look at #10 it was Geoff who made the comment, but you need to see the context.

    I think it is wrong to call Peter a troll as Bob did, but certainly Peter has a ferociously closed mind further clouded by politics and his personal beliefs. He is not above ignoring information he doesn’t like, sidestepping neatly, or altering it to suit his argument. A shame because he is obviously an intelligent person who can be thoughtful and funny.

    Michael Crichton probably summed up the sort of adversary Peter has become;

    “Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good.

    On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way.

    They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view.”

    A shame really.


  23. 23
    Alex Cull Says:

    Re the Guardian, surely the bottom line is this – either:

    a) The process is broken and the mods/site administrators/managers are incompetent and do not have a clue as to what is happening, or
    b) The mods/admins and possibly George Monbiot, James Randerson et al, are aware of what is happening and tacitly support it, i.e., are complicit.

    If a) is the case, it can be drawn to their attention and the problem can be fixed.
    If b) is the case, then it makes the idea of an honest debate on CiF into a mockery and a waste of time.

    RapidEddie, as quoted in Geoff’s #12, puts it succinctly. If b) is the case, what is the use of playing by the rules and attempting to engage in honest debate? To have a bigger impact, it might be more effective to take a leaf out of the Guardian’s book and abandon integrity, set up an army of sockpuppets and merrily wage guerrilla warfare, for instance create a plausible green persona who will one minute extol the virtues of composting and the next minute will wonder what was actually wrong with the “No Pressure” movie, or argue that Pol Pot had some surprisingly good ideas. To use Junkkmale’s excellent expression, this is indeed “head doing-in territory.”

    Re a PhD degree in poetry and climate change, I first thought James P was joking and this was a spoof, but I should have known better when it comes to all things climate change. Here’s someone actually studying this at Durham University.

    “He is interested in the way that conventional ecocriticism is unable to satisfactorily address the issue of global warming and how the phenomenon forces us to reconsider romantic or representational paradigms of nature. He is investigating how a poetic mode of fragmentation and connectivity such as that used by modernist writers is available as a powerful way of rethinking our relationship to global environmental crisis, and is looking in particular at freak weather and seasonal order/disorder in TS Eliot, Wallace Stevens and Basil Bunting.”

    You know, Britain is no longer a military, engineering or economic superpower, but when it comes to poetry and climate change, I bet that we lead the world.

    [I've contacted the PhD student concerned to ask him if he would like to contribute, in which case I will open a new thread about this. Things are seldom quite as simple as they seem. TonyN]

  24. 24
    tonyb Says:


    Durham is a world class university that was the second choice of my son to study physics. He eventually went to Cambridge.

    Hopefully the student concerned will be able to clarify the situation as I don’t want to believe that Durham would get involved in something that-on the surface- appears rather trivial.

    As I suggested earlier in the thread why doesn’t someone actually write (not email) George Monbiot and ask him if he knows what is going on in his name?

    I’m not a frequent enough contributor there to feel that bothered, but it obviously matters and those regularly affected should get to the bottom of it.


  25. 25
    manacker Says:


    Peter’s posts on this thread (as well as on the NS thread) reveal that he has a very “black and white” outlook on politics and AGW, which he extrapolates to other sciences.

    “Right-wingers” are “anti-science” (and therefore do not believe that AGW is a threat to humanity, do not accept the Darwinian theories of evolution, believe in “creationism” or “intelligent design”, do not believe that smoking causes cancer, etc, etc.). They pretend to support individual freedom and liberty, but this is simply a cover-up for their selfish, anti-social, capitalistic mindset.

    “Left-wingers”, on the other hand, embrace “mainstream science”, including the IPCC view on AGW. They support redistribution of wealth (including the higher taxes which are necessary to achieve this), large international government interventions to solve global problems, all in sort of an idealistic “kumbaya” brotherhood to save humanity from the greedy capitalists.

    These are the only two groups that exist in Peter’s mind. You are either “with us or against us”, period.

    He cannot accept a more nuanced world, where politically “left-leaning” individuals (possibly like yourself) could actually reject the dangerous AGW postulation, although he can grudgingly concede that there could be “right-wingers” who have “seen the light” on AGW (see Ed West blogs on NS thread).

    By redefining the whole DAGW debate as a “right versus left” political struggle, Peter can avoid discussing the flaws in the “science” supporting the DAGW premise.

    It becomes a convenient side-track to deflect the debate away from the scientific weaknesses in the DAGW premise.

    That’s my analysis, after having observed Peter in action for a couple of years.

    The Guardian site attracts some more virulent DAGW believers than Peter. These individuals use personal “ad hom” attacks to deflect from the real issues. I suspect that some of these individuals also push the “delete” button when a post hits too close to home, but that is just my conclusion.

    Unlike RealClimate and some of the other “pro-DAGW” sites (which ruthlessly censor out anything that goes against the “party line”), the Harmless Sky blog site (all threads) has done a marvelous job of allowing all dissenting opinion, provided it stays more or less on topic and there are no truly inappropriate ad hom attacks – hats off to TonyN for that!


  26. 26
    geoffchambers Says:

    tempterrain #18
    You say a leopard doesn’t change his shorts (sorry, that was Pratchett – I couldn’t resist) but the point is that Delingpole, Brute &co never were racist, sexist, homophobe etc, possibly due to the total victory of our way of thinking 20, 30, 50 years ago. A certain model of conservative “enemy” has disappeared, and many on the left seem to regret it.
    Franny Armstrong said she didn’t really want to kill sceptics, simply amputate them. You, in your comment on the Guardian thread, say you don’t want to blow up children, simply Joanne Nova and a number of others you name. After the enormous fuss over Splattergate, the fact that both you and Franny go and make exactly the same “mistake” seems odd, to say the least.
    I note you retract the remark about Brute. Thanks for that.

  27. 27
    geoffchambers Says:

    Junkkmale #20
    On “plants” by the other side:
    There used to be a hilarious lady on Guardian Environment threads called GreenAngelChloe, a primary school teacher who thought democracy and legal process were luxuries we could ill afford in these catastrophic times. She recounted how she made the little children cry with her song “No more snow”. Eventually, some hard-hearted warmist accused her of being a sceptic double agent and she went away.
    I used to be careful about insults, not only for fear of the moderator, but because of two commenters who admitted that the reason they posted so often was because they were in hospital and unlikely to come out. It’s a complex ecosystem, is CiF.
    Alex Cull #23
    Our musings as to what is going on behind the scenes at Guardian CiF remind me of articles by Kremlinologists about what was “really” happening in the Soviet Union.
    I don’t believe Monbiot actually intervenes personally in the moderation. How would it work? Would it be like Dick Cheney in the Air Defence Ops Room on 9/11? (“Go have a coffee young man. I’ll deal with this one”) He certainly uses the below-the-line comments to his advantage, fielding the easy ones, pointing out the more stupid comments, and ignoring the hard questions. It’s not a level playing field, but why should it be?
    When I posted this three days ago, I signalled this post, plus a similar one at Bishop Hill, to the moderator with whom I had previously been in contact, asking her to forward the link to the new CiF editor Nathalie Hanman. TonyN also invited the Guardian to participate. If there’s no reply, I think the next stage would be to contact Ms Hanman directly. Her two recent posts inviting comments on CiF have gathered about 2000 comments, though none, of course, from those of us who are banned.

  28. 28
    manacker Says:


    You raised a very interesting point. The accepted world views on race, sex, homosexuality, religious tolerance, etc. have changed fundamentally over the past 50 years, at least in the developed “western” society. Those who have always pushed for this change can be pleased that it has taken place.

    I would hope that the incredible intolerance of dissenting opinion exhibited by the 10:10 “Splattergate” fiasco and echoed by Peter (in jest, I hope) is an aberration and that most supporters of the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis are more tolerant toward those who do not share their view (I’ll agree that maybe this is naïve of me).

    However, there are still many parts of the world where these views have not changed substantially, i.e. where women are still suppressed, where homosexuality is condemned as a “sin” (or even a punishable “crime”), where women are sold into marriage, where marital infidelity (by a woman) is punishable by death, where “infidels” are fair game for murder, where a “holy war” justifies killing even those who are not “infidels”, etc. And these views are not limited to just the Islamic world. Controlling population growth may be a necessary and even a good thing, but killing female newborns to achieve it (as happens frequently in China), is not, nor is squashing or persecuting political dissent groups.

    Since WWII and the fall of the USSR, society no longer tolerates (real) “death trains”, “gulags” and “extermination camps”, but “ethnic and political cleansing” still occurs (Cambodia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Kashmir, East Timor, Darfur are some recent examples).

    But back to our “western” world. What role did the “left” play in changing the generally accepted views on race, sex, homosexuality, religious tolerance, etc. over the past 50 years?

    I would agree with you that pressure from the “left” certainly played a role, but that other factors also came into play. Arguably, these include increased affluence and education.

    For me the big question is whether or not we can defend our open world view against those who are determined to destroy us for having it.

    To me this is a far greater and more imminent threat than a few tenths of a degree warming (possibly partially) attributable to human use of energy, itself essential in order to support our modern, affluent society.

    Is the distraction presented by the “rich man’s” guilt-driven fixation on AGW causing us to ignore an even greater threat to our society?

    Leaving intolerance of dissent on AGW aside for now, will a more tolerant and “politically correct” view of the “left” toward other belief systems end up opening the door to those who want to destroy us? Can we deflect this threat by promoting education and even greater tolerance or do we need to take more defensive protective action? These are questions that many Swiss are asking themselves (and I am sure that it is not only the Swiss).


  29. 29
    Neil Craig Says:

    “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” Robert Heinlein

    I think what has happened is that the “left” has, because of “leftist” movement on various social issues, because of the rise of libertarianism as an ideal on the right & because of the collapse of a coherent idealogy (communism) on the left, become a much more congenial place for control minded people to reside. For example note that historically “conservation” was a conservative movement & yet is now accepted as far leftist.

  30. 30
    Jack Hughes Says:

    Here is my dissertation in Poetry and Climate Change:

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of bloody windmills;

  31. 31
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    A suggested second verse to your “Poetry and Climate Change” ode:

    They were so quiet – why? I pondered
    And then I saw that they were still
    I scratched my head and then I wondered
    Why are they up there on that hill?

  32. 32
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    At the risk of overdoing it, here is a suggested third (and final) verse to your “windmill” ode:

    These windmills were quite dear, I thought
    But yet they’re everywhere to see,
    “Who’s payed for this?” my question sought
    And then I realized it’s “me”.

  33. 33
    Brute Says:

    Here’s my poem:

    Windmills suck.

    (The end)

  34. 34
    tempterrain Says:

    Neil Craig,

    You say “that historically ‘conservation’ was a conservative movement & yet is now accepted as far leftist.”

    ‘Conservation’ of the type you are thinking about was perhaps the creation of fenced off hunting grounds for Royalty and other landed gentry from and from where the lower orders could be expelled and excluded. That’s still an issue to some extent, even today, in the creation of protected zones for wild animals in Asia and Africa. Tigers or Gorillas aren’t going to be able to easily co-exist alongside human settlement.

    The modern conservation movement is often described as ultra-left, even though many of its most enthusiastic supporters may come from the wealthier social classes and even may even think of themselves as Liberals or Conservatives rather than Socialist.

    So why ultra-left? The answer is simply that they get in the way of large multi-national corporations who put their profits before the environment. Anyone who crosses them must be a subversive Marxist!

  35. 35
    tempterrain Says:


    You say “Right-wingers” are ‘anti-science’ (and therefore do not believe that AGW is a threat to humanity, do not accept the Darwinian theories of evolution, believe in ‘creationism’ or ‘intelligent design’, do not believe that smoking causes cancer, etc, etc..”

    There are a few points in there which aren’t quite right. I’ve read that conservative types like Fred Singer have actually done some good stuff in the past. Teller, one of the developers of the H bomb, and who was notoriously right wing, still needed some good science to get the bomb working regardless of the ethical considerations involved.

    Multinational companies aren’t necessarily anti-science either. There can be good profits in all kind of scientific and hi-tech enterprises. But what happens when or if science findings threaten those profits? Of course, exactly that happened in the tobacco industry. The industry fought for 30 years or more – in some parts of the world they still haven’t given up arguing the toss about the scientific evidence.

    I must say I have recently changed my opinion about the sincerity of their arguments in the 70′s and 80′s. Previously I had always assumed that they’d known full well they were in the wrong but had deliberately lied to justify their own existence.

    Now I think that it’s quite possible that it involved a much more complex process with a large measure of human psychology included. Because they wanted there to be no problem with their product they had actually convinced themselves that there wasn’t, regardless of the evidence in front of them. Many individual smokers, of course, argued along the same lines.

    It also seems to be quite possible to know one thing but actually believe the opposite. I can’t speak from personal experience, but when you look at cases like this:

    There seems to be no other explanation.

    I’m not necessarily equating creationism with AGW scepticism , though I’m sure there is a high degree of correlation in the US Bible belt, but the NY Times article does cast some light on how intelligent people like Fred Singer can take a contrarian view on both AGW and tobacco smoking regardless of the evidence.

    Are there other scientists who actually know one thing to be true but say the opposite because they are paid by big corporations to make their case? Possibly, but I think it’s not too difficult to listen to a lawyer and know he’s just presenting his case. I’d say Ian Plimer is doing just that but I doubt if he’ll ever admit it.

  36. 36
    manacker Says:


    You wrote:

    You say “Right-wingers” are ‘anti-science’ (and therefore do not believe that AGW is a threat to humanity, do not accept the Darwinian theories of evolution, believe in ‘creationism’ or ‘intelligent design’, do not believe that smoking causes cancer, etc, etc..”

    That’s not quite correct. I wrote that you appear to have this ‘very “black and white” outlook on politics and AGW’.

    I agree with your latest statement that being a “right-winger” (or “left-winger”) has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s outlook on “science” (or specifically on the ongoing scientific debate surrounding the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis).

    Glad you cleared this up (and that you no longer regard geoffchambers, TonyB, Bob_FJ, Brute, myself and all the others here as “Bible-thumping, anti-science, ultra-right-wingers”, simply because we have not bought into your personal view on “dangerous AGW”.

    This makes it much easier to discuss the scientific issues without getting side-tracked into meaningless political discussions.

    The “tobacco industry” analogy is so far-removed from the scientific debate on DAGW, that it is totally irrelevant (even if one or the other scientist on either side of the debate may have smoked or may have felt that smoking was no problem). It is an unrelated side-track, Peter, and you’d be wise to drop it and stick with the science supporting or falsifying the DAGW hypothesis, instead.


  37. 37
    manacker Says:


    You ask in 35:

    Are there other scientists who actually know one thing to be true but say the opposite because they are paid by big corporations to make their case?

    Let me rephrase this so that it applies more generally to the ongoing AGW debate:

    Are there other scientists who actually know one thing to be true but say the opposite because they are paid by politicians to make their case for carbon taxes?

    Possibly (for both premises). But who knows what goes on in a person’s mind?


  38. 38
    tempterrain Says:


    It is not so much “black and white” as stating the obvious. Which is that none of you have actually decided your stance on AGW, by a detailed study on the merits, or otherwise, of the mainstream scientific case.

    My so-called “latest statement that being a “right-winger” (or “left-winger”) has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s outlook on ‘science’” is actually pretty much the opposite of what I’m saying. I’m saying that you’ve all prejudged the issue without considering the strength of the scientific case. How can you have? You don’t understand it.

    While there may be a few, but not many, on the political left who think the AGW issue is just another way for wicked capitalists to increase their expropriation of the surplus value created by the labour of the proletariat, it is overwhelmingly the “new right” who have the main problem. As you’ve explained very well they think “[scientists] are paid by politicians to make their case for carbon taxes”.

    So, what does this amount to? Ultra right-wing libertarians and some ultra-leftists who are essentially in agreement, although they wouldn’t like to acknowledge that, and may choose to explain themselves a little differently!

    It’s us moderate, and sensible people who reject all this political nonsense and go along with what every organisation of scientific repute are advising.

  39. 39
    manacker Says:


    You claim (38)

    that none of you have actually decided your stance on AGW, by a detailed study on the merits, or otherwise, of the mainstream scientific case

    This is pure rubbish, of course.

    You are simply making an assumption that I (and others) “have decided our stance on AGW” based on something other than “a detailed study on the merits, or otherwise, of the mainstream scientific case”.

    Can you substantiate this notion, or have you just pulled it out of thin air?

    I have shown you repeatedly why the “mainstream scientific case” is weak because it is not supported by empirical scientific observations and you have been unable to refute this by citing these empirical data.

    Sorry, Peter. All the waffling in the world plus your unsubstantiated assumptions regarding my basis for doubting the scientific validity of the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis simply won’t hack it.

    Bring the scientific evidence, Peter, as you have been asked ad nauseam to do.

    Otherwise we will all have to conclude that they do not exist, and that the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis is not supported by empirical scientific evidence.



  40. 40
    Brute Says:

    Wow Pete……For all of your proclamations describing yourself as a “good Liberal” I think that you have some work to do in the tolerance department.

    You continuously denigrate and bad mouth “religion” but I’ve noticed that it’s only Christianity that you loathe.

    You don’t disguise your deep seated hatred very well I must say!

    I’ve seen your type before……you’re the anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-establisment, anti-progress, anti-Capitalism type (Peace, Love, Dope!)…..a professional malcontent.

    A self loathing white guy wracked with guilt due to the “sins” of “your people” perpetrated on the “less fortunate” peoples of the world….you’re a crusader……(Now, a rebel without a cause).

    The “60′s” ended 40 years ago Pete…..time to put on your big girl panties and grow up.

    You really should go and see a shrink to work out all of the hatred inside of yourself.

  41. 41
    manacker Says:


    Before we break off this rather repetitive and increasingly boring exchange, let me ask you three point-blank questions.

    In comparison with other bloggers here who have not accepted the “dangerous AGW” premise,

    1. Do you think that you are inherently more intelligent? (Y/N)

    2. Do you think that you are more “open-minded”? (Y/N)

    3. Do you think that you are more “technically or scientifically qualified” to make a judgment on DAGW? (Y/N)

    If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, please specify your reasoning.


  42. 42
    geoffchambers Says:

    Max, PeterM
    The scientific debate doesn’t belong on ths thread. Neither, strictly, does the debate about the relation between the politics and the science. Its introduction here was probably my fault, when I suggested that the moral imperatives provided by global warming tended to appeal to the Guardian and its “progressive” minded readers (including me and PeterM) who have difficulty dealing with a Right which can no longer be dismissed as morally despicable.
    Since we’re here, I think we could probably agree – couldn’t we? – that, independently of the truth of the hypothesis, a scientific theory which provides a moral imperative for helping the third world, and limiting the power of multinationals to lay waste to the environment, is going to appeal to left wing utopians and bureaucratic busybodies. And it’s going to annoy anyone who doesn’t like being told what to do, and doesn’t want to pay more taxes. That’s practically everybody, of course, but it’s those on the right who have a more sensitive nose for that sort of thing, and so they are the ones who will protest first and loudest.
    In the USA the political divisions seem to bear out this analysis. In Britain, the “natural” tendency for debate to form itself around recognisable poles of left and right, libertarians and authoritarians, seems to have broken down, and we see the normally libertarian Guardian (not only them) suppressing debate in a most authoritarian fashion, and pacifists expressing violent authoritarian fantasies, etc.

  43. 43
    manacker Says:


    Point well made (42).

    I rest my case.

    The general discussion on the “science” and “politics” behind the “dangerous AGW” premise should move to the NS thread. Agreed.


  44. 44
    Neil Craig Says:

    Tempterrain your assessment of why “Greenns” are considered far left – that they are opposed to multinational companies (excepy 02, Shell, windmill mutinationals etc which fund them) – does not expalin the important point – thjat the Greens are accepted as far left by what remains of the socialist & communist movements. As you enthusiastically showed they were not historically of the left & as opponents of scientific progress stand for preciely the opposite of what Marx stood for.

    To say that the “right” is “anti-science” because much of it doesn’t believe the current catastrophic warming scam, or the previous ice age tale, is simply yah boo debate & does not deserve an answer.

  45. 45
    geoffchambers Says:

    NeilCraig #44
    The fact that green ideas are considered “far left” and are adopted unthinkingly by trots and anarchists, as well as by orthodox centre left parties, is indeed an odd thing about modern politics. Climate Resistance are specialists in the discussion of this topic, and their latest article is both illuminating and very funny. See:

  46. 46
    Brute Says:


    I don’t pretend to know all of the idiosyncrasies of British politics; however, it is telling that a bomb throwing environmentalist radical is now representing the political left.

    Perhaps Peter should look at the other side of the coin (objectively).

    Again, as previously noted, I find it curious that Marxism is the Left’s solution to a “scientific” problem.

  47. 47
    JunkkMale Says:

    geoffchambers says:
    October 10th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    The link in turn links to another Graun piece I was not aware of until now, which was was, again, revealing, especially this piece:

    ‘It has received over 170,000 views on YouTube and postings on countless other sites.

    Lot of people hated it though.’

    This moved me to point to mutual exclusivity being attempted here between those who viewed it and those who liked it, a bit like the ‘split’ the BBC tried to set up on those pro and con on the original ‘look at what we’ve got’ teaser thread they linked at the Graun.

    Plus another opportunity to note the 3-day thread closing rule was again… ‘flexible”, more by whim than anything.

  48. 48
    tempterrain Says:


    Re your #40. It sounds like someone has rattled your cage and disturbed your slumbers. But it wasn’t me, at least not recently. Honestly. :-)

  49. 49
    Barry Woods Says:

    THere is Moderation at work…

    I have had numerous comments in pre-moderation..

    Only for them NEVER to appear..

    Thus, no commnetor would have been able to report abuse against it, becaue the moderators never allowed it inthe first place.

  50. 50
    tonyb Says:

    Barry Woods

    Did you see the reply I gave to you over at Climate etc regarding the indoctrination of school children?

    I have had a couple of comments that never appeared at the Guardian but just assumed it was one of those things and I hadn’t posted it correctly. It has happended here and that seems to be related to the number of links involved.

    I really don’t think the Guardian is a venue that I want to bother about seeing as its guarded by some very fierce trolls-One of whom has just appoeared at Climate etc.


  51. 51
    geoffchambers Says:

    Barry’s post is at:
    and Tonyb’s at:
    Under premoderation your comment gets delayed, so you can’t take part in the debate, even if it appears eventually. It happened to me when I was rude about Berlusconi, and I suppose it can be justified when there are fears of libellous commments, for instance. Then I imagine the moderator hands the decision up to a higher authority. I imagine Tonyb and maybe Barry had their comments removed because of the number of links, which could be interpreted as spamming.
    The interest of posting at CiF to me is in being able to contact a large number of possibly curious readers. When I started about wo years ago, I made a point of linking to WUWT and ClimateAudit as often as possible, because it was quite clear that many sceptics or “undecideds” were quite unaware of mainstream sceptic blogs. Later, I tried to link to here or Clmate Resistance or Omniclimate, to encourage traffic on the British based blogs. Guardian Environment is quite openly a medium for warmist propaganda, and I felt I was doing my bit if I could use it to counter their own biasses.

  52. 52
    Jack Hughes Says:

    Hope this isn’t too OT.

    I feel strongly about the indoctrination of schoolchildren

    My own child is now learning about “sustainability” in her science class.

    Maybe someone can give us a quick summary of what “sustainability” is and how it can be measured. If I went to the library would books on this subject be in the science section – or would they be in “economics ” or “politics” or even “new age”.

  53. 53
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    You asked what “sustainability” means. Let’s check Wiki:

    Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.

    OK. That sounds like a “scientific” sort of definition that is devoid of “political double-talk”. Sort of describes the way that polar bears have survived climate swings in the Arctic, including prolonged periods that were much warmer than today.

    But let’s read on:

    Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity.

    Hmm. This is beginning to sound a bit less “scientific” and a bit more “sociological”. But let’s continue:

    Sustainability economics involves ecological economics where social, cultural, health-related and monetary/financial aspects are integrated. Moving towards sustainability is also a social challenge that entails international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.

    Oh-oh! This is beginning to sound like socio-political double-talk with very little “science” involved.

    Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities)…

    “Ecovillages?” Oops! This sounds like total gibberish.

    …reappraising economic sectors (permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture)…

    Ouch! Hold on to your wallets…

    …using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy), to adjustments in individual lifestyles that conserve natural resources.

    Well, at least we’ve got “science” back into the equation. But the rest sounds like total political gobbledygook to me.

    But then I didn’t take the “science” course your daughter is taking now. I just studied chemistry…


  54. 54
    Jack Hughes Says:

    Thanks, Max.

    It looks like a mixture of vague nonsense and circular references.

  55. 55
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    Yeah. Circular or elliptical.

    At the risk of her getting a bad grade on the “science” test, clear your daughter up on the facts.

    After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some “fuzzy logic” science teacher.


  56. 56
    tempterrain Says:

    Max, Jack,

    “Sustainability” ?

    What about “affirming the validity” of? For instance, in a court of law, any objection from you lot would be overruled on the grounds that you didn’t know what you were talking about, whereas if you were to go along and study climate science properly at your local university you might find that what you had to say may be sustained!

  57. 57
    Barry Woods Says:

    I had comments THAT NEVER appeared with NO LINKS. only a coupleof sentences..

    On the LOvelock interview in the Guardian, when LOvelock said the computer models are rubbish…

    I only put:

    I wonder what George Monbiot will make of that!

    NEVER appeared.

  58. 58
    geoffchambers Says:

    I’m sure you’re right (in fact I know you’re right, because it’s happened to me) that comments disappear without trace for no reason. Some people just can’t resist pushing that big red button. The point of this article was simply to indicate how one zealous troll (me, in this case) can “punish” a commenter who oversteps the line, without the moderator apparently using his judgement. I accused a commenter of lying, the moderator believed me, and deleted ten comments on my say-so. All I would say in defence of moderators is that they are NOT in the pockets of the journalists, as I will demonstrate in a later post.

  59. 59
    manacker Says:


    To “sustainability” you quoted another (legal rather than scientific) meaning:

    “Sustainability” ?

    What about “affirming the validity” of?

    Well, Jack Hughes’ daughter is not learning about “sustainability” in a “Law” course , but rather in a “Science” course (where I personally think she should be learning about real “science”, such as “biology”, “chemistry”, “physics”, etc. rather than the fuzzy socio-political concept of “sustainability”).

    But let’s use your definition, anyway.

    You refer to “climate science” as the field:

    if you were to go along and study climate science properly at your local university you might find that what you had to say may be sustained

    Using the legal definition of “sustainability” (i.e. “affirming the validity of”) I’d say that the “validity” of the dangerous AGW premise in climate science has not been “sustained”, i.e. scientifically “affirmed” by the scientific method.

    We’ve discussed this before on the other thread, Peter. It is the “fatal flaw” of your premise.

    But this whole discussion belongs on the other thread, Peter.


  60. 60
    Alex Cull Says:

    Re moderation/censorship, there’s a comment on this Guardian thread that appears relevant:

    Mitzcici: 12 October 2010 8:18AM

    christineottery @ 11 October 2010 7:31PM

    If you are so sure that good reporting requires truth, why do you keep censoring comments about some scientists who disagree with you? Truth isn’t just what you print it’s about what you refuse to let your readers hear. Lies by omission.

    And this is relevant to this thread – you were the one who mention 97% of scientists … global warming consensus. Well here’s evidence, strong evidence, that the consensus that you mention may be based on rotten foundations.

    11 October 2010 2:57PM


    Thanks for your replies, but there really is not the consensus you suggest there is. I suggest you read the resignation letter of Professor Harold Lewis, which delivers a damning assessment of the politicisation and corruption of science which has happened.

    You would have been able to read it here, except your moderators deleted my post referring to it, and also deleted several other comments (including a couple which reproduced the letter), indeed removing the entries entirely so that people couldn’t even see that they had been moderated.

    It really is like a Police State. Comment is free (if you agree).

  61. 61
    JunkkMale Says:

    As read more and more, this keeps popping into my head:

    ‘All comment is equal, but some is less equal than others’.

    I might write a book about it, but only once I’ve fed the Old Spots.

  62. 62
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex Cull #60
    Thanks for the link. This is an interesting case, where we can follow the moderator’s logic.
    In the first four hours four comments had been deleted. Then between 2.33pm and 7.31pm the author of the article Christine Ottery posted eight (!) times in reply to comments. In her second post (2.50pm) she says “can we avoid ad hominem attacks on Omond, Monbiot (how did he get dragged into this?) or myself here? It gets pretty boring after a while”. The ad hominems must be among the four posts deleted up to then, because the only mention of Monbiot is in a post pointing out that Ottery is a researcher for him!
    In this post she also says: “You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that there is a scientific consensus”, and here you can see what has happened. In the article she makes no claims about global warming, so Mitzcici’s reference to Lewis’s resignation is obviously off-topic. Only when Ottery mentions consensus at 2.50pm does it become on-topic. Mitzcici’s comment arrived just 7 minutes later and was deleted. His/her complaint of 8.18am today is still up, plus three more comments. The latest, just arrived at 2.39pm, is a gem:

    The Guardian is a mirror image of the Mail. Each panders to its readers’ prejudices, slants stories and cherry picks data. The comments in each are littered with extreme rantings but… and this is the great but.. on both there is a good body of people who go ‘come off it, we can see through that’. It’s nice to know that most people are smarter than the newpapers give them credit for.

  63. 63
    tempterrain Says:


    There is no saying in the English language to the effect that “comment is equal”, the Guardian use the word “free”. However there is a saying : “empty vessels make the most noise”. So maybe what you are really objecting to are the Guardian’s use of noise filters?

  64. 64
    JunkkMale Says:

    @tempterrain says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    There is no saying in the English language to the effect that “comment is equal”, the Guardian use the word “free”. However there is a saying : “empty vessels make the most noise”. So maybe what you are really objecting to are the Guardian’s use of noise filters?

    Never said there was. I was merely adapting an actual quoted comment, from George Orwell, which seem apposite. So, actually, there is now. I just wrote it.

    Both were… are about some saying one thing, but doing another…. somewhat in favour of their own superior notions over others despite sanctimonious protestations of equality.

    It’s always interesting when such points get made, especially for one.

    ps: It’s JunkkMale. Amazing how many seem to like to use their own mis-spelling in personal references, for some reason.

  65. 65
    tempterrain Says:

    Yes, except that George Orwell was talking about animals not comments. Although there was notional equality of the animals in the constitution, it didn’t extend to an acceptance that the sheeps’ or hens’ utterances or comments were the equal of the pigs’, for example.

  66. 66
    JunkkMale Says:

    Er, whatever… you wish to say. It is free, here, after all.

    It is interesting to note that I was commenting personally on a topic, and you decided to move it to a personal comment.

    I’ve noticed that seem to happen a lot with some ‘debaters’. Not interested. Find a new semantic playmate to try and overcome.

  67. 67
    Alex Cull Says:

    JunkkMale, slightly OT but in the ballpark, I thought your comment on this thread was very apt, both about the BBC editorial attitude and the stealth editing (noticed that the Guardian has done its share of stealth editing as well, e.g., during the Andrew Montford/Bob Ward contretemps.)

  68. 68
    JunkkMale Says:

    Alex Cull says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Tx. All things considered… I needed that.

    At least that blog thread, so far, seems to be permitting free and open discourse on the subject raised. We’ll have to see how much longer that persists. I fear a few more interested in bringing it to a speedy conclusion (though I have found, recently in fact, that the most eloquent exposure of the bullies, trolls, adhominids, strawmannerists, cherry pickers, etc, are actually provided in their own writings) may emerge soon and, sadly, a ‘closed for comments’ soon thereafter. The Graun is a little less sensitive to robust exchanges, but does pull the plug, if with a rather ‘variable’ logic. I must pop back to the ’3 day standard shut down’ threads that still were burbling along after several days when it suited.

    I am excited (if that is quite the word) that the author has seen fit to engage, albeit by proxy. Welcome, but rare. Equally with the Graun. I am hoping for an answer to what was after all, two factual questions citing published (or hoiked in one case) BBC material.

    What tends to ‘spoil’ things is when folk get rude and they scarper. As our host has alluded, that can be often more than convenient.

  69. 69
    Alex Cull Says:

    JunkkMale, sorry it was my own raising of the BBC thread which I thought was slightly OT; I could have phrased that better.

    The term “adhominid” – I like it; indeed a very vocal and aggressive sub-species!

  70. 70
    geoffchambers Says:

    Small flame war between moderator and two Guardian writers last night. Not many dead. On the thread following this article
    a comment by english hermit was deleted, with the usual message: “This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted”.
    What made it interesting was that english hermit has a “C for contributor” next to his name, indicating someone who writes for the paper. Luckily, other commenters quoted largely from the removed comment, including MartyninEurope, another Guardian writer. English hermit said, in part:

    …. The only solution that I can see is brutal, harsh and cruel. It means identifying those who cannot or will not change and when the time comes, exterminating them. When the survival of the human race is at stake, it will have to be done….

    To which MartyninEurope replied: “As well as not being desirable IMHO it’s also not practical” adding an elliptical remark suggesting that most of “those who cannot or will not change” are American, and couldn’t be exterminated because they are too well armed.
    When I went back a few hours later, all comments referring to english hermit had been, not simply deleted, but wiped from the thread, as if they never existed. So there is no record of two Guardian writers discussing whether it would be sensible or practical to exterminate people who don’t agree with them.
    English hermit is 62, gives his real name as Gandalf the Red, Gold and Green, and lists his interests as Ents, elves, and magic rings. I wouldn’t leave him alone with saplings in my arboretum, that’s for sure.

  71. 71
    JunkkMale Says:

    geoffchambers says:
    October 17th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I know this thread is Grauncentric, so forgive the OT, but things are heating up everywhere, and not in a good way.

    I am in a mini flame war of my own, not with some scary trolls (who really deserve it, but there really is no point lowering to their level), but with the BBC blog mods who seem to indulge every sociopath who they can invite on to get a dodgy thread closed down asap, whilst House Ruling legitimate posters are referred or deleted for ‘saying things my Aunty might not like’, and other bizarre excuses which they have dredged up from the ‘Beware of the Leopard’ catch-all files.

    It’s getting silly, and dirty.

  72. 72
    geoffchambers Says:

    have you got a link for your BBC flame war? I saw you mentioned it on omniclimate (I imagine it”s the same one).

  73. 73
    Alex Cull Says:

    Gaurdian contributor englishhermit is a rather interesting soul, is he not? Although his run-in with the mods has been expunged from history, you can see from his profile that there’s a related comment of his on a different thread that survives (about the 10th one down):

    “… I would like to see an article about the government’s plans to deal with the aftermath of an eco-collapse when there will be insufficient resources to support the whole population.”

    If you read ‘The Secret State’ by Professor Peter Hennessey which gives a chilling account of plans for survival after a nuclear war in the fifties, you will understand the thinking that may govern policy in the event of eco-collapse.

    In the fifties and sixties, plans were drawn up so that those who were unable or unwilling to work would be abandoned, left to starve with no medical treatment for their injuries or, if fortunate, put out of their misery with a bullet in the head. It would not have been a matter of choice. It would have been a matter of necessity.

    Watch ‘The War Game’ by Peter Watkins if you don’t believe me.

    It is likely that similar plans have already been drawn up in Whitehall to deal with the aftermath of the impending eco-collapse.

    Peter Hennessey is the ideal person to write about this authoritatively…”

    You know, with all the talk of eco-collapse, nuclear war and Lord of the Rings, I’m having flashbacks to an earlier epoch. There’s a quote by anthropologist Bernard James (at the risk of veering even further OT, I found it here in an interesting book review from 2008), and it’s from his 1973 book The Death of Progress: “there [was] a sense of desperation in the air, a sense that man has been pitchforked by science and technology into a new and precarious age.”

    And that was thirty years ago; thirty years from now, what are the odds that “eco-collapse” will be just as imminent and yet elusive as it is now, or was in the 1970s?

  74. 74
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex #73
    English hermit’s death fantasies, and the obsession of many Greens with Tolkien and fantasy literature are obviously linked with what ESmith and others have been saying on the Monbiot thread. I’d like to continue this over there when I have time, though I agree with TonyN that certain obvious parallels shouldnt be pursued, unless someone has something truly original and enlightening to offer.

  75. 75
    JunkkMale Says:
    October 17th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    have you got a link for your BBC flame war? I saw you mentioned it on omniclimate (I imagine it”s the same one).

    I am currently engaged in a few ‘terse’ exchanges. but they are mainly with the mods and/or complaints bots (hard to imagine a human could stay sane for long trotting out the same inaccurate, insincere, smug, dismissive tripe each time) behind the threads about their ‘selective’ indulgence of some who are clearly there to provoke and/or drive away ‘normal’ posters and/or wind up a flame exchange that can be used to shut things down.

    This is one example:

    I decided to bail when I was House Ruled for ‘provocation’, when their House Elf had been the one deployed to target me personally and was allowed to a) pass through modding and b) remained whilst my comment was removed. Note that after he/she/it disgorges a series of barely concealed abuse at any ‘threat’ to the house line, all that is left is supportive pap.

    One thread I am amazed they have yet to get him/her/it onto… yet.. is this one:

    Mind you, whilst initially promising, the ‘answers’ are yet to be forthcoming at time of writing.

    I have had a direct, very quick, very snotty reply to a complementary complaint that a diplomatic correspondent took near zero facts and spun it into a highly negative set of views, which were then ‘stealth edited’ when called out, with a classic ‘we think we got it right’ dismissal.

    I have decided to move this up the line.

    Bad enough that a reporter tries prefers undermining with clearly agenda driven opinion, but for the ‘system’ to reckon it’s OK to print tripe and then quietly ‘evolve’ it retroactively to cover up once the misinformation damage is done is risible. The munchkin who wrote even tried to claim that as the timestamp changed, that clearly showed ‘a’ change had been made. Which meant it was not ‘stealth’.

    That mentality would set an interesting precedent if you can say or write whatever you want, but it’s all OK if you pop back and erase that later. Makes the ‘corrections’ of headlines that are printed (at least with these what was printed before as wrong is revealed) on p45 pale in comparison.

    The gut-wrenching thing is I am very environmentally concerned, but find the science/engineering ‘reporting’ and agenda-driven editorial of too many publications or broadcasters to be counter-productive to rational discussion and progression. Further, I am currently more concerned about the attempted crushing of free speech in the name of green (or anything else) than I am future climate ‘threats’. A future under the control of those who believe they have a mandate to dominate because ‘they care for the planet’, one presumes more than anyone else, or else, is not one I favour.

    Using the bizarre rationale some BBC ‘defenders’ use, I find myself accused of being a ‘warmist” on a Delingpole and a ‘denier’ on a Black or Graun thread, so by some twisted logic could be seen as doing ‘something’ balanced.

    I’m afraid for a credible MSMedium that won’t cut it. And should not be allowed to do so.

  76. 76
    tempterrain Says:


    This comment contains two mistakes “After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some ‘fuzzy logic’ science teacher”

    The minor mistake is that “fuzzy logic” is some sort of deficient logic as your statement implies. It isn’t. It does have a grounding in mathematical probability.

    I doubt if most science teachers would have a good grasp of this however.

    The major mistake is to assume that a biological link somehow gives a parent an an offspring a greater scientific knowledge than the population average. As far as I am aware, there is no scientific research showing that the donation of 50% of one’s DNA to an individual in the next generation has the slightest effect, one way or another, in the accumulation of any knowledge, scientific or otherwise.

    I must say that I haven’t done the research, but I’d say that it is very unlikely that individuals with, say, seven or more children have a better than average appreciation of science as a subject!

    I would, nevertheles, agree that schools would benefit from having more highly qualified science teachers, but even so, I would expect that their scientific knowledge would be significantly greater that the population mean.

  77. 77
    tempterrain Says:

    I must admit it did occur to me that there might be something in your “parents are more knowledgeable theory” after writing the previous posting. I was perhaps too hasty.

    But could it be something to do with sex? Maybe its just more sex than can actually lead to increased intelligence? I should think that this would be a very popular theory amongst all those studying tough subjects like Quantum Computing or the Unified Field Theory.

    I think I’ll even try out that line of argument with my wife the next time I get stuck on the Guardian crossword!

  78. 78
    manacker Says:


    To my 55 to Jack Hughes you opined:

    This comment contains two mistakes “After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some ‘fuzzy logic’ science teacher”

    The minor mistake is that “fuzzy logic” is some sort of deficient logic as your statement implies. It isn’t. It does have a grounding in mathematical probability.

    Thanks for providing me the well known mathematical definition of “fuzzy logic” as published by Wiki.

    Now let’s talk about the more general, or “non-mathematical”, definition:

    adj. fuzz·i·er, fuzz·i·est
    1. Covered with fuzz.
    2. Of or resembling fuzz.
    3. Not clear; indistinct: a fuzzy recollection of past events.
    4. Not coherent; confused: a fuzzy plan of action.

    So “fuzzy logic” in the more general, non-mathematical sense is “incoherent or confused logic”.

    This is what the secondary level science teacher is applying when he is attempting to brainwash Jack Hughes’ daughter.

    Got it?

    It’s really quite straightforward, Peter.


  79. 79
    manacker Says:


    School teachers are paid by the taxpayer to educate their children in the essential subjects required to be able to pass their “O-levels”, “A-levels”, graduate from “high school” or “gymnasium”, pass university entrance exams, or whatever, and eventually be armed with the necessary skills and knowledge to become productive citizens.

    They (hopefully) know the subject matter they are teaching and also (hopefully) have learned the pedagogical skills required to be able to teach this subject matter to the children in their classes.

    But they are not paid to frighten the school children with their own personal anxieties about impending climate doomsday (or anything else, for that matter). That simply is not their job.

    But, unfortunately, this is happening in many instances.


  80. 80
    manacker Says:


    Further to my earlier post

    Kids fear global warming

    Nearly 60 percent of children said they feared global warming and environmental disasters-such as hurricanes, tornados and flooding-more than terrorism, car crashes, and even cancer.


    Nearly one-third of children reported thinking about global warming a lot and worrying about how the effects of global warming will change the planet and directly impact their lives.

    Job well done, teachers!

    Or how about this report

    One out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Earth won’t exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least very unpleasant place to live), according to a new survey.

    Great! Let’s “force (some more) awareness” on them!

    Or how about the psychological fallout for children of the “awareness” campaign in the UK?

    Today, it is not the mushroom cloud that threatens to suffocate children psychologically but carbon emissions. The new bogeyman is climate change: submerger of nations, polluter of skies, slayer of polar bears.

    This week the Advertising Standards Authority issued a ruling on the Government’s £6 million climate-awareness advertising campaign, which has attracted nearly 1,000 complaints. While most focused on whether the evidence for climate change was strong enough, a notable proportion thought that the ads were unnecessarily frightening and distressing.

    In addition to the psychological trauma, the problem is, if the kids are spending so much time learning and worrying about global warming, is there any time left for them to study arithmetic, reading, writing or real science – or just to play?

    There is no question: frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    Hope you see this the same as I do, Peter.


  81. 81
    tempterrain Says:


    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children. Even us bogeymen of the left:-)

    However, you need to ask why they are being frightened and who is responsible for it? If climate mitigation was going ahead as it should, and if the problem was being tackled as it should, there would be no need for anyone to be frightened or concerned, regardless of their age.

    However, it isn’t. And that’s genuinely of concern for all. And all of you who are arguing that it shouldn’t have to accept your share of responsibility for the situation.

  82. 82
    manacker Says:


    Glad to hear from you:

    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children

    Unfortunately, there are apparently still some school teachers that do not share your view on this, or there would not be the problem of frightened children mentioned in the studies I cited.

    So I’ll repeat what I wrote before:

    There is no question: frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    ‘Nuff said…


  83. 83
    tempterrain Says:


    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance!

  84. 84
    manacker Says:


    You wrote (83):

    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance

    No, Peter. That is not what I wrote. What I wrote was:

    frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    I thought you agreed with this statement, when you wrote:

    no-one is in favour of frightening children.

    But now it looks like you are waffling on this and adding “ifs”, legal disclaimers and rationalizations

    If climate mitigation was going ahead as it should, and if the problem was being tackled as it should, there would be no need for anyone to be frightened or concerned, regardless of their age.

    Let me express it very clearly.

    Whether or not “climate mitigation [i.e. imposing carbon caps and taxes] was going ahead as it should, and the problem was being tackled as it should”, there is still absolutely “no need for anyone [especially impressionable school children] to be frightened [especially by their school teachers]”. None. Period.

    This has nothing to do with keeping “the younger generation in blissful ignorance”, Peter. It simply has to do with not frightening children.

    Your next sentence was:

    However, it isn’t. And that’s genuinely of concern for all. And all of you who are arguing that it shouldn’t have to accept your share of responsibility for the situation.

    This sounds like a legalese rationalization, i.e. it’s not those few misguided and irresponsible school teachers who are to blame for frightening their pupils but instead, all of us who argue that AGW is not a serious potential threat (such as I and many other bloggers on this site) “have to accept our share of responsibility for the situation” (i.e. for the fact that these teachers are frightening their pupils with global warming scare mongering).

    This is totally warped logic, Peter, and I really hope that I misunderstood what you wrote.

    It is those teachers who frighten their pupils, and they alone, that bear the full blame and guilt for this reprehensible and intolerable behavior.

    And they should be sacked. Period.


  85. 85
    tempterrain Says:


    Like everything else your arguments depends on every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC having it all wrong about AGW.

    If you can just bring yourself to accept that they might just be right for a moment, what then? Do we tell the kids or not?

  86. 86
    manacker Says:


    You are dead wrong.

    “Every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC” do not support scare mongering, especially not frightening impressionable school children.

    This is immoral and reprehensible and if some misguided idiots who happen to be school teachers are doing this, they should be fired on the spot.

    You ask, “do we tell the kids or not?”

    Hell, no, Peter, “we” don’t pass on our own personal anxieties about climate change to the kids in the mistaken belief that “we” are “doing something good for society”. All “we” are doing by this is frightening children.

    The school teachers are paid by the taxpayers to teach their pupils, not to frighten them.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not ” every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC having it all wrong about AGW”. It has to do with frightening children. You have written:

    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children.

    Did you really mean what you wrote? Are you or are you not “in favour of frightening children”, Peter?

    If you are doing this as a school teacher you should be canned immediately.

    This is just as reprehensible as some fundamentalist religious idiot frightening children with “hellfire and eternal damnation” scare mongering, just because he personally “believes” this and “all the religious scriptures and the word of the Lord himself” confirm his “belief”. No difference at all.

    Can you see this? Or are you blind?

    That is the issue here.


  87. 87
    tempterrain Says:


    The Australian Government produces this sort of thing as a guide for school teachers.

    Australia is a secular society. Our PM is a declared atheist, she lives unmarried with her partner and it didn’t seem to adversely affect her vote at all. The dominant opinion is that what is taught in schools should be decided on the basis of science rather than religion. That means the Darwinian Theory of Evolution is in. Creationism and Intelligent Design are out.

    Similarly AGW are in and Climate denialism is out.

    It will be a sad day if that ever changes, and people like you ever get into a position to sack teachers for teaching consensus science.

  88. 88
    geronimo Says:

    @tempterrain: “The dominant opinion is that what is taught in schools should be decided on the basis of science rather than religion. That means the Darwinian Theory of Evolution is in. Creationism and Intelligent Design are out.

    Similarly AGW are in and Climate denialism is out.

    It will be a sad day if that ever changes, and people like you ever get into a position to sack teachers for teaching consensus science.”

    So teacher’s should be able to teach Creationism if there is a scientific consensus?

    Science isn’t done by consensus, it’s done by hypothesis, forecast and observation. Once the forecasts have been observed the science becomes de facto correct until the next group of scientists push the boundaries and change the accepted scientific fact.

    What you have in climate science is a hypothesis that humans are intrinsically evil. I don’t think we should be telling kids that humans are intrinsically evil, especially based on no science to speak of. I have a very simple question for you big T:

    The IPCC states that half of the temperature increase since the beginning of the industrial revolution has been caused by natural forcings, and that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased so that must be the cause of the other 50%. OK the question to you is prove it, prove that the increase in temperature attributed to CO2 is in fact attributable.

    If you can do that then by all means tell our kids they’re evil and will be sent to eternal damnation unless they change their ways and behave like you and the other believers.

    If you can’t prove it, it’s not science.

  89. 89
    manacker Says:


    geronimo has already commented to your 87, but let me add two basic problems in your logic.

    The first argument is “scientific” : the basic scientific problem you have in your comparison with Darwin’s theory of evolution is the fact that Darwinism has been validated by empirical data and has scientifically withstood attempts at falsification, all following the “scientific method”.

    In other words, Darwinism has moved from being an “uncorroborated hypothesis” in the scientific sense to being a “highly corroborated hypothesis”, and is now considered to be “reliable knowledge”.

    The premise of “dangerous AGW” has not made this transition following the scientific method of “validation by empirical data based on experimentation or actual physical observations”. It is still an “uncorroborated hypothesis”.

    In fact, empirical data from recent studies have challenged its validity. Unless these can be scientifically refuted, “dangerous AGW” will move to being a “falsified hypothesis”.

    [This is basically the debate on the "science" we are having on the NS thread.]

    The second argument is moral and ethical.

    There is no valid reason or excuse for anyone frightening impressionable children, no matter what the supposed “good cause” is (religion, environmentalism, politics or anything else). Frightening children is irresponsible, reprehensible and unacceptable. Period.


  90. 90
    peter geany Says:


    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance!

    My god Peter you are getting worse. Its people like you and all the hopeless educationalists that are now producing children that get to 17 or 18 and cannot think for themselves. I know as I have 4 children myself and have witnessed the decline. Fortunately for my children they have me and my wife to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    Now here is an example of you telling it to the children strait before they have any basic understanding of subject. I’ll use as an example the humble electron. When we are at school we are given the impression that the electron is a particle flying around the nucleus consisting of protons and neutrons. This is a simplistic model and one that is used throughout school so that children can make sense of all the equations and formula they may come across in Chemistry and Physics.

    We don’t introduce relativity or the uncertainty principle until university or at the earliest A level here in the UK. We don’t teach that the electron could be a wave or a particle because if we did it would make it impossible for children to understand and accept what we are trying to teach. They would be forced to adopt parrot type learning without being able to work things out for themselves. And this is exactly what is happening more and more with our children’s education. We have a bunch of morons that just can’t wait to “influence” our children’s thinking to their own way. This is wrong every which way you look at it and is why we have so many kids who get to the workplace unable to think for themselves. We get Geography students that don’t know where each country is, or what physical attributes contributed to that countries existence. How have we got to this?

    The Morons know that if they taught these basics to our children, they would quickly put 2 and 2 together and get 4, not 9 or 10 as now happens. They would ask some very awkward questions. Like how come in biology plants need CO2 and yet you are telling us CO2 is bad and a pollutant. Who is it harmful to, and how does it affect them? Or maybe do you have any proof of that? Now wouldn’t that put the cat amongst the pigeons? By the way my boys have both done this to teachers and lectures. The reaction they’ve got has been very humorous on most occasions, with the true believers getting very upset at being questioned, and the agnostics generally getting the whole class in on the discussion.

  91. 91
    manacker Says:

    Peter Geany

    You are absolutely right.

    Further up this thread Jack Hughes wrote that his daughter was being taught “sustainability” (instead of “science”) in her “science class”, and asked what “sustainability” really means.

    Science teachers should teach their pupils “science” (not socio-political concepts such as “sustainability”).

    They should also not frighten them with doomsday scare mongering, regardless of the supposed “justification”. A large percentage of school children are apparently traumatized by fears of global warming – a major part of the blame for this certainly goes to misguided teachers.

    Teachers should be encouraging children to think for themselves, as you say, not to parrot some “party line” or personal belief of the teachers.

    The problem you mention exists here in Switzerland, too. There is not so much fear of global warming among pupils here, but the quality of primary and secondary education has suffered as teachers are losing their focus on really educating their pupils rather than simply indoctrinating them with socio-political concepts that happen to be “PC” or “in”.

    Hurray for your boys in raising questions, which were uncomfortable to the “true believers”.

    Younger children are, unfortunately, less able to challenge their teachers, and are at greater risk of being traumatized by fear mongering in the name of the “cause” (whatever that happens to be at the moment).


  92. 92
    tempterrain Says:


    We do get some weird objections to why AGW can’t be true but I’ve not seen it quite put like this before

    “What you have in climate science is a hypothesis that humans are intrinsically evil.”

    Er, well, no I don’t think I do.

    I seem to remember that the biggest danger the astronauts on Apollo 13 faced during their aborted Moon trip was a build up of CO2 in their capsule. It was a problem which was fixed due to the technical brilliance of the backup team. I suppose you would have disagreed and you’d have advised NASA to look at the moral backgrounds of the Astronauts slightly more carefully for future missions. Maybe they collectively had a poor record for church attendance. Or, one or more of them may have been married more than once, or may have been guilty of having extra-marital affairs!

    I would suggest that what we do have, is a somewhat different CO2 technical problem to the Apollo astronauts, but which will need to be fixed with just a touch of technical brilliance just the same.

  93. 93
    Brute Says:

    I would suggest that what we do have, is a somewhat different CO2 technical problem to the Apollo astronauts, but which will need to be fixed with just a touch of technical brilliance just the same.

    “Technical Brilliance”?

    How about massive government taxation, punitive government regulation, economic sanctions and misery………Peter’s solution to this “scentific” problem is Marxism.

  94. 94
    Brute Says:


    UK?unveils dramatic austerity measures


    Your dreams of a Marxist Utopia are running out of money………at least in England…

  95. 95
    Brute Says:

    French Riots Intensify…

    Looks like the Socialism experiment is going well in France also……………

  96. 96
    tempterrain Says:


    You need to keep up with the international news a bit better!

    Both France and the UK now have governments dominated by Right-wing political parties!

  97. 97
    tempterrain Says:


    You say “…Peter’s solution to this ‘scentific’ problem is Marxism.”

    Not really. The CO2 and other GHG emissions record of the USSR was pretty poor in fact. Part of the reason was that there wasn’t a market price for commodities. So, if the five year plan called N million barrels of oil to be produced it didn’t really matter if that involved flaring off any natural gas that may have slowed down the process even though it might well have made more economic sense to collect and sell it.

    It was also considered to be more socialist to not bill users for actual amounts of electricity and hot water etc used in apartments – users just paid a flat rate for a connection and could then use as much as they liked. The present Russian government are encountering some resistance to the idea that usage should be metered.

  98. 98
    manacker Says:


    It appears that you’re a bit far removed from the scene in France.

    It’s correct, as you say, that the current government there is “to the right” (by French standards). Sarkozy there has inherited (like Cameron in the UK) a budgetary can of worms based on many years of previous left-leaning socialist governments.

    The key issue today is that Sarkozy wants to increase the retirement age from 60 (where the previous socialists had pegged it) back to 62 years. The socialist and communist unions have called the current general strike (October is “manifestation” time in France anyway) and students plus even 16-year old school children have joined in. (Not becuase 16-year olds have any thoughts about their own retirement, but because they have been filled by the unions with the fear that 60 to 62-year olds will “take away” their job opportunities!)

    This was a government that also enforced the 35-hour maximum work week they had enacted by raiding business offices and arresting or fining managers who dare to violate the law (these had to move “overtime” work to hotel rooms to avoid fines!).

    Cameron has inherited an essentially bankrupt state left over by several years of “New Labor” grandesse and silly spending sprees (as will Obama’s successor in the USA if the trillion dollar bleeding there doesn’t get stopped by Brute and others there soon).

    So you have to look further than just the present governments to find the root causes of the problems in France and the UK, Peter.

    The poor guys that are in office there now have a major cleanup job to do, which was inherited from their earlier governments.


  99. 99
    tempterrain Says:


    Isn’t that what President Obama and his supporters are saying in the US?

  100. 100
    tempterrain Says:


    Well I’m not sure if the level of debt in the UK and France is that much out of the ordinary by World standards.

    Latest figures are
    UK 68%, France 77.5%, USA 52.9%, Japan 190%, Belgium 97% etc

    Those lucky Mozambiquans! No public debt to worry about at all!

    I’m sure that the Conservative government in the UK have blamed the previous Labour Government just as the Democrats have blamed the Republicans in the US. That’s politics. That’s what politicians do.

    But as always the truth is somewhat different and more complex.

  101. 101
    Brute Says:


    You’re a fool.

    The current rioting in France and the drastic cuts in the UK are a result of 65 years of Progressive/Leftist policies…….the bill has come due and the Ponzi schemes are beginning to unravel.

    The Socialist/Marxist model is based upon promises made by crafty/slick talking politicians writing checks that their ass can’t back up. It’s now time to pay the piper and it’s getting very ugly.

    It’s going to get much, much worse……and yes, unless the US government does the same as the current UK government is proposing then things will get ugly here also.

    All that being said, money for goofy, pie in the sky “green” fantasy projects are going down the drain right along with the politician’s promises to loafers (union labor) that they can have something for nothing as long as they vote left.

    Better stock up on the canned goods and the ammunition.

    It was only a matter of time……..and in this case, it seems that 65 years was the “tipping point” (pun intended).

  102. 102
    tempterrain Says:


    So I’m a “fool” for not believing unconditionally what a bunch of politicians are saying? I must say that is a strange line of argument from someone who considers that they are quite capable of not only lying about Climate Change but bribing the whole scientific community to go along with their scam too.

    If you take a look at the level of National Debt in the UK over the 20th century (I’m sure it will be a similar story for both the US and France also – but you might like to check it out)

    You can see that while 68% is slightly higher than it was few years ago it is still quite low by historical standards. From what I can make out in the UK, the population is being told that debt levels have never been this bad before and therefore there needs to be massive cutbacks.

    Have you considered the possibility that conservative politicians in all three countries are overstating the severity of the situation in order to make the sort of cuts that they would like to make anyway?

  103. 103
    TonyB Says:

    Sorry Peter but theres no point in blaming Conservative politicians.

    We have a considerable structural deficit, so each year we are spending far more than our income and to cover the shortfall we have been borrowing. Debt is historically high but has been hidden under a nunmber of stones which don’t appear in official figures. Therefore you cant compare with other countries as it is not a like for like comparison.

    For example pensions are not properly accounted for and neither have the liabilities incurred under the private finance initiative. Our interest bill is racking up at such a rate that within 5 years debt will top £1.25 trillion.(this is at low interest rates-it will rack up even quicker when interest rates return to their historic norm)

    It was the financial incontinence of the previous govt who was spending money we didn’t have in order to support their pet schemes, much of it in benefits. The welfare state has been very much a double edged sword although the basic idea was fine.

    I suspect the US debt is worse and that all started with Clintons Ninja policies. I believe Obama took on some ninja court cases in his earlier days. He seems to be adding greatly to the US structural deficit although they have had a serious problem for years. In their case it was financed and hidden by selling bonds and property to foreigners and letting the currency fall.

    As far as the UK goes the cuts are very necessary but it is doubtful if they are large enough to retrieve the situation and another round is likely to be needed as all that has happened is that spending is rising less fast than previously, It hasn’t actually been cut in any meaningful way.


  104. 104
    Brute Says:

    Yes Pete, you’re a fool……….you’re a fool because you believe that stealing money from productive people to fund a unlimited, bloated, government Ponzi scheme can continue forever.

    It has failed………….period………and the evidence is apparent on the streets of France right now.
    Your vaunted Marxist model has failed…………

    You know what Pete? I don’t care.

    Smart people have prepared for this…………those that believed in the Marxist claptrap (like you) will suffer……….and no matter how much you deny the facts, it simply will not work………ever. Get smart quickly and avoid the suffering.

    No one……not me, not you, not any government………can continue spending more money than they make.

    You mentioned at one point that you operated some sort of business…………if you had someone in your employ that cost your business more money than he generated would you continue to pay him?

    Think about it Pete.

  105. 105
    tempterrain Says:

    Well my prediction is that:

    1) as the cuts take effect more people will lose their jobs

    2) As more people lose their jobs spending and therefore the tax revenues will fall.

    3) As the tax revenues fall more cuts will be required to try to balance the budget.

    4) More people will lose their jobs , the tax revenue will fall further and more cuts will be required to try to…..

    Its not my theory – its Keynes’. I don’t think he was quite such a fool as Brute might think.

  106. 106
    Brute Says:

    Don’t sell Keynes short Pete…….he was a tremendous fool……

  107. 107
    Brute Says:

    No need for predictions Pete. The Keynesian Economic model has failed everywhere it has been implemented….every time.

    “Government cannot create new purchasing power out of thin air. If Congress funds new spending with taxes, it is simply redistributing existing income. If Congress instead borrows the money from domestic investors, those investors will have that much less to invest or to spend in the private economy. If Congress borrows the money from foreigners, the balance of payments will adjust by equally reducing net exports, leaving GDP unchanged. Every dollar Congress spends must first come from somewhere else.

    This does not mean that government spending has no economic impact at all. Government spending often alters the consumption of total demand, such as increasing consumption at the expense of investment.”

    When stimulus packages are created the money has to come from someone via taxes, or be printed. Both are net negatives to the economy. Economic growth only results from producing more goods and services (not from redistributing existing income), and that requires productivity growth and growth in the labor supply as productivity not only increases wealth but also wages and wage opportunities.

    Historically of course government spending has reduced productivity and long-term economic growth due to some obvious reasons. As government spends more it raises taxes which reduces profits, productivity and wage and job creation. As government incurs more debt through stimulus and demand side packages it reduces the incentive to produce and displaces money by removing the more productive private sector from the economic equation and replacing it with a far less effective state dollar, taxed or printed on government printing press. The inefficiency of government policy in health, housing, education, and general industry are obvious creating huge costs which must be borne by ordinary taxpayers – ineffective solutions at a higher price one can say.

    And as Reidl sources and proves:
    “Mountains of academic studies show how government expansions reduce economic growth:
    1.Public Finance Review reported that “higher total government expenditure, no matter how financed, is associated with a lower growth rate of real per capita gross state product.”
    2.The Quarterly Journal of Economics reported that “the ratio of real government consumption expenditure to real GDP had a negative association with growth and investment,” and “growth is inversely related to the share of government consumption in GDP, but insignificantly related to the share of public investment.”
    3.A Journal of Macroeconomics study discovered that “the coefficient of the additive terms of the government-size variable indicates that a 1% increase in government size decreases the rate of economic growth by 0.143%.”
    4.Public Choice reported that “a one percent increase in government spending as a percent of GDP (from, say, 30 to 31%) would raise the unemployment rate by approximately .36 of one percent (from, say, 8 to 8.36 percent).”

    It is obvious that Keynesian economics and demand management are tools for fools. Wealth, a better society, a cleaner world, a higher level of development is not coerced by government. It only occurs when free people operating in free markets are allowed to interact and determine the price and supply of various goods and services. Government involvement ensures the opposite and is a theory mired in cultish theological absurdity.

  108. 108
    tempterrain Says:


    Keynsian economics was applied widely and to good effect during the war years and beyond.

    It wasn’t really an option to run the war on the principles of balanced budgets. It may still be going on if that had been the priority!

    Money, to governments, isn’t quite the same as it is to individuals. They can print it or borrow as much as they like without ever worrying about bankruptcy. Whereas it is natural for an individual to want to avoid debt and interest payments, as they are wasteful; Governments they have to take the view that having high levels of unemployment is probably even more wasteful than a higher than normal level of debt.

  109. 109
    Brute Says:

    World War Two created tremendous debt……that is, we spent lots of money to destroy things. Is that your solution? You think we should spend money destroying things in order to create jobs rebuilding?

    See the article below………

    The Failure of Keynesian Economics

    Even with total financial collapse being possible, our government is looking to a failed economic theory for help. It’s called Keynesian economics. This theory has been shown by both logic and history that it is not a successful economic system. Keynesian economics is the theory that the government can stimulate economic growth by intervening in the private sector.

    Many times, a theory will look good on paper, but ultimately fail in the real world. Keynesian economics is not one of those theories. It fails both in theory and in the real world, and I will show a couple of reasons why.

    Keynes says GDP=C+I+G+NX So he assumes that if you increase any variable in the equation, the GDP will increase accordingly. This is what his entire theory is based on. However, he consistently forgets that simply moving the wealth around is not creating wealth, but rather just allocating it differently. I’ll show some examples of this fallacy.

    Before I address these issue, I would like to point out each variable I will use and give it’s definition:

    GDP- Gross Domestic Product

    C- Consumption

    I- Investment

    G- Government Spending

    NX- Net Exports (Exports-Imports)

    T- Taxes

    MPC- Marginal Propensity to Consume (How much is spent out of every dollar)

    First, consider this: C= c+{MPC*(Y-T)}. So in order to increase G, you have to increase taxes. Increasing taxes adds value to the variable T. Increasing T means that C will decrease. That is unavoidable.

    So the increase in G is offset by the decrease in C due to higher taxes.The GDP doesn’t expand, it is just proportioned differently. A decrease in T (Taxes) has more of an effect on the economy than increasing G (Government spending) Why? Because consumers will only consume what they demand. We decide what has value. If we decide that iPods are more important to us than a parking ramp, iPods have more value. That’s because only the consumers can choose what has value by demanding it.

    So when G is increased, production may increase, but not necessarily production of something we demand. For example, if government spending is increased to pay for a parking ramp in the middle of a cornfield, is that good? No, because something was produced which has no value because it’s not in demand. So government spending takes from consumers (the only people that can give value to something), and spends it on things which may not have value.

    Consider this: According to this logic, shouldn’t the government hire people to run around and destroy things? If that was done, the government could spend the money to repair these things. It’s an increase in G and also gives jobs to people. So shouldn’t Keynes want that?

    Of course, the problem is that nothing was created with value. So it did not expand our wealth.

    All kinds of porblems arise when employment becomes an objective rather than a result. Keynesian economics is in large part a theory dedicated to fight unemployment. Since this is the case, all Kenesians are opposed to all technological advancements that make us more productive and successful, right? Of course, not, that was be ridiculous. But it would be entirely consistent for Keynesians to hold that position.

    Another thing to understand, is that an increase in C (Consumption) is not intrinsically good. This is especially true when NX (Net Exports) decreases when C is increased.

    For example, if our nation imports 90% of its goods and services, our NX will be negative, subtracting from our GDP. So what happens if our C increases by 50%? The -NX will increase enormously. So when we have a deficit in NX, when our C increases, the increase in C is offset by the decrease in NX.

    Keynes even came up with a concept knows as the “Multiplier”. The concept states that government spending is a more powerful tool of economic growth than letting the market consume. The equation for the multiplier is: 1/(1-MPC). Say that every consumer spends $0.75 out of every $1.00 they make. That makes the MPC=.75. So now apply it to the equation: 1/(1-.75)=4. This is called the “Multiplier effect”. Keynes says that if the government spends $1,000,000 to “stimulate” the economy, you multiply it by this multiplier. So in this case, as I showed above, the multiplier is 4. So you multiply the government spending by whatever your multipler is. So in this case, it would be 4 x $1,000,000=$4,000,000. And POOF! That money taken from taxpayers just quadrupled.

    Of course, if you actually think this through, it’s a ridiculous concept. As I mentioned before, the only way value can be added to a product, is through consumer demand, which only the consumers can decide. So when the government consumes, it is taking our money, and spending it on things not in demand. Since worthless things are produced, there is no growth. The only change, is that the consumer who add value to products, have less spending power because the government has taken it and spent it elsewhere.

    The entire concept of a multiplier is a joke, yet it is still the most widely accepted economic theory today.

    So that’s my shallow critique of the problems associated with Keynesian economics and basically any type of government intervention in the economy. Our economic problems will continue of we don’t break away from this mindset that the government can fix the economy by interfering and printing money.

  110. 110
    tempterrain Says:


    No I’d rather spend lots of money to fix the CO2 and GHG problem.

    You can find lots of criticms of Keynes which mainly come from right-wing sources. The real dislike of Keynes is because he advocates counter-cyclic government intervention to regulate the economy. “Government” and “regulation” are words that generally don’t sit well with that sort of political philosophy. In case TonyN thinks that this is all OT, these are precisely the same motivations involved in opposition to the implications of the acceptance of AGW as a problem to be solved.

  111. 111
    JunkkMale Says:

    Alex Cull says:
    October 22nd, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    As you will gather, I have been quite shocked myself by this. To the extent I was moved to share it in some quarters where I was, and am interested in the informed views of others.

    The replies I am getting are proving consistent, if not reassuring (at least to be concerns). For which, now, thank you. Here’s my reply to two on a BBC thread:

    I was prepared to be told, and if necessary concede that my science was flawed, my interpretations poorly reasoned, but so far I sense my fears are at least founded in empathy.

    ‘As to the kids, just tell them that at that level, the task is to show that they can do as you are told by teachers. It doesn’t matter is any of it is true. It’s just like learning to act a part in a play. None of that is true either. It just shows that one can give a good performance.

    Having arrived, with heavy heart, at that very conclusion, mostly by the wisdom of a 14-year old who knows ‘what it takes’, I am damned to agree, and comply. But it rankles. A lot. I can only imagine how it feels to be a teacher who cares, and has to inflict this upon fresh, bright minds.

    Thank you for at least being amongst those who understand. It helps when you see certain windmills are, for the sake of others dear to you, best not tilted at.

    I am, for once, stumped as to what to DO, for best, as surrender, for now, seems the only course.

  112. 112
    manacker Says:


    You wrote:

    I’d rather spend lots of money to fix the CO2 and GHG problem

    Fine. Please feel free to do so (with your own money, Peter). But not with my money.

    Because, after looking at all the data out there, I have concluded that, scientifically speaking, there is no “CO2 and GHG problem” (see our discussion on NS thread).

    My logic goes as follows:

    No empirical scientific evidence of a “CO2 and GHG problem” = no “CO2 and GHG problem” problem

    No “CO2 and GHG problem” problem = no need to spend lots of money to “fix” the “CO2 and GHG problem”

    Quite simple, actually, Peter.

    But, hey, spend your money any way you want to.


  113. 113
    TonyN Says:

    I’ve moved JunkkMale’s comment about homework problems, and the related comments, to a new thread here:

    This is a topic that deserves it’s own space.

  114. 114
    Mad Max Says:

    I think that looking at the blatant censorship meted out by the Guardian on its comment pages from a purely political-bias-perspective is wrongheaded, not because the Guardian doesn’t have a bias – it certainly does – but because the real issue is freedom of expression.

    Frankly, as a physicist, I think comments by climate-change deniers in the Guardian’s CIF section and anywhere else are not worth the time it takes to refute – just writing BS would be too much trouble. But, while I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” I do think climate-change skeptics (and flat-earthers and hollow-earthers) have as much right to express their inane beliefs as anyone else; readers who disagree have the choice of ignoring their comments or replying to them, and, any way, such comments tend to be self-refuting.

    Your give the Guardian too much credit and readers too little by believing that comments are taken down just because someone clicks on the “Report” button (I’ve found it difficult to have even personally insulting comments removed). When the Guardian wants to enforce its bias, it does so in a much more direct and effective way, namely by letting moderators know in advance what is acceptable and what is not. Have you noticed that inarticulate readers can post the most inane, embarrassing, and intemperate nonsense without having their comments taken down? There are two reasons for this: First, leaving such harmless comments in place gives the impression that the Guardian is so, so tolerant, and, secondly, because the comments are silly, their presence serves to make the arguments of the relevant article seem sensible in comparison. Conversely, individuals who make compelling, incisive, well-written arguments that run against the Guardian’s bias are going to get into trouble sooner than later. They may be allowed to post contrarian opinions for a while, but at some point their usernames will be flagged so that moderators will know in advance that their comments are to carefully scrutinized for deviant ideas and when such opinions are found, are to be treated as violations of CIF guidelines (which, as you can see if you read them, have so much built-in wiggle room that they can be interpreted to mean just about anything). From then on, it’s just a while before pre-moderation is invoked, and when it is, the user involved is advised to know that they should stop expressing the wrong opinions or be prepared to find that someday in their immediate future they will not be able to log in because their account no longer exists.

    People who post comments in the People’s Daily have it easier; they at least know what is allowed and what is not and can act accordingly.

    Postscript. Just to show how far Guardian censorship can go, and how it functions, consider this: Just last week, a feminist writer wrote a Guardian piece which was a visceral critique of an article by George Will that appeared in the Washington Post. The author failed to mention what passages in Will’s article she found offensive, believing that screaming “misogyny, misogyny!” was enough to get her by. A reader who found this unfair posted the comment, “Here is an excerpt from Will’s article. Make up your own mind.” This was followed by a 160 word excerpt. That’s all. The reader’s comment was removed almost instantaneously.

    What’s interesting about this case is the flagrant, almost contemptuous disregard for basic decency shown.

  115. 115
    Richard Says:

    All my comments were removed and I was placed on pre-moderation. I take screen shots and PDFs of the pages so that I can show my comments in context. I recommend everyone to do this.

    The many skeptics are right wing but their many left wing GHG skeptics including the late Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch. It appears that the Guardian very concerned to keep their readers believing that man made climate skeptics are by definition right wing.

    I wrote this complaint:

    To Cif Moderator,

    Thank you for your email, could you give your name? Please remove the pre-moderation you placed on me, restore my comments and apologise for wrongly censoring my comments. Here are the reasons.

    You wrote
    Although article dealt with Global warming, your posts addressed a different aspect of this debate (if climate change is anthropogenic/greenhouse gas related) which was not discussed in the article.

    Your argument is outrageous and your political manipulation via censorship of opposing argument is made more evident. The Kyoto protocol’s subject is man made greenhouse gas or GHG. Which is why the protocol is about limiting emissions of man made (anthropogenic) greenhouse gas (GHG). When the author says:

    “Two centuries – if that is what it takes – may seem like a long time, but there is no red button to stop this process. Reversing the climate system to what it was in the 1970s seems unlikely; we can barely get a grip on emissions that have tripled since the Kyoto protocol, which was designed to hit reduction targets. Slowing down climate warming remains a good idea, however – the Antarctic system will at least take longer to get to this point.”

    Reversing the climate system and linking to Kyoto Eric Rignot is talking about doing so by reducing GHG, my unpopular but never the less on topic comments directly related to the subject of the article which is reducing Global warming or Climate Change by reducing man made GHG.

    My comments were removed and I was placed on pre-moderation because anthropogenic/greenhouse gas related global warming was off topic? Man made global warming and the Greenhouse effect is what the article is about.

    At the core of the article is a link to the UN Kyoto, link

    The Kyoto agreement linked to in the article states:

    Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

    During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.

    GHG = Greenhouse gas

    Kyoto Protocol

    Targets for the first commitment period
    The targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol cover emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely:
    • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
    • Methane (CH4);
    • Nitrous oxide (N2O);
    • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
    • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and
    • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6


    Re: Comments not Censored mentioning Anthropogenic Global Warming, CO2 and Greenhouse

    The 4th comment on page 1 mentions AGW.

    The comments are about reversing Climate change, Greenhouse Gas and what can be done.
    Greenhouse Gas is mentioned in the comments 3 times on page 1, 4 times on page 2, 2 times on page 3, 4 times on page 4, 3 times on page 5. CO2 one of the main greenhouse gases according to Kyoto is mentioned more than 20 times in the comments.

    Please verify. You allowed other Comments on the subject but censored mine effectively silencing free speech for political reasons.

  116. 116
    Chris Norman Says:

    When the guardian published an item referring to the temperature hiatus I signed up and made the comment that “The temperature hockey stick looks increasingly like a limp penis”.
    Instant and continuing censorship from that day forth.

    The political left always, as a matter of course, work hard at controlling free speech in any of its forms.
    It’s in their DNA.

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