The sleazy face of scientific denialism

The climate change denialist “movement” is led by many sinister, squalid and opportunistic creeps, but one of the sleaziest is Christopher Monckton.  A business consultant and former Tory policy advisor with a political philosophy that seems to be equal parts Thatcher, Goebbels and the Pope, Monckton refers to himself as “Lord” although he’s never been a member of the British House of Lords — he is what’s known as a “hereditary peer” in one of those old aristocratic British families (rumours of inbreeding and insanity in the British aristocracy are just irresponsible speculation, I think?).   He achieved notoriety in the 80s with his warped views on AIDS/HIV:

“…there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month … all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”

Monckton went on to become a vehement critic of climate change science and spokesman for the well-funded flat earth denialist movement.  His attitude towards environmentalists is summed up in this slide from a speech he gave to the Minnesota Free Market Institute a couple of months ago:

A shout-out to the teabagger wing!

Naturally Monckton’s been among those denialists hanging around Copenhagen like a bad smell during the Climate Change summit. This week one of his speeches was interrupted by a group of young climate change activists, who he smeared as “Hitler youth”.  Want to see some slime?  Here’s a video of Monckton later justifying his remarks  to the young activists, and repeatedly calling them Nazis — (and doesn’t apologize even to one kid who says he’s a Jew):

Ugh.  I certainly admire the restraint of those young people in dealing with that sanctimonious asshole.   And what’s up with denialists and “the last 15 years”?  It’s no wonder serious people refuse to debate them — they should be dismissed out-of-hand, the same way scientists do to proponents of “creation science” when they clamor for debate.

UPDATE: Surprise — denialist claims have been Fact Checked and found wanting.

UPDATE II:  Who are you people?

(via DeSmogBlog)

9 Responses to “The sleazy face of scientific denialism”


  1. 1 greenjenny Friday, December 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Nice timing :) I have a feeling that we’re both about to be inundated with some very angry comments. Hope you’ve got your hip-waders on!

  2. 2 JJ Friday, December 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I linked to your post, it’s chock full of reality-based goodness. (That “guest” at your post was me.)

    Hip waders, heh.

  3. 3 Bleatmop Friday, December 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Anybody who actively works to deny reality is a sleazeball working for self interest. The only thing to be gained from denying climate change in billions of dollars of profit now at the expense of thousands of billions in the future when we have to build levies around every coastal city in the world.

  4. 4 JJ Friday, December 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Bleatmop – I’ve only just started really digging into this topic and I am appalled at the lies that are being spread. Like Global Warming is a religion or something that people get suckered into “believing in” — yeah right, we wish.

    When AGW first started getting controversial, I was a little skeptical myself that it was the impending disaster it was being made out to be. And I believe skepticism is healthy, but real skeptics ask questions and try to learn about the issue, they don’t just take the path of least resistance and listen to the answers they want to hear.

    It’s horrendous that this has become so politicized because it really is an issue that needs to be dealt with, by everyone. The rapture is not going to take us all away (no coincidence that the denialist side includes religious nuts).

  5. 5 Shade Friday, December 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    JJ the fact they treat it like a religion is no surprise, these are probably the same people who try to argue Atheisim is a religion and has no intrinsic morals. I always find it funny that the people declaiming science have no qualms benefitting from the results of it.

  6. 6 Mark Francis Friday, December 11, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for the link.

    I’m working hard on more specific details. Truth now has its pants on out there, and the initial negative narrative will turn around and I think bite the nutcase in the pants, though they will never ‘get’ it themselves.

    Monckton is also pushing that AGW is the excuse “we” are using to create a one world communist government. Really.

    We do think that he’s a rare case: a full blown denialist who believes his own crap.

    Tim Lambert at Deltoid has some great stuff on him, including his “one world order” thing he claims the IPCC is all about:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/global_warming/monckton/

  7. 7 Torontonian Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 8:30 am

    He makes the mistake of saying, “You have to understand . . .”.

    That phrase gets the interlocutor’s guard and defenses up and makes it all the harder to make one’s point. Also, it’s a device used to argue in a circle– a rhetorical device. The Latin phrase is petitio principii.

    If he’s that far down the intellectual scale and has to resort to such a device then he really is an empty suit and vacant mind. His viscountcy and his intellect are therefore more for the benefit of appearances. On both counts he quite like
    a Potemkin Village.

  8. 8 The Anti-Social Socialist Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

    “Monckton is also pushing that AGW is the excuse “we” are using to create a one world communist government. Really.”

    I watched Dr. Strangelove a few days ago, and all of a sudden I’m picturing this Monckton guy as not being all that different from that Jack Ripper fellow. “They’re after our precious bodily fluids.”

  9. 9 Bleatmop Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 10:20 am

    JJ – I agree that scepticism is healthy. I really do and I like to try and be ask skeptical as is healthy to be so. I was actually very skeptical when the IPCC first came out and Al Gore started attaching his name to it. I actually blame him for politicizing the debate to the extent it is. Having a former presidential candidate being the unofficial spokesman for anything is going to make it political. Letting the debate be reputable scientist vs. republican stooge would have been far better in bringing the debate along.

    Our Canadian politicians don’t get off light either. Having Dion proponents of Dion’s revenue neutral green shift talk about how it’s going to transfer wealth from the west to the east and how it’s going to be a welfare program also completely missed the point and alienated many Canadians. Albeit, they were using the Chretien strategy of making a goat out of the west to win the rest of the country. Good strategy when used well but one that hijacked climate science and has now made it an issue no Canadian politician that wants to get elected will touch with a ten foot pole, since it failed so hard for the Liberals.

    Another thing that really bugged me is when the NDP slapped away an outstretched hand by the Conservatives to amend their clean air bill by doing a substitute motion instead. From what I understand, the Conservatives motion would have addressed a lot of environmental pollutants that create smog in a very effective manner, but the NDP couldn’t work for the good of the country because the bill didn’t address climate change and only climate change. So here we are several years later with no climate change bill and no pollution bill.

    So don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending the conservative record either. They have some of the worst science deniers in their ranks. I’m just annoyed that every political party seems to politicize science for their own gain. In doing so, they make advancing reality impossible.

    Lol – this has already turned into a rant, even though I didn’t intend it to be. I could go on for hours about this, but that is best served over a beer and it’s still a bit early for that :)


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