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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Darth Watch: this week, meet Dr Darth, Chief Herald Scientist 

Today Darth wades into the murky waters of climate change, concluding that it is to scientists what smoking is to "health professionals": no, not "a serious risk to human wellbeing", but rather "an international rort". I bet Ole Smokey really wanted to say "health Nazis" but the sub-editor wouldn't let him. Anyway, perhaps Darth is driving the piss-poor climate change skeptic/denial writing in the Herald lately, convincingly exposed first by Russell Brown, and second by Idiot/Savant.

In large part it was Fran O'Sullivan's serving of denialist craptrap that led Russell Brown to label the Herald an embarrassment: a big call, but the right one. Idiot/Savant did a good job of fisking another "think piece" by Brian Leyland, an apologist for "yesterday's dirty technology, unable to understand that the world has moved on."

Anyways, back to Darth: he refers to a letter (updated: thanks to Anon, below) from "more than 100 prominent scientists from around the world, including at least seven from New Zealand, to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon" which questions the notion of human-induced climate change, and rings alarm bells about trying to reduce carbon emissions. I hope for Darth's sake they are real scientists, and not a motley collection of TV weathermen and gardeners, a la the infamous Inhofe list cited by O'Sullivan.

Update: Hot Topic astutely notes: "The 'prominent' scientists overlap with Fran O’Sullivans 'eminent' scientists. Yes, Owen McShane and Bryan Leyland are there. Again." Ahh, nice to see NZ's finest scientific minds hard at work.

Darth is basically in parroting mode today. I guess we should be thankful it's not trite Bible phrases (a Darth specialty) or a National Party press release (a talkback specialty). He basically asserts, on the basis of this "letter", that current climate change is not abnormal because it is within the bounds of natural variability (highly unlikely and depends on a cherry-pick), that computer modelling can't predict climate (as models go, they're highly sophisticated), and that old favourite "there has been no net global warming since 1998" (a stupendous heap of dung).

Is there a place for debate on climate change and how humans should respond, if at all? Absolutely there is. But don't look to Darth and his friends at the Herald for anything meaningful.

Time to put NZ's leading man of letters out to pasture.

Labels: ,

Link to the letter:

Link to the list of signatories:

Monbiot article regarding Freeman Dyson, a signatory:

Monbiot mentioning Singer, another one:

Monbiot mentioning signatory Lindzen in the footnotes(9), as being funded by oil industry:

Also a signatory is Leyland, the man fisked by NRT.
“Time to put NZ's leading man of letters out to pasture.”

Either that or ignore him… :)
Anon - Many thanks, post updated accordingly.

Leggie - yeah, I could ignore him, but his laziness grates on my nerves, and it pisses me off he gets paid to serve up this tripe. Plus I figure some people might take him seriously, so a little Darth Watching is in order.
Interesting thing is that I would read The Herald (hard copy) probably around 25 times a year, and I’ve never noticed him.

I guess I must’ve read the first paragraph a few times and then just moved on with no impact made whatsoever.
Leggie - quite possible. Also he's a weekly columnist, not daily, so easy to miss in that sense too.
Well I’m in the Herald catchment area for the next 10 days. I still normally try to hunt down the less provincial / parochial DomPost but you’ve pricked my curiosity dc; which day does he rant?
I threw up in my mouth, a little, after reading Darth and that letter.

Are these people for real?

They're going to have a fucking revolution on their hands if they keep this banter up.

Actually come to think of it, I'm free on Monday, so I'll start the revolution myself then.

Who's in?
Leggie - Thursdays at the moment. But Bobert will have initiated revolution by then so Darth might have been replaced.
Using the anti-pc argument has become a bit like the hitler theory being used in debates. As soon as anybody uses it in a vitriolic choked sentence I switch off as it means they have no point to make.

If you don't like somebodies opinion on an issue then say WHY you don't like it rather than pc crap blah blah blah repeat 5 times and get the other ignorant morons out there nodding approval at the nothingness that has come out of your mouth.

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