Sir John Houghton: AGW is real because I've got a knighthood, I'm a scientist and I say so

“Let’s be honest….” says Sir John Houghton, formerly chief of the Met Office and leading climate doom-monger, in a fascinating article in today’s Times. Fascinating, that is, for what it is says about our supine MSM’s apparently boundless appetite for allowing itself to be used as the climate fear promotion lobby’s uncritical propaganda mouthpiece.

Can you imagine the leader of Hamas being given freedom to explain in a national British newspaper column how his party had always been an ardent supporter of Israel and a great lover of the Jewish people and how to suggest otherwise was an outrageous slur on his good name?

Or Jose Manuel Baroso running an article saying that one of the great things about the EU was the way it had lowered taxes and regulation, enhanced liberty and made everything more democratically accountable?

Or Jeffrey Archer being given a thousand words to explain how Tolstoy had learned everything he knew from reading Kane And Abel?

Though I’d very much like to read the last one – and the first two come to think of it – I doubt they’d ever be allowed to run. The comment editor would take one look at them and go: “But this is just nonsense! It contradicts all reason; it completely ignores pretty much everything this person has ever done. It’s a pack of unsupported assertions and ‘facts’ which bear no connection whatsoever with observed reality.”

So why aren’t the same standards of objectivity, balance, verifiability and reason applied to members of the global climate fear promotion lobby? I’m thinking, for example, of that hideous eructation of unutterable bilge that the New York Times generously allowed Al Gore to spew into its pages the other day; or the number of solemn AGW-promoting articles you see being run by the likes of the Hon Sir Jonathon Porritt; or the Royal Society’s Lord Rees; or dreary but dangerous Lord Stern.

This is classic argumentum ad verecundiam – the logical fallacy of the “appeal to authority”. Just because they’ve got titles and represent grand-sounding bodies, their words are treated as holy writ. They are allowed to repeat the same pack of lies ad nauseam and they’re never, ever called on it. (Except, highly entertainingly, by the commenters below online versions of the articles).

I was going to give you examples of all the bits from Sir John’s article that stretched the bounds of credulity. But re-reading it, I realise that to do that, I’d have to run the whole piece.

Let’s try though:

In truth, it’s far easier to find what now looks like excessive caution in IPCC reports.

Interesting use of “in truth” there. Presumably as in “in truth I did not cut that cherry tree down”.

Or try:

The IPCC is too big an organisation to be captured by an ideological cabal or fall foul of group-think.

Or this:

The IPCC is not a self-selected group of scientists with a political agenda.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Sir John. But I’m sure I’d recognise him instantly by his extraordinarily long nose.

UPDATE: for a thorough Fisking of all the arrant porkies in Sir John’s Times-endorsed propaganda statement, I heartily recommend the great Lubos Motl’s blog. Here he is analysing Sir John’s “Let’s be honest….” paragraph defending the IPCC’s integrity. (Hat Tip: Dropstone)

Houghton only mentions GlacierGate because it’s the only one for which the IPCC has apologized – kind of. It hasn’t apologized for the other scandals even though they’re inherently more serious than the GlacierGate. The IPCC hasn’t apologized again, and switched backed to the mode of denial, because it had previously “promised” itself that the GlacierGate was the only mistake in the 2007 IPCC report.

This statement of theirs is, however, completely absurd. Virtually every single statement in the IPCC report that looks worrisome is based on ideology, science that suffers from childish mistakes and deliberate mistakes, and is only supported by gray literature. That includes the statements about the glaciers, about the destruction of rain forests by climate change, about the dropping agricultural yields in Africa because of climate change, about the majority of the Netherlands being under the sea level, about the rising inherent damages caused by natural disasters, and everything else that makes the IPCC relevant in the political discourse and the media.

The IPCC is not “science at its best”: it is a shame that discredits all of science and is dragging all other scientific disciplines under the water. It doesn’t deserve to be defended: it deserves to be eliminated. People should pray that the damage caused by the IPCC to the institutionalized science in the whole world may be corrected in a foreseeable future.