Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Smiling Lomborg

Simon Donner had Bjorn pegged when he described how it's done

Climate change “skepticism” began with an industry-funded effort to question the science. It has since morphed into questioning whether the effects of climate change would really be so bad, a move I call the Smiling Lomborg.
If you look at the act the first thing you see is the constant smirk. Myles Allen found a good way of dealing with Lomborg, use simple ways of stating the problems and challenge Lomborg on his basic economics/political science, in other words, don't let him duck out on the "But I am not a scientist", but confront him on what he claims to be. Lomborg really doesn't know the science. (Well Bjorn, as you say, you are not a scientist. That's real clear cause you just stepped in it again and why did you use that crazy stuff). He also has a very superficial understanding of economics, and as the economists move away from him he looksincreasingly foolish, but you do have to press him.

You can't go at Lomborg straight on, he will just laugh, look cool and leave you sputtering. Joe Romm would get his teeth handed to him by Lomborg. Michael Berube could. To paraphrease we need a way of dealing with Lomborg that does not give him what he wants: namely, (1) important concessions or (2) outrage. He feeds on (2), of course, and uses it to power the Copenhagen Consensus and Massive Persecution Complex he runs out of Denmark; and most of the time, we give it to him by the truckload. Realists need to try (3), mockery and dismissal, and thereby demonstrate that when someone tries to blame poverty and maleria on Al Gore having a large house, that person needs to be ridiculed and given a double minor for unsportsmanlike bullshit.

A day or so ago John Mashey posted a thorough deconstruction of Lomborg. This grows out of an earlier long exchange (references at the link) which also should be read by anyone who needs to be filled in on what is going on. However, by itself it is not effective because it treats Lomborg as serious rather than self-promoting. Think Bernie Madoff in a black shirt. They both smile a lot.



John Mashey said...

Thanks for the link.

Frank Ackerman has published a nice analysis of Cool It! from an economists' view.

Mockery is to be encouraged, but my concern was that it didn't work with some pretty sensible people who were new to Lomborg.

They dismissed/ignored Lomborg's silly science, but had a harder time ignoring the set of priorities from the CC ... Most knew something was wrong, but they weren't sure exactly what.

That stuck with them like the smile of the Cheshire Cat even after the Cat disappeared :-)

EliRabett said...

That's easy, he did the Republican thing, allocated an extremely small amount of money to do a huge amount of stuff. Predictable result: Train wreck. Enjoying the economy folks?

It's like those tax cuts

Lovely to look at
Delightful to hold
Sooner or later they'll
Come for your job house and kid.

Horatio Algeranon said...

Of course, Horatio does not believe in mockery (It's disrespectful), and most certainly not derision (even more so).

Horatio also has the utmost respect for members of the Church of Bjorn-again Statisticians" and would never say anything that might be construed as disrespectful of their personal beliefs, values or dress habits.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that Lomborg still makes you liberals itch. Why is it that posts written by libs are always full of ad-homs and little substance?

Anonymous said...

anon 9:29

Only one of the following is "argumentum ad hominem".

i) That guy consistently makes idiotic arguments (as shown here (link) and here(link) and here(link)) and therefore qualifies as an idiot.

ii) That guy is an idiot and therefore, by extension, his arguments all qualify as idiotic (we need not even consider them)

See the difference?

If not, you might wish to read this

"Merely insulting a source in the middle of otherwise rational discourse does not necessarily constitute an ad hominem fallacy (though it is not usually regarded as acceptable)."

Tom said...

The name calling and ad hominem attacks are telling. The major funding of alarmists dwarfs the backing of the skeptics - from both private and government sources. Funding is probably in the order of 1000:1. The alarmist case is one-sided, political, prejudiced, and closed-minded. Yet they are losing ground fast. Socialism is a failure.