Sunday, February 21, 2010

Houghtongate Bites Booker

Well after Piers Akermangate went down into the quote mine to try and get out of apologizing for making up quoting from thinking he may have quoted from Benny Peiser a fabrication that Akerman attributed to Sir John Houghton, we get Christopher Booker plagiarizing Piers, and claiming that, the made up line they quoted was "just like" something else that Houghton said in an interview with the Times. Eli has gone over this ground before, and, as the Policy Lass points out one of these is nothing like the other,


Let’s play “One of these things is not like the other”

“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen”.

“If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.” [edited to add the rest of the quote in so that denialists the hard of reading comprehension won't lie misunderstand]

The two are not the same.

The first one — a false one — has been used by deniers to charge that the IPCC knowingly exaggerates the risks of global warming in order to hype the issue and get attention. The second states that its human nature to ignore problems until they reach critical mass.
but Booker has an interesting addition
It was also asked, through this paper, that I publish a correction, because I quoted the sentence in my recent book The Real Global Warming Disaster – although I have never done so in these pages. Like many others, I was misled by the internet into assuming the quote, attributed to a book written by Sir John in 1994, was genuine, and that it must have been removed from the later edition I used when compiling my own account of the global warming story. Naturally, in the face of Sir John's insistence that he never said it, we shall all in due course take steps to correct the record, as I shall do in the next edition of my book.
Letters have been sent, it just takes longer to get to the end of the Earth. Ely had dearly awaited hearing the mush of books being pulped, but perhaps not, still hope springs eternal, the buds are swelling and the birdies singing.

Comments?

UPDATE: From the Hank Robert's Blog and interpretation:

> in the face of Sir John's insistence that he never said it,
[I haven't checked personally, but I've been forced to admit that he now claims he never wrote what we published and attributed to him]

> we shall all in due course
[We will not change the falsehood that we've printed and distributed]

> take steps to correct the record
[each step we take covers half the remaining distance toward getting it right. Please be infinitely patient with our progress]

11 comments:

Susann said...

"Like many others, I was misled by the internet into assuming the quote, attributed to a book written by Sir John in 1994, was genuine, and that it must have been removed from the later edition I used when compiling my own account of the global warming story."

That damnable internet.

Hank Roberts said...

> in the face of Sir John's
> insistence that he never said it,
[I haven't checked personally, but I've been forced to admit that he now claims he never wrote what we published and attributed to him]

> we shall all in due course
[We will not change the falsehood that we've printed and distributed]

> take steps to correct the record
[each step we take covers half the remaining distance toward getting it right. Please be infinitely patient with our progress]

S said...

Steve L said:
"The second states that its human nature to ignore problems until they reach critical mass."

The second is about somebody's personal beliefs about human motivation in the context of interactions between god and man. The first falsely implies that this was some sort of strategy (agreed upon by a secular body) for interactions between government and people. The two interpretations are a universe apart.

guthrie said...

Fuckwit Peiser still doesn't get it. Todays letters to the Observer has one by him which says:

"I regret the use of a derivative quotation that has been attributed to Sir John Houghton for many years ("Unless we announce disaster, no one will listen", Debate). A reference to Sir John's accurate statement would have been more appropriate: "If we want a good environmental policy in the future we'll have to have a disaster.""

I've not had a letter in the observer before, all good suggestions for a put down considered, with appropriate atribution.

guthrie said...

Fuckwit Peiser still doesn't get it. Todays letters to the Observer has one by him which says:

"I regret the use of a derivative quotation that has been attributed to Sir John Houghton for many years ("Unless we announce disaster, no one will listen", Debate). A reference to Sir John's accurate statement would have been more appropriate: "If we want a good environmental policy in the future we'll have to have a disaster.""

I've not had a letter in the observer before, all good suggestions for a put down considered, with appropriate atribution.

David B. Benson said...

Hippity hop.

Hank Roberts said...

The first arrival perusing promising territory need not dig nor mine but merely pick up the richest nuggets lying about on the surface. Later prospectors are advised to dig a bit and they will likely find more.

-----

"... such an event will transpire one day. And when it happens, it will be unprecedented....
... Some people will blame their governments, space agencies, and astronomers for failing to protect them from cosmic disaster. Then it will not be sufficient to issue the mantra of statistical risk estimates."
...
"... I have always been skeptical of the customary NASA view that no funds should be provided for impact mitigation research until we are faced with an impending impact threat."
-- Benny Peiser
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/impact_debate_part4_030304.html

"... the reaction of the public fundamentally will depend on the location, extent, and destruction of the impact. In all likelihood, another Tunguska event would occur over an unpopulated or scarcely inhabited region of the world. However, in the unlikely event of fatalities, the global uproar could be substantial. In such a case, 9/11 would look like an insignificant security failure. The blame game would be brutal, and I would certainly not like to be in the shoes of those who had advised the government that small impacts were negligible."
-- Benny Peiser
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/impact_debate_encore_030310.html

Hank Roberts said...

Also helpful, in a more serious way:

Linked cultures: breaking out of the 'disaster management rut'.
ISSN: 0251-7329

".... In examining disaster events and risk issues around the world, a pattern emerges of risk reduction often being side-lined until a disaster happens. Then demands are made about why nothing was done before it occurred. Not all case studies are so gloomy though; impressive successes can also be identified. A century ago, death tolls in the United States from Atlantic hurricanes listed thousands, whereas recent years have witnessed dozens per event. Such numbers are still high considering the resources that the United States puts into hurricane-related monitoring and awareness programmes, which nonetheless represent a significant improvement over time. ..."
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/_/print/PrintArticle.aspx?id=125947165

Hmmmm, has anyone tracked the change in the death and injury numbers compared to the change in property damage numbers over the same time span? I wonder if the change in people's behavior with the government's monitoring and education has affected both?

G-Man said...

One journalist is beginning to get it:

Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial

William T said...

From the words of Booker...
"the notorious "hockey stick" graph, used by the IPCC to fool the world into thinking that global temperatures had lately been soaring to levels unprecedented in history. This turned out to be the greatest scientific error in the IPCC's history."

Given that the error (if any) in the original MBH98 temperature reconstruction relates only to arcane argument about statistical methodology that in the end turned out to have no significant impact on the "hockey stick", this looks like a subliminal admission that the IPCC science is in fact sound...

willard said...

A Peiser watch would provide an interesting read. If it's a good idea, the hat tip should go to Hank Roberts.

(A Lord Lawson of Blaby watch too, and even easier. But that would be OT to mention that, would it?)