21 July 2010

I am John Abraham

Those of you of a certain age, or a certain other age, will remember the scene from the movie Spartacus where everyone steps forward and declares himself or herself to be Spartacus.  So it goes now.  Fortunately, it is only threats against jobs and not, yet, lives which are at hand. 

Still, someone's job is indeed being threatened, and the 'transgression' involved is to address the scientific content, or lack thereof, in the whiner's threatener's presentations.  That would be no matter for concern if the threatener were some nonentity.  But it is a person who has testified to the US Senate regarding the science of climate change.  That makes it rather a serious issue -- this is not a marginal person whining from the distant reaches of the auditorium.  This is a person with the ear of US Senators.

The person being threatened is John Abraham.  He's a scientist at a small university in Minnesota who took the time to address the scientific claims of the person who styles himself as Lord Monckton, and, among other things, who recently was invited to address the US Senate on climate change.  Abraham's response is at his University of St. Thomas web page.  I encourage you to view/listen to the presentation Abraham made.  And, of course, to examine yourself the original comments of Monckton's.  And then to hit the scientific literature yourself to see who represented the science most accurately.

I'll include a raft more links below the fold, as many comments are already out there.

The thing which has me writing is the fact that this is such an absurd response from Monckton -- if he were at all interested in the science.  That places this in to the 'weeding sources' category.  If you're interested in the science, you, first, try to get it right yourself.  Then, if someone else points to places where you might have gotten your science wrong (and, in fact, spectacularly wrong), your response is to correct your errors.  You don't have to like it.  Scientists are human, after all, and nobody likes to have it shown that they're wrong.  Still, you do it.  What you don't do is try to get fired the person who showed that you were wrong.  But Monckton indeed responds to correction by trying to get his corrector fired. 

So I encourage you to send your support to Abraham, by facebook group, to email his university, or the like (see, for instance, Hot Topic's petition to sign).  We need more people who are willing to address the scientific content of public statements about climate.  And they need to be reasonably confident that they're not going to lose their jobs for trying to speak honestly about the science.

Facebook Group -- Prawngate*



Hot Topic

Desmog blog (has full text of Monckton's latest)

Eli Rabett

Hot Topic - 2

Only In it For the Gold

Deltoid 2

Scruffy Dan (Dan also started the facebook group)  (see this post for the originals about 'prawn' and 'prawngate')

Tenny Naumer at Climate Change Psychology reproduces George Monbiot's Guardian article

Skeptical Science

Skeptical Science 2

* I should explain the 'prawngate' if you haven't seen it before.  The thing is, one of Monckton's early comments was to say that Abraham looked rather like a prawn.  I don't see the resemblance myself.  More to the point, Monckton is sensitive about his own appearance, which results from a disease he has.  You'd think that he'd be particularly sensible about not making fun of somebody's appearance

No comments: