Naomi Oreskes, whose highly selective reading of a less than rigorous sample of paper abstracts first somehow spawned the 97% consensus figure, followed it up with a book Merchants of Doubt that spends 350 pages saying anyone who questions orthodoxy is a corrupt venal liar. It’s remarkable how inaccurate such pillars of alarmism can be when addressing details of the science rather than indulging their preferred pastime of smearing others’ character. But you’d at least expect them to be accurate recounting the details of their own writing. Russell Cook, who has devoted more than a decade to combatting this sort of character assassination, took a fairly detailed look at Oreskes’ fall 2019 Congressional testimony in which, in response to a question from Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez about an obscure 1998 memo from the American Petroleum Institute, she claimed that there were “Three hundred and 50 pages on that in my book ‘Merchants of Doubt’.” Except, as Cook explains, the memo is nowhere mentioned in the book.
Maybe what Oreskes meant was that the memo is typical of the lying lies of the liars who lie about climate, and her book is about the lying lies of these liars and they lie so much that they must be exposed as lying liars who lie so much. Or something of that sort. It was good enough for AOC and, Cook laments, many other members of Congress who simply didn’t seem well-enough briefed to ask useful questions. It’s also good enough for the halfwits who scrawl on our videos that we are driving Lamborginis paid for with Koch money or other such foolishness. But let us not get lost in the lying weeds here.
The real question is why, having supposedly discovered that virtually all qualified scientists agree that there’s a man-made, dangerous and urgent climate change crisis, Oreskes is not busy telling us what exactly the scientists are saying and what we need to do instead of blasting away at an imaginary army of scientific mercenaries no one ever seems to cite let alone hear from. Perhaps it’s because she had to walk her original 97% claim back, or rather her 75% claim that quickly escalated in the hands of Al Gore et al., to 20% explicitly endorsing the “consensus”, which just doesn’t have the same hair-raising quality. Or maybe she’s addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with waging war on the evil to great public acclaim. Or maybe she’s finding that course of action, dare we say it, lucrative?
At any rate there’s one thing we will not say. We will not call Ms. Oreskes a liar, a fraud, a shill or any such thing. We will call her rude, inaccurate and unhelpful. But she is sincere. And if only she and those like her could say the same of us, we could get back to arguing about the substance of the debate.
Speaking of which, we discourage people from posting comments on our videos claiming climate change is a hoax. Despite the McCarthyite tactics of people like Dr. Oreskes, genuine conspiracies are extremely rare in large part because it is very hard to do something sinister on a grand scale while keeping it secret. To be blunt, paranoia is far more common than conspiracy. And while sincere, paranoia is very harmful, to you and to society. Indeed, climate alarmists ought to consider whether their smear campaigns are not in fact an obstacle to persuading people rather than their mightiest weapon.