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Let's talk fraud

17 Jan 2024 | OP ED Watch

Having praised his work in this week’s first “News Roundup” item, let us repeat here our one big disagreement with Tony Heller, which is that he thinks climate alarmism is a “fraud“ and a “scam” and says so in virtually every post. The Manhattan Contrarian, another source for whom we have very high regard, agrees. Drawing partly on Heller’s work, he has published a series on “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time”. But we take a very different view of all the deliberate and highly unscientific tampering with evidence. We think the zealots at NOAA, and a great many other places, are not trying to scam us with claims they secretly think are untrue. Instead they are so utterly persuaded that their alarmist theory is right that when the data don’t fit it, as happens often, they conclude that the data must be wrong. For one thing, if they were cheating on purpose they’d hide it better. And for another we think that after a while the perpetrators of a known fraud would tire of constantly lying. It’s easier to believe climate alarmists are wedded to a flawed theory and have constructed ingenious ways to rationalize its many failures without having to face the possibility that it might be untrue. So we defer to the leading climate skeptic who recently tweeted, “Imagine being so intellectually deficient that you convince yourself anyone with a different opinion is corrupt.” His name? Tony Heller.

The crucial point here is that what Thomas Kuhn said of scientific “paradigms” is clearly true of people’s beliefs in a great many other areas from economics to geopolitics and their personal matters. Human beings go to a lot of trouble to construct coherent world-views on important matters. And they don’t expect them to explain every single piece of evidence easily and perfectly. What they ask is that on balance they make the best sense of the “blooming and buzzing confusion” of sensory input that confronts us (William James’s phrase) from our complex universe so the thinker can make decisions and take actions. And once someone is “invested” in such a view in whatever area, having been convinced by the way that particular “paradigm” or Gestalt or Weltanschauung seems to be supported by what seem to be the most important and relevant facts, they will go to considerable mental effort to fit new and less compelling facts into the existing framework before taking the intellectual, professional and social trouble to change their position dramatically.

To say so is not to embrace relativism or to accuse them of laziness. Rather, it is to insist that people are logical slowly. And both parts make sense, the logic and the caution, because anyone who changed their opinions at the first sign of an unexpected development would never be able to think at all and, being mentally paralyzed, would also be unable to act. So the trick in determining when a theory is holding up well under fire and when it is on fire is to avoid the sin of pride, and admit it when too many facts are pointing in another direction for our current conviction to be sustainable.

As, for instance, when you make claims that across the globe, people somehow misread thermometers in a way that created the impression of stable temperature over most of the past century when actually it was cooling over a long interval. And the related problem that if someone wanted to predict, without looking, how much NOAA had adjusted the temperature in any given past year, far and away the most reliable input factor would be the level of atmospheric CO2. Low CO2 levels cause NOAA to “adjust” temperatures downward, and high levels cause it to adjust them upward. Almost as if they were so sure what they were looking for was there that they always found it no matter what. Behavior that, in anyone they disagreed with, would immediately lead them to cry foul.

P.S. In Crawfordsville, wherever that might be, the net adjustment over a somewhat longer period, just over a century, is, gosh looky here again, about 4.2°F. And no bonus for guessing that the further back you go, the more they lower it. None whatsoever.

11 comments on “Let's talk fraud”

  1. Your point of disagreement with Tony Heller is empathetic, but not helpful, as climate fascists don't need empathy. It's not a matter of being so convinced of being right, as being convinced of the personal gain to be had by being one of the believers. Neocons and climate change believers are united in seeing the personal gain in saying up is down, and black is white. Meanwhile the majority, for just the information overload situation you describe, don't do much until the merde truly hits the fan.

  2. I agree, it’s not a deliberate fraud or scam. The climateers really believe what they are saying. When I point out that none of the predictions have ever come true, they say “but they will”, like followers of Nostradamus used to say.

  3. I’d say it’s not fraud by all but definitely by some.
    But a fraud by any other name still smells as bad. Why is unintentional fraud by curve fitting ok? You are giving them an out for their intentional deceit , fraud is fraud regardless of intentions.
    “Doing the right thing” is no defense

  4. True, it probably isn’t a fraud by all, but I seriously doubt that most of the governments and WEC members actually believe. Your assertion about fraudsters doing more to hide their fraud actually has little evidence to support in history. Most frauds really are not that well hidden, they just rely on gullible people along with incentives to encourage belief (usually financial incentives like government grants, tax rebates, etc). And when the fraudsters have the support of the outlets that provide the majority of the populace with their data, then hiding relies on suppressing the data from all but the most determined searchers with the education to know what to search for and how to interpret the data found. Just as very few questioned Bernie Madoff’s data didn’t prove he was a believe rather than a fraudster, not being very good at hiding data doesn’t show the climate change crowd isn’t committing fraud. Quite clearly the NASA and NOAA scientists know that a concerted effort to lower historical temps and raise current temps from the instrument measured data know full well they are committing scientific fraud. They are also fully aware that computer models are expressions of a hypothesis, not a test of a hypothesis. Even if they are believers they are knowingly committing fraud, and that is what Tony Heller is showing. The politicians you claim really believe, coincidently get the ratcheting socialism they actually believe in through implementing climate control policies they would otherwise not be able to get through the legislature. The incentives for people of low moral character are in place to benefit from fraud, and do not have IQs low enough to indicate belief in such poorly supported rationale, so the simplest explanation is that they are engaging in fraud.

  5. The fraud stems from the corrupting influence of the enormity of rent-seeking bounty exclusively available to those reinforcing and parroting the hypothesis that ensures the existence of a politically manufactured crisis under the management of elected Jacobins and Bolsheviks of all parties offering sacrifice and salvation. The "crisis" has been bought and paid for by the looters and thugs of the desperately bankrupt western welfare states in end-stage democracy (Tytler's definition) as a grand distraction.

  6. Seems to me both approaches are true. Heller and the Manhattan Contrarian are focused on politicians, who ARE pushing a lie, and they largely know it's a lie but it's too powerful to get people to give away their liberties and create an "industrial policy" for energy, initially in Washington DC and eventually to become a pretense for World Government.
    The scientists appear to be deluded, that's a correct observation. It's all the Madness of Crowds - the scientists are tossing data they find inconvenient (a repudiation of the scientific method) and generally behaving like non-scientists; and the politicians are piling on because........................that's what politicians do. Different ratioanales, same results.

  7. "...anyone who changed their opinions at the first sign of an unexpected development would never be able to think at all..."
    But that misrepresents the epistemic situation. Where there is conflicting evidence, or insufficient evidence, or where there are competing hypotheses that have not been tested and ruled out, the intelligent thing to do is to suspend judgment - rather than to take sides. Or to take a side, but appropriately tentatively. That way, when an unexpected development arises, you can weigh it objectively, without having to "change one's opinion" back and forth as more links to studies come in. What discredits a great number of climate scientists is that they express an unseemly certainty about matters which the current understanding of climate is woefully inadequate to support. It's the fraudulent certainty - of "The science is settled!" and "the 97% consensus" variety - that irks me. That is a scientific fraud. It has to be fraud, rather than sincere but misguided belief, because these are smart people, and they have had the matter pointed out to them countless times.

  8. I have been urging CDN for years to cease adopting an all-of-nothing stance in the matter of the sincerity of belief of climate alarmists. This piece is just a reiteration of that black-and-white thinking. It defies all understanding. CDN is a true believer in true believers.
    We know in every other subject with practical consequences that there is a whole range of characters: from charlatans and grifters, to the willfully self-deceived, the go-along-to-get-along types, the noble liars, and the luke-warmers, as well as true believers. Why not in climate science? Why not especially in climate science, give the complexity of the matter and the perceived stakes? Why, in this singular field, does power and money (or career ambition) not corrupt? Why does self-interest not cloud or impair judgment in climate science as it does in every other area? Of course it does. To deny it is preposterous.
    People are perfectly capable of perpetrating a scam or a hoax, while convincing themselves that they are doing god's work. They can excuse hyperbole, data-mining, cherry-picking, ad-hoc-ing, and all manner of deceptive methods of persuasion if the incentives are right. The human capacity for self-deception is great.

  9. Having been a follower of Tony Heller for years, I think you are being too hard on him and too soft on the alarmists. For one thing, Tony is not just a miner of old records, invaluable as that is. To quote the Coast to Coast website, "Tony Heller is an environmentalist, geologist (with a BS in Geology from Arizona State University), electrical engineer and teacher. He testified at his first Congressional hearing in support of Wilderness in 1972 and has had a broad and successful career in science, education, environment, and engineering." I believe his peak professional career was as a data analyst for electronic and software firms, finding and correcting faults in other employees' treatment of data. He won a trophy from (I think) Intel for the skill and accuracy of his analyses. There is (or was) an excellent video on Youtube of Tony speaking publicly about his climate change scepticism in which he introduces his background. One could hardly find a better detective for the misuse or falsification of data. Mining of old records is a retirement hobby, not what he "is".

    Echoing Job Moulder and Kent Clizbe, calling data falsification "fraud" is not perjorative but true. The people that do that are not just blinded by their faith in a popular idea; they know that what they are doing is wrong, and they do it anyway. And the financial incentives are blazingly obvious. The climate change industry is a huge worldwide honey-pot, and anybody on the receiving end would be crazy to put his grant or salary at risk. Experts like Judith Curry usually only speak out after they retire. There is every incentive to do whatever your conscience allows to support the narrative and suppress dissent.

    I would like to draw a parallel with the way those in control of public health manipulated data to generate and maintain fear of the Covid-19 pandemic and generate a stampede to vaccines. Statistics on case counts and fatalities "with" rather than "from" Covid were deliberately and grossly inflated, and it was easy to see the financial incentives. RFK Jr. makes a great case on the extent to which CDC and NIH have been captured by big pharma, with billions of dollars in royalties coming from sales of ever more "vaccines". Anthony Fauci is one of those who benefits personally. Perhaps even more significant, in early 2020 the CDC stipulated that any case or death with a positive Covid test must be declared "due to Covid", and they granted something like $48,000 for every Covid death certificate and something like $9000 for every funeral after a "Covid" death. What hospital administrator could refuse to add millions to his budget so easily? They could claim with a straight face that "of course" they would never falsify data, but gimme a break. Contrary data suggesting that Covid-19 was far less dangerous than advertised, such as the virtually complete disappearance of fatalties from influenza for two years and the lack of any surge in all-cause mortality, was vigorously suppressed, particularly in the US.

    Time to end this. To repeat, I think you are too hard on Tony Heller for finding "fraud" where the data are obvious, and too lenient on the alarmists who, unless pathological, cannot possibly falsify data just from true belief in the cause.

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