I’m Confused About Coral, or Maybe John Cook Is

My last post mentioned I had decided to read a book John Cook was a co-author of, Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. I quickly found a significant amount of the book had been copied and used in another book by Cook’s co-author (Haydn Washington’s Human Dependence on Nature: How to Help Solve the Environmental Crisis). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an eBook version of it, and I didn’t care to spend $40+ of my own money for a physical copy.
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Global Warming and Sexism?

After my last post discussing (proprietor of Skeptical Science) John Cook’s tendency to fabricate quotes, I got an e-mail from a reader suggesting I review the quotes in the book he had written, Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand.

I hadn’t realized Cook had written a book. Intrigued, I decided to do as the reader suggested. I ordered a copy for Kindle, downloaded it and opened it up. I haven’t gotten past that part though. I keep laughing every time I try. You see, this is the first page I saw:

11-17-Cook-Foreward

I know global warming is more popular with liberals than conservatives. I also know the same is true for “feminism.” However, it boggles my mind to think people actually believe deniers “are nearly all men.” I’ve never seen such a claim before, and it doesn’t make much sense. After all, according to John Cook:

Consensus_Gap_med

Cook performed a survey (which he never published) which found 55% of Americans believe there is a consensus on global warming. If nearly all deniers are men, nearly every man in the United States must be a denier. That’s the only way for what the foreword says to be true. But if that’s the case, there can’t be some liberal/conservative split. It’s really just a battle of the sexes. Men suck, women rule.

Or maybe this foreword is just stupid and wrong.

John Cook is a Low Down Dirty Liar

I’ve previously established John Cook, proprietor of the Skeptical Science website and lead author of multiple scientific papers promoting the consensus on global warming, is a liar. I’ve demonstrated dishonesty on his part multiple times, including when I showed his scientific publications are built entirely upon an intentional campaign of deception.

Today I’d like to revisit one the more baffling examples, Cook’s tendency to fabricate quotes. (more…)

A Spokeperson for the President is Unaffiliated with the President…?

I recently came across a video in which President Barack Obama takes credit for a tweet about the infamous Skeptical Science consensus paper. That tweet:

Is unquestionably wrong as it says the study shows the “consensus” is global warming is dangerous, but the study never claims to examine whether or not global warming is dangerous. All it claims to examine is whether or not there is a consensus global warming is real/man-made.

More interesting, however, is that tweet comes from the @BarackObama Twitter account whose profile specifically says:

This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.

The tweet in question is not signed. As such, Organizing for Action is clearly claiming the tweet came from them, not the president. It’s confusing, then, that the president would say:

In fact last year I even tweeted one of your studies in my 31, to my 31 million followers on Twitter.

In this recent speech:

What is even more confusing is the Organizing for Action group denies having any affiliation with the president. On its webpage, it answers the question, “Is OFA affiliated in any way with the federal or any other government, or funded with taxpayer dollars” with a firm, “No.”

It was always difficult to see how Organizing for Action could claim to be unaffiliated with the president while leasing the president’s name for fundraising purposes. The current situation is even more difficult to reconcile. Barack Obama gave a prepared speech in which he explicitly took credit for a tweet Organizing for Action wrote. By doing so, he indicated tweets posted by Organizing for Action under his name, whether signed by him or not, are official messages from the President of the United States.

But yet, we’re told this group is “not affiliated in any way with the federal” government. This group, which seems to official speaks for the President of the United States, claims to be unaffiliated with the government he leads.

I’ve contacted Organizing for Action to see if they can reconcile these positions. I’ll post an update if I get a response. In the meantime, we can all get a chuckle out of the President of the United States explicitly taking credit for a tweet which grossly misrepresents the study it seeks to promote.

For additional humor, we can note Organizing for Action has repeatedly been described as being non-partisan. One wonders how a mouthpiece of the President of the United States, who explicitly labels himself a member of one party, could possibly be non-partisan.

One Year

Well folks, today is this site’s one year anniversary. I can’t believe it. I never wanted to be a blogger. I started this site as a journal for random thoughts I have so I didn’t have to pester people in real life with them. Now, I’m not sure what it is.

Part of me wants to say this is just another a blog about global warming. The problem is I don’t really discuss global warming. Most of my posts have been about topics which arose from the global warming debate, but I’ve never argued anything about global warming itself. The truth is I don’t care about global warming.

Part of me wants to say this is just my online journal. Only, we all know it isn’t. I’ve intentionally used this site to exert some small influence on the external world. My most read post was the one where I directly challenged the University of Queensland to follow up on their legal threats. Clearly, this is not just an online journal.

I don’t know what this site is. I’ve written posts with the intent of reviewing fiction books (e.g. here), but I never followed through on the idea. I’ve argued a publicly praised business is actually an illegal enterprise. I’ve mocked feminist insanity. I’ve written lengthy commentaries on fundamental philosophical points, including an explanation of the “right” answer to the most widely argued mathematical issue (does .9 repeating equal 1).

I’ve written all this and more in 176 posts. These 176 posts have received 176,127 views. I don’t how “good” that is. In fact, I don’t know what to make of any of this. All I know is I made this “blog” because I thought it would be fun and interesting.

It has been.

I suppose I should sign off with a message to anyone reading this. I don’t know what to tell you though. I’m me. This site is an extension of me.

And I’m going to be around for a while.

When Fact Checkers Aren’t

I am sometimes troubled by the growing popularity of “fact checkers.” I think fact checking is great. The problem is the fact checkers becoming more and more popular don’t seem to be checking facts. For instance, Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler recently published an article “fact checking” statements by former president George W. Bush, including this one:

The man, Saddam Hussein, would have a lot of revenue as a result of high prices of oil. And even though there wasn’t, you know, a – we found a dirty bomb, for example – he had the capacity to make chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. And so there’s – you know, it’s all very hypothetical. But yeah, I could argue that we’re much safer without Saddam. And I would argue that the people of Iraq have a better shot at living in a peaceful – a peaceful state.

The article begins on a troubling note:

The Fact Checker was puzzled by Bush’s reference to finding a dirty bomb in Iraq. It certainly sounded like he said that such a weapon was found in Iraq. But after listening to the tape a few times, we concluded that the former president, in an offhand manner, was giving that as an example of something that was not found after the United States invaded Iraq.

I find it puzzling anyone would think Bush’s statement was meant to indicate the United States found a dirty bomb. Taking out a few superfluous words in the sentence gives us the obvious meaning, “And even though there wasn’t a dirty bomb, for example, he had the capacity to make chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.”

The meaning is clear. I don’t know why someone would have to listen to a tape multiple times to realize the words “you know, a – we found” were little more than verbal ticks. It’s obviously nothing more than someone saying, “Uh, you know” to fill some space while they’re trying to think of how to express their idea.

It gets worse though. The next paragraph of this “fact check” says:

Who knew that the United States invaded Iraq because of a potential dirty-bomb threat? That’s certainly not what the administration suggested before the war.

This is incredibly misleading. The transcript shows Bush was asked a specific question:

You talk about the current situation in Iraq and the growth of ISIS. And you look at that country today, there are atrocities. There’s violence. There’s chaos. Can you argue today that that country is a safer place and a better place than it was when Saddam Hussein was in power?

This question clearly asks if Iraq is a safer and better place due to the invasion. That has nothing to do with the stated reasons for the invasion. Those reasons could have been wrong, false or even intentionally dishonest. That still wouldn’t tell us whether or not Iraq is a safer and better place.

Bush answered the question he was asked. Kessler’s “fact check” calls Bush’s answer misleading because if he had given it in response to an entirely different question, it’d be misleading. That’s ridiculous. You can’t strip a statement of all context in order to pretend it was given in response to an entirely different question then call it misleading like Kessler does when he says:

the former president misleadingly twists the initial rationale behind the invasion

The former president did not discuss “the initial rationale behind the invasion” in this interview. A “fact checker” simply made that up. I have no idea how that is supposed to be “fact checking.”