By: - Climate DepotDecember 3, 2017 11:45 AM

  • Date: 02/12/17
  • Thomas Fuller, Climate Scepticism

The purpose of the attack on Dr Susan Crockford is not to communicate. It is to excommunicate.

Canadian zoologist Dr Susan Crockford

Consensus climate scientists have long been personal and damning in their criticism of those who don’t agree with them. They’ve threatened physical violence (Ben Santer: “Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”). They of course use the epithet ‘denier’ specifically to associate opponents with those who deny the Holocaust occurred.

But when they talk about male scientists they are somewhat restrained. Here’s Michael Mann on Richard Lindzen, former Alfred P. Sloan professor at MIT, and one of the most famous skeptics: “So Richard Lindzen is a scientist from MIT who has expressed contrarian views about climate change.” When astrophysicist Ken Rice, a consensus defender writes of Roger Pielke Jr., who disputes some elements of the consenssus, he writes “Okay, I do think that trying to improve the climate debate is commendable, so kudos to Roger for at least trying. ”

But when Mann speaks of Judith Curry, another climate scientist who disagrees with some consensus positions, he says ‘she is a carnival barker in the circus of climate denial.’ This is somewhat odd, as Judith Curry has 224 scientific publications credited to her – Mann is calling her a denier of a science she is helping create. She is also dismissively referred to on blogs published by climate scientists as ‘Aunt Judy’ and much worse.

The same is true for scientists like Sally Baliunas, Jennifer Marohasy, even consensus female scientists like Tamsin Edwards (called a ‘careerist’ by Josh Halpern for not being critical enough of lukewarmers). While male scientists definitely get their share of criticism–even abuse–with females, the invective seems more personal.

Now it is the turn of Dr. Susan Crockford, who has been a zoologist for 35 years. Despite that, despite her PhD from the University of Victoria in Canada, despite over 30 scientific publications, she is now classed as a ‘denier.’

A paper published Nov. 29 in the American Institute of Biological Sciences journal ‘Bioscience’ bears the title ‘Internet Blogs, Polar Bears and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy’ calls Susan Crockford a denier. Their evidence is that other unidentified blogs that the paper’s authors call ‘denier’ blogs (without citing them, without showing what it is about those blogs that render them anathema) link to Dr. Crockford’s weblog.

Let’s be clear about this. Dr. Crockford does not deny climate change. She writes about polar bears and clears up some misconceptions being published about them. But because weblogs this paper’s authors don’t like link to Crockford, she is now labeled a ‘denialist.’ But again, the casual dismissal of her life’s work is more personal than professional. She is derided as someone who focused on dogs,with an inferred snigger.

This is actually a common Consensus tactic–when they cannot criticize the science, they go after the scientist. Or even the scientists’s fans… The truth about polar bears is that they have survived warmer periods than those predicted for us by the IPCC. Their numbers are increasing, not decreasing. And the biggest threat to polar bears are hunters–as many as 1,000 per year (out of a total population of about 30,000) are shot.

The paper flat out lies about Crockford’s publication record, saying “Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears.” Crockford’s publications are listed here and include papers published in Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, Canadian Journal of Zoology and International Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among many others.

It is another attempt to delegitimize a respected and credentialed scientist, based not on what she writes, but on what others write about her.

The Consensus team is not shy about labeling, defaming and insulting those in opposition. But here we see once again that it is easier for them to do this with female opponents.

The paper’s authors are Jeffrey A. Harvey, Daphne van den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup, Michael E. Mann.

Michael Mann is famous–or infamous–as author of the Hockey Stick chart. But Jeffrey Harvey is not. Harvey is willing to defend Paul Ehrlich, who to my knowledge has never been right about anything, but is willing to throw fellow scientist Susan Crockford under the bus. Here’s Harvey defending Paul Ehrlich:

“Effectively, these scientists – experts with many hundreds of peer-reviewed articles amongst them and with many awards (e.g. Paul Ehrlich has been a past winner of the Crafoord Prize, an equivalent to the Nobel Prize in fields outside of that award) – have drawn conclusions that an ‘expert’ like Fuller disagrees with.”

Stefan Lewandowsky, famed for having retracted his flagship paper and moving out of the country to live down the shame of it, deserves little mention.

The central point emerging from their paper is unintentional on their part. Their opponents are eager to cite scientists in their arguments. Rather than denying science, they are eager consumers of it. […]

On Susan Crockford:

Richard Littlemore: “Has beens, also-rans, deniers-for-hire on retainer at “think tank”. The scientists, ranging from …a sessional lecturer on the evolution and history of the domestic dog (Susan Crockford), include no top climate scientists currently publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.”

At the end of the day, members of the Consensus will dismiss this blog post in the same way they dismiss Susan Crockford–not because of the accuracy of the quotes listed here, not because of the truth or falsity of its central point, but because of provenance. It is posted on a blog called Climate Scepticism and hence is beyond the Pale.

The paper I am criticizing reminds me of several other junk science publications–‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’ (Cook, Nuccitelli et al), ‘Expert Credibility in Climate Change,’Anderegg, Prall et al and literally anything written by the biggest charlatan in climate science, Stefan Lewandowsky (one of the authors of this paper as well).

The purpose of these papers is not to communicate. It is to excommunicate.

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Susan Crockford: Twenty Good Reason Not To Worry About Polar Bears