International Journal of Inactivism (now supplanted by Decoding SwiftHack)


Waah, they won't debate us

Filed under: Anthony Watts,James Hansen,Luboš Motl,news — stepanovich @ 11:22

cite as: F. Bi. 2008. Waah, they won’t debate us. Intl. J. Inact., 1:98–100

Lots of colourful players there are in the great ‘debate’ on global warming. There’s the blog commenter MarkeyMouse over at Rabett’s blog who recently discovered a hidden Bolshevist plot from the phrase “socials commentary”; the Czech inactivist Luboš Motl who’s calling for eugenics — literally — against Climate Alarmists; and then there’s Walt Bennett who sees Motl’s remarks and complains that people like Motl are being persecuted or something.

But I digress. Today, inactivist Anthony Watts, who earlier started a poll on whether to fire James Hansen (among other things), decides to take on Hansen again. You see, now that the poll has become a turkey, Watts suddenly shows a profound willingness to engage Hansen in a heart-to-heart, open-minded debate:


“For this fall,” Mr. Katz wrote in his e-mail to Mr. Hansen, “we are hoping to host a debate on global climate change and its implications. Patrick Michaels has agreed to come, and my organization would like you to come and debate Dr. Michaels in Williamsburg. […] Please let me know if you would be interested.”

Mr. Hansen’s response was, simply, “not interested.” […]

[…] In my opinion, demonstrating arrogance in correspondence and ignoring reasonable debate doesn’t do much to bolster confidence in the man’s work.

“Reasonable debate”… how noble! Well, Watts, here’s a little flowchart I drew to describe requests for “reasonable” global warming “debates”. To put it simply, the problem with “debates” such as this is the following:

The “debates” are pointless, and a complete waste of time.

What will the “debate” accomplish anyway? Will any of the inactivists adjust their positions based on the result of this single “debate”? If Hansen happens to do well, will Monckton, Coleman, and McShane stop threatening to sue him? Will Watts start to say “hey, maybe I was wrong and Hansen’s on to something after all”? Judging for instance from how Watts still insisted on going ahead with his bogus poll, after being repeatedly told that it was bogus; there’s certainly nothing to suggest that the inactivists will be good losers.

The debates that really matter are the ones taking place in the Chambers of Parliament all over the world. These are the places where the outcomes of debate have real consequences, in the form of government action or inaction. Yet it’s in precisely such venues that inactivists have actively tried to stonewall debate.

Still, I think Hansen’s response wasn’t called for. He should’ve replied thus:

Your “debate” is pointless, and I don’t need your stinking money. See you at Congress.

Update 2008-10-10: Hansen’s e-mail warmed over, and an update to the global warming debate flowchart.



  1. “calling for eugenics — literally — against Climate Alarmists;”

    Yes, quite literally…. Good catch.

    Comment by Robert S — 2008/07/19 @ 02:53 | Reply

  2. The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, is a fairly high profile inactivist. He’s written a book and addressed the US Congress on the subject, and he recently helped film a UK documentary on how climate change is a myth (they got into a bit of trouble with the UK media watchdog due to some inventive editing of interviews and subsequent complaints by interviewees.) Of course, President Klaus is a *real* scientist–he’s an economist! And he knows from reading Hayek that environmentalism is a crypto-Bolshevik movement to exert human control over every aspect of economic life and destroy capitalism. But I always wondered who he was getting his sciency bits from, and now I know about Dr Motyl!

    Comment by AntiquatedTory — 2008/07/28 @ 23:33 | Reply

  3. AntiquatedTory:

    That documentary? Oh wow… Anyway, I remember that Vaclav Klaus was a speaker at Heartland’s “2008 International Conference on Climate Change”. Now if Klaus was indeed getting his ‘science’ from Motl, that’ll be interesting…

    Also, as I pointed out on Rabett’s blog, Motl does occasionally have the ear of the High Respectable Inactionosphere (as, Watts). Which means it’s a bit hard to write off Motl as just a lone inconsequential crank…

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/29 @ 04:26 | Reply

  4. I don’t know for a fact that Klaus reads or knows Motl, but it’s not a very big country and Motl’s politics are certainly Klaus’. Even more than Klaus, he seems to belong to that fraction of Czech society who believes that, because Communism was stupid and wrong, anything remotely connected with the left or, in fact, not full on laissez faire, is crypto-Communism and thus stupid and wrong. They are the inverse of the Czechs who voted the Communists in as the biggest block in 1948, because they had the best anti-Nazi credentials.
    I can’t bring myself to waste time reading his blog, but I wonder what he means by “alternative physics”? Would that be what in colloquial English we call “crackpot science?”

    Comment by AntiquatedTory — 2008/07/29 @ 22:30 | Reply

  5. “I wonder what he means by ‘alternative physics’? Would that be what in colloquial English we call ‘crackpot science?'”

    Motl says it’s a “superpolite” way to refer to crackpots. Then again, he also pejoratively describes them as “self-described new Einsteins”. I guess new Einsteins are no match to new Galileos.

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/30 @ 04:09 | Reply

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