International Journal of Inactivism (now supplanted by Decoding SwiftHack)

2008/07/30

Surge, groupthink, petition

cite as: F. Bi. 2008. Surge, groupthink, petition. Intl. J. Inact., 1:112–114

Primo

On Monday, my blog got a plug from Mark Hoofnagle of Denialism… and this has caused a huge surge in hits on this blog as shown here. 🙂 Thanks, Mark!

Secundo

So, I’d like to use this great opportunity to float a new idea of mine (while the attention mojo coming from Mark hasn’t yet run out…). But before that, check out this tidbit from Czech inactivist Luboš Motl, who once more goes off the rails:

[…] the assumption [that science will win over groupthink] breaks down […] when no scholars have any chance to leave the groupthink because the groupthink is global in character. For example, if you must be afraid to say that a politician who is a scientific crackpot is a scientific crackpot — just because almost everyone else has voted for him as a politician in 2000 and they put politics above science — then the system is in real trouble. The same problems occurred in the era of the Inquisition when the Church (temporarily) had similar tools to globally control certain important segments of science.

(Um, yeah, climatologists all over the world — from Taiwan to Canada, from Britain to India, from New Zealand to Japan — became subject to groupthink when Gore almost became US President and did a presentation on global warming! Perhaps Gore had hidden special Satanic powers into copies of An Inconvenient Truth, so that those pinkos who voted for him in 2000 suddenly have the power to oppress and persecute all who dare stand up against him, a power which they didn’t have before. Just like the Inquisition!)

(I’ve added Motl’s theory to my genealogy of climate conspiracy theories, which — again — you can view by clicking on the sultry girl.)

Tertio

Anyway, back to the idea that I was about to discuss. As you probably already know, John Coleman, Christopher Monckton, and Owen McShane have been threatening to bring lawsuits against Al Gore and James Hansen. Also, Monckton and McShane are good at issuing petitions, declarations, statements, and the like, in attempts to pressure governments to Do Nothing about global warming.

So I thought, why don’t we send an open letter, or an open petition, to them? I propose to have a letter that goes roughly thus:

To John Coleman, James Inhofe, Owen McShane, Christopher Monckton, Anthony Watts, and others who actively promote doubt on the reality of global warming, its seriousness, or the need for mitigation thereof:

We, the undersigned, hereby call upon all global warming doubters

  1. to bring lawsuits against Al Gore and James Hansen, to charge them for conspiracy, as has been promised on numerous occasions, and to do so as soon as possible — so that the question of whether Gore and Hansen are ‘co-conspirators’ in a global warming ‘scam’ can be definitively resolved at the soonest opportunity;
  2. to bring on the lawsuits in person;
  3. to clarify which of the numerous incompatible conspiracy theories which have been proposed hitherto will serve as the basis for said lawsuits; or if none of the existing theories are applicable, to explain why they were originally proposed;
  4. to realize that all requests to Gore or Hansen to participate in ‘debates’ on global warming can and should be rightfully ignored — as such debates are invariably pointless and inconsequential, and will only serve to distract from the truly important debates to take places in the courts of law and the chambers of parliament worldwide;
  5. to cease and desist from all extralegal efforts, such as polls and petitions, to remove Hansen from his position as the Head of the US NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, until such a time when the courts of law have ruled him to be guilty of the crime of conspiracy.

Doubtless, there will be a number of problems if this “Sue Us” Petition were to truly go ahead — after all, e-petitions have a bad reputation with prominent NGOs, and rightly so, and it’s hard to create a good, credible e-petition. But before going that far, I also want to know if the idea above is worth pursuing in the first place. What do you think?

Update 2008-07-31: In comments, Brian D suggests to use the word “acknowledge” instead of “realize”. Thanks, Brian!

  1. to acknowledge that all requests to Gore or Hansen to participate in ‘debates’ on global warming can and should be rightfully ignored — as such debates are invariably pointless and inconsequential, and will only serve to distract from the truly important debates to take places in the courts of law and the chambers of parliament worldwide;

Update 2008-08-01: The petition’s now up and running. Sign now!

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16 Comments »

  1. Hear hear. I’d sign it.

    Comment by James Haughton — 2008/07/31 @ 02:57 | Reply

  2. James Haughton: Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/31 @ 03:29 | Reply

  3. Hmm, my comment seems to have disappeared. Yes, petition good (the short form goes) but whilst points 1-3 and 5 are things you can (legitimately) request of someone 4 isn’t. You can’t request that someone come to a realisation (especially since it is likely that they already realise this and are just engaging in PR stunts).

    Comment by horansome — 2008/07/31 @ 04:52 | Reply

  4. horansome:

    “my comment seems to have disappeared.”

    That’s weird… I didn’t see any prior comment, so maybe it’s just WordPress randomness.

    “You can’t request that someone come to a realisation”

    Ha, good point. 🙂 Perhaps a better thing to ask is to stop using any refusals to debate as ‘evidence’ that global warming is a ‘scam’ (or some other similar circumlocution)…

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/31 @ 05:02 | Reply

  5. Just replace ‘realize’ with ‘acknowledge’, a term that legally refers to statements of action rather than mental states.

    For what it’s worth, I’d sign.

    And I’m surprised that your graph,in a journal dedicated to the inactivists, didn’t cherry-pick an ending point to make it look like your views continued to skyrocket. 😉

    Comment by Brian D — 2008/07/31 @ 15:21 | Reply

  6. Oh, I almost forgot: Just as the oil companies drilled in new areas and get gushes of crude, I checked out a link the esteemed John Mashey posted on DeSmog, and happened upon this veritable spigot of mighty fine crankery, replete with the inactivist conspiracy theories that have grown from the seeds shown here. While this sort of stuff is easy to find if one knows where to look, I’ve never seen it *quite* so condensed or blatant before (to the point where it naturally stratifies between polite discussion and examples of Poe’s Law). If I weren’t going out of town this weekend, I’d offer to submit a Special Reports paper to the Intl. J. Inact. on this.

    On an unrelated note, given all the attention your original Geneology of Conspiracy Theories is getting, any chance of putting a prominent link at the top of that page to the most recent geneology, or at least calling attention to the update footnotes?

    Comment by Brian D — 2008/07/31 @ 16:53 | Reply

  7. Brian D:

    “Just replace ‘realize’ with ‘acknowledge'”

    Great idea, thanks!

    “didn’t cherry-pick an ending point to make it look like your views continued to skyrocket. ;)”

    It’s possible, but it takes some extra effort and I’m somewhat busy. 🙂 And actually the total number of hits on Tuesday (“Ice Age”) was 410 — I captured the graph in the middle of the day.

    “If I weren’t going out of town this weekend, I’d offer to submit a Special Reports paper to the Intl. J. Inact. on this.”

    Well, I can wait. :-B And I think I’ll refrain from writing about it in the meantime…

    (Though as far as new conspiracy theories go, I only spotted one about Bill Clinton and one about “entrenched positions” — which is similar but not really the same as Motl’s “groupthink” theory.)

    “any chance of putting a prominent link at the top of that page to the most recent geneology, or at least calling attention to the update footnotes?”

    Done, thanks for the suggestion!

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/07/31 @ 18:03 | Reply

  8. Looks like another surge is due: Deltoid plugged this. It may be time to get it formally drafted, tracked on a petition site, and distributed.

    Comment by Brian D — 2008/07/31 @ 20:38 | Reply

  9. If you put…

    6. Al Gore is Fat

    …they’d sign it themselves.

    Comment by Boris — 2008/07/31 @ 23:03 | Reply

  10. I was a weatherman over two decades ago, and I have an undergrad and grad degree in an environmental discipline. Surely that puts me in the same august company as the Organ Petition. I’ll lend the considerable weight of the Dano character to the document, but I suspect you want the real me & I’ll do it.

    Best,

    D

    Comment by Dano — 2008/07/31 @ 23:58 | Reply

  11. Don’t take this the wrong way Dano, but I was always under the impression that weatherpeople just had to look good without having real knowledge. Once again, no offense since you just proved me wrong regardless.

    Comment by The Chemist — 2008/08/01 @ 03:49 | Reply

  12. I like the idea – I’d love to see their collective hand forced, for them to put up or shut up. Don’t know that it could really ever work, but it’s fun imagining!

    Of course, the Viscantcount Monckey would need to recruit his unquestioning followers to mount an on-line funding campaign. I’d be curious to see how many Denialists would put up for a minimum of, say, $100, if push comes to shove.

    Sad thing is that I suspect there’d be quite a queue.

    Comment by Bernard J. — 2008/08/01 @ 06:02 | Reply

  13. Brian D:

    “It may be time to get it formally drafted, tracked on a petition site, and distributed.”

    Hmm, I was intending to wait a bit longer to see if anyone has any problems with the wording, but maybe it’s better to strike while the iron’s hot.

    As far as petition sites go, well, I’ve seen one review of a number of such services, but I don’t really like them — CitizenSpeak displays its petitions in a ridiculously small font (on my browser) and doesn’t include a way to enter home page URLs, affiliations, and other useful information; AMP looks big and fat and undocumented; and the rest aren’t free.

    So now I’m thinking of running this petition right here on WordPress, perhaps with a bit of PHP magic added to grease the wheels. (I must be insane…)

    Comment by frankbi — 2008/08/01 @ 07:35 | Reply

  14. Sign me up. OTOH, please replace Tertio with Theatro, much the Discount Moncs favorite tactic

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 2008/08/01 @ 13:00 | Reply

  15. […] I wrote this I overlooked FrankBi’s important contribution to Denier Conspiritology “Surge, groupthink, petition” (see […]

    Pingback by Denier Conspiracy Theories: More Paranoid Than Thou « Greenfyre’s — 2008/10/29 @ 13:01 | Reply

  16. […] also overlooked FrankBi’s important contribution to Denier Conspiritology “Surge, groupthink, petition” (see Secundo) and that is added to “Denier Conspiracy Theories: More Paranoid Than […]

    Pingback by Climate Change Deniers “Top Ten List” « Greenfyre’s — 2008/10/29 @ 13:17 | Reply


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