The machinery of climate anti-science
Speaker: Dr. John Mashey
Date: April 7, 2011
University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
The battle of truth versus disinformation is nowhere better demonstrated than in the distortion of climate science. More than 97 percent of practicing climate scientists support the fact that global warming is happening and caused by humans, yet the public often thinks that scientists are seriously divided on this issue.
In this special public lecture, Silicon Valley computer scientist and technology expert Dr. John Mashey will expose the underhanded, but effective PR/lobbying tactics of the anti-science campaign. It has included Internet-propagated disinformation, personal attacks, threats of violence and hate mail, including the manufactured non-event “Climategate.” His talk will examine the organization and activities of anti-science funders, think tanks, and spokespeople over the last 20 years, including recent developments and initiatives to counter their efforts. http://pics.uvic.ca/events/machinery-climate-anti-science
Dr. Mashey has over 30 years experience in the computing industry. He has worked with a wide variety of scientists, many of whom use software or hardware he helped create. In recent years, he has been involved in the study of climate science and anti-science – his reports often being posted at Vancouver-based DeSmogBlog. In 2009, Canadian blogger “Deep Climate” found plagiarism in a key anti-science document, the 2006 Wegman Report for US Congress, inspiring Mashey to restudy it and find more problems. His resulting 250-page report led to articles in USA Today. Much of the Wegman Report’s key disinformation originated in Canada and was then promoted by American thinktanks and politicians. Fittingly, exposure of the truth also started in Canada and has since progressed with close Canadian - American cooperation.
Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse (President of the Royal Society) examines why science appears to be under attack, and why public trust in key scientific theories has been eroded - from the theory that man-made climate change is warming our planet, to the safety of GM food, or that HIV causes AIDS.
He interviews scientists and campaigners from both sides of the climate change debate, and travels to New York to meet Tony, who has HIV but doesn't believe that that the virus is responsible for AIDS.
This is a passionate defence of the importance of scientific evidence and the power of experiment, and a look at what scientists themselves need to do to earn trust in controversial areas of science in the 21st century. (January 25, 2011)
Merchants of Doubt is a 2010 book by the American science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. It identifies parallels between the climate change debate and earlier controversies over tobacco smoking, acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. Oreskes and Conway write that in each case "keeping the controversy alive" by spreading doubt and confusion after a scientific consensus had been reached, was the basic strategy of those opposing action. In particular, they say that Fred Seitz, Fred Singer, and a few other contrarian scientists joined forces with conservative think tanks and private corporations to challenge the scientific consensus on many contemporary issues.The Marshall Institute and Fred Singer, two of the subjects, have been critical of the book, but most reviewers received it favorably. One reviewer said that Merchants of Doubt is exhaustively researched and documented, and may be one of the most important books of 2010. Another reviewer saw the book as his choice for best science book of the year.
For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchants_of_Doubt