A few years ago, a biologist at my university became enamored with Lord Christopher Monckton’s special brand of climate pseudoscience, and tried to drum up support for some department on campus to host him as a speaker. The response was… ahem… less than enthusiastic. But during the exchange among interested parties, the biologist said this:
This man stands out, unique, because he knows the field, possibly more broadly and deeply than anyone.I wrote to Prof. Richard Lindzen, Atmospheric Sciences, MIT, asking if I was overestimating Lord Monckton’s expertise. He replied immediately “Not at all. Monckton is knowledgeable”.
I almost choked. It was one thing for the biologist to fall for Monckton’s nonsense–he’s very convincing, or at least, he sounds very sure of himself. Rather, I was shocked that Dick Lindzen thought so highly of him. After all, it didn’t take me long to figure out that His Lordship has a tendency to make up data, among other things. But Dick Lindzen? Lindzen is a contrarian, to be sure, but the fact is that he is a very accomplished climate scientist. He’s made significant contributions to the field, and even though the climatologists I know think he has an unhealthy obsession with proving low climate sensitivity, they generally consider his objections to mainstream science to be worth considering, at least. In other words, Lindzen’s serial attempts to prove low climate sensitivity have been wrong, but not mere crack-pottery.
Like I said, that was a few years ago, and I wonder whether Lindzen has been fazed at all by Monckton’s downward spiral–making up fake data, falsely claiming to be a member of Parliament, claiming to have invented a miracle cure for almost all diseases, going about promoting various ultra-right conspiracy theories, including the birther conspiracy, etc. What, exactly, will it take to persuade Monckton fans it’s time to start slowly backing away?
It’s started happening here and there. For instance, last year a spokesman from the UK Independence Party (for which Monckton had been a top official) publicly bad-mouthed His Lordship, calling him “a loose cannon” and a “17th century pamphleteer”. Now Andrew Bolt, an Australian blow-hard newspaper columnist who has, in the past, praised His Lordship’s great genius regarding climate-related matters, has publicly given a “Deep Sigh” about Monckton’s recent endorsement of the fringe “Rise Up Australia Party”, whose platform’s main planks are apparently cracking down on Muslims and gays. Oh, and “religious freedom.” (How could I forget?) Here’s what Bolt said:
Why on earth was Christopher Monckton endorsing the nationalist Rise Up Australia Party? Great chance for warmists to paint climate sceptics as fringe dwellers.
More details and analysis on the Watching the Deniers blog.
Based on this trend, I am going to go out on a limb and add a two new Laws to the Bickmore’s Laws page (see below). We shall see how well these laws hold up to empirical testing over the coming months and years.
Bickmore’s First Law of Monckton: For every person who publicly endorses Lord Monckton’s climate pronouncements for merely irrational reasons, there exists a threshold in Monckton’s behavior which, if crossed, will cause said person to regret their association.
Bickmore’s Second Law of Monckton: Any behavioral threshold posited by Bickmore’s First Law of Monckton will eventually be crossed by Lord Monckton.
[UPDATE: More analysis by Graham Readfearn at DeSmog Blog.]