Friday, July 22, 2011

Denniss in Denial

Poor Dr. Richard Denniss is the executive director of The Australia Institute and is a great denier.  Denniss recently appeared with Christopher Monckton, third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, at the National Press Club and, instead of attempting to shew that any empirical evidence supports his credulous acceptance of the orthodox belief in the pseudo-scientific conjecture of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, preferred to use false analogies and fallacious arguments and a little raillery against conspiracy-theories.  The mathematical Monckton, however, thoroughly kicked his opponent’s arse.  Accordingly, having been publicly humiliated as a denier of logic, a denier of reason, and a denier of articulate argument, Dick Denniss now tries to deny that he lost the debate to Lord Monckton. 

At Crikey, Dick the Denier lies to the gullible congregation of believers, asserting that he and not Monckton employed reason:
A good question to ask climate sceptics in general, and one I put to Lord Monckton, was why he was so opposed to a carbon price and so quiet about Tony Abbott’s far more expensive direct action scheme.
Actually, Dick, that is not a good question to ask the sceptics of CAGW; the silly, politically-biassed question foolishly supposes that those who oppose the Government’s stupid plans for a ruinous ‘carbon’ tax must, with seeming inconsistency, support the Opposition’s proposed solution to a non-existing problem.  Lord Monckton explained that he did not support any measure predicated on a false conjecture but, like nearly everything else Lord Monckton said, Dr Dennis barely listened, absorbed as he was with calculating the insurance premiums of an entire planet and wondering whether Lord Monckton really be entitled to be addressed as “Lord”—he is.
After Monckton’s accurate refutation of the silly notion that carbon dioxide is pollution, Denniss mocked Monckton’s assertion and said that carbon dioxide is an unwanted byproduct of industry and is therefore pollution.  Well, Dick, the byproduct of a hydrogen engines is water, so water must be pollution.  A byproduct of burning coal is water vapour—a greenhouse gas!—, so water vapour is pollution:  let’s tax it immediately.
One of Denniss the Denier’s favourite arguments is the analogy of oncologists’ consensus:  there’s a consensus of climate-scientists, he says, so they must be right.  Unfortunately, the doctor in denial has not yet determined that before treating a fever with radical surgery and expensive medication (for that noted diagnostician, Al Gore has declaimed that “Earth has a fever”) a good, prudent doctor first determines whether the patient have a fever.
If we must argue from analogies, let us consider two scenarios.  Which would you choose?
Scenario One:
Patient:  Doctor, I think I’d like this boil on my wrist removed.
Modern-consensus GP:  This might be problematic; and, when I say “might be”, I mean it’s very probably a malignant lesion; and, by “very probably”, I mean almost certainly a potentially lethal cancer; so, here’s your referral to an oncologist.
Modern-consensus oncologist:  All right, we’ve already entered all your details into this modelling software.
Patient:  Won’t you need to examine me?
Modern-consensus oncologist:  No, the consensus of opinion is that computer models are far better that mere data-collection.  Sadly, several iterations of our program prove that you will almost certainly develop cancer in that arm, and in one of your legs, over the course of the next fifty years, and the likelihood, nay, certainty is that what you ignorantly call a boil is, more probably—in fact, definitely—the incipient sign of a very nasty, metastasising, life-threatening, malignant tumour.  We shall, therefore have to remove the entire right arm, and your left leg from the knee down, I’m afraid.  So, you go to surgery first thing in the morning.
Patient:  Hang on, you haven’t even examined me!  Shouldn’t you at least look at my boil?
Modern-consensus oncologist:  I assure you, that the entire world-wide community of oncologists agree that this software is consistently and irrefutably reliable.  Crazed, conspiracy-theorists have complained of one or two or, at most, a dozen well-publicised errors which were just typographical errors, I assure you.   Are you a denier of scientific consensus?
Patient:  Nonetheless, I really think I ought to seek a second opinion
Modern-consensus oncologist:  Assuredly, and I have already sought my colleagues’ advice, and all accept the excellence of this software.  If, however, you still have any unreasonable doubts, I can send you next door, to Dr. Mann or Dr. Hansen, if you like,
Patient:  Well, how much will all this cost?
Modern-consensus oncologist:  Apart from costing you an arm and a leg, you’ll have to close your business, sell your assets, pay a ruinously higher tax rate for the rest of your life; and then we have to consider my fees.  Still, you have to act now because if we wait any longer your health will be critically endangered.

Scenario Two:
Patient:  Doctor, I think I’d like this boil on my wrist removed.
Old-fashioned GP:  Well, first I’ll examine it.  You’ve had it for more than a few weeks?  Yes, that boil had better be incised and drained.  Right, I’ll just grab a few instruments ... swab it with this ... cover it with this; there you go, done.
See also Noel Sheppard’s “The global warming debate Al Gore refused to have” at Newsbusters, as well as Jo Nova and diverse commentators here and here.

1 comment:

Deadman said...

A poster, emmenjayMichael J, at Watts Up With That, writes:

A slight re-work of Dr Denniss’ cancer analogy.

Doctor: You have a melanoma on your arm, I need to amputate the arm.
Patient: Where is it?
Doctor: You can’t see it yet.
Patient: So how do you know I have it?
Doctor: I ran a computer model.
Patient: Has the model ever successfully identified a melanoma before?
Doctor: No, but this time we have it right. There is an overwhelming consensus that it works.
Patient: How does it work?
Doctor: There is an overwhelming consensus that it works.
Patient: But how does it work?
Doctor: There is an overwhelming consensus that it works.
Patient: I think I need a second opinion.
Doctor: There are no other opinions, there is an overwhelming consensus.
Patient: I think I’ll go and see Dr Smith.
Doctor: You can’t trust him, he’s a denier.
Patient: He published a paper on chemotherapy treatment for melanoma.
Doctor: It wasn’t peer reviewed.
Patient: It was the Medical Review.
Doctor: Yes but the reviewers were all deniers and the editor was fired.
Patient: I think I’ll go now.
Doctor: It’s much worse than we thought.
Patient: I’m going.
Doctor: First pay me 4 trillion dollars.
Patient: Bye now.