The love affair is over…[UPDATED]

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JCW’s shadow avatar

[JCW has since replied very graciously noting that he was in error – I’ve appended his message at the end]

So I sort of got embroiled in a couple of threads over at John C Wright’s blog:

http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/07/conspiracy-or-code-of-conduct/ and

A Question about the Global Warming Hoax

And things went all a bit global warmingy over there for awhile. I have to say it was overall fairly well mannered (so long as I ignored the sweeping statements about leftists – but I’m used to that). I don’t think Wright had actually met my particular species of leftist before and he did say some nice things at a point when I think I may have passed over the line from potential-lefty-pinata to annoyingly-persietnt-pedant.

I admire that you are one of the few, perhaps the only, Leftist I have ever engaged with who speaks to facts, and attempts something other than ad hominem, but your use of irreverence and gratuitous assertions and misidentifiying errors in arguments takes some luster off that shine. http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/07/conspiracy-or-code-of-conduct/#comment-118243

But like all star-crossed romances, we were not fated to stay together and the inevitable rift occurred. I’ll post edited highlights of an exchange that brought things to an end below the fold 😦

So here is the odd thing. He first challenges me to name an environmental scare that turned out to be wrong or exaggerated. So I named an environmental scare that turned out to be wrong or exaggerated (scares around EMF – see here for a fuller treatment of all the scares JCW mentioned). He then said that didn’t count because his challenge had been for me to name something the left had retracted – which apart from being a really confused statement is basically not what he had asked for. I answered that new challenge as well but..he got upset with my snark about moving goalposts.

Comment by John C Wright: Wednesday, July 29th 2015 at 9:16 pm |

[Section in which he answers some of my points about Global Warming]

With any alarm system, at least some of the alarms are false alarms. I have listen more than ten, and you, in reply, tell me I and not you lack a full grasp of the facts. You still believe in Rachel Carson, the most notorious fraud in history.

I offer you the following challenge: name for me the environmentalist scare that turned out to be wrong or exaggerated. It can be one I have listed here, or another famous one.

Either put up or shut up. Either name the false alarm or admit that you cannot.

If you cannot admit that there are any false alarms in the system, not even one, then you attribute unrealistic if not supernatural accuracy and perspicacity to the system.

Go on. I double-dog dare you.

Comment by Camestros Felapton: Thursday, July 30th 2015 at 4:41 am |

JCW://Either put up or shut up. Either name the false alarm or admit that you cannot. If you cannot admit that there are any false alarms in the system, not even one, then you attribute unrealistic if not supernatural accuracy and perspicacity to the system.

Go on. I double-dog dare you.//

woof woof 🙂 I like your challenge. I’ve written a longer treatment on my own blog because I thought what you had said was interesting and fitted neatly into something else I was doing.

Anyway – I get to pick one and I think you listed two things that really are one thing in so far as they rest on the same species of scare – and one became the other.

[Section on EMF from my post you can read here]

Deeply implicated in this noise are the news media (left, right and center) who are geared up for a mode of inquiry that does either shocking revelation expose or controversy. Communicating subtle ideas like risk or probability is beyond them.

So dubious environmental scares? Sure – I can name a whole set of them. However don’t confuse what environmental groups (or political parties or pundits) say, or what hype driven news media say, with what the science says. In reality, beyond the hype and FUD the science of AGW has only got stronger.

Comment by John C Wright: Friday, July 31st 2015 at 7:11 pm |

So. When I ask you to list which of these false alarms has been retracted by the Left, you listed one man who who think may or may not be on the Left who is supporting the alarmist fear. You add that microwaves do not cause cancer, something I have never heard. I have also never heard any general retraction or admission of wrong.

And another commenter posted yet another scare story from this week in a national paper.

So you failed. I asked you for the retraction, not the support, for the scare story. Point me to the public spokesmen of the Left, or the Leftist newspaper, telling people not to worry, that cellphones do not cause cancer.

I certainly never heard it. Has anyone else?

In fact, you, alone, by yourself, here and now, is the first time I have ever heard anyone on the Left ever say that something once thought to be an environmental danger is not. This gives me faith in your honesty, at least. You are a prodigy.

Comment by Camestros Felapton: Friday, July 31st 2015 at 8:10 pm |

//Point me to the public spokesmen of the Left, or the Leftist newspaper, telling people not to worry, that cellphones do not cause cancer.//

OK I’m happy to follow the moving goalposts.
Leftist newspaper? I’m sure you will regard The Guardian newspaper as sufficiently leftist. If your readers aren’t sure which I mean, I’m referring to the notable British newspaper http://www.theguardian.com/
Now I can see a potential objection from you that whatever I post doesn’t count as ‘retraction’ unless I also show that somehow the left asserted whatever it was in the first place – but I would regard the burden of proof on that issue lies with you (i.e. that the thing you list was a claim of the left IN GENERAL which was since proven to be false). A claim made by news media of right and left presumably doesn’t count.

Comment by John C Wright:Saturday, August 1st 2015 at 1:27 am |

“OK I’m happy to follow the moving goalposts.”

Well, you just snarked your way out of the slight respect you had won for your impersonation of honesty. Couldn’t keep it up, could you? I won’t ban you, because you have broken none of my rules, but I know enough not to waste words on people who cannot tell the truth about little things. I have seen the warning signs of your mental disease too often in the past.

Comment by Camestros Felapton: Saturday, August 1st 2015 at 1:56 am |

Well that is your choice and this is your house so to speak. I answered your challenges.

In terms of truth what you asked of me originally was this: “I offer you the following challenge: name for me the environmentalist scare that turned out to be wrong or exaggerated. It can be one I have listed here, or another famous one.”
I did exactly that. In response you said that I hadn’t met your challenge “When I ask you to list which of these false alarms has been retracted by the Left, you listed one man who who think may or may not be on the Left who is supporting the alarmist fear.”
The truth can be read by anyone who wants to read it.

I shall respect your wishes and depart. Farewell John C Wright. I will continue to comment occasionally on what you write here on my own blog but I shan’t disturb you unless you invite me back 🙂

Out of step with that thread was another message in which I cited the Guardian on mobile phones and cancer (with the added bonus of The Times and The Telegraph erring more on the scary side)

Comment by Camestros Felapton: Friday, July 31st 2015 at 8:30 pm |

OK so here is a Guardian piece on the issue of mobile phones and cancer http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/apr/26/health-mobilephones
It takes a non-scare balanced view of the actual risks but it also does a nice round-up of other newspaper headlines.

Something interesting there which may not be immediately obvious to non-UK readers. The Times and The Telegraph both put a more ‘scary’ spin on the same facts. The Times being of course THE Times (not the New York or other variety of …Times) owned by Rupert Murdoch’s news corporation and The Telegraph which in its print form is also very much a paper of the British right (the online version is more click-baity and erratic).

This is a fascinating topic on reflection. I’ll be back with more.

So all in all, NOT the craziest comment thread on global warming I’ve taken part in and very far from the nastiest. I may discuss some more of what went on a bit later. Also there was an odd but potentially side discussion about Gödel’s theorem?

[Update]

John C Wright replied very graciously.

Here the fault is mine. I asked you to name one false scare, and 
you did. I had thought I asked you to name one that had been called 
false or retracted by the left, but, as I worded the sentence, that is 
not in fact what I asked. I retract my comment and apologize. You are 
invited back.
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4 thoughts on “The love affair is over…[UPDATED]

  1. Here the fault is mine. I asked you to name one false scare, and you did. I had thought I asked you to name one that had been called false or retracted by the left, but, as I worded the sentence, that is not in fact what I asked. I retract my comment and apologize. You are invited back.

    But, of course, he’s never going to consider why he made that mistake or whether he has a habit of attributing false positions to his real or imagined “enemies” based on his own misconceptions. This is amply demonstrated by him talking about “the left” doing X, Y, or Z – without ever identifying who this “the left” person is.

    I believe you should have used “global cooling” as another example of a false scare, showing how the myth developed from a speculative piece picked up by the mass media – and shown how it was demonstrated as false by the research of climate scientists. This would have left Wright trying to argue that climate scientists were not “the left”…

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    1. It was certainly an interesting experience, and to his credit he did correct himself, but your point crossed my mind as well. I think it probably did exemplify how he manages to be wrong about things.
      I also got some odd compliments, as if I was the first ever leftist to ever say these things – even though I wasn’t saying anything odd or unusual. I was working up to introducing them all to Ben Goldacre’s Guardian column when things started getting a tad to weird.

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      1. I also got some odd compliments, as if I was the first ever leftist to ever say these things – even though I wasn’t saying anything odd or unusual.

        Well, you have more patience than me. In the very same comment where he talks about “I admire that you are one of the few, perhaps the only, Leftist I have ever engaged with who speaks to facts, and attempts something other than ad hominem,”, he starts off by saying “The argument is that the Warmist Cultists are not in a conspiracy because their general worldview requires them to lie and to go along with whatever the authority of their groupthink says.”.

        The lack of self-awareness is beyond breathtaking. It’s almost as if he’s some Chinese Box of an AI experiment assembling his screeds by rote with no clue of the semantics.

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