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Global Warming Burns Randi

Oh, it must be Christmas. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s news briefs, James Randi has come under fire from all quarters this week, after posting his thoughts about global warming to his blog:

An unfortunate fact is that scientists are just as human as the rest of us, in that they are strongly influenced by the need to be accepted, to kowtow to peer opinion, and to “belong” in the scientific community. Why do I find this “unfortunate”? Because the media and the hoi polloi increasingly depend upon and accept ideas or principles that are proclaimed loudly enough by academics who are often more driven by “politically correct” survival principles than by those given them by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Bohr. (Granted, it’s reassuring that they’re listening to academics at all — but how to tell the competent from the incompetent?) Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.

…It’s easy enough to believe that drought, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are signs of a coming catastrophe from global warming, but these are normal variations of any climate that we — and other forms of life — have survived. Earth has undergone many serious changes in climate, from the Ice Ages to periods of heavily increased plant growth from their high levels of CO2, yet the biosphere has survived. We’re adaptable, stubborn, and persistent — and we have what other life forms don’t have: we can manipulate our environment. Show me an Inuit who can survive in his habitat without warm clothing… Humans will continue to infest Earth because we’re smart.

In my amateur opinion, more attention to disease control, better hygienic conditions for food production and clean water supplies, as well as controlling the filth that we breathe from fossil fuel use, are problems that should distract us from fretting about baking in Global Warming.

Given that Randi’s skeptical peers and scientific admirers have spent the last couple of months attacking ‘Global Warming Deniers’, Randi found himself in the unlikely spot of being attacked for his ‘pseudo-scientific’ opinion piece. Blog posts decrying Randi’s statement appeared quickly on Pharyngula, The Quackometer, Cosmic Variance, Greg Laden’s Blog and Respectful Insolence. Even more vicious were the comments threads (lead, as it would be expected, by more than 500 Pharyngula comments) in which it was suggested that Randi was suffering from dementia and so on (although you’d have to say there may have been some karmic retribution for Randi in the meanness of it all…with friends like those, who needs ‘woo-woo’ enemies!) And, in a wonderful bit of timing, Randi managed to post his piece on the same day that a fund-raising drive for the James Randi Educational Foundation kicked into gear. Oops.

The back-pedaling was swift – the next day, Randi posted a new statement, “I’m Not ‘Denying’ Anything” (which P.Z. Myers labeled a ‘not-pology‘, leading to some fun exchanges between Myers’ minions and Randi’s followers in comments threads.) And then the back-patting, with plenty of ‘skeptics’ saying that the criticism of Randi showed how healthy the modern skeptical movement is.

But this is nonsense. Randi took a position which was diametrically opposed to the current scientific consensus, and furthermore one that was absolutely contrary to the argument being put forth on a regular basis by other skeptics such as Phil Plait and P.Z. Myers. There was no other option for them but to criticise Randi – it was either that or be hypocrites. What would be a better test of the health of modern skepticism is if other skeptics pulled Randi up for speaking nonsense about more fringe topics. Which he does on a regular basis. And the silence is deafening. The real truth of modern skepticism as a dogmatic faith is revealed in those particular moments.

In the comments threads, many people seemed shocked that their great beacon of truth was spreading misinformation. But the only reason was because Randi took on a topic which didn’t allow his sheeple to nod their head in agreement. Randi often posts rubbish and misinformation on his blog – I’ve criticised him before in the comments section to his blog (asking for references for dubious claims etc) only to be attacked by other ‘skeptics’. For instance, as I mentioned recently, Randi once attacked parapsychologist Dr Dean Radin by saying that he had recently moved into researching presentiment after his other research had failed – in truth, Radin has been publishing successful results on presentiment for more than a decade, in addition to his other research. On another occasion with which I was personally involved, Randi deliberately misled his readers to suit his own personal ends. Randi also often states his dislike (or at least distrust) of the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, perhaps a result of his own lack of education.

But if ‘skeptics’ would like to dismiss what I say because it refers to fringe ideas, it should be asked why this GW statement caused such uproar, when Randi has posted scary social-Darwinism rants such as the following (regarding the ‘beneficial’ effects of drug legalisation on addicts) which perhaps deserved far more criticism:

[T]hose individuals who were stupid enough to rush into the arms of the mythical houris and/or Adonis’s they would expect to greet them, would simply do so and die – by whatever chemical or biological fate would overcome them…the principle of Survival of the Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance, and I’m very, very, weary of supporting these losers with my tax dollars.

…Any weeping and wailing over the Poor Little Kids who would perish by immediately gobbling down pills and injecting poison, is summoning up crocodile tears, in my opinion. They would – and presently do – mature into grown-up idiots, and Darwin would be appalled that his lessons were ignored.

So says the world’s premiere defender of reason.

Update: Er, for all those people commenting about my GW stance, this post wasn’t on that topic at all. It was discussing modern skepticism, and it’s figurehead. Reading my criticism of Randi as an attack on skeptics of AGW is completely off-base.

  1. Randi Gets Something Right
    Not sure if Greg is a Believer or what, but man-made Global Warming is the greatest fraud in history (outside of organized religion). “Global Warming” regardless of its supposed cause is just not happening anyway, and if it were human beings surely didn’t cause it.

    So, this post is confusing to me, for I can’t figure out if Randi is being attacked yet again for being “wrong” or if it’s just a matter of his getting what he deserves for his superficial skepticism elsewhere.

    Incidentally I “believe in” authentic crop circles,UFOs, and Zechariah Sitchin.

    1. Is this the middle east?
      Since when should a scientific study require belief?? And Deniers? What rubbish!!

      By the way didn’t Randi say “In my amateur opinion”, yes he did. This debate is not one that can be proven by revealing magnets or cold reading tricks.

      This is a scientific debate that now has governments, industry and media involvement – yikes!! The Triangle of the Death for Rational Discussion. Just what we need a new belief and what is driving this?


      Finally the governments of the world have something intangible to tax us on and wait for it, we want it too!!

      Are we THAT stupid??

      Yes it seems we are.

  2. Denying Denial
    I thought the blurb from “Amazing Randi” was clear enough. Is global warming real? Are we the cause, or not the cause? It doesn’t seem to matter, because we can’t (or won’t) fix it either way. Why not concentrate on a few problems that we can tackle? Randi was being more of a “realist” than a “sceptic” in this case, but apparently that wasn’t appreciated! The Bigs are going to duke it out on this issue, and the rest of us will deal with the consequences.

    Qualifier: I’m not sticking up for Randi on all matters, I just happen to relate to his comment on GW. I really don’t know what clay pigeon hole to stick myself into. But there does seem to be a lot of B.S. out there and I’ve exposed a pile of it myself, which so far just makes me a stinker.

    P.S. Isn’t it only right that sceptics should be sceptical about the future of scepticism?

  3. Global Warming is a fraud
    Global Warming is a total scam, and all the little quasi-greenies who get high off on the illusion that they’re saving the planet need to wake up and realize that they are playing right into the hands of the elitist corporatists/globalists. It’s good to care about Earth, pollution, deforestation, etc.—but that is NOT what this carbon-trading scheme is all about.

    Do any private interests PAY or FUND the Daily Grail to keep promoting this AGW non-sense, or are the people who run this site so comitted to the AGW premise that they can’t take an objective look at the facts & details of this whole debacle without looking like flip-floppers? Especially in light of the Hadley CRU leaks—go download the whole thing for yourself:

    It’s funny how often Daily Grail yaps about all sorts of silly topics like werewolves, spirits, etc.—but how often do we see any good, meaningful links relating to the inside job that was 9/11 or the tax-and-control scheme that is Anthropogenic Global Warming? When it comes to these topics, the Daily Grail is like Nurse Ratchet handing out blue pill after blue pill!

    Don’t worry; here’s some red ones:–trillion-pound-trade-carbon.html

    1. Dear The End
      [quote=The End]
      Do any private interests PAY or FUND the Daily Grail to keep promoting this AGW non-sense…[/quote]

      Greg’s post is about the hypocrisy of Randi and his skepticism movement, not GW. Please open your eyes and read.

      Greg runs TDG off his own blood, sweat and tears. How about you get off your arse and create you own website covering the subjects you want, instead of bitching about someone else’s hard work?

      Actually, I’ll make it easy for you: Rense is this way. Go knock yourself out.

      [quote=The End]It’s funny how often Daily Grail yaps about all sorts of silly topics like werewolves, spirits, etc.—but how often do we see any good, meaningful links relating to the inside job that was 9/11[/quote]

      Do you even read the news briefs Jameske posts? Kat regularly covers 9/11 & NWO/Big Brother topics. I stick it to Wall St and Big Brother myself occasionally. Have a look at the archived news.

      Oh, that’s right, you don’t look. You don’t read. You just judge and bitch and troll and fling pooh. I’d say what I really think of you, but there’s no need — you’re doing a fantastic job digging your own grave, keep at it. /golfclap

      Here’s a concept for you — the news links I post don’t always reflect my beliefs. I merely post what I think will be of interest to readers. So don’t shoot the messenger.

      Forget about the blue and red pills — you need to take a chill pill.

  4. “Randi took a position which
    “Randi took a position which was diametrically opposed to the current scientific consensus”

    This clearly isn’t the same scientific consensus which has seen almost 32,000 American scientists sign a petition claiming global warming is a completely natural occurrence.

    “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

  5. Kudos to the True Skeptics
    who are getting pissed off at TDG’s constant promotion of Climate Change happy horseshit.

    Here’s something from Garry Reed:

    “The Copenhagen Climate Conference is sort of like a modern Council of Trent, attempting to determine which sciency-sounding assertions are divinely inspired and therefore worthy of being canonized and which email hackers can be excommunicated as grievous heretics.

    By now it ought to be obvious to everyone, although it never is, that the actual science of global warming is entirely irrelevant to the current discussion of global warming. Here’s why:

    1. The world warms and the world cools and it’s been doing so for millennia, without human cause, since almost all of the thermometer’s ups and downs (i.e., the well-documented Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) occurred before humans began burning fossil fuels in more than relatively miniscule amounts.

    2. Global warming (rebranded “climate change” so as to cover all temperature fluctuations) has been fully politicized, religionized and ideologued. Politicians and the politically connected who stand to gain vast power, vast wealth, and/or vast ego expansion simply don’t care about science, other than using “science” (i.e., tax grant-purchased sciency-sounding pronouncements) as a means to their ends.

    3. No mere human science, nor any amount of massive worldwide redistribution of other people’s wealth, will change what natural planetary phenomenon is going to do anyway. Furthermore, the political classes and their connected sycophants are perfectly aware of this. Global warming, like all religions, is simply a device imposed on the masses by the ruling classes in order to control and manipulate the masses for the benefit of the rulers.”

    (Note: Reed is, admittedly, somewhat more like Randi than he is like a typical TDG reader. So what? Take the truth wherever you find it, thank you.)

    1. There are definitely scientific facts
      There most definitely are scientific facts that show that global warming has occured during human habitation over and above what has been “normal” for the past 10,000 years or so. That being said, it is hard to determine if it is being caused by human habitation or not. To say there isn’t a spike in global warming over the past 10,000 years in particular is to ignore scientific fact. I don’t care if you think the government or someone has a hidden agenda or whatever your thoughts are on the subject, the facts are the facts. The only question is, is human habitation and our use of resources causing the situation and can we change our use of resources to change the pattern. But something is happening. I do find it pretty funny for some to say, “It’s just how the planet goes, just shut up and live with it.” Um, what are you basing those comments on? Your deep scientific understanding of our planet? Someone else who says that corporations are behind everything?

      The other thing I find interesting is the desire of so many people to want to see conspiracy. Now granted I do believe there are conspiracies going on and some that are quite big. But some people expect conspiracy in every possible corner. I don’t think it’s the best view of reality.

      1. details details
        The only question is, is human habitation and our use of resources causing the situation and can we change our use of resources to change the pattern.
        The AGW crowd is not claiming that it is human habitation. They are claiming that (a) it is the CO2, and (b) reducing industrial output to control CO2 levels AND thus control climate will fix the situation.

        Anyone who disagrees with that, or even asks for honest proof, as marked as a heretic and banished from the church.

        Personally I am not really convinced of (a), but I consider it a possibility.

        However (b) is so out there, I consider it childishly optimistic. We better deal with the situation as it comes. Blaming someone doesn’t help.

    2. The subject is the hypocrisy of Randi and skeptics, not GW.
      [quote=Brant]…getting pissed off at TDG’s constant promotion of Climate Change happy horseshit.

      Greg’s post is about the hypocrisy of Randi and skepticism, not GW. In future, please read the actual article before throwing a hissy-fit.

  6. ???
    Wow, this topic really draws out the venom in people, doesn’t it?

    Gotta say, reading some of these comments is a hoot, since I’ve noted the number of TDG posts over this last year which link to *anti*-AGW articles, rather than the opposite, and I’ve always been impressed by the impartial stance Greg himself customarily takes on the subject.

    (In fact, during the first few years of TDG’s history, Greg’s primary poster on the subject–a fellow from Texas whose name I now forget–was a vociferous AGW denier, and raised quite a few cackles at one point with the notorious line “Follow the money.” I suspect Greg will remember that.)

    The upshot? There are a lot of selective blinders being worn here, methinks.

    1. Religious Zealots
      It’s the political/media zealots who are trying their best to get people frothing at the mouth on the issues that they are most interested in for their various reasons. They’ve done a great job of getting people nuts and polarized.

  7. One wonders…
    if Randi will learn anything from this episode. Will he realize that he has been treating others rudely and unfairly? Will he start showing a little respect for his usual targets and try initiating some constructive dialog and investigation?

    We can only hope. Skeptic does not have to be a synonym for total jerk.

  8. Geeez
    Now that I’ve went to the effort of finding my password and logging in, and rereading his remarks, I really don’t hae much to say. I’ve noticed how high the death rate is in the Netherlands, Amsterdam in particular, and he’s absolutely right. Why, in just one more generation, Holland will cease to exist.

  9. James Randi is 81
    As James Randi is 81, he might not be around too many more years.

    Instead of getting upset at the poor fellow, why not purchase a ouija board and learn to use it?

    That way, after Randi passes, he can be contacted. His comments can then be transcribed and posted here (a TDG exclusive!).

    He may have an interesting new take on climate change, as well as other subjects.

    Bill I.

    PS. He may not wish to be contacted, unlike John O’Neil, who very politely accepted the request, I am given to understand. John communicated directly through the mind of a talented amateur medium; no ouija board was used, the medium instead employing a computer keyboard.

    (See .)

  10. Global Worming
    I do not believe in a climat change as it is always changing a scientific fact !. No need to believe. I do not believe that Co2 has any effect on climate change whether warming or cooling because I now it is scientificaly impossible. I know as well that calling me or millions of other people that know and do not need to believe as deniers or sceptics is highly offensive.

  11. When I was in school in the
    When I was in school in the 70’s “the current scientific consensus,” was we where heading for a Ice Age, all the egg heads said so. Even into the mid 80’s.

    Now the Fad is the Earth is warming. And that is what it is, a fad. Anyone be they layman or Scientist who disagrees is shouted down and mocked. Even here on DG. It’s sad that we forget history from only 30 years ago. I suspect we are going through a stupid human period, “the current scientific consensus,” seems to agree.

      1. well
        I was at school in the 70’s and I remember that. Were you?
        There is evidence of that if you choose to look.
        Seems that 30 years ago is an eternity to people born in the late 80’s and 90’s.
        Please do yourself a favour and look at the ice core graphs linked in the news earlier last week. They do not lie…..

  12. I’m skeptical of these comments…
    Hi folks,

    Firstly: I updated the story to make note of the fact that this post had nothing to do with my opinion on AGW. As I made note last month, I don’t really have an opinion. My post would have been the same whether Randi was discussing the colour of apples – what I found interesting was the reaction of the skeptical community to Randi’s blog.

    Secondly: if there’s one thing that I’ve come to believe in over the years, it’s confirmation bias. Maybe some folks should start reading through the news briefs more closely before saying that TDG has any particular stance on an issue…

          1. Ola,
            Hope alls well.


            Hope alls well.

            I know everyone’s having a little ‘humans can burn all the tree’s and smoke all the worlds oil and gas and still magically not affect the atmosphere’, but jumping over that rock in the stream for this post – have you seen how much energy google’s server farms use per search? You gotta hope we don’t do anything to the planet with all the fossil fuels we burn, since every time you press enter on google’s webpage its 0.2 grammes of CO2, or 1Kj (about 1/8000th of your daily energy req) or about 0.0003 kWh.
            Small for 1 search, lots for billions.

          2. Harness the hea
            What saddens me is that there are no plans to harness all that heat, store it, and convert it into something useful –like heating for the Google offices, or to cook the meals of the staff :-/

  13. Every Mulder needs a Scully…
    I have such mixed feelings about Mr. James Randi. I usually am infuriated by his attitude, but I do believe at one time he played a very important part in some rather mind expanding debates. He was most certainly an excellent foil to many hoaxers and/or con artists, who were rightfully and deservedly debunked/sussed, but I also feel he blindly ignores SOME evidence that is contrary to his belief system, simply because he is human, and it’s something we ALL do, and it’s to his own loss.

    I may at times despise him, but let me tell you… If James Randi ever came out and threw his weight behind someone’s claims of paranormal experience, then you could rest assured that it would be objectively true, and you could believe it, almost sight unseen, for yourself. I have yet to have met someone from his opposing camp about whom I can say the same.

    Sorry if I seem a bit off kilter, it’s late and I just got out of work. My fingers can not match my thoughts and seem to not be bothering to even try!

    James Randi will be missed when he is gone. i do not look forward to hearing from what ever d-bag replaces him.
    [unless it’s Capt. Disillusion or some such…]

    About Climate change, i can offer nothing. I have had a too limited veiw of reality, for far too long a time, and as such can offer no argument of worth or heavy consideration. I have a vague fear that something bad is actively happening, but I am also more than half sure that this is a media driven fear.

  14. Global Cooling
    Anyone who has ever bothered to read the history of the Earth as chronicled by the ice cores in Greenland and other locations would know the earth goes through a lot of cycles. There appears to be cycles with in cycles as well. But overall certain trends are self evident to those who really want to know what is going on in “climate change”. First you need to talk to researchers who are not working off fat grants. But the figures are there for anyone to see who really wants to. The Earth has gone through periods when no known human populations even existed, that became warmer, much warmer, than what we are experiencing today. Yes we we’re in a warming cycle. Was it man-made? Nada, Nyet, No, Nope, No Way. Now we discover this warming cycle peaked, hit its warmest, in either 1998 or 2002 depending on the nongrant scientific community, Either way, overall global temperatures have NOT increased since, at least, 2002, but held steady from 2003 til 2009. So during that period we had the warmest temperatures in decades. However beginning in the start of 2009 the earth’s global temperature average began a slow drop. True it is still warm and the effects of this warming will continue, BUT will grow less and less yearly until we find ourselves facing a possibly serious cool down. You can bet your bippy those Global Warming grant hoarders will then be screaming “Ice Age” and looking for more fat grants. This occurred in the 1970s, for those of you old enough to remember. The earth is NOT in a man-made warming period. We have completed a cycle and the Earth will slowly cool for the next decade or so, whether this portends a coming Ice Age, I rather doubt it. The atmosphere will simply cool, the glaciers will rebuild, the artic will freeze over again until the next warming period begins. These cycles have been recorded in ice cores out of Greenland for years. These cycles are regular, natural, and will always be used by governments and shady scientists for political or monatary clout. Relax, we are not going into any kind of Sahara desolation. Mother Earth is quite capable of taking care of herself with out our help.

  15. Mr. Rossi’s E-CAT
    If Mr. Rossi’s E-CAT to be released in October is genuine then as it has no harmful emissions, global warming will become irrelevant from a man made point of view.

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