The New Luddites

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The Luddites were a social movement of British textile artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested — often by destroying sewing machines — against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt threatened their livelihood.

This English historical movement has to be seen in its context of the harsh economic climate due to the Napoleonic Wars; but since then, the term Luddite has been used to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change. For the modern movement of opposition to technology, see neo-luddism.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 1:25 PM (CST) I posted my first fraud warning about a website that was shopped to me via email as “shattering” all theories of anthropogenic global warming. The email that was sent purported to be from a “Dr Mark Cox”, an “astrophysicist with an interest in issues related to climate change”. The author – who is most assuredly not really named Dr Mark Cox – complained about the treatment – the raw hate – that had been directed at his colleagues for daring to publish such a paper. (Whoever sent the email had to get past the box-trapper software used on my email, so this was quite intentional and not a group automated mailing.)

It’s a shocking story of censorship and intimidation. Their paper was published a few days ago but no one has reported on it and it looks like its in danger of being frozen out by the climate change 'consensus'. I phoned Daniel yesterday and recommended to him he should talk to the media about it. But he's so worried that he or his colleagues could lose their funding or their jobs that he is flatly refusing. He and his colleagues have already removed their contact details from the university directories because of the hate mail they've been getting.

The way Klein and colleagues have been treated is an outrage and it makes me very sad and worried about what's happening to science. We really do seem to be entering a new 'Dark Ages'. If you can break the silence on this issue, you will be doing a major service. As I say, please do not mention my name in connection to any of this.

That email is time stamped as having been received in my inbox at 11:01:15 AM. I did not open it until I checked email sometime around 1 PM. The second I opened the website linked in the email (now taken down), I knew something about it was badly wrong. The supposed scientific article was written in overwrought language that would never have appeared in a peer reviewed journal. The “science” in the article was not even close to real science and made no sense. The mathematical equations (which I happen to have a degree in) did not make any sense whatsoever. The site looked quite pretty on the surface – but it was all surface – only the one article and the editorial were live links.

I started searching the web, made one phone call and knew the article – and the email directing me to it – were frauds. I spent more time double and triple checking what I had found – then wrote my first post exposing the fraud. (Not ‘hoax’ – fraud.) I did so within one half hour of opening the email. I put up another post later that day when fellow blogger Quilly Mammoth tipped me to who he thought might be the perpetrator of the fraud. 

One (if there is more than one) of those perpetrators is one David Thorpe. A self described “prize-winning novelist and environmental journalist” from Wales, Thorpe blogs at The Low Carbon Kid (among other places, apparently). Thorpe was, as he puts it, “besieged” by reporters after the fraudulent website went live. Mr. Thorpe flat-out lied about his involvement in the fraud to a reporter from Reuters. Then he later confessed that he had lied – that he was in on the fraud from the start on his blog:

I recently collaborated in an elaborate hoax – called "a spoof that puts the fun back into lying about science" by desmogblog – that was intended to smoke out the latter sort. It was so successful it was syndicated across 600 radio stations in the US.

A client wrote a fake paper, purporting to 'prove' that rather than fossil fuel burning it was the previously undetected emissions from undersea bacteria which were responsible for the last 140 years' increase in atmospheric concentrations.

We said it was from a fake 'Journal of Geoclimatic Studies', based at a fake Institute of Geoclimatic Studies at Okinawa University, in Japan. We had a fake Editorial Board, back issues, editorial and other papers.

The 4000 word paper itself, Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory? contained graphs and numerous references, and was launched on its own website late afternoon on 7 November. (It has since been taken down.)

(Side note: Thorpe posted the following at a Myspace blog: "For the record, I didn't write it. The writer of the fake paper has a high understanding of the science and is a prominent campaigner." I can only add this here: if this fraudulent paper was the product of someone who has "a high understanding of the science" then there is a a real problem.This was so amateurish as to be the product of an English major rather than someone who has credentials is any physical science.)

So, we have an environmental crusader who presents himself as a journalist (and fiction writer). He has admitted that he was part of the entire fraud. But he told a reporter from Reuters that he only put up the website, that he had nothing to do with the content. That is a very, very disingenuous way to lie. And his lies do not stop there. Thorpe tries, very very hard to sound like he was only trying to smoke out the people who really do not understand the science with his fraud. He tries to sound reasonable in his post on the fraud.

One little problem; Thorpe also has a trail of blog posts. Including this little gem:

Meanwhle (sic), the logic from all of this leads to the conclusion that only one thing will reduce our overall energy use: personal carbon trading with a yearly reduced overall cap.

This will be because there will no possible way to use more energy. No choice. Nada.

Like the spoilt child, we should be banned from playing with our dangerous toys, and learn to do more with less.

It's the only way.

One of the people who emailed Thorpe – and slammed him quite hard over his stunt – Theo Richel, sent this to Thorpe:

"Usually we skeptics are accused of deliberately causing confusion, now we catch you doing it. Bit like what Michael Crichton predicted in his Climate of Fear, environmentalists would do. Great visionary skeptic that man. So I’ll gladly keep you as an example of the journalists who need fiction to prove their point. And then fail."

Thorpe’s goal appears to be, according to his own writings, to be to put mankind back into the Neolithic age by depriving mankind of the benefits of access to energy. Thorpe brags on his blog that he is now a paid free-lancer for the Guardian newspaper in Britain.

I think the Guardian might want to examine their standards for hiring “journalists”. Is the standard there one that Ned Ludd would be proud of? Is the standard of the Guardian to hire self-professed liars who think promoting fraud is a valid technique to discuss issues?
Is it fiction to prove a point or lies to promote Luddism?  I think the Guardian might want to answer that. For their own good.

(Earlier posts here and here. I riffed off a post from Quilly Mammoth here. Thanks, QM.)

UPDATE: Again, thanks to American Thinker for the link. Visitors, please take a look around. Thanks for following the link and stopping by.

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4 Responses to The New Luddites

  1. Pingback: Blue Crab Boulevard » Ignore Gore

  2. Woody Boyd says:

    I was sitting here after reading your fine piece contemplating if a Global Warming Skeptic would produce such a fraud in support of Global Warming in order to smoke out the Global Warming Believers.

    And then it occured to me, it has already happened. The difference is it was produced by a huge Global Warming supporter instead of a skeptic. It’s called “An Inconvienent Truth” and is the largest Fraud to date in support of Global Warming.

    Then I considered how many of the Global Warming supporters have been as critical of the flaws and fictions that Al Gore has in his movie and presentation as skeptics were quick to notice and question this latest fraud by Thorpe.

    To me this says something about the two sides of this debate (apologies to Mr. Gore, but the last time I checked there still was a debate), one is quick to believe and the other is quick to question. Of these two positions which is more characteristic of science? If you answer that question honestly then you begin to see the danger from the “true believers”.

    Just my two cents, take if for what it’s worth.

  3. michael says:

    Sorry, its a hoax, not a fruad.

  4. Gaius says:

    You might really want to look up the definitions.

Comments are closed.