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Lecture at St Andrews

This is guest post by Messenger.

I was in the audience at the Bishop’s talk in St Andrews. He had been sponsored for this  appearance by a member the Tayside branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry, who had read the Hockey Stick Illusion, and who, as I mentioned elsewhere, had thought it was a Good Thing.

The talk was the closing one of a regular annual series held on Friday nights at the University. The lecture theatre was just about full, probably 80 people or so, including St Andrews academics, which was more people than usual and very encouraging. The Bishop’s presentation was confident and entertaining, giving a condensed version of the highlights of the HS controversy with graphs and photographs of the protagonists on the screen.  He went on to demonstrate how the CRU emails showed that Steve McIntyre’s suspicions had been correct, matching the most damning email comments to what the audience had already been told. He followed this section with a brief look at the various inquiry fiascos and summed up with an optimistic look at the future possibilities for how this current situation in climate science might develop, both here and in the USA.

The fifteen minutes allowed for questions was filled by a wide-ranging selection of queries on the possible motivation or the  CRU scientists; peer review – is it broken?; the effect of dust clouds; the precautionary principle, CO2  and the greenhouse theory among others. The general impression I received was that the audience was very interested in what he had to say, and there was no overt hostility from anyone.  

Afterwards there was a rush for the copies of the HSI, which sold out, and the Bish. was a kept busy signing the books and talking to members of the audience. A Tayside RCS member had to be levered away by his wife from his long conversation with the Bish…People I knew who spoke to me suggested that his talk had been another Good Thing and it seemed that a good time was had by all.

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Reader Comments (27)

Another excellent example of the power of the HSI - I'm sending my copy to my (warmist) MP - NOW!

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

Excellent Bish. Thanks to Messenger for the post. It is encouraging that there are still open-minded academics around.

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

A fine report. Most heartwarming. Excellent news about selling out (of copies of HSI, I mean).

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

Way to go, Bish :-)

Mar 20, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Good work. It is heartening that 80 intellectuals heard the HSI story, and that it was received so well and not written off. Excellent.

Mar 20, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Pittwood

I inherently trust a writer who can use the words "Good Thing" in this manner, and therefore thank "Messenger" and applaud the Bishop for what was obviously a fine foray into those halls of learning. He is most certainly that kind of bear...

Mar 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

And very encouraging (though in a way not all that surprising) to see that open-mindedness still exists at at least one of the UK's major seats of learning!

Mar 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

Well Done St Andrews! Well Done!

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

Great work and long may it continue and grow Bish ! now just waiting for my HSI to turn up :} .

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

Anybody who has read "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki will know that this is how the truth gradually seeps out.
Individual people hearing the facts and making up their own minds.
The MSM and the PR machine keep pushing rubbish out.
But little by little the support for AGW is crumbling away.

I just hope that the dam wall breaks in Australia before our good Green-Julia goverment can hobble our economy with a tax on the basics of economic growth.

Mar 20, 2011 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

Congratulations! Were the press there to spread the message?

Mar 20, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Your wife is as good a writer as you are. Very fine report!

Mar 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


Thank you for this review.


Glad it went so well, including civil questions at the end, and especially glad to hear that the book table sold out.

That really is encouraging (even if not everyone sends their copy to their MP).

FWIW, there was a copy in one of the Waterstones in Winchester (there are two) for about 2 weeks - then someone bought it. Much of the other stock on the 'pop sci' and 'weather' shelves is still there.

Mar 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Good summary Messenger, I was there too.
I was not aware of any press.

Mar 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterQ

Urp. SP: 'messenger' - apologies

Mar 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"But Is It True?" by Aaron Wildavsky, a HSI "avant-la-lettre"

Mar 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

Many thanks Messenger, it's good to know the Bishop had such a positive reception. I think Truth is finally gaining ground and CAGW proponents no longer have the easy ride they're used to.

Mar 20, 2011 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

@ Don Pablo

I'm not the Bishop's wife!

Mar 20, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I fully endorse Hoi Polloi's recommendation of Wildavsky's book, But Is It True. Wildavsky was a public policy expert from Berkeley, who was well ahead of his time. (Alas he died a few year ago.) The book includes a couple of chapters on climate and one on the sophistry of the precautionary principle. The book emerged from the work done by a bunch of graduate students for whom Wildavsky set the task of establishing the scientific basis for various "alarms". My recollection is that it figured significantly in Michael Crichton's research for his book State of Fear. It should be an easy read for all regulars here.

Mar 20, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

While we're on the subject of HSI 'avant la lettre' (thanks for the Wildavsky tip Hoi Polloi), Aynsley Kellow's Science and Public Policy is also a must-read. If you can find a copy at an affordable price ;-)

The book is subtitled: The virtuous corruption of virtual environmental science which sums it up neatly.

Mar 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Congratulations Mr Bishop .
Mud sticks Messenger hehe

Mar 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Bishops on a roll- Is this the future gig list then?

Mar 20, 2011 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

As a St Andrews graduate (1968) this makes me, actually, quite proud :)

Mar 21, 2011 at 5:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Well done, good Bishop!

I see the precautionary principle come up and wonder still if others feel as I do that this is really one principle with two points. The principle cautions us to choose the wise path should all hell break loose, but seems to ignore the impact of that decision should all hell not break loose particularly where the first path has a princely price tag of some trillions of coin of the realm.

If we cave in to the team view of things we're doomed to spend those trillions (common sense tells us one generation forth will laugh over our graves for presuming this nonsense) but what if that dooms day prediction fails to emit and we find ourselves penniless but more the wiser? It befits none to be wise and broke.

I do appreciate that Australia and other foolish nations have chosen to destroy their economies while doing nothing about CO2 levels as it gives the US a bit of a leg up on them trade wise, but I can't help but think it all pointless if India and China don't join the parade.

Anyway - ultimately the precautionary principle is bollocks as it will be and has been already cast aside in favor of growth by the emerging economies - that would be the economies that are now running the planet's commerce - economies that have picked up the industrialist ball dropped by the EU and the US. Can anyone name a nation that has met or exceeded their commitments to the Kyoto agreement? and does anyone predict that, excepting Australia which appears to be challenged by simple math, will change any time soon?

Mar 21, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

Thanks Messenger for the write up.

Bish, thanks for your efforts. This is another step in the growth of the climate science renaissance.


Mar 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Dung saying that mud sticks ... bit like pot and kettle methinks!

Mar 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

To Matthu
Do I have a bad reputation? I would be grateful for an explanation. The messenger mud I threw related to the acusation that Messenger was in fact Mrs Bishop, a jolly picture I thought.

Mar 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

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