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« International Disinformation Agency | Main | Worse than we thought »
Tuesday
May152012

Dealing with The Heretic

Richard Bean's play The Heretic has been causing a few ructions in Australia ahead of its opening in Melbourne. Richard forwards this email, which was sent to him by Andrew Glikson, a scientist at the Australian National University.

Mr Richard Bean
Director
Melbourne Theatre Company

Dear Mr Richard Bean

As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience and more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, I suggest the show “The Heretic”, which I have not seen but about which I have read, can only lead to trivialization and further denial of what the scientific world regards as the greatest threat humanity and nature are facing.

I suggest the show plays into the hands of those who support the use of the thin terrestrial atmosphere (breathable thickness of less than 10 km) for further carbon emission on top of the 350 billion tons of carbon already emitted since the 18th century and >150 billion tons carbon released by land clearing, fires etc.. As shown in my enclosed paper, the pace of CO2 rise over the last 40 years, recently reaching >2 ppm CO2/year, has now exceeded any recorded for the last 65 million years, while the atmospheric level of 394 ppm CO2 is now near that of the warm Pliocene era some 3 million years-ago. Our empirical evidence is based on direct observations of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system by the world’s climate monitoring bodies - including NOAA, NASA, NSIDC, Hadley-MET, Tyndale, Potsdam, CSIRO, BOM and other.

Opinion and "belief" are no substitute for evidence. Those who doubt the basic laws of nature and empirical data are always welcome to submit research to peer review journals where their papers will be treated the same as any other. In so far as their propositions are upheld, anyone who is able to demonstrate as if:

  1. The Earth's climate is not warming, or
  2. The anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming

is bound to receive the highest accolades.

I wonder whether such a show, if concerned with denial of the holocaust of world war II, would have been conceived?

I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, a theatric show making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken.

Yours sincerely

 

Andrew Glikson
Earth and paleo-climate scientist
Australian National University

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Reader Comments (125)

When they've lost the argument all they can do is to censor and intinidate.

You may have 45 years of experience Sir and it seems so sad that you have learned nothing.

You possibly have been playing all the right notes but unfortunately in the wrong order. (Apologies to M&W)

I categorically state that no harm is intended by the above statement and it must not be construed as a death threat.

So all together now lets sing the anthem of that great institution the ANU:

Lie me Kangaroo down sport
Lie me Kangaroo down :-)

May 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Humourless and robotic are the words that come to mind. Dr Glikson is doing his cause no favours.

May 15, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Heyworth

Stacey
You need to differentiate between 45 years of experience and one year's experience 45 times over.
We all aim for the former; too many people only experience the latter, never learning anything.
Groundhog Day comes to mind.

May 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

They are still looking for the 'reasons' they are losing. And pouncing on anything that might be the cause. Never once does it occur to them they are losing because they are demonstrably wrong.

This sort of thing is a sign of our triumph.

May 15, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Bloody 'ell!

The above links, plus a bit of Googling, reveal Dr Glikson to be - not just a run-of-the-mill scientactivist in the Schmidt/Jones mould - but a raving fanatic with a prodigious output.

In between fighting his demons on lefty opinion blogs and the media - when does he have time for any science?

As the end game approaches, and the rhetoric heats up, it's becoming more and more obvious that the majority of "climate scientists" are nothing of the kind - they're just activists who infiltrated themselves into scientific posts when the IPCC created the opportunity.

Donna's book got it spot on,

May 15, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Paleo-climate scientist who ignores all the paleo-CO2 estimates other than a few outliers which fit the story-line. CO2 around 3 million years ago is 270 ppm and lower in 95% of the estimates.

May 15, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill Illis

Dear Mr Andrew glikson,

As a,,, scientist of some... experience... I suggest your latest paper... which I have not seen but about which I have read...

May 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

I have not seen so much crap in such a little area since the great cow diarrhea event of 02, which took 1000 man-hours to clean up and sadly lead to the loss of many a fine cow from drowning.


Perhaps the Australian National University should ask itself if employing 'academics ' that come up with such rubbish as ' I wonder whether such a show, if concerned with denial of the holocaust of world war II, would have been conceived?' especial when it concerns something they have not even seen .

May 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Using the standards normally applied by Doc Gliksons university - this letter surely constitutes a "serious threat of physical violence" and Richard Bean should be "notifying security to be on hand in case he turns up and causes a problem".

May 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Glikson and Gleick, a fine pair. Even the "future generations" cliche is wheeled out. It's very hard to accept that Glikson actually believes this guff. Appalling.

May 15, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Glikson (="son of Glik") and Gleick...the two must be related?

May 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

“the greatest threat humanity and nature are facing”

Is nature facing a threat? Won’t Gaia save him? I didn’t realise it was so discerning.

May 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I love good theatre. Except when there's over-acting. Andrew Glikson, tone it down... you'd be more believable that way.

Andrew

May 15, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

The Heretic was also reviewed by a Clive Hamilton, Vice Chancellor's Chair, Centre For Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics (CAPPE) at Charles Sturt University, with a somewhat vicious tone as can be read at http://theconversation.edu.au/heretic-melbourne-theatre-company-runs-with-the-goons-6871 , including calling Lord Monckton, Alan Jones and Janet Albrechtsen "rat bags". Christopher was notified of this and has filed a formal complaint to Charles Sturt's VC. The review is a polemic rant with less logical argument than a school kid could muster, which seems to be becoming the norm for the CAGW alarmists (similar to Al Gore's recent rant captured on audio, and is on YouTube).

May 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterilma630

I think Josh and missus reviewed it on BH originally? On the strength of which my wife and I got tickets and both enjoyed it.

When even that pontificating epistolic organ of doomladen AGW, the Guardian, was forced to admit grudging praise, the play really was a triumph on its London run. (Only two comments were allowed, both spot-on)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/feb/11/the-heretic-review

May 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

For those of you who haven't seen 'The Heretic' the script of the play is available on Amazon - paperback and Kindle editions.

If you get a chance to see it on its national tour (in the UK) I recommend "Yes, Prime Minister" which, inter alia, deals with climate change. I saw it in Cambridge and was the only one to clap after Sir Humphrey's devastating critique of the current state of the climate. Despite that he gets his Minister out of a spot of bother by ...... Sorry - I won't continue otherwise I would spoil the denouement.

May 15, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Ron, I heartily agree. I also saw "Yes, Prime Minister" in Cambridge, and Sir Humphrey was spot on. No claps at the performance I went to, but I turned to my wife and commented how realistic his critique was.

It's odd though that when something designed to be a spoof is actually so accurate; makes me think the actual spoof is our government.

May 15, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterilma630

"I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, a theatric show making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken."

I suggest that academics who prefer suppression of dissent over the free exchange of ideas "can only be seriously mistaken."

May 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

“the actual spoof”

Mrs Thatcher was reported as saying that she enjoyed it. That struck me as odd, at the time, but I suspect now that she just thought it was fictional...

May 15, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"more than 150 peer-reviewed publications"
Try PowerPoint - there's a Nobel for that.

May 15, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I looked up Glickson via duck duck and found a list of his publications. Not a single one on climate. All were related to his (apparent) specialty: asteroid strikes on earth and the impact craters resulting therefrom.

I guess the 45 years of experience were not exclusively devoted to climate change. /sarc

May 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimB

I think commentators on this blog are being very unfair to Andrew Glikson. After all, he did state:

In so far as their propositions are upheld, anyone who is able to demonstrate ...
[t]he anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming is bound to receive the highest accolades.

I put the last few words in bold for emphasis but the words are Glikson's. Therefore if in about another 10 years or so Svensmark's theory gets proved we can expect Glcikson to nominate him for the Nobel Prize in physics, can't we?

May 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, a theatric show making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Terrestrial climate and marine ecosystems'? Huh? So, there is a boundary at the high or low tide mark between those two, and there is no climate over 70% of the planet? And he calls himself a scientist? He can't even write clear, logical English. If someone with scientific qualifications can explain what that sentence means, I would be grateful.

As for 'making a mockery of the gravity' - in plain language, it's called taking the p*ss. Sorry if that offends you, but short of obliterating the history of theatre (which you can't spell) back to before 'The Frogs', you're on a loser there.

Still, this pompous ass's bloviating might boost ticket sales - let's hope so.

May 15, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

"...the show XXX, which I have not seen but about which I have read..."

Sorry, but I just can't think of anyone but Mary Whitehouse when I read those words.

May 15, 2012 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

michael h

I remember a few clerics saying something similar after the 'Life of Brian' was released. Confirmation bias, I think it's called.

May 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Given the text of his outburst and the fact that apparently (though I have not checked myself in true climate "scientist" review mode) he isnt published on climate change - I think this is a great example of the fact that we should never comply when experts say - "I'm an expert, trust me". So often this invitation proves to be based on ego rather than reality.

May 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

As a paleoclimatologist, Glikson seem remarkably uniformed about his own area of expertise.
"As shown in my enclosed paper, the pace of CO2 rise over the last 40 years, recently reaching >2 ppm CO2/year, has now exceeded any recorded for the last 65 million years, while the atmospheric level of 394 ppm CO2 is now near that of the warm Pliocene era some 3 million years-ago."

I take issue on two points here:
1) CO2 levels have been mostly higher over the last 65 million years- up to 1000pmm.
2) if Glikson and his acolytes can measure rates of change of CO2 concentration to an accuracy of 2ppm/year over the last 65 million years then he has made a Nobel-prize winning breakthrough.
See GEOCARB III (Berner and Kothavala 2001), COPSE (Bergmann et al. 2004) and Rothman (2001).

Oh silly me, he is a Climate "Scientist" he can do anything.

May 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience and more than 150 peer-reviewed publications...."

All for naught.

May 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJPeden

"As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience and more than 150 peer-reviewed publications...."

Another academic who's sum contribution to humanity is absolutely zilch.

May 15, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

"Dear Sir:

Got something to say?

Write your own damn play."

May 15, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

I understand the Law Firm Gikson, Gleick and Goebbels is working on a cease and Desist Order.

/sarc

May 15, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris b

May 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM | JimB

But don't you realise asteroid strikes are caused by evil Carbon (Dioxide)? As is cAGW ... sorry, Climate Change ... sorry, Climate Disruption ... sorry, Climate (Global?) Weirding (Keep up, you at t'back!)

/sarc (for the humor-challenged)

May 15, 2012 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterEvil Denier

He seems to be obsessed with catastrophes and mass extinction. Co-authored (with Paul Erlich, of the recently bestowed Royal Society fellowship) and others, a doomsday book on them. (Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,599) ....

http://www.amazon.com/Extinctions-History-Origins-Causes-ebook/dp/B005NWHCM4


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May 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

http://joannenova.com.au/2012/05/flashback-the-great-debate-a-rare-chance-to-shakedown-the-science/#more-14188

May 15, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetiredDave

Did a paleoclimate scientist really suggest that?

"...CO2... is the primary factor responsible for global warming."

I suppose it depends on how you define "primary". To my knowledge the LIA was not caused by a lack of CO2 and the rise in temperature until 1900 cannot be attributed to CO2 as a primary factor.

May 15, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

I wonder if the writer of the letter in question is as clueless regarding his science as he is in his literary critiques?

May 15, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Were I the playwright I would send the letter writer:

1) A pair of tickets for the best seats
2) A voucher for free interval drinks, and
3) an invitation to dinner with the playwright
4) A letter of personal thanks to the good professor for his contribution to ticket sales.

If Dr Glikson accepted the proffered goodies, he might well enjoy a face to face conversation with an erudite and literate man, and may indeed moderate his views.

If he stands on his pride and declines, he loses face and demonstrates the weakness of his position.

May 15, 2012 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

jamesp,
Thanks for reminding me about "that" Life-of-Brian interview!

John Cleese and Michael Palin sat opposite to Malcolm Muggeridge and a Bishop-of-some-place [not the good 'Bishop-of-Hill', I hasten to add]. Muggeridge, the poacher-turned-gamekeeper, was positively vitriolic about Life of Brian: "Tenth rate" was how he described the film and those associated with making it.

John Cleese seemed to take it all in his stride, and certainly gave as good as he got. But I recall Michael Palin, one of the most personable and and gentle characters I have ever seen on any screen, came close to breaking down in tears at one point.

How strange the world is. Today, few would dare to make such a film if it was about 'The life of The Prophet' of a certain religion. Yet here we are are discussing a stage-play related to a scientific hypothesis about the weather and climate!!?? The situation is indeed "Pythonesque", but such farce is not new to history.

Whether we like it or not, scientific hypotheses neither want, nor need, protection or exemption from criticism [including parody].
Not now.
Not then.
Not ever.
Otherwise, it would not be science.

May 15, 2012 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

jo nova and glikson:

16 May: Joanne Nova: Flashback: The Great Debate, a rare chance to shakedown the science
Could the Nova Glikson “Great Debate” be it?
http://joannenova.com.au/2012/05/flashback-the-great-debate-a-rare-chance-to-shakedown-the-science/

May 15, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

michael h

It is extraordinary to remember the outrage caused by a wonderfully funny film about a person who demonstrably wasn't Jesus, but I am (just) old enough to remember how many thought that rock-and-roll heralded the end of civilisation. Some people see the worst in everything...

May 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Based on Glickson's hyper-paranoid appeal for alarmism in decline, I now MUST see the play. Thanks to
old CAGWist Glickson for a key signal to an independent thinker like me that the play is valuable!

John

May 15, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Damn! The play is not coming to NZ, and I could have seen it in London but didn't.
(Offstage percussive sounds are me kicking self).

It occurs to me that Glikson and his incredible letter has provided the playright with more priceless comedy material.

May 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

For a comment on Tim Flannery see http://lpickering.net/item/27587

Watch it, Josh. The climate might not be warming, but the competition is hotting up.

May 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No. 3

I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, Mr. Al Hollywood Gore's Oscar-winning movie making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken.

May 15, 2012 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered Commentercurious george

Dear Dr. Glikson:

Fortunately, I do not live in your "scientific world". The real one is good enough for me.

Have you ever studied photosynthesis? Do you know that it has apparently evolved in a CO2-rich atmosphere? That modern C4 plants actually developed an expensive "CO2 pump" to increase the concentration of CO2 in their photosynthetic cells? (I don't know if you share my belief in evolution.)

May 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commentercurious george

I think, given the author's literary inclinations, that he has given expression to the emotion of envy.

May 15, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

Perhaps Bean will incorporate a humorous but angry letter from an academic in his next update to the script?

(And perhaps a scene about a civic minded pest control volunteer who unwittingly becomes the object of an academic death threat fantasy - leading to corner offices all round for the academics.)

But, as Steve McIntyre said, perhaps these are situations that are 'almost impossible to sufficiently parody'...

May 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Any chance it will come to the U.S.A.? I'd be the first to purchase tickets!

May 16, 2012 at 1:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Smith

Here's an extract from the stage version of "Yes, Prime Minister" with the AGW references (referred to above):
http://www.tameware.com/adam/global_warming/ypm.html

Well-informed stuff !

May 16, 2012 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterR2

The state of Australian education is now on par with third world status., its obvious if they are producing "scientists" like this now.

May 16, 2012 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger

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