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The genius of academe

Ivory Tower by Sue Barnes (Click for details)Google Alerts advises me of a new paper in the journal Research Policy entitled 'Boundaries, breaches, and bridges: The case of Climategate'. Penned by Raghu Garud of the Business School at Penn State and colleagues from the University of Alberta and MIT's Sloan School of Business, it examines the aftermath of Climategate, looks at efforts to restore the credibility of climate science, and considers why people still doubt.

The authors have a bit of a problem though. While they claim to have read Watts up with That and Climate Audit, neither blog is cited in a meaningful way. Similarly, The Hockey Stick Illusion is named in passing, but this blog and Hiding the Decline don't even warrant a mention. Garud and his colleagues have learned about Climategate and global warming sceptics from tomes such as Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand by Haydn Washington and John Cook (cited seven times), J.L. Powell's The Inquisition of Climate Science (cited ten times) and Mann's Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars (seven times).

You can see where this is leading. Our dogged detectives learn that 'deniers' (a word used throughout the article) are so-called because they 'deny the truth', and that they use 'multiple tactics ranging from "conspiracy theories" to “logical fallacies"'. They also discover that those implicated in Climategate were exonerated without a stain upon their honour. Then, however, the headscratching begins. How can it be then that people still don't trust the utterances of climatologists? What can be done?

The answer to this conundrum is - you will never believe it - to be found in the realms of communication. Although Garud and his colleagues note that some observers think that communication is not enough, and point to such initiatives as the Climate Science Rapid Response Team (seriously!) that are already in place, they suggest that something called a 'narrative approach' might also be a part of the solution.

A narrative approach recognizes that “facts” must be categorically embedded within the cultural symbols in currency and rendered relevant by contextualizing them into stakeholders’ lived experiences...

...narratives convince by ringing true (or what Bruner, 1986 calls “verisimilitude”). In this way, a narrative approach shifts the conversation from issues of uncertainty to plausibility, without succumbing to the problem of “overselling certainty”.

If you are still not entirely sure what they mean by this (and before you ask, yes the whole paper is written in that style) you are in good company. However, the authors go on to discuss Judith Curry's comments about fiction as a vehicle for explaining the complexities of climatology to the lay public and so they seem to be saying that the public can be brought into line with a whole lot of novels based on scientifically plausible scare stories.

It's a plan I suppose, but it has something of familiar ring to it in my humble opinion. I wonder what conclusions they would have reached if they'd read just a teeny bit more widely before they put pen to paper?

It's rather extraordinary that a group of academics from top universities could go careering off into a field in which they seem to have no apparent expertise, read a hopelessly biased selection of the literature and come up with precisely the same ineffective plan that everyone else has come up with in the last three years. Rather surprising too that a journal would publish it. It's even more amazing that students pay good money to receive the benefit of an education from any of those involved.

But in terms of entertainment value, you can't knock it.

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Reader Comments (78)

Bullshit baffles brains.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Here is the start of section 2:

Prior research has demonstrated that actors belonging to one epistemic community often find it difficult to coordinate let alone understand knowledge from other communities, owing to processes of paradigmatic closure, inversion, and normalization. In this regard, boundary objects are said to facilitate coordination among epistemic communities without requiring explicit consensus. First,as with objects more generally, boundary objects entail interpretive flexibility.

Can anyone translate that into English? If they speak like this, it's not surprising that people have difficulty understanding them.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"A narrative approach recognizes that “facts” must be categorically embedded within the cultural symbols in currency and rendered relevant by contextualizing them into stakeholders’ lived experiences..."

I think they tried that with the 10:10 video...

What they are really saying is they want the holy grail of propaganda. Brain washing without the "idiots" noticing. Even if you control all information/media/art sources, it still doesn't work. The People's Republic of China and the USSR had decades building up their apparatus.

People are not stupid. You could of course use the Cold War propaganda in the US as an example. However, the cultural trigger for that was not communism but the frontier/revolutionary spirit: "The British/Mexicans/Spaniards/Germans/Ruskies/Arabs are coming".

I see no cultural trigger (aka fear) that CAGW propagandists can use other than what they have used so far (without success)

I suggest they give that approach up now, and just rely on the truthfulness of their argument. Sure to prevail.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I think they must have been consulting with Mike Hulme as to how to write in a way that makes no sense to ordinary well-educated people, let alone the rest of society (who wouldn't read it anyway). Have they all been on the UEA creative writing course, one wonders?

Alternatively, I remember that there were computer programs written years ago that could string words together to make nonsense phrases and sentences. Are the authors real or just a bit of software?

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is all of a piece with the prevailing narcissistic Warmist mindset that believes they have found the true way, and that skeptics must be manipulated or bullied into that same belief system for their own good and that of the planet.

Psychologically, Warmists have to believe that global warming skeptics are driven by economic interests, not by an objective assessment of the science.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

there was a case a few years ago where some researchers posted an entirely "made up" paper - full of jargon, difficult words and tortured syntax - had it pass through all the reviews and eventually published. After the event - they came out and said - "you know what - it was all a load of nonsense"......

sadly - this approach does not appear to be what is happening here!

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterhysteria

I see you can purchse the paper for just US$35.95.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

As I've said before, many times, clever people don't need to use big words to get their meaning across.

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

They used the "p" word (paradigmatic)... but an even "sexier" version. Hadn't that fallen out of the pseuds dictionary at the end of the 1990's?

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

This is a nice example of a phenomenon I first observed when writing about the Nature-Nurture controversies of the 1970s and 1980s, namely that the reason these debates get and stay polarised is that people do not actually read their opponents' papers and books at all; they read their allies' accounts of their opponents' arguments. As a result they spend their time tilting at straw men.

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Ridley

A narrative approach recognizes that “facts” ...
Don't you just love those quotation marks??

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Davis

"Raghu's research currently explores the emergence of novelty. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how new ideas emerge, are valued, and become commercialized. He has written extensively on these topics offering concepts such as path creation, economies of substitution, technology entrepreneurship, bricolage as a collective process and the socio-cognitive bases for technology emergence. In his research, Raghu has explored modularity and the emergence of architectures in systemic industries. Raghu is currently working on narratives as the generative force for the emergence of novelty within a system of meaning that shapes and is shaped by entrepreneurial foresight."

Reminds me why I ducked out of academia

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy Scrase

To be fair only Arvind Karunakaran can reasonably be described as being at a "top university", and he's just a PhD student.

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:18 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Paul Matthews, my translation

People working in specific areas often have their own local jargon. This can make it difficult for people working in different areas to understand each other. A good strategy is to find areas of overlap to help develop understanding. But be careful because the same word can mean quite different things in different contexts.


Sep 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

It's a paper written by true believers for consumption by true believers, and since it not only isn't directed at everyman but would also be linguistically incomprehensible to them, is largely irrelevant because it won't change anyone's opinion.


Sep 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

JJ: Thank you for that translation.

Could you explain why they use such language? Who benefits from it?

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

Who funded this nonsense ?

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Even if the bafflegab is only aimed at True Believers, why do they feel the need to 'communicate' with each other in such a convoluted and clumsy way?

Is it a language designed to exclude - like some say polari was?

Or simply because its too much like hard work to present things clearly and concisely?

Whatever the reason it does a great deal of harm to their image. Reinforces the popular idea that academics are so far removed from reality as to be up their own fundaments.

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

At the bottom of p 4 they refer to Mc & Mc as "two climate science deniers".
It's remarkable that a journal can publish such ignorant prejudiced name-calling.

JJ, thanks for translation, which has sociology approval (Warren Pearce).
Another irony is that they keep talking about "boundary bridging work", yet also use 'denier' 20 times.

If anyone wants to read it I can send a copy.

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

David Jones,

Good questions. Part of the answer is "because they're not very bright", but Warren Pearce could probably give a more detailed reply.


No specific funding source recorded in the paper; could just be background university funding (which is what funds most of my research).

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

"It's rather extraordinary that a group of academics from top universities" - Penn State??????????

Deliberate nonsense to hide their ignorance. As someone once said -

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

@ Latimer

why do they feel the need to 'communicate' with each other in such a convoluted and clumsy way?

As the master noted, "Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones"

and continues

"I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one."

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I got past "actors" and "epistemic community", but I started to ship water at "paradigmatic closure" and sank completely at
"boundary objects entail interpretive flexibility".

How can objects other than sentences or propositions entail anything, I asked in my artless logical way.

Sep 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

But they have education globally and the digital learning and gaming push where the 'narrative' gets incorporated into the visuals of the computer game. And gaming='engaged' learning and the student immersed in the virtual world begins to believe that it represents reality because the games were designed to do just that. The game designers have said with glee this is what they are doing.

Also remember Sloan is home to the systems thinking push that intends to use the classroom to convince students they are merely embedded in ecological systems and that everything they do or fail to do affects others and everything. Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory may have been created as a metaphor for political aspirations for the West but it gets taught as reality in classrooms now.

And false perceptions guide daily behavior just as surely as correct ones. It's just that the unintended consequences are even more surprising.

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Registered Commenteresquirerobin

Wasn't there some confusion between Penn State and the State Pen?

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterEvil Denier & proud of it

When I was a public servant, as soon as the incumbent government started blaming "poor communication" for the fact that people didn't like them any more, it was time to start dusting off the briefs for a new incoming government.

The soundly defeated Labor Party in Australia is still deluding itself that their real-life policies and actions were not primarily responsible for their demise.

BTW, did the authors blame Rupert Murdoch (that would be Fox News in the US)? It seems to be the automatic response du jour of anyone who has fallen out of favour.

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Obviously Garud's Penn State employment won't suffer much from this regurgitation of somebody else's thoughts.

As a result expect flexibly-interpretable boundary objects to become yet another series of "Dances for Climate Change" performance.

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

These people abuse the english language in order to create the equivilant of mathematical equations
which they themselves cannot understand but which they find to be impressive.
They have a propensity for the esoteric and produce "Bafflegab" in order to impress themselves.
Bafflegab is synonym for "Gobbledygook" and is defined as follows:

"multiloquence characterized by consummate interfusion of circumlocution or periphrasis, inscrutability, and other familiar manifestations of abstruse expatiation commonly utilized for promulgations implementing Procrustean determinations by governmental bodies."

They just love the inscutability factor.

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Very, very accurate analysis of academia.

Sep 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Just for fun ..and not entirely irrelevant. Sir Humphrey in fine form

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

At the bottom of p 4 they refer to Mc & Mc as "two climate science deniers".
It's remarkable that a journal can publish such ignorant prejudiced name-calling.

Peer review can also "entail interpretive flexibility." It is possible that no one actually read and reviewed it prior to publication.

If anyone wants to read it I can send a copy.

That's kind of you, Paul, but I think I'll pass.

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Just a reminder of an old favourite that appeared on this site...

"COSMOPOLITAN STUDIES is an ontological project, endeavouring to define the human, its capacities and liabilities as universalities beyond the particular differences of social, cultural and historical condition. The Centre promotes an egalitarian, existentially sensitive, social science which seeks to place individual experience at the centre of an appreciation of contemporary social and cultural millieux, for the purpose of adumbrating the ethical space of the citizen in a plural and fluid society."

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

@ Paul Matthews.

I take that to read:

Often groups will disagree. But often they can agree to disagree.

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Sad to say, there has been too much trust and not enough checking in the climate drama of the past 2 or 3 decades.

I suspect the general public has probably trusted ‘environmentalists’ as being good, well-intentioned, compassionate people concerned about our harming nature. A little checking would have revealed that some of them are far from ‘good’, have sinister intentions, and are ruthless about controlling humans, even at the expense of harming them.

I suspect many professional journalists are little better in this trust. Some are on the ball, and are digging into the background arguments and evidence. People such as Booker, Rose, and Laframboise. Laframboise’s latest book, for example, paints a remorseless picture of incompetence and deception in the leadership of the IPCC, and Booker and Rose have both drawn attention to conflicts between observations and climate scares. How many Guardian Readers will not have an inkling of all of that? They, I suppose, are liable to trust such as the IPCC. It is not worthy of their trust.

Academics too, have been astonishingly trusting of those pushing climate alarm. My most recent experience of this was at the Orkney Science Festival earlier this month. One of the lectures was by Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University. He is a distinguished scientist and explorer of, in particular, the Arctic. He been on at least 40 expeditions there. His work on ice extents and characteristics is surely authoritative and invaluable. His expostulations on climate, less so. He seems to trust the alarmed ones far too much. I wonder if the structure of his talk is similar to thousands the world over in all sorts of scientific areas. Here it is distilled by me:

(1) Begin with linking CO2 and temperature. First using the hockey stick (yes, the MBH hockey stick in all its glory, unsullied by reservations about data selection, incompetent statistical methods, grafting-in of modern temperature readings, and mismatch with a great many studies supportive of a pronounced medieval warm period). Secondly using ice core data a la Gore, pointing out the remarkable correlation between CO2 levels and temperature estimates over hundreds of thousands of years, and failing to mention the equally remarkable phasing of these two quantities, i.e. the fact that the CO2 changes follow the temperature ones.
(2) Now insert your own area of competence, being sure to find a link between it and the threat of further warming.
(3) Finish by using IPCC regional temperature projections as forecasts, and the Stern report’s economic estimates to show what an horrendous cost we are facing over the rest of this century and beyond. Without of course mentioning the devastating criticisms which this report received from leading economists over methodology and presumptions, and without mentioning the abysmal track record of GCMs.

Wadhams even, during stage (2), noted that he preferred data to models, and that we should not be trusting models. This was because recent ice declines in the Arctic were greater than model forecasts.

I can readily imagine the same structure used with, say, bovine diets in (2), or the spread of ant-hills, or polar bears, or Himalayan glaciers, or motor cars, or power stations, or food production, or wood-burning stoves, or windfarms, or plankton, or whales, or pandas, or ...well, you know the list.

Surely fewer and fewer people will display such trust in the future. There have been so many reversals for the alarmed ones in recent years, it is hard to think of any successes from their ‘side’ on the scientific front, or even in their area of most skill, the political and PR one.

This recent study highlighted above will perhaps be remembered, if it deserves to be remembered at all, as a particularly pronounced, pompous, and ill-informed example of misplaced trust. A shame really, to see such waste.

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I used to have some respect for academe but no longer after the disgraceful petition instigated by Slingo immediately after Climategate broke in 2009. The statement which she requested that fellow academics sign -

"Statement from the UK science community
We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method. The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations"."

Many of the signators did not even work in the field of climate change and simply would not have had the knowledge required to truthfully sign this indeed it is scarce credible that anyone could have signed a petition stating -

"They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method."!!!

particularly in the light of what the Climategate mails revealed.

Interesting too to note that it was signed by both Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards.

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Very simply: They confuse appearances with the essence. All is relative, there is no fundamental truth, just the swirling milieu of all that is, where of course their view reigns because they are allowed (in the ivory tower) to "make it so". They have no idea what striking at the heart of a problem is, much less what it entails. They think they can freely play with meaning as a construct of their choosing; they don't understand they must uncover, separate and follow the a priori reality of meaning to its beating heart.

Sep 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

It's the Epistle to the Hebrews 2.1 before we get the New Testament 5.0 in a few weeks.

Sep 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

Having read quite a lot of the emissions of the psyche brigade on scepticism, I can only conclude that they really don’t think the way we do. It’s like early sociologists observing other cultures and arriving stupid conclusions because they don’t share a common set of values or experiences.

They fundamentally can’t understand that people could come to a different conclusion to them without a deep psychological reason that has nothing to do with climate science. They don’t grasp that the real world always trumps models and theories and climate science is very new and still feeling it’s way. To them, science is the top of the tree and we must be lying to ourselves about our reasons for not giving scientists their due. To us, it’s natural to assume that things rarely do what it says in the manual and you have to deal with what you get.

Climategate was important because it reminded people that climate scientists are real people with real flaws and not some sort of Disney boffin fighting nasty old oil villains to save the planet. Once that fairy story spell was broken, natural scepticism has kicked in. You could almost say that they were working in a period of grace and even without Climategate that leeway was bound to end eventually.

Pre Copenhagen and Climategate all the news coverage was about the thing being dead in the water. Even Obama wasn’t expected to turn up. Those who never intended to agree to CO2 cuts used Climategate as an excuse to do what they wanted. Obama arrived to give himself some green credibility but left in a snow storm without anything useful being agreed upon.

Post Climategate, the real world has had the deciding vote. Gaia has not played ball with the scientists predictions. Countries that have flirted with renewables are discovering that they’re not fit for purpose and certainly not worth pursuing if CO2 isn’t going to fry the planet. People who assumed they had no option but join the AGW bandwagon are realising they can speak up. The media has begun to voice what previously they did not dare. Suddenly we’re not the only sceptic in the village.

No amount of crafty or crafted communication can restore the rose tinted specs that people viewed climate science through.

Sep 16, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

One tell of a failed belief system is for its apologists to defend themselves in obtuse, wordy and fundamentally deceitful ways. This paper does all of that, and once again demonstrates the most common trait of intellectual cowards: reliance on misrepresenting those who disagree. By ignoring the rationales of the serious skeptics, they reduce their paper to an over written pretentious bit of propaganda.

Sep 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

I will now explain the science of Catastrophic Global Warming through the medium of mime...

I think they're saying that people in one discipline have problems understanding people in other disciplines unless they can find an overlap. Good luck finding an overlap between AGW science and sociology. One depends on bafflegab, redefinition of commonly-used phrases, repetition of the obvious and obscuratism. The other is called sociology.


Sep 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

Effusive argot and much wandering phrasing, I've haven't worked out who they are trying to impress, us or themselves? As pointy says, if they are trying to communicate with sensible members of the public, then - clear, concise and informative text is required,. Therefore, the above 'jabbering' it is a forlorn exercise.

Sep 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Hi Marion..
Ed Hawkins signed it aswell.. as did a very good friend of mine (no names) what they don't seem to realise, was that was effectively a political statement, ie required for policy action. ie public don't lose confidence in science for policy action.

My friend had read none of the emails, (except of course my friend had hundreds of their own in email release) and was shocked when I told my friend that their own emails were in them, and had thought climategate had blown over, 8 months after.

Sep 16, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I have written to the authors to let them know their paper is being discussed here.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Let's hear it from Richard Feynman again...

There was a sociologist who had written a paper for us all to read--something he had written ahead of time. I started to read the damn thing, and my eyes were coming out: I couldn't make head nor tail of it! I figured it was because I hadn't read any of the books on that list. I had this uneasy feeling of "I'm not adequate," until finally I said to myself, "I'm gonna stop, and read one sentence slowly, so I can figure out what the hell it means."

So I stopped--at random--and read the next sentence very carefully. I can't remember it precisely, but it was very close to this: "The individual member of the social community often receives his information via visual, symbolic channels." I went back and forth over it, and translated. You know what it means? "People read."

Then I went over the next sentence, and I realized that I could translate that one also. Then it became a kind of empty business: "Sometimes people read; sometimes people listen to the radio," and so on, but written in such a fancy way that I couldn't understand it at first, and when I finally deciphered it, there was nothing to it.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Pseuds Corner beckons.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

This looks to me like a bunch of people who have a product to sell and are not doing so well. Some of the people believe the product is great and do not understand the failure, others know the product is rubbish but still need it to be successful. When this bunch of people constitutes a company, they will look outside the company to "expert" consultants who may be able to analyse the problem and make suggestions. In these situations you get the big words and fancy concepts being touted as the solution. The objective of the consultants is to make money and to do this they need to persuade their customer that they really are experts and big words help. The reality is that selling is in essence simple providing that you have a decent product at the right price but one thing is always essential; trust.
A salesman can sometimes gain trust by lying but he will only do it once, to link in to TinyCO2; once the rose tinted spectacles (of trust) come off he has no chance.
Raghu comes over as someone who is flag waving and saying "I am an expert, I can tell you how to solve your problem". I think we all know that he has no chance.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Registered CommenterDung

@ Paul Matthews "Can anyone translate that into English? "
Frankly, no. I have no idea what it means.
I don't often say this, but thank heavens the paper is behind a pay-wall.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commenter@HG54

Sep 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Registered Commenter Paul Matthews

Thanks for that quote Paul. I have used it in a comment at The Conversation where a social science academic is bleating about the evil Murdoch's lack of coverage or biased coverage of climate change in the Australian election. Heads are exploding all over the place down here.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Paul Matthews: "If anyone wants to read it I can send a copy."
Don't you dare.
Step away from the keyboard.
Nice and slow and keep you hands where I can see 'em.

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commenter@HG54

Here's a journalist at The Guardian, of all places, edging towards a bit of an epiphany:

"Journos generally assume that strong statements of fact about science issued – whether in press releases from credible sources or in journal articles – have been checked enough to be reliable. I’m now starting to realise, with some shock, that this is not necessarily the case. (I’ve been a journo for a while but working on enviro related stuff in last few yrs)."

That's from one Nafeez Ahmed (more here:, to whom one might well say 'keep at it, Nafeez!'. Oh, and you might want to do a piece on how the Garud paper highlighted by the Bish came to be written and came to be published with a set of apparently straight faces behind it. They seem, after all, to have shared your naive and trusting nature.

Hat-tip: Tom Nelson

Sep 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

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