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Simon Singh's integrity problem

There is, indeed, an accepted scientific theory which I do not dispute and which, the alarmists claim, justifies their belief and their alarm.

This is the so-called greenhouse effect: the fact that the earth's atmosphere contains so-called greenhouse gases (of which water vapour is overwhelmingly the most important, but carbon dioxide is another) which, in effect, trap some of the heat we receive from the sun and prevent it from bouncing back into space.

Nigel Lawson in his essay in Standpoint, 1 May


Good that Ken Clarke called Lord Lawson a climate change denier. It is time that other politicians stopped mincing their words.

Simon Singh on Twitter, 9 May

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Reader Comments (57)

The bottom line is that this is not really anything to do with science. It's a clash of cultures.

May 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

'Climate change denier'

Who denies that the climate changes, Simon?

May 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

CAGW is a 1990s hypothesis that is falling apart in the face of real world observations as climate science advances slowly against the political current. The further behind the alarmists get, the louder they must shout to be heard.

May 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

Ye Gods, where to begin...Mr Singh needs another staffer to join him at the trough. One who can read and advise...

May 11, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCeetee

Carry on like this Simon and you'll end up back at court - which, given your record on this topic will cost you your house this time .... you will be able to blame it on "climate change" though...

What a prat.

May 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Did Ken C call Nigel L a denier? When & where? What is Singh referring to?

May 11, 2014 at 1:33 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The charge of 'Climate change denier' is used in an attempt to shut conversations down and make the other person look not merely wrong , but mad or bad. Its not based on fact nor reality against those its levelled at ,while the nearest you can get to this is Mann and the Team who tired to 'make past climate change disappear' in the name of 'the cause'

When it is used it is a classic sign of a smear job at work , and it has all the scientific validity of a week old cheese sandwich , so you can see why its finds a happy home in climate 'science'

May 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Simon Singh is typical of those who believe totally in CAGW. He clearly hasn't bothered to aquaint himself with any of the issues, typical of blind believers. The fact that they have to resort to puerile Ad Hominen attacks merely demonstrates that they have no scientific argument to make.

The level of these attacks seems to be inversely proportional to the attacker's understanding of the issues. Hence, Simon Singh is showing the level of his total ignorance of the climate debate!

What a sad little person he has become!

May 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

It is a bit sad, really. Singh earned his moment of fame by questioning the science of alternative medicine. It looks as though the heady taste of fame-dom has gone to his head, and he has leapt on the band-wagon for another cause. Surely, his own experience should make him realise that it is those who challenge an idea who tend to garner more fame than those who champion it?

May 11, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

"Given the greenhouse effect, it can also be said to be settled science that the marked, and largely man-made, increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere has contributed to the modest 20th century warming of the planet."

Nigel Lawson: An Appeal to Reason, 11


May 11, 2014 at 2:04 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Simon Singh believes that homoeopathic quantities of substances have a measurable effect?

Simon Singh believes that free speech is best supported by calling on others to ignore those practising it?

Simon Singh believes that those sceptical of climate change policy base their objections on rejection of climate change science?

Simon Singh believes that his opinions are so insightful they deserve self-publising as they occur to him?

If so then he is gullible, confused, out-of-touch and conceited.

May 11, 2014 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Please do not criticise the likes of Singh for using the Calumnist term "Denier"

a) it makes those that do seem extreme and out of touch swively eyed nut jobs

b) it makes the average person want to check out why when the likes of Lawson is stating his case politely and with good grace, the Alarmists have no other answer other than to maliciously or knowingly make false statements (Calumniation)

Such antics are the last gasp desperate attempts of control freaks who now realise that what they thought they controlled actually controls them.

May 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

Who is Simon Singh and why are his rather nasty, ignorant comments of interest to anyone?

May 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I read in '73 VERY EXCITED scientific America articles about how solar panels would make the day any time soon now
This was the high day of sheiks boycotting the West etc so there was a lot of eagerness to buy those articles.

their efficency was 13% BUT soon would be 20% you know.

Now, 41 years later, the Posh Left is in a state to strut up further their gospel on warmism, they are at 20% but for that they are 10x more expensive and fail after 3 months because they were bought from china. In satellites they can I believe make 25% efficiency.
Their cost STILL does not cover their lifetime product. Not then, not now. Zero progress on a zero idea.

May 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

He's putting down an early marker for climate p[rat of the year 2014.


May 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

what I could believe in is in a cold fusion solution that has a lot of UV radiation (unavoidable) this way we could , you know, trap the radiaton 24/365, even underground, you could even have layers of panels below each other

Thre are , I believe 12 people working on it at

note, as you cannot employ the deeply complacent half chim half human middle englanders there, it has not traction with carer politicians who pursue, you know, the vote, at all expense.

windmills you can put debiles at work with, and feel , you know, emphatically being the dogooder who works hard does an honest job before ogin to the pub and watch the xfactor, then off to the misses fill he bell fill her belly the whole cyclus, yo know. cannot do that with the more hard thought through products and ideas this is why it is more interestingto go for slashin birds on top the ,issus is happy father in lo make 1k a day whats not to like

May 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Paul Matthews: "Did Ken C call Nigel L a denier? When & where? What is Singh referring to?"

This occurred on Friday's Any Questions (R4) when the panel were discussing fracking, with Ken Clarke up against Natalie Bennett of the Green Party. Clarke was supporting fracking but Bennett countered by claiming that fracking produced high emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more powerful than CO2.

Somewhat amazingly, Jonathan Dimbleby then intervened against Clarke to claim that the higher methane emissions from fracking are a fact (quoting a paper in Geophysical Research Letters). Clarke rightly pointed out that this was debatable and that literature could easily be found stating the opposite. Dimbleby then retorted that this was a Lawson-type position, at which point Clarke stated that he was not a climate change 'denier' "like Lord Lawson".

It's incredible that the Chairman of such a debate should weigh in with such half-baked 'evidence' as fact, when it is well known that methane emissions from fracking are no different to those from conventional gas. In the case of coal bed methane it can even be argued that tapping this resource will actually decrease long-term fugitive emissions seeping into the atmosphere. This is yet another example of the BBC promoting the green agenda rather than sound science. Not surprising given their track record in peddling green lies day-in and day-out (remember Inside Science).

May 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterwellers

Singh got himself entangled in events surrounding criticism and suppression of The Great Global Warming Swindle in the same manner. Peripherally placed, doesn't participate in the wider debate, but holds quite strong opinions that break through inappropriately every now and then.

May 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Registered Commentershub

He should stick to writing about Diophantine equations.

May 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

I have an interest in maths but singh is not an author I feel inclined to.

to be honest I do not know the affinity of most capable math authors I DO feel inclined to , and that is a pre chomsky/aulinsky state of affairs really. the day it changes I step out of maths as well, and just start to shoot people.

May 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Particle physicists, what are they good for?

May 11, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Singh is a future Nurse.

Betcha. Sorry, I won't be able to pay - 6 ft under!

May 11, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Why is it that the PC twitterati are able to pour forth calumnies and vitriol upon any that upset their worldview, yet as soon as anyone posts a view at variance with those beliefs, they are hounded out of jobs, and forced to make apologies?

It's bullying, and it needs to be stood up to. In the case of Singh v Lawson I think Lawson should demand a retraction, and if necessary instigate proceedings. It's gone far enough.

May 11, 2014 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Dimbleby is a committed greenie — or was — a fact that appears to have been air-brushed out of his biography.
He is currently vice-president of the Soil Association so draw conclusions from that.
About the last time I listened to Any Questions (my doctor ordered me to stop on medical grounds) he was giving Porritt free and interrupted rein to tear Delingpole to pieces. Without right of reply, needless to say.
An objective impartial chairman he ain't!

May 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I suppose the best rejoinder to Mr. Singh would be: "Well, it's perferable to being a climate change fantasist."

Name-calling: it's all they've got at this point.

It's the imprecision of the debate that is so maddening. What Lord Lawson is, if I may speak for him, is a catastrophic climate change agnostic, which is the only position a grown-up can rationally assume in this debate.

May 11, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Registered Commenterpottereaton


Name-calling: it's all they've got

So true. And denier is the foulest (widespread) name-calling I can remember in my adult life.

wellers: Thank you very much for the context. Despite what I've just said I'd go easy on Ken Clarke. Singh though is way out of order in his commentary. We refuse to accept this hate speech.

May 11, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Leftist thought-stopping phrases abound. They're all full and complete explanations of everything. Speak any single one of them and win the debate, a priori. Chain them together to destroy your opponent's very soul.

Koch brothers
Millionaires and billionaires
Corporate greed
The one percent (and ninety nine percent)
Right wing extremists
Climate change deniers

May 11, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

Singh has gone to the effort of tweeting that it's "good" not that someone has expressed their opinion on the subject of climate change, or argued the case well, but merely that they've called someone else a name.

May 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

SJF: And that's what passes for intellectual sophistication. What a shower.

May 11, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Back to the old trope of "he's not a denier because he accepts the GHE". As we've discussed before you lot think up lots of ways to show that to be wrong. Still it is a good one to get the troops to hate Simon Singh, eh Bishop? I'm a little confused though. If I suggested that the GHE effectively traps heat I'd have the GHE pedants down on me like a tonne of bricks saying that "trapping heat" is wrong, ignorant, etc. Where have they gone? Is it pedants' day off or something?

May 11, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra: back to the old slope more like. You start with explicit comparisons with holocaust deniers. You move on, slyly, to justify the term if a person can be said to deny anything you hold dear, however unsound. But the allusion to holocaust deniers remains, like a dark stain. It's disgusting. One day people will feel the same way about this as they currently do about 'nigger' said with contempt to a black man. Utterly unimpressed.

May 11, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I heard Ken Clarke on Any Questions along with the leader of the Green Party. Unfortunately none of the other panelists had enough knowledge to point out that the methane that would be released by fracking would be small and thus harmless and would relatively quickly oxidise into CO2 and H20 in the troposphere anyway. O-level chemistry in the old days now probably A-level. Being from a coal mining area and speaking so authoritatively you'd have thought Ken Clarke wouold have known all about methane. Empty vessels make the most noise comes to mind.

What would Singh have said if Clarke had called Lawson a Chiropracter?

May 11, 2014 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Chandra - c'mon ... defending name calling from a distance?

I don't actually remember SS or his BBC TIMC chums BC and the diminutive BG being willing to come and actually have a debate in front of an audience... nah-na-nah-nahh-nah seems to be about the limit for inhabitants of TIMC - I notice they're actually highly climate science averse when they take the show on the road. (in front of an unknown audience)

May 11, 2014 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered Commentertomo

the better physicists, it turns out, can write books as well for a larger public.

The really interesting books are from Deutsch, Tegmark, Penrose, Dyson

We do not need a tourist with a cute hairdo to belittle us..singh is Nurse material indeed.."communicating downwards, many assignments in nice places, little substance..very little meat to the bone..good at politically correct waffle.

May 11, 2014 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

[Snip -trolling]

May 11, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

It's nature that's the real skeptic and that's the truth the holier-than-thou, faux-green hypocrites can't escape! Who are the real deniers? Well of course some diehard alarmists still deny the 17 year temperature plateau or if they accept the evidence of their eyes they then deny that it is significant. The reason they were surprised by the plateau is because they denied that natural warming existed. They continue to deny even the bloody obvious fact that mild warming is beneficial as everything ever written about history has concluded.

Just watched an episode of Country File. It wasn't so bad but they still have this habit of looking at the black side of everything. Having accepted that the UK climate has changed naturally in the past, they hummed and hawed about whether they could say the climate in Britain was changing or not this time round. On balance the slightly earlier growing season and the spread of warmth-loving birds moving Northwards gave them a 'gut feeling' that some kind of climate change was there. Did these apparently beneficial events cheer them up? Why no! They managed to find one cold-loving bird that wasn't particularly fussed either way but who may change his mind. Then they declared that it was really the pace of the change this time that was something to worry about. Yes the 'pace' of this barely detectable change in the last 50 years that they weren't certain had even happened yet!

May 11, 2014 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Contrary to our normal perceptions; I think the AGW brigade leaders have thought through the topic at great length, they know that the science does not support them. However what they believe is that IF there was indeed a chance that CO2 could cause CAGW then it is better to lie in order to remove that slight chance than to risk not lying and accept the consequences.
Unfortunately they fail to realise that decisions like that are the prerogative of politicians not scientists (we are stuffed either way of course hehe).

May 11, 2014 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Nature is not a skeptic, Nature is truth.

May 11, 2014 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterDung

ssat on May 11, 2014 at 2:07 PM

"Simon Singh believes that homoeopathic quantities of substances have a measurable effect?"

It's worse than that!

Simon Singh believes that homoeopathic quantities of substances have no effect. :) :) :)

May 11, 2014 at 9:41 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Singh is just another showbiz scientist polemicist. Lawson can say he is in good company when he is slagged off by ad hominem by him.

I remember when Singh wrote about trying to proselytize about climate to physics undergraduates, he admitted he came away "baffled" they didn't reflect his position, and so he just labelled them as being "Climate change numpties".

The guy is just a slack polemicist when it comes to climate. Barely distinguishable from any other self-righteous right-on celeb bubble-head.

May 11, 2014 at 10:24 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Odd that SS went after "alternative" medicine yet now believes homoeopathic amounts of CO2 can cook the entire world.

May 11, 2014 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

A poor Devon DJ loses his job for playing an jolly old children's song with the n- word in it.
Yet Ken hush-puppies Clark is lauded for using the d word.
Next Governor of the BBC I guess.

May 11, 2014 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Clarke and Singh should apologise, or remain despicable. Simple choice.

May 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

JamesG. I saw country file too. It was amusing that some of the 'evidence' for climate chamge was that the RHS had surveyed some of their members and asked if they thought that had seen changes in weather that could have been due to climate change.
Is was comical really. You just know that Tom Heap wants to spout the normal eco-lunacy but is trying to appear to be balanced. All of the experts who they consulted seemed to have jobs that would depend upon promoting a global warming catastrophe. Typical BBC - very poor.

May 12, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterScooper

Lawson does himself no favours by using phrases such as "so-called greenhouse gases", especially when he's already said that he accepts the basic theory. Communication is important so why appear sceptical over things you say you accept, Pick the battlegrounds by being clear where you agree and dis-agree.

May 12, 2014 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterHR

So Mr. Singhis reduced to calling those who disagree with him "ni**er". This seems to be a predictable and short arc for the climate kooks when dealing with critical push back.

May 12, 2014 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"Odd that SS went after "alternative" medicine yet now believes homoeopathic amounts of CO2 can cook the entire world."

1. One part in 2500 is more than a homeopathic amount.

2. In homeopathy, the effect is supposed to increase as the concentration is reduced. In CO2 warming theories, the effect increases with concentration.

May 12, 2014 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterrotationalfinestructure

In Co2 warming theories, the effect increases with concentration, but is then amplified by a mysterious and unexplained feedback factor. If the energy balance equations do not work, the missing heat is deemed without evidence to be in the deep oceans. More similarities than differences.

May 12, 2014 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Did you hear about the homeopathy patient who stopped taking his meds. He died of an overdose.

May 12, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred

Time indeed to stop mincing words : Ken Clarke and Simon Singh are either militant ignoramuses or outright liars.

May 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

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