Dr. Tim Ball: The Lie that Just Won't Die

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The deathless and – in many specific respects – completely fictional meanderings of Dr. Tim Ball have begun appearing again on right-wing blogs all over the net. At City Troll, at Convenient Untruth and at New Orleans Lady, the same tired and retreaded old climate rant paints Dr. Ball as the courageous victim of a plot to silence a well-meaning skeptic.

But Ball can’t even tell the truth about his own resume. His claim to be the first Climatology Ph.D. in Canada is a total falsehood; his degree was in historical geography – not climatology – and it was nowhere near the first ever granted to someone writing vaguely in the field.  It also was granted by the university as a doctor of philosophy, not the more prestigious “doctor of science” that Ball claims in these articles.

UPDATE: to make matters worse, it looks like Ball’s “global warming is good for us” message is running front page in the right-wing uber site, The Drudge Report.

He claims as well to have been a professor (again of climatology) at the University of Winnipeg for 32 years, while he confirmed in his own Statement of Claim in a pending lawsuit (look here ) that he was a professor (of geography, never climatology) for just eight years.

Dr. Ball claims never to have been paid by oil and gas interests, but if you look here , you’ll find a Globe and Mail story in which Dr. Barry Cooper, the man behind Ball’s former industry front group, the Friends of Science , offers this clumsy admission: “[The money’s] not exclusively from the oil and gas industry,” says Prof. Cooper. “It’s also from foundations and individuals. I can’t tell you the names of those companies, or the foundations for that matter, or the individuals.”

Here you’ll find a podcast of Dr. Ball talking to the Ottawa Citizen , saying that he goes out of his way to ignore who might be paying his bills, but crediting the energy industry lobby firm, the High Park Group . And here, you’ll find High Park Group veteran Tom Harris, telling the Toronto Star that his new industry front group, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project , was created at the suggestion of High Park Group president Timothy Egan.

Tom Harris, executive director of the NRSP, is credited by New Orleans Lady for passing along this version of the Ball tirade, also printed Monday on the right-wingy website, Canada Free Press. Yet all of these factual inconsistencies have been brought to Harris’s attention on previous occasions.

It is inevitable that this post will be criticized as an ad hominem attack on dear Dr. Ball (and perhaps on Harris, as well). But how can you argue science with someone who doesn’t feel bound by the limits of truth?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just endured an unprecedented process of vetting and peer-review to produce a document, the veracity of which has been double-checked and endorsed by thousands of the best scientists in the world. It must be soul-destroying to see a long-retired geographer who rarely published during his colourless academic career and who never conducted any research in atmospheric science dismiss that effort without a shred of evidence or a hint of good conscience.

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