Climate Debate Daily: Pluperfect Rubbish

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The top link on the energy industry lobby site, International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), points eagerly to another promoter of scientific doubt, a site called Climate Debate Daily (CDD).

According to the Times Online, the CDD “rounds up news and gives equal voice to the dissenters and the activists and as such is a great place to go for varying interpretations of the latest happenings.”

This is rubbish or, in the deathless prose of one of CDD‘s editor’s “pluperfect rubbish.” CDD clearly exists not to resolve the “debate” about global warming, but to encourage the notion that a legitimate argument actually exists.

The aforementioned editor is Denis Dutton, whose very readable blog includes the runaway horse graphic inset. In the CDD website, Dutton, an Associate Professor of Philosophy, pronounces himself “skeptical” of global warming.

You would think that a highly intelligent individual who was truly skeptical of something that could change forever the shape of the planet might follow up with a round of reading – with a legitimate attempt to access the best scientific sources and to resolve the doubts in his own mind. Dutton, instead, rounded up funding from a wealthy (and “skeptical”) friend and started a website – that just happens now to be the darling of the denier crowd.

Dutton himself is whithering in the face of information that he finds hard to swallow. In a very entertaining post on the fraudulent efforts of the “great” pianist Joyce Hatto, Dutton dismisses the excuses of her husband and partner as “a farrago of nonsense.” The idea that Hatto was not involved in misrepresenting her life’s work is, Dutton says, “a palpable absurdity.”

He says worse of Hatto, probably with just cause, but I’ll stop there. It is palpably absurd – it is farraginous nonsense – that the Climate Debate Daily is designed to settle an argument. As with any debating club, it exists not for the sake of some higher truth, but for debate itself. And when that debate is based primarily on an industry-funded campaign to keep the public confused about a global health risk – well, again, you would have thought that an intelligent interlocutor – even a philosophical one – would have chosen this occasion to take the whole thing a bit more seriously.   

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