Butterflies and Other Lies

The American Association for the Advancement of Science used to promote science. I was a member for many years, and watched them devolve into an increasingly political leftist advocacy group.

Nowhere is this process more evident than on the topic of climate change: The once-august group is willing to lie to promote the idea of catastrophic global warming, which keeps the grant money coming, keeps them on politically correct, and keeps them in good favor in the current government. As the evidence shows that climate change is not catastrophic and not likely to be, the AAAS and other advocacy groups are ramping up the lies, desperate to keep the scam going by mere dint of repetition.

A new report from the AAAS, “What We Really Know,” trots out various alarmist statements, projecting catastrophe based on evidence. The evidence doesn’t support them, and and it is skillfully and carefully taken apart by Jim Steele in this WUWT article. Much of the focus is on one researcher, Camille Parmesan, relied upon heavily for the AAAS scare parade for her false statements on the effects of climate change on butterfly and amphibian populations.

Not Embarrassed

The Steele piece itself contains one unsupportable assertion, reported second-hand: The AAAS piece is called “an embarrassment to the scientific community.” It should be! But there is no evidence that this political body is even remotely embarrassed by their actions. Instead, they ignore criticism and continue to publish false statements, knowing that most people will never see the truth and thus their mission will be advanced. As one commenter noted:

This is not an embarrassment to Camille Parmesan. The world of cheesy climatologists knows no shame. Dishonesty, deceit and deception are their standard operating procedure and they willingly embrace them because they know what is good for all of us. They mean to ‘save the world’ by what ever megalomaniac means are necessary.

That’s why they won’t debate model output and cherry picked data analyses denied by verifiable data.
That’s why they first turn to ad hominem attack.
That’s why they attempt to exclude climate realists from the media, science journals, and teaching positions.
That’s why they gravitate to teaching positions, at all levels of education.

Which Way the Wind Blows

This article dealing with a different science group is similar; it is about the American Meteorological Association, publishers of the scientific journal Bulletin of the Meteorological Society. The article takes them to task for defending the publishing of wrong information, and their response is technical but interesting. And sad; science has given way to politics, and despite their making it sound like science, it is serving perverse causes indeed.

The political weather is blustery: You must make an assertion that you believe in climate change in order to get research approved, often even in cases having nothing to do with climate. (I write such proposals professionally.) The US federal government requires by law that you assert how you’re going to fight climate change when you propose to enter into a contract. If you don’t say the right things, you don’t survive academically; it is little wonder that most scientists go along with the “consensus.”

A Weak Consensus

Nevertheless, that consensus is not very compelling. To be included in “the 97%,” you only need to accept that it has warmed in recent decades, and that humans have played some non-zero role in this. That’s easy, and it is true enough. The real question, the important one, is not asked: Do you think the results will be catastrophic? The answer to that one is “no” — and in fact, there is much evidence of a net positive effect from the additional CO2 and mild warming. It appears that the “catastrophist” contingent can only muster a couple of percent — they are noisy, in charge, and steering the conversation. Badly.

It does not matter that most scientists disagree. It does not matter that the breathless proclamations of doom continue to fail, like Hanson’s proclamations for years already past. They cannot afford to be embarrassed, evidently, when enough career and money issues are at stake.

Sneaking Cookies in the Night

Incidentally, when I was first looking at this, I wound up on a page at the AAAS website, left that browser open, and retired for the evening. My system is pretty secure; it is rare indeed for me to run afoul of malware. I go years between incidents. But when I awoke early this morning, I saw that my system had intercepted attempts to install literally hundreds of cookies, opening a browser window for each intercept. I wondered what sort of organizations a science site would engage to place advertising support on their visitors’ machines, and took at look at the offenders. The common culprits telemetryverification.net and btrll.com contributed more than a hundred each, supplemented by lifestyleanswer.com, motherhoodchic.com, tonightsrecipes.com, greengardening.com, foodsac.com, tophomegardens.com, sportsactivated.com, sportscomplete.com, travelerstribe.com, babywhat.com, lifestyleselection.com and hundreds of others. Most had trendy names having to do with gardening, food or sports.

I wonder how much money they make from this practice.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Hah! There is a scientist with your name at the AAAS, though I don’t know if the middle initial is the same.

    I’ll play around with the AAAS site and will reply to your comment if I encounter the effect again. But just as I was heading back here to respond, another site started doing something similar: TownHall.com. They fired off a bunch of cookie requests for “telemetryverification.net,” launched from this page:

    This is nominally a politically conservative site, though the cartoons frequently support the Republican establishment or progressives instead. And their advertising practice, while similar to others in the jumble at the bottom of pages, also employs some problematic scripts that tend to tie up my browser. I rarely visit there.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Paul

    Thanks Keith. I’m not with the AAAS, I’m investigating bad practice by online advertising networks at large and this certainly sounds interesting. Thanks again.

  • Hmm. I don’t know which page it was; I tried to re-create the effect without success. But I noted the names of the sites in my original post above, and if you are with AAAS, this should provide enough information to tie back to a particular advertiser.

    To me, the larger issue is the use of AAAS for politics, not the advertising practices. The ads are annoying, the politics represent an utter failure of support of the scientific method. That, to me, is extremely sad and troubling.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Paul

    Hi Keith, which page were you on when all of the cookies were dropped? We are trying to establish the responsible parties for this action.