Doomed Planet

Peers review Oreskes and find her wanting

People with books to flog buzz regularly through Australia, those with the correct ideological orientation getting guernseys via the ABC and other sympathetic media outlets. Naomi Oreskes enjoyed that microphone-at-the-ready treatment last year, when she touched down to push her book,  Merchants of Doubt, which re-stitches the hoary meme that shadowy string-pullers are underwriting climate-change sceptics.

Oreskes has chatted with the ABC’s Dick Fidler, preached the catastropharian gospel to Radio National listeners with Robyn Williams for an altar boy, and been rescued from the cutting room floor (not once, but twice) when footage of her encounter with former Senator Nick Minchin didn’t make it into I Can Change your Mind About Climate.

When not firing up warmist sentiments of the national broadcaster, she was being lauded in other fora. At the University of Western Australia, where the innovative academic and fellow climate-conspiracy theorist Stephan Lewandowsky currently hangs his hat, she delivered the Joseph Gentilli Lecture, and she was favoured as a specialist with views worth hearing by the Royal Institute of Australia (motto: “Bringing science to people and people to science”).

It goes without saying, of course, that the Fairfax press also took dictation, because whatever journalistic scepticism remains in that organisation is not wasted on doubting “the science” handed down by “experts”.

Unfortunately, the woman Al Gore lists as one of his inspirations does not command so much respect amongst her fellow warmists. This fact that came to light last week when the code key to unlock the third tranche of Climategate emails — some 200,000 in all – was sent by the original leaker to a number of leading climate bloggers. Anthony Watts was one of those recipients, and his quick, preliminary scan of the cache turned up an interesting note (emphasis in the original):

date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:16:40 -0700
from: Tom Wigley
subject: Re: [Fwd: Your Submission]
to: Phil Jones


This is weird. I used Web of Knowledge, “create citation report”, and
added 1999 thru 2009 numbers. Can’t do you becoz of the too many PDJs

Here are 3 results …

Kevin Trenberth, 9049
Me, 5523
Ben, 2407

The max on their list has only 3365 cites over this period.

Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless.
A good example is Naomi Oreskes work.


Oreskes might not “know the field” in the estimation of her peers – but, hey, there’s an agenda to push, and that makes her good enough for the ABC, Fairfax and, saddest of all, Australia’s tertiary institutions.

(editor’s note: Watts continues to update his blog with further gems from the latest Climategate hoard. His site is worth checking even more than usual.)

Otto Nebbler is former German teacher who retired to the Australian bush with his books, goats and a healthy scepticism

Leave a Reply