Penn State Climate ‘Ethicist’ Acts Unethically, Part II: Don’t derail the global warming gravy train

by Russell Cook
January 24, 2012,

Just days ago, Steve Milloy did us the favor of slogging through another of Penn State climate ‘ethicist’ Donald Brown’s articles, noting how Brown rather unethically left out a critical debate point in favor of pursuing disinformation.

But wait, it’s worse than Brown simply failing to provide evidence supporting the idea of human-induced greenhouse gases driving global warming. The premise of his 8500-word article is arguably no less preposterous than as if he’d said, “Water is unacceptably dangerous, therefore we must analyze why skeptics who say water is good do not call for an absolute ban of it.”

Brown, and about 15 other ‘ethicists’ whose names I recognize in his article’s reference list, all offer this basic error of reasoning: “The science of man-caused global warming is settled, so we must now explain why skeptic climate scientists and their shills are doomed not to see the obvious.”

Try telling one of these people the science is not settled, and you can expect to receive any number of analytical observations about your intellect, political leaning, religious beliefs, or the types of web sites you visit, but it is a virtual certainty that you will not get an iota of proof from them to back up their primary assertion.

The disturbing aspect of this is where these people get the idea that skeptic scientists are ethically challenged from the start. They all ultimately believe such skeptics operate in a manner parallel to old tobacco industry tactics, where so-called experts deliberately spread misinformation to minimize concern over the hazards of smoking. Here, it’s the skeptic climate scientists supposedly working for the fossil fuel industry, and as I said in my 12/24 article right here at JunkScience, this entire accusation essentially stems from anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan. Anyone who makes the effort to dig into the accusation soon discovers there is literally no evidence to prove it.

It’s tedious to go through Donald Brown’s piece, but after skimming a few paragraphs to get an idea of where it was going, my experience from digging into other similar ‘ethicists’ narratives prompted me to throw in the half-word “reposit” into a screen search, and there it was, a variation on Gelbspan’s favorite “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact”. Odd that Brown would source this to Dunlap and McCright in his article, when he sourced it straight to Gelbspan in his 2002 “American Heat: Ethical Problems with the United States’ Response to Global Warming” book, pg 101: “Gelbspan, in his book The Heat is On, identified a memo prepared by a public relations firm created by a group of utility and coal companies that stated that it was launching a campaign to “reposition global warming….”

One could argue Brown is among many who’ve ridden the global warming gravy train for a long time. Without evidence to claim there is a ‘big coal & oil / skeptic scientist conspiracy’, his and the others’ outcries of skeptic’s ethical problems all fall apart. The public would not have any reason to ignore skeptics, so is it any wonder why these folks collectively try so hard to hide the decline of the global warming movement and their own unsupportable assertions?