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Thursday 10 May 2012

Del Boy And The Barrier Reef

For a few days now, there has been a pause in the output of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole as The Great Man has been indulging in some R’n’R during his triumphant tour of Australia, where he has been soaking up the applause from adoring fans (Bruce and Sheila Bonkers). But the break is now over, as Del Boy reports from the Great Barrier Reef.

Big Brother Del is watching Fox News

And the news from the reef is that it is fine, undamaged by any increase in oceanic acidity or warming of the planet. Not only the corals, but also the fishes, are in “excellent shape”. And it’s “official”. It is? Says who? Ah well. This is a classic example of Del Boy peddling more dodgy goods: his opinion is that the reef is OK, so that becomes immutable fact in the retelling.

How does he know that there has been no effect on the various species of fish that roam around the reef systems? What measurements has he taken to show that their numbers, size, and overall health are unchanged over time? What photographic evidence will he be bringing forward to back up his claim about the corals? When will we see an appropriately peer reviewed paper on his study?

We won’t, of course. Delingpole has been on a snorkelling trip, ventured into the water, seen some corals and fishes, and has therefore made a typically assertive appeal to authority. He’s been there, he’s seen it, and it’s fine. This, by the happiest of coincidences, dovetails exactly into his usual narrative about climate change not really happening, or at least not causing any harm.

In any case, Del Boy isn’t a scientist and admitted as much to Paul Nurse during filming for Science Under Attack. He is merely “an interpreter of interpretations”. So who on his snorkelling trip did the research and made the interpretation which Del is, in turn, interpreting? Ah, but such questions will not be getting answered any time soon. That isn’t the point of the exercise.

The real point is to say “All is well”, then lay into anyone who may be of differing view, calling them on this occasion “eco-loons” (one borrowed from his pals at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse)) who have an “ongoing campaign to destroy the world economy”. This hellish vision of the future would be policed by “brown-shirted enviro-zealots”.

Those who lap up the Delingpole rants will enjoy this, while no serious scientist will take any notice. Nobody will be converted by what is effectively just unfounded assertion backed up by abuse. I’d suggest he gave up, but then, that would bring forth screaming assertions that I was trying to silence free speech and close down debate. So carry on, Del. I’m sure it makes someone somewhere happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm slightly confused. What, exactly, do these... individuals... believe climatologists personally get out of destroying the world economy? I've read Australians referring to them as 'rent-seeking', but there's no explanation of the perceived benefit of receiving payments of fiat currency while simultaneously acting to destroy the currently-operating form of capitalism. While it's then unlikely that people who come up with this nonsense initially actually believe it - assuming that they apply any degree of critical thought - it's hard to understand why others, notionally capable of critical consideration and often without a personal stake still follow... is inertia that strong?

So http://xkcd.com/164/ becomes very depressing.