The “tobacco angle” being the notion that the fossil fuel industry allegedly fully knows their products cause catastrophic global warming harm in a manner no different that the tobacco industry knowing full well about the cancer-causing harm of cigarette smoking, and how both industries are accused of creating disinformation campaigns to deceive the public about the harm of their products. Within the global warming disinformation accusation is the claim that some of the same people supposedly spewing climate disinformation also did so for the tobacco industry. “Merchants of Doubt” book author / documentary movie star Naomi Oreskes gained heroic – no, make that “supernova” / “living legend” – status from revealing this claim to the world, partly praised on that latter accolade by no less than the person she credits with being the first to steer her toward that ‘tobacco industry connection,’ Lawrence Livermore atmospheric scientist Ben Santer.
Examine Oreskes’ particular narrative about …
1) being personally attacked after she wrote a paper about the scientific consensus for man-caused global warming; 2) advised to talk to Ben Santer, a victim of a similar attack; and 3) how Santer “started telling this whole story about how he had been attacked by Fred Seitz and how it was just like the tobacco industry…”
…. at a superficial level, and sounds quite plausible. Go deeper on that last bit, and various problems start to arise. Continue reading
To briefly recap the salient points of Naomi Oreskes’ tale of how Dr Ben Santer (as opposed to Erik Conway) was the catalyst leading her to expose skeptic climate scientists as ‘corporate-paid/corrupted merchants of doubt’: she innocently wrote a paper published in Science; she was personally attacked for exposing the truth of a ‘science consensus’ on man-caused global warming; her colleagues suggested she speak to Ben Santer who’d been similarly attacked while doing innocent science work; and she soon learned their mutual attackers were shills of the fossil fuel industry, and her exposé of this propelled her into heroic status.
Part of that tale hinges on Dr Santer, an atmospheric scientist, being supposedly attacked by greedy corporate interests and their shills for simply doing the right thing of altering the text of a finalized, approved chapter within the IPCC’s 1995 report so that it reflected what everyone already agreed upon.
Wait … what? That enigma situation right there with Dr Santer really looks hardly different from the fictional one seen famously in the Tom Cruise / Jack Nicholson movie, A Few Good Men: “If you gave an order that Santiago wasn’t to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would he be in danger, why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?” Continue reading
When a person claims to have been innocently speaking on a specific topic, only to be horrified by sudden, personal, vicious attacks over it, to the point of becoming sick, then learns soon afterward how this isn’t a unique situation but is instead part of a larger orchestrated plot run by sinister forces to attack other scientists the same way, the person takes on a heroic status by exposing the organizations and actors behind the attacks.
What happens when there were no personal attacks in the supposedly comparable situation, though, and most of what this person says about the tangential details of the comparison is strangely inconsistent? Continue reading
Naomi Oreskes seems to increasingly take on the appearance of the kind of braggadocio we encounter in grade school or high school, where everyone who socializes with this person is awed by their really impressive-sounding feats for the first several times …. until finally somebody exclaims, “wait a minute, that isn’t what you told us last time,” which then prompts someone else to say, “that’s right, plus that other claim you made earlier isn’t the same as what you said just now.”
In one of her barely weeks-old retellings of her tale about what brought her into the global warming issue, she made her problem incrementally worse. Continue reading