The Day when Naomi Oreskes’ Luck Ultimately Runs Out

At the end of my June 10, 2021 blog post, I noted how there were more faults with a claim that science historian Naomi “Merchants of Doubt” Oreskes made within a February 10 interview published at Paul Thacker’s* ironically named “Disinformation Chronicle” website (*who is arguably not the standard journalist the public might expect him regarding particular people in global warming issue, but that’s a whole separate story).

Here’s part of what I can detail based on readily available online facts, and the Part 2 that I’ll detail at some future date will be based on more facts from the late Dr S Fred Singer’s archives when they become available for me to use. Once again, this situation involves historian Oreskes’ inexplicable inability to keep her own personal history straight pertaining to her ‘big splash’ public arrival into the global warming issue.

The problem centers around Oreskes’ claim of allegedly meeting Dr Singer for the very first time:

… Fred Singer called me when the American Meteorological Society was meeting in San Diego.

DiChron: What year was that?

Oreskes: This was some time in the mid-2000s, before I knew who he was. He called me up at home and says he’s a scientist and he’s in town for the meeting. .. he says .. he would like to talk to me about my op-ed in The Washington Post, where I wrote about the consensus on climate change.

So, where does this fit on a real timeline, starting with her statement about the American Meteorological Society meeting in San Diego? AMS has a current list of their past meetings, but it only dates back to 2014, and despite the organization being just over 100 years old, there seems to be no good way to search within their website for older meetings’ locations, or to find those via the Internet Archive’s older captures of that page list.

Oreskes said the AMS was meeting in San Diego, and she’d most likely be referring to their annual conference. “Mid-2000s” is arguably 2004 – 2006, but we can rule out 2004 since her article on the ‘928-to-0 scientific consensus’ for man-caused global warming was published in December 2004. Do a too-simplistic search within AMS’ site under either its “All results” tab or its “Annual Meeting” tab, and no useful results are seen for the mid 2000s. The thing that pins the date down for an AMS meeting in San Diego is her mention of her op-ed in the Washington Post. Do a search within her online resumé for the “Washington Post” and the two closest results for the mid 2000s are her Feb 2007 and Dec 26 2004 pieces. The 2007 one can be ruled out – she clearly knew who Dr Singer was at least as early as October 2005.

The date for the AMS San Diego meeting that professional historian Oreskes speaks vaguely of in “the mid-2000s can be pinned down within the AMS web site’s search page when you add in the 2005 date. The search result takes you to a page further showing it was January 8 through the 14th, 2005.

It bears repeating, Naomi Oreskes says she didn’t know who this ‘Dr Singer guy’ was in January 2005, but according to her latest retelling of this story in her DiChron interview with Paul Thacker, she clearly states earlier in the interview that Dr Singer was attacking her “a couple of months after” her December 2004 Science piece on the global warming consensus was published — meaning at least some time into the middle or last part of February 2005 at minimum, if not March — and that she mentioned this to Erik Conway “at an obscure academic conference” right around when the ‘attacks by Singer’ supposedly began.

What “obscure academic conference?” I’ve covered that question before, and the answer bears repeating every time Oreskes retells this tale. Do an extensive enough search for this elusive conference, and the result is the same every time, something I’ve covered in greater detail before: She’s retold this tale elsewhere, specifically stating what her talk was on, which is seen in both her own resumé and in the pages detailing the conference itself; Conway’s talk was also detailed in those pages. Meanwhile, the main page for the conference itself clearly shows that it took place five months before Oreskes’ piece was published in Science magazine.

Doesn’t matter who looks into this situation, the result is always the same. Erik Conway would have needed to use a time machine to travel back in time to that conference in order to warn Oreskes who her future critic was going to be.

What was the genuine situation surrounding the late Dr Singer’s visit with Naomi Oreskes? Those details, via his assistants going through his vast notes collection, will have to wait for a future blog post here.

Meanwhile, if Oreskes only had barely enough influence at the present time to prompt spectacularly uninformed composers to create musical dirges based on her “Merchants of Doubt” book, I’d only write a scant number of blog posts about her simply to illustrate how ridiculous some aspects of the political side of the global warming issue can be. But Oreskes has influence, she’s a star witness at U.S. House hearings and will likely return that way for more appearances, plus she’s on retainer with the law firm handling 15 of the 25 current global warming damages lawsuits. This is why I suggest to other energy company defendants besides Exxon that it’s worthwhile to take the initiative to find out just how many more of her narratives don’t line up right. She isn’t merely a confused person, she’s someone whose collective pile of faulty narratives can inadvertently unravel the entire ‘crooked skeptic climate scientists’ accusation, and by default, the entire “Exxon Knew they were causing global warming, but covered up what they knew by colluding with skeptic scientist in disinformation campaigns to undercut the Truth.’

So far, Naomi Oreskes has been blessed with nothing but good luck when it comes to no prominent people questioning her in settings she can’t control regarding her overall role in this issue. The late Dr Singer might have been quite prescient about the future time when her luck ultimately runs out.