Saturday, 3 November 2007

How wrong is Al? Let me count the ways

Owen McShane from the Climate Science Coalition answers the question many of you have been asking:
The UK Court has Gored Al Gore – but how many hits?
By now most people are aware of the UK Court's finding against Al Gore's propaganda movie "An Inconvenient Truth". One of the most frequent questions arriving in my mail box is "How many actual 'errors' are there?" Current contenders are 9,11, 16, 18 and 35. How come?

Needless to say, those who are skeptical of Gore's works quote 11, 18, and more recently 35. The alarmists grudgingly acknowledge 9 and 16. The truck driver who brought the case argued there were 18 errors and asked the judge to rule on them. The judge chose to conflate three of them (relating to ice-melt) into one, so reducing the 18 original points to only 16 points. However the 18 original points were there - just reduced to 16 by the merger. The judge then analysed the evidence relating to the 16 points and found that, of the 16, nine were in error. However, if one focused on the original 18 then of course 11 were in error.

Since then (October 18th) Christopher Monckton has written a paper "35 Inconvenient Truths - the Errors in Al Gore's Movie." You can read this report here. So take your pick – 9,11,16, 18, or 35. They are all correct answers to five different questions.
UPDATE: If you include statements in Gore's film that are either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong, then as Marlo Lewis argues the number is one-hundred and twenty! Lewis' 'Skeptics Guide to An Inconvenient Truth,' has been updated into an online book, a powerpoint display, and a series of short online videos:
A Skeptics Guide to an Inconvenient Truth - online book
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Videos
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Powerpoint presentation
If you know teachers who are using Gore's film as a 'teaching tool,' as many are unfortunately forced to, then you could do worse than send them Lewis's Powerpoint presentation [ppt] as a counter-balance.


  1. More spin from the denialists.

    1. The original aim of the lawsuit was to stop AIT being shown in UK schools. It failed to do that. In fact, the judge said the film was "broadly accurate."

    2. Both lawyers agreed that the standard against which AIT should be measured was the IPCC's AR4. Hardly a win for those who would seek to discredit the group.

    3. The plaintiff's aim was to either prevent the screening of AIT in schools OR "balance" it with material telling the other side (presumably NotPC's favourite, "The Great Global Warming Swindle"). This blatant propaganda piece has been thoroughly discredited -- unlike AIT, it falsified graphs and interviewed scientists in bad faith.

    On the subject of "balance", the judge had this to say:

    "There is nothing to prevent (to take an extreme case) there being a strong preference for a theory – if it were a political one – that the moon is not made out of green cheese, and hence a minimal, but dispassionate, reference to the alternative theory. The balanced approach does not involve equality. In my judgment, the word "balanced" in s407 (in the relevant U.K. legislation) means nothing more than fair and dispassionate."

    That's right, folks. "Balance" doesn't mean showing the other side (which would open the door to creationists, flat earthers, and HIV-AIDS denialists); it means being true to the science -- which is the AR4 (see point #2, above).

    As for Monckton's article -- please, the man is an amateur. Here are some real climate scientists:

    At this point, PC, it's actually kind of amusing how deluded you and your cheerleading commenters have become.

    How are you guys in the McGillicuddy Serious, er, I mean, Libertarianz doing in the polls, by the way? Crawling up to half a percent yet?

  2. This is a laugh: I've just found out that in the 1999 election (the first MMP election), the McGillycuddy Serious got 0.15% of the vote.

    In the latest Tv One Colmar Brunton poll, the Libertarianz don't even register (which seems to mean they've dropped below the 0.1% cut-off point.

    Meanwhile, the Greens -- which include a whole bunch of former McGillycuddy Serious members -- are at 6%. Ouch!

    The public sees the Libertarianz for what they are: a bunch of cranks.

  3. EDDIE: I note you've failed to address the errors. Again.

    Please try and stay on topic.

  4. Eddie, the McGillycuddy Serious party was pretty much the "apathy party". Compearing it to an actual party like the libertarians is pointless.

  5. If anyone is interested - probably not since I'm barely interested myself -- my brother, a Marine Scientist of over 30 years, disputes Gore's AGW coral bleaching theory.

    He has just co-written a book about the Great Barrier Reef, where the incidence of coral bleaching has increased from once every 7 years to about once every 3 years -- although the coral is now adapting and there has been no significant bleaching since 2002,I think.

    Sure the ocean is warming - he notices it every year, but totally disagrees that it is anything to do with human activity. And this is someone who is more or less an anarchist - he doesn't vote - he has no political axe to grind and has been totally passionate about bio-diversity and conservation for the entirety of his adult life.

    Earth abides. It always has and it always will.

  6. I'm comfortable with the McGillycuddy /Libertarianz parallels, both are completely irrelevant in their current forms (except one knows they are a joke, the other is yet to realize)...and hey PC, great comeback! You basically do the same thing every time somebody argues with you, the repetition is comedy gold!

  7. Wee Eddie

    Try dealing with the facts for a change. No more fairy stories from you.

    The judge is on the record as saying that he believed in Gore's proclamations (that Man is causing global warming and that the results are necessarily bad). He said this prior to hearing the case.

    Even so, the Court agreed that Gore's film made many claims that were not factual. Read that again now. The Court agreed that Gore's documentary made many claims that were not factual.

    Oh, oh. That's fatal to your position. You can dissemble and rationalise all you like, but that's your argument destroyed right there.

    What PC has been trying to point out to you is that Gore's film is wrong. That is, it is not factual. Even the judge had to agree it was far from factual. Strange how you evade this fundamental point.

    Put your finger on the words as you sound them out. Try hard to understand now. G-O-R-E T-O-L-D L-I-E-S.

    That's what socialists are known to do. A teacher I knew used to say that socialists are necessarily liars. Looks like he had a point.

    Eddie, when are you going to grow up, be a man and start thinking for yourself?


  8. Ah Softy,

    Still smarting from the hiding you got from the last posting you tried?

    How come you haven't got any arguments? Why are you such an intellectual weakling?

    Come on. Take a risk. Post your position and try to defend it rationally. Bet you can't.


  9. LGM. I don't think you read the bit where the judge said the film was "broadly accurate."

    Yes, he did believe that there were nine 'errors' (note his repeated use of scare quotes around that word), but he advised simply that the teaching material reflect the fact these "errors" were in some cases stretches. Not fabrications, as in TGGWS, but stretches.

    I must say, it's a sign of how desperate denialists are when they look to judges to rule on scientific matters. A court of law is no place to referee the science. Judge Burton says this explicitly:

    "It was essential to appreciate that the hearing before me did not relate to an analysis of the scientific questions, but to an assessment of whether the 'errors' in question, set out in the context of a political film, informed the argument on ss406 and 407."

    Section 407 states the film should present "a balanced presentation of opposing views." In other words, in those cases where AIT went further than AR4, students were to be made aware that the film's view was not representative of all scientists.

    Never mind that the IPCC's projections are turning about to be too optimistic.

  10. EDDIE:

    I did not want to get into these arguments. I was simply trying to explain something which had puzzled many people - alarmist and skeptics alike.

    But Eddie, the judge actually recommended the Great Global Warming Swindle be included in school packages to correct the balance. In the memorandum they include the download URL.

    Yes, there were two (?) graphic errors in the GGWS but as soon as they were pointed out the disc was withdrawn and only re-released when they had been corrected.

    All of these Gore errors were pointed out from the day it was released but he has refused to acknowledge them - let alone change them.

    Even you must know that there has been no tide of refugees from Tokelau to NZ because of inundation.

    When a New Zealander challenged Gore on this after the local showing Gore said "I did not say they had migrated but that they will." So the local went and watched the film again. Gore had said the refugees has left for NZ. So Gore lied twice on this matter alone.

    This is why he never allows questions from the floor. He has learned his presentation techniques from the Scientology church obviously.

    Owen McShane

  11. Eddie

    Gore lied. You can deny all you like but the facts are clear; Gore lied in his film. The film is not accurate.

    Game over.


  12. Owen - The judge's decision (which is what I've been reading)

    only mentions TGGWS twice (paras 5 & 20).

    Para 5 simply states that TGGWS was produced by Channel 4.

    Para 20 agrees with the defending lawyer's statement that TGGWS is mentioned in the teaching notes, along with a website debunking its claims.

    If the judge did indeed recommend that Swindle be shown, I'd like to read that. Do you have a link?

  13. EDDIE:
    The judgement refers to 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' on pages 3 and 10 and as I read it the judge has accepted the revised "Guidance Note" which makes reference to it.

    One of the arguments was whether the Gore film should NOT be distributed to schools or whether the film could be distributed provided it was accompanied by an appropriate Guidance Note.

    As I read it, as do Morris and others, the amended Guidance Note which must now be presented with references to other films including 'The Great Global Warming Swindle.'

    Here is the specific item in the proposed guideline.


    "In March 2007 The Great Global Warming Swindle was shown on Channel 4. The impact of the
    programme provides a good opportunity to explore alternative views on climate change, the role
    of the media and reaction of the wider scientific community, visit
    Alternative theories on the causes of climate change, such
    as those set out in the CH4 documentary, are not accepted
    by the vast majority of the scientific community. An analysis of these alternative
    theories is included on the Royal Society website."

    Joseph Morris says:
    "In the end, rather than bar the distribution and use of the film in schools, he approves its accompaniment by a teaching "package" which includes limiting and cautionary "guidance notes" and other films, including a counter-film, 'The Great Global Warming Swindle,' produced by Britain's Channel 4."

    Of course the guidance note package does not include hard copies of these films, but in this day and age including the URL is probably all one would do anyhow.


  14. Owen - Thanks for the clarification. I think the way you talked about TGGWS as being "included in the package," as well as the way Joseph Morris worded his paragraph, gives readers the mistaken impression that the Durkin doco is physically included in the package ... but whatever.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.