Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dr Roy Spencer - language denier

I think the best word to sum up those that deny climate change should be comedian (or comic if you are across the pond).  And as exhibit A I propose real scientist Dr Roy Spencer.  His latest pronouncement to the world shows he's just a tad grumpy (archived).

You see, Roy doesn't like the word "denier" which he reckons is forever linked with the idea of Holocaust denial which is beyond the pale.  Well, Roy, here's some news for you.  Language changes, words alter meanings or get associated with different ideas all the time. 
Focus on the hair
For example: I think Dr Spencer has a gay haircut.  I suspect he would get very, very grumpy about that.  It wouldn't do, not in Alabama so far as I know.  Anyway, "gay" in the sense I use it here has the meaning of "full of light-heartedness and merriment".  It is a long established meaning, but one that is less commonly used as we now use gay to mean homosexual.  That's fair enough.  Language contains fossils just like the rock strata do.  But Dr Spencer might not be aware of that.

Denier also has a history.  It is a small medieval coin, a measure of the weave of fibres, a person who contradicts established ideas, a small trifling sum.  So perhaps that last definition is the sense in which we should use the word in the context of those that deny climate change in one or more of its forms. 

I think the point is made.  Read Spencer's rambling (meaning = jewellery for sheep) and you will find some political rant rather.  Perhaps he should get out more.

A Richard Feynman Primer For Deniers

Deniers love Richard Feynman.  He was everything that they could hope for, successful, witty, a hit with the ladies, a bona fide genius and Nobel laureate.  They love to quote him because he seems to support what they are aiming at: science is uncertain, some bits of science aren't true, etc.

But I sometimes wonder what Feynman would have made of the denialists.  Since he died in 1988 it isn't possible to ask him and I don't have to hand his collected works so I can't interrogate them either.  But he left some interesting quotes, the sort that the deniers usually don't bother with, that give us an idea of what he might have thought, for instance, of climate change denial.

First exhibit:
“Ordinary fools are all right; you can talk to them, and try to help them out. But pompous fools-guys who are fools and are covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus-THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn't a faker; an honest fool is all right. But a dishonest fool is terrible!”
I can think of some examples of the dishonest fools that Feynman might mean here.  In the interests of keeping lawyers unemployed, I shall not name names but leave it to the reader to guess who I might have in mind.  Some of them are peerless, others not so.

Second exhibit:
"So my antagonist said, "Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it's impossible?" "No", I said, "I can't prove it's impossible. It's just very unlikely". At that he said, "You are very unscientific. If you can't prove it impossible then how can you say that it's unlikely?" But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.”
 Climate was less of an important topic when Feynman was alive but UFOs were.  The point of this quote is clear - Feynman was a true skeptic.  The fake skeptic denialists are certain they have shown anthropogenic climate change is impossible.  The proponents of AGW have demonstrated the idea beyond reasonable and scientific doubt. 

Third exhibit:
“A philosopher once said, "It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same results." Well, they don't!” 
Deniers put unreasonable demands on scientific evidence.  Just like Feynman's hypothetical philosopher.

Fourth exhibit:
“Of course, I am interested, but I would not dare to talk about them. In talking about the impact of ideas in one field on ideas in another field, one is always apt to make a fool of oneself. In these days of specialization there are too few people who have such a deep understanding of two departments of our knowledge that they do not make fools of themselves in one or the other.” 
In other words, unless you are truly expert, don't act as if you were.

My opinion is that Feynman would have laughed the deniers out of court. He would have educated himself first, read some key literature and found out what was true, what was known and what uncertainties there were.  But he would have come down on the side of science against anti-science. He understood as well as anyone that science does find things out that are true and that plenty of science is settled.  He wasn't stupid, like the ordinary fools he met on many of his working days.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

On conspiracies

This is a bit of a follow on from the previous post on scientific fraud. It has been inspired by the denier claim that global warming is some sort of conspiracy. I guess it takes two brain cells to see through this one.

But first a disclaimer. Conspiracies do happen. We know about them because someone can't keep a secret, spills some beans and the constabulary gets involved. But the best conspiracies involve just one person.

Problem with conspiracies that involve something rather public, like the moon landings or climate change (other than the fact that such conspiracies don't exist), is that they have to involve not only large numbers of people but also something of a show. That Saturn V rocket wasn't a cardboard cut out. You could, and hundreds of thousands did, got to watch the Apollo launches.

I understand, from years of watching Colombo that criminals need motive, opportunity and means. Excuse me for missing something that the denier seem to think is obvious but, of you are trying to launch a global conspiracy to rid the world of nasty fossil fuel emissions, would you do it this way?

Would you put your data out on the internet so anyone can put it into an Excel spreadsheet and draw pretty graphs? It is a bit hard to hide any nefarious fiddling you might have done with the data if anyone can download it and muck about with it, trying to fit a curve, trying to find an oscillation or two.

Would you put your conspiracy into the peer reviewed science journals, conferences and the like where others, who might not be in on the conspiracy, can ask irritating questions, challenge your conclusions and so on? In thought you wouldn't. If you want to influence governments, lobby them and not worry about published research. And you would make a mistake because you have to keep track of all the lies you have been telling. You would be inconsistent.

Would you design a conspiracy that meant you wouldn't really know how bad it was for decades, probably long after you are dead? One that doesn't really bring much reward for you as a scientist because there are no Nobels for you and just your salary and your pension to look forward to.  And would you stick awkward bits into the data, like a slow down in the rise of surface temperatures which it would be good to explain. And why bother to explain it because that draws attention to it?

It's a rubbish conspiracy, climate change. Or it would be because some young sap would get lots of glory out of proving it all wrong. Humans are like that. There's always one, one who will go against the grain.

Those that try swimming against the climate science tide lack one thing. They miss the whole picture because they are concentrating on the conspiracy, they forget that science, all science, works within the constraints of what is known and what is possible. If the earth does not lose to space as much energy as it gains in radiation from the Sun then it must perforce warm up. There's no conspiracy there. Just physics.

I haven't said anything original here but I can't remember where all these ideas came from. Don't be shy if I should have credited you or some source you know. I will credit you later.

On scientific fraud

A comment on the impending legal proceedings between Mark Steen and Michael Mann over at Barry Bickmore's Climate Asylum site set me thinking.  It is this from Brandon Shollenberger:
David Appell, your responses make you appear unhinged. You begin tamely, saying other people getting the same results means Mann’s results are trustworthy. In saying this, you completely ignore what I said about this argument in my comment. The reality is it is a silly claim. If I falsified data to “prove” a point, my results would be bogus no matter what. They wouldn’t become okay if other people after me actually proved that point.
 It is rather boring to heave to remind everyone that every time an independent examination of Michael Mann is done, no fraud is found. Even the obvious should become obvious to some people in the end. Obviously not, it would seem.

But what of actual scientific fraud? Well, it does happen and some high profile cases have been uncovered, but the more famous the claim, the more chance there is that your fake discovery is going to be rumbled. And in spite of something like ten years of trying, Mann hasn't been rumbled. Yes, he made some errors but that wouldn't be surprising because he was inventing the techniques as he went along.

Anyway, the way that scientific fraud gets uncovered is twofold. Firstly, the original paper can be scrutinised and an egregious error spotted. It can happen at any stage before publication and by anyone with the right skills after publication.  I wouldn't say that all the examples of papers that are retracted are examples of deliberate scientific fraud but I wouldn't be surprised if some are.

Secondly, replication doesn't happen. Famously, the cold fusion fiasco of 1989 unravelled for Fleischman and Pons when replication didn't happen. They made a bold claim which was unsupported by the well established theory surrounding cold fusion, and it would have come as little surprise that attempts at replication were made and failed. Was there fraud here? Only those making the initial claim can say and one of those is dead.

There have been some high profile cases of scientific fraud. Andrew Wakefield's paper on the MMR vaccine is one such example given in Wikipedia. By concealing his huge conflict of interest, not being straightforward over his results and more, Wakefield should be a pariah. Instead, there are still some who claim he was a martyr.  One thing that caught Wakefield - his results could not be replicated.

Marc Hauser's example possibly does not cross the line into deliberate fraud but his results could not be replicated either.  This opened the door to greater suspicions and colleagues and former students gave evidence that data was falsified. Hauser's reputation is low as a result. His scientific research, in evolutionary psychology, didn't have the same political impact as Wakefield's.

Perhaps mostly forgotten now is the scandal of Sir Cyril Burt who researched the heritability of IQ using twins who were separated at birth. His data is suspect since the study group he was interested in is always going to be small but he managed to find them. Or not.  It is hard to prove fraud in Burt's case but to me the evidence seems overwhelming.

The climate science deniers are only interested in one target - the Michael Mann hockey stick. This reconstruction of the temperature record of the Earth going back centuries has withstood some of the greatest scrutiny of all scientific papers and still holds up. There has been much huffing and puffing but that darn hockey stick graph just keeps on keeping on. And replication has strengthened its case. If, and I don't think for one second that Mann has committed any fraud, the whole thing or a crucial part of it were made up, it would be odd indeed that Mann got the right result. After all, the chances of that are slim.

It was easier for Mann to find ways to make different bits of science fit together rather than make the whole thing up.

The motive for shouting fraud is plain. Anyone can see from the hockey stick graph that the temperature is going up and quickly. So it is essential for deniers to discredit it. That replication reproduces the shape is incidental. Get Mann and the science collapses. It is difficult not to assign a malicious motive to the attempts both to discredit the science and the scientist. Mark Steyn has found out that accusations can bring consequences. In Steyn's case I suspect he has just followed the baying hounds on various internet blogs and is ill informed as a result. He needn't be, of course, as there are plenty of sites that could put him straight.

I saw one denier saying that the global warming thing was all about banning fossil fuels and that was why climate change was invented. As conspiracies go, it would make a poor one. After all, scientists keep undermining it by saying that individual weather events cannot be blamed on climate change. And the effects are all a long way off, even if they are happening now. Sea level rise is slow and temperature rises over a human lifetime might not be noticeable, especially since human memories are poor, and remembering the feeling of a temperature isn't something we are programmed to do (compare that with smells). Wouldn't smoke be something scientists could use to help ban fossil fuels? Well, not since the introduction of smokeless fuels after the deadly smogs of the 1950s in London.

Scientific fraud does happen. But in the case of Michael Mann it hasn't.

Friday, 14 February 2014

So farewell then, James Delingpole

Hot on the heels of denier Bob Tisdale, another denier is riding off into the sunset.  Little James Delingpole, blogger for the Daily Telegraph, has hitched up his wagon and is heading off for I know not where, and, frankly, I don't care either.  You see, Delingpole is one of those strange kinds of denier: he denies climate change without actually knowing what he is denying,

Don't believe me, here's the man himself in his valedictory Telegraph  blog:
And thank you most of all to those of you who have supported me through thick and thin. Thanks for your technical expertise and advice (it prevented anyone ever noticing that I'm an English graduate and know NOTHING about science apart from, maybe, how to grow copper sulphate crystals);
Sorry to disillusion you, James, but no one was taken in by your ignorance. No one.  No one with an ounce of scientific learning, beyond making a few copper sulphate crystals obviously, was fooled into thinking you had the slightest clue what you were talking about.  I won't humiliate you further by posting that pawning you got at the hands of Sir Paul Nurse, a real scientist with a real Nobel Prize to his name. I am sure you have seen it often enough.

I suspect, like Tisdale, that you won't be quiet on the denial front for long, but perhaps you could spend some time getting GCSE science under your belt at least before you start talking about climate change again.

The quote above suggests something to me. Perhaps you are a closet warmest who has been trolling all along.  Has it all just been a game?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It's ironic how lacking in irony deniers are

Anthony Watts probably doesn't have a sense of humour.  He probably sits through the famous four candles Two Ronnies sketch and barely breaks into a smile.  He probably has a stone face all the way through Basil Fawlty failing to fail to mention the war.  He possibly doesn't even get the Parrot Sketch.  Oh, he might pretend to, just to fit into polite society, but in private he will turn it over, just in case he can find Glenn Beck making a donkey of himself in a Gish gallop for the finishing line.

Tonight he has posted (arcvhived) something that shows he hasn't really got a clue what his baying hounds of fellow deniers write.  You see, he got a bit antsy about something that Lord Deben, the former John Selwyn Gummer, tweeted:
Why are climate naysayers so personally unpleasant? In no other issue do dissenters turn so quickly from argument to abuse and innuendo.
Lord Deben, clearly one of those eco-socialists, except he was one of Margaret Thatcher's ministers and quite keen on free enterprise

In order to ram the point home he post a picture of some environmentalists with flaming torches and a challenge:
I challenge Lord Deben to find examples of climate skeptics doing anything remotely close to this sort of ugliness that is much like of the tactics of the Klu Klux Klan – showing up at somebody’s house with mask covered faces, torches, and a threat.
"That is much like" suggests a man on the edge of providing another example of Godwin's law in action.  But not quite.  I must admit, if I did not have the KKK rammed down my throat here, it is not what I would have thought of.  Most of the world sees the white robes, the pointy hats and the Christian tolerance message of the vile racism of KKK members.  Perhaps Antony needs a reminder:

Anyway, what the commenters on WUWT can be relied upon is to give evidence that anyone who suggests climate deniers are unpleasant is correct:
Kaboom says:
Can’t really fully comment until I understand what a “climate naysayer” is. Probably another figment of imagination for warmers to push over, strawman-style.
 Well, Kaboom, look it up.  You know, do what skeptics really do and find out for yourself.  Wait, I'll help you:
To oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic or negative view
 Anyway, having demonstrated wilful ignorance, very few debates on WUWT get any better.
onlyme says:
The remark that started ‘Lord’ Deben off is found at in which he calls #Anthropogenic #GlobalWarming sceptics ‘deniers/dismissers’ the holocaust referencing Godwins’ law invoking term used by so many alarm spreading followers of #IPCC dogma. This was followed by the remark Antony responded to at in which he now labels #CAGW sceptics dissenters.
The use of the epithet #Denier has been habitual and continual with Deben, and to me is not the kind of behavior that is fitting on part of someone who is supposed to be part of the nobility. There is nothing whatever noble about such speech, and when he is called out on this practice of his, his response is as detailed above, to blame sceptics for attacking, even though he is the first to hurl the slurs.
I also take exception to his classification of sceptics on the matter of anthropogenic global warming as dismissers, we do not dismiss the evidence but the interpretations and question the models which to date show limited skill at prediction beyond 5 to 10 days.
 See what I mean.  and as for the behaviour fitting the nobility, the tame peer at WUWT, his lordship Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, barely leaves the playground in his level of disputation.  So much for nobility.

mosomoso says:
I haven’t met a person who is in a postition to naysay climate, so I can only assume “naysayer” is a pejorative directed at the likes of me. It’s odd that Lord Deben can’t refrain from a term of abuse even in this context. Cloaking his insult in prissiness and whining does not make it less of an insult.
 Once again a pretty good description of Monckton's modus operandi.
ferdberple says:
Lord Deben’s hypocritical remarks are no different than racism. He lumps “the climate naysayers” together and calls them “so personally unpleasant”.
Lord Deben has not met all the climate naysayers. At most he has met a small sample, so his remarks show prejudice. He is judging all members of the group to be the same, having never met the majority of the group. This is racism.
Then, to top it all off, he labels the group and with derogatory labels. Which clearly establishes that he is personally unpleasant. So we have a case of the pot calling the kettle black. A hypocrite dressed in Lord clothing.
 As we know, Antony Watts is not a stranger to hypocrisy himself.  But are Deben's remarks no different than racism?  Really?  Of course they are different.  Tainting people for the colour of their skin, an unavoidable event, is not the same as suggesting that some people who have some views could be personally more pleasant, more polite, more intellectually honest.  It isn't difficult.  And it isn't prejudice but more likely to be the result of personal experience.  Anyone who has posted a comment suggesting that something is wrong on WUWT can expect the sort of behaviour that Lord Deben comments on. 

I know I have.  From having my sexuality questioned, to having crude jokes about my profession, these tiresome and childish insults and innuendoes come only from the climate science denier side and not the so called "warmist" side. 

I had been thinking of writing a post about the inability of climate science deniers to look at the scientific evidence with anything like an open mind and why they seem so keen to resort to ad hominem arguments.  When I saw Antony Watts's post, I didn't need to.  He had, in his customary way, given the answer himself.  It's a surprise he didn't ask the Nuremburg trials.  Oh, wait, Dellingpole already did that.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Open letter to Chrissy Boy Monckton

Oi, mate

I understand that you've got an issue with your heir to the throne, one His Royal Highness The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Royal Chief Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

I think that trumps your paltry 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Anyway, your problem is that the above Charles opened his mouth and called you and your denier kindred headless chickens.  So you decided on one of those pompous challenges which, as you well know, you are sometimes quicker at running from than Usain Bolt.  Are you ever going to respond to Potholer54?  [Answer - no]

So I assume you will excuse Charles if he doesn't respond because, as you said to Potholer54 (watch his video if you don't remember what you said in an email to him):
Many people like to engage in debates on inconsequentialities and, while I try to accommodate them, other priorities must sometimes come first.
So for Charles, that's dissing architects, baking biscuits, promoting water and waiting for mum to die while listening to repeats of Goon shows on Radio 4 Extra, which, for me, would definitely be priorities because, as you well know, science is settled no more by consensus or petition than it is by debate.  Or by posturing.

My guess is, since your mate Tony has already given my mate Charles some space on his puffy blog, that having the heir actually say something true, and about science as well, has prickled through your thin hide and hurt your tender feelings.  Never mind that Charles has overpriced biscuits and claims distilled water can work miracles, he can get something right.  Out comes my bunting, left over from his mum's bash the other year. 

So pride of place, quote of the week, goes to His Royal Highness:
All of a sudden, and with a barrage of sheer intimidation, we are told by powerful groups of deniers that the scientists are wrong and we must abandon all our faith in so much overwhelming scientific evidence.
 It's like garlic to Dracula, isn't it.  That last phrase, overwhelming scientific evidence.  You know, Chrissy Boy, the sort of evidence that, when bound in pig skin, printed on vellum and written with the aid of a quill from the finest goose on the lands of Monckton Manor, then dropped from a height of 12 imperial yards, might knock some sense into you were you to, perchance, walk beneath it as it fell. 

I think it was Winston who said:
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it but in the end, there it is.

 You remember Winston, Chrissy.  It was under his command that your ancestor won world war 2, or something like, for which we are greatful.  I reckon he would have found your risible comments about UKIP and the best scientific evidence.  In fact, I reckon he would have only given you the time of day because he wouldn't believe you if you gave it to him.  Best scientific evidence.  What a joke.

Best joke of all is to accuse the Prince of indulging in party politics.  Well, it would be party politics if there were a party that has, as a policy, climate change denial.  Did you have one in mind?  If it is UKIP then that's gotta be a vote winner, for the Green Party.

Can I issue a challenge to you, Chrissy Boy?  Can you give me an assurance?  Can you actually learn some science before you mouth off next time?

Thought not.

Or perhaps you could be consistent:
Talking of which, “Warren” says 99.8% of scientific papers “support” anthropogenic global warming. Well, I support it myself.
From a comment you made in December 2013.  So do you accept it or don't you?  I can't work out which.



Monday, 3 February 2014

99 doctors can't be wrong

"Dr" Bob Tisdale is enjoying so much his retirement that he has worn out three keyboards already tapping out his version of an alternate reality in which the world either isn't warming or it is but it isn't important or something like that.  To Bob goes the prize for the world's worst retirement, previously held by Frank Sinatra until time retired him permanently.

Anyway, Bob's latest drivel (although, of course, in the time it has taken me to type this he has probably written another four pieces for WattsUpWithThat) is an attempt to shoehorn a poor analogy into the sort of shape that might make real people doubt climate models.  I am not sure why he bothered.  Perhaps there is nothing to do in the garden at the moment, all his CDs are in alphabetical order, his stamp collection has been sorted by nation, he's read War And Peace and the box set of The Sopranos has been watched.  So let's bang out another piece of climate change deception.

What Bob said:
Imagine you’re running a persistent slight fever. You visit a new clinic. The nurse takes your vitals and enters them into a computer program. A short time after the computer model completes its simulations, the doctor arrives, advises you of the computer-diagnosed ailment, and prescribes controversial high-cost medications and treatment.
There's a problem here.  There are computer programs available for making diagnoses.  I found a 1988 paper about the problems of them here.  But doctors don't really bother with vitals until they have an idea what they are looking at.  Did this man never see an episode of House?

Everyone lies, especially deniers
Tisdale is upset that the "warmist" analogy is winning this battle.  If you ask 100 doctors for a diagnosis, would you want to go with the 97 who say it is one thing or the three who tell you differently. 

One problem for Tisdale is what the 3 contrarian doctors say.  Once the 97 have told you it is flu, the three tend not to tell you a consistent story.  One will tell you that because your temperature hasn't changed for the last hour there is nothing wrong with you.  One will tell you that your high temperature is actually natural variation.  The other will probably tell you that it has been the result of sitting out in the Sun too long.  You might trust the three a bit more if they were to agree with one another.  Me, I'd go with the 97.

In an effort to put a finger in the dyke to prevent this alarming flood, alarming for the deniers anyway, Tisdale pins his hopes on denying the climate models.  When I used an online automatic diagnostic program, it recommended I see a GP.  I suspect a lot of the pathways end up like that. 

Deniers place an unrealistic expectation on climate models.  Unless they predict exactly what the climate is, what the surface temperature actually is, within a narrow band, they choose to refuse to accept them.  The problem, of course, is that any system as complicated as the climate is going to produce unexpected results.  That the Earth has not cooled, nor has the temperature plateaued, in the last fifteen years has been amply demonstrated.  It should be obvious that it is not the climate models that tell us the Earth is warming but the data from thermometers and satellites.  If one of Roy Spencer's babies fell from the sky and smacked Tisdale with a solar panel on its way to the ground, one wonders if he would deny gravity.

In my rambling way all I have said is that Tisdale is barking up the wrong tree.  As an advert for his forthcoming book, Carbon Dioxide Is A Knob or something like that, his recent output is not promising.  But then we knew it wouldn't be up to much, did we?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Lindzen and Delingpole - such a comparison of intellects

James Delingpole is a world renowned novelist and journalist.  There, I've said it. 

He has a new book out, The Little Green Book Of Eco-Fascism, which rather gives the contents away (and at 336 pages might contravene the trades descriptions act).  Anyway, as I write, it is at number 55,136 on the best seller list at, but (sharp intake of breath) number 3 in the category of environmentalist organisations.  At number 2 is Silent Spring Revisited, which examines the impact of Rachel Carson's seminal book on the effect of DDT on animal populations.  I just can't see anyone fifty years from now celebrating any of Delingpole's tomes in the same way.

So what has caused this little diatribe?

Delingpole, in his blog at the Daily Telegraph, repeats Richard Lindzen's comment made before the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee that:
"I've asked very frequently at universities: 'Of the brightest people you know, how many people were studying climate [...or meteorology or oceanography...]?' And the answer is usually 'No one.'"
The square brackets belong to Delingpole, I believe.
"You look at the credentials of some of these people [on the IPCC] and you realise that the world doesn't have that many experts, that many 'leading climate scientists'".
Was Lindzen suggesting, asked Tim Yeo [chairing the session] at this point, that scientists in the field of climate were academically inferior.
"Oh yeah," said Lindzen. "I don't think there's any question that the brightest minds went into physics, math, chemistry..."
 Far be it from me to say, but that's a bit harsh, especially as some of his students, that he will have chosen himself, will be working in the field of climate science.  Is it because Lindzen is an atmospheric physicist that he can have been so snobbish? 

I don't know, but snobbery about science is something that you could argue applies to Delingpole himself.  Son of a factory owner, educated at Malvern (as were TV gardener Monty Don, actor Denholm Eliott, TV hit man Jeremy Paxman and even a Nobel laureate in chemistry, Francis Aston) where, for overseas readers, parents cough up the cash themselves directly.  He went on to Christ Church, Oxford where, apparently, he sort of knew David Cameron and Boris Johnson.  The lack of a closer association would explain why Delingpole isn't in the cabinet.  Or perhaps I can think of another reason.

Now, if the best students go into physics and maths, the best English graduates (that's BA English, not born in England) surely do a bit better than a contrarian blog on a newspaper and a few fawningly reviewed but inconsequential books.  It is unlikely that Delingpole will be more than a footnote even in the climate change debate.  He is hardly central to it (and that footnote will be for coining the term "Climategate") and does not even claim to bother with the science itself. 
Sorry, couldn't resist.

So amongst the pantheon of great journalists, where will Delingpole rank when compared with Samuel L Clemens (aka Mark Twain), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (who uncovered a proper conspiracy), Thomas Jefferson (yes, he was a journalist, amongst other things), Boz (the early pen name of Charles Dickens) and some we might not think of as journalists, like William Cobbett, Daniel Defoe and Tom Paine. 

So, sorry, James.  If you chuckle at Lindzen's comment on the destinations of the top science students, perhaps you could spare a thought for your destination.  Your style is described as sarky - well unless you can do more than just filter the opinions of others, unless you can do better than not reading the science, no real scientist is going to pay you more than the time of day. 

Maybe Lindzen is the greatest atmospheric physicist of all time.  On the page for atmospheric physics on Wikipedia, he doesn't get a mention, although others do.  It's one measure. 

Post script:
Those selected Delingpole Amazon rankings:
Little Book Of Eco-Fascism #55,136
Watermelons #132,403
Coward At The Bridge #282,556

By comparison
Michael Mann The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars #78,489