Tag Archives: Naomi Oreskes

In wake of Trouble With Girls speech, feminists blast Pachauri’s ‘antiquated, condescending, insulting’ critics

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Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, the ‘top UN climate scientist’ whose humorous monologue on women in science is at the centre of a firestorm in a teacup.

Have opponents of the science stooped to using women as political footballs in the quote-unquote climate debate?

That’s the question on everybody’s lips with reports that a “laugh-out-loud” riff by Rajendra Pachauri has been taken out of context in an apparent attempt to sic feminists on the climate visionary.

Displaying all the humorless literalism we’ve come to expect of them, climate deniers—oh, I’m sorry, dangerous anthropogenic global warming unpersuadeds—are baying for the former IPCC Chairman’s blood.

What was his Federal offense? A jocular speech in which he appeared to condone sexual harassment in the workplace. (The lighthearted monologue also pretended to blame women for distracting scientists with their generous breasts.)

Unfortunately for climate dismissives, though, the individuals and groups who actually speak for women refuse to lend moral authority to their shrill protest. I spoke to several feminists and they all agreed on one point: the Pachyphobes need to lighten up.

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Connie St Louis, giant of journalism.

Connie St Louis, a science journalist who specialises in being a female science journalist of color, said nothing was more pathetic—or a surer sign of irrelevance—than a movement that can’t take a joke.

But while Pachauri’s speech had her in stitches, there was nothing funny about denialist objections to it, which are now making the rounds of the Twitterverse.

“The witch hunt against Dr Pachauri is no laughing matter,” she said. “It plays right into the old stereotype of women as fragile petals in constant need of protection from jokes because they can’t hack it in a ‘boy’s club’ like the scientific fraternity.”

For St Louis, the most distressing feature of this “nontroversy” has been “the patronizing implication that Dr Pachauri’s comments have the power to somehow drive women away” from jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM].

“When detractors [of climate science and the IPCC] suggest—with a straight face—that girls in the 21st century are such trembling, thin-skinned, emotional little dears that they’d allow harmless Mad Men-era banter not only to get to them, but to determine their career path, I find it… devastating,” Ms St Louis told me, choking back tears of anger.

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Found In Translation: internat’l reax to the Hughes et al. Shenanigans paper (in press)

Begging your indulgence of my freshman German and schoolgirl French, let me belatedly give you a taste of what a couple of foreign outlets have to say about the upcoming blockbuster HBM’15.

First but not least, though: our thanks to ever-perceptive reader Sarmange for the observation that,

The Hockey stick is evidently a basic form in Nature (the magazine and the universe alike), like spirals, the golden section, all the geometric figures you can get from the conic sections, like circles, parabolas and hyperbolas…

masthead Le-Monde-newspaper-logoIn what is being called the last nail in the coffin of global-warming incredulisme, a new study purports to find a roughly hockey-stick-shaped temperature signal without using any fraud.

News of the finding comes as a relief to Dr Michael Mann, whose much maligned 1998 hockey stick—the original and best—has come in for much maligning by the forces of denialisme over the years. He is currently being dragged through multiple countries’ legal systems by climate defamers, an ordeal to which he would much prefer a quick, out-of-court dénouement.

“Litigation is a waste of time I should be spending on frontier science. At this point I’d settle for a sincere, soul-searching apology from the Canadian race,” says Mann.

“Not for my sake, so much as for the benefit of the people watching them apologise to me,” adds the renowned tree physiologist [sic], who considers the public to be “the real victims” of the damage America’s northern neighbour has done to his good name.

In a notoriously contentious science, one thing’s for sure: the new article will leave négateurs of the Earth’s climate no room to manoeuvre.

Accusations of paranoia and secretiveness—probably orchestrated by industry-linked attack blogs—have forced Mann to retreat behind the siege mentality of a recluse. His contact with the public is now limited to the occasional Tweet per day, a full-page letter to the New York Times when absolutely necessary, guest spots on American raconteur Bill Maher’s show, a bestselling book about himself and of course scientific pressers like today’s, which couldn’t be avoided.

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Definition of ‘climate’ changing faster than at any time in last 1000 years

According to an alarming new analysis of the climate corpus, natural concept change can’t account for the dramatic saltations we’re witnessing in what scientists say the Earth’s climate means.

Climate philologists say the motion on the dial far exceeds background rates of semantic drift, and shows no sign of damping. They’re increasingly worried that—with recent disturbances in weather, consensus, acidification, pollution, skeptic, global, conspiracist, conspiratorial, trick, hide, what the peer-reviewed literature is, the scientific method, knowledge, evidence and other previously-stable concepts—verbal weirding could represent the new normal.

But Stefan Lewandowsky, Bristol University’s Professor of Cognitive Science and a regular CN contributor, doesn’t need to see the data. He’s already convinced that things are getting more frequent—because it’s happening to him. Anecdotally.

“Sometimes,” he confides, “I can’t even predict what a given term is going to mean by the time I finish a paper about it! People [who read my cli-psy research] are scared and confused.”

It’s even prompted Lewandowsky to rethink the legacy of a person once dubbed the Chemical Ali of Climate Change.

“We all enjoy a good laugh at the expense of David Viner, but I suspect we might find the invoice coming back to us sooner than I suspect,” argues Lewandowsky. “Do your children know what snow means? When’s the last time you checked?”

For his part, he admits, “I never tested my kids. Part of me is afraid to ask, I think.”

You can tell it bothers him. Furrowing his brow, Lewandowsky swings his famous analytical cannon around, leveling it at himself.

I look away. It’s involuntary—I’ve seen enough carnage in the cli psy wars; I know what Lewandowsky’s balls do to men downrange. Ugly, closed-casket things. Finally I hear the sonic boom.

“It’s… my brain,” he concludes.

“My brain is afraid to ask.”

Things are getting more and more frequent, he points out.

Things are getting more and more frequent, Lewandowsky often argues.

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