Simple Sam & the Three Deniers

Posted on May 21, 2010


Simple Sam, clop-clop slippers slapping down the hallway.

We haven’t heard from our favourite climate denying crank for a while.  800 scientists in Virginia have had their say.  The European Science Foundation have had their say.  The US National Academy of Sciences—after two years of mighty labour—have had their say.  It is time to let Simple Sam have his say as well.

I challenged him.  Sam, I said, bring me your evidence.  You don’t like climate science.  You don’t like what all those climate scientists are saying.  Show me where they went wrong, Sam.  Make your case.  Build it up strong.

Bring me your deniers.

And Sam came with three deniers.

The Fable and the Twenty-Four Hundred Fools:  Piers Akerman

Denier one, Piers Akerman, conservative columnist for the Australian Daily Telegraph.  So, you have a quote from Mr. Akerman, Sam?

“Yes,” says Sam, with a sly smile.  “I told you all this stuff about global warming was exaggerated.”

Yes, you did.  Let’s see.  I think some other people have said that, too.  It’s what you might call a theme in the denier movement, Sam.  I expect you have some evidence, then, courtesy of the researches of the esteemed conservative columnist and climate change denier, Piers Akerman.

“Well, horse’s mouth,” says Sam.

And the horse in question said?

“”Unless we announce disasters no one will listen,” that was said by…”

…Piers Akerman.  Congratulations, Sam.  Your research skills are improving.  He did indeed say that.

“No, no,” says Sam, “he was quoting…”

No, Sam.  He wasn’t quoting.  There is no such quote.  The peerless Piers created it.  The statement didn’t appear in the book where it was supposed to appear, or in any other book.  The respected climate scientist who allegedly said it never actually said it.  The alleged quote is fictitious, an eight word fools-fable which had its first appearance in the writings of Piers Akerman, climate denier.  Piers Akerman, a journalist evidently of that school which believes that if you don’t have a good quote, make it up.

“Okay, okay, it’s only one quote,” says Sam.  “Why are you going on about it?”

Because it’s a quote that went viral, and the deniers all caught it, Sam.  It appeared on 2400 pages on the web.  Twenty-four hundred holy denier fools and more quoted it as scripture on their blogs.  And not a single one of them checked to see whether it was true.

Twenty-four hundred fools, Sam, and with you, that makes a twenty-four hundred and one.

“You can’t add me in.  I don’t exist,” says Sam.

Good point, Sam.  Touché.  Less one fool, then.  Who says I never let you win?

And so on to the next denier.

The Government Minister and the Time Machine:  Claude Allegre

So you bring me Claude Allegre.  Ah, eminence, indeed, Sam.  A genuine scientist, this time, and a former government minister in the French government.

Politics, and science, too.  A polymath.

“You mock,” says Sam, “but look what the National Post writes about him.”

Canada’s National Post, an industry leader in climate denial, calls him “celebrated”, “prominent”, a “renowned geochemist.”  They describe him as

an exalted member of France’s political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France’s educational institutions. …Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials.

“See,” says Sam.  “If somebody like him doubts the science….”

But I notice, Sam, that they didn’t mention his time machine.


You know, Sam, that incident with the tree-ring data.  Minister Allegre, (ret.), is famous in one of his publications for sketching in tree-ring data for the twenty-first century.  As evidence to prove a point, you know.  Now the trouble with that, as many people see it, is that tree-ring data can only be harvested from trees, and the trees have to grow first to have rings.  Therefore, the only way Claude could have gotten tree ring data from the twenty-first century is if he hopped into his time machine…. (I’m assuming he wasn’t just lying.  Sam, you know you don’t like me calling climate deniers liars all the time.) …hopped into his time machine and brought back tree ring data from the future.

But you know, Sam, although we’ve already established that Claude Allegre isn’t, as he would appear to any reasonable person, a bare-faced liar who makes up data to prove a point, I still have one objection before I accept his testimony.

He has to produce the time machine first.  Sorry, Sam, this is where I get stubborn, too.  Otherwise, as much as I respect scientists who become politicians, I’ll have to dismiss his testimony as bunk.

So bring on the third denier.

Has Richard Lindzen Found Atlantis & Not Told the Rest of Us

Your final denier for the day is Richard Lindzen, another scientist.  I’m proud of you, Sam.  And the very first one who has actually published something in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.  I can tell by your smirk, Sam, that you believe you have saved the best for last.

“Dr. Lindzen has the climate science establishment running scared,” says Sam.

Yes, so the deniers say, Sam.  Richard Lindzen is on record for attributing the rise in global temperatures to an illusion created by the urban heat island effect, the tendency of urban centres to accumulate heat.  As the world has become more urban over the last century and a half, the thermometers in urban centres have registered this, according to him.

“What’s wrong with that theory?” asks Simple Sam.

Well, Sam, two thirds of the planet is covered with ocean and the oceans have been warming too.  And the Arctic is warming much faster than the lower latitudes.  If you look at a map of world population centres—urban centres—and compared it with maps showing which parts of the planet were warming the most significantly, you’d see that there is no relationship.  No metropolises in the North Pole.  No  metropolises under the seas.  Unless, unless …

“What?” says Sam, on his face a suspicious look.

Of course, Sam.  Now I see it all.  With a little imagination…

Urban centres under the water?  Why, Atlantis.

Urban centres in the high Arctic?  Why, Santa Claus.

It’s only logical.  With the Claus’s addiction to distributing material goods the carbon footprint of his workshops must be astronomical.

What do think of my theory, Sam?  Is it worthy of you and your climate change denying brethren?  And, you see, it vindicates Richard Lindzen, too.  It explains …

(What do you know?  Sam has left and he didn’t even say goodbye.)


You don’t have to just accept my sarcasm.  You can find out more.

Posted in: climate change