More on Alex Lockwood

Since Alex Lockwood’s somewhat unfortunate remarks yesterday, I notice some interesting comment has emerged. The Devil’s Kitchen, for instance thinks that I was harsh:

Many people, not least The Longrider, have been extremely harsh about Master Lockwood:

This is indeed an interesting position to be in… Does this mean that I get to poke the sinners with the pitchforks now?

Alex also seems to think that I was harsh, accusing me of personal abuse:

There were a few personal attacks here and here (and here)…

To which I can only say, “it’s just as well you didn’t read the original draft.” Ahem. Now, that was harsh.

I am inclined to agree with the Landed Underclass on the matter of robust language in debate: 

As to ‘personal attacks’, I imagine that Mr. Lockwood is perhaps half my age, and would therefore be of the generation that habitually regards the receipt of a potentially offensive SMS message as adequate justification for calling the police.

Mr Underclass and I are probably of a similar vintage. I recall an incident some twenty odd (nearly thirty, now) years ago. I had been particularly dismissive of someone – a customer, most likely. I don’t recall the who or why, but I do recall the arched eyebrow of my colleague as she muttered, “my, you don’t suffer fools gladly.”

My response, was a typically pithy one-liner one can expect of a twenty-something who knows everything: “What do you mean by gladly?”

I may have matured in the intervening decades, but I am still contemptuous when faced with foolishness. Particularly when that foolishness comes from someone who should know better. It was bad enough that an AGW proponent was proposing the idea of shutting down dissent (that I was seething would be an understatement), but it is made worse by the subsequent knowledge that Lockwood has experience in this area:

I tell you what though. I went back and did some hard thinking about censorship, and some looking around. Belarus has just introduced a law where all new sites, bloggers included, have to sign up with the government.

Russia shuts down paper for extremist views. (Russia has also just imprisoned its first person for leaving a comment on another blog).

Therefore, given this knowledge, the idea – the strawman as he describes it in the comments on his original post – should have never seen the light of day. It is the kind of evil imagining that should be strangled at birth, one that should cause the originator to look askance in the mirror and ask, “did I really say that? Did I really think that freedom of thought and expression should be supressed by force? Really? Whatever came over me?”

The green lobby has become more vociferous in its attempts of late to shut down dissenting voices. Over at the rather tedious thread on Mark Lynas’ absurd piece of scaremongering, a regular commenter going by the name of Woolymindedliberal engages in this tactic with mind-numbing regularity. Wooly minded, maybe – but liberal, most certainly not. This nasty individual is a regular user of the term “denier” and likens dissenters to troofers and conspiracy theorists. As such, I dismiss everything this person says – as is exactly what they deserve. Then, of course, you have idiots like George Monbiot coming out with the crackpot notion that there exists a denial industry. This pile of utter bunkum, for example:

It is counter-intuitive only because a vast and well-funded denial industry has spent years persuading us that environmentalism is a middle-class caprice. Classes A and B are Channel 4’s core audience.

George Monbiot, in his own words, a fuckwit of the first water. Fuckwit, I can live with; it’s the fascist tendencies, the desire to use force to bring us into line; to make us worship at his altar that I despise.

Let’s be clear, here – there is no “denial industry”. There are no such things as deniers and while some skeptics may, indeed, believe that George Bush and the lizard beings masterminded 9/11, it does not follow that skepticism about AGW makes one a conspiracy theorist. Only an idiot would come out with such nonsense – but, then, Woolymindedliberal and George Monbiot are creatures of the Guardian, so idiocy is pretty much a prerequisite.

For myself, I will not enable such behaviour. I refuse to acknowledge terms such as denier or denial industry and when faced with their use, I will be rigorously rebut them. Sometimes, that means some robust personal abuse. If you behave like an idiot, then don’t be too surprised if you get called an idiot.


  1. it isn’t a bad thing. Nor did my colleague believe that it was a bad thing. I think she was merely surprised at someone voicing what she was thinking but refraining from saying out loud. 😉

  2. “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
    Blaise Pascal

    I don’t know whether you have read James Brignell’s article on environmentalism as religion.

    There seems little point in arguing with religionists about science. It would be interesting to research the family and religious backgrounds of particularly fervent environmentalists. I would guess it runs from some form of evangelical Christianity, to socialism and thence to environmentalism.

    I don’t like the word “denier” either. I would much rather be described as an infidel, apostate or even heretic. At least then we would all know where we stand and what we are dealing with.

  3. Peter, I’m perfectly happy to be called a heretic – it’s what I am and it acknowledges the religious nature of the AGW movement.

    Interesting article, but Brignell is wrong on atheism:

    Atheism is just as much a faith as theism.

    No, atheism is not a faith – it is a lack of belief. The ultimate expression of scepticism. The religious says “there is a god”. The atheist says “prove it.”

    Otherwise, yes, excellent piece.

  4. “Atheism is just as much a faith as theism.”

    When you listen to or read Dawkins his militant atheism is an exact mirror image of the theists. He really believes in atheism. With him (but unlike LR) it’s not just an “absence of belief”. Mind you, on another related tack, Dawkins does science no favours by omitting from (or underplaying in) his propagandising on Darwin, that Darwin’s Theory of the Descent of Man is just that – a theory. In Popper’s word the theory of evolution is a “conjecture”. Personally I consider that evolution is more or less “settled” (or, at least, it’s the best theory we have) but I admit the possibility of a “refutation”. It’s just that the “intelligent design” fans and nutters of all faiths who try to refute the conjecture do so either by reference to some ancient text or an appeal to “common sense” rather than scientific evidence.

    This behaviour is unlike the climate change sceptics. They generally either attempt to provide evidence contrary to that supporting the AGW construct or – more damningly for the construct – prove that much of the evidence put forward by the warmists is, at best, weak or, at worst, false or falsified. The description du jour on the US sceptic websites for the submission of false evidence or the one-way “correction” of counter-AGW data is that the data have been hansenised. I suspect that in time Hansen will become to the science of climate change what Fisk has become to the craft of journalism – a bad joke.

    But back to Brignell who, having made the above statement, goes on to say that there is no evidence for either position. I agree, except I would have written that there is no scientific evidence for either.

  5. Umbongo, agreed. Unfortunately, atheism, like liberalism is in danger of being hijacked and used in a manner that has nothing to do with its dictionary definition. Hence, I will refute non-dictionary usage wherever I find it.

    I don’t know what you would call Dawkins’ particular brand of militant atheism, but atheism itself is nothing more than “without theism”. Nothing more, nothing less.

    On the matter of Darwin, we have observable evidence that supports his theory. Of course, more evidence may well come to light at some stage in the future that puts the theory in doubt. A sceptic is open to this – the extreme religious adherent is open to nothing that contradicts his world view.

    I wonder, what would Dawkins say if God appeared and said “Oi, You! Here I am – now, what was all that about a puff of logic?” Oh, sorry, that was Douglas Adams…

  6. Ah, I see you’ve observered WoollyMindedLiberal in operation. I’ve had many ‘debates’ with him on CIF, none satisfactory, as he never defends a position but simply attacks his opponents personally. Thus when he appears on ID Card and civil liberties threads, he always attacks opponents of ID Cards as ‘paranoid’ and as ‘writing in green ink’ but is completely unable to produce a coherent case for ID Cards, which he could then defend in a sustained way. In my usenet days we called people like him a ‘troll’.

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