Die Zeit Takes Aim At The Skeptics In “The Abetters of Doubt”

Posted by P Gosselin on November 27, 2010
Media / Bias, Scepticism

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The Climate-Berlin Wall surrounding Germany has been cracking for some time now, and crumbling with increasing speed. Die Zeit’s online smear The Abetters of Doubt takes aim at the skeptics, who have scaled the Wall and are exercising their right to free expression. They are hammering away at climate science dogmatism in Germany, much to the chagrin of the warministas.

The warministas are horrified and have embarked on a campaign to intimidate and marginalize the freedom of expression that skeptics enjoy in Germany. Climate skeptics who speak up today do so while always having to look over their shoulder, knowing they could be hit by a vicious smear and attack campaign. This is hardly the environment for a free and open society. Yet, it confirms that warminista science is trapped in the corner.

The days of Germany’s once exemplary model of a free and open society would of course risk unraveling if the warministas got their way. Indeed skeptics have long since been denied a voice in Germany’s publicly funded media, and so as a result have moved to the Internet, where they’ve chipped away.

Like it or not, this discussion is going to take place. Live with it.

Greenshirts resorting to brown tactics

What does an arrogant class, so totally convinced of itself, do when exhausted of argument and finds itself badly losing the intellectual debate and, along with it, its dream of The Green Reich?

It does what Die Zeit newspaper has done in its latest piece called The Abetters of Doubt; it resorts to brown tactics. The latest from Die Zeit is a 4-piece attack and smear campaign, with the objective of intimidating, marginalizing and silencing climate skeptics. It’s the same we have recently seen from other major dailies like Der Spiegel and the Handelsbaltt, with the usual names popping up: Stefan Rahmstorf and attack canine Naomi Oreskes. Lacking journalistic talent, Die Zeit has stooped to rehashing old stories.

Not only does the piece smear skeptics and advocate they be denied a voice, it attempts to morally degrade them as well. Ironically, it is becoming obvious who is actually morally degraded. Being a dissident here behind the Climate Berlin Wall and watching these smear tactics, I’m beginning to have an idea of what it must have been like to be gay during Medieval times, or Jewish before Kristallnacht. Die Zeit’s message to the skeptics in Germany is clear: “Be worried – be very worried”.

Fortunately, it’s nothing more than a last desperate threat coming from an intellectually bankrupt media outlet and a few activist scientists hiding in the background.

Growing skepticism, and desperation

Die Zeit’s piece is eerily laced with a strange combination of fear, anger and desperation, and it makes clear that the warministas are fed up with the turn climate science has taken. For them, the science was settled years ago. Damn the skeptics, bloggers, Internet and Fred Singer. Damn EIKE and the few German politicians who are beginning to listen up. They have gone too far. Die Zeit frets that public opinion in Germany is waning and that it’s time to put an end to it. In its piece, Die Zeit puts the spotlight on the bloggers:

Last year’s failure in Copenhagen and the hacked e-mails from climate scientists, which supposedly proved falsification, have been making waves through the media. The deniers and skeptics of global warming have been gaining momentum. They are omnipresent, mainly in the Internet – and appear to strike a chord with people who are fed up with all the climate talk, or with people who don’t want to change their lives because of a warming planet.”

Damn that denier European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE)

Die Zeit then singles out Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, a retired professor who is now the Press Speaker of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). Die Zeit haughtily implies that Lüdecke is imposturing as a climate scientist:

Professor emeritus for Physics and Computer Sciences, but to his audience he introduces himself as a ‘climate scientist.'”

Indeed Prof. Lüdecke has been busy spreading the skeptic message, and has been effective. Skepticism in Germany has almost doubled over the recent months – now 1/3 no longer believe CO2 is a problem. This has infuriated and alarmed the warministas. Lüdecke recently gave a presentation to the Nordoberpfalz business group. Here’s how Die Zeit describes it:

The audience was made up of company owners, the mayor, local dignitaries and decorated lieutenant colonels. Hardly anyone noticed that Lüdecke was citing outdated reports, asserting uncertainties that no longer exist and suppressed facts that were inconvenient.”

Not only is Lüdecke imposturing as a climate scientist, but he is also using phony data, Die Zeit wants its readers to believe.

Damn those bloggers and the Internet (again)

The warministas by far view the Internet and bloggers as their biggest problem. This ought not be a surprise, as skeptics have long since been denied their right to be given a voice by Germany’s massive public radio and television media, where they are viewed as unworthy of a public platform. Call it media-gatekeeping. So, naturally, skeptics use the resources that are available, i.e. the Internet, and the little money and time they have at their disposal.

On the topic of bloggers, Die Zeit interviews no. 1  crybaby Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research(PIK), introducing him as: “one of the world’s leading oceanographers”. Die Zeit writes:

In Potsdam, at the Einstein-Science-Park on the Telegrafenberg, climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf sits in front of his computer and moans. ‘In the Internet, the climate skeptics are by far the dominant force,’ says Rahmstorf. There, an amateur can hardly do any research. ‘There have always been skeptics since he’s been doing research, ‘but last year they have broken into the serious media.'”

It just really stinks when the opposition has a voice. Die Zeit continues:

Together with his colleagues, he [Rahmstorf] counters skeptic claims and erroneous media reports at the Internet blog KlimaLounge, where some think he is overly fervent. Rahmstorf says that this is no fun, but sees no alternative. No matter where he goes, in government offices, in politics, top management levels of business – everywhere you hear skeptic arguments.”

I find it astonishing that a scientist would spend his work time preoccupied with PR work and spin. I thought they are supposed to be doing science, and not PR damage control. Clearly Rahmstorf spends much of his time writing stories for the NYT Times, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel and blogging, and not on the work he is paid to do.

A big part of Rahmstorf’s problem is that he’s turned a lot of people off with his smear tactics, getting on the wrong side of a huge number of scientists. He’s got no shortage of enemies.

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Damn Big Oil and industry

In the Die Zeit piece, out comes the old worn out tactic of linking skeptics to Big Oil oil or to the coal industry, which  only further confirms the bankrupt state of the global warming narrative.

Also the top managers of power giant RWE took part in a conference by mining engineers who presented ‘solidly established doubt’ on man-made climate change. Foremost, the coal lobby is spreading doubt about global warming in the 2009 annual report of the coal association one reads that the brakes have been put on climate change.

Employees of E.on, Bayer and BASF in the USA this year contributed at least 70,000 dollars to skeptic politicians.”

If Rahmstorf and the warministas had their way, private contributions to the organizations he disagrees with would be banned. Sounds undemocratic to me. Let’s not talk about the BILLIONS that flow into warmist coffers.

Falsehoods about Climategate and the IPCC are being spread

Die Zeit refuses to acknowledge any scandals in climate science, particularly Climategate and the IPCC 4AR, and twists itself into a pretzel defending the rogue institutes behind them. Not once did Die Zeit publish the damning e-mails, keeping them hidden and locked away from the public instead. Die Zeit claims that many of the ‘scandals’ have already been debunked, and even goes on to defend Mann’s crooked hockey stick. Die Zeit complains:

Even so, these supposed scandals have made their way through the Internet blogs thousands of times.”

Damn Internet. Of course, the entire climate science community knows that these scandals have not been debunked. Here’s a list of 94 scandals that have yet to be resolved. An updated and much expanded list is coming out soon. As far as the IAC is concerned, it Admits Well Is Poisoned, Yet Insists Water Is Safe.

Damn Fred Singer and the Heartland Institute

Part 3 of Die Zeit’s piece focuses on Fred Singer, the Heartland Institute, tobacco in the 1960s and Oreskes’s Merchants of Doubt. This is old and is just a lazy rehash of what appeared already weeks ago at Der Spiegel here. Die Zeit goes on and marginalizes scientific debate:

As usual the debate took place for years in the scientific journals, and the uncertainty is pretty much cleared up. This is now just constant back and forth that has since taken place in the lurid light of the public,’ says Hartmut Grassl, the 71-year old doyen of German climate science. Skeptics cherry-pick uncertainties in such debates. But all this has nothing to do with skepticism, nothing to do with critique and testing.'”

In Die Zeit’s simple world, it all goes back to Fred Singer. And CO2 drives the climate, of course.

Damn EIKE and their climate conferences

Spreading skepticism in Germany, as it was done in USA, has been successful, thanks to Holger Thuss, spokesman and founder of EIKE. EIKE is funded exclusively by private donations and has less than a hundred members. This year in December it will hold its 3rd Climate Conference in Berlin, and this time they have just enough money to have the food catered instead of buying it at a supermarket like they had to do last year. Die Zeit:

The conference next week at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin shows that EIKE, despite its dubious science, has been successful in building a network. The list of speakers includes the former President of the German Steel Industry Association. One co-sponsor of the conference is the market-radical Berlin Manhattan Institute for Entrepreneurial Freedom, which has only a one-man office, but has a board filled with economic professors who convey an air of seriousness.”

Die Zeit also has jumped in on the mob-political-lynching of Marie-Luise Dött, German Parliamentarian and a central figure on Angela Merkel’s environmental committee, whose crime was to express skepticism on climate change. Read here.

Hans von Storch chimes in

Die Zeit ends its piece quoting Hans von Storch, who assumes his comfortable perch on the fence.

“I’ve taken a look at such skeptic conferences twice.  The level for the most part was catastrophic’. Many go there to simply spread pre-packaged opinions. ‘A real interest in a discussion could not be detected.”

Detection is indeed a big problem in climate science. Some things that hardly exist, get overly detected, while other things staring right at you in the face are ignored. There’s a lot of confusion in climate science.

Skeptics’ reaction

Finally I asked EIKE for their thoughts on the Die Zeit piece, to which they kindly answered. In a nutshell, they didn’t seem the least bothered by the Die Zeit report, taking it in stride and actually welcoming it. A spokesman wrote it will bring much more attention to the discussion and generate even more interest in the Climate Conference in Berlin. Then he added, quoting Gandhi:

First they ignore you.
Then they ridicule you.
Then they attack you.
Then you win.

We are now at stage III.”

Like it or not, this discussion is going to take place. SO LIVE WITH IT.

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