Unfortunately, the virus has spread to a place you may never have suspected. I've never understood the point of Jim Hopkins; he's the 'funny man' of the opinion page, but I personally find his writing so interminably self-indulgent - and not in an interesting and droll Steve Braunias way - that, until now, I had never managed to read one of his columns end-to-end. But he's wacky! He goes where serious commentators can't, using the tool of satire to throw the high-and-mighty from their perch! He writes satirical poetry and puts it in his column! And he wears red glasses!
Crazy. Here goes Fridays column, entitled "Dodgy science gets us all off the hook":
When did this happen? Hopkins regales us with examples: the Piltdown Man was a hoax! Of course, the 'discovery' of the Piltdown Man was 'made' by an self-styled 'amateur archaeologist', and before too long actual scientists had shown it to be a fake. Moving on...
We've seen two examples of monetary muckiness recently. In one case, already touched upon, an author embellished his text with words that weren't his own - a hanging offence for students writing a thesis but not, apparently, so grim for those who teach them.
The other concerns a gaggle of Newton's heirs, scientific geezers beavering away, recording data, analysing statistics and reporting only what is provable and true.
Except these crooks haven't. They've cooked the books. They've lied.
They've falsified the facts to induce needless panic and alarum in the bosoms of the groundlings. Along the way, they've blackened the reputations of others who challenged their conclusions, whilst earning for themselves great renown and large amounts of dosh.
As some playwright said, "ay, there's the rub". I like to think I'm a reasonably skeptical person, but that has limits. It's one thing to say that the structure of modern science institutions - Nobel prizes, Royal Societies, publications in Nature - might alter incentives to a point. It's another thing to say that a vast conspiracy of nearly every climate scientist in the world is trying to destroy the planet, with the result that Jim Hopkins has to turn his lights out when he leaves the room. But here he goes:
But these egregious boffins have done more than remind us that the purest of research is prone to the corruptions of ambition and income. What they've done is wilfully attempt to influence public opinion - and political outcomes - around the world.
For these data-bodgers weren't investigating the mating habits of the Lesser Crested Gobsnot. No, they were climate scientists. Or, more precisely, pseudo-scientists, twisting the truth to produce results which they and their employers desired.
This has all been dealt with by far more qualified people on the internet and elsewhere already, but let's look at these three shameful phrases with a more charitable eye:
What's been revealed, although without enthusiasm by our credulous media, is that an influential cabal of researchers in England and America colluded to mislead us yobbos, perhaps so we'd more readily accept draconian measures like flatulent ETSs and the flying of kaumatua to Copenhagen. [Ah, throw some casual racism in there, excellent.]
A single email, one of many leaked by hackers and reprinted in the Guardian last weekend, proves the point: "I've just completed Mike's Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."
"Mike's trick?" "Adding in?" "Hide the decline?" Such words warrant only the opprobrium of their author's peers. But no whistles were blown on this gravy train. Instead, these co-conspirators acted as warm-mongers, shouting "Fire" in the scientific theatre although they knew there was no blaze.
- "trick": The art, knack, or faculty of doing something skilfully or successfully. (OED)
- "adding in [the real temps]": "Would you mind adding in the flour to the cake mix?"
- "hide the decline": Maybe, you know, it's an apparent decline - like hiding a mirage.
See, the interesting part of this is that he is so over the top that, even at this stage of the article, I couldn't tell whether he was going to get to the end and say, "But anyway folks, this is all a ridiculous non-controversy that I have skewered with my pointed wit See you next week."He couldn't possibly be trying to argue that these emails mean that climate change isn't happening. Could he?
This is wonderful news, folks. Truly, it is!! As Madoff was to money, these cons are to climate. They've given sackcloth and ashes such a bad name no one will want to wear it.
Because we now know all this hand- wringing, finger-pointing, cringing, wimpish, guilt-inducing "We're to blame and it's killing the planet" palaver, embraced as a new religion by countless control-freaks, wowsers and old, bewildered hippies is based on totally dodgy data.
It's bollocks!! The "facts" are a crock!! Whoopee!!! Send those pseuds a huge bunch of flowers and a note saying, "Thanks for letting us off the hook."
What does that even mean? Just because you wear red glasses doesn't mean you don't have to make any sense. In a sense, Hopkins is worse than Garth George. At least the latter doesn't dress his rubbish up in purple prose - he's just a man who tells it like it is, or at least like it was in the 1950s. You don't have to untangle metaphor after turgid metaphor to work out that he's not keen on male homosexuality.
Because we are. You may not believe it yet - and certainly most journalists won't. "Where there's muck, there's money," definitely applies in their industry. It feeds on the apocalyptic. And global warming was the KFC of disasters, a cataclysm so yummy no scribe could resist it.
Especially since the usual suspects; big business, Uncle Sam, globalisation, flash motor cars, fast food - all things most journalists instinctively dislike and wish to demonise - were allegedly the root of the evil.
[...] So it will take the scribes some time to overcome their addiction. "It won't happen overnight," as Witi would have it, "but it will happen". And when it does, look out, for the wrath of the writers will be swift and savage. No one suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous reporting more intensely than a fallen angel.
Lucky then he's only published every fortnight.