So much for free speech: Monckton’s attempted censorship of John Abraham

by

A new low in the intimidation of climate scientists that seems to have become fashionable since this year.

Lord ‘Potty Peer’ Monckton threatens a critic of his, Professor John Abraham, and tries to get a disciplinary inquiry into the Professor’s unprofessional conduct. Apparently a fact-based criticism of his viewpoints is suddenly deemed unprofessional, while Monckton uses language such as overcooked prawn and Hitler Jugend to describe people he disagrees with. He is not only spectacularly wrong in his views on climate change, he is also despicable in his tactics: Not only wrong, also evil.

As an example of his double standard, consider this quote:

so venomously ad hominem are Abraham’s artful puerilities, delivered in a nasal and irritatingly matey tone (at least we are spared his face ? he looks like an overcooked prawn)

WTF?

The story is retold nicely over at Skeptical Science (as well as many other places):

A few months ago, John Abraham from St Thomas University produced an excellent rebuttal of Christopher Monckton’s arguments. Monckton’s initial response was extraordinary – as well as likening John’s presentation to Nazi propaganda, he accused Abraham of ad hominem attacks while mocking his accent and personal appearance (comparing him to an overcooked prawn). Abraham’s response to this personal attack was professional and commendably stuck to the science. Now Monckton is trying to censor Abraham – urging Watts Up With That readers to pressure St. Thomas University to take down Abraham’s presentation.

John Abraham’s presentation is vital and important as it explains in clear and accessible language the many falsehoods and misrepresentations in Monkton’s arguments. St. Thomas University needs to understand the importance of Abraham’s work. Hopefully they already do but if there is a flood of WUWT readers sending them angry emails, a reminder wouldn’t hurt. Rather than flood the University with even more emails, the New Zealand website Hot Topic has created a Support John Abraham page.

If you haven’t yet done so, please consider adding your name over there in support of John Abraham’s efforts.


Update: Brian Angliss has a good takedown of Monckton’s wild phantasy over at Scholars and Rogues:

Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, is a climate disruption denier in multiple ways. He’s denied that climate change is happening. He’s denied that human beings are causing the (unchanging) climate to change by pinning the cause on the Sun. He’s denied that global polar ice extent is declining. He’s repeatedly misrepresented published papers and hasn’t retracted his statements even after some authors pointed out that he was misusing their work.

Update 2: Eli brings word of the University’s response, through the law firm representing them. The university fully backs Professor Abraham; they see no reason to comply with Monckton’s silly requests; and they demand Monckton stops the bullying. Good for them standing up for their personel.

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50 Responses to “So much for free speech: Monckton’s attempted censorship of John Abraham”

  1. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bart,
    How can one person censor another person?

    Overcooked prawn is funny. Why are you saying WTF for that? Are you Abraham’s friend?

    Don’t join these ‘bandy of merry, angry warmists’. They are upto no good.

  2. Deech56 Says:

    Shub, the “overcooked prawn” remark was in the same sentence in which Monckton claimed that Prof. Abraham engaged in ad hominem attacks on his lordship.

    The reality-based community is angry at Monckton’s bullying – his threats to the University are designed to shut Abraham up.

  3. Tom Fuller Says:

    I’m not at all a fan of Monckton. He’s an opportunistic journalist pretending to be a scientist. He advised Margaret Thatcher to look into AGW just to give her a club to beat the coal miners and advance her nuclear agenda.

    He’s often wrong, more often silly, and both in this case. Much as the worst of the warmists form a band to protect some of their brethren, it appears that the skeptics are doing the same for him.

    They’d be better off distancing themselves from Monckton. He’s a liability, not an asset to them.

    I doubt if Abraham needs to much defending, though. The University responded to Monckton with exactly the right tone. Good for them. Glad there’s one University out there with their priorities straight.

  4. Bam Says:

    Tom Fuller: Monckton advised Margaret Thatcher on some aspects of economical policy. Or rather, he came up with ideas and analyses that his bosses then possibly took further. But advising on AGW he most assuredly never did, regardless of all the grandstanding claims he makes about having been a “science policy advisor”.

    Shub Niggurath: censoring a person isn’t all that difficult, just drag that person into the protracted and expensive area of litigation. Tim Ball tried it with Dan Johnson, and only failed because Johnson got a financial backer to pay his lawyer’s bills. The US legal system is filled with examples of people admitting to stuff solely because they cannot afford the long litigation process. Bullying tactics like getting people to send hundreds of mails can also be quite effective. But not if the organisation is more worried about the truth (it’s a ‘bible college’, so I’m saying this with some tongue-in-cheek).

    Monckton’s “prawn” remark is even more remarkable, considering that he complained to the PCC about a Monbiot column, in which he was called “swivel-eyed maniac” (actually, Monbiot referred to somebody else calling him that). Apparently, Shub thinks it is OK that Monckton uses ‘funny remarks’ like this ad hominem dig, but can’t handle getting ‘funny remarks’ thrown at himself. If anyone is up to no good, it is Monckton and his supporters. Are you a Monckton supporter, Shub?

  5. sod Says:

    thanks for this post, Bart. in contrast to what Fuller said, Abraham needed all the support he could get.

    Tom also was silent about the WuWt campaign, with the obvious target of silencing Abraham.

    May I ask your kind readers once more for their help? Would as many of you as possible do what some of you have already been good enough to do? Please contact Father Dennis J. Dease, President of St. Thomas University, djdease@stthomas.edu, and invite him – even at this eleventh hour – to take down Abraham’s talk altogether from the University’s servers, and to instigate a disciplinary inquiry into the Professor’s unprofessional conduct, particularly in the matter of his lies to third parties about what I had said in my talk at Bethel University eight months ago? That would be a real help.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/14/abraham-climbs-down/

    (funny sidenote both WuWt “Abraham climbs down” and Jo Nova “Abraham surrenders to Monckton” make a false claim about the real situation)

    it was only Monckton’s own incompetence, that produced the obvious outcome of this affair so far. he was hurling real insults at Abraham and his university.

  6. Beaker Says:

    @ Shub: Threatening to sue and suing critics in order to silence them has a long history amongst cooks, cranks and charlatans. And unfortunately, is has worked more than once.

    That Monckton tries this tactic does convincingly show what he is though.

  7. Shub Niggurath Says:

    I like Monckton. He speaks well. Overcooked prawn is a harmless ‘insult’ if anything, it is certainly not amongst the personal remarks that might have gone Abraham’s way

    What is ‘ad hominem’? The term has lost its meaning

    ‘Swivel-eyed maniac’ probably refers to Monckton’s bulging eyes which looks like a personal thing to say, perhaps Monckton got ticked off by that.

    The anti-Monckton crowd ( everyone else knows who exactly they are) are ticked off by Monckton – for precise reasons. He goes around speaking in public, is a good oratorian, uses logical sounding rhetorical flourishes to create an impression of skewering his opponents. Since the AGW crowd is of scientist-activist mentality, they *know* the effectiveness of Monckton, even as they see his misrepresentations.

    It is obviously and entirely for this public speaking effectiveness that they are after Monckton.

    None dare say anything about the IPCC consensus position, sounding so confident and belligerent, in the public – that is what is at stake here.

    I looked at Abraham’s presentation, he has about 12 seperate slides all talking only about Willie Soon’s API funding. That pretty much proves the main plank of the Abraham case. Any young whippersnapper can climb very high kissing ass to the IPCC alarmist cause.

    So, my question remains:
    Monckton wants to ‘shut up’ Mr Abraham, Abraham wants to trash Monckton – big deal. Why the anger?

  8. Eli Rabett Says:

    Shub, if you wish to maintain any credibility you will stop defining deviancy down.

  9. Bam Says:

    Shub, you do not see the difference in trying to get somebody fired, or at the very least censored, and pointing out the errors in someone’s claims?

    Seriously?

  10. Bam Says:

    You now what, never mind. Shub is just being a troll. Just see how he considers “overcooked prawn” to be “funny”, and “swiveled-eyed maniac” something “personal”.

  11. Beaker Says:

    You’re just trolling now, aren’t you Shub?

  12. sod Says:

    What is ‘ad hominem’? The term has lost its meaning

    Monckton used the term in a wrong way. ad hom is not just an insult. but Monckton used it, while hurling insults.
    he was wrong, even in his false use of the term

    Monckton wants to ‘shut up’ Mr Abraham, Abraham wants to trash Monckton – big deal. Why the anger?

    Abraham pointed out some flaws in the arguments that Monckton makes in his talks. Monckton was using the WuWt mob to scare Abraham’ university.

    you really can not see the difference, can you?

  13. Howard Says:

    Monckton only speaks well to like-minded groups of fools and “nobleman” sycophants. Otherwise, he comes off as a fourth tier used car salesman.

    He has effectively tarred and feathered most skeptic bloggers, including the self proclaimed dou of Fuller and Mosher

    This tussle will probably raise Abrahams’ stock whether he deserves it or not.

  14. Bart Says:

    Shub,

    Monckton requested that Abraham’s university take down all materials in which he is criticized. That is in effect a call for censorship. I am disgusted by Monckton’s intimidation tactics, and by Watts apparently supporting Monckton in his efforts (and supporting calling those he disagrees with “cockroaches”. What a double standard – cannot stand the word denier but cockroach is fine. Yeah right.) Are you defending Monckton?

    Tom,

    Since you’ve said before that you’re no fan of Monckton, I was kind of hoping to see a post (or perhaps multiple posts) where you clearly denounce his current tactics. You clearly thought it worth denouncing views of climate scientists that you disagreed with, why wouldn’t it be worth to do so with Monckton? For all his ridiculousness, he does get a lot of traction in the media and from the public, and is attempting a very dirty smear campaign that needs denouncing in the strongest possible terms imho. Many scientists may be intimidated by this sequence of events not to publicly criticize a high profile skeptic in public again, for fear of costly and time consuming process to defend themselves (even for the law).
    Are you willing to so so?

    On the topic of denouncing, you know that I’m no fan of Watts, whereas you kind a like what he’s doing. What do you make of Watts’ decision to support Monckton via his blog, nevermind elevating a comment to head post where supporters of the scientific mainstream are called cockroaches (a term connected to ethnic cleansing efforts in Africa )? This double standard (ie freedom of speech -> but not for Abraham; and calling me a denier is off limits -> calling you a cockroach is fine) is despicable. Will you denounce Watts supporting these kind of things?

  15. Tom Fuller Says:

    Howard, would you be able to make your sentences comprehensible? I literally have no idea of what you are trying to say.

  16. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bart,
    I’ll try to answer your question (even Bam raised the same issue as well). If you are professor of fluid dynamics, attacking Monckton, writing a specific detailed rebuttal of Monckton’s presentation, and this and this alone, consists of your entire contribution to the area of public debate in global climate change, I would certainly consider Monckton’s request reasonable.

    If he has several academic papers in the area of global climate change and therefore becomes qualified to rebut Monckton, there might be some sense in the University throwing their weight behind Abraham, as in its own reputation can be thought to be linked to the academic certitude of one its professors in his area of expertise.

    On the other hand, Abraham’s area of expertise is in fluid dynamics. While this certainly provides him with enough background to involve in climate change science and criticism, his involvement in this matter is a freelance, self-motivated affair. It is by way of making a presentation focused solely on the observations of Monckton, another freelancer. His involvement in the matter are certainly outside the scope of his employment as a professor of the university.

    While the university has no right to restrict the extra-professional activities of its employees (whether they be tenured or otherwise), it neither certainly has no obligations nor is it its business, promoting the hobbies and pursuits of its faculty. It could have said, “we fully support Abraham in his activities and he has every right to express himself in every way he sees fit, we are ourselves pretty enamored by the theory of AGW, but this to-and-fro powerpoint business has nothing to do with us”.

    Instead, if we are to believe the links, the University is hosting Abraham’s presentation (!). What’s gotten into them?

    In this regard, Monckton is right.

    All the rest (cockroaches, prawns etc etc) is fluff and rabble-rousing.

  17. Tom Fuller Says:

    I hadn’t really thought much about doing an article on Monckton. I didn’t think he deserved the free ink, especially because that seems to be what he’s after.

    Tell me honestly–would an article from me do more good than harm? (Sod, don’t bother replying–I think we can guess your opinion.)

    I have no problems criticizing skeptics–I’ve gone after Inhofe, Morano, Cuccinelli, that I remember. You’ve seen my opinion of Monckton–I could put it in a post and keep his name alive for a few more days.

  18. Beaker Says:

    “In this regard, Monckton is right.”
    Sorry, no. There is no reason why a university should not host factual criticism by their professors, even if it is on topics outside of their field of expertise (whereas, as Abrahams already explained, he does have a level of expertise). This is part of what academic freedom is all about.

    But really, all this is by Monckton is a cheap attempt at sensorship. What he should have done is respond to the criticism with counterpoints of his own, or leave it. What he did now is just the crank MO. Threaten someone who criticizes you.

    The part about insults is relevant here too. Monckton is the one complaining about ad hominem attacks, while making them himself (pretty much continuously). This quite aptly shows that he is not only a crank, but also a hypocrit in the extreme.

    Seriously Shrub, I cannot fathom at all why you would give any credibility to someone who has sunk to such extreme debts.

  19. Shub Niggurath Says:

    What has academic freedom got anything to do with this?

    Let us suppose, Abraham did not have any expertise in global warming theory. Would the University then be justified in refusing to host its files?

    Abraham is a professor at the University based on abilities which are in no way, questioned, or under attack, by the Monckton presentation. Abraham stuck his neck out, out of personal iinterest against the Monckton presentation, of his own accord.

    By the same count, Abraham is involved in alternative energy projects. It could therefore be simply argued that he is attacking Monckton to preserve his personal interests and nothing more.

    The University can certainly host the files. They can fight for their legal rights to do so. But Monckton is certainly within his rights to ask for the presentation to be taken down.

    Our dear friend at RealClimate Gavin sits deleting his RealClimate unfaithful, but NASA has refused to hand over email records requested under FOI pertaining to his RealClimate-related activities. It therefore is open to speculation whether Gavin Schmidt is involved in activist science blogging during work-hours. If he is, is he commiting some mistake in running RealClimate during work-hours? Personally, I don’t think so. Does his employer support his activities? Probably they do. But, if someone brings an argument that a government employee might be involved in advocacy during work-hours, I would say they have a case too.

  20. Bam Says:

    “What has academic freedom got anything to do with this?”

    Everything.

    “Let us suppose, Abraham did not have any expertise in global warming theory. Would the University then be justified in refusing to host its files?”

    That solely depends on the rules the university has set up for the content of its website. Not on whether Abraham is an expert or not.

    And yes, Monckton has a right to ask the files to be taken down, but not by bullying tactics. He should provide objective arguments. He chose the former, which tells you everything you need to know. Compare that to the response so far from the university and from Abraham himself.

  21. sod Says:

    It is by way of making a presentation focused solely on the observations of Monckton, another freelancer. His involvement in the matter are certainly outside the scope of his employment as a professor of the university.

    no. Monckton is attacking scientists. he is misrepresenting their positions, as Abraham shows in his presentation, by asking the people quoted by Monckton for their real opinion.

    you are also seriously mistaken about scientists and their field. the strict focus on a tiny field ends typically with the bachelor. even a master can be accomplished outside your “field”.

    Let us suppose, Abraham did not have any expertise in global warming theory. Would the University then be justified in refusing to host its files?

    another approach, showing a serious lack of understanding.

    Abraham could be an expert in social science, and approach the Monckton presentation from a different point of view.

    or in journalism, and point out Monckton’s low standards.

    or in education, pointing out that every Monckton slide has more errors than “an inconvenient truth”

    But, if someone brings an argument that a government employee might be involved in advocacy during work-hours, I would say they have a case too.

    Monckton did not bring an argument. he launched another hate campaign.

    and we still have not a single word from the Monckton lawyers.

  22. Deech56 Says:

    Shub writes: “It therefore is open to speculation whether Gavin Schmidt is involved in activist science blogging during work-hours.”

    Writing about one’s field is hardly activist. Besides, for someone with an active research program supported by various grants, “working hours” are not 9 to 5.

  23. Beaker Says:

    “Let us suppose, Abraham did not have any expertise in global warming theory. Would the University then be justified in refusing to host its files?”
    That would depend on the rules the university has. Many universities provide personal webspace for their employees, where they are allowed to put up more than just things on their own topics.

    But you are turning the question the wrong way. Monckton in effect claims that the university has the obligation to remove the material. This is bullshit. He also requests disciplinary action. This is a steaming heap of bullshit. He furthermore tries to do so via intimidation tactics. This is so low it should indicate to you that he is nothing more than a dishonest crank.

    If someone puts up factual criticism of you, the correct thing is to answer it. Not to try and bully their employer in taking the factual criticism down.

    He complains about insults, when he makes them on the fly and continuously himself, which makes him a hypocrit.

    “By the same count, Abraham is involved in alternative energy projects. It could therefore be simply argued that he is attacking Monckton to preserve his personal interests and nothing more.”
    Completely irrelevant. If the criticism is factual, nothing changes that. That Monckton doesn’t answer the criticism but instead threatens the university shows that he doesn’t have an answer.

    “The University can certainly host the files. They can fight for their legal rights to do so. But Monckton is certainly within his rights to ask for the presentation to be taken down.”
    He could of course, I don’t know, answer the ciriticism. That he doesn’t do so, should tell you something. That he call factual criticism libel should tell you more. Yes, he could have asked them to take the files down instead of answering the criticism, in which case he would be a crank but nothing more. He tries to bully the files down, which makes him a low-life.

    “”Our dear friend at RealClimate Gavin sits deleting his RealClimate unfaithful, but NASA has refused to hand over email records requested under FOI pertaining to his RealClimate-related activities. It therefore is open to speculation whether Gavin Schmidt is involved in activist science blogging during work-hours. If he is, is he commiting some mistake in running RealClimate during work-hours? Personally, I don’t think so. Does his employer support his activities? Probably they do. But, if someone brings an argument that a government employee might be involved in advocacy during work-hours, I would say they have a case too.”
    Wow, relevancy is not your strong point, is it?

  24. Scott Mandia Says:

    Christopher Monckton and other deniers get far more press coverage than they deserve. Journalistic false balance has caused the public to be confused on climate change – the greatest threat to humanity this century. Worse, these deniers have used mainstream media to attack climate science and the scientists who pursue the truth. Let us now turn the tables.

    Monckton has been exposed by Dr. John Abraham and instead of hiding his tail and whimpering away, Monckton has gone on the offensive by attacking Dr. Abraham and asking his followers to essentially “email bomb” Dr. Abraham’s university president. We need to alert the media to this story.

    I have assembled a list of 57 media contacts in the hopes that my readers will follow my lead and send letters asking for an investigation of Monckton and his attack on Abraham. I have placed mailto links that will make it easy to send letters to several contacts at once with a single click.

    In the thread comments, please suggest other contacts in the US and from abroad. This blog thread can then be used in the future to alert the media to denialist activity.

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/turn-the-tables-on-monckton/

  25. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dear Bart,

    Aah, I see. Mr. Fuller has no problem writing about alleged “black lists” and raging against PNAS, but he is coy about exposing the very real attempt by Monckton and Watts to censor and intimidate.

    One could use his same argument about what difference would it make Fuller writing about “black lists”– did not stop him from doing so though. His double standard is remarkable. And why stop with Morano? If Monckton and Watts are not worthy for critique for their despicable behaviour, then no one is. Even the National Post has disapproved on the recent antics of skeptical blogs.

    I noticed that Tom conveniently did not answer your questions about Anthony’s role in attempting to intimidate and harassing Abraham and St. Thomas. Surely Fuller’s opinions of Monckton should now also apply to Watts, he and Monckton are after all clearly in this together and share the same views.

    An article by Fuller unequivocally denouncing Anthony’s shameful acts of censoring opposing views, investigating IP addresses, making veiled threats against posters with opposing views and now aiding and abetting Monckton in his crusade on Abraham, would be appropriate in view of true balance and exposing wrong doings to his readers.

    PS: For what it is worth, I agree with much of what Tom wrote at 03:39 on July 17.

  26. Shub Niggurath Says:

    sod:
    I think you did not get what I said. Abraham’s qualifications are immaterial to his involvement against Monckton, and therefore the University is unconnected to this as well. If they are involved, they have chosen to be so.

    “no. Monckton is attacking scientists. he is misrepresenting their positions, …”

    I am afraid, you are wrong on this one too. You do not get to choose what people do with your data and conclusions. You simply give your interpretation and even then, that is just one interpretation. Future incoming scientists and others will make what they want of it. You do not have to worry though – apparently it is the norm in climate science in that only the original author’s interpretation is allowed to carry.

    Do you believe that ellipsis riddled emails from original scientists passes for the exegesis of scientific papers that is apparently required?

    Abraham is new getting into the AGW mitigation area. This should surely bump up his profile

  27. Pat Cassen Says:

    Shub – Are you really claiming that Monckton is only re-interpreting scientist’s results, and not misrepresenting?

  28. Beaker Says:

    “I think you did not get what I said. Abraham’s qualifications are immaterial to his involvement against Monckton, and therefore the University is unconnected to this as well. If they are involved, they have chosen to be so.”
    No. Monckton involved the university by asking them to discipline Abrahams for criticizing Monckton. The university rightfully told him to stuff it.

    “I am afraid, you are wrong on this one too. You do not get to choose what people do with your data and conclusions. You simply give your interpretation and even then, that is just one interpretation. Future incoming scientists and others will make what they want of it. You do not have to worry though – apparently it is the norm in climate science in that only the original author’s interpretation is allowed to carry.”
    That depends on your phrasing. The problem with Monckton is that all too often he doesn’t say “person x who collected data y thinks z, but I think otherwise.” He has the questionable knack to let it seem like the authors agree with his conclusions.

    Abrahams showed this is not the case, for which Monckton tried to get him disciplined. Which means that now everyone ever wanting to criticize Monckton must take into account that these scare tactics might be leveled at him as well. Which will make some people think twice about criticizing Monckton. And you defend such tactics?

  29. Bam Says:

    (On a trip, so I’ll keep it short)

    I see the new tactic of Shub is to put doubt on Abraham’s motivation. More evidence that the argumentation is too hard to rebut.

    In case someone wonders, Abraham’s involvement in “climate change mitigation” is that he has been doing some work on wind turbines. Laughable to try and use that as an argument to dismiss Abraham’s presentation.

  30. Bart Says:

    What Beaker said. These actions by Monckton not only serve to intimidate Abraham and his University, but all those who’d consider criticizing pseudo-skeptics such as Monckton. Defending these sorts of tactics is a clear sign not to be interested in rational scientific debate.

  31. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bam
    Monckton is making specific allegations that the form of Abraham’s criticism of his presentation is, not agreeable, to him. He is claiming libel.

    He has provided an extensive list of why he feels that way. Abraham has apparently modified his presentations, after receiving this list, at the advice of the University

    US libel laws are somewhat relaxed (probably a good thing, if you ask me). Why don’t you put yourself in Monckton’s shoes? His only present vocation consists of making public presentations. He now says Abraham has simplified, reductionized, and crystallized his presentation to make it appear that he reached some conclusions and impressions that Monckton himself never did . Pretty much the same accusation that Abraham himself is throwing at Monckton – that he reductionized and simplified climate science and some papers so as to reach conclusions the science or the scientists themselves never did.

    Abraham has the University to back him, he has a different day job. Monckton’s sole activity, consists as I said above, of making these presentations. Why wouldn’t he try for reparation?

    I can clearly understand why what has happened has happened. That does not mean I am for Monckton or against Abraham. In fact, the more I view Abraham’s presentation, the more I feel that he is some sort of a lightweight who’s now become a scapegoat and prop for the Monckton bashers, who got behind Abraham’s presentation to jeer at Monckton – and our thin-skinned Monckton snapped this time.

    Many of the points Abraham raises seem to be of a peculiar variety. If one gives a proposition X and gives 5 ‘reducto ad absurdum’ examples to illustrate X, his opponents invariably turn all their attention to the absurd sounding examples, trying to take them down.

    Secondly, I agree with Beaker about Monckton’s peculiar arguing style (about the experts’ opinions). Monckton seesm to give that impression.

    Beaker:
    Abraham was the initiator in the whole story. He involved the University by making a Powerpoint presentation using the University template and hosting it on its server.

    Think about it this way. I, for example, am not in the climate science field. I am in a different science area altogether. I check on the climate blogs at work sometimes. Do you think my employer would tolerate this? I could claim I am involved in ‘scientific activities’ trying to defend myself, but I am sure they would argue that that is not what I am being paid for. I could be fired. I am sure many of our warmist and skeptic friends are in the same boat.

    Would I be able to make a Powerpoint presentation against some ideas in climate science in areas I have become quite familiar with, use my University template and host it on a University server? Obviously not.

    Abraham is in the same situation here. ‘Academic freedom’ extends to everyone similarly – your point falls or stands based on the merit of its claim. Tenured professors have no ‘more’ academic freedom than graduate students. Abraham clearly dragged in the University initially, to simply shore up his credibility when taking on a prominent skeptic. He now enlists the University’s legal department in his services to defend his freelance activities. This is abuse of tenure, nothing more.

  32. Beaker Says:

    “Monckton is making specific allegations that the form of Abraham’s criticism of his presentation is, not agreeable, to him. He is claiming libel.”
    And if you watch the presentation, you see that this is a bullshit claim. Saying Monckton claimed A, I checked whether his claim holds up (which is what Abrahams did) is not libel. Even if Monckton’s claim of misrepresentation would hold up.

    “Abraham has the University to back him, he has a different day job. Monckton’s sole activity, consists as I said above, of making these presentations. Why wouldn’t he try for reparation?”
    Monckton cannot be criticized because misrepresenting scientists is his only vocation? Sorry, no, doesn’t work.

    “I can clearly understand why what has happened has happened. That does not mean I am for Monckton or against Abraham. In fact, the more I view Abraham’s presentation, the more I feel that he is some sort of a lightweight who’s now become a scapegoat and prop for the Monckton bashers, who got behind Abraham’s presentation to jeer at Monckton – and our thin-skinned Monckton snapped this time. ”
    This is rich.

    “Abraham was the initiator in the whole story. He involved the University by making a Powerpoint presentation using the University template and hosting it on its server.”
    No, sorry, doesn’t work either. The central point is that Monckton threatened someone for criticizing him. Where the powerpoint was put up is irrelevant for this.

    “Think about it this way. I, for example, am not in the climate science field. I am in a different science area altogether. I check on the climate blogs at work sometimes. Do you think my employer would tolerate this? I could claim I am involved in ‘scientific activities’ trying to defend myself, but I am sure they would argue that that is not what I am being paid for. I could be fired. I am sure many of our warmist and skeptic friends are in the same boat.”
    Irrelevant Shub. You seem to assume the presentation was made in university time. I can put up stuff that I made at home on the servers of my university during lunch.

    “Would I be able to make a Powerpoint presentation against some ideas in climate science in areas I have become quite familiar with, use my University template and host it on a University server? Obviously not.”
    That would depend on your university.

    “Abraham is in the same situation here. ‘Academic freedom’ extends to everyone similarly – your point falls or stands based on the merit of its claim. Tenured professors have no ‘more’ academic freedom than graduate students. ”
    And both have quite a lot of academic freedom. They are allowed to criticize other fields outside of their own and may even put up these criticisms on personal webspaces, if these are provided by the university. There is nothing stopping them from doing so.

    “Abraham clearly dragged in the University initially, to simply shore up his credibility when taking on a prominent skeptic.”
    Shub, don’t make bullshit claims for which you have no evidence. He put up a point-by-point rebuttal on personal space of the webserver of the university. To claim that this was to shore up credibility instead of just the easiest way to get the presentation out is a claim without any evidence or credibility.

    “He now enlists the University’s legal department in his services to defend his freelance activities.”
    You have evidence that Abraham dragged in the legal department? Instead of, say, the university itself (in the form of father whatshisname) after receiving the letter from Monckton? Where can I find that evidence.

    “This is abuse of tenure, nothing more.”
    Nope, it is not, for two reasons. As stated by others before, professors (but also postdocs and PhD’s) are generally given a lot of leeway in what they can criticize. This is part of academic freedom. The university may not give them time to do so, but in their own time they don’t face restrictions here. And as I stated before, universities tend to give employees personal spaces where they can put up material, again generally with very few restrictions.

  33. Bam Says:

    Shub, BOTH presentations can be found on Abraham’s university webpage. If he changed the presentation based on pressure, why is the old one still there? You are just parroting the idiotic claim Monckton made on Anthony Watts’ website. And once again he is shown wrong. See a pattern here?

    I do not care that Monckton may depend on his lectures (I actually don’t think he does, especially now that he is deputy leader of the UKIP). If he’s wrong, he’s wrong. If he can’t show how somebody else is wrong, the desperate action to take would indeed be to start a harassment campaign and to spread even more lies. Abraham’s lecture may not be the best ever, but John’s one on a growing list of people who checked Monckton’s claims (something Monckton notably invites at the start of his lectures), and found them to be wanting. He contacted scientists who Monckton claimed said A, and found them to contradict Monckton. Abraham did what a good scientist does. And this is what results in others supporting him. It appears to me you are just worried that an effective liar, who just happens to lie on behalf of your own personal ideology, is being exposed so much, that you can’t use him anymore as an effective doubt-inducer. I hope I am wrong about you, but history tells me I have a quite good intuition in these matters.

    Darn, way too long post again. Don’t expect any further comments the next 24 hours.

  34. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bam baby,

    I dont think you understood the implication of making a second version. Don’t waste your time second-guessing where I get my information.

    If you (as in Monckton) quote someone to make a claim, *you* are responsible for the claim. The claim itself, does not in any way weaken or fall apart, simply because the original author whom you cited was contacted, who then disagreed with the claim. Simple. If you cannot get this, you need to get over your Monckton obsession and check whether you agree with this or not.

    The whole of tne Abraham case rests on a “he said-she said” type of back-and-forth, where Abraham compares what *he thinks* Monckton has said, to what the authors told *him* and him alone, their opinion of what Monckton said, as presented to them by *Abraham* himself, all the while somehow managing to avoid contact Monckton.

    Heh! if ever this was about science, I can only say – what an interesting way of doing science.. ;)

    I am arguing in favor of Monckton’s right to do what he did – action against the University. I have not even argued for or against Monckton’s science. You, and you are not alone in this, show so much outrage and anger at Monckton merely because you don’t agree with his ‘science’. My experience tells me many things on this count as well.

    Beaker:
    You are deftly dancing around the fact that our friend Abraham uses a Powerpoint presentation template that has the University logo. The hosting of the file is secondary – using the university imprimatur, which Abraham has done from day one, is the primary thing.

    Let us say, you make an anti-Monctkon presentation tomorrow. Would you put your University’s (present or past) name on it?

    The foundation of libel law is the factorum of falsehood and false representation. It is pretty clear why Monckton thinks he has a case.

    Regards

  35. sod Says:

    I dont think you understood the implication of making a second version. Don’t waste your time second-guessing where I get my information.

    please educate us. why was Abraham “climbing down the ladder”, when the original version was still online?

    If you (as in Monckton) quote someone to make a claim, *you* are responsible for the claim. The claim itself, does not in any way weaken or fall apart, simply because the original author whom you cited was contacted, who then disagreed with the claim. Simple.

    this is not what happened. it carries some weight, when the authors of the works you cite, state a different opinion.

  36. Toby Joyce Says:

    “I am arguing in favor of Monckton’s right to do what he did – action against the University.”

    Monckton did nothing against the University, oh, except to call it a “half-assed Catholic Bible College” on tape.

    What is wrong with being Catholic? What is wrong with being a Bible college – Monckton’s friends at Bob Jones Univeristy will be interested in this answer. Monckton is not one of those elitest
    ivy league college people by any chance?

    I am all in favour of Monckton doing what he did – shoot himself in the foot.

    And then shoot himself in the other one … calling the Rector a creep, and linking the local Bishop with pedophiliac priests was not an ideal strategy to isolate Abraham from his backers.

    Keep on trucking, Christy, at this rate you might blow your brains out.

  37. willard Says:

    I’d like to see examples of actual malice in Abrahams’ presentation.

  38. Eli Rabett Says:

    Monckton’s attempted mugging of Abraham has hit the mainstream press, and they are not doing he said she said, but pointing out that Monckton is a thug.

  39. Howard Says:

    Sorry Tom, that was nonsense. What I meant to have said that the credibility of you and Steve Mosher, the self-proclaimed lukewarmer duo, is hurt most by Monckton clumsy hardball antics.

    This is because you two are tied at the hip to Tony Watts, the webmaster of the Monckton groupie fan club.

    It’s too bad, as you guys seemed to be voices of reason creating a bridge between the warmers and skeptics. Instead, you now appear to be playing the role of attention whores sucking off the remunerative teat of denialist R Us.

    I should have been tipped off when Mosher started writing for Big Journalism: the slimy half of the Drudge Report.

  40. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Toby
    You mean,..,you are talking about the high regard Monckton was held in among the AGW proponents which he went and spoilt by,…shooting himself in the foot…

    You should also thank Monckton for providing our dear CAGW communicators a foot in the door of the bible belt. “What, skeptics trash Bible College AGW professor?!! Grab the pitchforks!”

    The simple point is that Dr John Abraham dragged his University into it when he said – “I am a professor, he is a journalist”

  41. willard Says:

    Yes, Abrahams Made Viscount Monckton of Brenchley Do It.

  42. Shub Niggurath Says:

    John Abraham: “I am a professor'” – no he is not a professor
    John Abraham: “I will reply how a scientist will typically respond” – no that is not how scientists respond. In fact this is quite atypical
    John Abraham: “Lord Monckton is a denier” – Monckton is a denier?

  43. Bam Says:

    Shub, in the US an associate professor is to be addressed as “professor”. Even an assistant professor is to be addressed as “professor”. The same goes for Canada (in the case of universities only) and for much of Latin America. Hence, you start with a false claim. Once again one that started to go the rounds on Wattsupwiththat, so however much you may try to distance yourself from that crowd, you have already repeated the distortions and falsehoods on that blog twice on this thread alone.

    Second, please explain why Abraham’s response is atypical for a scientist.

    To get back to your previous responses: Abraham gets support because he exposes Monckton for what he is: a serial distorter. Who cares he works at a “bible college”. Your comment to me about Monckton interpreting the work of others is another distortion. Monckton refers (but poorly) to various papers, claiming they show something they in reality do not. That is, he presents it as their work, not as his own interpretation of the data of others.

    My final comment relates to the two presentations Abraham put up: it would be the first time in recorded history that someone under pressure changes his presentation, and then leaves BOTH available for everyone to see. I have a simple recommendation: watch both presentations, and tell us what Abraham has altered, supposedly under pressure from Monckton and/or the university.

  44. Tom Fuller Says:

    Howard, thanks for clarifying. I don’t buy this guilt by association garbage, but you think what you want. I don’t judge Bart by his commenters (not you, Howard, but the ones I’m referring to know who I mean). Anthony Watts has been as cordial to me as, for example, the late Stephen Schneider, Bart, and Judith Curry. They don’t endorse what I write, and neither does Anthony. And vice versa…

  45. Eli Rabett Says:

    Monckton, by calling the University of St. Thomas a bible college, got everyone mad at him. Bible colleges in the US (and there are quite a few) are evangelical Protestant institutions. You can argue about how good they are, or the education that they provide, but one thing they are not is Catholic and visa versa. Eli doesn’t think Christopher has figured it out yet.

  46. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Monckton let his temper get the better of him.

  47. dhogaza Says:

    “Monckton let his temper get the better of him.”

    More likely the debilitating mental effects of Graves disease has got the better of him.

    He’d be best off sheltered from the world, and undergoing the best caregiving that the UK has to offer.

  48. Øystein Says:

    ‘Monckton let his temper get the better of him’ writes the troll (on this thread, at least). And all his opponents in the debate have let their temper get the better of them regarding said troll.

    When someone presents an opinion so far-fetched, ignorant and willfully stupid as Shub does here, one holds one’s scilence. And wait for their childish games to move somewhere else.

    C’mon, guys, you know this!

  49. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Oystein, your super-intelligence is showing through, although there does not appear to any substance in your argument, just as Abraham’s.

    For that of course, you have to *make* an argument in the first place, again, the same failure as in Abraham’s case.

    Waiting for you to clean up your own spittle so we can discuss, whether my interruption the Monckton smoochfest was inapporpriate.

  50. The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 2846 Says:

    […] with a suit for libel when Abrahams showed he was talking through his well-upholstered rear end. So much for free speech: Monckton’s attempted censorship of John Abraham | My view on climate … Monckton seemed to think better of that … but he has threatened other scientists like Scott […]

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