Climate change denier Ethical Skeptic comes up with yet another jargony (easily disproved) lie

  • Published on September 11th, 2020

One of the best things about the internet is that it’s allowed anyone with an opinion, no matter how controversial or counterintuitive, a platform to share it. One of the worst things about the internet is that it’s allowed anyone with an opinion, no matter how ignorant or ill-informed, a platform to share it.

Science! By Vincent S Lee
(Science! By Vincent S Lee)

By Climate Denier Roundup

The latest example of something that someone should’ve known better than to have posted comes from Dr. Judith Curry, who has reposted “a thought-provoking article from [her] new favorite blog, The Ethical Skeptic.” She prefaces the post with an excerpt from the Ethical Skeptic’s about page, and to be honest it’s amazing Curry could see anything on the site through all the giant red flags indicating that this is a less-than-reputable source.

The blog has the design feel of a frayed inspirational poster barely clinging to the wood-panel wall in the basement rec room of a youth ministry, yet the tone of the writing is more of a math student’s Adderall-addled impersonation of a philosophy professor. And then there’s the sidebar, which features a variety of definitely-very-real blurbs, like the glowing praise from “Tech Journalist,” who said, “I suspect that I possess neither the lifetime nor competencies to grasp all that is said therein; nevertheless inside I also suspect greatness.”

In another not-made-up-at-all quote that just so happens to closely resemble Ethical Skeptic’s pretentious writing style, “JP” says that they were “asked by a colleague, just whom I regarded to be a signature philosopher of our time, as viewed say a century into the future; to which I responded, ‘I don’t even know his name, other than ethical skeptic.’” (Weird that “JP” didn’t know “his” name, but apparently did know “his” gender…)

They even went so far as to include President Trump’s well-known tell, with AOD’s blurb that reads, “Sir, I hope you realize the high quality of material you have produced here. Hopefully you will choose a world stage someday and take personal credit for it. The material is that good.”

So, how good is the climate material Curry posted from Ethical Skeptic? It’s not. At all. The basic premise is that it’s not global warming but actually the Earth’s core that’s “undergoing extreme exothermic change- shedding high-latent-energy hexagonal closepack (HCP) iron into the mantle where it converts to face centered cubic (FCC) iron,” and basically that heat then goes into the oceans, which are what’s heating the atmosphere.


Except, as actual climate scientists like Dr. Chris Colose were quick to point out, “geothermal heating is negligible globally (and almost everywhere regionally) and there’s no evidence of a trend recently, it’s just handwaving.”

Curry was, unsurprisingly, not pleased with this reaction, and responded to the NASA scientist with a sarcastic, “Ooh u kidz r SUCH ‘scientists’. Did you read the post? Are you familiar with the literature cited? Are you able to refute the observations cited? Do you see any flaws in the argumentation?”

The more pertinent question, though, is whether Curry herself did any of that basic due diligence before posting, because as another actual climate scientist pointed out in response, “stuff like this is just silly,” followed by a quote from Ethical Skeptic about how human CO2 pollution is “of insufficient slope” to drive temperature increases, and a link disproving that tired denial myth.

Although the Ethical Skeptic post is certainly adorned in all the jargony trappings of an intellectual pursuit, that’s just window dressing for another boring and disproven denial lie.

And in the end, after some well-deserved derision of this post, Curry even basically admitted that the whole point of her post was to learn from something that’s wrong to improve our understanding. But then immediately backtracked in that same tweet to say that she doesn’t “prima facie think that the blog post is ‘wrong.’ The key issue is the relative magnitude of the effect. I have asked some geologists to look at this.”

One might think the time to ask geologists whether something climate scientists immediately see to be “silly” and “handwaving” nonsense would be before publishing it on your blog…

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