WTF is going on with the axis of climate change denial and child abuse?
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Lawrence Krauss criticizing the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists annual “Doomsday Clock” warning. While it’s no surprise to see the Journal giving space to someone to poo-poo warnings about the climate crisis and other catastrophes, it is somewhat shocking to see Krauss published in such a high-profile outlet: Buzzfeed published a damning 2018 expose of Krauss’s history of sexual harassment that led to his resignation from academia. You’d think that Krauss would want to keep a low profile these days, especially in the wake of revelations that pedophile Jeffrey Epstein helped fund Krauss’s Origins Project. Epstein even attended some of the project’s events, as evidenced by a photo of Epstein, Krauss and one-time-apparently-accidental-Epstein-Defender Steven Pinker from 2014, six years after Epstein’s 2008 guilty plea.
Krauss cites Pinker’s criticisms of the Bulletin in his piece, paraphrasing Pinker’s thoughts that the annual announcement is “a publicity stunt that demeans the scientific community.” One might counter that palling around with billionaire pedophiles and sexually harassing women would be even more demeaning to the scientific community, but apparently that’s not what Krauss is worried about.
In a mirrored case of misguided concerns, over at ClimateSkepticism, Geoff Chambers expressed his concerns about advocacy group Avaaz’s effort to get YouTube to stop promoting climate denial. As you might expect, he disagrees with how Avaaz’s report characterizes various examples of denial as being false, but then admits it’s not the content that he really hates, but “the visual feel of the thing that gives [him] the creeps.”
You see, towards the end of the lengthy report there’s a page that describes how advertisers have successfully pressured YouTube to make changes to address “videos where inappropriate comments were being made about children.” in the past. It also quotes the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s efforts to move us towards “a media environment where hate speech, bullying and disinformation is challenged… and where everyone, especially children, are better protected from harm.”
Accompanying that relatively anodyne description is an image of young women at a climate protest. Per Chambers, such an image is not just a picture of youth protesters next to text suggesting we shouldn’t lie to children, but rather evidence that “media-savvy woke graphic designers” considered that picture to be “just the visual material necessary to underline the unconscious association between climate scepticism and child molesting.”
Yes, according to Chambers this page “is the face of fascism for the 21st century… a glossy brochure being thrust in front of you with the message: ‘Are you part of the climate consensus or a peadophile?”
That’s a weird accusation, and quite a distant conclusion to jump to (particularly given that the offending page is hardly being “thrust in front of you” as it’s the last one in the report before the Annex sections).
Even still, anyone who actually wants to try and make the case for an association between child molesting and climate denial need not be unconscious about it as sadly there are some obvious connections. Breitbart’s home to lots of deniers, like John Nolte, who happened to defend pedophile Michael Jackson. It was also home to denier Milo Yannopolious (until, of course, his pro-pedophilia comments came to light). And then there’s Quillette, the denier-friendly Australian publication whose editor spoke at an event alongside someone who advocates for letting pedophiles molest sleeping children.
But all of that, of course, pales in comparison to that time the Heartland Institute included a man convicted of attempting to sexually assault his 11 year old daughter, and who happens to think the sun is iron, in a list of suggested experts sent to the EPA.
To be fair, child abuse knows no political affiliation, has no fealty to climate science, and shouldn’t be trivialized by being invoked where it’s obviously not warranted. But Chambers, if you’re reading, please know that if you see a group of angry young women protesting climate denial in a photo at the end of the report and your mind immediately jumps to pedophilia, that probably says more about you than it does about whoever published the photo.