How about that? Several media outlets are outraged at the announcement last month by Facebook that it will remove ‘dangerous’ material put up by ‘anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests’. Previously it had removed material put up by right-wing groups, but now media outlets which supported that ban are denouncing Mark Zuckerberg for the ‘false equivalence’ of equating anti-fa ‘violence’ with rightist violence.  

The self-styled ‘anti-fascist’ groups and their supporters, insistent on preventing the dissemination of viewpoints at odds with their own, obviously don’t like the taste of their own medicine. If Mr Zuckerberg is to be consistent, all discussion about ‘climate change’ may now also have to be banned from Facebook if those who believe in man-made climate change succeed in persuading him to purge the opinions of those who are sceptical about it.   

Last month, in a letter dated 15th July, Elizabeth Warren, a one-time Democratic presidential hopeful, and three other American senators wrote to Mr Zuckerberg urging him to ban all ‘climate disinformation’ from Facebook. Senator Warren is the latest in a long line of climate-change believers who seek to suppress the arguments of their opponents rather than embark upon the more difficult task of trying to refute them. 

Ms Warren is especially keen to stop dissemination of material published by the CO2 Coalition, an organisation whose mission includes seeking to ‘strengthen the understanding of the role of science in addressing complex public policy issues like climate change’. She accuses the coalition of having ‘falsely claimed’ that ‘extreme weather events in recent years have not happened more often or with greater intensity’ than in the past.

Blacklist arguments

There is of course plenty of evidence to support the coalition’s argument. But that is not the point, which is rather that Ms Warren and her three colleagues are demanding of Mr Zuckerberg that he blacklist arguments and opinions with which they disagree. Their letter thus tells him that it is ‘imperative’ that his company ‘take immediate steps to combat the spread of climate disinformation on its social media platforms’.

Referring to reports that Facebook has exempted ‘climate disinformation’ from ‘fact-checking’ by ‘deeming it ‘opinion’, they contend in their letter to Mr Zuckerberg that ‘the climate crisis and environmental degradation are not matters of opinion’ but ‘existential threats that hurt communities and economies throughout the world, including and especially black communities and other communities of colour’.

Ms Warren and her three fellow-senators seem to be worried that what they call ‘climate denialism’ may be making an impact. Such ‘denialism’, they argue, ‘particularly if amplified on social media channels such as Facebook and its subsidiaries, puts action on climate change at risk.’

No sign of weakening

This is evidently because ‘research has shown that the concerted effort to discredit the scientific consensus over man-made global warming shows no sign of weakening, with findings that climate deniers have been remarkably successful in confusing public opinion and delaying decisive action’. They receive ‘considerable media attention and enjoy access to key Washington power brokers’.        

Accordingly, Facebook should ‘immediately acknowledge in its fact-checking process that the climate crisis is not a matter of opinion’. It must ‘act to close all loopholes that allow climate disinformation to spread on its platform’.

Ms Warren’s letter to Mr Zuckerberg promoted a rejoinder from one of the targets of her attack, the CO2 coalition. Writing to her on 28th August, the coalition’s executive director, Caleb Rossiter, said that she had got some of her own ‘facts’ wrong.

She had thus informed Mr Zuckerberg that a report in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had ‘found that human activities have already caused about 1 degree celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels’. However, wrote Dr Rossiter, the IPCC ‘is confident only a quarter of the 1 degree – half of the half degree increase since 1950 – came from human activities rather than natural processes’.

‘Absolutely no evidence’

Dr Rossiter also informed her that ‘there is no absolutely no evidence’ that ‘communities of colour’ would be disproportionately affected by the ‘climate crisis’ of which she had written to Mr Zuckerberg. And he warned her against ‘ad hominem’ attacks in which she called people ‘climate change deniers’ without ‘saying precisely which facts they are denying’.

Dr Rossiter’s letter to Ms Warren took the form of a letter from a professor to a student commenting on an assignment handed in for a graduate course. He awarded her a ‘temporary D’, and asked that she ‘take a fair look at the actual data and analysis on this complex matter of climate modelling before submitting it again’.  

He added: ‘It troubles me that our Democratic Party, long the protector of the First Amendment right of freedom of speech and of our inherent right of freedom of thought, and rightly celebrated for its battle against the cancel culture of Senator Joseph McCarthy, is moving towards addressing ideas it disputes by silencing them.’            

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Image by William Iven from Pixabay

20 COMMENTS

  1. Ms Warren’s outbursts are a sure sign that the woke folk are fast approaching the breaking point of their fragile ideological echo chamber.

  2. Very true, the time to fight dirty is when you are busy getting caught out lying.

    Dr Rossiter very calmly keeps re-iterating the same facts that he has for years, no fancy new theorems from quasi scientits.

  3. It is typical of the “factless opinionated” – those who have a strong opinion about something based on their personal feelings and not on any proven facts – to demand that anybody in disagreement with them is silenced.
    It reminds me of the era of the Spanish Inquisition during the middle ages when people in disagreement with the Pope and the Catholic Church were silenced by burning them at the stake.
    The way things are going lately, that’s probably not too far off from happening again.

    • Imagine Monty Python skits in the politically correct 2020’s; that lot would have had so much material to work with.
      “Burning them at a stake? Yes, these denialists deserve it. But hang on, we’d be causing pollution through such fire. Maybe hang them off an ‘electric windmill’ instead? Or tie them to a solar panel? Wait, let these witches just sit outside; the warmer climate will take care of them.”

  4. If one just considers the Namibian shipwreck some 800m from the current sea-level, it’s going to take a lot of “natural”, let alone “artificial,” climate change for the sea to reach that “normal” level again? And, I’m neither communist nor scientist.

    • Bravo. Tony Helyer places videos on Youtube, easily refuting the claims of the climate change alarmists, demonstrating that they have never yet been proved correct by reality ever since the whole discussion about earth warming/climate change started over a century ago. The hottest decade in the 20th century was 1920 to 1930, but these years are conveniently ignored when the climate changers wants to baffle the public with psuedo facts. Predictions over the last century from one end of the scale – we are entering an ice age – up to fear mongering about all the polare ice will melt and huga tracts of land will be flooded. None of these have yet happened.

      The simple fact of the matter is that climate change is one big scam, but unfortunately it has also become big business. All those that “study” the issue depend on liberal government funding and those that manufacture anti-climate change equipment will lose big if the drive towards solar and windpower and other forms of renewable power is no longer driven by fear. It is all about money.

  5. I am always amazed at the arrogance of people who wouldn’t dream of instructing an engineer on how to build a bridge, or instruct a surgeon on the best way to perform open-heart surgery or tell a pilot how to fly his plane, will happily instruct climatologists on the numerous ways in which they misinterpret their mountains of evidence.

    The problem is that climatologists,in trying to communicate their highly specialized field to the general public, have dumbed down climatology to a small number of elementary concepts, so that every Tom, Dick and Harry with access to YouTube now considers himself an expert.

    The persistence of young-earth creationsism and the rise of flat-eartherism show that other disciplines in the natural sciences have made the same mistake.

    Caleb Rossiter has zero academic credentials in the highly technical field of climatology, and is a proven charlatan with vested interests and any article quoting him as some sort of expert in the field probably does more to prove Senator Elizabeth Warren’s point and justify her concerns than anything else.

    When I read this article’s title and opening paragraph I was expecting a thoughtful analysis of the dangers of anarchic and nihilistic philosophies like antifa and the role of social media in providing them with a platform to advance their cause.

  6. The Namibian shipwreck — all umpty tons of it — were moved 800m from the present high water mark by magic or maybe just a very high Spring tide. Would be interesting to known what age the wreck is. Anyone know?

    • Actually there are a number of shipwrecks lying in the sand some distance from the sea along the Namibian coast. They have been lying there for varying time periods since 1900. The wrecks haven’t moved and the sea level didn’t get any lower, the Namib desert’s sand is just slowly moving westward (towards the sea). This is also the reason why diamonds are found in the sea off the coast, as well as in a fairly narrow strip of desert next to it. Neither the shipwrecks (which have been there for less than a century) nor the diamonds (which have been there for aeons) has any connection to anthropogenic climate change.

  7. BTW the witch burning in Salem Massachusetts was done even if the witch confessed her sin of witchcraft, because burning her alive saved her soul. Nice, hey? Climate change zealots are of the same ilk. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

  8. I first joined the IRR 30-40 years ago when it was THE outstanding instituted of impeccable research. While objective, this research had a clear political slant: anti racism.

    While JKB is correct in calling out the “McCarthyism” of the Left, I do not recall him calling out the Right as frequently. This is reinforced, perhaps unfairly, by the tweets of some of IRR’s staff members — admittedly commenting in their personal capacities, as is their right. One gets the distinct impression that many *admire* Donald Trump, surely the master of false facts and “dog-whistling” racism, anti-science and the leading exponent of cancel culture & no-platforming and the darling of the anti-science so-called Intelligent Design cult.

    SA mainstream media is certainly partisan and woke, but the antidote is not more of the same but impartial seeking out the truth, facts vs faith, as SAIRR once did.

    • And I “get the distinct impression” that your opinion is biased by your dislike of objective criticism of the left. I for one has not seen any evidence of any pro-Trump views from the SAIRR. Neither do they as a body has an anti-climate change stance. Mr Kane-Berman is certainly very sceptical about it but he is an individual, not the organization. I have not found his writings on it dismissive of scientific facts. Elizabeth Warren certainly also doesn’t have the scientific credentials to propagate such an extreme view about the free speech of people who oppose her view, whether they are right or wrong.

    • Never has any USA president before been the victim of so many and so vicious vitriolic attacks on hsi person and policies as Trump has been. If he was so useless why did the USA economy do so well does his first three years in the white house? Why has he had such amazing foreign policy successes? Why did he manage to increase support for his party among the former mainly black democratic voting block. Events have proved him right almost every time the socialist (donkey part) in the USAA went hysterical about his actions

      People that are not American and have no standing as voters because they are not exposed to the Trump administration governence just make fools of themselves when the denounce Trump. Their views are actually irrelevant. However, the hysterics tell us a lot about themselves.

      • I think the problem regarding Trump is that he is so totally unpredictable and that he regularly manages to utter (or twitter) utter nonsense. I don’t agree with some of his decisions either; however, somehow in between he also manages to accomplish the unexpected, and it seems he keeps his promises, which is rare with politicians.
        To me he is an absolute puzzle, and we shall have to wait for history and hindsight to arrive at a fair judgment of his tenure.

        • On Trump, my stated opinion is that unlike ‘career politicians’ (spit) Trump was first and foremost a businessman. I reckoned that he saw the USA as a large, failing company, with terrible management – and he knows how to set to fixing that!
          So, of course, because “he’s not one of US”, the ‘professionals’ who have never held down a paying job (other than maybe bartender) in their lives, just HAVE to run him down.

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