How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change

Barry Bickmore is Associate Professor of Geological Sciences at Brigham Young University (Utah, USA). His research specialties are low-temperature geochemistry and geoscience education. In this 40-minute presentation (appended below), he discusses how he moved from being a climate change “sceptic” to being an outspoken advocate of mainstream climate science. He then discusses how it is that people like him can so effectively avoid the truth about climate change. This is the best presentation I have yet seen of all the reasons why so-called climate change “sceptics” are, in point of fact, nothing of the kind… But first, used with permission, here is Barry’s own introduction, as quoted from his own WordPress blog on 11 Nov 2011:

I gave a talk called “How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change” for the College of Science and Health at Utah Valley University. For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I am a Republican and a geochemist who, until a few years ago, was quite skeptical about the idea that humans are causing significant climate change. In the presentation, I briefly talked about how I had made the transition from being a climate change “skeptic” to being an outspoken advocate of mainstream climate science. I then discussed how it is that people like me can so effectively avoid the truth about climate change. Please pass this video along! I am actually writing a book with the same title, but there’s no way I can get it published before the Republican primaries. Hopefully this kind of thing can influence a few people toward the center on this issue.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Confirmation Bias, Environment, Junk Science, Liberalism, Maketplace of Ideas, Merchants of Doubt, Politics, Pseudo science, Scepticism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change

  1. This is interesting. (I love his expose of the “skeptical” academic writing which includes articles published in journals that also discuss dog astrology and alien abduction – ha ha!). I suppose this video would also be relevant to many other issues that are plagued by misinformation and fanatical beliefs.


    • Rick Altman says:

      You betcha! Try reading Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science (on medical misinformation) and David Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History (self-explanatory I believe). I am fond of quoting from or referring to both. Therefore, if you have not time to read whole books, please use my category index to find posts here on both authors and/or their books.


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  3. Rick, I am going to be so critical of this guy’s video you certainly will not welcome it and probably will be hesitant to print it. I could only withstand the first 5 minutes of this absolute garbage before switching off and hitting the keyboard. If you are going to believe his arguments, you can just as easily believe them if he applied them to the “anti” AGW scenario. I will not waste our time in picking it to pieces, Just imagine that he is actually criticising the AGW supporters and you will find all his arguments apply just as logically. Therefore, they contribute nothing except to prove that nothing has been proven. What on earth has politics got to do with AGW? He is a Republican, he says. Hallo! what has that got to do with anything? I accept that political motivation is part of the AGW drive but it should not be so. I accept that political mileage is being gained from adopting the AGW theory. Again very seriously wrong. Anyway, thanks for your interest in trying to “put us straight”, or is it to boost your beliefs? Whatever, this guy is not an asset to your cause.


    • Rick Altman says:

      I very much regret that your mind is so closed, Ken. So much so that your cognitive dissonance could not allow you to watch more than 5 minutes? Are you for real? If so, how can you have an opinion regarding the arguments he makes? In 5 minutes he had barely begun. The really interesting stuff comes after 19 minutes (demolition job on Roy W Spencer) and 28 minutes (validity of modern day consensus). If you only watched 5 minutes, as well as being a deeply-flawed inversion of reality, your opinions are worthless; so I am glad to let them be seen as such by all.


      • Well Rick, I understand from where you are coming, but you fail to understand from where I am coming! If the first five minutes are absolute rubbish, I am entitled to conclude that this represents the tone of the article. If in fact followed by some accurate appraisal or science, why does spoil it when he fails to make sense initially? I agree that doesn’t necessarily make logical sense to everybody, but it needs more substance in order to attract my time and energy. Once again we need to agree to disagree. It is interesting that you again fall back on this ‘cognitive dissonance’ factor when I reasonably assert that that is exactly the same problem you have. Like I said about Barry Bickmore’s philosophy – the “opponents fail to understand each other’s point of view”. Or they fail to accept each other’s point of view. Conclusion – both may be wrong, either can be right but both cannot be right. This type of argument does not enable a conclusion of merit. Only the science itself can be used to make judgements and we do not agree on the science. Alternatively, time and nature taking its course will be an even better judge, but we have to wait a bit longer.


      • Rick Altman says:

        Dear Ken, I really don’t understand what you mean by the “tone” of Bickmore’s presentation. Obviously, he is a major challenge for you, because he used to think like you do, but all he does in the first 5 minutes is summarise why he has changed his mind. I accept that both sides of this foolish “debate” can and will accuse the other of avoiding the truth (i.e. cognitive dissonance) but, only one of us is failing to accept the legitimacy and significance of a modern-day scientific consensus. Because of the high levels of scientific ignorance amongst journalists, your attempt to appeal to reason (and/or an equal hearing) works extremely well in the media. However, this just exposes the stupidity of claiming that all opinions are equally valid irrespective of how they were arrived at (i.e. the marketplace of ideas). The fallacy of this thinking is what Bickmore exposes in the second half of his presentation: So-called climate change “sceptics” are not like Galileo fighting to resist the censorship of an obscurantist Establishment; they are fighting on behalf of just such an Establishment that does not want its insane “business as usual” programme derailed. We have no time to waste or wait: We are way beyond the point of having reasonable doubt about what is happening (or why). If we wait until there can be no doubt, it will be too late to do anything to stop irreversible change: This is what is so maddening and foolish about your demand that we wait and see. Exactly how much evidence of climatic disruption do you need?


      • Hi Rick, Unlike you, I have a grasp of the big picture and am not narrow-mindedly focussed on the aspect of atmospheric CO2 levels controlling the global temperature trend. Consider the other factors: There is documented evidence that the AGW scare and carbon control scheme are politically motivated. “the cause” There is an enormous amount of scientific information to support that blind acceptance of the AGW “science” is naive, at the least. There is clear evidence that the AGW scientists themselves are not confident of their “science”. There is clear evidence that they are not honest in their work or reporting. There is clear evidence that their climate modelling is incapable of accurately projecting future trends. The consensus you so readily rely on is not a reality. The above factors are truths which can neither be ignored nor debunked. You might then understand why I am sufficiently confident in my belief that the current carbon control drive is neither correct nor appropriate. In any case, the intended “saving of the world” scheme you support can only achieve its aims by reducing the world population to starvation and eradication. Regards, Ken.


      • Rick Altman says:

        You show me any evidence, and I will show you (because you refuse to let Bickmore show you) misinformation, mis-represented research, and misunderstood (data-mined) emails. I am not narrow-minded, Ken. If I was such, I would not post items about all aspects of the “political football” that is our environment. In an earlier comment, you posed the question, what has politics got to do with AGW? The answer is everything, because denying the reality of any and all environmental problems has become a necessity for those wedded to the “use it up and wear it out” growthmania campaign. There are too many people on this planet, that I will grant you, but it is our failure to tackle climate change – not the demand that we must do so – that is now endangering the lives of millions of them. Furthermore, in case you hadn’t noticed, hundreds of millions have died of starvation in the last 40 years; are you going to blame that on the diversion of funds to ban CFCs and tackle the hole in the ozone layer?


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