2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
The Accidental Satirist, 30 April 2013
The book starts with a nice quote from Fred Hoyle on the Earth's vulnerability. This is highly ironic given that Hoyle famously disagreed with two significant 20th C consensuses: Big Bang Theory and that he believed Life formed in outer space rather than on Earth. The premise and conclusions of Lack are that those who disagree with a `consensus' are driven by "an ideologically-motivated rejection of science, maintained by the rejection of the vast majority of research-based and observable evidence and/or the invocation of a scientific conspiracy".
After a promising start claiming to cover academic research (from his own Masters thesis) on what motivates AGW sceptics, the academic credentials are devalued by several references to amateur encyclopedia Wikipedia, plus some to online DeSmog Blog, whose stated `manifesto' is "Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam". So while sceptics are decried for conspiracy theories, it seems ok to claim their own claims are a conspiracy. And while promising to avoid the "pejorative" term `denier', this doesn't prevent regular use of "deny" and "denial" throughout (even in the title).
The `research'? Lack selects known AGW-sceptics from a number of categories: scientists, journalists, politicians, etc; then gives quotes from them, alongside opinions from pro-AGW writers and himself to `demonstrate' these people hold morally unsound sceptic views. What do we learn? There is no effort to honestly understand their motivation, or even to provide evidence that they are driven by denial, conspiracy, or anti-environmentalist mindset. The conclusions are based on the very simplistic assumption that they must be wrong and dishonest because they don't agree with the `consensus' (just like the quoted Fred Hoyle?).
12 politicians are noted for being 'right wing' non-scientists, although working MP Graham Stringer MP (Labour) is bizarrely listed under `scientists' - on the basis he was previously a chemist. One scientist is criticised for saying "water vapour is a far more significant GHG than is CO2" (perhaps Lack should have looked a bit more at the science).
To an AGW-believer, this book gives you the `right' answer (which may explain endorsements by Michael Mann and Colin Summerhayes). For AGW-sceptics, the outcome is `well, is that it?'. Lack states: "care has been taken to be objective so as to avoid any potential accusation of confirmation bias (ie. setting out to find evidence for a theoretical position already held)". I was tempted to give 4 stars for this piece of perfect satire. But, of course, the satire was by accident rather than intention.