Friday, December 1, 2017

There is no debate!

Three weeks ago I received an invitation from the National Science and Technology Forum - 
Show us the evidence for climate change
17 November 2017, Kempton Park, Gauteng

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF
) is pleased to announce that Professors Bob and Mary Scholes will present on climate change. This is an interactive discussion on this critical matter.

I thought the opportunity to take part on an "interactive discussion" was too good to miss, so I registered for the event.

Then the programme came out, and I wrote to the NSTF:
"I see from the programme that only 20 minutes is set aside for discussion, which after 80 minutes of presentation seems rather unbalanced.Would it be possible to prebook five minutes of that time?  I have a very short presentation covering four of the issues that I believe the presenters will cover – and if they don’t cover one of them, I can easily drop that from my presentation."

There was a lot of scuttling around, and finally "Yes, we will make it possible" 

In the event, it turned out that the occasion was the Annual General Meeting of the NSTF, and Bob Scholes was effectively the guest speaker.  He gave what I would call the orthodox version of the climate change story. There were some very contentious bits - for instance, he believed the dendrothermometry behind the Hockey Stick, claiming that the author, Michael Mann, had been exonerated by eight separate hearings.  The fact that Steve McIntyre had shown conclusively that Mann's maths was wrong, and gave hockey sticks from random data, was ignored. Mann's "trick", of deleting the inconvenient data showing tree rings narrowing as the world warmed, was omitted. 

The lecture was about an hour long. Finally, then, there was to be discussion. There were a few questions, and when those slowed to naught, I was permitted to make my contribution. Scholes was allowed to respond and concentrated on the effect of 0.8 deg C warming - "The world was only 5 degrees colder at the depths of the Ice Age". - which surprised me. One ice core I know well, was several degrees warmer than today during the previous interglacial, and 10 deg C colder 20 000 years ago.

Over lunch, all the people at my table thanked me for my contribution. They felt it had been balanced, and showed that there was more to the orthodox view than they had been led to believe.

Two weeks went by, and there was a "Media Release":
and discussion can be found on the NSTF web site ( Please send information and comments to"

In hope I went to the website, and found Scholes' story there, and nothing else. Of my presentation, no sign.

I wrote to the NSTF - "I distinctly recall making a presentation, but I cannot find it on the website. When will it appear?" To date I have had no response. 

Clearly what I had to say must have been very subversive.  You can view it via:

I cannot help but think that the NSTF needs to wake up.  There are two sides to every debate. Presenting one and censoring the other isn't science.

About ten days after the above appeared, I had a very nice letter from the NSTF. Most apologetic that my presentation had been overlooked, but it was posted now. Perhaps all is not lost! 

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