Rush to Judgment

10 November 2007

Last week, journalist David Thorpe decided to test the louder and more ignorant climate change contrarians. To do this, Thorpe created a paper that purported to show that global warming was actually caused by tiny organisms living in the ocean, rather than industrial emissions (hint: it's not). The journal it purported to come from (The Journal of Geoclimatic Studies) did not actually exist. Nor did the scientists exist. Nor did their purported university exist. But it contained charts and graphs and other science-y looking things like this:

161 x Λ³Жญ5,6,1,8Φ-4 = {(ΣΨ²Њyt3 - 14๖P9) x 49}

2β x ⅜kxgt -§

Scientists and intelligent adults (or anyone with access to Google) could easily see this paper for what it was: a hoax/fraud/sloppy paper. Nonetheless, people like Rush Limbaugh (who passed it on to his 20 million listeners) ate this bullshit up. (See here for more people who were duped)

But wait. It gets better. Scientist Dr. Roy Spencer had warned Limbaugh the day before not to fall for this trap, calling it a "hoax." College dropout Limbaugh misinterpreted this warning, and thought that Spencer was calling global warming a "hoax" (something Rush himself believes).

So here we have college dropout Rush Limbaugh trumpeting this "study" despite the fact that a real scientist warned him not to do so. Real classy journalism.

On Rush Limbaugh's website, he has posted an "apology" in which the scientist involved (Dr. Spencer) praises his own ability to spot the hoax (completely missing the point that Rush Limbaugh failed to understand the paper or even the warnings not to talk about the paper). The "apology" is immediately followed by the normal global warming contrarian talking points.

UPDATE: David Thorpe explains the hoax here.

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