Sunday, August 6, 2017

Russell Cook and his "25 errors"

I recently made a posting about how the denier hatchet-man Russell Cook had written a letter to the editor to beat up a woman who submitted a letter of her own. You can read about it here. Cook apparently took exception to my post about him and made one of his own, purporting to show 25 errors I made. Certainly, I’m always concerned about making errors and put a lot of effort into my writing to ensure it factually accurate, so I took a look at what he had to say. It was so humorous I had to go through and examine it point by point. I made a screen shot before he realizes how stupid it is. My analysis is below and I hope you have as much reading about it as I had writing it. I start out each section with my comment that Cook states is in error, followed by his comment (reprinted here verbatim). I then respond and determine if I made an error or not.


Me: Tom Harris will lie
Cook:  1. Lie about what? Harris routinely refers to climate assessments from skeptic climate scientists, and what climatology expertise does Keating have to prove such skeptics lie about their science-based assertions
Response: My expertise is that I’m a professor of physics. Unlike Tom, who allows people to call him ‘Dr. Harris,’ or ‘Professor Harris,’ or to state that he’s a scientist, I really am one. I do my research in planetary geophysics and have been actively involved in research in climate science for over 25 years and a student of the subject for a good ten years before that.

As for Harris’ lies, let me provide some links to a few examples:

That is eight separate articles by Harris where I’ve exposed his intentional deceptions (i.e., lies) and documented his false science claims. And, that was for only the last three months. Harris has a very long trail of lies, deceptions, false arguments and false science claims. I’m not sure if Harris has ever gotten the science correct.

Harris continually states he has never been affiliated with the fossil fuel industry. Take a look at his bio from APCO which states, “Specifically, he has worked with oil and gas, coal…” Harris is lying every time he denies his affiliations with the fossil fuel industry.:

And to be clear, if I went around stating Harris was lying and I couldn’t back that statement up, I could be liable under libel and slander laws. You can be sure I was very certain of the accuracy of my statements before I ever made them.
Error/Not Error:  This one is such a non-error that I’m can’t believe Cook even claimed it was. It has to be embarrassing for both Cook and Harris to have his lies documented and pointed out like this. He should have let this sleeping dog lie.

Me: Russell Cook will show up to be his pit bull
Cook: 2.  Hardly. Tom Harris writes op-eds and letters-to-the-editor that I am totally unaware of, but he has alerted me via email to a few where he knows I would have some fun challenging his critics to prove he or others are paid by 'Big Coal & Oil' to lie.
Response: Incredible, Cook just stated he doesn’t come running to defend Harris by claiming he runs to defend Harris. Does he even read these things before he posts them? The truth is, as soon as the comments demand Harris back up his claims with facts and science, he goes into hiding and Cook shows up to try and do the heavy lifting. It’s typically pretty embarrassing for both of them.
Error/Not Error: Laughably far from being an error. Thanks, Russell. I needed that.

Me: Tom Harris is a paid shill of the fossil fuel industry
Cook: 3.  Two words: prove it. Keating has yet to produce an iota of evidence proving 'money paid' came under any instructions from anybody on what, when, where, and how to knowingly lie.
Response: Cook’s logic is that, since I was not sitting in a meeting where some fossil fuel executive said to Harris, “We’ll pay you a bunch of money to lie about climate change,” that Harris is, therefore, not a paid shill. Go back to the first statement about Harris’ lies. Take special note of his APCO bio showing he was a PR man for the fossil fuel industry. Clearly, Harris is lying on a regular basis. Further, all of his lies are to undermine climate science and promote fossil fuels, especially coal. Further, his comments about fossil fuels are almost always lies and work to promote that industry. Someone is paying ICSC to do all of this. Harris has long-standing ties to the fossil fuel and tobacco industries, including Heartland Institute, which is paid by the fossil fuel industry to undermine climate science. There is only one conclusion to reach here.
Error/Not Error: Majestically not an error. Harris paid shill status has been documented for decades.

Me: it's his job to place anti-science pieces
Cook: 4.  Harris often refers to science-based assessments from skeptic climate scientists who in turn cite peer-reviewed material published in science journals to make their case. Exactly what is anti-science about that?
Response: What is anti-science about Harris’ pieces is the fact that there is no credible, supportable science in his claims; the fact (yes, fact) that he lies; the fact that he misleads; the fact that he uses false arguments; the fact that all of this deception is to make the climate science appear to be non-credible and we shouldn’t do anything about it; and the fact that he’s paid to undermine the scientists. That is quite a track record of anti-science activity.

And, don't forget how his nearly sole source of information is the Climate Reconsidered Reconsidered report from the NIPCC. The NIPCC is itself paid by the Heartland Institute, making it a paid shill organization. The smell is getting bad here.
Error/Not Error: Not even close to becoming an error.

Me: campaign to undermine climate science.
Cook: 5.  What campaign? What evidence exists naming the participants, their strategy meetings, and what happens if speakers such as Harris have material which does not meet the approval of fossil fuel executives?
Response: Refer to the Luntz report. Harris, and other paid shills, are following the recommendations of this report to the letter. You can read the entire report at: This is a well-organized and well-funded campaign.
Error/Not Error: Not an error, but good effort on the part of Cook to maintain the appearance that he isn’t following someone else’s talking points.

Me: association with the fossil fuel and tobacco industries
Cook: 6.  "Associations" are worthless as evidence of corruption without proof that money was paid in exchange for material which all parties acknowledge is false, deceptive, etc.
Response: Not true. When Harris lies about his association with these industries and then openly works to promote them, that is corruption.
noun: corruption; plural noun: corruptions
1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Synonyms: dishonesty, unscrupulousness, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, crime, criminality, wrongdoing

Yikes! Even without the payoff, Harris has proven to be dishonest and fraudulent. And, of course, refer to the APCO bio above.
Error/Not Error: Most definitely not an error.

Me: TomHarrisPaidShill
Cook: 7.  And the page Keating links to contains zero evidence proving Harris is in any kind of conspiracy where he is paid to lie.
Response: What???? This is an example of Russell’s favorite line of logic: “It’s not true until I say it’s true. Therefore, if I say it isn’t true, it isn’t.” For further amplification, I refer you to my responses above. All of this is documented in the Tom Harris Clearing House, plus much more. And, the APCO bio is included there, among many other gems about Harris.
Error/Not Error: Not an error, but it is a great example of Cook’s faulty logic stem, which we will be seeing more of.

Me: Duluth New Tribune, a news media that is an unfortunately friendly place for the anti-science crowd
Cook: Aside: I'd like to see Keating defend this statement in front of the entire staff of the Duluth News Tribune.
Response: Gladly. And, I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Take a look at this letter to the editor complaining about this very issue. As long as they publish anti-science articles from climate change deniers who are attempting to undermine the science, it will be a friendly place for the anti-science crowd.
Error/Not Error: He didn’t actually call this an error, which is good, because it isn’t.

Me: You can read the response Terry and I made here.
Cook: 8.  Keating's link DOESN'T go to the paper of record, the Duluth News Tribune's version of his letter-to-the-editor, which is at this link:

Why? Because Keating's and his co-author's original version, which he DOES link to. contained unsubstantiated personal attacks against Tom Harris, which the DNT does not permit. Compare what appears at the DNT against what Keating originally proposed. After his LTE did appear online, Keating altered the introductory  paragraph about his LTE to what is seen here , to mention its publication, albeit without a word of why he deleted the post for 10 days.
Response: He isn’t even saying this is an error. He’s merely complaining that he doesn’t like the way the other kids play. I provided a link to my posting on my blog and there was nothing deceptive about it. After all, it says in big letters at the top: Dialogues on Global Warming. Here’s the story: I and Terry wrote a response together and submitted it to the Duluth News Tribune. We received the following response from the editor,

Hello, Mr. Keating. Just an FYI. To help assure the letters to the editor that we publish remain civil, we don't allow letters to be about previous letter writers but rather the content of their letters. That helps head off personal attacks. So your letter in response to Tom Harris's letter was edited as you see it below. Just didn't want you to be surprised.

I also posted the original response on my blog. What I didn’t know is that Russell Cook contacted the paper and tried to prevent its publication (see the next Cook statement below.). The paper asked me to take it down because they required it to have not been submitted for publication before. I did not realize that posting it on my blog counted as previously published, so I removed it as they asked. Once it was published, I was allowed to post it again. In order to ensure I wasn’t violating anything, I included the original version instead of the paper’s version. Besides, I wanted to highlight how Harris was deceptive again.
Error/Not Error: Again, he didn’t even say it was an error, so it certainly falls under the Not Error category. This is another example of Cook’s deceptions. All he did was complain about me and then made the bold statement that I had made 25 errors.

Me: called in Russell Cook to do one of his attack pieces.
Cook: 9.  Harris did no such thing. The actual sequence of events happened as follows: Since I periodically look at Keating's blog as a matter of curiosity, I found his then-proposed 6/28/17 letter-to-the-editor (archived in original form here ), and I alerted a DNT editor to it as yet another potential opportunity to challenge people like Keating to prove their assertions. The editor replied to say Keating's publication of it at his blog violated the newspaper's requirement about having first-publication exclusivity to such pieces, and he asked Keating to delete his blog post, which Keating did. Before Keating's LTE reply to Harris was published, I saw another LTE critical of Harris at the DNT of a rather similar nature, which prompted me to write the letter Keating is referring to here. I did this entirely on my own with absolutely zero prompting from Tom Harris.
Response: I’ll stand by this statement without hesitation. It is irrelevant if Harris called him about this specific issue when Cook has already stated Harris has him responding to comments and articles. If that is the working relationship they have established and he acts on his own (or, possibly, not), he is still being called in by Harris.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.

Me: Russell Cook is a hatchet-man for the Heartland Institute
Cook: 10.  No, I'm not. They do know of my history of challenging letter writers and article commenters to show readers where the proof exists indicting skeptics of corporate corruption, and they sometimes suggest places where I can pose those challenges, but I receive no instructions on what to write.
Response: Did he really just say that? Heartland tells me what to do, knowing that I write stupid comments to harass people, but I’m not their hatchet man.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. I’m glad I took a screen shot of this one before Cook realizes what he said and takes it down.

Me: gets paid thousands of dollars
Cook: 11.  I'm not paid a dime by anybody to do what I do. I have fully disclosed my strings-free grants from Heartland from the start of my blog:
Response: Compare this one to the claim above (number 10). Heartland knows what he does, tells him where to go to make comments, and pays him. Somehow, in Cook’s weird universe, that is not getting paid.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. I’m trying to think of some witty comment to go along with this, but I can’t think of anything funnier than what Cook just said.

Me: gets paid thousands of dollars to obsess over Ross Gelbspan.
Cook: 12.  My GelbspanFiles blog - which Keating cannot bring himself to link to here - dissects Gelbspan's role in the accusation that skeptic climate scientists are paid industry money to lie. Since Gelbspan is widely described as the 'discoverer' of this alleged corruption, astute readers will see this as a focus of mine, and certainly not any kind of unwarranted obsession.
Response:  Let’s see: His blog is called the “GelbspanFiles.” It’s since been changed, but his “Who We Are” page on the Heartland Institute previously stated "He specializes in research of the origins of accusations leveled at skeptics and the associations of people surrounding it, most notably anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan." And, he can’t stop talking about him. Sure looks like obsession from where I’m sitting. As for the pay, see claim number 11 above.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.

Me: won the Pulitzer Prize
Cook: 13.  If this is so, why is it that the Pulitzer organization itself, the final arbiter of who receives their prizes, does not acknowledge Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner?
Response: Cook is technically correct on this one. Ross Gelbspan conceived, directed and edited a series of articles in the Boston Globe that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. The prize actually named Kenneth Cooper, Joan Fitz Gerald, Jonathan Kaufman, Norman Lockman, Gary McMillan, Kirk Scharfenberg and David Wessel of The Boston Globe. So, Gelbspan’s name was not on the prize. 
What is amusing about this is that Cook was the first one to tell me how Gelpspan was a Pulitzer winner. Take a look at his comment:

Meanwhile, what's up with the "the sold[sic] job of attacking one particular blogger" line? What blogger? Show us all exactly where it says that. Surely you don't actually believe the "Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist" Ross Gelbspan is a mere blogger, do you?? Really???

After reading his comment, I did some research and misinterpreted the statement concerning the prize. Apparently, so did Cook.
Error/Not Error: This is an error. I suppose I could try a Russellism and blame him for stating Gelbspan won the prize in the first place. But, I won’t. It was my responsibility to get my facts straight and I obviously take that responsibility much more seriously than Cook, so I’m the one to blame.

Me: My first run-in with Cook was several years ago when he made a poorly-disguised threat on this blog to sue me
Cook: 14.  As I described with screencaptures in my prior analysis of Keating  , his very first reply to me struck me a so bizarre that my immediate response was to re-phrase my challenge in an entirely different manner to overcome any kind of perception problem he had about what the challenge was.
Response: Picture this scenario: You are talking to someone who wants you to stop saying the things you’ve been saying and that person says to you, “If you had to answer a court subpoena as a defense witness supporting people accused of committing libel/slander against skeptic climate scientists, is that material from ExxonSecrets all you'd have to bring with you?” (Exact quote.) How would you interpret that? If you didn’t interpret it as a threat or an effort to intimidate, then you are different from most people.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. Cook can try to recant as many times as he wants, but the fact is that he was trying to intimidate me with a threat of a lawsuit. Suck it up, Russell, put your big boy pants on and take responsibility for your actions.

Me: if I didn't stop criticizing the Heartland Institute.
Cook: 15.  I never even mentioned the Heartland Institute in my very first comment at Keating's blog:
Response: The blog post and the conversation were about Heartland and the NIPCC (Heartland’s fake science group). There was no other topic. If Cook decided to start discussing something else in the middle of the conversation he gave no indication of that. Therefore, it was, and is, logical to assume he was referring to my criticisms of Heartland.
Error/Not Error: Not error and not even very ingenious of Cook.

Me: He quickly backed down
Cook: 16.  Again, my second-ever comment at Keating's blog was to rephrase the identical challenge to produce evidence proving skeptic climate scientists were paid to lie, and I politely but relentlessly posed this challenge, with apparently enough damaging effect that he chose to ban me from commenting there:

One reason why he claimed he did this was my alleged personal attacks, but I'm confident readers will find no such thing within the entire history of my comments at his blog:
Response: I delete comments that are overly offensive. Cook was making repeated uncivil comments and was trolling my blog. After several warnings, I banned him. No, you won’t see his offensive comments on the blog. But then again, you’ll see very few uncivil comments from other trolls. I even banned one person because of a racially offensive handle.

What Cook isn’t telling you here is when he first tried to intimidate me I told him the first thing I was going to do was “subpoena the necessary financials of the individuals and organizations involved.” He immediately backed down and has had a bug up his butt about it ever since. Just like any playground bully, stand up to them and they back down, but they don’t like it.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.

Cook: Aside:  Keating has never yet identified who these lawyers are or what type of law they practice.
Response: Really? That’s your argument? I didn’t identify these lawyers, so, therefore, it isn’t real.Sorry, I'm not providing that kind of information and it really isn't any business of yours.
Error/Not Error: Not an error (or even a credible complaint). But, of course, he didn’t actually say it was an error. He was simply jumping at another opportunity to embarrass himself. I would’ve thought he already had enough of those, but I guess not.

Me: simply proclaim nothing is evidence until he says it is.
Cook: 17.  Hardly. I demonstrate at considerably length at GelbspanFiles how particular narratives do not line up right, and how the 'corrupt skeptics' accusation falls apart no matter which angle it is viewed from. I leave it to readers' judgement about such problems.
Response: Please see his number 7 claim above for an example of this strategy of his. It is consistent with Harris’ strategy of stating, “I stopped reading when...,” only to then discuss topics that occurred after the point he claimed he quit reading. Cook is kind of similar – a very shallow, unimaginative tactic that proves nothing, but makes him sound clever.
Error/Not Error: Still not an error and yet another statement of mine that Russell proved correct with his own words and actions.

Me: show me where the author describes "cataclysmic-sounding situations" anywhere.
Cook: 18.  "deniers of global climate change also support an "alternate reality," one that may well spell disaster for humans in the next 25 to 50 years" / "the imminent calving of the Larsen C ice shelf" / "continued loss of ice on the Greenland ice sheet" / "water flowing into Davis Strait and the Arctic Ocean, raising sea levels"

When such events are described by global warming believers as potentially causing millions of refugees, that's the definition of cataclysm:
Response: The writer of the letter did not make any claim about millions of refugees, so you’re already wrong on this claim. But, keep in mind that droughts, floods and famines are all disasters. All of these, and much more, are already happening and getting worse because of climate change and will continue to do so. The other instances you mentioned are things that have already occurred. A disaster is not a cataclysmic event.
Error/Not Error: Not an error (or even a very good try).

Me: Maybe it's to attack the author of that letter
Cook: 19.  No, the objective was to set up how such letter writers are enraged when the science-based emotionless assessments from skeptic climate scientists undermine the alarmism of global warming believers, and that such believers often refuse to engage in reasoned, calm debate, but instead launch into emotion-laden personal attacks. Which is exactly what the letter writer did with zero evidence behind the accusation.
Response: First, in this comment Cook is describing the actions of the anti-science deniers, not the writer of that letter. But, in no way did Cook demonstrate that was his intention. What he did was to attack the writer of that letter (and continues to do so in these comments of his). He started with the attack, “are often livid at the mere mention of famous-name climatologists and climate-denier organizations which doubt it,” without ever producing any of these famous-names. He then presents false statements concerning the denier movement as being factual without ever backing them up. Funny, that’s what he accused the letter writer of doing. This is yet another example of his “it’s not true until I say it is” logic.
Error/Not Error: Not an error. Cook is a bully and he showed it by beating up an anonymous woman.

Me: people like Cook hate is the fact that essentially every climate scientists in the world who is active in the field acknowledges manmade climate change is real.
Cook: 20.  Keating is of course guessing what my opinion is. The question of course is not whether humans have some effect over climate, it is entirely whether our activity is the primary driver of global warming.
Response: No, you’ve expressed this opinion many times. There is no guessing involved. Take a look at my last posting about you for an example of this.
Error/Not Error: Not an error.

Me: Cook provided NO climatologists who doubt it.
Cook: Aside:  Letters-to-the-editor have word limitations. Whether Keating chooses to acknowledge it or not, climatologists exist who dispute the notion that human activity is the primary driver of what little global warming we've seen over the last 150 years.
Response: Interesting that Cook didn’t provide any of these climatologists. Maybe he’s thinking of Roy Spencer, who has been caught committing fraud with his research so many times he can’t get anything published anymore. Or, Tim Ball, who is not a climatologist and whose record led a court to state, “The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist.” Or, maybe Richard Lindzen, who stated for years he received no money from the fossil fuel industry for his research until it was discovered he was receiving up to $2500 per day for ‘consulting.’ Or maybe he means Willie Soon, who is an aerospace engineer and not a climatologist, who has close ties with the anti-science Heartland Institute and has received over $1 million over the last decade in funding exclusively from the fossil fuel industry. Or, maybe he means Christopher Monckton who is not a climatologist and has falsely claimed, among many other lies, that he is a member of the House of Lords to the point that Parliament sent him a letter to stop making it and posted the letter on its webpage. Or, maybe he means John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, who claims to be a meteorologist, even though he isn’t, and has no degree in science at all and has his every claim routinely debunked. I could go on, but the point is made. I’m waiting for Cook to produce even a single credible climatologist who says manmade global warming isn’t real.

And, please note that he STILL hasn’t produced one, even with as many words as he wants.
Error/Not Error: A complete face-plant by Cook. Not an error.

Me: It's because he can't.
Cook: 21.  Keating's assertion here is acutely ironic, because my first-ever comment at his blog was in reference to the NIPCC Reports, which features numerous names of internationally recognized skeptic climate scientists, and as I mentioned in one of my GelbspanFiles posts , my email address book reads like a “Who’s Who” list of skeptic scientists. 
Response: Take a look here or here to see just how incredibly bad the NIPCC report is. That is only a very small reference list of places you can go to to find out about the lack of credibility in that report.
Anyone who thinks the NIPCC has anything to do with science is suffering a mental illness. This report of theirs has been completely debunked. It’s so bad that it is a joke and a punch line rolled in one. If it is so good, why isn’t they can’t support their claims with any experimental evidence? Answer: It’s because they can’t.
Error/Not Error: Most definitely not an error. Cook needs to seek psychiatric counseling if he really believes the NIPCC reports show any kind of science undermining climate scientists.

Me: Cook goes on to claim there is no evidence that the fossil fuel industry has been funding the anti-science community to protect it's profits.
Cook: 22.  Keating torpedoes his own assertion with my subsequent verbatime quote. Nobody denies that skeptic climate scientists have received some funds from industry people. Clear as day, I say there is no evidence proving the money bought lies as part of any explicit arrangement acknowledged by all parties as corrupt action.
Response: Once again, Cook uses his “it’s not true until I say it is” line of logic. There is a mountain of evidence. See the next comment for some of these references as provided in my original post.
Error/Not Error: No error here except on the part of Cook.

Me: try reading this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.
Cook: 23.  What's the common thread among all those links? 'Deniers are funded.' What's missing at every one of those? Evidence that the funding was in exchange for specific lies that all parties know were lies designed to keep 'Big Coal & Oil' profitable.
Response: So, given nine separate reference, Cook denies them all. “It’s not true…”
Error/Not Error: Not an error so much that it’s pretty disgraceful of Cook to even try.

Me: includes internal documents from the Heartland Institute
Cook: 24.  No, the genuine leaked documents were utterly benign, devoid of any evidence of a conspiracy to lie, but the one fake memo had to be concocted in order to make a conspiracy mountain out of a boring mole hill. See:
Response: Not even the least bid credible, Russell. Take a look here.

Or here.

Or here.

There’s lots more, but the point is made. It was a Heartland internal document and did a lot of damage.
Error/Not Error: Heartland and Cook made errors, but I didn’t.

Me: Cook will just tell you this isn't evidence.
Cook: 25.  The inexplicable appearance here is that Christopher Keating seemingly does not comprehend what the meaning of corrupt is: "having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain."
Response: I posted it above, but it’s worth repeating:
noun: corruption; plural noun: corruptions
1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Synonyms: dishonesty, unscrupulousness, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, crime, criminality, wrongdoing
Cook (and Harris) have repeatedly shown intent to deceive. In this way, they are dishonest and fraudulent and that makes them corrupt. But, of course, Cook will tell you, “If I don’t say it’s true…”
Error/Not Error: There was no error here and I stand by my posting. I also stand by this one.

Conclusion: Out of 25 so-called errors, one was, in fact, an error on my part while 24 were not. That’s about right for Russell Cook’s batting average on the facts and science.

Of course, Cook will read this and reply, "Until I say it's true, it isn't true. Therefore, this isn't true."

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