John Cook, the crook Cook

Shearer's cooks tend to be a rough lot and an old shearer once told me that there are three types of shearer's cook:  Cooks, crook cooks and wilful murderers. John Cook is not a wilful murderer.

He has written a number of articles (e.g. here) in which he explores the apparent mystery that a lot of people don't believe that dangerous global warming is going on.

He thinks the science is settled (even though his own research shows two thirds of climate scientists taking no position on global warming) so everybody should believe it.  He therefore puts forward various explanations for why some people do not believe it.  In effect he treats climate skepticism as a form of mental illness that needs to be diagnosed and cured.  Leftists have of course been calling conservatives maladjusted at least as far back as 1950 so Cook is offensive but hardly novel in his approach.

I can find nothing in Cook's writings that gives a reason why one should believe that catastrophic warming is imminent.  The known temperature facts are not at issue.  There was an overall warming during the 20th century of about two thirds of one degree Celsius and no statistically significant warming in the 21st century. That's what the Warmist data shows and I agree with it. So the warming we did have was trivial and even that has now stopped.  I would like Mr Cook to tell me what there is to worry about in that situation.

I live only about 15 minutes from where Mr Cook works so he could even come and tell me in person.  I in fact challenge him to do that.  What scientific fact have I overlooked?  I have not found such a fact so far yet but I am always open to new information. He wants to persuade people of the truth of his beliefs so let him start with me. My email address is

He will probably find out, however, that I taught research methods and statistics at a major Australian university for a number of years, so will run like a scalded cat from any contact with me.

1 comment:

  1. I read John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky's paper, The Debunking Handbook. The leftist authors, a climate scientist of some sort and a cognitive psychologist, present it as a handbook on how to debunk conservative thought in debate. It is just a basic sales manual, that is all. Any dodgy car salesman could have wrote it. It explains how to present a parcel of information to someone in a way that it is supposedly appealing, at least to the gullible. And how to counter someone's resistance to it by manipulating them. They say it isn't "about manipulating people" but about "giving the facts a fighting chance". (Ha ha, yeah pull the other leg too fellas.)

    For example, they suggest the technique of using "self-affirmation" whereby the authors advise one to make the other person feel good about themselves by prompting them to describe an occasion when they felt good about their self after acting on their values, and that will then make the person more receptive to your message. The ol' elicit-a-feel-good-emotion sales trick. Also a basic manipulative psychopath's trick, and clinical counsellor's trick, but there are more subtle and effective ways to do it than these two clumsy ones describe. They also advise to use friendly words like "carbon offset" instead of "tax", which technique they call "framing", and which is really just the leftist habit of changing words and use of deceptive buzzwords. They even say a "key element" is to use an "explicit warning" such as "watch out, you might be mislead", ie. they advocate using fear. And they describe how to present your "message" neatly and with graphics so as to make a nice little package.

    Their paper has nothing to do with how to debate rationally, or how to arrive at the truth. But if you want to know a little about how to lie and manipulate then read their paper. And they are not even good at that. A cunning crook could explain it better.

    There is a lot of talk in their paper about facts and myths, and information and misinformation, but nothing about how information even when it is correct is not knowledge until proven to be so, nor about how to differentiate between what we know and what we only think we know, nor about how to tell the difference between truth and falsity, and about their respective natures and structural relationship to one another; there is nothing about Socratic enquiry or questioning. Nothing about how all facts are connected and reality is extensive in all directions, and how falsity is always limited in its scope and only ever of shallow depth compared to the truth, like a painting on a rock. Nothing about how to ask questions adjacent to the previous answer and thus venture sideways until we arrive at the periphery of the false picture where its edge contradicts with truth. Nothing about how to ask successively deeper questions within the boundary of the previous answer, so as to peel back successive layers of paint until the truth is seen behind the false picture. Nothing about how to test an apparent contradiction and how to identify truth from falsity.

    Personally I think these two over educated academics have next to no working knowledge on the mechanics of cognition, or on how to arrive at truth, or even about how to deceive and manipulate well. A cunning psychopath would lead their feeble minds merrily along their own garden path, sniffing their own roses, and make them feel pleased with themselves all the way. They are amateurs.


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