Ben Pile: Letter to the Climate Shrinks on the BBC

Posted: January 30, 2013 by tallbloke in alarmism, flames, media, Philosophy, Politics, propaganda
Tags: , ,

Letter to the Climate Shrinks
Posted by Ben Pile on January 25, 2013

bbc_logo1BBC Radio 4 show, Thinking Allowed had a feature on the psychoanalysts perspective on climate change this week. Bishop Hill picked up the story. Thinking Allowed is one of my favourite programmes, so I was a tad disappointed to hear that thinking isn’t allowed if it’s thinking that contradicts climate orthodoxy. Here’s my letter to the programme.

Dear Laurie,

I refer to your section on climate change and psychoanalysis in your most recent programme.

Your feature frames the problem as a failure to recognise what one of your guests called ‘the reality of climate change’, which moved on to a discussion about ‘types of denial’. However, if psychoanalysis has anything to say in the climate debate, it must speak to climate sceptics as much as their counterparts.

Sally Weintrobe lets the cat out of the bag when she claims that we are ‘increasingly aware’ of ‘weird weather’, citing hurricane Sandy and the UK’s recent wet weather. Yet there was nothing remarkable about the weather last year. The IPCC’s recent special report on extreme weather found that there is no evidence of increased frequency or intensity of storms, floods or droughts, or losses caused by them attributable to anthropogenic climate change.

So psychoanalysis must have something to say about Sally Weintrobe’s misconception of the ‘reality’ of climate change represented by the IPCC. Her views on climate seem to be as far out of kilter with the scientific consensus as any “denier’s”.

Further to her misconception of the reality of climate change is Weintrobe’s misconception of climate sceptics’ arguments. There are many forms of climate scepticism. Some sceptics object to environmental ethical or political philosophy. Some object to environmental economics. Some object to the attempt to mobilise political action through the use of fear. And of course, some sceptics object to some of the claims that seem to emerge from climate science. Your guests would have us believe that sceptics contest the claim that ‘global warming is happening’, whereas the question that most sceptics of climate science ask is about the role of feedback mechanisms that are believed to amplify the global warming effect — a subject on which there is far less consensus that your guests will admit.

For a programme with the title, ‘thinking allowed’, this is a problem. Rather than doing justice to the debate, a psychopathology of climate scepticism is proposed. Thus thinking is not allowed: to think differently about climate change is to have a broken mind, requiring the intervention of psychoanalysts.

There is a dark history of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists being recruited by the state to elicit the obedience of the public. Your guests seem to want to continue that tradition. That desire for control is what this climate sceptic objects to.

The recruitment of headshrinkers to a political campaign is a far more concerning phenomenon than people living in ‘denial’ of ‘the reality of climate change’. Your guests would rather construct elaborate theories about the pathology of climate sceptics than speak to them. Thus, their theories stand as a demonstration of only what is happening inside their own heads, rather than in society at large. This in turn speaks about the nature of environmental politics and the anti-democratic tendency of environmentalism.


Link to full transcript of the radio 4 segment of ‘Thinking Allowed’

  1. Abandon TV says:

    A concise history of the rebranding of the climate-themed ‘outside threat’ being used by the ruling establishment to justify their global carbon taxes and other scams like windmills. Rebranding is unfortunate, but necessary, as more and more data slips past the propaganda machine…..

    Global warming
    Climate change
    Climate disruption

    (our computer models predict the next rebranding will have to be..)



  2. alexjc38 says:

    I’ve now transcribed the segment of today’s edition of Thinking Allowed where listeners’ reactions are read out – Ben gets a mention!

  3. mitigatedsceptic says:

    The combination of pre-reformation thinking with modern mind-bending techniques is a terrifying prospect. That is much more fearful than any of the horror stories dreamt up by the alarmists.

  4. Craig M says:

    A real push to make out sceptics are abnormal since warmists are lacking in the science. If I was looking for correlation I’d say the increase is co2 is affecting sensitive brains.

    It would be funny if the overtones were not so disturbing.

    How long before a self appointed messianic crusader such as Weintrobe suggests children of sceptics should be taken into care and deprogrammed?

  5. tckev says:

    I have obviously been under misunderstanding, I have always assumed that such programs as this, with poorly punning titles, must be the usual fey BBC comedy program. What re-enforced this notion was the entirely spurious idea, propounded through this program that modern psychoanalysis, psychology, and sociology was, by any measure, scientific. Indeed I have listened to recording of past programs and I am still of a mind that this is a comedy show, all be it a feeble one.

  6. Doug Proctor says:

    I wonder how pleasant, reasonable letters like this are received. I suspect that the recepient sees the sender as a sarcastic, narcissistic, smartass. To be dismissed.

    I’ve had the same response.

    Those who already know, don’t need to discuss, and perhaps they CAN’T discuss. The psychological blocks to information that challenges deeply held beliefs are very strong.

    I expect that a true discussion, in which graphs are shown and commented on, would result in a case of cognitive dissonance in the warmist, whereby the refutation would take on the “authority” expertise of the IPCC while conceeding the warmist wasn’t an “expert” – and implying the skeptic isn’t either.

    We hold desperately to our comforting beliefs. CAGW is a comfort because we are part of a large, “concerned” family who are struggling to make the future better.

    I hold desperately to the comforting belief that my stockbroker is going to make my 0.4X retirement funds become 1.2X necessary funds to retire in five years. I suppose that makes me eligible for the IPCC-Hansen-Gore beliefs …..

  7. Is there perchance a link between “Skip” Lewandowski and Weintrobe? Has she been sniffing the Lew-papers too deeply?

  8. Simon says:

    The BBC should have called it ‘Thinking Aloud (from the Left)’. That pretty much describes all their programming.

  9. Doug Proctor says:
    January 31, 2013 at 1:04 am
    I wonder how pleasant, reasonable letters like this are received. I suspect that the recepient sees the sender as a sarcastic, narcissistic, smartass. To be dismissed.

    I suspect you suspect, at least on the dismissal, correctly.

    As one compelled to fund it without choice, but with a professional appreciation of the absolute power of a £4Bpa broadcast PR machine, I have taken to to raising concerns with our national informing and educating treasure when accuracy and/or integrity stray.

    The BBC complaints system is, of course, a joke. It is designed as a labyrinth, with hurdles and traps of their own creation, all there to intercept anything and by default as policy make it go away.

    The initial defences are no more than Turing Machine rejections, between two and three of them.

    No matter what they will apologise for the delay in replying (they have to tick that box), and then say they can see no problem.

    Only if you persist will it get escalated to the ECU and a ‘Director’, who will issue a vast screed (ironically the BBC will try and claim that you responding to their vast screeds back is taking too much time, and try and expedite (ban) you.. to ‘save the licence fee payers money’ – Douglas Adams would appreciate the Beware of the Leopard aspects of this) before getting comfortable in their belief that… the BBC has got it about right. No matter how factual or well documented your complaint, they will fall back on belief. And if they are really nailed, they will tell you what you have complained about even when it’s not, answer that and studiously ignore the actual issue they can’t and hence don’t want to address.

    At this juncture it gets tricky. As with a BBC internal investigation on anything, they can then decide how they are doing, and have a wonderful value judgement, whereby further exchanges can be terminated if the BBC thinks the BBC won’t see merit in a complaint…. about the BBC. Imagine a Paxman sneer if any other organisation tried to explain away its self-monitoring in such a way?

    Only in the most exceptional of cases will you get past this… if not banned by now by them running out of legitimate ways to fail to answer your questions… to the Trust. That is, the BBC Trust. This is an entity in theory tasked with representing the licence fee payer with the internal BBC structures. In practice it is just another BBC department whose function is to ensure the BBC has no questions asked or is ever held to account. They view these two as reporting-only and as what they solely get to do of others. Look no further than Chairman Patten’s stated views and actions on this.

    The ONLY way to prevail is to keep cool and stay polite, as you suggest, and not give up. The merest hint on frustration on your part will see accusations of bad faith, faux outrage and a calling-it-all-off jobsworth flounce attempt.

    And as I say, they have a ‘guilty until confirmed guilty’ policy that can lead to a banning anyway, at any stage (this can be appealed, but will take months if not years, and vast resources on both sides; the difference being theirs are limitless and funded… and internally driven), but it is possible to get through it all and prevail. But they can and will play dirty. They may decide to ‘investigate’ a complainant (again using an external consultant they hire, who is given free run of the BBC corridors, with all you have provided to be shared with anyone – note the disclaimer on any BBC communication tries to make it just their little secret and you can’t tell anyone – but cannot be introduced to you directly. So any exchange of testimony is via a BBC filter, to a person whose judgement function is funded… well, signed off… by the person being judged), and that can go beyond the BBC. They can and have used BBC resources to try and find out what people may have been saying about them elsewhere (as here), and try and make totally irrelevant associations to serve their bunker-level mentalities. They will also panic when they commit evidence of such an abuse to print, and try and pretend it is not for them to answer for such actions, delaying demands for explanations over and over again.

    Only in the rarest of instances, will one get through.

    And that will be it. No consequence, especially to vastly-paid public servants caught bare-faced claiming black is white. No change. They will make a note, promise not to do it again… and promptly do just that the next day.

    All yours for just £145.50 per annum. No refunds. For ever. That is what makes the BBC so unique. Plus a few other things, as evidenced by this thread subject. Quite a lot of less than stellar uniques in fact, for an entity that educates and informs the UK public, and claims to speak for…’us’. With no backsies.

  10. tallbloke says:

    In other BBC-bias news:

    The BBC has revealed the cost to the licence-fee payer of its surreal legal fight to keep a publicly available list from the public. Or at least a small part of the cost we all paid in the affair which became known as “28Gate”.

    Regular readers will no doubt recall that 28Gate saw the Beeb attempt to keep secret the names of 28 people whom – it said – had convinced Auntie corporately that there was no longer any need to include sceptical viewpoints in its coverage of climate change. These folk were said to include “some of the best scientific experts”.

    A hefty legal team was deployed to keep the “experts”‘ identities secret in the face of FOIA requests from blogger Tony Newbery (who represented himself) but in the end the names were discovered on the Wayback Machine, which had archived a webpage listing them all before their names and affiliations could be erased. (Curiously enough, the names had disappeared from the current version of that page – on the website of a green advocacy organisation – shortly after the FOI requests were received by the BBC.) As had been expected the secret 28 included few scientists of any repute, and plenty of green lobbyists and activists.

    In response to two further FOI requests, the Corporation has now disclosed that the cost of hiring external help for the one-and-a-half day Information Tribunal hearing last October came to £22,746 including VAT. This breaks down to Kate Gallafent, of Blackstone Chambers who cost £13,875 (plus VAT) and Jonathan Scherbel-Ball, of One Brick Court who cost a paltry £4,780 (plus VAT).

    However, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. The BBC says “the majority of Freedom of Information work is carried out in-house within the BBC” and “it does not hold information relating to the cost of in-house work”. Four BBC legal staff were present at the Tribunal alongside Gallafent and Scherbel-Ball, in order to fight off a blogger who was representing himself.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Questioning the BBC Ministry of Truth is by definition out of order. Because they say so.

  12. Abandon TV says:

    WOW….. I will look into those links about the BBC. Thanks for the heads up.

    A lot of people are starting to talk about why people shouldn’t pay the license fee. The argument goes something along the lines of: their service is appalling, they lie, deceive, waste money and break their supposed ‘charter’ … they’re basically rubbish in every way and so we should not pay for them.

    I would humbly suggest the argument is even more simple than that. To pay them money is actually immoral. Just as paying a terrorist group or a hideous propaganda organisation would obviously by immoral, even if they pay goons with clipboards to knock on your door and make vague threats against you.

    The BBC has either directly supported or failed to question and challenge so many ‘issues’ which have led to human, environmental and financial death and destruction around the world that they are complicit in those crimes, cover ups and nefarious activities.

    However you look at it the BBC are an immoral organisation……. from their funding to what appears on the TV screen.

    Those who feel they must pay their license should at least make it publicly known that they pay under duress, under threat and against their will (explaining why that is). This would perhaps be more powerful than not paying at all. Put the ball gently but firmly in their court and let them try and publicly defend their terrorist/ propagandist behaviour….

  13. I heard this program as well and came to the same conclusion so thank you for bringing it up. I’d also like to draw your attention to this IPCC document because I’m shocked at some of the psychological tactics it’s promoting, however, I’m not an expert in the field so if any of you are I would love to know your views link =>.

  14. Oh and the next two days R4 spent Plugging Paul McCartney climate change work, justified because “[he] is a father and a grandfather” and vegetarian food. Yet another scam based on zero science.

  15. mitigatedsceptic says:

    I am now convinced that anyone, who thinks for a moment that he or she has only one life to live and so feels uneasy about giving up some of it to save the planet for humankind from the possible threats fo AGW, had keep quiet on pain of a knock on the door at 4 in the morning from the Thought Police. In the eyes of the alarmists, deniers are undoubtedly unhinged and in urgent need of treatment. This kind of stuff is beyond all reason and leads to gas chambers.
    I implore you to forget the sins of the BBC and think what the future in the hands of these people holds. They are inviting martyrdom for millions for the sake of their beliefs and they have the power and resources to exterminate all opposition. Being paranoid does not stop them wanting to get you!

    [Reply] Having been through the ‘knock on the door’ scenario, they don’t worry me. If they locked me in a loony bin I’d cause them far more trouble than I do spending some of my spare time pointing out the flaws in the AGW hypothesis.