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When scientists fail to present all the known facts including the ones that contradict their hypothesis they become propagandists and bad scientists

Posted by pwl on November 8, 2009

The belief that the ends justifies the means may be the true root of all evil. – Troy Brumley

A prime example of how science is distorted by – likely well meaning – scientists or science educators. Deliberately or not this video is a masterful piece of propaganda pretending to be science. Credits are due to Greg Craven, the master propagandist who appears in the video.

Greg Craven: falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus?
Greg Craven: false in one thing, false in everything?

Neither risk presented in the video is acceptable because they are a false choice and Greg Craven knows it [or he should know it as a science teacher]! His logic is flawed since he presents a “binary choice” and that is his mistake, black and white thinking. His second mistake is presenting a false dilemma when he knows the facts much better [or should know them better as a science teacher]! There are so many other choices one can choose that it’s not funny. It’s typical of many people trained in the sciences and technology, as well as the general public, to think in black and white binary terms. The universe is fuzzy people. It’s about time we realized that.

The logical fallacy of false dilemma (also called false dichotomy, the either-or fallacy) involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are other options. Closely related are failing to consider a range of options and the tendency to think in extremes, called black-and-white thinking. Strictly speaking, the prefix “di” in “dilemma” means “two”. When a list of more than two choices is offered, but there are other choices not mentioned, then the fallacy is called the fallacy of false choice, or the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses.

False dilemma can arise intentionally, when fallacy is used in an attempt to force a choice (“If you are not with us, you are against us.”) But the fallacy can arise simply by accidental omission—possibly through a form of wishful thinking or ignorance—rather than by deliberate deception (“I thought we were friends, but all my friends were at my apartment last night and you weren’t there.”)

When two alternatives are presented, they are often, though not always, two extreme points on some spectrum of possibilities. This can lend credence to the larger argument by giving the impression that the options are mutually exclusive, even though they need not be. Furthermore, the options are typically presented as being collectively exhaustive, in which case the fallacy can be overcome, or at least weakened, by considering other possibilities, or perhaps by considering a whole spectrum of possibilities, as in fuzzy logic.

Furthermore the dark vision of doom and gloom presented by the human caused global warming alarmists is exaggerated! Even Al Gore admits that he exaggerates – lies outright – just to get people to act! It’s clear that the alarmist views are not on the same footing as a rational scientific view that can be audited and examined fully in the public eyes.

Al Gore admits that he deliberately lies to and scares people for political gain on the topic of human caused global warming climate change. His lying is so blatant that he arrogantly brags about it! Wow, mastery of propaganda is certainly a strong suit for Al Gore.

“In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore in an interview.

Steven Schneider [now deceased], [was] an alleged climate scientist who also advocates [advocated] lying to people and scaring them with outright lies for political gain. Wow what a one man propaganda machine.

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Steven Schneider, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), (Quoted in Discover, pp. 45–48, Oct. 1989; for the original, together with Schneider’s commentary on it misrepresentation see also American Physical Society, APS News August/September 1996.

Schneider has been publicly criticized by fellow atmospheric scientist, Craig Bohren, for his history of self-promotion using contradictory climate scares:

“…some of the prominent global warmers of today were global coolers of not so long ago. In particular, Steven Schneider, now at Stanford, previously at NCAR, about 30 years ago was sounding the alarm about an imminent ice age. The culprit then was particles belched into the atmosphere by human activities. No matter how the climate changes he can correctly say that he predicted it. No one in the atmospheric science community has been more successful at getting publicity. NCAR used to send my department clippings from newspaper and magazine articles in which NCAR researchers were named. We’d get thick wads of clippings, almost all of which were devoted to Schneider. Perhaps global warming is bad for the rest of us, but for Schneider and others [such as Al Gore] it has been a godsend.

More scare mongers with a deliberate lying bent where the end justifies the means, scientists, politicians and eco-warriors alike admitting they are willing to lie through their teeth to get the job done even if it’s global warming is false! Wow.

“What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
— Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator (D-Colorado)

Scientists who want to attract attention to themselves, who want to attract great funding to themselves, have to (find a) way to scare the public . . . and this you can achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they really are.” (Petr Chylek, Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, commenting on reports that Greenland’s glaciers are melting. Halifax Chronicle-Herald, August 22, 2001)

We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing”
(Tim Wirth 1990, former US Senator) as quoted in NCPA Brief 213; September 6, 1996

A global climate treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect
(Richard Benedict, US Conservation Foundation)

We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion — guilt-free at last!
— Stewart Brand (writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue)

Taking action can cause much worse problems for humans by rushing and taking the wrong actions. It’s very possible that the huge economic upheaval that is being caused by the rush to judgment by the alarmists will actually cause more harm than any real amount of actual warming.

Will Greg Craven, the guy in the video, take personal responsibility for all those that die in the economic turmoil of the implementation of useless “carbon solutions” for his role in presenting false dilemmas? Will he be responsible for those that die as the planet it terrorformed by his advocacy? I doubt it.

Besides the facts now show that the last ten years have been getting colder. Cold is the new warming. What? Yup. It’s getting colder which means the planet is warming. Weird, but that is what the alarmists claim.

Having an accurate assessment of the risks is crucial for any decision making process. This guy presents the situation in binary thinking and aims you towards his forgone conclusion revealing his bias. More propaganda based upon false reasoning steps and a very crude method of risk management. Since we already know that the alarmists claims are false (even they admit it) this guy is presenting a false choice on the alarmist side of the ledger.

Overall Greg Craven fails as a scientist to present the full set of known facts but passes as an effective and craven propagandist. As such Greg Craven gets a failing grade.

One Richard Feynman has this to say about falsification and full disclosure and it should be a lesson to Greg Craven and the others quoted above as Greg and the others are being schooled by Feynman indeed:

“But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves–of having utter scientific integrity–is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of this work were. “Well,” I said, “there aren’t any.” He said, “Yes, but then we won’t get support for more research of this kind.” I think that’s kind of dishonest. If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing–and if they don’t want to support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision.

One example of the principle is this: If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results.

I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it would be better in some other state. If you don’t publish such a result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice. You’re being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice.

But not paying attention to experiments like that is a characteristic of cargo cult science.

And now you find a man saying that it is an irrelevant demand to expect a repeatable experiment. This is science?

So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom. ” – Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science, A Lesson From Richard Feynman For Scientists of Today to Learn

Sounds like Greg Craven needs to go back to grade ten science class and relearn the basics as long as his science teacher is someone like Richard Feynman and very unlike Greg Craven.


A detailed analysis of Greg Craven’s video “How the World Ends” (which have the same false dilemma argument) is illuminating of Greg Craven’s craven attitude towards factual science presentations.

Now a more rational video presentation on climate science.

What is Normal Climate?



All we can do is adapt, it is the sun that does it, not man.

Article updated 20101230.

2 Responses to “When scientists fail to present all the known facts including the ones that contradict their hypothesis they become propagandists and bad scientists”

  1. […] When scientists fail to present all the known facts including the ones that contract their hypothesi… […]

  2. pwl said

    Steve Mosher writes:

    “At AGU today I was witness to a “new AGU.” In the very first Steven Schneider Memorial speech Michael Oppenheimer explained the variety of ways that climate scientists can engage the public and the press. There was much I can recommend in Oppenheimer’s advice. He advised scientists to understand that their expertise on particular scientific issues does not give them expertise on all issues, especially on issues that touch on policy. It is one thing to note a scientific finding that climate models predict a 3°C warming for the doubling of CO2; it is quite another thing to opine that controlling CO2 is the answer.”
    Craven Attention

    Steve Mosher writes:

    “In the last episode of ”Craven Attention” I recounted some of the things Greg Craven said during a panel discussion after Oppenheimer’s lecture of the role of scientists. … Greg seemed to take issue with my characterization of some of his comments.”
    Craven Attention, The Sequel

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