Dr. Spencer, you ignorant slut!

Let me follow up on Chesser’s post about what the Duke professor said regarding Dr. Roy Spencer’s lecture yesterday:


Bill Chameides, dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, said Spencer’s arguments are what magicians call “ignoratio elenchi” or logical fallacy.


Let me charitably offer the possibility that Dean Chameides’ comments were lifted somewhat out of context (the article in question did not thoroughly represent Spencer’s ideas). This response therefore is concerned with how they are presented this morning.

Ignoratio elenchi is the act of ignoring the refutation (I believe the elenchi refers to the Socratic method of interrogating ideas, also known as the Method of Elenchus) or begging the question. That, however, is a most ill-considered attempt at dismissal of Spencer’s work.

As anyone who is familiar with Spencer’s work or who attended his lecture would know, he cannot be said to be ignoring the climate models challenging his ideas, because he is the one challenging those models.

If anything, the structure of rent-seekers and political power-grabbers heavily invested in perpetrating the notion that climate change is (1) man-made, (2) catastrophic, (3) irreversible but not quite yet, and (4) solvable only by massive government intervention in people’s economic choices are ignoring the significant challenges to their theories posed by Spencer and others.

To continue with Chameides’ unwitting analogy, Spencer is the Socratic interrogator of the proposed climate models; i.e., he’s not begging the questions, he’s asking them.

In fairness, however, Chameides’ flippant response is much preferable to a draught of hemlock.


Other entries in our ad-hoc “ignorant slut!” series and related posts: Daren, George, Roy, Daren, George, and Jon; also, dismissal via hippie skivvies, argument from getting a Ph.D. in rhetoric, and ipse sputat.

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