Facebook fact checkers have tagged veteran environmentalist Michael Shellenberger’s Forbes article as “partly false.”
The widely shared article, ‘On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare’, first published on Forbes, rejected ‘climate alarmism’, and featured Shellenberger apologizing for how ‘badly environmentalists have misled the public’ about the relatively new field of climate science.
Facebook’s Climate Science fact checking “Climate Feedback” evaluated Shellenberger’s article, arguing that he allegedly ‘mixed accurate and inaccurate claims in support of a misleading and overly simplistic argumentation about climate change.’
In the pseudo-peer review Climate Feedback cited ‘six scientists who “analyzed” the article, estimating its overall scientific credibility to be ‘low’. Stating that [an ambiguous] majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Cherry-picking, Misleading.’
The six “scientists” were Daniel Swain (UCLA, Climate Scientist), Gerado Ceballos (Autonomous University of Mexico, Ecologist), Jennifer Francis, (Arctic Researcher, Woods Hole Research Center), Ryan Shriver (UOI, Associate Professor), Zeke Hausfather (Climate Scientist, Berkley U, & Director of Climate & Energy, Breakthrough Institute), and Stefan Doerr (Wildlife Science and Geography researcher, Sawnsea U).
Hausfather and Swain formed the core “reviewers”, with Hausfather’s being the most outspoken. Credentials matter, but prima facie, this isn’t surprising. Hausfather appears to benefit more from Apocalyptic Climate Change hysteria, and therefore has more to lose from Shellenberger’s exposure of any potential climate change fraud than the rest.
The move to quickly slam the credibility door shut on Shellenberger infers that those who are more environmental activist, than scientist, are in damage control. Apparent by the desperate move to counter any loss of ground (funding?), should backers begin to take Shellenberger’s apology for misleading the public on man-made catastrophic Climate Change seriously.
By marking Shellenberger’s article as “partly false”, surely Climate Feedback’s reviewers have inferred that the article is “partly true.” Curiously enough, though, Climate Feedback focused on the “partly false”, and ignored the “partly true.”
Progressive online journal, “Independent Australia” slanderous “fact checking” reaction, called the article a “puff piece” that “attacked Climate Science”. I.A also managed to accuse the ‘Murdoch Press’ of spreading lies, stopping short of calling out Shellenberger as a fake environmentalist and heretic (although strongly implied).
This kind of one-sided, selective fact checking raises its own questions about bias. Are fact-checkers sorting truth from falsehood, or buttressing ‘herd madness’ and it’s shared narrative?
Or as Ian Plimer has posited, are scientists who are in the employ of politicians, Big Tech and the leftist hegemony, ‘crushing opposition to ensure that science serves politics?’ [i] The so-called “facts” simply just follow the money.
Who fact checks the fact checkers? Why are most fact checkers almost certain to be left-leaning activists?
In sum, is Climate Feedback to be trusted as a reliable source?
Author and investigative journalist, Donna Laframbois doesn’t think so. Commenting on an unrelated fact check, Laframboi noted strategic omissions from Climate Feedback reviewers, stating their absolute reliance on the peer-review mechanic to attack credibility instead of holistically evaluating an idea or argument for accuracy, undermined their own credibility.
As Laframbois states, ‘peer review is no guarantee. Not of credibility. And not of accuracy. Fact checkers who say otherwise are [themselves] profoundly misleading the public.’
Ian Plimer seconds this: ‘just because a scientific paper is peer-reviewed does not mean it is correct. The peer-reviewed scientific literature is full of papers that contradict each other so they can’t all be right. Peer review does not stop bad science being published. Scientific theories live or die on evidence, not whether or not they were published in the peer-reviewed literature.’ [ii]
While Shellenberger’s activist “scientist” assassins, didn’t throw down another “sit down and shut up – the science-is-settled, you must “believe” the science” vitriolic, their case against him isn’t airtight.
It comes across as a carefully crafted, neatly packaged denouncement of Shellenberger. One that’s too conveniently aligned with largely leftist dominated Big Tech, and big money, to dismiss any suspicions of bias on behalf of said fact check reviewers.
Some of whom appear to be well positioned, and well-funded members of the fear mongering Gaian priesthood.
To apply the words of Andreas Vou from Spiked-Online, the contempt towards Shellenberger is an example of how ‘terrible of an idea it is to have Big Tech companies act as arbiters of truth.’
To pad the point, Forbes has since suppressed Shellenberger’s article, removing it from his Forbes author page.
Shellenberger isn’t backing down. He’s posted a rebuttal to Climate Feedback and has challenged Facebook’s censorship.
His original article is available on Environmental Progress and a PDF is accessible here.
The explosive piece also kick-started the launch of his book, ‘Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All’.
An excerpt of which has been made available by Shellenberger for free on Quillette.
[i] Plimer, I. 2011. How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Parents & Punters, Connor Court Publishing
[ii] Ibid, 2011
First published on Caldron Pool, 13th July, 2020 & The Spectator, 15th July, 2020.
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
© Rod Lampard, 2020.