Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Daily Mail, Charles Manson and the Environment

The world's second most popular online news site reported the other day on an interview with Charles Manson by Vanity Fair Spain. Manson is, of course, the man responsible for the murder of 8 people (including Roman Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate) in 1969. You would expect, then, that it would just be an article discussing what a horrible man he is or somesuch non-story. Instead we are treated to the following headline:
Global warming must be true, Charles Manson believes in it. Killer breaks 20-year silence on 40th anniversary of gruesome Sharon Tate murders
Yes that's right. The Mail are actually using the fact that a nutjob believes in global warming as proof of its fallacy. I would also like to point out that it is in fact the 40th anniversary for his conviction, not the crime themselves. They occurred in July and August 1969 as you actually point out in the article. And that he didn't kill anyone, he ordered the murders. Pretty much the rest of the article is concerned with discussing his crimes, or quoting some of the mad things he says about the environment. Such things as:
'If we don’t change that as rapidly as I’m speaking to you now, if we don’t put the green back on the planet and put the trees back that we’ve butchered, if we don’t go to war against the problem...'
'You have to accept yourself as God. You have to realise you’re just the Devil just as much as you’re God, that you’re everything and you’re nothing at all. Europe is the United States just as much as the United States is America and America is Europe.'
Of course you will all be shocked to learn that the DM resolutely refuses to mention the fact that almost all scientists agree that humans are having an effect on the environmental climate.  There is some debate as to the level of human influence, but the idea that there is warming of the Earth is an irrefutable fact borne out by every major study into the area. I am studying Environmental Geography at university and have seen the global temperatures for the last few thousand years. They've gone up quite a bit. Look at this composite graph from the New Scientist (via climateaudit, click the image for a larger version):

As you can see, all of the graphs collated here are higher at the right-hand side, than the left-hand side. The downward trend in the middle is what is known as the Little Ice Age. Since then, the climate of the Earth has risen incredibly quickly, reaching higher temperatures than at any other point in the last 1000 years. This is not normal. Also, despite the claims of some people, and indeed the Daily Mail itself, there is no great debate  amongst scientists. There is no recognised body that denies climate change.  The odd scientist that does deny climate change is generally one that does not publish reports in peer reviewed journals such as The New Scientist or any of the others I read every week for my degree, but newspapers and websites where their findings are not subjected to the same scrutiny from fellow scientists. These scientists are not ones taken seriously by their fellows. They are generally shunned by the greater scientific community as an embarrassment. But that's probably enough science-y stuff for now. Let's instead get back to mocking the Mail.

Alongside the quotes that clearly come from a troubled mind, we have pictures that show a man that couldn't pass as normal under any circumstances. The swastika tattoo on his forehead, for example, doesn't exactly scream environmental scientist, but that's all to make sure that the reader picks up on the idea that global warming is a sham and a lie only believed by madmen. There are also two images of a very attractive Sharon Tate, just to make sure you know that Manson is a monster who's opinions are not to be trusted.

Before I finish for today I shall cast my eye over the commenters on this story. There were I think 4 posts that were sensible among the many I read. All of those received highly negative ratings... These, however, were generally well-received by other site users:
If a maniac like this criminal believes in global warming,then I know I'm being right in being sceptical. That is stupid. As you can see above, global warming is a fact. Anyone who believes otherwise is deluding themselves that everything will be alright if they shut their eyes and pretend nothing is happening.
And here's another:
Manson and Al Gore... perfect pair! Both whackos with their beliefs. Yeah, one man ordered his followers to kill people, another tried to be President. Both believe in global warming. They're practically the same...
And another:

makes about as much sense as anything Al Gore has ever said. Actually, Al Gore says very sensible things. Indeed, he is campaigning for measures and ideas that the EU came up with upwards of a decade ago. It's just that the US' environmental record is as awful as their humanitarian record.
More? Here you go:
That has got be a really good endorsement of the insanity of anthropogenic global warming. Because an insane man agrees with a concept, doesn't mean that it is automatically insane you ignorant pissant. Hitler believed in gravity, doesn't make it any less true.
And here's one more. I have my limits after all:

What a degenerate. It pains me this guys gets to take a breath every day. At least lonely Algore has a new ally in the "global Warming" farce. Pretty sure his name is Al Gore, not Algore. And he's not alone. As I've said, every scientist agrees with him that climate change is a real and worrying fact. In fact, he has far more intelligent allies than you. He probably doesn't read and agree with the Daily Mail either, which is always a good place to start...
How can people just ignore all the evidence?

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