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Climate Hustle

Nil Illegitimi Carborundum

Posted on 1 July 2012 by Glenn Tamblyn

We have probably all heard reports of the abuse climate scientists have been subjected to for just doing their job and reporting what they find; the climate blogosphere has generated a very dark underbelly.

Few people have received more vitriol and unjustified abuse than Dr. Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia, but until recently few of us knew just how vile the threats and malice had been.  Recently the content of some of these emails was released by the UEA as a .pdf file here (warning, the content contains very crude language, and the sentiments are far, far worse).

Phil Jones: don't let the bastards grind you down

Nobody should have to endure such abuse just because they go to work and do their job! And such extremely personal abuse would take an emotional toll on any of us.

So the Author Team at Skeptical Science would like to offer Phil Jones all the moral and emotional support we can (and all his colleagues who may have experienced similar abuse).  To this end we will shortly be sending Phil a letter of support from all of us here at SkS.

An Invitation to Our Readership

If you want to add your name to this letter, please do so by indicating your willingness by a simple entry in the comments section of this post (your name and country will suffice).  We will send this letter one week after we put this post up; all reader additions up to then will be included.

If you wish to comment under an online pseudonym, we fully understand why you may prefer to do so.  However a real name is more personal.

If you wish to use your real name but maintain online anonymity (reading the contents of the emails to Dr. Jones clearly shows why one might wish to do so) then simply send us an email at info[at]skepticalscience.com indicating your willingness to add your personal name and country. We will add you personal details to the email then delete from our system any further reference to who you are.

The letter will be sent privately to Dr. Jones and  your email will not be made public.

The text of the letter will be as follows:


Dear Prof. Jones.

Phil,

Recently the content of some of the abusive and threatening emails you have received over recent times were made available online. They are utterly appalling!

We here among the author and reader community at SkepticalScience.com would like to offer to you, your family and colleagues our whole-hearted, unconditional and sympathetic support.

The language of the emails was very offensive but the intent of them was far, far worse. It is very telling how limited the vocabulary of cowards can be.

It has been reported previously what the emotional toll upon you may have been. Never doubt for a moment that a supportive and protective community of friends who hold you and your colleagues in the highest esteem surrounds you.

Many disciplines in science advance human knowledge; few disciplines of science are trying to make such a profound contribution to actual human wellbeing at this moment in history as climate science.

The threat of climate change is arousing some very primal and often very dark emotional forces. Never doubt that what you and your colleagues are engaged in is valued, deeply and profoundly, today and into the future.  The words of the cowards who have threatened you will vanish into history's dustbin where they belong.

We at Skeptical Science are trying, as best we are able, to bring reasoned analysis to this discussion. We cannot be there when the next hateful letter appears.  But as far as is possible, you have our support - if there is anything we can do, just ask.

Warmth, happiness and gratitude to you, your family and colleagues.

- The team and readership at SkepticalScience.com.


 If you have the stomach for it, go back and read what Phil has had to endure. Then add your support with your name.

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Comments 151 to 200 out of 327:

  1. My real name is known by the hosts of this site and the recent hackers of this site, so I don't see it necessary to sign it here too. Still waiting my first hatemail by these 18th century engineers (they must be for it seems they do not understand the principles of steam engines), whose mentality (in the nastier sense) you've had the displeasure to experience. Strenght to you.

    jyyh, Finland.
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  2. Andreas Kieser, Germany
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  3. Thank you Phil Jones for having the courage to continue with your valuable work.

    Tim Wilcox. UK
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  4. Don't listen to the cowardly threats of these mercenaries of the oil and resources industries.
    Earth's future depends on people like you providing facts that expose the propaganda of powerful evil corporations for what it is -selfish greed.

    In Australia recently, a past prime minister (a "closet denier") speaking at the launch of an new Ian Plimer book, objected to the term "Denier" being used to describe those who reject anthropogenic global warming, because of it's past association with Hitlers evil attempted extermination of a race of people.
    On the contrary, I think it is a very apt term to describe those, who through misrepresentation of scientific facts cause the continuation of CO2 generating industries, with the near certainty of destroying Earths habitable environment.
    Billions of people, are expected to be unable to survive resulting climate change over the next 100 or so years - not to mention the devastating effect on animal life.
    Hitler's extermination efforts pale in comparison!!

    Keep up the good work - the essential truth must prevail.

    John Bloomfield, Australia.
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  5. Steven Baudoin, USA.
    If I had seen those comments posted publicly, I would have thought some of them were from the Onion. Hard to believe people can be so vitriolic over scientific research.
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  6. Bill Ramsay, Wellington, NZ
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  7. Bärbel Winkler, Germany
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  8. Sheridan Mayo, Melbourne, Australia
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  9. John Silvester

    Brisbane Australia
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  10. With grateful thanks from rural Devon, UK. @JohnRussell40
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  11. These emails are predictably appalling and it is singularly instructive that they lack structure, punctuation, correct spelling and continuity of thought. If these morons cannot even spell, what is the chance of them understanding that climate science has some nuance? Or that it is the hard working climate scientists who are most acting in the service of future humanity?

    Well done Phil and well done to all working scientists whatever their field of (often thankless) endeavour. You inspire many people on a daily basis and should not forget that. Sign me on.

    Matt Bennett, Australia.
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  12. Wow

    I'm away for a day and all you guys pile onto this. Fantastic!

    Six days to go. Keep those names coming. Even if you are a wallflower who just likes to read, let Phil hear your voice.
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  13. Ian Dunlop, Sydney, NSW
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  14. Peter Bellin, California, USA
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  15. Douglas Bostrom, Seattle USA
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  16. Be mindful of your safety. Thankyou for your research and courage.

    William Day
    Gulf Coast, U.S.A.
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  17. Michael Reisner, United States
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  18. Please keep up the good work! Everyone needs it, even the nut brigades.

    Pete Dunkelberg
    Florida, USA
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  19. Rob Honeycutt, Berkeley CA
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  20. The website owners are aware of my name and can certainly add it to letter. However, I'd like to point out that this kind of vitriolic campaign is probably felt by many politicians of all sorts of political stripes around the world. This kind of behavior is more common than you'd like to think.
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  21. Jack (aka Daniel) Andrews, Ontario, Canada

    I'm sickened by the actions of bullies--I despise them--and I'm happy to add my name for support. If there is any way I can help you (financial or otherwise) against these bullies, let me know.
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  22. Michael Maag, Germany
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  23. Heroic work you are doing.

    Terry Moran, Ontario Canada
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  24. Sarah Green, Michigan, USA
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  25. Paul Robinson, Ontario, Canada
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  26. Jerry Gardner, Keaau, Hawaii
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  27. Thanks for your efforts so far.
    Jonathan Grove, Cambridge, UK
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  28. Emile Nossin, Netherlands
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  29. Richard Pauli
    Seattle, Washington

    Lets not forget that organized and well funded cyber sweatshops are created for just this kind PR manipulation. One goal is to promote confusion, and another is to torment and tarnish heroes.

    Such acts by our adversaries can amount to high praise. About 10 years ago, I recall scanning the web for more information about climate issues. It was just this kind of crude denialism that pushed me to discover both Climate Progress and Real Climate - sites I would have discovered far later without the vitriol directed their way.

    From the very beginning, the Web has been a battleground of public opinion. Fortunately there are tremendous resources that trump the purposeful misinformation and distraction. Whenever rash cyber-bullying is involved, it should suggest the issue is worth careful consideration.

    Thanks Skeptical Science for all that you do.
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  30. René Moreau, Brussels, Belgium
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  31. Some times you have to take a stand....
    Bo Norrman, Sweden

    "First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me."

    Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
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  32. John Harkness, USA
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  33. Proud to add my name to support Phil
    -Ray Weymann
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  34. David Green Australia .
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  35. Jim Lynch, in King George, Va. Echoing Alexandre's sentiment; you guys are modern day heroes!
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  36. Philip W. Anderson, Princeton, USA is delighted to support Dr. Phil Jones.
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  37. Dr Jonathan McKenna, Buckinghamshire, UK
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  38. Philip Sington
    London, UK

    The best response to ignorance is the truth. Keep it coming, no matter what.
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  39. Elizabeth Patterson, United Kingdom
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  40. The world is filled with small and mean minds. Ignore them, Phil.

    Jon Orloff
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  41. Bill Smith, Shropshire, UK
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  42. Jörg Kampmann, Germany

    and I cite psalm 23:

    Psalm 23

    A Psalm by David.

    Yahweh is my shepherd:
    I shall lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
    He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
    Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil.
    My cup runs over.
    Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in Yahweh’s house forever.
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  43. In addition to grammatical errors, which are not lacking. I am more concerned about the aggression that is expressed towards different! Support for Dr. Jones

    Fatir.B from Southeastern Europe.
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  44. Mark Hadfield, New Zealand
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  45. Mel Tisdale, U.K.

    email also sent, so beware duplicates. (Can't give the clowns anything else to honk their big red noses at, can we?)
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  46. David Goldstein
    You and your colleagues inspired me to put up this website: www.itsphysics.org thank you
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  47. Mike, Victoria, Australia
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  48. Steven P. Shannon, Brisbane, Australia
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  49. Joy Lumsden, Jamaica
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  50. Andy C, Melbourne, Australia. History will show that great people such as Prof Jones stood for truth, and will thrust his detractors into a very harsh spotlight as their lies are exposed.

    Just a quick note about titles - Phil Jones is Prof Jones, not Dr Jones, and a better-earned professorship I doubt you will find anywhere!
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    Moderator Response: Noted skywatcher, thanks.

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