Outrageous and incorrect claims about aliens

TippingPoint

Greg Laden likes to malign those who are skeptical about catastrophic man-made global warming. He recently wrote about a post by Anthony Watts, that reported on a claim that extra-terrestrial life had been discovered in a meteorite. Watts was skeptical about the claim. But Laden selectively quoted him and outright lied to present a different picture. His article concluded with the following.

As Phil points out, this report is by a “scientist” who has made many outrageous and incorrect claims about aliens, reported in a journal that is famous for printing bogus and incorrect science, the methods are obviously bogus and anyone who knew anything about, say, climate studies (where fresh water diatoms are used all the time as proxyindicators) would at least be suspicious, and would know how to check for veracity of the claim.

Anthony Watts, the anti-science global warming denailist,[sic] was not equipped to recognize this bogus science as bogus. We are not surprised.

It is hard to find common ground in the heated climate debate. So it is refreshing to discover that there are some things Greg and I can agree on. “Bogus science” involving “outrageous and incorrect claims about aliens” is a bad thing and those who uncritically present or even promote them should be ridiculed.

Greedy Lying Bastards
Michael Mann also likes to malign climate-skeptics. He recently posted a link on his Facebook page (captured) to a trailer for the upcoming movie Greedy Lying Bastards, in which he appears. Lord Monckton also appears in it, but later called it a “painfully one-sided propaganda movie“. But then he is presented as one of the “bastards”.

Mann’s Facebook friends were enthusiastic about the movie and he was keen to promote it.

Friend 1: This pretty nicely sums things up. …

Mann: thanks Randall …

Friend 2: It looks like it might be really good. Does anyone know when we’ll be able to buy copies?

Mann: hi Lee-will report back when I know more about where & when film will actually appear…

You will also find the same kind of vitriol at Mann’s Facebook page as at Laden’s blog.

it is becoming increasingly obvious that science is no longer relevant in the eyes of many Americans…not just climate science, but the ability for science in general to inform us with how the world operates. Instead the concern is for glorifying everyone’s personal opinions, re-enforcing already developed belief systems, and maximizing the short-term personal benefits.

This is why the liars at WUWT and Heartland are so successful at what they do, and why their target audience is not the scientifically literate…they know how to prey on emotions and fears of the general public, and have mastered the debate tactics that are compelling to the uninitiated.

Greedy Lying Bastards is principally about “climate change” but, as part of its narrative to portray oil companies as the source of all evil, a significant part is devoted to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, especially adverse health effects, allegedly from the oil and from the dispersant used, Corexit. As the filmmaker Craig Rosebraugh explains.

… not a lot of people, honestly, want to come up against BP and the industry when it came down to any kind of court battle where they had to prove that this particular client or this particular patient, for instance, was suffering health problems from Corexit, for instance. So there were a few. Dr. Mike Robichaux in Louisiana is considered a local hero by many people down there. And he’s been one that’s kind of paid for a lot of out of his own pocket the treatments for a lot of the sick patients down there.

Much of the movie’s section on the Gulf spill documents the work of former senator, Dr. Mike Robichaux, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Raceland, Louisiana.

I’m dealing with a wide array of people and the symptoms are almost identical in all of them.

Mission Impossible
But there is no need for alarm. Dr. Mike Robichaux is proscribing a “detoxification” programme, which he describes as “miraculous.”

“It is working beyond my wildest dreams,” said the south Louisiana humanitarian.
[…]
In October, the former Louisiana State Senator and physician known as “Dr. Mike” provided the spacious Raceland home that he grew up in to a group of detox specialists who transformed the home into a healing center and began detoxing Gulf poisoned survivors of Corexit dispersed oil.
[…]
“Some of these people were really incapacitated,” he said.

Now, Dr. Mike says, “Every day when I’m talking to these people, they tell me they are happy.”

The detoxification programme is “unconventional“.

Dr. Robichaux is convinced cures to these complaints and others may not lie in conventional medicine, suggesting treatment will have to include more than conventional medicine, which, he says, has worked at relieving symptoms but has not cured them. Instead, he is experimenting with detox programs, similar to war veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the 1991 Gulf War.

Mainstream
The Huffington Post enthusiastically reported on Dr. Robichaux’s outstanding work.

A medical portion in the proposed, $7.8 billion class-action settlement with BP will satisfy some residents who became ill from the 2010 spill but hundreds of others opted out because the agreement doesn’t cover their chronic ailments and sky-high expenses. They’ll sue the company instead. …
[…]
Danos is a patient in Dr. Mike Robichaux’s spill-detox program in Raceland in Lafourche Parish, and takes vitamins, including niacin, and exercises. He often spends more than four hours a day sweating out toxins in a sauna.
[…]
Robichaux also said last week “I have never seen this complex of symptoms in my 40 plus years as a physician. The symptoms of these patients are identical in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. In the real world of medicine and sickness, there is an overwhelming likelihood that all of these problems are caused by the same agents.”

However, the media outlet that has covered this ‘story’ the most is Al Jazeera, especially their investigative reporter Dahr Jamail, who is most impressed with Dr. Robicheux’s work.

Dr Mike Robicheux is a doctor in Louisiana who has been treating scores of people he says are being made sick from BP’s toxic chemicals.

Robicheux says new patients from the exposure are coming into his office daily, and believes that the broader medical community across the Gulf Coast are either unwilling or unable to deal with the crisis.

Robicheux, who has appealed to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help, said:

“The medical community has shut this down…They either don’t understand or are afraid to deal with it properly because they are afraid of the oil and gas industry.”

“This is the biggest public health crisis from a chemical poisoning in the history of this country,” Robicheux told Al Jazeera, “We are going to have thousands of people who are extremely sick, and if they aren’t treated, a large number of them are going to die.”

Incidentally, Al Jazeera is a big fan of Michael Mann and interview him often. For example, he appeared on their Inside Story segment in the wake of Hurricane Sandy along with (Al Jazeera’s idea of ‘balance’) Joe Romm and Rick Piltz. The programme aired in October 2012, some time after Mann had been ridiculed by Mark Steyn, as well as chastized by both the IPCC and the Nobel Prize committee, for misrepresenting his credentials. Nevertheless, the host introduced their star guest as “Nobel Prize winning climate scientist Michael Mann” and he didn’t bat an eye.

Staff and funding
However, Sabrina Canfield of Courthouse News, reveals that the detox programme is not new and was proposed to Robichaux by a certain Jim Woodworth, who also funds the clinic.

A bayou detoxification program is helping ill coastal residents, many of whom lack health insurance nearly 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. By most accounts the treatments have helped, and thanks to donors they are free.
Michael Robichaux, an ear, nose and throat specialist, former state senator, and self-described “populist doctor” is running the clinic with chemical detox veteran Jim Woodworth of New York. Woodworth has provided the clinic with staff and funding.
[…]
Robichaux said what he is seeing appears identical to the reports of symptoms still haunting veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the first Gulf War.
“Identical – they are identical problems,” Robichaux said, picking up a 2008 report on Gulf War illness. “The symptoms are coming from different chemicals, causing the same problems: ‘Association with diverse biological alterations that most prominently affects the brain and nervous system,’ – exactly what I’m seeing. ‘Not explained by routine medical evaluations … symptoms that typically include a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headaches, fatigue and widespread pain.’
“Those are exactly the symptoms I just told you,” Robichaux said, “and it’s exactly what I hear every day.”
[…]
“Something Jim [Woodworth] said before we got started here that’s panned out to be absolutely true is that the patients get better,” Robichaux said.
[…]
Woodworth’s previous detox centers include two New York City facilities set up after 9/11 to treat rescue workers exposed to toxins.
“Jim’s role here has been critical, and none of my patients would be well if it weren’t for him and the donors who are paying for this program,” Robichaux said. “He is the true hero of our success. Without his assistance none of our endeavors would have been successful. He’s really amazed me. He came into a completely alien environment to treat a group that is largely poor and needy, and the results have just been wonderful.”

Alien Environment
However, it might be more accurate to say that Woodworth came from “a completely alien environment”, at least, according to his own belief system. Tegan Wendland of PRX Radio explains (transcript).

Marylee Orr, director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, says her organization got hundreds of calls from cleanup workers like Williams complaining of health problems, which they suspect are connected to exposure to the oil and dispersant.
[…]
Orr had already enlisted Dr. Mike Robichaux, an ear, nose and throat, specialist and former state senator, to test cleanup workers’ blood for heavy metals. They wanted to do more, but didn’t know how, until Orr received a call from Jim Woodworth, a leader with the Church of Scientology.

Now President of the Gulf Coast Detoxification Program, Woodworth brought in $1 million in private donations to open a detoxification clinic for cleanup workers in Dr. Robichaux’s childhood home in Raceland last year. But his church’s role is controversial.
[…]
Woodworth defends the church’s involvement with the clinics in New York and Louisiana, where the patients are treated using a regimen developed by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who founded Scientology.
[…]
Robichaux, the lead practitioner at the Raceland clinic, says Hubbard’s method is similar to other detox methods used at a few clinics along the Gulf. But the Raceland clinic is the only one dedicated to treating cleanup workers for free.

Wendland’s account checks out. So the “science” behind Greedy Lying Bastards, the movie which Michael Mann promotes, is actually the Scientology of L. Ron Hubbard. But we shouldn’t be too hard on the distinguished climatologist for not doing a sufficient background check. After all HuffPo and Al Jazeera were equally clueless. As Greg Laden might have put it, Mann “was not equipped to recognize this bogus science as bogus”.

We are not surprised.

Note: There will be a follow up to this article tomorrow, with even wackier ‘science’ from Greedy Lying Bastards.

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