In his excellent article on ‘denialism’ in this month’s New Humanist, Keith Kahn-Harris mentions that one of the problems debunkers face is that they have to engage in ‘a minute and careful examination of the sources… [which is] a time-consuming task that requires considerable skill and fortitude.’ This was precisely what I found myself up against when I reviewed Christopher Booker’s climate-change-denial tract The Real Global Global Warming Disaster for the Observer. I examined in detail just a very few of the claims Booker made (that is, ones that we not transparently false or misleading), and in each case found considerable distortion. I put the results of that trawling on this blog, but even then there was too much information for me to find the time to get it into an easily digested and streamlined shape. The real problem is that the denialists seem to have endless time on their hands. Happily, Booker’s book doesn’t seem to have had a huge impact, but less happily that is perhaps because there is now just so much climate denialism around, thanks largely to the silliness at UEA.
This issue of New Humanist is as full of good stuff as ever, but I particularly liked A. C. Grayling’s skewering of Terry Eagleton’s book On Evil: ‘Eagleton has been too long among the theorists to risk a straightforward statement… as we are dealing with Eagleton here, note that this is of course not a mish-mash of inconsistencies, as it appears to be; this is subtlety and nuance. It is, you might say, nuance-sense.’ For one reason or another, I have recently found myself having to read various texts issuing from the cultural-studies stable, and I can regretfully say that I know just what he means.