The Christian God is said to know your every thought, word and deed (Matthew 5:21-37). In the new religion of climate change and Gaia worship, every word is identified by ‘intelligent’ computers, assessed for theological compliance, compiled into bite-sized ‘fact checks’ – and sold to interested government and private parties. In this new world, the high priests of science have spoken, the matter is settled, and cancelling is frankly too good for heretics.
Since 2019, a U.K. company called Logically (founded by Lyric Jain in 2017, when he was just 21) has raised about £30 million to track what it calls “information threats” across 120 million domains and over 40 major social media platforms. Both climate and medical discourse is targeted using, it is said, artificial intelligence. A recent report was published suggesting that climate change ‘misinformation’ had been impacted by COVID-19 related ‘conspiracies’. Major company clients are said to be Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
Bespoke packages are available for governments and private companies who fear their ‘brand’ may be under threat – and a recent Big Brother Watch report revealed that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) entered into two contracts with the company worth £1,264,392 to monitor “disinformation” in 2021 and 2022. Big Brother Watch found that Logically “strayed significantly from [its] ‘disinformation’ remit to monitor and delegitimise domestic political dissent in [its]
Fake news is said by Logically to have plagued governments all over the world for the last five years, “undermining the democratic process and fuelling populist political movements”. The company says that governments “are recognising an urgent need to tackle harmful and misleading online content”. As the catastrophic implications of Net Zero become generally apparent, it might be noted that political elites may well need all the help they can get in neutralising growing popular opposition.
In March 2021, Logically launched its ‘flagship’ threat intelligence platform “offering both analytical capabilities and countermeasure deployment to tackle mis- and disinformation”. The company says its mission is to protect democratic debate by providing access to “trustworthy information”.
On the climate front, misinformation is defined as “communication that contradicts or distorts the scientific evidence and expert consensus that the planet is warming as a result of human activity, and that this will lead to significant instability and damage to the environment”. The notions contained in this definition are of course anti-science – it is hard to find words that differ so much from the traditional Popperian view that all science should be testable and able to be proved false. If a conclusion cannot be proved wrong – as with climate models attributing single weather events to long-term climate change – it is simply an opinion, not a scientific hypothesis. Contradicting – or rather critically appraising – what is considered scientific evidence is what scientists do as they seek to discover the truth. Expert consensus is of course a purely political term. Perish the thought that the expert consensus should ever be contradicted. Like the Pope in Rome, the pronouncements of ‘experts’ when it comes to climate change are deemed infallible.
‘Fact-checking’ is much in vogue these days. There is obviously money to be made since the major social media platforms have partnerships with a variety of suppliers including mainstream media operations. Last year the Daily Sceptic was hit with what appeared to be a short but concerted campaign of climate fact checks from companies such as Climate Feedback, USA Today, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. These followed hot on the heels of fact checks of our lockdown and vaccine coverage by companies like Logically. Interested readers can look in the Daily Sceptic’s archive and note we replied to each attack, pointing out that no identifiable published facts had been proved to be untrue. (See Will Jones’s reply to a Logically fact check here.) Needless to say, the stories attracted various labels such as incorrect, false or misleading. After two particularly inept tries by Reuters, a polite note was sent to the company along the lines of “this nuisance must now cease”. It appears to have stopped, for the moment, but the damage has been done.
In spite of our stout rebuttals, legitimate, fact-based stories in the Daily Sceptic – and other inquiring publications – are plastered with warnings or worse, downplayed and cancelled in the online public spaces.
To give just one example, NewsGuard, a company that gives news publishing sites a score out of 100 according to how safe they are to advertise on, has given the Daily Sceptic 37.5 points because, in the words of one of its executives:
NewsGuard determined that based on the site having repeatedly published significantly false claims in articles and headlines and presenting other sources’ provably false claims as factual, the site fails our criteria for ‘does not repeatedly publish false content’ and ‘avoids deceptive headlines’, in addition to failing the criterion of ‘gathering and presenting information responsibly’.
In other words, we’ve been judged untrustworthy because of the fact checks carried out by Logically and others. That’s why we struggle to get a decent quantity of advertising (Google Ads has blocked us).
Logically appears to have been very busy of late building up a large portfolio of fact-check work. The methods used appear to revolve around extensive computer trawls picking up pre-programmed phrases disputing the ‘settled’ nostrums of climate science. For instance, natural causes play a part in the climate changing, and global temperatures have risen little in the last two decades. The company then tries to refute the story with other material picked up on the web.
Climate change and medical science seem to be big growth areas for Logically, but there are some odd selections in the examples of ‘disinformation’ the company offers in its marketing material. For instance: “Satellites don’t exist and the Earth is flat”, “Buzz Aldrin admitted that the moon landing didn’t happen”, and “World Economic Forum promotes paedophilia and claims paedophiles will save the world”. It is possible that there are one or two people who need clarification on these matters, but a more cynical explanation is that a few nutjobs are inserted to cast doubt on anyone who dissents from climate dogma, including those making factually robust claims.
For instance, the claim that climate change is not responsible for the 2022 Pakistan floods. This particular fact check by Logically doesn’t get off to the best start since it repeats the falsehood that one third of the country was submerged on August 31st. Any topographical map shows that this could not be true. According to satellite photographs and easily obtainable UN relief agency data, the figure was 8%. Climate change ‘deniers’ are said to have created a ‘false narrative’ about the floods in Pakistan, claiming that climate change is not the prime cause. The unhinged view of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is quoted, claiming the country is going through a “monsoon on steroids”.
The problem with attributing single event weather catastrophes to long-term changes in the climate caused by humans is that there is no proof. In fact, observations show that such events in Pakistan were frequent in the past.
The above graph, published recently by the World Bank, shows that rainfall has been stable in Pakistan for over a century. Last year’s floods were a tragedy with about 1,000 lives lost. But in the recent past – 1950, 1992, 1993 and 2010 – more lives were lost in floods. Flooding in Pakistan is not helped by recent massive deforestation.
A different tack is taken when examining claims that global warming ran out of steam over two decades ago. Climate sceptics are said to allege that there has been no warming recently, “even claiming that global temperature has decreased”. As regular readers of the Daily Sceptic will know, we state that rises in global temperatures have slowed considerably since the turn of the century, and we quote accurate satellite data. The latest UAH dataset up to January this year shows the current pause extending to eight years and five months.
Surface datasets have been retrospectively adjusted upwards and show a higher warming trend. They are also subject to considerable urban heat corruptions. Logically says it is a misrepresentation to quote from such a short period. Misrepresentation, even, to refer to the first great pause of the 21st century that lasted from around 2000 to 2012.
Of course, climate trends become established over lengthy periods. However, at a time when humans populations are being freaked out by politicians and green activists quoting imaginary climate model projections of up to 5°C warming by 2100, it is relevant to note that warming in the first 22 years of the century is barely more than 0.1°C.
The logic behind Logically’s intelligence, artificial or otherwise, is that quoting years of data to show the global temperature is stable after a short warming period is wrong, but attributing a single weather event in Pakistan to unproven long-term human-caused changes in the climate is somehow good science.
What price misinformation?
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.