Toby appeared this week on “So What You’re Saying Is” from the New Culture Forum to be interviewed by Peter Whittle on lockdowns and free speech. As the Free Speech Union (FSU) marks its second anniversary, Toby says that recent victories notwithstanding, the wider war is being lost and England could wind up having Europe’s worst free speech protection. He also discusses the past two years under Covid and why he feels vindicated. Watch the interview here.
It’s been all Canada on Joe Rogan’s popular Spotify podcast of late. First, crinkly rockers Neil and Joni threw their guitars out of the pram when Rogan dared to broadcast a number of different opinions on Covid and vaccines. Then fellow Canadian Dr. Jordan Peterson said climate models compounded their errors, just like interest. Green activists and zealots (often known in the climate change business as ‘scientists’) clutched their responsibly sourced pearls and whined, “Lawks a-mercy, it’s outrageous!” and “Banning’s too good for them!”. The septuagenarian songsters briefly found themselves out of the headlines as the mainstream media rushed to quell a growing sceptical climate debate and rubbish a troublesome competitor.
Dr. Peterson suggested that the climate was too complex to be modelled. Such notions were said to be a “word salad of nonsense“, reported a distraught Guardian. Dr. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick of the University of Canberra added Peterson had “no frickin’ idea”. Professor Michal Mann of Penn State University said Peterson’s comments – and Rogan’s “facilitation” of them – was an “almost comedic type of nihilism” that would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous.
This of course is the same Michael Mann who produced the infamous temperature hockey stick that was at the centre of the 2010 Climategate scandal. The graph was used for a time in IPCC reports and showed a 1,000 year straight temperature line followed by a recent dramatic rise. This startling image was helped by the mysterious disappearance of the medieval warming period and subsequent little ice age. Discussion about the graph led to Mann pursuing a U.S. libel suit against the broadcaster and journalist Mark Steyn. In court filings, Mann argued that it was one thing to engage in discussion about debatable topics, but it was quite another to “attempt to discredit consistently validated scientific research through the professional and personal defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient”. He is not himself a Nobel Prize recipient, but perhaps he was referring to someone else.
Independent minded communicators like Joe Rogan and take-no-prisoner intellectuals such as Dr. Peterson command a worldwide audience and they are difficult to cancel. The battle between Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan, sitting on a $100m Spotify contract, had only one free speech winner – at least for the moment. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s default position when faced with something unsettling like the ‘settled’ science of anthropogenic climate change is to declare it will not “lend” its credibility to its critics by engaging in debate. That was obviously not possible with Peterson’s remarks being plastered all over social media, although it could be argued that the Guardian reporting the vulgar abuse users posted in response is not much of a substitute for the usual lofty disdain.
Daily Sceptic contributor Noah Carl has written a must-read piece for UnHerd about the decline and fall of Nature, once the world’s most prestigious scientific journal. Here are the first three paragraphs:
Nature is a revered name in academic publishing. The journal was founded in London in 1869, and has since become one of the two main titles (the other being Science) that every academic wants to publish in. Having just one “Nature paper” on your CV can be enough to land a tenure-track job at a top department.
It’s all the more concerning then, that in the last few years, Nature has handed over an increasing amount of editorial space to social justice activism. In February of 2019, Jordan Peterson remarked that a once-great publication was going “farther down the social constructionist rabbit hole”.
The latest example comes in the form of a piece titled “Anti-racist interventions to transform ecology, evolution and conservation biology departments”, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. No less than twenty-six authors are listed under the title, suggesting this was not some trivial undertaking. It includes charts, tables and even a glossary of key terms (with entries such as “racial microaggressions” and “white privilege”).
Worth reading in full.