Saturday, 1 April 2017

A Facebook controversy

More in grief than anger:
What is with Paul Beckwith?

Infrequently I feel the need to comment on various controversaries brewing on Facebook and once again I feel the need to comment.

There has been recently disagreements between Paul Beckwith and Guy McPherson, especially over geoengineering and near-term human extinction.

Paul Beckwith, in the past few weeks has posted a plethora of videos all with a similar message attacking Guy (without naming him) and the insanity. 

In recent days he has started a thread on his own Facebook  and come out quite aggressively against Guy after becoming upset that he had been removed from commenting on the page "Nature Bats Last".

Then overnight he published in its entirety a private conversation with Guy and reportedly has BLOCKED Guy on Facebook.

The essence of the Beckwith camp could be summarised thus:

"Guy McPherson is a doomsday cult leader.he will not carry on a conversation with anyone who holds a different view. For him to say he is an educated man is a complete joke".
Guy's reponses have been pretty angry but, in my view an understandable and visceral response to ongoing attacks on his position and could be summarised:

"Civilisation is an omnicidal  heat engine. Civilisation is a death cut. I walked way from it years ago. Foolish J..n incorrectly believes it's awesome"

Accusations from Beckwith have been that Guy refused to participate in a jointly-organised Canadian tour. On clarification it appears that the suggestion was to charge for entry, something Guy has never done and to invite Guy to participate in as forum that would pit Guy against Beckwith  and a number of engineers.

Why would Guy McPherson want to face what was intended to be what seems to me to be a kangaroo court.

The reponse which came from Roblyn, Guy's voluntary assistant came back saying the only way Guy would agree to that was if he was paid $1000 an hour.

Fair enough, I say. 

It is left to explain such erratic and aggressive behavious.

I have, over the past 2-3 years felt great admiration for Paul and have spoken out in his defence such as recently over a WaPo attack on him over observations about the  Jetstream crossing the equator.

More recently, however,  I have seen Paul go over the edge, alternating between a realistic view of abrupt climate change and then abject denial that extinction is even possible ("we die individually, not together") and suggesting that humans might survive in a nuclear submarine.

Then there is geoengineering. In recent times Paul has suggested that he and Guy could even go on tour together - but only if Guy relinquishes talk of extinction and adopt his 3-legged barstool instead.

By contrast this is Guy's position:

My own position is that I don't care what beliefs people have about geoengineering so long as they keep them to themselves. 

Most of us don't go round and diss Sam Carana for his "the situation is dire and calls for comprehensive action....". 

I haven't heard Sam for that matter attack Guy for his position.

But things have changed a lot recently with Paul putting out a whole series of videos with some fairly strong attacks on Guy without without the decency of calling him by name. 

It seemed to me that Paul's gentle manner was giving way to something else and that he was becoming somewhat imbalanced.

And I reckon I know what it was.

Paul, in addition to having some fixed views on NTHE and geoengineering has some pretty strong political views of his own.

While we could make common ground on Stephen Harper and the need to get rid of him it didn't really matter and I could overlook his support on Facebook for Ukrainian extremists.  But by the time the US elections came round and especially after Bernie Sanders was cheated at the Democrat primaries I observed an uncritical support for Hillary Clinton.  It was almost "we need Hillary to give the planet a chance". Afterall  she said the right things about climate change, especially in debates with Bernie Sanders, even if she didn't mean one word of them.

Then, when instead of Clinton flying in, Trump  won the election and as a result the whole world (and sanity) of theliberals, including Paul Beckwith has collapsed. 

It seems that a sort of insanity has set in amongst people who were previously quite reasonable. it turns out they hold their intellect in high regard and their attachment to civilisation in even higher regard.

These people are saying, in essence, Hillary Clinton and geoengineering are going to save the planet and Donald Trump is going to destroy it.  In addition the whole "it's all the Russians and Putin's fault" has taken over and the only reason Clinton lost the election was because of alleged Russian hacking.  Any view contrary to this and you are a Trump and Putin apologist.

I have seen people that I previously had some respect for swallow this line hook, line and sinker" without question

When push comes to shove there is a chasm between people who have come to a different conclusion over time - in my case I realsed the gig was over at the time of COP15 in Copenhagen, long before I became aware of Guy McPherson - and liberals like Beckwith and others.

Just like the whole Trump election is a "Russian - Putin-Trump  plot" the whole idea of NTHE is Guy's fault. It is not as if he has taken his conclusions (as I have) from interpreting the scientific literature. He alone holds this view and is pushing it onto vulnerable people who cannot think for themselves.

Says Paul Beckwith: "Telling people that something is inevitable and people are helpless to change it is an extremely powerful and insidious type of psychological warfare tool"

He then announces he is planning to bring some behavioural psychologist experts on-board "to help analyze this and find ways to "innoculate" people against this."

And it's Guy who is the arrogant one!!

In conclusion - Paul, I have always been an advocate of yours and have been willing to overlook your own cognitive dissonance and insistance on "three-legged barstools" etc in view of your contribution to understanding the science of abrupt climate change.

However, I cannot overlook the way that you have taken what should have been minor differences of opnion and taken them public.


In conclusion, I leave you with the following essay - 

Near Term Human Extinction Saved My Life


  1. Having watched this division / diversion growing for some time, I could not help but wonder whether Paul B may have been told by the University Of Ottawa to dissociate himself and the Institution from "extremists" like Guy M. I have learned a lot from Paul, but I admire Guy for his fearless independence, although I do not think predicting end-dates helps, although none of should forget our inability to deal with compounding change c.f. Dr Albert Bartlett ( I have been watching the changes for years through the multi-faceted lens of our database, the Environmental Change Monitor ( IMHO more people should use it to look beyond their specialisations at the whole picture.

  2. Anyone else notice that significant changes occurred with Paul about the time he attended COP21?

    Seems to me everyone was on the same page up till that point. But, after rubbing elbows with a Greenwashing Climate Crowd, he suddenly became quite hopeful that mankind could tech their way out of this mess.

    I think he got a little attention and was star struck by the esteemed scientists attending he met. Go back and look at his videos and posts during that time. He is positively school girl giddy about the people he's meeting and their hopium ideas.

    And he may have attracted a decent sized following that led to that "I'm a Guru" thing happening. Guy's already got a following from the 'no hope here' crowd so Paul would need to carve out a new space and toss a little 'anything's possible' message in, particularly if he wanted to grow his audience. And clearly there is ego sprayed all over the wall here.

    Anyhow, this is just what I observed a couple years ago after the Climate Summit.

    1. You hit the nail right on the head. Youtube Arctic Methane Emergency Stuart Scott, its a whole ratsnest of geoidiots.

  3. Robin,
    I've noticed in bloggers I respect as well as friends that even though an intelligent, thoughtful, caring individuals may understand information presented to them, if its obvious repercussions are too horrible, they may go to quite an effort to deny or deflect it so that some semblance of hope remains. To that end, most readers would agree that the impending extinction of their species qualifies as "horrible". I do. Years ago it took me about a year to read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" because I'd literally weep while reading it and need to set it down. Well, sad as NTHE is for me, I've noticed that those of us with pre-adult children are hit by this much, much harder. I may guess we have a biological imperative to hope for our children as we care for them. My older or single friends often consider NTHE with sanguine interest. For my friends raising children, some far more aware than I, this is simply *not* the case. To a one, they retain "hope". According to one of his posts, Mr. Beckwith has children. I expect that he's simply struck by this seemingly biological imperative. Considering his depth of knowledge far exceeds mine on the topic, yet his rebuttals have not included any evidence for his hope, I'm afraid his shift is inductive proof of my guess.

    That said, like Mr. Beckwith, whom I respect and whose efforts to inform I deeply appreciate, I too have hope. But I don't need to denigrate the noble efforts of Dr. McPherson to have this hope. I follow Dr. McPherson's writings and lectures even though my "internet time" is far more limited these days as I focus on those I care for in my "real" face-to-face life. I highly respect his research, synthesis and hard-earned wisdom. His lectures leave little objective wiggle-room.

    I merely *hope* he's wrong. I *know* there are hard times ahead for all of us. I *know* I will die all too soon. But I have a gut-feeling doubt when it comes to terms like "mass extinction". I'm truly impressed by the compiled evidence for NTHE and completely revile the efforts by the climate deniers. I simply have faith that the G*d that's brought us this far is simply going to clear the field like a kid shaking an etch-a-sketch. No proof, nothing to back this up. My faith, my willingness to act in the absence of direct knowledge, is not to me a defect, but a virtue that has led to any act that I can take pride in.

    So while I appreciate those who make it a part of there life to inform us of news that just isn't broadcast, please forgive them their personal foibles. After all, I have an all-powerful imaginary friend who guides me and reminds me that there is a purpose to everything, even my worthless life. Who among us, deep down, doesn't?

    Robin, as a reader of your blog who will never travel to your neighborhoods, I thank you for your portal. While I don't find all of your posts of vital interest to me, you condense down "what's really happening" so that I don't have to scour the web to take a pulse of the collapse. I hope your medical issues have subsided such that they don't cause suffering that you'd wish to avoid. Take care.