You have to put yourself in their place to understand their inner turmoil. They are believers. They have been brought up in the faith. They learned about the threat of the evil deniers, paid by evil corporations to spread lies and deceptions - mostly to stupid, gullible people, or to other wicked people. That's simple and clear enough, and would have been reinforced all but daily in the media, and within their circles of chosen ones. Imagine their horror then to come across a professor in a university delivering an entire lecture course which undermined the Revelations of Gore and the Holy Insights of Hansen. Surely, of all sheltered, solidly socialist places, a university should be a safe haven from such non-conformist views? You can see they would be upset and puzzled.
Four junior priests of the faith took it upon themselves to study videos of the offending lectures, and then put together a 96 page document to capture the horror of them, and add some attempts of their own to refute the heresies. Hearing of this report, the missionary agreed to do a telephone interview with the heretic himself, and thereby no doubt display both her courage and willingness to deal with such people in the name of the cause. Perhaps she might show him the error of his ways, or at the very least publicise more awfulness to bring shivers of horror to her own small band of followers. But, goshdarnit, it turned out that the heretic was polite and rational and well-informed and not at all obviously unhinged or evil. Listen to the call, or read the transcript, and see how her faith is tested, and how she sometimes remembers her catechisms about Consensus, Deniers, Big Oil, Heartland, Catastrophe, and suchlike. Yet these potent words, words that produce automatic cheers of agreement amongst the faithful and deep declarations of solidarity with the cause, were brushed aside or even challenged to good effect! But although she stumbled, and failed in her hopes for this call, she made the best of a bad job and reported next of nothing of it. Why expose her converts and hangers-on to what she had to endure? No,she concentrated on the report of the junior priests instead. A report which even now, the bad guys are having some fun with. It seems it is a foolish piece of work, one which will bring nought but shame and embarassment to the new church.
I hope, but experience tells me it is a forlorn one, to have time to return to this myself. In the meantime, and that may be for a long time, here is the inestimable Watts at work on it: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/03/fake-moral-outrage-translated-to-smear-media-upset-that-students-can-choose-to-take-an-elective-course-on-climate-change-at-carleton/#more-58227
Here is some of what he has written: [note Goldenberg is the missionary in my scribbles above, and Mr Harris is the heretic]
“A team of scientists, who reviewed the videotapes of Mr. Harris’s lectures provided by the university, found 142 false, biased and misleading claims”.
Note added 9 March 2012: That promised post has been posted today. Strong stuff for WUWT: