The victim mentality of conspiracy theorists


Bob Carter, formerly an adjunct professor at James Cook University

Conspiracy theorists seem to see conspiracies in even the most innocent things.  Then again, politically motivated activists will invent conspiracies if they think this will present them as a victim. This appears to be happening around Bob Carter, one of the darlings of the local climate change deniers/contrarians/pseudosceptics.

Just look at the (unattributed) conspiracy story local climate change pseudosceptic Richard Treadgold is attempting to promote in his blog post Heated climate debate continues.

Bob Carter was a Professor and Head of School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University (Townsville) between 1981 and 1999. Subsequently he was an adjunct research professor at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at the James Cook University from 1998 to 2005 and a visiting research professor in geology and geophysics at the University of Adelaide from 2001 to 2005. And an adjunct research professor again at the James Cook University until the end of last year. According to Brisbane-based journalist Graham Readfearn:

“Professor Paul Dirks, head of school at JCU’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences where Bob Carter’s affiliation was held, has told me that since 1 January 2013, Bob Carter has had “no official status” at JCU. He said Bob Carter’s previous adjunct status ceased on that date.”

What is an adjunct research professor?

You can find out at the James Cook University’s web page Adjunct Appointments. In this case it’s a bit like an emeritus professor. An unpaid position at the university for a retired academic. They are not open-ended –“Appointments will be normally be made for periods of up to three years and may be renewed.”

So, in summary Carters unpaid adjunct position expired at the end of last year. It was not renewed. And he had long before (1999) retired from his job as a Professor at that university.

Mind you, that has not stopped people like Treadgold and other climate change psuedosceptics referring to Carter as a Professor at James Cook University. You would think these sources would have stopped using that title and affiliation by now. As Readfern says:

“Several of these groups still describe Bob Carter as having an affiliation with James Cook University, which, as I’ve just clarified, ended six months ago. I’m sure they will all be diligently edited to reflect Bob Carter’s actual non-status with James Cook University.

I mean, we wouldn’t want anyone being misled now would we?”

Well, perhaps some of these people have decided to stop misleading and admit Carter is no longer holds affiliated to James Cook University. But why waste the opportunity to present themselves as persecuted and victims?

A “contemptible, poisonous  blatant act of bureaucratic bigotry”

Treadgold decides to treat expiration of Carter’s adjunct status as a “dismissal:”

“Professor Bob Carter (an expatriate Kiwi) lost his job the other day at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville. He had worked there for 31 loyal years, . . . . . Significantly, because it led to his dismissal, Bob made an honourable name for himself and earned a world-wide reputation for remaining faithful to scientific principles while analysing the outrageous predictions from global warming alarmists. He was never afraid to speak out against the alarmists and their dubious claims.

Dismissing him with a blatant act of bureaucratic bigotry will deepen the shame of its perpetrators whenever the history of “man-made” climate change is recalled.”

He goes on to call the expiry, sorry “dismissal,” of the adjunct position a “contemptible action” arising from “poisonous, irrational thinking.”

Although Treadgold doesn’t attribute his story or give any sources he clearly relies on fellow climate change pseudosceptic Jo Nova’s blog article JCU caves in to badgering and groupthink — blackballs “politically incorrect” Bob Carter. That article is similarly challenged by lack of reliable sources or attribution.

But despite the normal rapidity with which the climate change pseudosceptic/contrarian/denier internet echo chamber circulates such stories of victimhood this one doesn’t seem to have any legs. It was half-heartedly tweeted by Christopher Monckton, the Galileo Movement and a Sydney journalist Micky Mantell.

Bit of  a fizzer this time Richard?

NOTE: Some information on Bob Carter’s links in the climate change pseudosceptic movement (thanks to Graham Readfearn):

Bob Carter is the Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, the chief science advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, a director at the Australian Environment Foundation, a member of the academic advisory council of the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, an adviser to the Australia-based Galileo Movement, science adviser to the Science and Public Policy Institute, a patron of the UK’s anti-climate legislation group Repeal The Act, an advisor to the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), an advisor to the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an inaugural founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

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210 responses to “The victim mentality of conspiracy theorists

  1. Ken. you sure do have a cold heart. Quite sad, really.


  2. Explain yourself, Ron.


  3. As I tried to impress upon those at Climate Conversation Group, maybe the university is just allowing Bob more time off so he can get a paying paper-round and contribute to NIWA’s costs. Carter was quite prepared to contribute an affidavit (or rather, part of the prolix argument) as part of the action against NIWA.


  4. One factor is that adjuncts usually use office space. Most university departments don’t have a lot, so there is a limit to how many adjuncts you can fit, they are usually given that status only if they are still actively contributing to research or they are actively teaching. In my department we have had a number of adjuncts not renewed recently, nobody had any problem with them, we just need to make room for new staff.


  5. I wonder what the position is with their debt – they really avoid talking about it.


  6. Can anybody think of any of the “scientists” of the climate denial movement under the age of 60?

    (…awkward silence…)

    Ok so….can anybody think of any that will never see 70 again?
    Hmm. It’s a very narrow demographic and a very small list of names.
    On the other hand there’s NASA.
    NASA and every single scientific community on the planet.

    “Finally, and most unfortunately, there is Emeritus disease, a problem that is found in every area of academic controversy. The typical sufferer is an older male, with the archetypal case being the holder of an emeritus position. Unfortunately, aging tends to go along with both a hardening of intellectual arteries and an unwillingness or inability to keep abreast of recent developments in the field in question, with the effect of dogmatic attachment to views formed long ago. Having taken a view of an issue on the basis of very limited consideration, they remain dogmatically attached to it until the end of their days.
    (Looking at the description, I’m obviously a high-risk candidate for going emeritus myself. That’s one reason I try to engage in discussion with people holding a range of views from which I might learn something, most recently economists of the Austrian school).
    Unfortunately, Emeritus disease has a bad prognosis. As Max Planck observed long ago…

    a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.



  7. Can anybody think of any of the “scientists” of the climate denial movement under the age of 60?

    Locally, there is Willem de Lange, whom I went to school with.

    But I get your drift.


  8. I really ought to provide some support for my claim that de Lange is a “denier”. He’s certainly a contrarian.

    Andrew Bolt quotes De Lange:

    and so do our friends at CCG:

    about which Renowden, at H