One of the most salient features of cranks is their inconsistency. A major difference between someone who is trying to reason scientifically and someone who has a fixed belief they are trying to defend against rational inquiry is the scientific thinker is looking for synthesis. They want things to fit together nicely, to make sense, and incorporate as much of the data as possible into a cohesive picture or theory that is convincing to ones peers so they adopt your view.
A crank, on the other hand, doesn’t care about internal consistency, presenting a cohesive picture of any kind, or creating a body of knowledge to be adopted and utilized by their peers. If someone has a different theory that is completely different from theirs they don’t care, as long as it remains opposed to the scientific theory that impinges upon their fixed belief.
Mark is referring to the glee with which many deniers jumped on the story that a computer model *gasp* is questioning the link between climate change and hurricane intensity. Apparently ‘the endless refrain from global warming denialists that computer models have no value goes out the window the second they perceive a modicum of support from a paper that uses them‘.
Of course that is only half of the story, had the deniers bothered to read the paper in question doesn’t challenge climate change (as some deniers have claimed) nor does it challenge the link between climate change and increasing hurricane intensity, it just predicts less of an effect going forward. But don’t take my word for it, why not ask the lead author of the paper, who says that:
Unfortunately, reports about my paper have been greatly distorted. I am certainly not denying global warming, nor am I denying a link to increasing hurricane power, but I am pointing out that one particular technique suggests less of an increase going forward than we previously feared. Also, the technique, when applied to historical climate data from 1980-2006, strongly re-affirms earlier analyses that show that hurricane power has increased by about 50% over the past 25 years.
Seems pretty dishonest to me to completely twist this paper around, but it is business as usual for climate change deniers. And they wonder why rational people refuse to take them seriously.