Dr. Tim Ball: The Lie that Just Won't Die

Mon, 2007-02-05 16:42Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Dr. Tim Ball: The Lie that Just Won't Die

The deathless and - in many specific respects - completely fictional meanderings of Dr. Tim Ball have begun appearing again on right-wing blogs all over the net. At City Troll, at Convenient Untruth and at New Orleans Lady, the same tired and retreaded old climate rant paints Dr. Ball as the courageous victim of a plot to silence a well-meaning skeptic.

But Ball can’t even tell the truth about his own resume. His claim to be the first Climatology Ph.D. in Canada is a total falsehood; his degree was in historical geography - not climatology - and it was nowhere near the first ever granted to someone writing vaguely in the field.  It also was granted by the university as a doctor of philosophy, not the more prestigious “doctor of science” that Ball claims in these articles.

UPDATE: to make matters worse, it looks like Ball’s “global warming is good for us” message is running front page in the right-wing uber site, The Drudge Report.

He claims as well to have been a professor (again of climatology) at the University of Winnipeg for 32 years, while he confirmed in his own Statement of Claim in a pending lawsuit (look here ) that he was a professor (of geography, never climatology) for just eight years.

Dr. Ball claims never to have been paid by oil and gas interests, but if you look here , you’ll find a Globe and Mail story in which Dr. Barry Cooper, the man behind Ball’s former industry front group, the Friends of Science , offers this clumsy admission: “[The money’s] not exclusively from the oil and gas industry,” says Prof. Cooper. “It’s also from foundations and individuals. I can’t tell you the names of those companies, or the foundations for that matter, or the individuals.”

Here you’ll find a podcast of Dr. Ball talking to the Ottawa Citizen , saying that he goes out of his way to ignore who might be paying his bills, but crediting the energy industry lobby firm, the High Park Group . And here, you’ll find High Park Group veteran Tom Harris, telling the Toronto Star that his new industry front group, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project , was created at the suggestion of High Park Group president Timothy Egan.

Tom Harris, executive director of the NRSP, is credited by New Orleans Lady for passing along this version of the Ball tirade, also printed Monday on the right-wingy website, Canada Free Press. Yet all of these factual inconsistencies have been brought to Harris’s attention on previous occasions.

It is inevitable that this post will be criticized as an ad hominem attack on dear Dr. Ball (and perhaps on Harris, as well). But how can you argue science with someone who doesn’t feel bound by the limits of truth?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just endured an unprecedented process of vetting and peer-review to produce a document, the veracity of which has been double-checked and endorsed by thousands of the best scientists in the world. It must be soul-destroying to see a long-retired geographer who rarely published during his colourless academic career and who never conducted any research in atmospheric science dismiss that effort without a shred of evidence or a hint of good conscience.


Ok here’s another ad hominem: the guy is a complete lunatic! He wouldn’t be at all out of place on a show next to ‘moon hoaxer’ Ralph Rene and ‘face on mars’ Richard Hoagland. His falsehoods are so broad he must believe them. It’s called calling a spade a spade.
If he is such a lunatic, why not attack the science rather than the man? I’m listening to both sides of the deluded debate on global warming and I don’t think either side has a better lock on the facts than the other. Is this about finding the truth or electing the “right” people?
You mean like this? Ball’s attacks on real scientists with real training and real research are vile.

http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=d622e9fa-cdc8-4163-8292-a... Aussies’ Suzuki heavier on rhetoric than on science Tim Ball For The Calgary Herald Wednesday, April 19, 2006 Unknown to most Canadians until this week, Australians have their very own David Suzuki, a self-promoting zoologist who has garnered a large and loyal following for his sensationalist views on climate change. Like Suzuki, Aussie zoologist Tim Flannery has no professional credentials in the field and so blunders regularly while pushing governments to save the world from global warming. Sadly, both men have considerable influence over politicians and their unscientific rhetoric is

blah blah blah spit fuss slobber

I don't need to read past this part of the Curriculum Vitae

"Richard Littlemore has been trained by Al Gore as part of The Climate Project, an initiative designed to educate the public about climate change."

professor al gore, one of the most TRUSTED and RESPECTED names in climate change

Ad hominem??? - You’re joking, right? Take a look at this, for instance: Ball says of the IPCC Report that it’s “the end product of a political agenda, and it is the political agenda of both the extreme environmentalists who of course think we are destroying the world. But it’s also the political agenda of a group of people … who believe that industrialization and development and capitalism and the Western way is a terrible system and they want to bring it down…” Is there a whit of SCIENCE, in this critique?? If so, guess I missed it…Reads like whackadoo conspiracy-mongering, to me - a grand anti-capitalist cabal, a consensus of luddite commies…This man Ball is a crank, an industry whore with the same half-baked CV that all such whores possess–little wonder he padded it so…File him in the same garbage bin with the neo-creationists foaming at the mouth over the commie consensus on evolution–after all, those very same people are themselves declared enemies of global warming theory!
Al Gore has a scientific degree in ??????????????
Still not dead? How about any news on his lawsuit? I can’t help but think the outcome of that should add a hefty nail in the coffin. Or maybe a stake through the heart. If he’s as loony as he seems the court case could turn out to be quite embarrassing for him – I just hope that it’s well-appreciated by the media.
Like it or not, there are many people who simply don’t care that Ball has embellished his credentials. And while his fans like to invoke the “global warming as religion” metaphor, they happily accept anything Timmy has to say - even when he contradicts himself - with no yearning to examine the facts. Let us pray, eh?

I suppose you've seen the "rebuttal" that's been liberally cut 'n' pasted around the denialist sites, from talk-radio host Neil Boortz. Nearly every item on his list embodies a logical fallacy or two, but I love that my favorite:
The polar ice caps on Mars are melting. How did our CO2 emissions get all the way to Mars?
seems to be getting the most attention. I was prepared to take it as tongue-in-cheek, but many seem to be taking at face value.

My second favorite:
There are about 160,000 glaciers around the world. Most have never been visited or measured by man. The great majority of these glaciers are growing, not melting.

This is what we're up against.

Of course, it's an article of faith that the UN is not to be trusted. After all, the IPCC scientists were the architects of the disastrous oil-for-food scam.

I suppose our friends, Johan I Kanada and ZOG, who are tireless defenders of intellectual rigour in the search for the truth, would make short work of a fraudster science denier like Boortz.

How is that an ad hominem attack? The guy says he’s a professor in climatology. He’s not. He’s a professor of geography. The guy says he’s been a professor for 28 years. He hasn’t been. He’s been a professor of geography for 8 years and is already retired. The guy misleads and says he got a PhD in London. He neglects to say it’s a PhD in philosophy and instead calls it a PhD in Science. The guy has never published a paper in scholarly peer reviewed journals on what is essentially global warming. The guy’s whole argument centers upon him being an expert in the field. He’s not. He was never really in the field. That’s not an ad hominem attack. It’s the substance of his argument. He says look at me, I’m a world leading expert on climatology. Therefore listen to me when I say global warming is political and not scientific. He’s the one not giving substance. Therefore the argument goes to whether or not he’s suited to make such claims. He is not. Pointing out someone is lying is not an ad hominem attack.
I hold no brief for Dr. Tim Ball, but one of the allegations about him that I’ve seen repeatedly on this site about him is I think mistaken. The degree of Philosophiae Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy), usually abbreviated Ph.D., is NOT a degree that is awarded exclusively for studies in Philosophy. Rather, many universities confer the Ph.D. as their highest degree in a wide variety of fields. You can verify this easily by looking at any Canadian or US university’s list of its faculty: academics in everything from Accounting to Zoology hold Ph.D.’s in those fields; and I assume the same may be true of climatologists. (Whether Dr. Ball is himself a climatologist is of course a different question.)

A related point: I have seen it asserted that the degree of “Doctor of Science” is a more prestigious one than a Ph.D. That may be the case, since in many universities the Doctor of Science degree is an honorary one – it’s awarded for non-academic contributions to the university and/or the community. So it’s really irrelevant that Dr. Ball doesn’t hold a Doctorate of Science – neither do most academics.

What may have got people mixed up is that Dr. Ball’s Ph.D. was awarded, as I understand it, by a Department of Geography, not a Department of Climatology. That may or may not be significant.

It is fairly clear that Tim is not an expert in the specific field, yet is willing to present himself as such, but his PhD is a science degree. He did get his doctorate in geography. All science doctorates, indeed almost all real doctorates, are called Doctor of Philosophy from the old concepts of what philosophy was. His PhD dissertation was entitled: _Climatic Change in Central Canada: A preliminary analysis of weather information from the Hudson’s Bay Company Forts at York Factory and Churchill Factory, 1714-1850_. That’s science. Still, it’s quite clear that he has abandoned science for his corporate masters and will say whatever they want him to say.

You're quite right that Ball's Ph.D. is valid and the previous commenter is right that Doctor of Philosophy is the title that attaches itself to most degrees, scientific or otherwise.

Doctor of Science, however, is a degree of high honour, rarely accorded and only then to the truly outstanding. THAT's what Ball is claiming he has. And that, like much else that he claims, is not quite close enough to the truth.

For you priests of global warming, attacking the messenger seems much more to your liking than rationally attacking the message. Climate varies; you will be looked upon by future generations as CO2 Chicken Littles and that is how you will be remembered.
What part of 90 percent certainty do you not undestand? More likely Ball and his energy industry buddies will be remembered in the same way tobacco lobbyists were for telling us that tobacco smoke didn’t cause cancer. Get a grip and read up, read the science for a while instead of the national post!
Isn’t it expressed fully as a 90-99% per cent certainty in the IPCC report?
So would your please tell us what advanced degrees the authors of the IPCC report have? The actual authors, mind you.

Almost all of them. You do realise they are volunteers who are chosen for being experts in their field?

Here is a sample:


It is easy to compare figures from various places... Did you ever hear of Galileo? People with power demonize those who have done their honest research... history repeats...but sheep like you are easily fooled...

Pay your carbon taxes and let the ICLEI gang herd you into megacities, where they can better police the foolish sheep!

Where is Ball’s science? The only publications in the last 10 years from Ball are opinion pieces in newspapers.

If ball is such a martyr for the deniers why doesn’t orpose a hypthesis, test it and publish in a peer reviewed journal?

That’s science, anything else is just got air from a has been retired crank that’s getting more attention than he ever did in his career.
If being a “priest of global warming” means accepting the now entirely uncontroversial scientific consensus (1) that human activities, especially fossil fuel use, are major contributors to climate change; (2) that the observed and expected rates of change are greater than those experienced for many millennia; and (3) that the resulting effects are likely to be unpleasant for humans and many other forms of life, then I say Amen, brothers and sisters!

As for “attacking the messenger’, in a sense that’s the whole point of this website. Some messengers are paid liars, and they deserve to be exposed as such.

Sorry: which data?
than a Big Turkey who ignores the best information available to him. Rather Chicken Little than a Big Turkey who’s too proud to admit he’s lost….

Its not about win lose but about honesty. Did you ever visit the Grand Canyon? Climate does change... and fascist governments with goons like Gore profitting from Carbon Tax, continue to propagandize. Politics always masquerades as "science".... ever hear of Bechamps? he too was demonized by the profiteers!!

The big boys always play dirty, and run home with the moneybags.

Greetings Enviroes!

Wonderful letter by Dr. Ball. The Beast has featured excerpts from it on his blog, with a little original commentary too - about two thousand words worth, with pics.

And how dare you think this is a blatant effort to draw hits to the site?

Happy Trails


Beast, you just show your ignorance of the whole subject when you refer to Ball as Bell. I can assume that this signifies the level of your competence in all other areas you discuss on your blog. Time to spend more time on your high school (or is it junior high school) classes, since you must have skipped a few to spend so much time on idle and incorrect chatter.

A point or correction is not “ad hominem” if it addresses the “argument by authority”, or “appeal to authority”. This claim was made in numerous talks and articles, as has been noted.

I am the first etc. etc. and have extensive background [in something barely related] etc. etc. and have an unbelievably long period of being so etc. etc. indicating my recognition, and I say that X, therefore you can believe X.

It is a perverse form of argument, which invites correction, even when it is used by a bonafide authority. The user of such an argument is often aware that he can deflect the truth by crying “ad hominem, ad hominem, they’re picking on me personally”. It is a cowardly defense for an unjustified method of persuasion, and no real scientist or anyone else trained in methods of discovery would ever use it. (It may be correct to apply in some cases of technology or skill, for example shoemaker, artist, judokan, mechanic, etc.) Similarly, no real scientist would be motivated to say, or would have to say, “I have an extensive background”, so believe me, or “Few listen to me despite the fact that I was the first etc.” What kind of reader or even camp follower could be convinced by such a claim, even if it were true?

lap “Some messengers are paid liars, and they deserve to be exposed as such.” You mean like Hoggan’s PR flacks?

ZOG if you're going to be accusing others of ad hominem attacks, you should really not engage in your own. Doesn't do a whole lot for your credibility. Can you prove that Hoggan's PR flacks are paid liars? I'm all ears.

DAN The truth is, the "ad hominem!" defense is the only one still open to most deniers. Sadly, they chose their version of the truth for non-scientific reasons--generally it's libertarian ideology, sometimes it's a xenophobic hatred of environmentalists, often its both--and that truth is crumbling around them. Going on the attack with their "ad hominem" claims, or their "priests of global warming" actually helps them avoid a much more painful reality: the unravelling of their whole worldview. There's a lot more at stake for them than we realize. I would feel sorry for them if they weren't so mean-spirited, or if they weren't messing around with my children's future.

If you’re going to dabble in ad hominem at least be factual.

For example, you are a numbskull (ad hominem) for making baseless accusations that you cannot back up (fact).

See how that works?
Littlemore than just another Chicken Little LOL
… good one, City Troll
Figures never lie, liars always figure. This certainly applies to Richard Littlemore’s (apt name) attack on Tim Ball. First of all, Tim Ball’s PhD in geography was entirely appropriate and his dissertation on the climate changes in Canada did indeed make him the first climatology PhD in Canada. He was also a professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg in the Department of Geography. Again, an appropriate placing of a climatologist. Now a lesson on PhD vs. SiD: “The doctorate is actually a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) versus a Ph.D. but it’s essentially the same thing in terms of meaning and respect” (George Washington University InfoSec); and - the doctoral degree granted by the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis has generated many complaints because it is a DSc degree instead of the more prestigious PhD degree. Check out universities – most professors in the sciences have PhD’s.
For other readers out there, the statement above is entirely false (perhaps knowingly), as even a tiny bit of thought or googling will show. There were at least 50 ahead of him, many of whom who actually took a climatology class. Anyone in science knows that the first of anything didn’t happen as recently as the 1980s. His PhD (no, not a Doctor of Science) thesis papers refer to some of those previous PhD’s in climatology in Canada.

“First of all, Tim Ball’s PhD in geography was entirely appropriate and his dissertation on the climate changes in Canada did indeed make him the first climatology PhD in Canada.” (false)
Also try googling “Jens Rathenau”. No such.
Why is it that when I read Richard Littemore, I can visualize little balls of spittle spraying all over his keyboard? Perhaps in an act of journalistic balance you might consider investigating the background of James Hanson the “esteemed” climatologist of NASA and backer of global warming. He possesses absolutely no credentials in the field of climatology whatsoever. He has degrees in Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. His main claim to fame regarding climate is his work on computer models supposedly for predicting future climate. Never mine the fact that his models can’t even accurately predict the past. Pretty bad! But I’m sorry. The debate is over. It’s all settled. A consensus has emerged. The skeptics must be silenced or, if they persist, destroyed. Especially if they are funded by the wrong people (Big Oil, Big Car or Big Cow).
I find the whole desmogblog concept to be repulsive, that David Suzuki regularly advertizes for these guys makes it even worse. If Tim Ball is a stooge of the oil, tobacco, mexican food, (insert industry here) because he recieved, at arms length, some travel money or whatever, then David Suzuki is likewise a stooge having recieved money from Encana and ATCO, two of the big players in Canadian oil and gas. Now whatever Suzuki says must be stopped or shouted down by the same illogic that Littlemore uses here. And BTW, you smog-guys might do some homework, the Ostrich is not the national bird of Australia, the Emu is. Its a simple mistake that any first grader could make, we expect more from pillars of truth and wisdom.
As it turns out, Richard Littlemore has no training in science, his bio reads:

“Educated at Nipissing University College (English and Psychology), the University of Western Ontario (Law for the Journalist), UBC (Economics and Art History) and Simon Fraser University (Japanese Language Studies), Richard spends his spare time chasing children”…

It is unclear whether Mr. Littlemore recieved any degree or diploma, we must assume that he did not as it is not stated but that may be just an oversight.
A scan of 22,000 peer reviewed papers shows Littlemore as having 0 articles on climate or climate change. Therefore, he has no credibility to speak to the science.

Peer review means little or nothing when it comes to true “scientific” knowledge. Case in point, Dr. Hwang of South Korea fooled the peer review system for almost 4 years before the yarn started to unravel. The peer review system is just another way of information control. I know a grad student who could not get his thesis past his college adviser who constantly told him that he could not write. What did the grad student do? He submitted his work to a “peer reviewed” journal who promptly published it. Interesting that he could not write well enough for his adviser but that the peer reviewed journal of psychology he submitted it to published it. Nice that his adviser, who probably would have put his own name on that research work if said grad student hadn’t published it first, got so mad about the publication that the grad student had to leave the school. How many professors are lording knowledge because grad students do not agree with them. The peer review system is just a gate keeper system and unfortunately many of the gate keepers do not seek truth but to stroke their own overstuffed egos. Unfortunately too many that have acquired the status of Ph.D. assume they are gods. When it comes to global warming half the problem is that people who have no scientific training are being fed a line by people like yourself. Then they have no method of validating it. How many would be global climate propagaters have even as much knowledge as I do. I am trained in computer science with a degree from Montana State University. In my coursework I was required to take a full year of physics, calculus, logic, and probability. Along the way I also studied molecular biology and Chemistry. What I have learned about the scientific process and read in the reports from the IPCC leads me to wonder whose agenda is being pushed. “Theories” are being pushed without validation. Not one of the models used to sound the alarm has been shown to predict anything with any accuracy at all. It is just assumed to be true. In the real “scientific” world, tests must prove the hypothesis before it is considered theory. I’ll leave this argument with one last note of interest. I read interesting research that the Antarctic ice shelves are actually increasing in mass. http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V9/N35/C1.jsp

James Hansen is one of the “good guys” he doesn’t need a degree in climatology, proctology would have been good enough. Just because he has been paid by John Kerry’s wife through the Heinze Foundation shouldn’t make you question his motives, he’s a truth speaker.

Oh ya, Jimmy says the new flood height will be 80 feet, not 20, Al’s still working on the powerpoint slides.

Well, I saw Tim Ball last nite, and I can tell you honestly, he comes across a whole lot better than your blog.

"It must be soul-destroying to see a long-retired geographer who rarely published during his colourless academic career and who never conducted any research in atmospheric science dismiss that effort without a shred of evidence or a hint of good conscience."

Sorry - what were your qualifications in science again?

" But how can you argue science with someone who doesn't feel bound by the limits of truth?"


I'm the guy behind Convenient Untruth, but why do you call me right wing? I hope you understand that, just as you don't necessarily have to be liberal to have been hoodwinked by the hoax that is anthropomorphic global warming, you don't have to be right-wing to realize it *is* a hoax.

Take your labeling machine and use it to pry your eyes open!

If it is a hoax how come the planet is warming and the sea level is raising? Every scientific body on the planet agrees with the concept that man is warming the globe! I label you stupid.

we just came through the coldest winter ever.... Do a study of sea levels yourself... Lots of charts are available online... Strange that English Bay in Vancouver is still not lapping up onto the street.

How easily sheep like you are fooled.... as Hitler said, if you are going to tell a lie, make it a big one and repeat it over and over...

Bet you believe in virgin births and apocalypses and that cavemen with boxcutters flew the plane into the tower, and that fluoridation helps poor kids teeth, too? OK pay your carbon tax and demonize your neighbor. Propagandists and spin doctors love dummies like you as they laugh all the way to the bank!

Coldest winter ever? 2010 was the wettest year on record and one of the warmest globally. Jan - April 2011 is the 14th warmest on record (out of 132 years), while there is a La Niña.

Sea levels have dipped - to 2009 levels. Global warming caused by man's activities it not expected to mean every year is warmer than the last. However the trend is clear.

I took a course from Prof. Tim Ball at the University of Wpg and he taught climatology.

In Australia,in winter we wear jumpers to keep warm, and use electric blankets to warm our beds. So how come when all these Canadians who "believe" in global warming wear short sleeve shirts in mid-winter when its well below zero.
Why don't you all just do the sensible thing and move to a place like Mexico where you don't need central heating in winter?

you start by telling us that he is right wing but what you don't tell everyone is that you are left wing likely government funded...why would you want this to go away?....it is a cash cow for the left....we don't all believe what the left say and yes...the earth goes through many changes....i know i wasn't here 10000 years ago to document the changes in the planet...were you?....let's all recycle paper because it makes so much sense....when in fact the chemicals used to recycle paper are far worse than the chemicals used to make paper....how about Plasma Gasification....why don't we burn our garbage and recyclables and create clean energy with it.....this processs is 99% clean...why we don't do it when Euro countries have been using this type of thecnology for years and proven to work...why don't we use it?...because the green and recycling business is a cash cow.


The Vatican, the Pentagon, and the CIA say there is global warming. Are they leftists? The CIA has a Center for Climate Change and National Security. The head of that unit, acording to media reports, is Larry Kobayashi. Why don't you google his name.

You should read the Russian media because they make the same arguments that you do. You are the one spouting the Kremlin line.

The former CEO of Gazprom, Russia's President Medvedev, is the one who claimed that climate change was a "trick."
Gazprom is majority-owned by the Russian government.

Time (8-2-10) observes:

Two months before Copenhagen, [Russia's] state-owned Channel One television aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, which argued that the notion of man-made climate change was the result of an international media conspiracy. A month later, hackers sparked the so-called Climategate scandal by stealing e-mails from European climate researchers. The hacked e-mails, which were then used to support the arguments of global-warming skeptics, appeared to have been distributed through a server in the Siberian oil town of Tomsk, raising suspicion among some environmental activists of Russia's involvement in the leak....

"Broadly speaking, the Russian position has always been that climate change is an invention of the West to try to bring Russia to its knees," says Vladimir Chuprov, director of the Greenpeace energy department in Moscow. Case in point: when Medvedev visited Tomsk last winter, he called the global-warming debate "some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects."