As with Stephen Colbert, this is parody so subtle it’s almost indistinguishable from real Blog Science.
It's so unfair.
In response to accusations he had misquoted John Houghton, Piers Akerman did the right thing and made a call to International Rescue. It worked:
"Unfortunately for The Independent, Crikey and the ABC, my call to international scientists has borne fruit.
“Yesterday I was forwarded an article published in The Sunday Telegraph (UK) on September 10, 1995, in which Houghton told writer Frances Welch: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”"
This is indeed unfortunate for the Independent. It's tragic in fact. Here we have a different quote with different meaning to the one Houghton never made. But if we really want to - if we close our eyes and really wish - we can imagine that perhaps the misquote was just a paraphrase of this quote. A slight paraphrase in fact.
"How that remark came to be slightly paraphrased in the quotation sent to me we shall probably never know. It’s possible that someone, somewhere in cyberspace tidied up Houghton’s original remark before including it in the material which was sent to me. That sort of thing occurs in the blogosphere."
Akerman gives the blogosphere the credit it deserves, but strangely he claims we will never know how the quotation was paraphrased. If he consulted a Blog Scientist such as myself he could have found out.
The Blog Science technique of "tidying up" quotes - an example
Take what John Houghton actually said in 1995:
"If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident."
This is quite boring. He's claiming humans won't act until it's too late. We could indeed paraphrase him as saying such. But that's not blog science. That's just telling people what John Houghton said, which would be alarmist. No we need to tidy up his words before we can discredit him and the science. Let me tidy up his words a bit so that it sounds like Houghton is advocating lying:
"Unless we announce disasters no one will listen."
There we go. Now it's blog post material. …