Play the Ball

Dear ClimateBall ™ player,

Me and AT have been discussing for a moment now the possibility that I help him moderate the blog. I just recently accepted, not without warning him that unintended consequences might follow. We shall see them in due time.

climateball

A comment on last thread provoked the beginning of my service as a moderator. The comment, in my opinion, contained a personal attack. Let’s recall AT’s rule:

I would like to see avoided are vitriolic, unpleasant, personal attacks. As they say, play the ball not the man/woman.

I will focus on this single rule: play the ball. Here is an example of something I would moderate:

Doug says he hopes you will research things more thoroughly – he’s probably not familiar with the style of your blog.

The first version of this post contained many examples, but the fantastically new WordPress Dashboard swept them all. I’ll try to provide more examples in the comment thread. If I’m lucky, my explanation will be as rock solid as NHL’s Department of Player Safety; cf. the videos for the explanations.

***

My main objective is to collect examples. (You know me, I like to do that.) I expect you, dear ClimateBall ™ player, to play the man even if I’m telling you to play the ball. That’s OK. I accept this, but please don’t push it. At the very least, try to abide by Doug McNeal’s rule:

If you wish to be offensive in the comments, please make it funny, or true. Preferably both.

While I acknowledge my bias toward style, your mot juste may still be deleted. In any event, other ClimateBall players might appreciate the effort before I moderate it. (No, the example above does not meet that criteria.)

Some cases are clearer, some others are less so. Most rest on a judgment call, and my decisions are definitive. I can’t promise to backup your prose: this is your responsibility. I can only promise to delete every single sentence that tries to play the ref.

This applies to this comment thread. Don’t come here to whine about something elsewhere in the blog. You can contact me via @nevaudit or via my Contrarian Matrix.

***

To finish this first post, I’ll simply pull this quote from Robert Rowland Smith:

To put it in tabloid terms, your enemy is you, or at least that bit of you you can’t stand. No wonder that we feel so attached to our enemies, that we can become so preoccupied with them. Just as hate can make you as obsessed with someone as love, having enemies is a negative form of bonding – attachment in a minor key.

ClimateBall ™ is a game. Games are supposed to be fun. Please keep that in mind next time that you, dear ClimateBall ™ player, try to side tackle your opponent.

Beware your spikes, and play the ball.

Good luck!

willard

PS: This includes you, AT.

About these ads

About Willard

neverendingaudit.tumblr.com
This entry was posted in ClimateBall. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Play the Ball

  1. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Rubber, Duplicate, and Chicago are the main variations of contract bridge. It would be helpful to have an index of climate sites and the variations of ClimateBall they’re playing. The names can be shamelessly stolen from some other game or new appellations – but it would be nice if they were really cute, catchy or intuitively descriptive. Preferably all at once.

    Since ClimateBall moves can fall into one of four categories:
    play the ball
    play the man
    play the ref
    play the crowd

    My immediate thought is that here we’re looking at a double-restricted version with play the man and play the ref moves frowned upon. Sites that don’t allow comments can be considered ClimateBall Solitaire or Mail ClimateBall.

  2. Rachel M says:

    I strongly disagree with the moderation of the autism comment so I’m going to step aside from moderating for the time being. If I’m needed again at some point then I’m happy to start doing it again. :-)

  3. jsam says:

    To err is human. To have it shouted about is to be a moderator.

  4. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Example index entry for Goddard’s ‘RealScience’ = Black Bakunin Amateur

    Using black or white to give the POV of the blog site’s owner. ‘Bakunin’ used to indicate it is completely unrestricted, all moves in play; no comment moderation usually results in anarchy. And ‘amateur’ of course to indicate the general level of actual knowledge possessed by the regulars as displayed in comment threads and or the site owner in blog posts.

    Initially I thought we’d need a ranking for both posts and typical comments, but on reflection I think the two generally go hand in hand – or at least I can’t think of an example where there is any real divergence between the two possible scores. In theory, yes; in practice, no.

  5. The question “are you a scientist?” can be an illegal check.

    It could be a way to target the head (“you don’t think like a scientist”), the body (“you don’t work as a scientist”), or it could be below the belt (“you don’t have the balls to be a scientist”).

    The context, the actual situation, and the past history between the ClimateBall ™ players involved will reveal the most plausible interpretation.

    I think the same applies to “are you an autist?”

  6. Willard, I have a recent example of ClimateBall for you that involves Climate Etc. It is based on a comment by a skeptic trying to prove why the BEST team should not be trusted:

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/07/07/understanding-adjustments-to-temperature-data/#comment-606998

    This was Brandon Shollenberger’s analysis of climate in Springfield, Illinois, where he tried to compare BEST results against GISS results, and asserted that BEST was exaggerating the warming.

    I started the process by saying that the technical analysis casting aspersions on BEST was completely messed up. This was very obvious, but I was not completely playing the ball. With characters such as Chewie inhabiting the blogosphere, how can you concentrate on just the ball?

    BTW, on Climate Etc the first rule of ClimateBall is never to mention ClimateBall, as apparently this seems to be a phrase that will raise the moderation flag.

  7. > This was very obvious, but I was not completely playing the ball.

    That’s quite an understatement, Web.

    Here, from now on, please try to be more pedagogical. You may have only one chance. Use it well.

    ***

    > BTW, on Climate Etc the first rule of ClimateBall is never to mention ClimateBall, as apparently this seems to be a phrase that will raise the moderation flag.

    Judy’s blog, Judy’s rules.

    The first (and only one for now) rule of ClimateClub ™ is – you need to talk about ClimateClub ™.

    ***

    ClimateBall ™ players,

    Please try to share your thoughts about ClimateBall ™ on the dedicated thread here:

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/climateballtm/

    (BTW, thanks for the heads up and the bridge analogy, Kevin!)

    If there’s a need to theorize ClimateBall ™, I’ll consider opening comments on my dedicated blog. In any case, I welcome suggestions via email, tweets, or the contact form.

    I’m starting a week of vacation today. Please give me some time.

  8. “Here, from now on, please try to be more pedagogical”

    Thanks Willard. I actually tried to relate the discussion to what I have learned from my teaching experiences. [...]

    [Glad you did, Web. Next time, do not try, but do. I see little point in rehashing this ClimateBall (tm) episode here. Please continue to keep your eye on the ball, however hard you find it.. -w]

  9. verytallguy says:

    [Play the ball, Very Tall, even if you mean well. -w]

    In the same way, 12 year old boys often use”gay” as an insult. As a football coach, when they do I tell them that’s not ok.

    Moderating comments where autism is used as a term of abuse seems like the right thing to do, although as you did, explaining why it isn’t would be even better.

  10. BBD says:

    [Please, BBD, we need to work with our interpretations of what people say. This can lead to disagreements. It's OK. -w]

  11. Rachel M says:

    I’ll acknowledge that I was a bit upset about the autism thing. As the mother of an autistic child, I find it somewhat offensive that people would think asking someone whether they’re autistic is an insult. This suggests ignorance and a lack of understanding of autism.

    Autistic people are quite often good at maths and physics, are good with details, and have unique skills. These are all complimentary features. My own son is very good at maths, has no problems making friends, is very popular at school, and goes to a main-stream school. People with autism are more likely to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at University.

    I understand that people feel it was the way the question was asked rather than what was asked. I guess all I have to say to this is that to assume it was an insulting question is to assume that autism is a derogatory word and I just don’t view it that way.

    Willard has a unique moderating style – I certainly enjoyed watching him moderate a thread on my own blog – so I will enjoy sitting back and watching things unfold. :-)

  12. > I guess all I have to say to this is that to assume it was an insulting question is to assume that autism is a derogatory word [...]

    I disagree, and think my example of “are you a scientist?” shows fairly well why.

    ***

    Let’s reflect on what “playing the ball” means. Here are some examples:

    (1) I am happy you came.
    (2) Are you happy to be here?
    (3) I owned so many startups.
    (4) Do you have any experience as an entrepreneur?
    (5) I know how to run a business.
    (6) Do you really know how to run a business?

    Ordinarily, none of these statements pose any problem. But do these claims play the ball or the man? I contend they “play the man”: (3)-(6) can easily be seen as ways to question or appeal to authority, the first pair by targeting experience, the second pair by targeting know-how.

    None of these examples play the ball, unless the ball is also the man. The first two cases look banal, but where’s the ball? It becomes the interlocutor’s feelings. Or course, we should accept the fact that, in a conversation, it’s quite good to be able to manage how people feel.

    Please beware where this can lead if we allow all these moves in a confrontational situation. Think of “does it hurt?” by a ClimateBall ™ player who just trampled you. Language is a social art.

    ***

    I don’t think it’s really possible to have online conversations without any body contact. This is why I chopped the “play the man” from my injunction. To my mind, arguing the opposite would be like arguing that soccer disallowed physical plays. I played hockey, football, and soccer, and I think I’m on safe ground in believeing that soccer is the dirtiest sport of the three.

    As long as everyone keeps the eye on the ball, all should be well.

    ***

    > As the mother of an autistic child, I find it somewhat offensive that people would think asking someone whether they’re autistic is an insult.

    I too am a parent of an autistic child, and I don’t want people to use “autistic” as a weapon. So Rachel is perfectly entitled to say that I am biased. Yet, I think that my position is sound. (Yes, I know that I’m not playing the ball here.)

    ***

    I apologize for having stepped in a situation without notice.

  13. Rachel M says:

    Let’s kiss and make up, Willard. I understand what you’re saying and there’s something amusing about being moderated by the new moderator.

    One last thought on autism: I would like autistic people to be proud of their autism and their uniqueness and the way they think. This is certainly the way I view it. Perhaps the reason I do not see an insult in the comment is because I am on the spectrum myself.

  14. Michael 2 says:

    Rachel says: “Perhaps the reason I do not see an insult in the comment is because I am on the spectrum myself.”

    Yep, me too, although I think such things are usually just differences in smaller doses. 2/3 through my Navy career I was introduced to Myers-Briggs MBTI. What a revelation that was.

    But what is a weakness is also a strength and my modest immunity to the “mirror neuron” vulnerability of being manipulated by my fear of what other people think — normally a social weakness — was also a strength in the Navy when investigating criminal accusations involving race and gender.

    With climate science most of what I encounter are “claims”, and it is the same with religion, which is why I find many similarities. People say things all the time and I am still adjusting to how little truth exists in ordinary conversation (My Navy career, in contrast, seems to have consisted mostly of truth — so many submarines and airplanes, things that must be known with exactness).

    Anyway, at some point autism does start to create problems for person and family. I was appointed at Mountain View, California to be a religious teacher to a small group of boys, 9 years old if I remember right. It was for me an unpleasant ordeal as these boys were completely out of control. It was impossible to teach the religious lesson. But they were interested in the eagle I had painted on my briefcase so, okay, we’ll talk about eagles and try to weave a hint of religion into it. Unknown to me one of the boys (maybe all of them) were autistic, this one rather substantially so. I quit that teaching task mere weeks after accepting it but a few months later the parents invited me to supper to see what had happened. The boy had completely absorbed everything there was to learn about eagles, had checked out every book in the library and became quite an expert — but more importantly, the door that was opened stayed open and he started expanding his horizons. He could now talk to others and did so willingly. What seemed like a disaster turned out to be a miracle. It just needed a “key”, something that could cross the (*) Schwarzchild threshold of the black hole of his mind and then escape back out.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2011/12/the-schwarzschild-radius-natures-breaking-point/

    I almost cannot believe I remembered this word for this thing. My nerd is showing.

  15. AnOilMan says:

    I don’t think you need to be a scientist to moderate. Willard is more concerned about people’s logic and method than anything else. I’ve repeatedly said he’s even handed about it. He’s also very diligent about researching the origins of what people are saying. (Phrase spammers beware.) Of course I’m not entirely sure how JAQing or volumous posts about growing up in Tennessee are scored.

    I really would like to replace Willard with a small script. He’d make such a handy app for Google Glass…

    This is Climate Ball today;

    This is the way Willard would prefer things;

  16. Tom Curtis says:

    An Oilman, you appear to be suggesting that Willard desires that ClimateBall be both wittier, and pointless….

  17. BBD says:

    With climate science most of what I encounter are “claims”, and it is the same with religion

    Um, no. Science is evidence-based.

  18. Tom and Oily,

    A small script reminding ClimateBall ™ players not to discuss my desires would be nice.

  19. M2 and BBD,

    No more science and religion Punch & Judy, please. The demarcation problem is as complicated as it is boring. If the need to discuss it resurfaces, I’ll consider adding a “but religion” thread.

    There’s no need to decide once and for all what science is before discussing scientific claims. Editorial comments amounting to say that a claim is scientific or religious can easily be used as proxies to push buttons.

  20. BG says:

    As a physicist, my only question is, is this all this moderation stuff going to improve, or merely provide a distraction to, the discussion of the physics?

  21. Dear BG,

    As a ninja, my only answer is that: you’re appealing to your own authority, which does not play the ball, you’re asking a rhetorical question, which does not play the ball, and you’re throwing a squirrel in the thread, which puts an irrelevant ball into play.

    In other words, please keep your eye on the ball.

    Thank you nevertheless for your concerns about physics.

  22. OPatrick says:

    It would certainly be helpful to know what the ball is. Climateball cannot be defined, but can we define, or, better, outline, what Climateball is not? The intention of this blog, I think, is to not play Climateball, or perhaps to play not Climateball.

  23. I will interpret “the intention of this blog” as whatever pleases AT to talk about.

    The ball is simply the topic of a post, or more generally what it discusses. It is opposed to “playing the man” in AT’s moderation rules.

    ***

    The topic of this very post is about playing the ball, and by opposition what is not playing the ball.

    To wonder, to find interest, or to worry about physics, the purported purpose or the intention of the blog could only be related to this post in a very loose manner.

  24. While the topic of a post is somewhat clear, the topic of a follow-up discussion is less so. This ambiguity can be observed in technical papers, under the heading “discussion.” Most blogs are more open-ended than this, as this comment thread shows.

    ***

    It’s tough to discuss anything if you can’t step back and talk about the discussion itself. It’s easier to create a discussion about a discussion than to talk without talking about talking. Seinfeld, for instance, is a show about nothing. Waiting for Godot is about waiting. Beckett’s **Endgame** also lacks specific content:

    http://www.radiolab.org/story/endgame/

    Am I staying on topic by saying all this, shouldn’t I refrain from mentioning this touching episode, where an actor suffering from Alzheimer became “alive” during a play? Personally, I might not even read the blog comments if everybody was playing the ball in the most boring lawful manner.

    My comment may look OT, but I would argue it is topical. My examples illustrates that it’s easier to be completely meta than to obsess on topicality. They also serve to show how easy it is to meander so far as to stretch topicality.

    The difficulty here is that as soon as something enters the discussion, a ball is added into play. Should this be allowed? As long as it helps move forward the first ball into play, I suppose it’s alright.

    There are ways to exploit a ball in play to prevent it from moving; more on that by the end of the week.

    ***

    The same kind of consideration has been put forward by Steve and BG: how does this move AT’s “ultimate” ball, at least so defined by his “purported” blog purpose? Judging if a comment is topical may be tough; judging if a specific post satisfies editorial lines is even more delicate. The first is the duty of moderators; the second is the duty of the owner.

    So there’s a big difference between the ball played within the posts and the ultimate ball. As far as I can see, raising concerns about the ultimate ball is a way to ask to have a word with the management. (I hope you realize that you just raised PaulM’s recurring concern, Steve and BG.)

    My policy on such move will be the same as I supposed earlier: as long as it helps move the ball forward, I won’t mind. This time, the question “how is this helping the purported purpose of your blog?” helps me clarify what I mean by “playing the ball”. Next time, the onus will be on those who wish to raise such a general concern to make sure it advances the ball actually played.

    As far as I can tell, this won’t succeed very often. I promised to make sure no one will play the ref. This applies to playing the ref’s ref too.

  25. guthrie says:

    So, some people want to discuss physics on the climateball thread, and climateball on the physics thread?

  26. Kevin O'Neill says:

    There seems to be considerable misapprehension as to how many balls are typically in play. Rarely is it one. Very few posts are single-minded enough or crafted such as to launch one and only one ball into play. Usually there are several balls of various sizes in play at once.

    Often several of these balls will be batted in your direction all at once. Knowing which to play, which to ignore, and which to leave to other players separates the the inexpert from the expert climateball player.

  27. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Meta-play here http://climateball.info/

  28. Joshua says:

    “Show me two scientists who agree on everything,” said Peter Thorne,
    a senior researcher at Norway’s Nansen Environmental and Remote
    Sensing Center who wrote a 2005 research article on climate change with
    Dr. Christy. “We may disagree over what we are finding, but we should be
    playing the ball and not the man.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/skeptic-of-climate-change-john-christy-finds-himself-a-target-of-suspicion.html

  29. In a related thread, M2 made a comment that enticed physical play:

    It is data in the sense that random numbers fed into a computer is, to it, still “data”. Whether you can get anything meaningful out of it is a different matter — and WHAT you get out of it depends on your “side”!

    This attracted this response from Very Tall:

    I admire your response to M2, but what M2 wrote is actually a pretty honest description of denial.

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26960

    Instead of removing the whole discussion, I offered this warning:

    Any variation of “you’re in denial” plays not the ball, but another player’s psyche. Even if it was true, it would not justify you making the argument. This is not a psychotherapy session, nor is it an “intervention” from dear friends. You’re no psychologists. If you were, you’d get radiated from your order, as one does not simply provide an on-line diagnostic, certainly not the way you do.

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26966

    Very Tall responded, more or less by reiterating that his comment was legitimate. I added two other arguments:

    Your answer to “but adjustments” is “see AR5″. Adding “you’re in denial” is just an editorial comment on those who’d refuse the AR5′s conclusion. It adds nothing to your response. The ball is the question of the adjustments, not M2′s mind.

    If I let you question M2′s mind, I should let M2 question the INTEGRITY ™ of those who made the adjustments. I won’t allow both. I moderated M2′s comment to that effect.

    Contrary to my request, Very Tall responded on that thread. Here is his response:

    Dear Willard,

    The ball is the class of sceptic; M2 has revealed their class by baldly asserting a position contrary to known facts.

    “But adjustments” is a squirrel. If you’re asserting that the only acceptable move in on sighting a squirrel in climateball is to chase the contrarian rodent down a metaphorical rabbit hole then I disagree.

    “But AR5” is a perfectly reasonable response to the argument from assertion that what comes out of the temperature record depends on your “side”, given that AR5 concludes that the rise is “unequivocal”

    “You are engaging in argument by assertion” might be a better starting point than going direct for the denial card; but the denial card is legitimate. To agree it is not is to allow the deniers to set the framework of acceptable language by whining about offence.

    I’ll post my response later this evening. Such discussion plays the ref. I may moderate such comments in the future, or I may just ignore them. We’ll see in due time. For now, I need to clarify where I stand with the D-word, labeling, and the ball. I will propose something in line with what I said so far in that thread.

  30. Steve Bloom says:

    You’re fulfilling my expectations, Willard. Out of curiosity, are these all intended consequences so far?

  31. Here’s my response. Sorry if it’s a bit long. I spent a few hours on this. It might be crucial for my moderating policy.

    The first part will be regarding Very Tall’s comment. The second part is an analysis why I think “you’re in denial” is wrong.

    ***

    Let’s assume that the topic of the thread was “the class of sceptic” and that AT’s claim was that that class was underwhelming. The implied argument is that the “denial!” card was on topic. However, the topic of the post had very little to do with the ball M2 and JasonB were playing, if at all. They were discussing the very idea of having sides.

    (JasonB’s comment was brilliant, BTW. Go read it. It could make a “But Debate” post.)

    Also, I think Very Tall over interpreted M2’s claim about what comes out of the temperature record. I read it as a simple statement of fact. It is true that those who dispute the record see it differently. It is a fact that “adjustments” raise suspicion. This is the perfect example showing that there are indeed sides. Considering how the claim operated in M2’s argument, I think my interpretation is sound.

    The “adjustment” example may very well be irrelevant to JasonB’s point. On the other hand, JasonB’s point questioned M2’s assumption that there were sides, and M2’s example clearly shows that there are sides. So I don’t think it was a squirrel, although I consider Very Tall’s reaction is understandable considering M2’s galloping tendency.

    Very Tall said that M2 was in denial after M2 applauded JasonB’s comment.

    ***

    Playing the ball does not imply one simply chase down the squirrels thrown. Saying “squirrel!” may have sufficed. Please note: as soon as a commenter replies to a squirrel (say with “see AR5″), it ipso facto stops from being a squirrel. A commenter could come up and question the relevant content from the AR5, after which anything goes. There lies an important ClimateBall ™ trick called peddling; more on that another time.

    The only way to prevent such derailing would be to say something like “see But Adjustments,” “go argue with BEST”, or “please report to the MET Office.” In other words, there are ways to wash our hands from any squirrel thrown in a thread without having to cry “denial!”

    ***

    Let’s imagine another commenter (let’s call him C3) who comes and replays the “Adjustments” card in a relevant context. Very Tall tells him “see AR5″; C3 replies “adjustments”. Guthrie says “see SkS”; C3 replies “adjustments”. BBD says “go argue with BEST” and “please report to the MET Office”; C3 replies “adjustments”. Perhaps C3 throws other squirrels, but they’re not relevant to my point. When a commenter like C3 is simply repeating the same argument over and over again (not unlike what we’ve encountered in a recent thread), what to do?

    Recall the principle behind my rule: as long as it helps move forward the original ball into play, everything’s alright . C3 stalls the ball from moving by sheer contradiction; the moderator can intervene, as C3 stops playing.

    ***

    To keep repeating the same thing over and over again can be be explained many ways, including denial. The problem here is not the D word, but the kind of game it leads. When words seek to explain the opponent’s mind, the ball stops to be played.

    The opposite card to “denial!” is “alarmist!”. This card works well because it does not seem to appeal to psychology. But see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alarmism

    It goes without saying that if I moderate the one, I moderate the otter. Would you rather prefer I leave the “alarmist!” card hit the table? There’s a recent thread that shows where this can lead.

    ***

    I never needed to tell a ClimateBall ™ player that he was in denial, and I won’t start as a moderator. On the other hand, I always found that describing sufficed. To describe what the opponent is doing, one has make sure the words are purely descriptive, that the description fits a behavior that can be documented, and that this description contributes to the argument on the table. Since denial is a psychological mechanism, it can’t work.

    Without further ado, here’s my suggestion. What about denying, contradicting, negating, or similar words? Some examples show how they could operate. “You’re denying that the surface temperatures are legit.” “You’re contradicting the same point without answering my arguments.” “Your argument only negates the evidence I provide without challenging it.” That seems to work.

    OK, I inserted some physical play in these examples. Remember: I’m not here to tone troll anyone.

    As long as how you play helps move forward the original ball into play, everything should be alright.

  32. Ian Forrester says:

    For goodness sake we should be discussing one of the most serious and most damaging problems to affect our continued existence. It is not a game! Please stop this nonsense and get back to discussing the science. I’m sure I am not the only person who is disturbed by the direction this blog is taking. It is only giving the “sceptics” ammunition to show how pathetic we scientists are since we just “play games”.

  33. Michael 2 says:

    Ian Forrester says “For goodness sake we should be discussing one of the most serious and most damaging problems to affect our continued existence. It is not a game!”

    For once I think I “get it”. Specific aspects of science are well settled — how many more ice cores should be drilled and will it make a difference? These discussions are not exactly advancing science which has already been advanced but in the act of discussing it, especially with some passion and commitment, the fans will come to the stadium and watch, “getting into the game” vicariously.

    That is why a blog such as Huffpo or DailyKOS that shuts off all debate also loses readers and viewers. There’s no “game”; even if you have a token opponent, a straw-man you intend to smash with your superior intellect.

    That’s also why the game needs rules so that the winner is properly esteemed to be the winner. That means intellectual matched against intellectual. The “winner” is determined by the readers so I will never know which arguments I have “won” — although of course in my mind it would be all of them :-)

  34. Steve Bloom says:

    [Playing the ref. -w]

    You say: “When words seek to explain the opponent’s mind, the ball stops to be played.”

    IMO that’s just an argument for not dwelling on the point with regard to an individual. Do identify the problem, but then move on.

    Also, as you know well, there’s a considerable body of social psych work that focuses on denial. Is all of that verboten as far as you’re concerned? [Playing the ref. -w]

  35. verytallguy says:

    M2

    Warming of the climate system is unequivocal… …multiple independently produced datasets exist… ….It is virtually certain that globally the troposphere has warmed since the mid-20th century.

    Could you enlighten us as to whether you agree with this extract from AR5?

  36. verytallguy says:

    Willard,

    not playing the ref is kinda tough when, as I think Steve B said, the ref is on the pitch kicking the ball. So I hope you’ll allow this. At least on this approved thread.

    Very Tall said that M2 was in denial after M2 applauded JasonB’s comment..

    Please re-read the comment:

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26954

    It doesn’t say what you claim it does.

    Although I do agree with your conception of the optimal way to proceed.

  37. There’s a real risk that a hard line in moderation effectively kills a site even, when none of the moderated comments adds anything of value to the discussion. My impression is that a very large part of the combined discussion of all climate sites is not playing the ball, and might be considered disruptive.

    Sites that are strictly restricted to playing the ball tend to be very quiet. They do not serve the role of the same type of social forum that lively sites have. Playing the ball is so much more demanding than playing the man that the volume drops below the critical value.

    A host that keeps on writing interesting posts keeps the site alive even with strict moderation, but the discussion that’s limited to playing the ball tends to have a very low volume, and the attention the site gets may remain low relative to the value of its content.

  38. @IF: Please stop this nonsense and get back to discussing the science.

    Yes, but I came here for an argument. You want thread 13A, next door. The moderator will have it ready shortly.

  39. JasonB says:

    willard:

    On the other hand, JasonB’s point questioned M2′s assumption that there were sides, and M2′s example clearly shows that there are sides.

    Note that M2 raised the issue of “sides” in the context of presenting them to students and encouraging them to “work it out”, saying it is “dogmatism at its worst to only present one side of an issue as if there is no other side”.

    Contrary to questioning M2’s “assumption that there were sides”, I repeatedly pointed out that there are many, many sides. But I drew a crucial distinction between “sides” that are nothing more than the Climate Science version of Creationism, and therefore not worthy of presenting to students as “another side”, and actual, competing scientific theories, where it might be legitimate to claim that failure to present them was “dogmatism at its worst”. Simply pointing to the existence of claims of the sort debunked by SkS doesn’t refute that.

    I also raised a few other problems with the notion (e.g., pissing off “skeptics” whose favourite “side” wasn’t included) and questioned how useful it would be as a teaching tool to teach how competing ideas are resolved (although I proposed “it’s the sun” as a possible toy example).

    [Playing the ref. -w]

  40. > It doesn’t say what you claim it does.

    Saying and doing are two different things, Very Tall. Here’s what M2 says:

    I appreciate JasonB’s lengthy and intelligent response, one of the best arguments I have seen on that particular topic, and as carefully crafted, pretty hard to argue with so I won’t. But I suggest that it slightly misses the mark of what I, and maybe others, are concerned about.

    Tell me how my description is not accurate.

  41. > Note that M2 raised the issue of “sides” in the context of presenting them to students and encouraging them to “work it out” [...]

    Here’s what M2 said:

    On a more serious note, and also still in reply to pbjamm, what exactly is wrong with presenting two or more sides of an issue to students and encouraging them to work it out? It is dogmatism at its worst to only present one side of an issue as if there is no other side or go farther and not allow anyone to think that other points of view exist.

    Which of pbjamm’s comment M2 responds is unclear. But M2’s response is a follow-up on this one:

    pbjamm says: “It makes this conversation seem down right reasonable.”

    Indeed, that is why I am here. Reasonable, but passionate discussion. You have piqued my curiousity about thinkprogress, normally I avoid such places but I’m interested in seeing what you saw. It’s like the discussion of alarmism — regulars here doubting such a thing exists and yet outside of this little glade of tranquility it is the norm — strident alarmists versus strident deniers. Not much room in the middle.

    http://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26754

    The context was the search of a middle. M2’s “let’s teach the controversy!” was tangential, but related to that topic.

    JasonB replied that science curricula don’t work that way. M2 countered this by recalling that climate science is not established the way the laws of physics came to be. (As a side note, I vaguely recall that my teacher showed us many models the atom at high school.)

    But M2 used “adjustments.”

    We are now here.

    Does anyone dispute that reading?

  42. > For goodness sake we should be discussing one of the most serious and most damaging problems to affect our continued existence. It is not a game!

    Once upon a time, there was a Cold War:

    The Cold War and similar arms races can be modeled as a Prisoner’s Dilemma situation. During the Cold War the opposing alliances of NATO and the Warsaw Pact both had the choice to arm or disarm. From each side’s point of view, disarming whilst their opponent continued to arm would have led to military inferiority and possible annihilation. Conversely, arming whilst their opponent disarmed would have led to superiority. If both sides chose to arm, neither could afford to attack the other, but at the high cost of developing and maintaining a nuclear arsenal. If both sides chose to disarm, war would be avoided and there would be no costs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma#Arms_races

    Nobody said that games should model frivolities.

  43. Michael 2 says:

    In case it hasn’t been obvious, I usually participate in the metadiscussion and rarely challenge or agree with the topic since I am not usually qualified to do so. I ought not to participate at all.

    Imagine a stadium with 20,000 fans watching two teams playing soccer. The fans want to see action and passion, but they also want fair play. That’s why the referees are there. Occasionally the fans are thrilled to interact with team members and the team members enjoy it too.

    I am here because this blog is interesting. I am your fan. You are the team. Occasionally I will interact.

  44. Michael 2 says:

    I’ll also answer questions (and sometimes wait anxiously for one to answer)

    VTG asks, quoting bits of AR5, ” ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal… …multiple independently produced datasets exist… ….It is virtually certain that globally the troposphere has warmed since the mid-20th century.’ Could you enlighten us as to whether you agree with this extract from AR5?”

    Yes, I agree with it.

  45. Dear Steve Bloom,

    You ask:

    [A]s you know well, there’s a considerable body of social psych work that focuses on denial. Is all of that verboten as far as you’re concerned?

    The question is unclear, but let me see if I can clarify what I said so far.

    First, notice where the body of social psych work speaks focuses on denial: in the lichurchur. Second, notice the kind of discourse in which those who focus on denial construct their psych work: it’s a theorical discussion. Third, notice the asymmetric relationship between those who do the psych work and those they study; ClimateBall ™ players do not share that asymmetry among themselves.

    Researchers focus on denial in a very different situation than ClimateBall ™ players do. They focus on denial as a weapon to diagnose other ClimateBall ™ players. They often use the concept in an argumentative manner; they sometimes use it as a castigation device against someone.

    To compare the situation between social psych researchers and ClimateBall ™ players, we’d need to find peer commentaries by social psych where the representative of a team of researchers told in a public forum for social psych that another team’s research was so bad it could only be explained by denial.

    ***

    Notwithstanding all this, I don’t think that the social psych work on denial should be verboten. Editorialize to your heart’s content about denial; don’t use it as a direct accusation. In other words, learn to distinguish “you’re in denial,” which is a diagnostic, with [platitudes like] “denial starts with minimization”.

    Beware, though, that this also applies to alarmism. Everything you do and say will be used against you. Let’s see if you can win the “denial!” / “alarmism!” arms race.

    As long as it helps move the ball forward, I could not care less.

  46. Steve Bloom says:

    Willard, constructing arguments based to any degree on ClimateBall, i.e. your own arbitrary authority, leaves nothing that requires a reply. Delete the ClimateBall claims and I might respond.

  47. > Delete the ClimateBall claims and I might respond.

    Let me get this, Steve. You keep whining since yesterday, making me the target of your comments. I delete most of these comments because I already told that I won’t tolerate playing the ref. After a few hours of more whining, I decide to let your points stand, and even take time to respond to them.

    And now you won’t respond to what I say because I mention ClimateBall ™? I assure you, Steve, that I can live with the fact that you compelled me to write about something I did not want to discuss and then don’t reply. Thank you nevertheless for making me extend my analysis on playing the ball.

    ***

    Now, my turn. In a recent post on CA, there was a reference to an old CA post. Here’s the beginning of the very first comment in that thread:

    “Hockey Team goon[s]“? “In climate science, these steps do not seem to be required by the Hockey Team house organs, such as Science or Nature”? Steve M., I have to say I remain mystified as to why you feel the need to fling insults like these. They certainly don’t help you get published (anywhere but E+E), and I doubt they’ll do much for the Jerry Norths of the world if and when they do visit here. I guess that leaves red meat for your cheerleaders as the only explanation.

    [...]

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/07/13/was-lawson-right-about-the-uk-floods/#comment-683425

    That was your comment, Steve Bloom. Your second one was even more inspiring:

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, rocksy. Steve M. says he wishes to gain credibility for his views in the clinate science field, including in the context of publication. Some of the climate scientists and editors he’s trying to impress visit here from time to time, and I’m confident that many of those who don’t will have juicy snippets circulated to them from time to time. My mystification at his use of such terminology is that it actively assists anyone who might be trying to marginalize him and his views. Do you think it helps Steve to have someone like Jerry North visit here only to see many of his (Jerry’s) colleagues referred to as goons and aspersions cast on the two most important science publications? I’ll allow that such language does make this site a lot more entertaining than it would otherwise be, but I don’t recall Steve M. listing the entertainment value of this site as a goal on the same level as the one I mentioned above.

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/04/benchmarking-from-vz-pseudoproxies/#comment-54929

    I’m not sure how to reconcile what you’re trying to accomplish here and these two comments from the ghost of past ClimateBall ™ episodes, Steve. Was there something in the social psych that led you to revise your policy? Is it that what’s good for climate scientists does not apply to your fellow ClimateBall ™ players?

  48. Steve Bloom says:

    “After a few hours of more whining, I decide to let your points stand, and even take time to respond to them.”

    Don’t be absurd Willard. You were censoring my comments on this thread (didn’t check the other) as recently as 16 hours ago. Then you stop doing it (when exactly?), don’t tell me you’ve done so, and expect me to have started playing nice when I have no way of knowing you’ve stopped your arbitrary censorship? And notice that there’s just the one very short surviving comment subsequent to the censored one, so your use of “points” is rather strained. Climateball refs, they do so love kicking the ball.

    Re the blasts from the past: Ah, Canadians. Note that unlike Stevie I’m not trying to get published, Willard. Are you? Hmm…

  49. Steve Bloom says:

    Just so we’re completely clear, Willard: I think any reasonable person would take your use of “whining” to indicate a lack of interest in any real dialog. Had I been whining, that would be one thing, but I’ve only been disagreeing with you. “Complaining” would be a fair term. See what I mean about you kicking the ball?

  50. jsam says:

    There is no ball.

  51. > I think any reasonable person would take your use of “whining” to indicate a lack of interest in any real dialog.

    It the other way around, Steve: it’s preferable to be polite toward those with whom you do not expect to have any real dialog. Wasn’t that your point when you raised your concerns about the Auditor’s figures of speech? The Auditor seemed to have listened to your advice, and edited his post accordingly.

    From now on, I’ll use “complaining” instead of “whining”.

    ***

    > Note that unlike Stevie I’m not trying to get published [...]

    I thought you were, Steve. Right here, right now. Or perhaps were you trying not to get published, in a way to “fulfill your expectations”?

    Thanks anyway for justifying my policy against playing the ref.

  52. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Climate discussion *is* a game, just as politics is a game. ‘Game’ does not, or at least should not, carry the connotation of frivolity. ‘Gaming’ the system’ is a popular phrase because we intuitively know there are certain moves you can make in various situations that will help you reach your goals (i.e., win, advance, etc).

    Each blog site is a different playing venue. Every moderator is a referee. You can try to use the same moves in every situation, but that simply means you’ll not always be using the best or appropriate moves for the venue you’re playing in and the referees calling the game.

    A comment that will get snipped at WUWT will not in other places. Once you’ve figured out the boundaries it’s the player’s responsibility to work within them – or figure out a strategy to get the rules changed. The latter is usually going to be very difficult – so it’s more efficient just to play within the rules or play in a venue that best suits your style.

  53. Tom Curtis says:

    Kevin, I think Steve Bloom’s (and certainly my) problem is that this forum has recently had a change of referee (from one who was doing a very good job IMO) which has also turned into a de facto change of rules. The new rules appear to be, though endlessly pontificated about, quite arbitrary. I, like Steve, am not happy with the change. Unlike Steve, and with the exception of one email to Anders once his holiday is over, I will not make that point endlessly. I will merely not further comment on this site while Willard is moderating.

    My dislike of Willard as a moderator should not be construed in any way as dislike or Willard’s commentary (except on his moderating), which I find often informative, and usually though provoking.

  54. JasonB says:

    willard:

    Does anyone dispute that reading?

    Since you asked,

    Here’s what M2 said:

    [quotes paragraph that I already quoted from, then quotes a completely different comment]

    The context was the search of a middle. M2′s “let’s teach the controversy!” was tangential, but related to that topic.

    What I was responding to was what I quoted in my comment.

    M2 countered this by recalling that climate science is not established the way the laws of physics came to be.

    That’s not how I interpreted any of the points he made in his response, but I don’t care enough to argue the point. It takes too much of my time already to write these comments without participating in a post-game analysis.

    I agree with Tom. I participate here because I find the discussions often interesting and the environment conducive to those discussions; I don’t want to have to think too hard about what the rules are, nor obsess about how I’m playing the game or whether I’m having the desired impact. I’ve never even read Anders’ rules until yesterday, yet I don’t recall ever being moderated here before, and only very rarely have I thought it might have been better to moderate someone else who wasn’t (generally thread-bombing that derailed a conversation). I think I’ll leave it at that.

  55. JasonB says:

    Sorry, one more thing:

    (As a side note, I vaguely recall that my teacher showed us many models the atom at high school.)

    Yes, exactly like the examples I gave (Newtonian mechanics leading to Relativity and QM). “Lies to children” are an important part to teaching, as I said. This is not the same thing as “teaching the controversy” — nobody would accuse a teacher of “dogmatism at its worst” if they didn’t show you those models. The purpose is to help students learn what is known, not to make sure they realise that “other points of view exist”. Ask yourself if the teacher presented all those models to you and then encouraged you to “work out” which one was “correct”…

  56. verytallguy says:

    It is instructive that people are choosing to spend their time complaining about gaming and refs whilst simultaneously bemoaning the focus on gaming and refs.

    Meanwhile, the constructive ball lobbed in by Rachel is ignored.

    So I’ve attempted to enliven that one.

  57. > That’s not how I interpreted any of the points he made in his response, but I don’t care enough to argue the point.

    Here is the excerpt I had in mind, JasonB:

    Kids, and adults, aren’t interested in a thing that has no controversy. If you want to enliven a high school science class invite them to build a perpetual motion machine. You “know” it cannot be done, but you know it because you accept some laws of the conservation of mass and energy — you don’t need to build and fail at 10,000 machines.

    Climate science is nowhere near that degree of assurance!

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26930

    I think this can be paraphrased as “climate science is not established the way the laws of physics came to be.” I consider that it’s the main point of his comment, and that both “let’s teach controversy!” and the “but adjustments” are complementary to it. M2’s response his relevant insofar as he raised the issue of “sides” in the context of finding a middle ground. It is in that context that his “teach the controversy” argument was raised.

    So let’s recap. M2 says “let’s teach controversy”; JasonB counters it; M2 concedes the point, and tries instead “let them work it out!” and “people are interested in controversies”; M2 also adds “adjustments”. Very Tall questioned the relevance of “adjustments”. By recalling that M2’s point, let’s say “science is not settled”, I showed the context in which we need to interpret his secondary arguments.

    This dialectic argument is far from being complete. But that’s all we have so far.

    ***

    > “Lies to children” are an important part to teaching, as I said. This is not the same thing as “teaching the controversy” — nobody would accuse a teacher of “dogmatism at its worst” if they didn’t show you those [atomic] models.

    I’ve started to write something about that. But I need to go fix a bicycle. I’ll post in the thread where this exchange started.

  58. verytallguy says:

    Dearest Willard,

    a request that if player’s posts are deleted, rather than disappear them you leave a note saying they have been removed (and ideally why).

  59. BBD says:

    Seconded.

  60. > a request that if player’s posts are deleted, rather than disappear them you leave a note saying they have been removed (and ideally why).

    No problemo. Well, in fact, there’s one: when I edit a comment, I lose its content. I don’t think WP’s versioning system works for comments.

    So I might need to keep backups.

    ***

    The alternative is that I release all the deleted comments, something I’m considering to do, and to leave my role as a moderator.

    Please beware your wishes.

    NB. There was a longer version to this comment, but the “reply to comment” erased the content of the box after a switch in focus. So I just lost 30 more minutes of my time. Well played, WP!

  61. verytallguy says:

    I appreciate your moderation. I may be in a minority though. Anyway, I’m off Web for some considerable time as of now. Enjoy.

  62. Steve Bloom says:

    Beware our wishes? A threat? If that means Anders told you he’d close down the blog if having you as moderator didn’t work out, then fine. If it means you’d release all the spam along with the real comments, I expect Rachel would be willing to clean things up. But if not those, then what?

    “I agree with Tom.” Agree with what exactly, JasonB? I can’t see Tom’s comment.

  63. I’m home for a few days after 6 days of camping with the kids. Very relaxing it was too. All I really want to say is that this was just meant to be a bit of an experiment. I’m not sure if it’s working or not, or if it was ever really intended to work. Maybe people could bear that in mind. :-)

  64. > I appreciate your moderation. I may be in a minority though.

    According to my rule, this should be deleted, as it plays the ref.

    I’ll let it stand for now, until a decision is made. I will also release all the comments in that thread. Later today, I’ll post below all the other comments in the other threads by Steve Bloom.

    I can live with these complaints. I can even discuss them. It’s just very tedious.

    My only requirement will be that it’s done in this very thread.

    I’ll amend my main post to allow complaints here, at least until further notice.

  65. > Beware our wishes? A threat?

    A warming that condensed all that got lost in the “reply” box, Steve Bloom. One of the consequences is that I return as a ClimateBall ™ player, and that everything you said or did can be used against you. I could release all you said to me and pay diligence to them, if you will. For starters, I could respond to your “arbitrary!” that it’s as powerful as complaining that a triangle has three sides.

    Criticisms, complaints, even personal attacks are fine by me. I did not make this rule with me in mind. When a ClimateBall ™ player indulges in ad homs, it indicates weaknesses in his own position. It also wastes valuable work load. And it can be used against an audience.

    ***

    A more important consequence is that fuels the ClimateBall ™ Gods. There are social psych studies on in-group/out-group relationships.

    Would you like me to psychologize what you’ve done so far? Kidding. I don’t need such stupid trick.

    Behavior suffices.

    ***

    More background reading featuring Steve Bloom in the comments:

    http://init.planet3.org/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html

  66. dhogaza says:

    “> Note that unlike Stevie I’m not trying to get published [...]

    I thought you were, Steve. Right here, right now. Or perhaps were you trying not to get published, in a way to “fulfill your expectations”?

    Thanks anyway for justifying my policy against playing the ref.”

    Yet you feel free to play steve … the meaning of “get published” was clear, in the context which you deleted in order to play the man … snarkily.

    Please attempt, at least, to rise to the standards you demand of others.

  67. > the meaning of “get published” was clear

    Yes, and I claim that what’s good for the Auditor and Jerry North should be good for Steve Bloom and any moderator he tries to play with his vexatious complaints.

    Of course, the special treatment might have been intended all along. At least, that’s what he told. Do you want to see? Not that this proves anything about his real intentions.

    ***

    ClimateBall ™ players will appreciate Dhogaza’s cameos’ in the thread at Michael’s I just linked.

  68. Michael 2 says:

    Jason B says “Ask yourself if the teacher presented all those models to you and then encouraged you to work out which one was correct.”

    Some did, most didn’t. I’ve had some good teachers that told me I would be “unlearning” some things in the future, particularly with regard to electricity and electronics, but for direct current it is adequate to consider electricity to be electrons moving through a wire and in fact gives a Coulomb its name. Once you have a good grasp of that, THEN you can learn what moves the electron.

    I have a knack for spotting a weak argument — In my case I demanded to know HOW does the electron at the negative battery post KNOW that the positive battery post has just been connected? I never had a high school teacher that knew the answer to this but microwave reveals the answer — it doesn’t know or care. The battery terminal cares only about the immediately adjacent electrons which if it can move them even slightly, they will move the next, and the next, at nearly the speed of light — just like those metal balls that swing back and forth transmit the impact at about 10,000 feet per second through steel but the balls barely move. What really enables current flow is removing electrons at the other end making room for replacements. The negative terminal doesn’t know or care where they are going, every time it sees a “hole” it will dutifully fill it with an electron. The process is slow but the “shuffle” conveys information at nearly the speed of light.

    Speaking of which, I was going to show an example but (squirrel) this author really doesn’t know, or correctly express, why this device operates the way it does:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/elacol.html (bottom left, swinging balls thing)

    The reason two balls come out if two went in is because that is where two shockwaves meet and force them apart. When two balls hit the stack, a shockwave proceeds in both directions. The shockwave proceeding backward through the two balls bounces off the end (same exact theory pertains in coaxial waveguides for radio and microwave) and then *follows* the shockwave traveling through the stack — you have two shockwaves in a “train” and the spacing is 4 balls. The first shockwave hits the end of the stack and bounces back, after traveling back exactly two balls it hits the shockwave that has been following it. The force of these two shockwaves is converted to mechanical energy by the collision and pushes the stack apart — causing two balls to pop off the end. The part about conservation of energy and momentum is also true but irrelevant to the magical property of knowing that two balls hit the stack so two pop off the other end.

  69. Dear all,

    All the unapproved or deleted comments have been released. I won’t bother to post them here for now. Perhaps I will, later.

    Thank you for your patience.

    ***

    Michael 2,

    Please submit your comments about “teaching the controversy” in the other thread.

  70. Kevin O'Neill says:

    willard writes: “Please beware your wishes.”

    Others question whether this is a threat.

    Seems to me willard is just paraphrasing the old truism, Be careful what you wish for. This has never been meant as a threat, but as a cautionary warning. I.e., have you considered all the consequences?

    ClimateBall is played under a diverse (occasionally perverse) umbrella of moderation policies. The completely unmoderated venues can be among the worst. Is Goddard’s RealScience a worthwhile site because he allows anyone to post anything? Have you seen comment threads filled with spam advertising? Moderators serve a useful function – and they’re giving their time to make the site ‘better’ – where the disagreement lies is in the definition of ‘better’, not in whether moderators are a net benefit.

  71. Steve Bloom says:

    Well, Kevin, the actual choices would seem to be between the experimental regime and the now-reinstated former one. I took Willard as implying something less obvious.

  72. Steve Bloom says:

    Thanks for linking back to that In It for the Gold thread, Willard. It’s informative in a number of regards.

  73. JasonB says:

    willard:

    > That’s not how I interpreted any of the points he made in his response, but I don’t care enough to argue the point.

    Here is the excerpt I had in mind, JasonB:

    Just an aside: I subscribed to the comments so I could follow the conversation better (i.e. before points were moderated out or comments deleted — apparently there was an M2 reply I missed) and it seems that “I care to argue the point I make, JasonB.” didn’t survive your own moderation. :-)

    [Quoting M2] Kids, and adults, aren’t interested in a thing that has no controversy. If you want to enliven a high school science class invite them to build a perpetual motion machine. You “know” it cannot be done, but you know it because you accept some laws of the conservation of mass and energy — you don’t need to build and fail at 10,000 machines.

    Climate science is nowhere near that degree of assurance!

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/we-need-a-better-class-of-climate-skeptic/#comment-26930

    I think this can be paraphrased as “climate science is not established the way the laws of physics came to be.”

    If you had summarised it as “climate science is not as established as the laws of physics” (i.e. a degree of confidence in how certain the science is relative to the laws of physics, consistent with his usage of the word “assurance”) then I would have agreed with your summary of his belief; but I read your actual wording as relating to how climate science is established (i.e. suggesting it was somehow not derived in the same way the laws of physics were, supported by the “came to be” on the end) and I don’t think that’s what he was trying to say and nor could I find anything like that in his response, hence my comment.

    I consider that it’s the main point of his comment, and that both “let’s teach controversy!” and the “but adjustments” are complementary to it.

    Leaving aside what exactly you meant with your paraphrasing, I’m pretty sure I addressed his point regarding the status of climate science when I said “The bottom line is that there aren’t “two sides”. There’s just one side, plus a whole bunch of different people who disagree with different aspects (and each other) without considering the evidence as a whole nor offering a competing explanation that fits all the data yet also arrives at their desired conclusion. If you’re aware of a competing scientific theory, by all means, tell us about it.”

    This was part of my original comment addressing the misconceptions about how science is normally taught and what is normally taught, and how climate science fits in with that. If the point of the exercise is to improve critical thinking skills then there are climate-related toy examples that would be useful (I mentioned the sun being responsible for recent warming, but there are others) but from the context of M2’s comments I don’t think he’d appreciate these other “sides” being used as bad examples of critical thinking; with phrases like it being “dogma” to “not allow anyone to think that other points of view exist” I took it (and still believe) that he genuinely thought there were different sides to the scientific debate that were inappropriately being hidden from students, and I addressed that, too.

    So let’s recap. M2 says “let’s teach controversy”; JasonB counters it; M2 concedes the point, and tries instead “let them work it out!” and “people are interested in controversies”; M2 also adds “adjustments”.

    Actually, I’ve come around on the “adjustments” thing; that could well be an appropriate toy example to show how real science is done; it’s quick enough and simple enough for a school project (no offence to Hadley and GISS) and would teach some valuable lessons. Hansen’s paper in the 80s on how he worked out the effective range of teleconnection (a critical component of GISTEMP’s approach) is also straightforward and could be used for teaching.

    However, I don’t think that’s what M2 was hoping for because it’s hardly “dogma” to not teach that to students, and too much of this kind of thing will make them truly sceptical of most of the “skeptics” claims.

  74. > It’s informative in a number of regards.

    Eh. You did not told Michael that unless he wanted to publish with Judy, he’d be entitled to do anything he fancied. Nor did you told him that unless he wanted anything from Judy, he should tell her whatever he pleases. You did not tell Michael that any reasonable person would take his use of “some-word” he used as indicating a lack of interest in any real dialog.

    Oh, and Michael’s a Canadian. What were you saying about “Canadians”, again?

  75. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Some ClimateBall thoughts from We need a better class of climate “skeptic”!

    TCR, TESS, ESS, ECS, OCS, OCS2 …… pick an acronym, are we speaking of the same ‘thing’? Are we using different names for the same ‘thing’? Are we using the same name for different ‘things’? Do any of these ‘things’ actually exist? How do we know, have we measured them? How does any of this relate to a better class of climate skeptic?

    Ironically, both the question of ontology/empiricism and the numerous equations surrounding climate sensitivity were both dismissed as futile obsessions by the moderator – yet allowed to continue, even though both are only tangentially related to the topic of the post. Wide latitude was granted.

    CB player SB at Stoat’s
    2014/07/14
    Well, PhilosophyBall as now practiced at some blog that used to be about physics is at least self-indulgent, fair to say a major component of hedonism

    CB player SB says in the We need a better class of climate “skeptic”! thread:
    July 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm
    At risk of derailing this blog from its new-found focus on PhilosophyBall, which as any philosopher will tell you will surely light the way to helpful steps in understanding and dealing with AGW, I’ll answer this: What’s TESS? …..

    While the first comment is merely whining and insulting (CB move: Making It Personal), the second comment is very efficient as CB Player SB plays six ClimateBall moves in one sentence. In order:

    1) Whining
    2) Playing the Ref
    3) Wrong!
    4) Wear the white hat
    5) Bait and switch
    6) Hypocrisy

    One of the dangers of playing so many moves at once is that a focused response can be very damaging. Any of the other players may have responded with:

    Your whining is becoming annoying as are your constant digs at willard. If we don’t understand the ontological spaces open to AGW deniers, how quickly can we move toward solutions? So get off your high-horse; the exact equation for a non-measurable metric isn’t moving us any closer either. Besides, it’s no closer to the post topic than pragmaticism. Your desire to see the topic move in a direction that gives you more pleasure is self-indulgent and hypocritical.

    CB player SB would now be in a tenuous position and at risk of being marginalized in the conversation. Many ClimateBall players that find themselves in this position remove themselves from the playing field. And the only losing move …..

  76. Steve Bloom says:

    A key lesson from that thread is that you pretended to understand the Rocky and Bullwinkle reference rather just ask me what I meant. But please don’t take that as an invitation to start working references to Celine Dion lyrics into your comments or we’ll both be very, very sorry.

    The mystery was how Michael was able to convince himself that it was worth being polite to Judy. Criticisms should be accurate, of course, but I thought his original post was accurate, even if (appropriately) impolite. Cutting people like Judy too much slack results in setbacks to science such as this. They need to be exiled from scientific society in a manner that’s unambiguous even to news editors who came up through the sports and politics beats.

    Michael’s not merely Canadian, he’s a Montrealer. I really don’t know what to say about Montrealers. At least they’re not Torontonians.

  77. > it seems that “I care to argue the point I make, JasonB.” didn’t survive your own moderation.

    You’re quite right, JasonB. I removed that sentence because I felt that, as a moderator, I did not need to underline your poor excuse, an excuse that sounds less and less plausible the more words you write about that, the first paragraph being about a grammar thing.

    You could also read that sentence via an RSS reader, just like any unapproved comment, if you ever wish to read them. If you still have the text I edited from your comments, I’ll gladly put them back. As a simple ClimateBall ™ player, I enjoy every single word you can say.

    ***

    I’m glad you agree that “climate science is not as established as the laws of physics”. Had I simplified my sentence “climate science is not established the way the laws of physics came to be,” by not distinguishing how laws of nature and the results from climate science are established. It’s quite obvious that (say) AGW was established the very same way the second law of thermodynamics was.

    That we don’t call AGW the law of global warming is just an historical accident that the next release of the IPCC will correct.

    ***

    Notwithstanding what I meant by my paraphrase, I’m pretty sure that M2 could agree that in science there are never “two sides”, and still try to make sense of his expression, say by showing that a theory is a structure that can lead to many interpretations, like we need to do when we look at “adjusted” data.

    M2 would never be able to find one example in the history of science where there were competing interpretations of the same phenomena. Whether it’s lamarckism, string theory, or zoological nomenclature [1], M2 would only find scientists circling around a unique theory to celebrate:

    The scientific community has developed in two different directions, with half thinking that mantle convection drives the plates and the other half thinking that gravitational forces such as subduction drive the plates and that mantle convection doesn’t have any role,” said Götz Bokelmann, visiting associate professor of geophysics at Stanford. “I’m really excited that I and several other people as well have data that may help to resolve some of that.”

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2001/january10/tectonic-110.html

    ***

    I, too, would never interpret M2 as asking that we let the students realize that the climate establishment is quite justified to hold its position. It can only mean that we ought to let them search on the Internet and learn by rote the contrarian memes. After all, M2 is in denial.

    So I’d never ask him if he’d use the “adjustments” toy example to improve critical thinking skills, just like I’d never ask him if he agrees with the AR5. Considering what he said so far, I’m not even sure there should be a need to ask him anything. It’s only because I was a moderator that I ever read his comments anyway.

    ***

    Teaching is very hard without Wittgenstein’s ladder. While it is also hard with one, I know of no teacher who does not rely on it. Invoking it provides no concession at all.

    There might be a way to improve on “teach the controversy!” in a way that would not require M2 to point at the Heartland Institute’s K-12 program. For instance, a teacher uses stories. These story are useful to teach some parts of the history of his discipline, or just to add some storytelling in his activities. As Kurt Vonnegut Jr explains on his blackboard, a story always has a shape on the axis of fortune, good and bad:

    Letting the students work on themselves is only a way to let the students shape that story. Of course, that’s just a lie-to-children. At the end, AGW would always win. Still, there might something in it that M2 may like, or not, but we may never know because that’s not our job to ask M2 questions.

    Our job is of course to simply quote one of his sentence to demolish it using a Wittgentsein ladder from the historians of science.

    ***

    [1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21210188

  78. Joshua says:

    ===> “They need to be exiled from scientific society in a manner that’s unambiguous even to news editors who came up through the sports and politics beats.””

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Steve gets appointed as the Emperor of the Scientific Community (by God? Who appoints the Emperor of the Scientific Community, anyway)?.

    Until that time, I do wonder the reason behind making proclamations that developments that have no chance of occurring, “need” to happen. Can someone explain to me the point of such behavior?

  79. Steve Bloom says:

    Kevin, from prior comments here it’s obvious you like the stuff, and as such can’t admit to the self-indulgence. But I’m sure Willard appreciates the support.

    Have you possibly missed a number of other people expressing their annoyance at Willard’s moderation?

    But let me say that I admire this entirely self-canceling criticism from you:

    Your desire to see the topic move in a direction that gives you more pleasure is self-indulgent and hypocritical.

    Anyway, this thread can now RIP as far as I’m concerned.

  80. > The mystery was how Michael was able to convince himself that it was worth being polite to Judy.

    Steve Bloom again confuses personal attacks and tone:

    Guys, this is totally off the rails.

    Willard didn’t threaten me. He simply said that IF Curry has a solid response, my reputation would be damaged. I replied by saying that I wasn’t worried about that aspect of it.

    I am concerned about the ad hominem aspects of my Curry piece, and about what this does to my reputation, but the amount of doubt I have that the flag business is very bad is less than epsilon.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html?showComment=1288670875152#c6354263071454021728

    It thus seems that Michael had something to protect. Steve Bloom’s condition applies, if we extend “if you want to get published with (or by) someone” to “if you want to preserve your reputation by interacting with someone”. Here’s an example of a comment that preserves that reputation while being quite snarky:

    http://climatechangenationalforum.org/your-logic-escapes-me-by-john-nielsen-gammon/

    I hope my own playing style shows that I could not care less for snark. In the eternal debate between smarm and snark, I have chosen my side. Not that there are really sides, mind you, let alone two. That’s just a freaking figure of speech.

  81. Rachel M says:

    I’m closing the comments on this thread.

Comments are closed.