Disillusioned, Moi?

I’ve been pondering something which was motivated by a recent – rather unsuccessful – exchange I had with someone. I won’t say who it was as I have no desire to ever encounter them again. I would also prefer that those who can guess, refrain from doing so. What I’m going to say is more of a general observation – motivated by that encounter – than something specific to that particular exchange. I don’t really feel like being accused of directly criticising someone without giving them a chance to respond. I certainly don’t have any intention of allowing this person to comment here again.

What I was pondering was why, given that during this particular exchange I had said something that was not technically correct, I didn’t simply openly acknowledge that and try to move on? Normally, I’m happy to do exactly that. The reason, I think, was that the response to my comment was not a query as to whether or not what I’d said was correct, or a request that I provide evidence, or a counterclaim; it was a response that not only categorically stated I was wrong, but also immediately implied something about my character. How does one respond to that? Yes, you’re right, I was wrong and I am a (insert appropriate characterisation here). It’s one thing to agree with something that’s clearly factually correct. It’s another to agree with someone else’s interpretation of what that fact implies. Maybe there was a way to continue the discussion constructively, but it was fairly clear that the discussion had already degenerated and continuing wasn’t really worth considering (I did continue briefly, but that was a mistake).

One of the reasons I was thinking about this is that it does seem as though this is quite common. I seem to have encountered a number of people (some of whom, I think, should know better) who insist that others agree both with the facts they produce and with the interpretation of those facts. Furthermore, there’s often the implication that if you don’t agree, there’s something wrong with your character. It’s clear that in some circumstances, this may be fine. There are certainly many things that all of us would agree are unacceptable. When, however, it comes – for example – to an error in a scientific paper, that would seem – to me at least – somewhat more nuanced. We might all agree that there was an error. That, however, doesn’t immediately tells us what that implies with respect to the results in that paper. We might agree that what someone has said is incorrect. That doesn’t immediately imply that they were lying, or that they had said it intentionally. Sometimes, it may not even be obvious that what the other persons claims to be a fact actually is one.

To be honest, I’m not suggesting that this is necessarily unique to one side of the debate. I suspect you could probably find at least some comment threads here where something like this might have happened. However, in my experience at least, it seems much more common from those who I would regard, in some sense, as on the other side of the debate. That could indeed be my bias, but might also reflect the lack of any substantial evidence to support their position.

I was going to add that it’s disappointing if people who are genuinely interested in honest debate, employ such a strategy. However, I’m now fairly convinced that most who I’ve encountered, and who do this, are not actually interested in a genuine discussion. They’re interested in scoring points and then crowing about it afterwards. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t annoy me but, ultimately, I don’t really care what a group of semi-anonymous online commenters claim to think about me. I should acknowledge that this is a bit of a rant, so apologies if it seems unfair or seems to mis-characterise part of the debate. As usual, happy to be convinced, by those who can actually construct a coherent argument, that I’m wrong.

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132 Responses to Disillusioned, Moi?

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry to read you’re feeling disillusioned. I hope the rant has helped. It usually helps me 🙂

  2. There was a question mark 🙂 A bit of a rant certainly helps though.

  3. Rachel says:

    So there is. That’s good. I don’t think abusive people are worth wasting time on.

  4. Indeed. I really should know better by now though. Anyway, enough about my recent discussion. I was more trying to make the point that there do seem to be circumstances where people assume that what they infer from a fact is, somehow, also a fact. Distinguishing between what is fact and what is interpretation based on facts, would be valuable. Unlikely to happen, I suspect, though.

  5. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Point-scoring is what they do in lieu of an evidence-based scientific argument. That and active character assassination.

  6. BBD, that does indeed seem to be that case. Certainly appears consistent with the evidence I’ve seen 🙂

  7. Rachel says:

    Anders, if must spend time on twitter then you should choose the right company. I have two suggestions: boring tweeter and God. You won’t get any trouble from either of them.

  8. > What I’m going to say is more of a general observation – motivated by that encounter – than something specific to that particular exchange. I don’t really feel like being accused of directly criticising someone without giving them a chance to respond. I certainly don’t have any intention of allowing this person to comment here again.

    Anyone can send concerns about that to me @nevaudit.

    I’m always thankful for concerns.

    Thank you for your concern,

    w

  9. There’s definitely a debating trick where, when your opponent says something “wrong” (either directly wrong, or technically wrong, or misconstruable as wrong) you then take that, take the worst possible interpretation, and then attack back forcefully as though the originator not only meant that worst possible thing, but meant it with malice (the recent DN/RP Jr thing is a fair example of something not far off). What you’re trying to do in that case is to make it as difficult as possible for the originator to back down.

    In which cases, you need to reply in response to the trick. If you reply back merely trying to bluff it out and say “but nothing was wrong” then you fall into the trap.

    In any case, and perhaps most useful for your purposes – which is dialogue – you know that your interlocutor isn’t interested in dialogue, only point-scoring. So you can just not bother reply.

  10. Rachel, I thought God’s second most recent tweet some somewhat apt 🙂

  11. Rachel says:

    ThenFizz, very apt 😀

  12. William Connolley, what you say in the first part of your comment I can imagine working face-to-face or somewhere neutral, or if your goal is to actually to “win” in some sense, rather than simply to have an exchange of ideas.

    Your comment below, however, seems more relevant to these types of situations (as far as I’ve encountered them at least).

    In any case, and perhaps most useful for your purposes – which is dialogue – you know that your interlocutor isn’t interested in dialogue, only point-scoring. So you can just not bother reply.

  13. guthrie says:

    It’s part of how people of a certain mindset ensure compliance – rig the discussion so that their answer is not only correct, but the only possible one. Disagreeing indicates that you have character flaws. It works on children, teenagers and adults who think they have to fit in and do what the boss says and who can’t separate facts from fitting in and feeling good about yourself in society.

  14. BG says:

    Anders,

    It certainly appears that you are just too nice for your own good. These people are (intellectual) bullies, literally and figuratively. They are good at dishing it out, but get their knickers in a snit when blowback occurs.

    Just like the school playground bullies we all had to put up with, they do not stop until you stick a fist in their nose.

  15. Joshua says:

    the physicist formerly known as wotts –

    Very nice post:

    “What I was pondering was why, given that during this particular exchange I had said something that was not technically correct, I didn’t simply openly acknowledge that and try to move on. Normally, I’m happy to do exactly that. The reason, I think, was that the response to my comment was not a query as to whether or not what I’d said was correct, or a request that I provide evidence, or a counterclaim; it was a response that not only categorically stated I was wrong, but also immediately implied something about my character.”

    I think this speaks to the discussion a few threads downstairs about how to communicate across the climate war battle lines. When you say to someone that they’re just wrong – with a clear disdain implied if not stated explicitly, even if it is not accompanied with an explicit “which means that you’re an idiot, or someone of low character, or an eco-Nazi, or a “denier,” – it will produce an identity protection response. Of course, “I’m not sure what you’re saying is consistent with the science, and here’s why….” is also likely to produce an identity protection response, in particular with someone who is identity-invested in being “right” about the long-term effects of ACO2. But you lower the intensity, perhaps somewhat, with a form of exchange that implies good rather than bad faith in your interlocutor.

    So then one question I find interesting is why do we spend so much time, in these threads, interacting with people in whom we don’t have food faith, with established and repeated responses that amount to, essentially, identity-protection rather than good faith discussion about uncertainty?

    I find a similar pattern in non-online and non climate change interactions in the rest of my life – but at least in those interactions I have clearer motivation to be invested…

    ” However, in my experience at least, it seems much more common from those who I would regard, in some sense, as on the other side of the debate. “

    Given that the dynamic you’re describing seems to me to be a result of foundational attributes of human beings (motivated reasoning/confirmation bias that stems from our identity protective psychology and traits of relying on pattern-finding as a cornerstone of our cognitive processes), I don’t see a logical reason why it would be differentially characteristic of one group as opposed to another based on orientation in the climate wars (which, I think, are largely a proxy for political wars).

    As far as I’m concerned, the biggest tell for “motivated reasoning” is where someone thinks they can know something substantive about someone else merely on the basis of them expressing an opinion or analytical viewpoint in an argument or an exchange of blog comments. It goes back to the most fundamental issue of when people conflate fact and opinion. Such a facile form of reasoning runs rampant in these kinds of exchanges. I find it common on both sides of the climate war battle lines.

  16. BG, thanks. I suspect, however, that God’s tweet may be a more apt description of why I’m getting involved in this whole topic (too stupid, rather than too nice 🙂 )

    Joshua,

    I find it common on both sides of the climate war battle lines.

    Possibly. Maybe one reason I don’t see from this side of the debate is that I don’t argue with those who say things with which I agree. I have, however, often wondered about the symmetry in the debate. The evidence clearly supports one side more than the other (or, more correctly, I would argue that this is the case) hence it might seem more likely that such debating tactics are used more by the side that have less evidence to support their position. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily follow, but it may suggest that if such tactics are common on both sides, the motivations are different.

  17. AnOilMan says:

    BG: The difference is that I was beat up for lunch money by bullies that are much smarter than Watts’ [Rachel: I’ve replaced the offending word with “contrarian”] contrarians. 🙂

    I frequently apologize for making mistakes or stepping on someone. Its a matter of policy for me to admit mistakes and move on.

    I also don’t worry too much about the details unless someone focuses me on them. The bottom line is that the devil is in the detail and it takes more than an armchair perspective to view those details. (That is probably why there is full time employment to perform technical work.)

    One of the things I’ve noticed in debating Watts’ [Rachel edit] contrarians, is that they don’t actually read anything I type. I’ve made so many technical mistakes and they didn’t notice. I’m trying to say that it appears that they don’t understand what is being said. Heck, in one case, the guy resorted to quoting from a paper without replying intelligently to my questions. (The moderator had to intervene and get him to respond.)

    I have learned a little form them though. (I don’t like Carbon trading, I like Carbon tax.) I have studied every single spurious claim that came my way and discovered that they are always completely totally ignorantly wrong. So I’ve learned a lot. But I am getting tired of that wet willy in my ear. “What? Another strange theory? They over 10,000 guesses were wrong. What’s special about this one?”

  18. geronimo says:

    I agree with the thrust of your post RP. I have noted some who not only believe that the deniers are wrong, but that they are hateful, and the same the other way around. I see little purpose in this, because whatever I think about, for the want of a better term, warmists, they can’t all be knaves or fools. I believe that semi anonymity accounts for some of the abuse, after all in business people prefer to stab their colleagues in the back rather than have open dialogue.

  19. I agree that assuming that all (or most) are hateful is not very helpful. Ironically, I agree that the anonymity may well be a factor, although I would argue that being anonymous doesn’t guarantee that one would behave in such a way.

  20. geronimo says:

    Christ TP I take it all back, you’re actually having a conversation with BG who said:

    “These people are (intellectual) bullies, literally and figuratively. They are good at dishing it out, but get their knickers in a snit when blowback occurs.

    Just like the school playground bullies we all had to put up with, they do not stop until you stick a fist in their nose.”

    And anoilman:

    “The difference is that I was beat up for lunch money by bullies that are much smarter than Watts’ [Rachel edit] contrarians

    One of the things I’ve noticed in debating Watts’ [Rachel edit] contrarians, is that they don’t actually read anything I type. I’ve made so many technical mistakes and they didn’t notice. I’m trying to say that it appears that they don’t understand what is being said. Heck, in one case, the guy resorted to quoting from a paper without replying intelligently to my questions.”

    Aren’t these the very people you’re talking about?

  21. Geronimo, maybe you could clarify what you mean. I assume that

    These people are (intellectual) bullies, literally and figuratively. They are good at dishing it out, but get their knickers in a snit when blowback occurs.

    refers to those who employ these tactics, so doesn’t seem an unreasonable comment.

    [Mod : I’ve moderated my own comment as I now know that the issue was 🙂 ]

  22. Geronimo, I don’t think all contrarians are hateful. But what other word could describe the WUWT denizens who accuse me of being a lying corrupt asshole cultist Nazi eugenicist anti-American murderer?

  23. Also, WUWT’s David M. Hoffer suggested at 3:16pm that I should be referred to as “it”. His suggestion obviously appealed to ATheoK, who agreed at 7:44pm that I don’t deserve a human pronoun. My response at 8:36pm was a tweet that I’d sent less than 24 hours before that (by sheer coincidence).

    Can we agree that dehumanizing people is unproductive… even hateful?

  24. D Scientist, you forgot the mass murdering of babies.

  25. Dr Civil: What I was pondering was why, given that during this particular exchange I had said something that was not technically correct, I didn’t simply openly acknowledge that and try to move on. Normally, I’m happy to do exactly that.

    Maybe time is also an important factor. Twitter is not only badly suited for discussions because the tweets are too short for that. People also tend to respond very fast, like in a conversation. It is uncommon to change your opinion during a conversation, except maybe if the topic is not important and the error very obvious.

    It happens regularly that I am discussing something with someone and the next discussion we have both changed our opinion. In between the conversations we both thought about the arguments, weight their strengths, search some more and maybe see how it fits into our world view if it is something of personal importance. During the conversation you are more testing whether you can keep holding it, to test the strength of the arguments.

    Dr Civil: ”However, in my experience at least, it seems much more common from those who I would regard, in some sense, as on the other side of the debate. “

    To which Joshua replied:Given that the dynamic you’re describing seems to me to be a result of foundational attributes of human beings (motivated reasoning/confirmation bias that stems from our identity protective psychology and traits of relying on pattern-finding as a cornerstone of our cognitive processes), I don’t see a logical reason why it would be differentially characteristic of one group as opposed to another based on orientation in the climate wars (which, I think, are largely a proxy for political wars).

    I can imagine that it goes for both the ostriches and for the alarmists. For the people for whom science is just cannon fodder.

    I do would expect that scientists are on average better in admitting their mistakes because I cannot imagine being a good scientist without regularly noticing having been wrong. Hopefully before publication and noticing the problem yourself. And it is fine if this takes some time; being stubborn is also part of being a good scientists and in this phase you may well discover something interesting, which you would have missed if you would change your position immediate.

    Another factor is that the questions in science are so detailed that there is a clear answer, which is different from the fuzzy questions you have in the rest of life. If you are clearly wrong, it is easier to admit it.

  26. @DumbSci, it seems clear that David M Hoffer doesn’t understand advection. As far as I can tell, he must be shocked whenever the cold winds blow down from the Arctic, presumably shouting “you’re violating the second law of thermodynamics, I demand that you stop this instant”.

    Victor,

    I can imagine that it goes for both the ostriches and for the alarmists. For the people for whom science is just cannon fodder.

    Yes, that’s a good point. I had rather ignored that there clearly are extremes on both sides of the debate.

  27. AnOilMan says:

    geronimo: “Aren’t these the very people you’re talking about?”

    Nope. Make no mistake. I work in oil and gas. Watts’ [Rachel edit] contrarians are trying very very hard to personally enrich me and give me more lunch money.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quisling
    [Rachel edit] Quisling: In contemporary usage, quisling is synonymous with traitor, and particularly applied to politicians who appear to favour the interests of other nations or cultures over their own.

    A lot of people would associate someone like me as either rabid environmentalist or soft squishy liberal. I’m neither. I don’t care about (local) environmental damage. I’m no socialist although I believe in a hand up not a hand out. Capital punishment… Mostly for it, but I worry about the mistakes. (That’s Canada and David Milgard in a nutshell.) People in the third world? I don’t know why I’d start caring now.

    I am concerned about dramatic and expensive costs for future generations and my children. Severe storms which cost money but do not generate economic output, are expected. Flooding and climate change refugees are in the schedule. Starvation is on the menu.

    Seriously.. What kind of world should I strive to leave for my children? That?

  28. > Just like the school playground bullies we all had to put up with, they do not stop until you stick a fist in their nose.

    I rather suggest Love and Light:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/LoveAndLight

    If playground bullies regenerated, only that would work there too.

  29. > [W]hat other word could describe the WUWT denizens who accuse me of being a lying corrupt asshole cultist Nazi eugenicist anti-American murderer?

    Reactionaries.

  30. Tom Curtis says:

    I do have a problem with referring to [Rachel: I have edited Tom’s original words and replaced them with the italicised words immediately following this since Tom was quoting something said previously which has also been edited] people as quislings. It is intentionally insulting. It does directly tie etymologicaly to support of the nazis, and explicitly traitorous support. While it can be fairly said that Watt’s supporters favour actions inimical to the best interests of the human race, they do not knowingly do so (ie, they think the actions they favour are in the best interests of the human race). They are not justifiably called “traitors” or any synonym. May I suggest the word not be used, and explicitly not be used on this site where it is antithetical to keeping the conversation civil.

  31. jsam says:

    Tom – I can understand your reticence over the word “quisling”. However, those who collaborated with the Axis during WWII probably believed they were doing the right thing. They weren’t. Neither is Watts, neither are his supporters. I believe history will tarnish them with that phrase. Not using the word may be more civil, but avoiding it may be less accurate.

  32. In my opinion, jsam, accuracy is less important than trying to keep the discussion civil.

  33. jsam says:

    DS – long may your courtesy be reciprocated.

  34. My links show that it hasn’t been reciprocated, and probably never will be. That’s okay with me. I hope that lurkers learn as much from the asymmetry in civility between me and WUWT as they do from the asymmetry in physics knowledge between me and WUWT.

  35. geronimo says:

    “Nope. Make no mistake. I work in oil and gas. Watts’ [Rachel edit] contrarians are trying very very hard to personally enrich me and give me more lunch money.”

    I haven’t made a mistake, Quisling was the PM of Norway who decided to collaborate with the Nazis wasn’t he. [Rachel: I removed two sentences here which were querying a comment made elsewhere that has since been edited] Your grandkids, like mine will be in a better world than we are if we can stop the environmentalists.

    Personal question, no offence meant, but are you a Jock? (Being a Jock isn’t an offence if a Scouse asks you, I’m a Scouse).

  36. geronimo says:

    Dumbo: “Geronimo, I don’t think all contrarians are hateful. But what other word could describe the WUWT denizens who accuse me of being a lying corrupt asshole cultist Nazi eugenicist anti-American murderer?”

    [Rachel: Perhaps not the best thing to say]. I don’t read a lot of the WUWT comments but haven’t noticed such personal vilification much on the site. When were you called the above, I’ll personally bring it to the attention of [Rachel: Let’s keep it civil] Anthony Watts and get you a personal apology. I think.

  37. Emitting CO2 ten times faster than before the Great Dying will lead to a better world for jellyfish and desert locusts. The rest of the biosphere? Not so much.

  38. Geronimo, at the end of this WUWT thread these accusations were brought to the attention of Anthony Watts. While a personal apology would be a reasonable reaction, Watts decided to ban me instead. That’s unsurprising, because for years WUWT guest authors Lord Monckton and Eric Worrall have been accusing climate scientists of genocide and mass murder. If Watts started apologizing for those accusations now, he’d be apologizing for the rest of his life.

  39. I hope that lurkers learn as much from the asymmetry in civility between me and WUWT as they do from the asymmetry in physics knowledge between me and WUWT.

    Then let’s keep the asymmetry in civility and not be unnecessarily insulting.

    I am not as sure as Tom Curtis that “they think the actions they favour are in the best interests of the human race”. It not socially acceptable to tell people you do not care about others. Thus it may also be hollow rhetoric. I have a hard time believing that the comments at WUWT really think that introducing a carbon tax in the West will kill the poor in Africa. And I have an even harder time to believe that they really think that a main stream scientist (me) is personally responsible for killing poor babies by being the messenger of bad news.

    Still I would prefer us not using the word in question.

  40. > When were you called the above, I’ll personally bring it to the attention of [Rachel: I have edited this out of the original so for consistency it needs to be removed here too, sorry] Anthony Watts and get you a personal apology. I think.

    Or you can ask yourself: “what would Barry Woods do”?

    Under the trial of reason, everything you say can be used against you.

    Under other kinds of trials too.

  41. Tom Curtis says:

    geronimo:

    “Then again, millions of excess deaths by freezing, cold, starvation, poor water, bad sewage, no transportation, ill health in squalid poverty and inadequate farming methods ARE the preferred murder weapons of the CAGW crowd, so …”

    (RACook in response to Dumb Scientist)

    “Dumb’s hypocrisy is flagrant, disgusting, and anti-American.”

    “The ONLY legitimate authority in this issue is Planet Earth herself, and our planet is clearly telling us that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial. But Dumb has an ulterior motive; an agenda. Therefore, he lies to promote his false narrative.”

    (DBStealey)

    DBStealey is, of course, a moderator at WUWT.

    Watts response:

    “This has been brought to my attention. At the same time I just saw your tweet where you say:

    WUWT accusations of dishonest godless Anti-American murder getting old.

    There is no mention nor endorsement by WUWT of “murder” there is a comment by RACooke that mentions it. Your assignment of this to “WUWT” implying it is somehow my sanctioned opinion in a tweet isn’t going to wash here.

    You weren’t banned before but now you are for playing these sorts of games as indicated by the moderators. All of your future comments will now go directly to the bit bucket.

    Feel free to be as upset as you wish. – Anthony”

    So, Watts is aware of the vile accusation made by Cooke, but is happy to let it stand. And yet he has the hypocrisy to object to the term “denier” because of his manufactured interpretation, insisting it implies association with holocaust denial regardless of the intentions of its users, or the actual linguistic facts.

    Presumably Watts is also aware of the accusations made by one of his moderators.

    His actions with regard to Dumb Scientist are indefensible.

  42. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    &Dan,

    assuming I know who you are talking about, my guess would be that you are talking about someone with specific “character traits”. I don’t think this case can be used for generalisations of the “other side” (Not saying that you or commenters here are actually doing that, but there is a small tendency in that direction 😉 ), since I don’t think such traits define which side their wearers are on. It may still be possible though to identify different styles of discussion on “either side” of course.

  43. Tom Curtis says:

    Further to Dumb Scientists experience, I have been obliquely compared to the KKK and other right wing fanatic groups on WUWT. The author of the comparison later claimed that no offense was intended, and that it was an attempt to satirize the American use of “k” rather than “c” in spelling “sceptic”. I accept her explanation, but note it takes a significant lack of awareness to write that “… the use of the letter k instead of c” “has all sorts of fascistik konnotations – like KKK, NKVD, KGB, Pig AmeriKa and Kalifornia” and not recognize that by commenting on those connotations, substituting of a “k” for a “c” in a person’s name associates those connotations with that person.

    What I find interesting about this example is not the original satire, which would only mildly offensive except for family history, but Watts’ response. Bizarrely, he first deleted the offending post, and then claimed that only I had referred to the KKK. To prevent rebuttal of that falsehood, he then barred further discussion of the issue. The barring of further discussion was applied to prevent my correcting his error, but was not applied to the author of the offending post when she posted a link to a copy of the post.

    Fairly tame stuff compared to the accusations leveled at Dumb Scientist – but indicative, I think, that his chance of getting an apology from Watts is indistinguishable from zero.

  44. BBD says:

    Willard said:

    Under other kinds of trials too.

    Feels like KKKafta.

  45. Steve Bloom says:

    This exchange —

    Victor: “I can imagine that it goes for both the ostriches and for the alarmists. For the people for whom science is just cannon fodder.”

    Anders: “Yes, that’s a good point. I had rather ignored that there clearly are extremes on both sides of the debate.”

    — indicates considerable naivete and/or wishful thinking that as a general proposition scientists stand above it all.

    There’s a by-now large body of social science research showing that liberals and conservatives (however you want to characterize the division) are not at all balanced in that way. It’s interesting that you both seem unaware of it.

  46. Rachel says:

    I agree that we need to ensure that we are not unnecessarily insulting. I am thinking of editing out the word quisling where it is applied to people in this thread. Does anyone have any strong objections to me doing this?

  47. Rachel says:

    Ok. I have edited out the word quisling where it is applied to people. I have replaced it in most places with the word contrarian but left it in others where it is discussed on its own as a word and defined. Hopefully this isn’t going to be too confusing to newcomers to this thread.

    I saw this great cartoon on twitter this morning (h/t Steve Bloom).

    Climate scientists
    Credit: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ (I never thought I’d be crediting The Australian with something climate-related especially something funny!)

  48. Thanks, Rachel. I was going to start doing that myself, but you beat me to it 🙂 I didn’t actually realise the context.

  49. Rachel says:

    I didn’t actually realise the context.

    Neither did I.

  50. Steve,

    There’s a by-now large body of social science research showing that liberals and conservatives (however you want to characterize the division) are not at all balanced in that way. It’s interesting that you both seem unaware of it.

    Yes, you may be right and I don’t claim that I lack naivety. In fact, when I responded to Victor I was conscious of the possibility that when suggesting that there may not be a symmetry in my use of the term extreme. I suspect that there are extremes on our side of the debate, but they be further up the tail of the distribution than on the other side of the debate.

  51. Reich,

    I don’t think this case can be used for generalisations of the “other side”

    You’re kind of right. When I wrote the latter part of the post, it wasn’t so much that I had experienced such tactics in many other discussions, but I have seen people (some of whom should know better, in my opinion) saying things like “climate scientists have lost all credibility and will only regain it when they accept …..” and the thing they have to accept is typically that person’s interpretation of MBH98, climategate emails, or some other interpretion based on something that may be factually correct. So, yes, it may be that there are certain individuals who may employ these tactics in an actual discussion, but there seem many who’ve made their made up about something and seem to assume that it is some kind of indisputable truth and not accepting this truth means that the other party is deficient in some way.

  52. John Mashey says:

    Blogs have different characteristics with regards to ad hominems and personal attacks.
    With regard to the blogs involved in the LSalby blog storm:
    I found ~83 attacks on commenters, as follows:
    49 @ JoanneNova
    24 @ WUWT
    10 @ Bishop Hill

    The favored recipients were:
    18 John Brookes, all @ NOVA
    17 Nick Stokes, @ WUWT and BISHOP
    14 Michael, @ NOVA
    8 Jan P. Perlwitz (before he got banned)
    5 DeSmogBlog (in general, or Readfearn/Mashey)
    4 Nyq Only @ WUWT
    3 Patsi Baker @ NOVA
    2 each: Eli Rabett, Catamon, Patsi Baker, ICU, Nice One
    Then a few more got one apiece.

    In general, anyone who actually brought relevant (but unwanted) facts into the discussions got whacked. Put another way, the the blog analog of Maxwell’s Daeomon was in action:
    a) No matter how crazy, ideas that supported the viewpoint were accepted happily, praised, given thumbs-up.
    b) Disliked ideas or even simple factual data (like: here’s a link to NSF closeout report) were repelled, sometimes with ad hominems or additional paranoid conspiracy ideation.

    A sample of comments was:
    “What a nuisance you are Michael”

    “1) – Either the university is staffed by idiots, or
    2) – – The university knew exactly what it was letting itself in for, and
    considered the cost in future litigation worth it (remembering that it is we, the
    taxpayers who will pay for it), to hide a truth that would derail the CAGW
    gravy train.
    .eanwhile, you go on polishing that turd, Cat.”

    ““Sacking someone from a uni is a lot of hard work”
    Which probably explains why you are still there, even in the janitorial role”

    “Its a truly mindless troll that appeals(bows) to authority and the lowest
    common denominator. … It doesnt understand how science works..or ethics..what a surprise.”

    “No. I just don’t like odious cretins like you John Brookes”

    “Aren’t you late for your appointment at the euthanasia clinic Catamon?”

    “Nick Stokes says:
    July 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm
    Murry Salby was apparently professor for five years. Does anyone know of
    any scientific papers that he wrote (published or not) in that time?
    REPLY: Nick, sometimes I think your head is up your arse. This is one of
    those times. How could he publish in that sort of environment? – Anthony”

    “Sometimes, one tires of Stokes’ Quisling, malicious snideness, tediously
    predictable as it is” – ianl8888

    “certain people like Nick Stokes who I totally distrust to consistent dishonesty displayed”

    “Hmm, a comment from Jo’s resident squealing warmist weasel.”

    “You bring nothing to the table in this discussion. Please go away.”

  53. Rachel says:

    John Mashey,
    It’s hard to read stuff like that and not get an emotional response. This is a good enough reason for me to ensure there’s a certain amount of civility in comments.

  54. Rachel says:

    I should add the same thing for all the stuff DumbSci had to put up with. Very disturbing.

  55. John Mashey says:

    Rachel:
    Yes, it is good to enforce some level of civility, but as context for DumbSci’s experience or others as to what to expect, let me observe:
    1) NOVA, WUWT and BISHOP are tribal echo chambers (although NOVA’s tagline amusingly is “tackling tribal groupthink”. To various degrees, personal insults and perhaps defamation are allowed, sometimes even encouraged, and sometimes even by the blog owners/moderators, but selectively against outsiders who are simply fair game. One sees occasional insults the other way, but not often.

    2) If you enter these, and wish to actually provide unwanted facts, or express opinions contrary to the prevailing beliefs, you had better have a *very* thick skin and pot in the most neutral ways possible, as elsewise comments often get moderated away and (especially at WUWT) you will get banned. Nick Stokes somehow has the patience to do this.
    There is an interesting asymmetry of behavior, in which echo chambers commenters appear in other blogs, make anti-scientific comments, insult people enough to provoke responses, and get moderated some or boreholed, and then depart back to their echo chambers to report on how badly they got treated at, for example, RealClimate. I don;t know if there’s an accepted name for that, although it seems related to “victim bullies.”

    3) The echo chambers are suffused paranoid/conspiracy ideation, and in the Salbystorm, amusingly, Stephan Lewandowsky was sometimes thought to have had something to do with Salby’s dismissal, and of course, was attacked for daring to suggest that rejection of climate science had any correlation with conspiracy thinking. As one example of many, one of my favorites, which occurred at least 15 times, was the idea that Macquarie “lured, enticed headhunted” Salby from University of Colorado (CU) to MQ specifically to sabotage his work that was dangerous to the church of CAGW, or something like that. Ignoring fact that he was hired in early 2008, and showed zero public sign of weird ideas on CO2/ice cores before July 2011,

    In my experience, universities rarely hire someone from halfway across the world in order to cause them trouble and obstruct or sabotage their work, especially that which occurs 3 years later. Nevertheless:
    NOVA:
    ‘Mark D. #4
    July 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm · +34 -0 THUMBS-UP/DOWN: they liked this.
    Only one way to fight this and that is through law suits.
    Would it be paranoid to suggest that this was planned in advance? That
    Macquarie never intended to fulfill the contracts but instead intended to disrupt
    Salby in his research?’

    ‘Backslider #4.1
    July 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm · +33 -0 THEY LIKED THIS, TOO.
    Would it be paranoid to suggest that this was planned in advance? That Macquarie
    never intended to fulfill the contracts but instead intended to disrupt Salby in his
    research?
    That also was my feeling while reading all this. Professor Salby had problems
    right from the start, they have clearly set out to hobble him.488 Who would be
    surprised, considering this is home base for that lunatic Flannery and all his
    cronies.’

    Greg Cavanagh #4.1.1
    July 10, 2013 at 7:18 am · +3-0
    Truth is often stranger than fiction.
    Can anybody disagree with the above statement?

    ‘crosspatch #47
    July 10, 2013 at 1:31 am · +5 -0
    Interesting way to sabotage the careers of those who oppose the party line.
    First you hire them, then you frustrate them for years preventing any
    completion of research / publication (long term career implications).608 Then
    you blackball them. “Hold your friends close, hold your enemies closer”.

    WUWT:
    ‘tallbloke says:
    July 10, 2013 at 8:27 am
    Basically, the university has acted in bad faith from the start. Maybe it’s
    purpose in offering Salby his position was to thwart his research and make sure
    his findings were delayed, suppressed and blocked from publication for as long
    as possible.’

  56. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    &Dan,

    “So, yes, it may be that there are certain individuals who may employ these tactics in an actual discussion, ”

    Yes, tactics used to score points.

    “but there seem many who’ve made their made up about something and seem to assume that it is some kind of indisputable truth and not accepting this truth means that the other party is deficient in some way.”

    This could be a character trait. The best way to distinguish those possibilities is to take a look at how someone discusses on either “side”. If someone is being obnoxious in the way that you described only when discussing something with someone from the “other side” then you can assume it is a tactic. If they show the same behaviour when discussing something with someone from “either side” then it may well be a character trait.

  57. AnOilMan says:

    Folks… Thanks for the civil editing. It makes reading the posts days later much more appealing. 🙂 I will strive to do better around here.

    I really like John Mashey’s efforts to ascribe numbers to the name calling phenomenon.

    In my case, I didn’t start by being this obnoxious. Initially I was a skeptic, and was looking for anything resembling proof that there were flaws in the Global Warming phenomenon. Almost instantly I had a dung flung my way by so many wonderful WUWT fans. Not a little, but a lot, and name calling, and from multiple sources. I’m finding this blog more like much needed therapy for me. I’ve noticed that in my usual haunts a lot more people are showing up and going after those oh so cuddly WUWT fans.

    Starting last year did anyone else notice a sudden and distinct cessation of linking references to WUWT? (Actually citations in general since they rarely knew what they were talking about.) Its like they all got a mail saying “don’t reference anything, make them look it up”.

    Geronimo: I’m as geek as they come. I fixed my first TV when I was 10. (Two tubes were pretty clearly blown.) I’m considered gifted (my mom had me tested).

  58. @AnOilMan, that’s a great Dilbert video.

  59. Yeah, that video almost let me forget that Scott Adams manufactured doubt about evolution and climate change.

  60. Rachel says:

    Oh DumbSci you’ve just ruined Dilbert for me. Thanks a lot! I never knew.

  61. Yes, I’d actually completely forgotten about that. Not even AnOilMan’s video reminded me.

  62. Barry Woods says:

    TP [Rachel: I’ve removed a fair bit of this comment because it was an off-topic attempt to discredit SkS. It contained a number of links to images that were taken without permission from the SkS website]

    ref the abuse Tom describes (which I’m totally against, and would condemn ) and I’ve received a fair bit myself comments (at all blogs, both ‘sides’ of the debate)

    The best way would be to actually meet, chat and get to know people, without the public watching for a winner, and to blast away those cliches.

  63. Barry, I have no real desire to discuss the SkS images and it’s certainly my opinion that those who focus on these are using this to undermine a group who, by and large, provide an excellent service for those who would like to know more about climate science. This tweet sums up my basic view

  64. verytallguy says:

    Barry,

    Oh look, yet another squirrel. You do seem very interested in what SKS insiders get up to in private. You’ve brought it up on more than one thread here and it’s starting to sound obsessive, to be honest. I’m not much interested and haven’t followed your links, I’m happy to trust your description, and it’s clear from that they’ve made bad mistakes.

    SKS presents the facts of the science. Very effectively. If you feel that they are misrepresenting the science, by all means say where, and why it is significant.

    That science shows that we are causing CO2 to increase, and that will cause a huge change in the earth’s climate with massive consequences for human civilisation and the natural world.

    You appear to be trying to ensure discussion is directed away from these facts.

    Disillusioned, moi?

  65. Rachel says:

    Barry,
    Those images have not changed my view of SKS one bit. I still think they’re a great source of information about climate change. At most, I was a little bemused by them but that’s it. What is more of a concern to me is that someone has secretly gone searching for files on the SKS server and then distributed these files without their permission. This is just wrong.

  66. Barry Woods says:

    [Rachel: I’ve removed this comment because it’s essentially repeating the previous one made by Barry which I edited because it was off-topic and an attempt to discredit SkS]

  67. Barry, I have seen them. I had no real interest in talking about them and still don’t. I choose not to judge people without knowing all the information. Also – as I tried to indicate in my previous response – I don’t see why a mistake necessarily means that I should completely change my opinion of someone. As I and VTG have pointed out, SkS provide an excellent resource for those who’d like to know more about climate science. I get the impression that you desperately want me to make some kind of public judgement about SkS and these photos. I choose not to do so and if you wish to judge me for not doing so, that is absolutely fine.

  68. Rachel says:

    Barry,
    Those photos have nothing to do with the public and are not of any relevance to climate science whatsoever. Distributing them without permission is a serious breach of copyright and privacy. But this seems to be behaviour that people who call themselves sceptical of climate science have no problem with. Personally I want no part of it so lets drop the topic.

  69. I second what Rachel has just said. Barry, you’ve had a chance to make your point but, with relation to climate science, I don’t see the relevance. Let’s drop it.

  70. Barry Woods says:

    TP – my basic view

    I’ve made mistakes, including a big one having ago at Richard Black, (my error) apology made, acknowledged and moved on.

  71. verytallguy says:

    Barry,

    look, a whole colony of squirrels.

    Meanwhile, SkS continue to inform, eg on the understanding of Antarctic ice.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/why-is-antarctic-sea-ice-growing.html

    Informative, isn’t it? Wouldn’t want to distract from it, would you?

  72. Barry, sure. My issue isn’t with your view of SkS. It’s your right to judge them how you wish. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise. My issue is with the sense that you seem to think that everyone else must agree with your view. Repeating it over and over again isn’t going to suddenly make everyone agree with you.

  73. Barry Woods says:

    Rachel i imagine the photos they photoshopped were copyright!
    As were the modifications of copyrighted Josh Cartoons, including I note Dana using a scan of one as his avatar..

    anyway the funniest photo of Delingpole,is the real one.

  74. Rachel i imagine the photos they photoshopped were copyright!
    As were the modifications of copyrighted Josh Cartoons, including I note Dana using a scan of one as his avatar..

    So what? They weren’t the ones who released them to the public.

  75. Barry Woods says:

    verytallguy.. to be honest.. it doesn’t matter what I think about Antarctic Ice, or Arctic ice.. outside of climate blogs and the Guardian, the wider public/politicians really do not seem to care any more (or are just oblivious) as has been noticed – ie the Climate Silence report by COIN

  76. Rachel says:

    anyway the funniest photo of Delingpole,is the real one.

    Yeah, I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t clicked on that one 😦

  77. verytallguy says:

    And finally, Barry Woods:

    I judge people…

    Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    Matthew 7:1

    I’m not religious, but I know which I prefer.

  78. Barry Woods says:

    I’m not asking for anybody to agree with me.. just to ask people to consider, how if roles were reversed how people would be judging those images, and the reaction to them. ie the reactions or lack of reactions, depending on which perceived side the paticipants belong to.. Ie what would Prof Lewandowsky made of them, if they had been produced(privately then made public) by sceptics.

    but as we are off topic, Happy to leave it at that.

  79. Barry, personally I don’t care what those on the “other side” choose to do in private. I certainly don’t need to focus on leaked/stolen images/emails to judge their credibility with respect to climate science. I just need to consider what they say about climate science. It’s largely unscientific nonsense. I think you need to consider why so many on the “other side” spend so much time focusing on emails/photoshopped images/consensus studies. Could it be because if they focused on the science itself they’d have little to criticise?

  80. Barry Woods says:

    Rachel – I did warn you… ! 😉 (ie a non-smiley face and shorts description)

    uncanny
    http://twitpic.com/8tvyv3

  81. Barry Woods says:

    well the consensus study, conclusion have been misrepresented. ie Cook makes big of the fact that Barack Obabma tweeted about it – adding ‘dangerous’ which is misinformation about that paper results as far as I’m concerned..

    And we know they were planning the media marketing of the results, before they had them, ie ‘confrmation’ bias at work?

    we also know that the object of ‘consensus’ that the paper reports on relies, on no specific quantification of AGW, which would capture most sceptics thoughts on AGW as well.

  82. Barry, you’re nothing if not predictable. I don’t really want to now start a debate about the consensus study. Again, it’s largely irrelevant. I can talk to colleagues and read the scientific literature to get a sense if there is some kind of consensus/agreement about anthropogenic global warming. Answer I’ve found? Yes.

  83. BBD says:

    And here’s Barry, once again waving the SkS photos around and smearing for all he’s worth while pretending to be a nice person. Sometimes it’s an effort remaining civil.

  84. Barry Woods says:

    [Rachel: I’ve removed an implied accusation that a mistake was not acknowledged and another attempt to discredit someone/something else]

    Cook: “Our goal of raising awareness of the 97% consensus was given a significant boost when President Obama tweeted our research to over 31 million followers. Shortly afterwards, Obama delivered a landmark speech calling for climate action where he again invoked the 97% consensus.” – John Cook
    http://www.europhysicsnews.org/articles/epn/pdf/2013/06/epn2013446p25.pdf

    so does it matter, if ‘dangerous’ is inappropriately linked to this research paper?
    i see that as ‘misinformation’, others obviously do not

  85. verytallguy says:

    Barry,

    I see you’ve found something to smear on your squirrels.

    Fact: not everyone always behaves impeccably
    Fact: there is a scientific consensus on climate science.

    If you don’t believe there is a consensus, you can go prove otherwise. You choose not to because the facts are against you.

    You appear not to like facts, but to prefer avoidance.

    The facts of climate science are set out, in admirable clarity, by SkS. Something which seems to be a problem for you, I know not why.

  86. BBD says:

    Barry

    So AGW isn’t potentially dangerous? Are you serious? Or are you just smearing SkS for all you are worth?

    And is this a rhetorical question?

  87. Barry Woods says:

    I do believe in a scientific consensus. ie earth has warmed, co2 is a green house gas, man contributes…

    that is all the consensus seems to be.. yet that there is a ‘consensus’ is frequently used to go beyond that, to push for policy action, and just used as a tool to prevent questions.

    all this ‘squirrels’ nonsense how does that come across?

  88. Barry Woods says:

    BBD.. if there is a consensus paper, even agreeing the definition of ‘dangerous’ (and I agree there are potential risks) lets us cite that paper… not cite Cook, which has nothing to say on the topic.. accuracy, the same concern Betts had..

  89. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    You seem to care a lot about whether or not there’s a consensus, and if there is, how big it is.. Why?

    If someone were to give you evidence that there is a widespread consensus, would it change your views somehow?

  90. verytallguy says:

    The squirrels, Barry, as you are well aware, refers to your constant drawing attention to side issues and non-issues to avoid the main issue. This mainly goes along the lines of dropping smears into the conversation. As you have amply demonstrated once again.

    The relevant fact being:
    There is a consensus, well represented by the IPPC.

    The interesting subplot is why you want to distract from this. Why is that, Barry?

  91. Barry Woods says:

    Joshua – care that the ‘consensus’ is not misrepresented.

  92. I’ve often wondered the following. Imagine we were to divide the debate up into two camps. Imagine, also, that we could analyse everything said by everyone in both camps. Imagine, next, that we give each camp 1 point every time someone says something that is not technically correct (we can be remarkably pedantic if we wish). Who would win?

  93. Barry Woods says:

    Which is why I wrote this..
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/
    ages back now

    (SkS really did not like it, nor did my personal ‘psychology researcher’ – Michael Marriot (watching the Deniers), co-author Lewandowsky, Cook, Marriott et al paper – Recursive Fury – Frontiers) )

    please read carefully, my concern is HOW the ‘97% soundbite’ is misused. also note Dr Eric Steig’s (of Realclimate) reaction to the Anderegg consensus paper, that is so often cited.

  94. Barry Woods says:

    TP – Reality will win… where we each fall, time will tell

  95. Joshua says:

    Barry –

    “Joshua – care that the ‘consensus’ is not misrepresented.”

    First, that doesn’t seem to me to be a comprehensive description. Only you know for sure, but it sure seems that you care also about whether there is a consensus, and if there is, how widespread it is.

    But even if you are being comprehensive, why do you care whether or not it is misrepresented?

    And would the answer to that question change your views on the science in some way?

  96. Barry’s using your thread to promote his self-righteous, indignant crap, andthentheresphysics. This is wrong. Why do you get suckered in this pretense of a conversation?

  97. Willard, a very good question. I don’t know the answer. That’s all really. I don’t know what else to say.

  98. > all this ‘squirrels’ nonsense how does that come across?

    Don’t mess with squirrels, Barry. They’re my friends.

  99. verytallguy says:

    Barry is using this thread to distract from the facts with his “concerns”

    The facts Barry:
    The earth is warming. It’s caused by us. The effects will be huge.

    Why do you feel the need to distract Barry?

  100. > I don’t know the answer.

    Look at how Barry succeeds in raising his concerns, then. All is there. Barry begs for an answer:

    The shortcut to enlightenment is of course to simply be thankful for his concerns.

    Love is that powerful.

  101. Rachel says:

    I’ve been out so missed all of this.

    Barry, you’ve skipped from one attempt to the next trying to discredit SKS. The next comment you make which tries to do the same will be deleted.

    I’m also going to edit your comment from 1:39pm because you have implied that Dana did not acknowledge the mistake he made in a tweet recently but he did acknowledge it, quite a few times.

    As for Obama’s tweet, I think it’s reasonable to expect that those 97% of scientists who think climate change is real also think it’s dangerous. It’s actually quite alarming. Focusing on something like this tweet detracts from the reality that we’re heading for 4C by end of century, loss of coral reef ecosystems, species extinction, extreme weather, food shortages and possible conflict as a result. Getting upset about this tweet is rather petty when you consider what’s at stake.

    jsam,
    Thanks for that link. Very useful information in there.

  102. Barry Woods says:

    ok.. [Rachel: Unnecessary sarcasm and another attempt to discredit someone/something]

    Rachel, when I want to find out about climate science I talk to climate scientists 1st hand, shall we leave it at that.

    Ok, this is very much the ‘lions den for me’ would you all prefer me not to bother trying to engage… There is Absolutely no attempt to distract from anything.
    je. If I wanted to do that it would not be here (a very low readership, relatively)

    should I just go away, and write WUWT articles, where thousands of people will see them vs dozens? and ‘distract’ people there – I’m being rhetorical on that. haven’t blogged for ages, far too disillusioned for that.

    verytallguy, I think you are wrong, when you say the effects will be huge.. simple..
    and that there are much more pressing problems in the world.

    I hoped to chat with the author, not get bothered by the same old faces, that haunt all the other blogs, and pile on, whenever a ‘sceptic’ appears. ie BBD, Willard,etc.

  103. Barry Woods says:

    willard tweet mining me, is not very helpful, especially as I was asking the other person, exactly what misconceptions about my motives he had..

  104. Rachel says:

    Barry,
    Although I can’t speak for Anders, I’m sure you are welcome to come and discuss climate science here provided you avoid making bitter accusations about people. You joined the discussion at 11:10am this morning and not once have we discussed climate science. Perhaps if you go back and reread your comments you might understand why people react the way they do.

  105. Barry, you’re welcome to do whatever you want to. I’m quite happy with my readership. My main reason for starting this was not to really get readership but mainly to have a forum for commenting on the largely incorrect science on WUWT. If you wish to go there and have your articles read by many, that’s absolutely fine. Bear in mind that you’re associating with a site that will likely, in the future, be regarded as a poster child for how to spread mis-information (whether intentional or not). That, however, is entirely your right.

    I’m also not quite sure what you were hoping to discuss with me. We had a lengthy and somewhat unpleasant exchange on Twitter yesterday that has largely convinced me that Twitter is useless and that engaging is not much better. I thought I’d made it clear that I’m not really interested in discussing emails/image/consensus projects, They’re all basically irrelevant. As I think I may have said before, there are emails/images/consensus projects, and then there’s physics.

  106. > I was asking the other person, exactly what misconceptions about my motives he had..

    I thought you were asking Otto what you were doing, Barry. Just right after he told you. (Hint: look at his tweet that follows the one I quoted from him.) You were not asking SkS about your pet topic of the season, Barry, but Otto. Besides, you did not only asked.

    To claim otherwise, as you did, is suboptimal. Here’s where you did, at least indirectly:

    The indirection is in using Otto’s mind to ask Otto about SkS, which he answered anyway. And you did this with andthentheresphysics too.

    ***

    The accusation of tweet mining has no merit, BTW. I could quote and quote and quote some more, if you please. But that might be infelicitous, as I heard you just tweeted to andthentheresphysics that you were through here.

  107. Willard, I presume you mean Oliver?

  108. Joshua says:

    I can’t speak directly to Barry’s “motives” but from observing him around the climate blogopshere It seems to me that he is not particularly focused on discussing much in particular so much as focused on identity politics and confirming his biases in an effort to seek external validation. He seems very focused on proving that he and other “skeptics” are victims – and not much else seems to register.

    In my comments above, I invited him to actually discuss the issues he was commenting about, and he skirted and ignored the invitation. This has happened between us in the past.

    The invitation remains open, Barry.

  109. Joshua, I doubt Barry will take you up on that in that he seems rather unhappy with some of the independent tweets I sent today. Seems he thinks they were aimed at him. Motivated by my encounters with him (and others), maybe. Aimed at him, no.

  110. verytallguy says:

    Barry,

    verytallguy, I think you are wrong, when you say the effects will be huge..

    You are entirely mistaken Barry. We are on track for a temperature rise of 4 degrees. Even taking into account uncertainties on this figure, there are no serious scientists who believe a change of this order and speed this will not have huge effects on the biosphere. Perhaps your inability to accept this is the reason you choose to distract attention from it?

    There is a scientific consensus on the facts of climate change. Climate change will have very significant consequences.

  111. AnOilMan says:

    DumbSci&Rachel: I don’t generally have a problem with the odd guffaw even from public celebrities who haven’t studied the problem or even have the education to understand it. Scott Adams is a lawyer who draws comics.

    I think that to really earn my ire, I need to see an intent to deceive. That is how I perceive much of the denial community. They aren’t hear trying to learn anything of figure anything out. They are here to intentionally spread Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).

    verytallguy: I take a long time to warm up to a source of information. I look at things very carefully. Initially as a skeptic, I would learn what I could on every particular subject that came my way. As I learned things, two sites would come up a lot (WUWT, and SS), but I never really used them as a guide. After repeatedly going to source science and learning on subjects, I realized that SS was spot on. Similarly, the political aspects of Desmogblog earned my trust. (I’m warming up to this place too.)

    In manufacturing we use similar process to ensure quality of product. Its simple really, A) check their processes and procedures, B) track problems. Do not use manufacturers that fail either test.
    Now look at GWPF;
    http://www.thegwpf.org/best-confirms-global-temperature-standstill/

    And look at SS;
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/baked-curry-the-best-way-to-hide-the-incline.html

    I know which site I’d pick.

  112. AnOilMan says:

    Barry Woods: I think you must be confused. You say if you want to talk about climate science you’ll talk to a climate scientist…

    So you know that if you want to know how huge the problem is that you in no way speak to a climate scientists right? The damage from global warming is determined from a completely different field.

  113. BBD says:

    VTG

    verytallguy, I think you are wrong, when you say the effects will be huge..

    Dunno about you, but I have become extremely fed up with people who do not know what they are talking about arguing from assertion like this. The short response is “I do not care what you believe Barry, as it has no scientific weight or merit”.

  114. verytallguy says:

    AnOilMan,

    very similar experience from me. I was first drawn to the debate by letters in the mag of my professional institution making bizarre sounding claims. I used AR4 to check them out (they were wrong). I then followed up on the basics of cimate change, did a few very rudimentary calculations and found it all hung together.

    What I also found was that pretty much every single skeptic claim, on a little basic research, proved to be unfounded.

    Also, like you, main “skeptical” sources of information seem to go out of their way to be misleading eg the GWPF headline.

  115. Sorry for ruining Dilbert. To be fair, my entry for Scott Adams was much longer than those for Joe Barton or Dr. Spencer (see here) because Scott’s position defies concise description. Here’s an attempt, though: when learning about evolution and climate change, Scott seems to assume that the truth must be somewhere in the middle between scientists and crackpots. Mistaken assumptions like these seem much more common than intents to deceive, which are impossible to confirm without telepathy so please use Hanlon’s razor.

    Sadly, this thread has been overrun by people who seem more concerned with illegally obtained images than with the future of our civilization. Meanwhile, we keep emitting CO2 ten times faster than before the Great Dying, which is one reason why the National Academy of Science concluded that “the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”

    The sooner we ignore contrarians and finally stop treating our atmosphere like a free sewer, the easier it will be to forgive them later for the delay their misinformation has extended.

  116. > I presume you mean Oliver?

    Entschuldingung Oliver.

    ***

    Here’s where Barry says goodbye:

    Seems I can’t retweet Barry’s tweets anymore. Why is that?

    In any case, Barry misinteprets “just asking questions” in that tweet. The emphasis is on the just. Of course Barry asks questions. Who would deny otherwise? But that he’s only asking questions is false. At the very least, he’s raising concerns.

    ***

    We should always be thankful for the concerns Barry raises. Thank you for your concerns, Barry. But please do mind the squirrels. Peddling claptraps show poor #ClimateBall skill.

  117. andrew adams says:

    Barry,

    when I want to find out about climate science I talk to climate scientists 1st hand

    So what do they tell you? Serious question.

  118. AnOilMan says:

    verytallguy: I’m doubly cursed… I work in oil and gas. Much of the technology we develop for down hole is to detect leaks, and formation porosity. You can imagine the kind of frustration I get when people tell me, “Wells don’t leak.”

    One drilling engineer argued for days that oil wells don’t leak. What I couldn’t say publicly was I got the call when his company struck sea water. (Industry term for hitting someone else’ oil well and causing two wells to communicate. Often a derogatory term.)

  119. > So what do they tell you? Serious question.

    Seems that Barry was too busy playing the ref on Twitter, Andrew:

    If you get his attention, please ask him to whom he ask if he wants to find out about satirical montages. You have a better chance than me to be answered.

  120. Rachel says:

    I wonder whether I should use the word discredit instead of smear?

  121. Yes, I think it’s hard to argue that Barry isn’t trying to discredit SkS. Seems reasonable.

  122. Rachel says:

    Ok, I’ve fixed it. Barry can’t say we don’t listen to his concerns 🙂

  123. Barry Woods says:

    Thanks for listening.

    ‘off topic’ might have been better? as ‘discredit’ also implies nefarious intent.
    I don’t think I was as harsh as WMC for example…

    from my perspective, i was trying to continue (expand on a frustrating twitter conversation, with the host here, ie more than 140 chars, about SkS and included the contentious links, that I thought he had not seem and if you recall, I did explain that in my now moderated comment.

    I see EVERYBODY that writes at SkS as totally sincere, with good intentions, but I also think they are wrong in a number of things they do and how they do it.

    I don’t want to smear anybody, nor ‘discredit’ them, I have no ulterior motive, and I believe I have always tried to operate in good faith (though I’m sure I’m not perceived that way by some), and have criticized my ‘own side heavily when conduct or behavior warrant it. I can’t help it, when ‘sceptics’ butt in on twitter conversation, and annoying you, nor can you when Willard (or some other person does the same and winds me up (too much history there getting in the way of a sensible chat)

    [Rachel: Thanks, Barry. Your concerns have been duly noted. Please try to avoid bombing the thread with an off-topic discussion about stolen images and mistakes in tweets]

  124. Barry Woods says:

    arggh – lots of errors, I’m typo king of the internet. & one paragraph repeated in the above.. by the way my Josh avatar (the full size version, draw when Josh and I had lunch with Tamsin, her cartoon is really good)) has a speech bubble – “It’s all so Aralming!”

  125. Barry Woods says:

    VeryTallGuy –

    “on moderation – thanks for all the time you spend. Only thing I would say is that going back and re-moderating after the event as with Barry W on the other thread is probably not worthwhile and even confusing. Make a call and don’t worry afterwards if it was wrong on reflection.” – VeryTallGuy
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/science-communication/#comment-9861

    ie ‘confusing ‘(my concern that moderated now seems to ‘misrepresent me, which I’m sure is an unintentionally result)

    Sks gets a lot of criticism for retrospective moderation and/or changes to articles, by sceptics, they perceive it, very differently than the moderators at SkS perceive it.

  126. … meanwhile, we keep emitting CO2 ten times faster than before the Great Dying, which is one reason why the National Academy of Science concluded that “the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”

    The sooner we ignore contrarians and finally stop treating our atmosphere like a free sewer, the easier it will be to forgive them later for the delay their misinformation has extended.

  127. BBD says:

    Yup.

    Odd that Barry fails to grasp this and continues to (t)witter.

  128. > ‘discredit’ also implies nefarious intent.

    Not at all. Barry’s concerns may be well-intentioned and he still could try to discredit people day in day out on the Internet by peddling his green line tests. Even a smear campaign only implies a dishonourable intent:

    A smear campaign, smear tactic or simply smear is a political tactic that is an unfair or untrue political attack. It employs the logical technique of conflation in which separate concepts, identities, or reputations of individual or groups are combined into one word or concept, losing individual meanings and differences as in swiftboating. Sometimes the use of the term “smear campaign” is used more generally to include any organized reputation-damaging activity by a group.

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

    Notice how Barry conflates satirical montages with more scientific products. He admits using such episodes to produce judgements on people’s characters, which in turn undermine credibility. Barry’s peddling is unfair both the antheresphysics’ readers and to his targets.

    ***

    As to moderation, I suggest something like “[Yes, but X]” or “[Yes, but Y is wrong somewhere else on the Internet about something else]” The problem is not only Barry’s peddling off-topic, but it is repetitive (both here and elsewhere), self-righteous (some is wrong, and YOU must take a stance NOW or else), and based on conflation (character determines knowledge).

    That Barry does not recognize that his peddling is unfair is beyond me.

    This unfair peddling does not make for civil exchanges, contrary to his last tweet to me. For he did tweet to me not long ago, addressing himself to me directly right after blocking me. But he did unblock me, at least for now. Just another pitiful episode of #ClimateBall, I guess.

  129. > Sks gets a lot of criticism for retrospective moderation […]

    My prediction came out true too soon:

    Yes, but SkS moderation. See how Barry peddles SkS back into the conversation? What has been moderated here is just the usual stuff one can find everywhere Barry comments.

    There’s no misrepresentation there.

  130. Joshua says:

    Barry says:

    “I see EVERYBODY that writes at SkS as totally sincere, with good intentions, but I also think they are wrong in a number of things they do and how they do it.”

    And yet Barry fails to see how someone might describe his efforts to discredit without (necessarily) implying nefarious intent.

  131. Joshua,

    Barry does not necessarily ascribe sincerity and good intentions:

    To show his sincere and good intentions, andthentheresphysics might need to publish his peddling unmoderated.

    ***

    Barry favorited my tweet linking to my 1:41pm comment, which I entitled On @BarryJWoods and Smear Campaigns. He also retweeted it. I wonder why.

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