A new tagline?

I’m starting to think that it may be time for a new tagline. It’s not that I don’t intend to continue trying to keep things civil, it’s more that my tagline seems to be more a rod for my back, than anything else. I haven’t always succeeded in my goal of trying to be civil, but I can only think of 4 or 5 occasions when I’ve been rather less civil than I might hope to be. That doesn’t seem too bad in more than a year of discussing what is clearly a contentious topic. Also, one involved Stephen Goddard, so I’m not sure that really counts. Of course, if I do behave less civilly than I should, the normal retort is then “what happened to your civility”? It seems some don’t understand the meaning of the word trying and also that my stated aim of trying to be civil doesn’t then give them free reign to act like jerks without being called out.

Strangely, though, Andrew Montford appears to be claiming that I was rude about him when he blocked me. I neither remember being rude about him, nor him blocking me, so I’m rather confused by this claim. Maybe Andrew thinks that two wrongs makes a right. If I was to follow the normal procedure in these circumstances, I would strongly state that what he’s said is libelous, and that he should retract what he’s said or provide proof, but that’s just too childish for words in these circumstances. I’ve no idea why he’s chosen to say something that appears not to be true, but presumably he has his reasons. I have no great interest in finding out.

I don’t quite know whether or not I should change my tagline and, if so, what I should change it to. I quite like this one, but I think that there are many involved in this topic who don’t get irony. So, I thought I might ask my well-informed readers if they had any suggestions. If you do have a view, feel free to make it through the comments.

This entry was posted in Personal, Satire and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to A new tagline?

  1. Rachel M says:

    Polite and agreeable physicist; occasional rants.

  2. > Andrew Montford

    AM isn’t honest, so don’t be surprised if he’s lying about you. See http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2014/05/21/adventures-in-the-denialosphere/ “The Bishop (warning: shameless self-indulgence ahead)”.

    The “skeptics” like him, and AW, are fond of banning people for spurious reasons and then claiming that only the “warmists” ban people.

    I suggest changing your tagline to “Fuck you, scum” and be done with it.

  3. William,
    Yes, I had been tempted to go with something like that. 🙂

  4. > tagline

    Pah, let me be serious for a moment. There’s far too much incivility around, and its far too tempting. I applaud your attempt to bring more civility and encourage you to continue despite whatever reverses you may suffer; keep your back straight. But the attempt has to be genuine. I think yours is. Curry doesn’t use rude words herself but I don’t think she’s interested in civility (e.g. http://judithcurry.com/2014/08/14/mann-vs-steyn-et-al-discussion-thread/). Its also no good being polite yourself but allowing your commentators to attack people for you; that’s regularly on display at JoNova’s (excellent example: http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/climate-rage-we-absolutely-cannot-have-a-rational-conversation/ which was about how “Namecalling is a tool to stop debate” but the commentators are unchecked no matter how incivil).

  5. William,

    I applaud your attempt to bring more civility and encourage you to continue despite whatever reverses you may suffer

    Indeed, and that’s always been my intention. The only reason for changing the tagline would be to make it harder for people to whine that they thought I was trying to be civil when I do occasionally not behave quite as I should.

    I’ll make another point though. In face-to-face or more direct discussions, I often find that if you do let your frustrations show, it can sometimes end up calming things down. The other person recognises that maybe they haven’t been behaving quite as they should, and you get to apologies for losing your cool. So, in my view, people who are genuinely interested in a discussion will recognise when someone else is frustrated and maybe adapt how they behave. On the other hand, there are those who simply escalate things. So, in some sense, losing one’s cool can be a useful way of determining if the other party is actually interested in a discussion or simply trying to find some excuse to dismiss what you say.

  6. Stay as you are. ‘ATTP’ makes the point precisely where you’re coming from. It’s a good title, although I would have called it “…and Then There’s Physics“. The ellipsis and the lower case ‘a’ make all the difference. But that’s just 40 years of marketing experience coming out.

  7. john,
    Hmmm, that’s an interesting suggestion. Maybe I’ll try that. If I do keep the tagline, I may add a (and sometimes failing) to it though.

  8. ATTP,
    With the title you have (and even better with the ellipsis), what’s the point of an additional tagline?

  9. Pekka,
    Not additional, different.

  10. Oh, sorry, do you mean don’t have one at all? Yes, that may be an idea.

  11. Yes. Your title has the nature of a tagline, and one should be enough.

  12. geronimo says:

    “… I would strongly state that what he’s said is libelous…” It’s not. If someone says you’ve been rude to them you would have to prove that their statement somehow caused monetary, emotional or professional damage. Since being rude is endemic in humans it is highly unlikely that a jury would see you other than a big girl’s blouse for taking umbridge at such a minor slight – if indeed slight it was.

    If you can’t take criticism, unjust or not, then you should stay out of the public discourse because it’s always going to come your way. I think you have constructed an image of yourself as a fair-minded, reasonable person, willing to take on board valid arguments and criticism. The problem is that if the arguments and criticism aren’t coincident with your own views then you don’t regard them as valid. Hence you always feel fair-minded.

    The moderation on this site proves my point, most sites including SkS will allow posts that make contrary arguments (albeit that SkS sometimes change the words in the posts post hoc), but no contrary arguments are entertained on this site because by definition they’re not “valid”.

    My own experience with you came on twitter where having insulted me up hill and down dale you accused me of insulting you and blocked me. From what I’ve said above you can see why you’d do that.

    What would you do without Rachel I wonder?


  13. Geronimo,

    “… I would strongly state that what he’s said is libelous…” It’s not.

    You’ve rather mis-quoted me. I was referring to how others would behave, not claiming it was libelous. I agree with you, and I don’t really care what Andrew said, whether true or not. Of course I’d rather that people didn’t say things that appear to not be true, but if they want to, fine.

    If you can’t take criticism, unjust or not, then you should stay out of the public discourse because it’s always going to come your way.

    Sure, I agree.

    My own experience with you came on twitter where having insulted me up hill and down dale you accused me of insulting you and blocked me.

    I don’t remember this, but it’s possible. I did go through a phase of blocking people on Twitter when I’d just rather had enough. You may think that’s inconsistent with what I’ve quoted above (expect criticism) but there is a big difference between expecting criticism and having to see it, first thing in the morning, in your Twitter timeline. There’s also a big difference between criticism and abuse. Also, blocking someone on Twitter doesn’t stop them from criticising me.

    The moderation on this site proves my point, most sites including SkS will allow posts that make contrary arguments (albeit that SkS sometimes change the words in the posts post hoc), but no contrary arguments are entertained on this site because by definition they’re not “valid”.

    Hmmm, I’m not sure I follow you here. Are you talking about contrary posts, or contrary comments. You can prove for yourself whether or not I allow people to post comments that are contrary – I do. I may have banned some people, but that was partly when I was still finding my feet and I may have behaved differently had I the experience I have now. Given that I can only gain the experience I have now by actually experiencing it, that would seem rather tricky. Also, none of those I’ve banned have done anything since then to make me think that I was wrong to ban them.

    If on the other hand you’re referring to contrary posts, rather than comments, given that I write almost all of this, I don’t see how this makes sense. Are you suggesting that I should – for balance – write things that I disagree with?

  14. Geronimo,
    I should have commented on this,

    What would you do without Rachel I wonder?

    Indeed, I’m not sure either 🙂

  15. > Also, one involved Stephen Goddard, so I’m not sure that really counts.

    Yes, it does.

    Our Beloved Bishop blocked me a long time ago, if that may console you.

  16. Willard,

    Yes, it does.

    I agree 🙂

    Our Beloved Bishop blocked me a long time ago, if that may console you.

    I don’t really need consoling and I don’t actually think he’s blocked me, but thanks. I did promise I wouldn’t whine if he did, but then he deleted that comment, so I’m not sure it counts anymore 🙂

  17. Marco says:

    It is, of course, an outright lie that this site does not ‘entertain’ contrarian arguments. Heck, ATTP, you have had a lengthy discussion with geronimo just this January, in which he spouted loads of nonsense and misrepresented on multiple occasions what you were saying, and yet you engaged. But I guess that little discussion has been removed from geronimo’s memory, because he doesn’t like being shown a [self-censored].

  18. It’s my experience that the ‘anti-science’ crowd (my description for the sake of the argument) are remarkably touchy about criticism, real or imagined, even while they are aggressively dishing it out themselves. As they often mistake criticism for abuse this leads them to instigate actual abuse which can eventually result in them being banned on pro-science sites. Only on anti-science sites, like WU, can people be banned for offering factual science which rebuts their ‘meme-du-jour’.

    I suspect the problem stems comes from the anti-science proponent thinking their point of view is as valid as anyone else’s, whereas we think only points of view that can be backed up with robust (ie, peer-reviewed) science have any validity.

  19. Wow, it seems that some people on Twitter are now asking how I can be defamed if I’m anonymous and how being rude is libelous. Just to be clear, I’m not accusing Andrew of libel or of defaming me (I hope that is clear now). I truly don’t care. If you must know, the bit in my post about accusations of libel was intended to mock those who use the Monckton defence (i.e., accusations of libel whenever someone says anything you don’t like). I thought that starting the sentence with the word “If” and including the word “childish” would make that rather obvious. To be honest, if people can’t get that, then it’s not surprising that they don’t understand basic science.

  20. > I did promise I wouldn’t whine if he did, but then he deleted that comment, so I’m not sure it counts anymore.

    You should retweet comments like these, AT. They are pure gold. And people can’t delete your retweets.

    This is one reason to block someone – he might retweet your best tweets.


    My last comment at our beloved Bishop’s is on the third page:

    Even if we accept that the Auditor was responding to Russell, it can be easily shown that the Auditor’s interests are quite varied. It goes from 24 episodes to Enron, from homoerotic regalia to Lasagna, from Popes to Bre-X, and from phrenology to the Sandusky affair. (I can extend this list on demand.) That there is one constant main target to the subtext behind these interests may not be coincidental. Even so, nobody should hide one’s opinion behind diagnostics, and if one does, one should retract it, like Carrick did with his “sociopath” remark at Judy’s.


  21. anoilman says:

    “Summer is coming…”
    (A riff on Game Of Thrones “Winter Is Coming”, its a planet where they have multi-year Winters.)

    “Only bans stupid stupid people, that can’t do simple math.”

    Honestly dude, you are very very polite with these guys. They show up guns a blazen, when its pretty obvious they are just reading books from conservative think tanks. “I’m confused… doesn’t CO2 lag orbital shifts.” “Yes, in Paleo data we can see this, but AGW isn’t caused by orbital shifts.”

    You’ve been kind to quite an assortment of wierdos and conspiracy theorists too.

    My air conditioner is running nonstop so this comes to mind, “Its a cruel Summer.”

  22. anoilman says:

    Willard/Anders; You could create a “Hall of Fame” for the most entertaining materials. (Calling it the “Hall of Shame” would of course be badly interpreted.)

    Anders; I notice that Science of Doom has a list of recommended reading. Perhaps that would be useful for you too?

  23. Marco says:

    ATTP, as they say: their life depends on not understanding it.

  24. guthrie says:

    Pekka has a point about not needing a tagline.
    Or you could put “I’m only human” or somesuch to make it clear that you reserve the right to be wrong, get annoying with people or whatever.

  25. John Mashey says:

    geronimo: I wonder if this is the same geronimo .. often foudn at BH.
    See Psuedoskeptics exposed in the SalbyStorm., search the attached PDF; for {geronimo}

    See especially, in context, excerpts from the thread starting on p.281.
    “And they will also agree that increasing concentrations of CO2 will change the equilibrium state of the planet towards warming.”
    Anybody know what that means?
    Dungy you’re wasting your keystrokes with someone who believes that “nullius in verba” is nonsense, and can’t do hard sums.
    Rhoda was right”.
    Jul 24, 2013 at 6:46 AM | 23{geronimo}

    “But I understand there are various anti-science blogs where your kind of thinking is de rigueur (wattsupwiththat.com seems to be an example of such)…”
    Missy is the thieving fraudster, much lauded in the alarmist community, Peter
    Gleickand I claim my £5.00.”
    Jul 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM | 23{geronimo}

    “Martin A/Dung. I agree with TBYJ Missy is playing with you, and being fed answers. She’s not even here to put an argument forward, That doesn’t, of course, mean that I believe either of you aren’t knowledgeable, or anything less than 40 points ahead of me in terms of your IQ. Just hat your wasting your time.
    Jul 31, 2013 at 7:35 PM | 23{geronimo}

    This was a truly amusing thread, especially in the treatment of Missy….

  26. “Only on anti-science sites, like WU, can people be banned for offering factual science which rebuts their ‘meme-du-jour’. “

    Is WeatherUnderground = WU anti-science?
    Masters certainly doesn’t appear to be.

  27. Steve Bloom says:

    WU was probably intended to be short for WUWT. Of course the actual WU is in no sense a denier site, although they have had their struggles with denialist trolls.

  28. Vinny Burgoo says:

    …And Then, To Be Fair, There’s Physics

  29. BBD says:

    Given the singular brilliance of the title of this site, a tagline might indeed be superfluous 🙂

  30. BBD says:


    One needs to be clear about the difference between title and tagline.

  31. Sorry, I should have written ‘WUWT’.

  32. BBD says:


    Interesting though that Montford is now deleting your comments. Speaking of taglines, not all dissentients afflicted with the malady of thought are equally welcome at BH.

    (I now notice that AM has removed his old tagline, although he still styles himself @aDissentient on Twitter. )

  33. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD: One does, and one was.

    For a tagline, perhaps an anagram would be best. How about ‘Yeh! Sphincter handsets!’ or ‘He’s thy trendiness chap’?

  34. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Or perhaps ‘dissenters-chat’.

  35. anoilman says:

    “The 007 of science, never shaken, but sometimes stirred.”

  36. anoilman says:

    Vinny! “Climate Change Denial Helpline”

  37. “Also, one involved Stephen Goddard, so I’m not sure that really counts”.

    It doesn’t count. In my opinion SG forfeited his rights to be treated civilly a long time ago.

  38. anoilman says:

    “The Cure For The Common Pseudo-Skeptic.”

  39. Steve Bloom says:

    My first thought upon seeing “a dissentient afflicted with the malady of thought” in a climate science context was that here is someone declaring an intent to troll. Possibly that’s why it was dropped.

  40. Steve Bloom says:

    As any new tagline will be open to interpretation regardless, I suggest “a new tagline” as your new tagline.

  41. Steve Bloom says:

    May I suggest an amendment, aom?:

    “The Cure For The Common Pseudo-Skeptic. Next on the list: Ebola.”

    If you’re going to aim at all, aim high, I say.

  42. Andrew Dodds says:

    “Come back ‘ere, I’ll bite yer legs off” came to mind, for no particular reason. But perhaps the wrong blog.

  43. Doug Bostrom says:

    With “trying” in the tag I think it’s just fine; reasonable people will get the point.

    “I’m trying to roll this 100kg rock up this hill but if my foot hits a dog turd all bets are off.”

    “Trying to keep the discussion civil” accounts for most possibilities.

  44. anoilman says:

    Steve Bloom: No. Just so you know, you’re getting into his Serene Highness’s territory. Behold Christopher Monckton claiming to Cure Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Malaria, colds, and influenza;

    Seriously, what kind of person could trust him? What kind? At least he doesn’t walk like a duck…

    How about “Smarter than the pseudo skeptics.” Then any insults would naturally imply worse for them.

  45. izen says:

    And Then There’s Physics And a lot of navel-gazing


  46. anoilman says:

    “More fun than whack a mole!”

  47. Joshua says:

    Not familiar with the expression “a rod for my back,” but I assume it means something like “puts a bull’s eye on my back” or “acts like a lightening rod”

    Anyhow, I say keep the tag line unchanged.

    The effort to keep it civil, even if not always realized, is part of what distinguishes this blog from most other climate-related blogs. Keeping the tag line, I think, helps to keep that intent as a priority.

    You should expect that if you highlight a focus of trying to keep it civil that you will be attacked for doing so. After all, keeping the discussion civil is antithetical to the identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors that characterize most of the discussion of climate change. And besides, you will have a bull’s eye on your back no matter what you do – simply by virtue of your view about the science. You might be somewhat less hated if you didn’t say that you are trying to keep the discussion civil, but do you really think removing the tag line will make a measurable difference?

    In theory, if you focus on the physics it would seem unnecessary say that you’re also trying to keep the discussion civil – but in reality I think that the tag line serves as a useful reminder of what sets this blog apart from the foodfight–o-sphere.

  48. Joshua says:

    Oh, sorry. I tried posting the comment a while back from my phone and thought it didn’t go through. Please erase the first version? I like the foodfight-o-sphere closing in the 2nd one.

  49. John Mashey says:

    Always open for civil, science-based scepticism

  50. BBD says:


  51. BBD says:

    Or perhaps less is more.

  52. Or perhaps less is more.

    Quality rather than quantity, is that what you’re saying? If you want me to blog less, just come out and say it 😉

  53. BBD says:

    Quality rather than quantity, is that what you’re saying?

    No, no. ‘Less is more’ applies to the tagline. With a handle like yours, what else needs to be said?


  54. BBD,
    Gotcha 🙂

    Not quite following what you want me to erase. Either I should have not stayed out as late as I have, or your comment doesn’t make sense 🙂

  55. Rachel M says:


    I removed Joshua’s duplicate comment that’s why you can’t see it 🙂

  56. Rachel,
    That would explain it then 🙂

  57. izen,

    And a lot of navel-gazing

    I’d like to think that’s part of the charm. I might be mistaken.


    The 007 of science, never shaken, but sometimes stirred.

    I can see that working, not 🙂


    “Come back ‘ere, I’ll bite yer legs off” came to mind, for no particular reason. But perhaps the wrong blog.

    No, I think it’s the right blog. Monty Python-like references are always appropriate.

  58. Vinny,

    How about ‘Yeh! Sphincter handsets!’ or ‘He’s thy trendiness chap’?

    I know I’m a bit of an arse, but that seems a little unfair.

    Okay, I give up. I haven’t really got them.

  59. Rachel M says:

    It’s an anagram of And Then There’s Physics.

  60. Oh, that should have been obvious, I guess 🙂

  61. A new tag line could be something like the following: “Taking a stand against crank science or “speaking against science denial” – because, in the end, this whole “debate” outside the published literature regarding climate is nothing more than science cranks denying science and those who stand up for science speaking against the fallacious arguments of these cranks. That is, it is and will always be exactly the same type of thing as the “debate” outside the published literature regarding evolution. Those who deny the science do so because their ideology (religious or otherwise) requires it.

    (A science crank can actually be someone trained in the science in question. I once met a Ph.D in physics with U.S. patents on inventions who believed in perpetual motion machines – and I’m not talking about seeming perpetual motion machines. He actually denied the physics that says such machines are physically impossible.)

  62. Actually, if the subject was evolution, religion, 9/11, moon landings, perpetual motion machines, or any of the myriad of topics where people deny the science in order to make their arguments, none of us would be here discussing this stuff. Those are subjects that don’t really matter in a practical sense, for the world will carry on and the ‘truth’ will eventually out without any repercussions. No, we’re only here because climate change matters. It matters because those who deny the science are, directly or indirectly, causing delay in action being taken to reduce emissions. We know that for this subject, more than any other, time is of the essence and the repercussions are potentially so immense for society.

    BTW; I found this a very good article in the New Scientist this week: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329820.200-understand-faulty-thinking-to-tackle-climate-change.html#.U_BnOmOaWQk

  63. Eli Rabett says:

    a. No one sees the tag line
    b. Deleting it would be taken as admission of mopery
    c. Leave sleeping tag lines lie

  64. Eli,

    No one sees the tag line

    Well, in my case, I get it quoted back at me whenever I transgress, or am seen to transgress. Of course, I should have learned by now that if it wasn’t this, it would be something else, so you may well be right.

  65. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli has posted about an interview with Robert Bindschadler by Dahr Jamail. One of the points left out was Bindscadler’s POV about our dear friends

    But there was such a strong blowback from climate change skeptics and deniers, using their bad science, and we felt there was a failing in the reporting of that, and even though the vast majority of the scientists, and back in those days it was 90 to 10 percent, it would still be reported as an equal debate.

    I would say the other side was disingenuous. Once the debate had gone on long enough that observations were collected that showed that some of the other side’s arguments weren’t holding up, and there were fewer and fewer legitimately credentialed earth scientists taking the denial side, so it became a thinner and thinner argument to counter. But yet it was very effectively executed, and earth scientists were effectively drawn into discussing uncertainty, which only served to add currency to the other side, as their currency was doubt.

    Dear Judy, sends thanks

  66. jsam says:

    Trying to keep the discussion civil – but don’t feckin’ push it.

  67. Vinny Burgoo says:

    johnrussell40, Marshall has been waffling on like that for donkey’s years. He spends so long bending over backwards to show what a thoughtful and fair-minded chap he is that it can be hard to tell what he actually thinks should be done, so here’s a handy summary.

    George Marshall thinks that climate change is the greatest threat ever to face mankind but ‘we’ (climate communicators) must never tell ‘them’ (the great unwashed) that because it’d scare them into not doing anything about it. Then again, it would be unwise to let them go away thinking that it’s not the greatest threat ever to face mankind, so the best thing to do is to tell them why you are not going to tell them that it’s the greatest threat ever to face mankind, to wit that they are unthinking automatons who are incapable of responding correctly to the truth that climate change is the greatest threat ever to face mankind. This will get them on your side by showing them that you know your business.

    As for what should be done about climate change, we should never tell them that either. Studies have shown that telling people what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint doesn’t reduce carbon footprints. The trouble is, however, that if we don’t tell them how to reduce their carbon footprints then how will they know how to reduce their carbon footprints? The answer, of course, is to tell them why you are not going to tell them how to reduce their carbon footprints. If you explain this in enough detail they should end up with an idea of how they can reduce their carbon footprints.

    I would tell you that I hope my little summary has proved helpful but studies have shown that hope isn’t helpful for most ordinary people and neither is help, so if you don’t mind I’ll just leave you with that explanation and trust you to do the right thing – which is of course whatever you consider to be the right thing, although I have assembled a selection of possible responses (it’s in list form but I don’t call it a list because lists have been shown… [Contd p 94.]

  68. entropicman says:

    Being banned from a denier website should be regarded as a good sign. It means that you were winning the debate!

  69. Vinny’s playbook amounts to raise concerns about alarmist discourses, and about discourses that lack alarmism.

    Some customers are hard to please.

  70. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Willard, here’s a quote from Marshall back when he was a pro-rainforest and anti-road protester: ‘We say there’s a place for monkey-wrenching in a campaign but we neither condemn nor condone it.’

    Oof! Makes me dizzy. Does ClimateBall have a name for that gambit? Cake and Eat It?

    (A new tagline for Marshall: ‘Having it both ways since 1993 and beyond’.)

  71. Steve Bloom says:

    Your concern trolling has passed its sell-by date, Vinny. Got anything else?

  72. Steve Bloom says:

    Taken together, these two articles are interesting:

    Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow, USGS report says

    Green Fields: Emmetsburg cellulosic plant opens Sept. 3

    (This second one is of interest mainly for its discussion of the effects of some new policies by some of the big ag companies. Cellulosic ethanol may indeed be finally getting off the ground, but it seems unlikely to be any sort of game-changer. Note: I grew up a few miles from Emmetsburg.)

    Marshall’s pessimism aside, it would seem that change has ways of happening even in the “reddest” of places.

  73. Go on, aTTP; go the whole hog and add the ellipsis! Without it, people just assume you’ve forgotten to capitalise the first word of the blog title. 🙂

  74. Well I’m biased having suggested the adjustment, so I’ll leave others to comment. But don’t you think it looks classy now?

    BTW, I don’t want to steal any thunder from the original, because I think it was very clever and a big advance on ‘Wotts…’

  75. John,
    Thanks, I like it. The credit for the title should really go to BBD, which is probably what motivated his earlier comment 🙂

  76. BBD says:

    Well, obvs.


  77. John Hartz says:

    How about:

    Trying to keep the discusssion civil — aka pushing water uphill.

  78. Brian Dodge says:

    keeping your end of the discussion civil.

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