Open thread

Due to popular demand – ok, just one person 🙂 – I’m posting an open discussion thread. The topic is a recent post at WattsUpWithThat by Tim Ball called People starting to ask about motive for massive IPCC deception

I’m going to moderate this thread heavily. My rules are:

1. Be nice.
2. No name-calling.
3. Think about your tone – please make it courteous and non-inflammatory.
4. The usual moderation policy.
5. I reserve the right to remove comments for completely arbitrary reasons 🙂 .

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227 Responses to Open thread

  1. Just posted two comments at HotWhopper, but it is moderation night in Australia. Let me kick off the discussion with them.

    In Germany you regularly hear the stories of contemporary witnesses of the Nazi area. Hearing it from someone who experienced it him or herself is very different from an abstract description in your history book. I found one on youtube in English.

    If you have this background, the lightness with which the people at WUWT write about citing Mein Kampf being no deal or comparing climate scientists to Jews or climate change to the Big Lie, is very shocking. Maybe this is different in the US, not having been told those stories with that intensity and not having lived through how much damage right-wing extremism does (the African-Americans did and do).

  2. The rebuttal by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts can do not harm. Because I no longer believe that WUWT has any problems with science and scientists, I also do not think that it helps much. (I have not seen any sign of these people being interested in doing better science, I guess they just do not like mitigation or like the consequences of climate change.)

    It may give WUWT a few additional pageviews, but there is anyway no independent counter on WUWT any more. Watts can claim any number of pageviews. He is good enough with computers to set one up to continually download the first page to increase the counts of his own counter.

    I agree that the response to these two posts is the most shocking. In that light maybe the repetition was even worth it. Some of the comments write that they do not read Ball posts and thus did not reply the first time. Now we know that such moderates are a very small minority at WUWT. Which makes it even clearer that this community is not interested in science.

    Scientists should not communicate science more clearly, even if that is the part I can and like to do. To solve the problem in the US, you have to communicate to the US Christians that all the other Christians of the world having read the Bible think climate change is a problem. The US conservatives should be told that catastrophes lead to social upheaval and new elites. The US right wing extremists should be told that uncertainty due to climate change will in the long term increase the birth rates in poor countries (you need surviving children to take care of you in old age) and lead to mass migration to America.

    And if they do not listen, The Netherlands will not sit back at watch the seas rise, they will start geo-engeneering. This will have unpredictable consequences, but getting the global mean temperature about right should work. It will also mess up the hydrological cycle and the circulation, too bad for the US and Australia, which already has much problems with droughts and severe weather. The Netherlands has very moderate weather, enough rain and the big rivers will reliably bring more. Not ideal, but better than drowning.

  3. jsam says:

    I was happy ignoring Watts and even happier ignoring Tim Bits. Tim isn’t a climate scientist.
    http://davidappell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/court-filing-tim-ball-not-authority-on.html

    What confused me is why Tamsin and Richard Betts bothered to post there. I know they had a tete-a-tete-a-Tony. But when Watts posts Timmy nonsense one would think Tamsin and Richard would realise that engagement is futile.
    http://www.donotlink.com/cozc

    But then I am a simple man and easily confused.

  4. The interesting aspect of this story is Tamsin and Richard’s rebutal. I guess one could argue that noone should have to rebut the kind of accusations made by Tim Ball, but as Victor says, it probably can’t do any harm. The bigger theme is improved – or any – dialogue. I’ve complained about how poor it is very often, and if there was a way to improve it, I’d be very supportive. Given that I don’t really know how to do it myself, I can’t really bring myself to criticise those who are trying to do so or how they’re trying to do so.

    I do think, however, that there has been some misunderstanding with respect to the criticism of the now infamous dinner. It’s not the dinner per se. Everyone’s, obviously, free to eat with, or speak with, whomever they like. It’s subtler than that. The “skeptics” involved are associated with, or manage themselves, sites that malign climate scientists and the organisations for which they work. These sites typically present a very selective view of the scientific evidence and regularly promote work that is clearly nonsense simply because it suggests it could be something other than CO2. I think those who engage should at least be aware of these issues. It’s still possible to engage pleasantly without implying that everyone is wonderful and nice (unless, of course, you think that is actually true, but then those who’ve been maligned by them in the past may be less than impressed).

    The bigger issue is, if this type of meeting is something other than a bunch of people who like each other’s company, what is the point? Dialogue itself is trivial. I’m sure I could (assuming I had done so before I started this) have managed dialogue with many high-profile skeptics. All I’d need to do is never challenge their scientific views and – ideally – accept that Michael Mann is a bad scientist and that Climategate is an indicator of an endemic problem in climate science. On the other hand, an improved dialogue in which you can challenge their views and try to reduce the level of vitriol and accusations of fraud and misconduct is, I would argue, much harder. If that isn’t the ultimate goal, then why? I can see that interacting might be, in itself, valuable, but then one has to worry about the possibility of legitimising what are largely – in my opinion – absurd views about climate science and about climate scientists.

    I would also add, that I don’t think this is the first time that this has been tried. Others have tried to engage on these sites but have given up when the accusations against them became too extreme. It’s certainly good to try, but I don’t think this is some kind of brand new venture. It only seems that way because most others who’ve tried have given up. So, what I would quite like to see are those who are engaging actually challenging some of the views. Gavin Cawley, on Twitter, suggested the simple one of the rise in atmospheric CO2 being anthropogenic. Just get most to accept that as a scientific fact. Maybe try to get people to tone down some of the accusations of fraud and misconduct. There are far too many climate scientists across many disciplines and many countries for there to be some kind of massive conspiracy. I don’t know what else; that would be a start, at least.

  5. Oh yeah, and Bob Tidale is a self-confessed sock.

    [Mod: Last sentence deleted]

  6. jsam says:

    Off topic, to be sure, and certainly well away from the aspirations of being nice and no name calling…Bob Ward is the subject of an LSE video. One of the lesser known trolls has popped up. I’ve decided to troll the troll just to see what happens. It could be the most boring thread ever. But I think that is the basic tactic – poison the discourse. http://youtu.be/trkpXwcrWiE

  7. I have the impression that the use of the nazi card works in almost all cases against the user. Based on rapid look at the discussion threads told that many regulars of WUWT agreed and tried to distance themselves from this attack. On a site like that it’s predictable that even the most outrageous posts gets supporters, but that serves mainly as a list of people nobody should take seriously (as long as they do not show signs of seriously promoting some illegal action).

  8. Pekka Pirilä, I had the opposite impression. Below the Ball post almost no one was willing to clearly state this is not acceptable. There is a system with which people can vote on the quality of the post. The Ball post got 5 out of 5 stars: excellent. A numerical confirmation of my impression.

    On the other hand, the new post asking WUWT to refrain from such language has received an enormous amount of opposition. It is nice that at least some people have dared to out themselves as being against such language, but they are a small minority. This post started out with 2.5/5 stars (at 7 votes). It is now higher. If I am cynical possibly because the number of stars was discussed on twitter.

    Rachel, I guess you have some moderation to do, when the sun goes up.

    William, that kind of language should be reserved for Bod Tisdale’s new unmoderated hate circus blog.

  9. Victor
    My observations were mainly from the response thread of Tamsin and Betts. All those kept out of the original thread.

  10. Harry Twinotter says:

    Which “people” (asking questions of the IPCC) is Tim Ball referring to?

  11. MikeH says:

    Pekka
    “My observations were mainly from the response thread of Tamsin and Betts. All those kept out of the original thread.” You are of course joking. I suggest actually reading (sampling is probably the best strategy) the 594 comments to date. The ones disassociating themselves from Ball are very sparse.

  12. MikeH says:

    Watts must have though he had won the lottery when Tamsin and Richard offered to write an article. It was a way out of the jam that he found himself in – how to distance himself from Tim Ball without throwing Ball under a bus and alienating his supporters. And the added bonus, de facto recognition of his extremist blog by two respected working climate scientists.

    Just to make sure everyone got the message, he added “While there remain wildly disparate views about climate science, I see that there are people on both sides that are gravitating towards a more central and in my opinion, more reasonable view.”

    Tamsin & Richard – do *you* understand what Watts is saying here? He is claiming that you endorse his extreme views on AGW and climate science. Labelling them as the “more reasonable view” is just PR, the views have not changed.

  13. EFS_Junior says:

    I’m with William Connolley on this one.

    Seriously, have a “nice” chat, because, well because.

    If I were to try to have a “nice” chat, my brain would implode AND explode at the same time. Don’t ask me how it just would.

    You should be sentenced to 10 years of hard time (meaning that the only Internet access you would have is a direct (one way receive) link to WUWT? for the next 10 years).

    Time to take a Permanent Vacation (a la Aerosmith).

    😦

  14. Joshua says:

    So I see that rather than explicitly criticize Watts for promoting such tribalism, Richard and Tamsin decide instead to allow Watts to lay cover.

    This is hardly the first time that Watts has promoted the climate scientists are Nazis/Lysenkoists/Eugenicists/McCarthyites/blahblahblahnamecalling. The threads of his website are filled with that kind of rhetoric. We see it throughout the comment threads at Climate Etc. also. Anthony and Judith and many other folks that Richard and Tamsin want to make niceynice with, decry the “alarmism” and name-calling from “realists” constantly. The hand-wringing and concern about the offensiveness of the term “denier” are never-ending. Yet Anthony and Judith and many other folks that RIchard and Tamsin want to make niceynice with are constantly turning a blind eye to the name-calling and “alarmism” from “skeptics” – and in contrast, they directly promote it on their websites.

    It’s disappointing to see Richard and Tamsin essentially excuse the recent climate scientists = Nazis post at WUWT as somehow a product of the difficulty of Anthony’s personal schedule impeding his ability to monitor his website. It’s an excuse as lame as they get – reminds me of Nic Lewis ,lamely excusing Ridley’s poor treatment of uncertainty.

  15. Magma says:

    Item of interest: Canadian climate change denier and media troll Ezra Levant (the author of Ethical Oil) lost a defamation suit today and was ordered to pay $80,000 in damages, plus legal fees to a student lawyer he had repeatedly slandered. Maybe Levant’s friend Mark Steyn can offer him words of comfort.

  16. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    ==> “I have the impression that the use of the nazi card works in almost all cases against the user.”

    I know that you have read many a comment thread at Climate Etc., and seen that they are filled with rhetoric which, if it doesn’t directly reference Nazis, is based in the same kind of “those who disagree with me are sociopaths” brand of discourse.

    Far from working “against the user,” it serves to creates sense of solidarity and group identification among “skeptics.”

    Wishful thinking there, Pekka – and IMO, a projection of your own views to distort the shape of actual discourse that takes place.

  17. Too bad Wayman Tisdale burned us with his sock
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/bob-tisdale-is-wrong/

    Note how he played me … and everyone. In retrospect, it was obviously him. I mentioned that Tisdale “is nasty in the body of the message but ends it with a folksy charm”

    “Y’all have a nice day now,

    wuwt.fan.4.6yrs”

    and then there’s Tisdale


    Bob Tisdale says:
    October 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Adios, Sou.

    Y’all have a nice day here at AndThenThere’sPhysics

    Not really that hard to figure out.

  18. Rachel M says:

    Sock puppetry is not acceptable on this blog and both wuwt.fan.4.6yrs and Bob Tisdale have been banned.

  19. anoilman says:

    Electric Cars are the way of the future!

    How about the fact that solar power plants now cost less than supposedly clean coal? How about them apples? Hmmm?

    And all that happened while the denial community was busy being sock puppets. Isn’t that special.

  20. dana1981 says:

    The whole series of events makes me want to barf.

    First Watts allows a post comparing climate scientists to Adolf Hitler. That he didn’t first review the post before it was published is really no excuse. That’s what happens when you allow [Mod: disrespectful] deniers like Tim Ball to regularly publish guest posts on your blog. And attacking climate scientists is the norm, not the exception on WUWT.

    Then Edwards and Betts swoop in to save the day, giving Watts a guest post that both helps him save face and legitimizes his denier blog. Tamsin even goes as far as to say on Twitter that Watts isn’t a denier. Why, because he was on his best behavior when they had dinner together once? Read his blog. He’s a denier.

    If Edwards and Betts want to point out the absurdity of comparing climate scientists to Adolf Hitler, that’s fine and dandy. But there’s very little point to it. The audience at WUWT is almost exclusively hardcore deniers who get their kicks out of sharing climate conspiracy theories with eachother. Telling them “hey guys, we’re not really Nazis” is going to have zero effect. Meanwhile Watts can continue pretending to be an open-minded skeptic, and now brag that high-profile climate scientists post on his blog. As MikeH said, I’m sure he felt like he won the lottery.

    It’s a relatively benign relationship so far, but they’re on a dangerous path. Failing to differentiate between skepticism and denial is where Judith Curry began.

  21. I’m kind of pleased to discover that Bob Tisdale was sockpuppetting here and on his own blog. Makes me think my first impression were correct.

    Joshua,

    It’s an excuse as lame as they get – reminds me of Nic Lewis ,lamely excusing Ridley’s poor treatment of uncertainty.

    It’s quite remarkable that some things are totally unacceptable and inexcusable while other things are simply a mistake or understandable given what the person has gone through. These things are often the same type of things, the difference simply being whose done them.

  22. Marco says:

    What bothers me most is that Tamsin and Richard let Watts get away with his excuse of “no editorial assistant”. It is far from the first time that Tim Ball has suggested a large conspiracy, with Maurice Strong the main driver of that conspiracy, on WUWT. For some odd reason what made it so bad this time is his nazi references. Sorry, but someone who calls me a effing idjot but uses different and taken individually less offensive words, is still calling me an effing idjot.

    Watts thus knew what the content of Ball’s piece would be, and thus obviously considers the conspiracy theorizing in Ball’s pieces as fully acceptable for his blog. The whining he would have editorialized if he could would still not have changed the main message in Ball’s piece: it’s all one big conspiracy. And that’s the person with whom Tamsin and Richard think they can have a sane discussion and disagreement.

  23. anoilman says:

    I wonder why they are building up to this kind of atrocious behavior. I think Victor mentioned that Nazi imagery has been on the rise at WUWT for some time now. Its entirely possible that some unhinged individual will actually act on what’s getting posted.

  24. Richard Erskine says:

    I applaud the motives of Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts, who try to engage with those ‘sceptics’ who share their interest in de-toxifying the ‘debate’ on global warming.

    The problem is that comment threads on the web seem to be about as far from the norms of ‘debate’ as it is possible to get.

    For a debate, the protagonists must start from at least some areas of common ground, and then debate their differences using a common language, where the words from each side are understood within common norms and frameworks. Yes, it can get heated but debate can remain on subject and not resort to personal attacks. At the Hay book festival a few years ago Eric Hobsbawm and Niall Ferguson debated the origins of the First World War, and despite their serious political differences, actually ended up agreeing.

    If a senior scientist at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore wanted to challenge a motion “There is no prospect of commercialized fusion power making a significant contribution to mitigating the current pathway towards dangerous AGW”, he would start with several agreed points, such as the reality of AGW and the dangerous pathway part too, probably.

    But imagine that this was a blog ‘debate’ and then: firstly, someone jumped in who said that cold fusion already worked and there was a conspiracy to hide this truth from the world; secondly, a guy pops up with an argument saying that AGW is a lie, because it defies common sense that 400 parts per million of CO^2 have so much effect, and he has references to prove it!; etcetera.

    There are a number of effects at work in these ‘debates’:

    – To have a debate, there must be common norms, language and frameworks that enable constructive focused debate e.g. in the AGW ‘debate’ a basic understanding of the kinetic theory of heat; the laws of thermodynamics; the absorption spectra of molecules; etc., before one can ‘debate’ the way in which models use this basic physics. I can imagine Professor Betts having a debate with James Lovelock on a motion “The lack of modeling of sub-surface ocean circulation undermines the ability of general circulation models of the climate to make useful predictions of future warming”. A fair challenge, but I bet Professor Betts has plenty of arguments to have a sensible debate with Lovelock. Lovelock would not jump in with “but CO^2 is not a greenhouse gas”.

    – The casual use of crooked forms of argument that have been studied for as long as debate has been with us (for a survey, see http://neglectedbooks.com/Straight_and_Crooked_Thinking.pdf ), which pepper many political arguments but are now used routinely in these ‘debates’.

    – Category errors abound: these threads (not this one but the WUWT ones referred to here) conflate so many apparently random points that debate is well nigh impossible. Given that, as my mother used to say “empty vessels make the most noise”, is it any wonder that the substance of any debate gets lost in the noise.

    One feels bound to ask “Who is this debate [on AGW] for?” Those students campaigning against investment in Fossil Fuels are not interested in these threads, as they are convinced we have a serious AGW issue and have moved on from debate to action. Lord Lawson I am sure does not spend his time going through these threads: his language and framework is not a science one, but is based on a liberal view of economics: human progress and the market will save the day, so the details of the science are really not something he is equipped to debate or fundamentally interested in. He regards AGW proponents as at best unwitting tools of anti-free market forces which must be defeated at all costs.

    For those ‘sceptics’ who are genuinely interested in challenging the science, rather than the motives of scientists, there needs to be a forum for genuine debate, and we must stop pretending that the unmoderated threads that largely populate blogs that challenge AGW can provide this platform.

    While the WUWT post was a brave attempt to engage, I am skeptical that this kind of intervention will provide the returns on the investment of valuable time of scientists like Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts, and a rapid parse of the thread that followed their post shows that the great majority of contributors simply turned their post against them: to attack their motives, or to say something like “admit the models are rubbish, then we’ll be civil.”

    I am happiest when I know that Dr Edwards and Professor Betts are doing their valuable science, to advance the sum of our knowledge.

    Yes, they need to communicate and engage, as responsible scientists who have found themselves in the spotlight. However, I think the ‘empty vessels’ of the rantosphere have had their chance, and seemed incapable or unwilling to engage in civil debate.

    My vote is for the Dr and Professor to prioritize their limited and valuable communication time, to engagement with the silent majority of reasonable people in the UK and elsewhere who would admit they need more insight and information, and are prepared to listen.

    There is no reason, and actually some advantage, to this being done in concert with those skeptics who are able to engage in genuine debate, and who share some norms, language and frameworks that are needed to facilitate genuine debate.

    So, like Ferguson and the now departed Hobsbawn, were able to on an historical topic, useful debate can be possible despite deep differences.

  25. Rachel M says:

    Wow, Richard E, that comment should be a blog post. When are you going to start blogging? 🙂

  26. Rachel,
    I was going to say the same.

  27. Web is a different forum for the debate. It’s very difficult because of the noise, but its alluring as a place with wider audience – and also potential for interesting participants, who would never have a change of reaching each others elsewhere.

    Strict moderation helps against the noise, but the risk of killing the whole debate as a “side effect” is great. We can learn to continue the real debate amongst a lot of noise, but there are limits in that. Sites, where the host input dominates (and is of high quality) can survive with strong moderation, but sites, where the host tries mainly to initiate discussion in expectation that the participants bring most of the content are very difficult to manage. Too much moderation kills the site, too little leads to something like WUWT and Climate Etc.

  28. Pekka,
    It is indeed very difficult, and I sometimes wish more people would recognise how difficult it is. It’s a continual balancing act between trying to allow open discussion while trying to prevent threads being derailed or people saying things that are offensive.

  29. Richard Erskine says:

    Rachel and ATTP – I am truly flattered … From my two favourite bloggers. I need help … Will take offline with a certain squirrel 🙂

  30. dana1981: “Meanwhile Watts can continue pretending to be an open-minded skeptic, and now brag that high-profile climate scientists post on his blog. As MikeH said, I’m sure he felt like he won the lottery.

    If he thought he won the lottery, he probably has noticed by now that it has become an own goal. No more proof needed as reading/sampling these comments to see what an ugly community completely disinterested in science WUWT is. If you are not appalled by that, you are beyond hope.

  31. Pierre-Normand says:

    ATTP wrote: “The topic is a recent post at WattsUpWithThat”

    So, the thread has a designated topic and is heavily moderated. What makes it open then? 😉

  32. Willard says:

    >I know that you have read many a comment thread at Climate Etc., and seen that they are filled with rhetoric which, if it doesn’t directly reference Nazis, is based in the same kind of “those who disagree with me are sociopaths” brand of discourse.

    I have seen blog posts there too.

    Star here:

    http://judithcurry.com/?s=psychology

    Judy does not always psychologize, but when she does, it is seldom pretty.

  33. Equalizing climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis has not been an uncommon rhetoric by AGW deniers. Even Spencer did it not long ago in his blog, when he wrote a whole post dedicated to calling the ones who accept that what has been found by mainstream climate science “global warming Nazis” and accused them of supporting policies of mass murder. And I got permanently banned from WUWT when I called a commenter out and announced the application of armed self-defense, if the commenter takes action, after the commenter equalized climate scientists with Nazis and fake skeptics with the persecuted Jews in Nazi-Germany to justify his fantasies about lynching climate scientists. Well, at least that was what Anthony Watts used as pretext to finally ban me from WUWT, permanently.

    However, I think the post by Tim Ball at WUWT has its own quality. It seems to be perceived by a number of people, including by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts according to their reply at WUWT, that the core of Tim Balls article is again such a comparison of climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis. I suppose this comes from superficial reading, which is understandable, since no one sane really likes to wade in a pool of s***. Then again, if one explicitly replies to such a garbage one should at least read it first carefully and see what it actually states.

    Although Tim Ball also mentions that Hitler’s “lies and deceptions caused global disaster, including the death of millions of people” (Ball actually downplays what the Nazis did, since it wasn’t global disaster caused by Hitler’s lies and deception due to which millions of people died. Instead, the Nazis committed deliberate, state organized genocide and mass murder of 12 to 18 million people, including 6 million Jewish people, mostly within about 6 years, not even counting the additional tens of millions who got killed in the global war started by Germany), the core of the article is something else. The core is that Ball cites a passage from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, because he thinks that Hitler gave a valid explanation in the quote why “the big lie” works. Ball thinks Hitler was right. Hitler didn’t write about his own lies in the quote, he wrote about “The Jews”. Ball believes that there was a global conspiracy behind the IPCC and climate science, which worked in the same way as the alleged global conspiracy that was attributed to “The Jews” by Hitler in his anti-Semitic paranoia. At the end of his article, Ball emphasizes ones more that understanding what Hitler was saying was a key for understanding the workings of the conspiracy behind AGW. Now, I don’t know whether Ball also personally thinks Hitler was right about “The Jews”, or whether he thinks Hitler was wrong about this specifically targeted group, but Hitler’s “explanation” was correct regarding the alleged conspiracy behind IPCC and AGW. This can’t be deduced from Ball’s text alone. One can deduce, though, that Ball subscribes to the same structure of deluded and paranoid explanations as Hitler did, how the world was supposedly controlled by an omnipotent evil cabal. One could call this structural anti-Semitism to which Ball subscribes. If one reads the comments below the article, some of the commenters take the cue, though, and it becomes clear that for some of the lunatics it’s one and the same conspiracy that was also halluzinated by Hitler and the Nazis.

    Ball’s article, and even more the strong endorsement of this vile text by the crowd at WUWT is evidence for me that the accusations against climate scientists to support “evil” policies and even policies of the kind that would lead to mass murder and similar, are not just simple rhetoric by some desperate cranks, at least for some. They are rather projection of their own desires and wishes onto those who are prospective targets. This raises the question for me, how far would they go, if they got the opportunity?

  34. Brandon Shollenberger has pleasantly surprised me. He writes (November 27, 2014 at 11:10 am):
    The responses these two posts have gotten show why I don’t visit this site with any regularity. Even if I didn’t find Tim Ball’s post disgusting, the comments would disturb me. Look at how many people claim Ball merely mentioned or quoted Hitler. That’s ridiculous. Anyone remotely fairminded who read Ball’s post would know he did more than that. It’s just convenient to pretend he didn’t.

    And look at the responses this post has gotten. I’m not going to name individuals, but how many people have openly endorsed the idea global warming is a hoax/fraud? How many people have insisted the only way Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts could be accepted is if they completely rejected this or that aspect of climate science?

    There are about a hundred other things I’d like to say, but I don’t see a point. It seems to me most people call for civility merely as a convenient way to attack their opponents, dismissing the notion of civility the moment it becomes inconvenient. That sort of attitude reflect what appears to be a culture of partisan rabble rousing.

    I think Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts are good examples of people genuinely seeking civility. I support their efforts, and I respect them. Sadly, I don’t see anything to make me think they will make progress here.

  35. P-M,

    ATTP wrote: “The topic is a recent post at WattsUpWithThat”

    No, Rachel wrote. I take ownership of my own logical inconsistencies 🙂

  36. Eli Rabett says:

    What Richard and Tamsin did, was what Eli pushed them into. They had invested effort and taken stick for their let’s break bread position without it ever being clear what the other side was offering them for making the effort. Having done the early Judy trick they found themselves at a fork in the road, and either had to cash in some of their winnings, fold, or go the way of Curry.

    They chose a straddle, trying to play nice with Watts while condemning Ball. At the same time Tamsin is tweeting like crazy to defend the other flank. This may have slightly moved their Overton window, or not. Bunnies shall see but it would be amusing to set the guy in the corner screaming bloody murder about the imminent threat of climate disaster on them to see how they react. Eli thinks not well.

  37. hvw says:

    Victor and others are of the opinion: The rebuttal by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts can do not harm.

    I diagree.

    For one, harm is done if such people waste their intellect and time on (in my and other opinions) completely pointless exercises.

    Secondly, it is ridiculous to assume that the “controversy” in which Balls, Watts, et. are involved has or could have something to do with reason, arguments, civilry and all that. It obviously has not. Believing or pretending it has prevents you from proper assessment of the situation and from developing an appropriate strategy.

    You are looking at outgrowths of a massive long-term propaganda campaign. There might be little value in reacting to individuals, even if they come across as hilarious as Ball or Watts.

    Have Betts and Edwards considered such questions as “Who is my audience”? and “Is it really better if the language regime is ‘sceptical community vs. alarmists’, as opposed to ‘deniers vs. IPCC-Nazis’?

    Shouldn’t there be some sort climate change science communication office, where Betts and Edwards could have asked for professional advice on whether at all and, if yes, how to respond to such an article?

  38. Willard says:

    > let’s break bread position

    Nachos, Eli. Nachos.

  39. anoilman says:

    Victor… You’re German aren’t you? You must find this truly offensive. Tim Ball is taking crimes against humanity and making a joke out of it.

  40. verytallguy says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    The first ten months of 2014 (January–October) were the warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

  41. Eli Rabett says:

    As Victor has reminded Eli he is Dutch. Fled to Germany to avoid Tol eration;) Apologies. Anyhow, it’s all Platt.

  42. metzomagic says:

    There is ‘prior art’ for Tamsin Edwards trying to cozy up to the died-in-the-wool deniers, like when she threw Micheal Mann under the bus at Bishop Hill, aligning her views with that of Robert Wilson, who thought that MBH98 was “a crock of shit”. Both ATTP:

    [Mod : Just updated the link to the newer blog name.]
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/hockey-sticks-and-things/

    and Sou:

    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/10/anthony-watts-is-finally-back-to-his.html

    covered this.

  43. BBD says:

    I warned you about the socks.

  44. If I remember correctly, the “crock-of-shit” comment from Rob Wilson didn’t actually refer to MBH98, it referred to his more recent work on the influence of volcanoes on tree rings. If I also remember correctly, Rob Wilson didn’t try very hard to clarify this misconception.

  45. Steve Bloom says:

    “Bunnies shall see but it would be amusing to set the guy in the corner screaming bloody murder about the imminent threat of climate disaster on them to see how they react. Eli thinks not well.”

    I think that’s where I came in, albeit in a relatively soft-spoken, sciencey kind of way. Indeed not well.

    I don’t have time right now for a longer comment, but I do want to point out that Richard in particular (head of Impacts for the UKMO) is in a tough situation because of the rise of a decidedly anti-science tendency in British politics. Science funding cuts in Oz, Canada, NZ to an extent, and now starting in the US with an inquisition of the NSF, provide riveting examples of what the RWNJs will try to do if they get a share of power in the UK. It’s by no means unreasonable to think that the best thing for a prominent government scientist to do is try to run some advance interference with those people.

    Where I think Richard goes fundamentally wrong is in imagining that engaging with what amounts to the self-selected leadership of the anti-climate science faction can make much difference. The underlying layers need to be the target. I would suggest outreach to UKIP-heavy areas in the form of public and school talks, appearances at fairs, maybe even straight-up approaches to the local UKIP leadership grouping. It would be lots more work requiring the involvement of many more scientists, yes..

    Willard, hold the cheese, thanks.

  46. hvw says: “Victor and others are of the opinion: The rebuttal by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts can do not harm.
    I disagree. … Secondly, it is ridiculous to assume that the “controversy” in which Balls, Watts, et. are involved has or could have something to do with reason, arguments, civilry and all that. It obviously has not. Believing or pretending it has prevents you from proper assessment of the situation and from developing an appropriate strategy.

    I agree. 🙂 And I think I have said quite often that WUWT has nothing to do with science. (So often that mitigation sceptics who like to borrow our lines to make it into something illogical, now start saying that scientists have nothing to do with science. In other news: humans have nothing to do with humanity.)

    Still I would argue we can politely disagree about the best way to communicate or engage with mitigation sceptics. There is no science on what it right. As far as I am concerned everyone is free to chose his own strategies. Especially in their free time. The level of the climate debate is so low, that you cannot see this as work time.

    I personally see communicating science as pointless and would expect that talking about the consequences they find important, rather than only the ones the left sees as important, could be effective. But that is just my take.

    Calling for more civility may also be an effective strategy, at least if it also leads to more civility. Without the hatred their political movement will collapse like a soufflé. Without nasty language the cognitive parts of people’s brains may be accidentally used: The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies.

    In human history it is a relatively recent invention to use reasoned debate in public affairs. It can go away again. In that respect (and given the strong growth of renewable energy), the mitigation sceptics worry me more than AGW. Happy not to live in the USA.

  47. Willard says:

    Some cheese for you, SteveB:

    https://realvegancheese.org/

    Next step, Soylent Green flavor.

  48. Steve Bloom says:

    Excellent comment, Jan. I would add that to understand where WUWT is coming from one has to understand the political context in which it exists. Sampling the wider RWNJ blogosphere is a good start on that. I suspect Richard and Tamsin haven’t done it. Anyway, one discovers rather quickly that the Hitler stuff, in the US often found in combination with Confederate revivalism, is a feature, not a bug. Watts is perfectly aware of all this and that Tim Ball in particular is steeped in it, which is why I place no weight at all on the former’s excuse.


  49. Victor Venema (@VariabilityBlog) says:
    November 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Brandon Shollenberger has pleasantly surprised me.

    You have been played and manipulated by a guy who wants to relive his high school debate team days. BS is not in it for science but for the rhetorical argumentation high.

  50. John Mashey says:

    VV: re living in USA.
    You might like California, especially NorCal which some may argue is not in the USA.
    Fox News survey::
    “The poll also gave this option: “What if you could boot other states out of the union?” California lead the vote with 53%, New York with 25%, Texas with 20% and Florida with 11%”

  51. Mal Adapted says:

    Richard Erskine:

    For those ‘sceptics’ who are genuinely interested in challenging the science, rather than the motives of scientists, there needs to be a forum for genuine debate, and we must stop pretending that the unmoderated threads that largely populate blogs that challenge AGW can provide this platform.

    I certainly agree with the 2nd part, about unmoderated blog threads. I’m perplexed, though, by the part about people who are genuinely interested in challenging the science. The science has been challenged in scientific venues, i.e. refereed journals, conferences and the like, by the scientists whose training and experience qualifies them to reach a conclusion. By that process, a consensus has emerged that the Earth is warming, and that it is largely or entirely due to human activity. ‘Sceptics’ who are genuinely interested in challenging that consensus will have to participate in the same process. IOW, they have to put the time and effort into becoming climate scientists themselves, before they can “challenge the science”. If they’re not willing to do that, they can hardly be considered genuine sceptics. In that case, who would the forum you propose be aimed at?

  52. Richard Erskine says:

    Mal Adapted: I don’t disagree. That’s British for “great point”. But I do believe there is scope for a bridge … but the span is not as far as Tamsin and Richard seem to want to bridge. Participants who are engaged in generating science fit squarely into the rough and tumble of peer reviewed ‘challenged’ science, as you correctly allude to. I think there is a group (and I think a useful set) … dare I say Nic Lewis … who you might think are not credible … but who do try to publish stuff. The broader point I make is actually not this science participation realm, but more the ‘outreach’, concerned with communicating what is established science: Journalists, politicians, University of the 3rd Age, etc. who have an interest and need credible scientists to engage with them. I think Tamsin and Richard in a VW Campervan (split screen, of course) travelling to village halls might be more profitable that the rantosphere.

  53. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Perlewitz,

    You are right.

    Hitler accused die Juden of a worldwide conspiracy.
    Propaganda-Ball accuses die Klimatwissenschaftler of a worldwide conspiracy.

    Tim quoting Mein Kampf to make his case… Well, let everyone make up their own mind.

    Richard E, great post!

  54. EFS_Junior says:

    I need some serious help.

    What with all this talk of the 3rd Reich and it’s direct incontrovertible unmitigated connections to future climate change …

    … all of the generic avatars are starting to look like Swastikas!

    //*

  55. Captain Flashheart says:

    Brandon Shollenberger is obsessed with debunking lewandowskys work and now we read him saying he rarely visits WUWT… Could it be that he is getting a practical lesson in how correct lewandowsky is? also soooo nice to see him condescending to tell dr. Edwards she doesn’t understand statistics. Stay classy, BS.

    I picked tisdale’s sock. These people are so pathetic at what they do, it is no surprise they have godwinned themselves!

  56. hvw says:

    Victor, I pretty much agree. I am not attacking Edwards and Betts for writing that. On the contary, it is laudable that they care, event at the cost of exposing themselves to all kinds of abuse, doubtlessly with the best intentions.

    I am just questioning the efficency of that strategy of two laypersons, when it comes to PR. Their approach appears totally misguided to me, another PR-layman. What prevents us, the “pro-science people” for lack of a better expression, to get a bit more organized and apply the available know-how?

    We have guides, templates, numbered lists of answers to reoccurring questions, talks, presentations, all that in the science-physics-logic department. That is good but irrelevant for a large part of the action, where we act like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

  57. A local commented on RichardB’s thread:

    Consider the cultural heritage of most AGW advocates — the Crown colonies; an island nation perpetually surrounded by enemies. Fear on a grand scale. It’s in their DNA. Decarbonize everyone else, pull their teeth. Feel safe!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/#comment-1800361

    Nothing beats good ol’ Crown bashing to bring some psychological nuance in a thread about an ad hitlerum.

  58. ClimateBall ™ may be an evolutionary trait:

    but which one?

  59. Mal Adapted says:

    EFS_Junior:

    … all of the generic avatars are starting to look like Swastikas!

    Well, you could sign up for a WordPress account. You can create a “gravatar” for display when commenting on any wordpress blog. I’m rather pleased with mine 8^).

  60. hvw, I guess a fundamental problem of this WUWT post (and of much of the other bickering) is that scientists are doing the work of politicians. Politician should reach out to the opposition and try to convince them. A scientists normal work is to communicate with reasonable people with interesting ideas that also want to understand how the world works.

  61. Willard says:

    More ClimateBall ™:

    Blogs are powerful weapons. Don’t try this at home, Tim.

  62. BBD says:

    Willard

    Another video classic. You’re on a roll. Darwin awards stuff.

  63. Er…. wow

    I don’t wish to sound dismissive, but this is all very bemusing!

    Let’s get some perspective here.

    There seems to be a general worry that mine & Tamsin’s WUWT post (like the dinner) was pointless and a waste of time that would be better spent on something else. But how much time did I actually waste, and what was lost because of it? Well, I spent about 20 minutes writing the first draft of the post on Tuesday evening, and then a further 20 mins finalising it after comments from Tamsin on Wednesday evening. The latter was whilst watching The Apprentice – which, incidentally, is another excellent forum for watching people bicker over trivia …. 😉

    The opportunity cost of writing the post was negligible. I’ve actually spent far more time reading and responding to the irate reactions, which I find deeply ironic.

    (This time it has distracted me from Strictly Come Dancing – hopefully the world’s climate will not be further harmed by this.)

    BTW for those worried that I’ve not spent enough time talking to the wider public this week, I guess you missed seeing me spend all day Tuesday tweeting via @metoffice as part of DECC’s #BackClimateAction…. ? I spent far more time on that than writing the WUWT post.

    I find also find the concerns about ‘lending credibility’ to bloggers as both self-defeating and self-serving. It’s self-defeating because by making a fuss about AW somehow gaining credibility through this, surely you are adding to the (supposed) build of his credibility by publicising it wider and showing that you think it is a problem? And it’s self-serving because it helps suggest that blogging is somehow of enormous consequence. Sure, it’s interesting and great fun – often in a perverse, masochistic kind of way, right Anders? 😉 – but it’s not as if the fate of the world hangs on whether people think blog owners are respectable sources of information or not. Yes, let’s definitely have blogs, they are an important part of modern culture, but let’s not get over-excited about them.

    (Anders and Rachel – no offence intended! You both are good at this, and are great fun to read. I’m just trying to help keep things in perspective.)

    Having said all that, this whole thing is so out of proportion, there must be more too it than meets the eye. Maybe all of us (Anthony Watts, me, Tamsin, ATTP, Rachel, all blog commenters here and at WUWT) are simply conspiring together to act on the advice of Deep Thought: (07.35 – 07.52)

    😉

    Anyway, must go, that guy from Eastenders is on…

    Cheers

    Richard

  64. Rachel M says:

    Richard Betts, I don’t think you’re wasting your time writing posts for WUWT but I am concerned that you’re spending too much time in front of the tv 🙂

  65. Hi Rachel, you could be right, but I haven’t had any dinner invitations this week 😉

  66. Rachel M says:

    And I should add that I feel a bit bad being lumped in with ATTP. This is his blog and he’s the one who has made it was it is and almost all the posts here have been written by him. I just delete comments every now and again.

  67. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Betts: I think my concern would be more that it may have been counterproductive rather than a waste of time. Reading the responses at WUWT to the article it is not clear to me that it has not merely entrenched/encouraged the existing partisan differences, rather than build bridges (which would indeed be a good thing). Personally I think it is better to stick to the science and try not to respond to the rhetoric/nonsense as it is rarely an indication of a willingness for rational discussion.

    The advice of Deep Thought is often worth following, I wonder if I can cite 10:40 onwards as justification for an even bigger computer on my grant proposals… (although I expect they would require me to be able to compute its operational parameters and obtain quotes ;o)

  68. I was referring to your own blog!

  69. Previous comment was to Rachel!

  70. Rachel M says:

    Richard B,

    Ah, ok. In that case, thanks!

  71. Richard B,
    I really do think that you should consider the possibility that you’ve largely misunderstood why people have commented on your engagement with Watts and others. From what I’ve seen you say on Twitter, you really don’t. Also, if you want to be dismissive, maybe don’t add “I don’t wish to sound dismissive” at the beginning.

    Sure, it’s interesting and great fun – often in a perverse, masochistic kind of way, right Anders?

    Nope, I don’t find it fun at all. I see nothing funny about engaging with, or even being associated in any way with, people who associate climate scientists with Nazis and say the kinds of things that I can’t even bring myself to repeat here.

    FWIW, if you want to engage with some of the most objectionable people I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter, that’s entirely your choice. However, it might be worthwhile you at least trying to understand why those who’ve been malinged and slandered by the very same people in the past are not all patting you on the back and cheering you on.

  72. Anders

    Thanks, but actually I did speak to some of those very people in person around the time of the famous dinner (remember it was at the time of a meeting at Bristol University). Didn’t get any back-slapping (none was expected) but didn’t get ranted at either. That seems to have all come online from people who are on the fringes rather than actually in the thick of it as working climate scientists.

  73. Richard B,

    That seems to have all come online from people who are on the fringes rather than actually in the thick of it as working climate scientists.

    I guess I’m struggling to remember seeing any exchanges that could be regarded as rants (well, apart from those in the comments on the WUWT post). In fact, you seem quite comfortable with what appear to be rants from those on WUWT or BH, but refer to what seem to be reasonable comments from those who might be the people who would comment here as being rants. Personally I think it is unfortunate that much of what has been said about this situation has been dismissed. Of course you aren’t obliged to take notice, but I think it’s unfortunate nonetheless.

  74. dikranmarsupial says:

    “That seems to have all come online from people who are on the fringes rather than actually in the thick of it as working climate scientists. ”

    oh well, that’s alright then! I have a paper in IJC, does that make my opinion more weighty? ;o)

  75. Dana’s was a rant. ‘Barf’ indeed…

  76. A very small fraction of people contribute to the net. We are not a representative sample of the whole population, but an outcome of a self-selective process. We all have our own reasons for being here, and we cannot expect that the reasons of the others are the same as those we have ourselves, nor can we expect to have a good feeling of the reasons of the others.

    All kind of cranks are likely to be over-presented in the net discussions, mostly people we would not give any notice, if we met them in person, but it may take time to figure out, who has something worthwhile to contribute and who not. The overwhelming number of the totally stupid and even disgusting comments cannot be interpreted to indicate that these comments would have much influence on others, in most cases they don’t.

    The influence of even the best contributions tends to be extremely small, but the overall influence of the internet communication is likely to be significant. Where that overall influence is leading cannot be determined by counting messages classified by their content. Those, who follow the net have all learned to doubt anything they see in net discussion. When they praise some contribution it doesn’t usually indicate that they have been influenced, rather the opposite.

  77. hvw says:

    Victor, h…. A scientists normal work is to communicate with reasonable people with interesting ideas that also want to understand how the world works.

    Well that is what you do inside the ivory-tower. Very well. Now many climate scientists feel that it is also their responsibility to help the society reach a niveau where a debate suitable for a democratic decision-making process can be conducted. Many spend quite a bit of time, using many different channels with their own litte custom PR-strategy. This is good, and also expected from society and has worked very well if information deficit is the limiting factor.

    When it comes to climate policy, this is different. Scientific knowledge meets a hostile environment where there is powerful expertise (that has created crass online mobs, among other tools) at work to distort, silence, mis-represent & falsify scientific knowledge, for an entirely political goal. In that environment, I argue, it is pure chance whether individualistic ad-hoc outreach efforts from scientists have a positive impact, are inefficient, or even harmful.

    I think the Betts/Edwards article on WUWUT is an excellent example for the latter two categories.

  78. Dana’s was a rant. ‘Barf’ indeed…

    Okay, I didn’t see Dana’s.

  79. Louise says:

    Richard – aren’t you disappointed (if not actually upset) that despite having a civilised dinner with your, Anthony Watts didn’t prevent his commenters from referring to you and Dr Edwards in the most vile and horrific terms (and far, far worse than anyone on the ‘other side’)? I really don’t understand how you can absolve him from allowing these comments to stand when his moderators frequently cut off others for what they perceive to be uncivil language.

    Do you think he should reign in the worst of the attacks or are you happy for them to stand? They seem to be feeding off each other with each trying to be more extreme and nasty than the last. There are very few comments who are not of this type (well over 900 now). WUWT is supposed to be a moderated blog – I see no evidence of any attempt at civility.

    Anthony Watts’ blog is supported by advertising that is no doubt dependant upon number of hits, perhaps he’s rubbing his hands in glee at the revenue you and Dr Edwards have provided him? He can maintain the high ground “I’m being reasonable” and also bask in the glory of having mainstream scientists post on his blog while still allowing his attack dogs free reign. It’s just win-win-win for him.

  80. Louise says:

    I see Tim Ball has a new guest post at WUWT – so much for time out. Click-bait is clearly more important to Anthony Watts than integrity or civility

  81. I see Tim Ball has a new guest post at WUWT

    Words fail me. Well, they don’t, but Rachel would moderate my comment if I said what I really think.

  82. It can be nice to get to know different cultures; although I must admit that the difference between The Netherlands and the Rheinland in Germany are small. One thing sticks out, especially with sales people. Once you go there more often, they start to become unfriendly. So unfriendly once I saw a customer complain about the unfriendliness of a saleslady, she got very angry about that, shouted at him that she was not unfriendly, he fled the shop in haste. She wanted us to confirm that she was very friendly, which everyone somewhat intimidated quickly did. She was actually friendly from her Rheinish view, which to outsiders just looks unfriendly. To friends you do not always have to show your sunny side, friends you can critique. With customers you do not know, you put on your McDonalds smile and standard greeting. Once you get that the unfriendliness is just a curiosity.

    (I prefer to make a Bothe and not be explicit about what I am referring to. Looks so much more mysterious and thoughtful.)

  83. To friends you do not always have to show your sunny side, friends you can critique. With customers you do not know, you put on your McDonalds smile and standard greeting.

    Hmmm, okay maybe I see what you mean. Possibly.

  84. > I prefer to make a Bothe and not be explicit about what I am referring to. Looks so much more mysterious and thoughtful.

    You can do better than that, Victor. Be mischievous: make an Eli.

  85. anoilman says:

    Willard I was thinking of a Mork.

    “Mork Calling Orson… these primitive apes have not discovered how to understand math…”

  86. jsam says:

    It would seem neither Tony nor Timmy have learned much despite the efforts of Tamsin and Richard. Their good deeds have not gone unpunished.

  87. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    People are being played

  88. Perhaps, but I think we need scientists to go in Tony’s den and stand their ground:

    If scientists are to play identity politics, they might as well play with the seriousness we attribute to them. So here’s a modest proposal. I suggest someone gets paid to listen to such concerns. Some kind of Climate Ombudsman.

    As far as I am concerned, Richard Betts could very well talk to anyone he fancies. That fact increases his own INTEGRITY ™ way more than the ones to whom he speak. He’s not the Pope, and can’t sanctify anyone to whom he speaks. But as a representative of the MET Office, or a climate ombudsman, that he goes and talk to Willard Tony would be more than reasonable – it would be perfect.

    Professional room service is exactly what we all need. With more budget, we could extend to Willis, the Monktopus, Dick, Tall One, Pointman, even Brad. But then we come again to a list of alarmists, which is still an empty list.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/a-meeting-of-minds/#comment-33526

    Let climate ombudsmen or women be thankful for the contrarians’ concerns.

    Let otters be thankful not having to be thankful, and follow on playing ClimateBall ™.

  89. Eli Rabett says:

    Bothe and Eli do tag team. When feeling frisky we invite Willard.

  90. Eli Rabett says:

    More seriously, the real issue is what Richard Betts’ and Tamsin Edwards’ end game is. There has been a cost to their colleagues of their cozying up to the good Bishop and ilk. What has been the gain?

  91. Steve Bloom says:

    “That seems to have all come online from people who are on the fringes rather than actually in the thick of it as working climate scientists.”

    Thick of what? Science? But this isn’t science at all, this is politics. Somehow I don’t think Richard would be very happy if all of a sudden those fringes (aka activists) stopped caring about the science and the relationship between scientists and the public, especially if/when UKIP gets a share of power.

  92. > But this isn’t science at all, this is politics.

    Thank you, Captain Obvious.

    By chance you’re here to defend science for science’s sake, Sierra Club member.

  93. > When feeling frisky we invite Willard.

    Sometimes I invite myself to clarify matters:

    That tweet was for you, SteveB.

  94. Steve Bloom says:

    Yes, all too obvious. Occasionally I feel compelled to point even while struggling not to laugh at the naivete. No longer active in Sierra Club, BTW.

    Vegan, gluten-free nachos do seem to be the wave of the future.

  95. Rachel M says:

    Whenever I feel like calling someone a beeping beeper (which is most days), I say it out loud in my office where a) no-one else can hear and b) there’s no record of it. It works wonders 🙂

  96. Rachel,
    But that then falls into the “if a tree falls in the wood but there was noone there to hear it, did it make any noise” conundrum.

  97. Hi Louise,

    Yes, there’s some vile comments there, but don’t worry, it’s all water off a duck’s back. As a few people said on twitter, it’s all quite revealing, and interesting to see which way certain people go in the comments. Apart from the deeply spiteful comments, some of the nuttier ones are actually quite funny….

    But I think Eli should get a cut of Anthony’s advertising revenue for this, as it’s all his fault 😉 I’d never have seen the post if he hadn’t pointed it out (I don’t read WUWT that often, it’s too tedious). Probably won’t bother again, either!

  98. dmcrob says:

    Lewis and Curry search for the edge case, the lowest acceptable climate sensitivity they can get passed peer review.
    Then the on line community hypes the fact that all the latest papers are over turning the IPCC sensitivity which is “out of date”. This will get repeated in op-eds in all the hostile (to climate science)media such as the Telegraph and the WSJ that the actual science has moved beyond the IPCC.

    In the online world, which is many many times bigger than the online climate science world, every time climate comes up papers like Lewis and Curry get brought up, but Mr Watts emporium of exotic ideas also turns up. The standard defence is to dismiss him as a fringe crank. But the more that people in the climate science community engage with him as an equal the harder that is because because “well real climate scientists post there, you watermelons are trying to crush real dissenting science and look what XYZ scientists said there”. So all the nuttiness from Mr Watts emporium get repeated as if they had arrived from Nature or Science. The job of rebutting it in places from Scottish football forums to twitter debates on party politics becomes harder.

    These are not new tactics. Co-opting credibility to undermine the mainstream has been used decades. The goal is not a better understanding of the physical mechanisms of our world, it is to undermine the credibility of science to prevent legislation that some industries may see as harmful. Be that the tobacco industry, the coal industry with acid rain, the chemicals industry with CFCs etc. Although these are also the tactics used by ID creationists (and even YE ones) where there is no legislation, but an interpretation of theology at stake.

    Professor Betts is free to act as he chooses. But he will also have to accept that when he enters the debate to bemoan its tone, his scientific credibility will not count for much and he will face some strong opinions on what others see as the consequences of this entry.

    In the coming years it is likely that there will be op eds in newspapers with large circulations that will take his actions and distort them to undermine the credibility of his field of science. What has he gained in return?

  99. Richard,

    I’d never have seen the post if he hadn’t pointed it out (I don’t read WUWT that often, it’s too tedious). Probably won’t bother again, either!

    But isn’t this the point? The role Anthony Watts plays is defined by his blog. I don’t see how one can engage with Anthony Watts and ignore what he promotes on his blog. I also don’t think he should be getting a free pass because someone else wrote the post and because others write the comments. I had a single comment here that – IIRC – made some comparison between Anthony Watts and Stalin which I moderated after a couple of hours. AW, wrote an entire post whining about it. He also has complete control over the moderation of the comments. That such awful comments exist on his blog is entirely his responsibility.

    FWIW, I apologise for the tone of my first response to you. I do find this whole topic very frustrating and given that I do read WUWT, find it hard to understand the point of engaging there if it isn’t to explicitly challenge them to improve both the tone of what they say and to challenge them to accept the aspects of the science that we understand well. Maybe AW implying that I’m a narcissistic, sadistic, psychopathic, troll a few days after your famous dinner, also played a role.

  100. Marco says:

    Ah, come on, Richard, just go once more to WUWT, just today! Then you can read the new Tim Ball post, which as a very special feature this time comes with the same conspiracy nuttery *without* the nazi references!

  101. verytallguy says:

    ATTP

    I do read WUWT

    Schoolboy error.

  102. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    ATTP,

    the positive thing you can take away from this is that Richard Betts seems to spend more of his away-from-the-tv free time commenting here than on that other blog 😉

  103. VTG,
    Well, what I said is not as true now as it once was. I do learn eventually 🙂

    Reich,
    Sunday morning TV?

  104. Spike says:

    I have concerns about the whole concept of reaching out to CC deniers, trying to educate them, provide them with reliable sources of information, or similar justifications. I think it is a very considerable misjudgement and is not perceiving the real nature of the denial problem.

    Firstly there is a sea of reliable information out there, from reliable reports in the more reputable mainstream press, through climate websites and blogs, textbooks, reputable scientists and scientific organisations like the Royal Society, to the full IPCC reports. This information has been out there for decades, being slowly refined and perfected. I think anyone with an open mind has had enough time and has enough access to truth to nullify any aruments that social gatherings and polite discourse with these people will turn the tide. We have all played whack a mole with the same arguments being endlessly recycled and resurrected, being answered, then another one pops up, rinse and repeat. I think we can conclude the hard core are not suffering from lack of exposure to truth.

    Most of the studies I have read about denial suggests these people are trapped in an ideological mindset that rejects climate science because it is perceived as too threatening to their world view. This may be because they are Randians rejecting regulation, taxation, or governance; fundamentalists in religion who feel God would not allow such catastrophe to happen or that it is the beginning of the end times and thus to be welcomed; financiers, industrialists and economists concerned for their central goal of growing their economy, company or investments; or conservatives who want a quiet life without major upheavals in energy and transportation that would inconvenience them in some way, real or imagined. I’ve come across all types. None of them have ever shown any sign of wanting to explore the issues in detail in a scientific way, because they perceive it as a threat to their world view, which to be fair it often is. The more canny ones may hint at open mindedness – but soon revert to type having secured some respectability as they perceive it.

    So I think reaching out is likely to be unfruitful, but as Dr Betts says what’s the problem if he and others spend their time this way? Well none if it is done privately clearly. But I’m concerned that the very public nature of these tete a tetes and engagements, widely reported in the press, carries risks. The general public and policymakers are not well versed in the intellectual arguments around climate, and the high level of scientific consensus has been shown not to have reached many of them. To engage in “debate and detoxification” with prominent denialists risks giving the public the impression that they hold respectable and possibly well grounded opinions – after all senior UK government scientists are meeting them to hold discussions, so perhaps the issue isn’t so clear after all? Perhaps there are concerns that the deniers have been responsibly bringing to public attention? Perhaps we need to pause and rethink, do some more research, not be too hasty changing things? All wrong we know, but doubt has been successfully grown and that is their desire.

    Then you have to consider the moral viewpoint. I have read much of what prominent ethicists like Peter Singer, James Garvie and Michael Northcott have written about climate. It’s clear that the delays and disruptions caused by CC denial are putting human and non human lives at risk on a very significant level, and promoting degradation of the natural world, what some are calling a crime – Ecocide. is it appropriate to meet and engage with people who act from their own selfish interests to promote such harm? I personally would not feel comfortable doing so, because the very act of engaging gives such morally questionable view points a flavour of dinner party respectability. The gains to such parties from engagement with serious scientists in PR terms seems valuable to them, and one can readily see why. Most medics I know will not engage with vaccine deniers or homeopaths, and I’m unaware of evolutionary biologists seeking a middle ground with creationists. Given the likely harms which are certain with severe climate change, and appear ever more likely even with modest warming, is it appropriate to muddy the public view of these deniers’ position still further, to break down the clear divide between scientific reason and clear informed moral purpose, and allow ideological opposition to enter into the public discourse clothed as respectable debate?

    The gains for those opposing CC action appear all too real and the gains for honest debate and truthful discourse look to me somewhat illusory.

  105. JoNova says:

    [Mod: About moderation. The word denier is not name-calling and is fine to use on this blog. The use of the word “unhinged” is a bit disrespectful and has been moderated]

  106. Mal Adapted says:

    My contemporary Pekka reminds those of us old enough to recall 1987 that we need only substitute ‘Blogosphere’ for ‘Usenet’, to see that Gene Spafford’s Three Axioms of Usenet have withstood the test of time:

    o The Usenet is not the real world. The Usenet usually does not even resemble the real world.

    o Ability to type on a computer terminal is no guarantee of sanity, intelligence, or common sense.

    o Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap) applies to Usenet.

    As well, we might ponder a more fundamental insight, from a yet earlier time:

    “This is no social crisis, this is you having fun!”

  107. [Mod: Refers to a deleted comment]

  108. JoNova says:

    You tell me. It’s your “descriptor”. Am I a denier?

  109. JoNova says:

    andthentheresphysics I see — It’s an open thread where 80% of the text above is made of moderation rules, yet discussing your moderation rules is censored? But I want to discuss English — specifically namecalling.

    And if “unhinged” is too disrespectful for your heavily moderated thread — in what way is “denier” respectful?

  110. Rachel M says:

    I moderated your comment, Jo. And yes, I discourage comments about moderation. If you want to complain about moderation then please use the contact form.

    I have also made it clear on this blog that I will not moderate the word “denier”. I do not consider this word disrespectful. We have had many discussions about this word already and I do not want to go there again, thanks.

  111. Steve Bloom says:

    Denial is a formal term in psychology, unhinged is not. Of course you knew this, so why did you even ask?

    But I’m curious: What alternative term would you suggest to describe someone in denial?

  112. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Betts wrote “Yes, there’s some vile comments there, but don’t worry, it’s all water off a duck’s back. … some of the nuttier ones are actually quite funny….”

    This is a very disappointing comment, the last thing we need is someone who thinks it is O.K. to encourage reprehensible behaviour because it doesn’t bother *them* and provoke the nutty ones so they can have a laugh at them. All you are doing is reducing the chances of meaningful discussion of the science with the more moderate ones and further entrenching the partisan nonsense with the extremes.

  113. JoNova,

    in what way is “denier” respectful?

    Because, in my opinion, the word “denier” is used to describe someone who denies something. I see little reason why that is dis-respectful. Of course, there are those who whine about its use, but, as far as I can tell, that’s mainly because they would rather complain about it, than consider whether or not it is an appropriate descriptor. From what I’ve seen, there are very definitely people who deny much of climate science, therefore it is an appropriate term to describe some people. If it doesn’t apply to you, why would you care? Also, in my view, if someone doesn’t like how others describe them, either the other people are wrong, and the first person shouldn’t care, or they’re not, and the first person should consider how they behave. Of course, I’m referring to terms that describe someone’s chosen behaviour, not terms that might be regarded as discriminatory.

  114. ‘Unhinged’, according to my dictionary, means ‘mentally unbalanced; deranged’, Jo.
    ‘Denier’ means ‘a person who denies’.
    Does it actually need explaining which is disrespectful?

    Do come back; I’d like to hear what you say about the subject we’re discussing.

  115. JoNova,
    Actually, I rather missed Willard’s comment. I haven’t read much of what you write but if you really think that man made global warming has been disproved then “denier” may well be an appropriate descriptor. Of course, I simply mean that you deny anthropogenic global warming, not anything else.

  116. BBD says:

    From Jo Nova:

    Eight different methods suggest a climate sensitivity of 0.4°C

    Paleoclimate behaviour rules this out. Amusingly, in the next breath we get this:

    It was as warm or warmer 1000 years ago.

    Somebody isn’t thinking things through.

    A desperate, hopeless mess like this thrown up against the evidence is denial.

  117. Lars Karlsson says:

    Regarding JoNova: let us not forget the atrocious “Skeptics handbook I” and “Skeptics handbook II”.

  118. anoilman says:

    JoNova’s not a denier… she’s a Pseudo Skeptic! Her and her merry band of non-experts with home made pal reviews seem to be able to prove what ever they like!
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/04/18/pseudoskeptics-are-not-skeptics

    I particularly like her claims that all allied navies don’t work. (You know me and XBT data…)

    Well. You go girl! I’ll hold your coat while you go tell your navy how stupid they are. 🙂

    Lars Karlson: Who wants our money?: Solar and Wind are cheaper than coal, read page 6 of the report. I think JoNova and her coal buddies want our money.
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/

  119. Updating myself on the comments on the Betts/Edwards post—now exceeding 1,000—I am both amused and dismayed by the repeated calls for climate scientists to debate with the self-proclaimed ‘sceptics’; particularly when the call—nay, demand—is proceeded by libellous, spittle-flecked accusations of fraud and lying. Do these people totally lack self-awareness? Clearly not, if the comment by Mike Haseler, the ‘Scottish Sceptic’, is anything to go by:

    “There is absolutely no comparison between the appalling NAZI style abuse of power by the very higher echelons of the alarmist organisations and the almost infinitesimal name calling by a very view individual sceptics.”

    I bet you’re thinking,”did he really say that?”

    What we’ve seen in the comments after this first venture by climate scientists into the wacky world of WUWT, reminds me of those closing-time street brawls, when drunken yobs stand with fists drawn, shouting, “come here and say that again”.

    Stephan Lewandowsky must be well satisfied with the increasing number of data points for his theses.

  120. Marco says:

    I have no problem when someone calls me a denier on certain topics. I probably am one; nay, I know I am one. I am, for example, in denial in that I think I will not be doing any work next weekend. I deny that I am in a line of work where “weekend” does not mean “free from work”, but rather “work less hours and at home”. Perhaps the only difference with true deniers is that I know I am fooling myself, and that I know why I do it…

  121. I admit it; I’m also a denier, Marco.

    When a bill comes through the letterbox, instead of opening it I put it on a little shelf I have where I store these things. In fact I put off opening it as long as possible. That way I can convince myself I’ve got more in my bank account than I really have.

  122. I’m currently denying that my kitchen is a mess and needs tidying.

  123. Rachel M says:

    Well I’m not denying anything 😉

  124. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    I deny I have ever seen this blog (when asked)

  125. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Wasn’t me!

    (But seriously curious about the moderated JoNova comment)

  126. Mike Pollard says:

    I think the idea that one can engage constructively with the likes of Watts or any of his followers is absurd as this episode so clearly shows. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that the vast majority of active scientists see the name calling and insinuations of hoax and fraud from WUWTers as just background noise, nasty and poorly informed, but insignificant to the more important part of their lives which is their work. As a non-climate scientist I come to sites like this and others to see those with understanding of the science show just how lacking in knowledge the WUWters of the world really are. The best job that blogs can do is explain the science in simple terms and show how wrong Watts and his followers are on their understanding of a warming climate. Meeting them across the table is a poor choice as Edwards and Betts have hopefully begun to realize.

  127. anoilman says:

    Its pretty common for the denial community to show up, demonstrate something profoundly ignorant, then act indignant when they can’t get away with it.

    Of course, they’ll deny that too. 🙂

  128. BBD says:

    Ironing. I deny ironing.

  129. But seriously curious about the moderated JoNova comment

    As should be obvious from Rachel’s response, it was really just a complaint about the claim that we’d moderate strictly and yet the term “denier” appeared a number of times in the comments.

  130. Ironing. I deny ironing.

    Some people, not me of course, might call that ironic.

  131. Marco says:

    I have just decided to deny that I have a stack of 30 reports to check by Tuesday. Stuck them in my bag, et voilà, they don’t exist anymore! Probably tomorrow that denial bites me in the behind, but it’s a big one, so I can take it.

  132. Most (almost everybody?) is likely to agree that any single post or comment is unlikely to have much influence. It’s typical under such conditions that people have some favorite approach and are convinced that the alternatives are really poor – either have no effect or an effect in the wrong direction. When you cannot confirm that your favorite approach is good, you try to show that the alternative is bad. When every alternative is poor, it’s easy to find evidence for that, whatever your favorite approach. (What I wrote applies to me as well, but as the others I stick to my views believing that they are the most reasonable ones.)

    On this site an majority seems to consider the post of Tamsin and Richard as counterproductive claiming that it in some way adds to the credibility of WUWT. That’s one way of looking at the situation, probably linked to the willingness to believe that condemning in very strong words views different the own is the right way of coming to public.

    An alternative position closer to mine is that making a positive net impact is more likely by avoiding strong condemnation of views that you consider clearly wrong but possibly sincere. It’s clear that many people cannot be influenced by any approach, but there are others whose minds are more open. Even they are unlikely to switch suddenly their views, but they do listen to arguments that they do not feel too offensive. Over longer periods and after being influenced by a variety of arguments, their views may gradually change.

    This is the approach, where I put my hope. The post of Tamsin and Richard seems to me to have more likely a positive than a negative net effect. It made several people to condemn explicitly the post of Tim Ball in the discussion thread. The credibility of WUWT had a small hit from this episode among the moderate “false skeptics”. Not much changed but that little probably in the right direction.

  133. Pekka,

    An alternative position closer to mine is that making a positive net impact is more likely by avoiding strong condemnation of views that you consider clearly wrong but possibly sincere.

    I would broadly agree, but isn’t there a limit? The Tim Ball post is offensive as are many of the comments. How does one engage with people who are willing to promote such views?

  134. dikranmarsupial says:

    “On this site an majority seems to consider the post of Tamsin and Richard as counterproductive claiming that it in some way adds to the credibility of WUWT. ”

    I think it was me that said it was counterproductive, and that was because in this case it was encouraging discussion of something other than the science. I certainly don’t think this has increased the credibility of WUWT outside their existing readership, quite the opposite. However, now that Richard (assuming it was actually him) has posted at WUWT (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/#comment-1802237) saying that “… I’m sorry but this is clearly not the place for civilised discussion…”, it will be easy for Richard to be portrayed as the one who withdrew the olive branch, not them, so I suspect it has been a bit of an own goal.

  135. anoilman says:

    What else could we call them? I like Seagull Scientists, because they swoop in crap everywhere, squawk at everything, and fly away.

  136. ATTP;

    There are limits for everything.

    Looking at the Tim Ball thread I concluded that I would certainly not comment in such a thread. That would be pointless and have no effect whatsoever. (I think that I have commented at WUWT only once, and then on a technical issue.)

    A comment post by Tamsin and Richard was a different issue. They are climate scientists and known both to agree broadly with main stream views and to be more open for discussion with skeptics than most climate scientists. Therefore their post had much more weight, and therefore it provided an opportunity for some regular visitors of WUWT to distance from Ball. Watts found also himself in a somewhat awkward situation. Perhaps the post of Tamsin and Richard made it easier for him to present excuses, but it made it also more difficult to avoid presenting excuses.

  137. > How does one engage with people who are willing to promote such views?

    One does not simply “engage” in Mordor, whatever that means.

    One go there to make one’s present felt, and to address oneself to the audience.

    Here’s how Richard Betts’ ancestor would do:

  138. Eli Rabett says:

    Pekka, the tell on Richard and Tamsin’s post is not how the Watties reacted, but what they wrote. Again, the exploration of what the dining duo are trying to accomplish is more important than the reaction, which was perfectly predictable. Now some, not Eli to be sure, would say that they are doing more harm than good (C above), others would think that this is an effort to split the more reasonable ideological denialists away from the hard core. The really nasty, well let Eli not go there.

  139. Eli Rabett says:

    Steve Bloom
    Vegan, gluten-free nachos do seem to be the wave of the future.

    Better tasty Soylent Green

  140. “On this site an majority seems to consider the post of Tamsin and Richard as counterproductive claiming that it in some way adds to the credibility of WUWT. ”

    At least in retrospect it was a great idea. Only made better by the decision of Anthony Watts to almost completely refrain from moderating the comments, which predictably produced a feedback loop of hatred that would deafen everyone at a rock concert. And to fully demonstrate that WUWT is not only an ugly political community with no interest in science whatsoever, but also fully into conspiracy theories he published another Tim Ball conspiracy post, which again got a lot of positive votes: again 5 out of 5 stars, excellent.

    I would suggest that everyone here bookmarks their “favourite” WUWT comment.

    Maybe this one: “Betts, you owe Dr Ball an apologiy. You a snivelling coward, and a public disgrace. If you wish not be likened to a Nazi, RESIGN: get a real job, and start contributing to society instead of parasitizing it. – Colin Day.”

    Next time when someone makes a claim referring to WUWT, you can reply with your bookmark and ask if this person thinks that this is a reliable source for levelheaded science information.

    And next time a mitigation sceptic claim that they would like to discuss the science. “the majority want to engage and would enjoy the discourse.

    You can use your bookmark and respond: No you do not. Maybe you are interested in a political debate, but this kind of language is never, ever used in a scientific debate.

  141. > a feedback loop of hatred that would deafen everyone at a rock concert

    If you want death-metal feedback loop, Victor, try this:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/

  142. dmcrob says:

    If you want to change minds go to where there are unmade up minds. Do not bother with the hardliners are WUWT or CA or AirVent etc. Go to places like say the Daily Mail or Telegraph or so on. Places that have a broader interest than climate but have some climate focus.

    Posting WUWT will only produce quotable fodder.

  143. > Posting WUWT will only produce quotable fodder.

    Posting anything anywhere does that too.

    The alternative is not to post anything anywhere, never.

    ***

    > If you want to change minds go to where there are unmade up minds.

    First, you change behavior. By going at Tony’s, Richard Betts imposes his own authority:

    In our own research we have found that American Muslims and American political conservatives value virtues of kindness, respect for authority, fairness, and spiritual purity. American liberals, however, rely more heavily on virtues rooted in the suffering module (liberals have a much keener ability to detect victimization) and the reciprocity module (virtues of equality, rights, and fairness).

    http://faculty.virginia.edu/haidtlab/articles/haidt.joseph.2004.intuitive-ethics.pub035.pdf

    I predict that people who question Richard Betts’ authority in conservative outlets will be put in their place faster than in liberal outlets, and of course libertarian outlets.

  144. BBD says:

    Willard

    If you want death-metal feedback loop

    That was horrible.

    The great-grandfather of death-metal feedback loops would have been appalled.

  145. jsam says:

    Watts is back to his old tricks.

    Tamino is just plain back. http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/culpable/

  146. If you truly want to appreciate death metal, BDD, you need to be 10/10 on that test:

    http://ikeaordeath.com/

  147. JoNova says:

    Rachel M says: November 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm
    “I have also made it clear on this blog that I will not moderate the word “denier”. ”

    Forgive me, I don’t come here much. Is this your blog Rachel? I thought it was “and then there’s physic’s”? Or are you the same person?

    Since you are deciding what gets published then, how do you define “namecalling”?

    My comment was not a complaint but a point about the use of English, and polite discussions. This blog, comes with the subtitle “Trying – and sometimes failing – to keep the discussion civil”. Does calling someone a “denier” (a comment on their inferior mental ability, or psychological diagnosis according to Steve Bloom) engender “civil discussion”. It seems rather central to this blog? Just trying to help…

    I also asked, how “denier” is a term of respect. (Which no one seems able to answer).

    Dear Willard, thanks for the link. Still don’t have any empirical evidence to cite in reply, eh?

  148. > I also asked, how “denier” is a term of respect.

    This question presumes that it needs to be one. This question also comes after another one: “Am I a denier?” This comes before another one: “Still don’t have any empirical evidence to cite in reply, eh?”

    The first question is a loaded question. The second one is a “who, me?” question. The third one is a rhetorical question that blends an evasion with a nice appeal to pride.

    ***

    Speaking of respect and politeness:

    Start packing the bunker.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/12/only-three-days-left-to-save-the-earth/

    The Vicar of Bray (probably now preaching at a college in upstate New York)

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/11/the-vicar-of-bray-updated/

    Let’s redirect the gravy train of pointless climate and renewables research.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/11/the-good-news-medicinal-revolution-this-weeks-cancer-breakthroughs/

    That’s just from the top of Jo’s hat.

  149. John Mashey says:

    Of course, there is always the breathless promotion Jo Nova gave to Murry Salby, as per Pseudoskeptics Exposed in the SalbyStorm.
    Search PDF there for {Joannenova} for examples, and read the sorts of comments encouraged.

    Where are these folks when I have spare bridges to sell? 🙂

  150. claimsguy says:

    You people should stop picking on those who are under the influence of Force X. It’s unkind.

  151. Steven Mosher says:

    “I would broadly agree, but isn’t there a limit? The Tim Ball post is offensive as are many of the comments. How does one engage with people who are willing to promote such views?”

    it’s not that hard. use your words

  152. Steven Mosher says:

    “Yes, there’s some vile comments there, but don’t worry, it’s all water off a duck’s back. As a few people said on twitter, it’s all quite revealing, and interesting to see which way certain people go in the comments. Apart from the deeply spiteful comments, some of the nuttier ones are actually quite funny….”

    I looked for comments by “known” quantities. A good deal of the nuttery was from folks I never heard of before. There were also some well known fire breathers who didnt like Ball’s comments.
    Too few of course, ( hopefully the mod wont see nuttery as disrepectful. I have not been able to calibrate her mod style.. ) The spiteful stuff is largely formulaic and ritualistic.. and some as you note are downright funny. It’s also informative to see who didnt comment.

    privately here is what goes on. folks talk to Ball and to each other. They accept he went over the line. They wont call him out publically. They might mount weak defenses. The bench is only so deep.

  153. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    “My comment was not a complaint but a point about the use of English, and polite discussions.”

    What? ATTP, contact the languages department! Get them to lend you some words! Hard ones. Mosher would agree.

  154. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Meanwhile on that other blog, Richard Betts gets reasoned responses, like this one (part):

    “You have prostituted yourself for money. You have pimped out science, for money. The MO is not fit for purpose. You are a parasite, sucking on the public teat.”

    Sounds like dinner parties, somehow,,,

  155. Pierre-Normand says:

    Pekka wrote: “[…] It’s clear that many people cannot be influenced by any approach, but there are others whose minds are more open. Even they are unlikely to switch suddenly their views, but they do listen to arguments that they do not feel too offensive. Over longer periods and after being influenced by a variety of arguments, their views may gradually change.”

    That’s exactly my view also. People tend to be overly focused on the immediate effect of an argument on their sole interlocutor. It takes a long time for people to radically change their views, and when one discusses on public fora, then one potentially reaches many silent lurkers. And then, even when our arguments seemingly have had no effect at all, merely attempting to make then more effective and perfectly sound helps one’s own understanding of the issue.

  156. Rachel M says:

    Hi Jo Nova,

    No, this is not my blog, it’s AT’s blog. I just help out with moderating the comments.

    Wikipedia’s definition of namecalling is good enough for me –

    Name calling is abusive or insulting language referring to a person or group, a verbal abuse.

    The word denier does not fall under the umbrella of abusive or insulting language when it is used to describe a group of people who deny aspects of climate science. You are of course entitled to disagree.

    Denier is not a term of respect but it’s also not disrespectful in my view. It is neither. And I think AT does a pretty stellar job of trying to keep the discussion civil. It doesn’t always work but we do try.

  157. JoNova,

    Does calling someone a “denier” (a comment on their inferior mental ability, or psychological diagnosis according to Steve Bloom) engender “civil discussion”. It seems rather central to this blog? Just trying to help…

    I’ve broadly given up. Well, not quite. I’ve discovered that the only way to have a civil discussion is to not have it with those who deny AGW. Any kind of meaningful dialogue is, in my opinion, largely impossible.

  158. Steve Bloom says:

    According to me, Jo? Nah, I’m not a subject matter expert. You want the DSM. Happy reading.

    (Please delete duplicate comment above sent from my friend’s computer.)

  159. Marco says:

    “They accept he went over the line”

    Steven (Mosher), do you suggest all his other posts in which he proclaims one big conspiracy, a mass collusion under Maurice Strong, is not going over the line? That only because he decided to make a comparison with the nazis it was over the line?

  160. jsam says:

    Dictionary definition of denialist.

    A person who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
    ‘the small minority of very vocal climate change denialists’
    [AS MODIFIER]: the denialist view

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/denialist

  161. They accept he went over the line. They wont call him out publically. They might mount weak defenses. The bench is only so deep.

    Ignoring that the bench is only so deep is, itself, illustrative of an issue, the problem I have with this is that the expected charity is typically uni-directional. Ignoring that some things are objectionable and should not really be tolerated by anyone, I’m more than happy to accept that people sometimes get frustrated and say things they may later regret. I certainly have; even on this thread. The problem I have is that if a “warmist” (I’ll use “warmist” and “skeptic” because I don’t know what other terms to use) does or says something that isn’t ideal, there’s an outcry from the usual suspects. If a “skeptic” does something similar, or worse, there’s always an excuse.

    So, I’d be happy to be more charitable if I could expect the same from others. I don’t, however, think this will work. Much of the “skeptic” argument seems to rely on judging people’s behaviour. Michael Mann and Phil Jones and their data. Skeptical Science and the photoshopped images. Stephan Lewandowsky and his retracted paper (okay, I’ve mentioned these but really don’t want to debate these specific issues). If everyone agreed to be more charitable so as to move forward, I don’t think “skeptics” would have much left.

  162. BBD says:

    Jo Nova

    Dear Willard, thanks for the link. Still don’t have any empirical evidence to cite in reply, eh?

    I pointed out that you were hopelessly wrong and confused upthread.

    No substantive response from you, I notice.

  163. BBD says:

    @ Willard

    By the skin of my teeth:

    You scored 11 out of 20!
    Congrats you are…
    Kvlt.

  164. BBD,
    11 out of 20, too. It was a close run thing. Could have gone either way.

  165. Andrew Dodds says:

    ATTP –

    It’s a charismatic of Denialism in general – seen from Creationists as well. The denialist is allowed pretty much any behavior, up to and including threats of violence, as well as forgiveness for factual evidence and obvious self-contradictions. Whereas the scientist/token sane person has to maintain impeccable behavior at every point regardless of provocation and will be instantly discredited for all time by the slightest error.

    I suspect that the whole pattern of behavior goes back a very long way; imagine where the human race would be now if rationality always won. Innovation and change are always threats to the established social hierarchy, and you could hypothesize that much of what we call denialism is just an instinctive reaction to anything new – deny, belittle, laugh, isolate, whatever.

  166. Marco says:

    Not a metal fan (far from), but did buy stuff from IKEA, I managed 13 out of 20.

  167. verytallguy says:

    You scored 17 out of 20!

    Congrats you are…
    True Kvlt.

    i last went to Ikea over 10 years ago and swore never to go back (I think Charon may have refused to take me again anyway after the fuss I made over queuing arrangements at the river Styx to cross to Ikea…)

    Full disclosure: I do speak a (very) little Svenska

  168. BBD says:

    And Monday morning productivity nosedives, thanks to Willard…

    😉

  169. Can the native speakers explain to me the term: The bench is only so deep. The internet was not very helpful.

    I do not understand why Steven Mosher feels we should only pay attention to the people he knows. That is just a handful, the audience they cater to is much bigger and thus more interesting, even if this is still just a small subsample of the mitigation sceptics.

  170. Victor,
    “The bench is only so deep” refers to the players on the bench during a football match, for example. It just means that your reserves aren’t very good. I guess it means that if they didn’t let Tim Ball write posts, the person who replaced him would be even worse 🙂

  171. 15/20 Now beat that. A Quasi-German (Ikea).

  172. Rachel M says:

    I didn’t understand the bench reference either, Victor. I can’t stand football.

  173. Steven Mosher: “privately here is what goes on. folks talk to Ball and to each other. They accept he went over the line. They wont call him out publically. They might mount weak defenses. The bench is only so deep.”

    Are the moderators, the most intimate voices of WUWT, part of the Bench?

    “[Dr. Ball did NOT “call” anyone within the CAGW populist/anti-free-thought community Nazi’s. Dr Ball DID show that the METHODS USED in their bombastic deliveries and in their dogma were similar to the propaganda methods written about in Mein Kampf. The CAGW community invented the charge you are repeating above because the CAGW community recognized the accuracy and effectiveness of Dr Ball’s comparisons of their methods. .mod] “

    And moderator dbstealey did not see many digressions: “Richard Betts, … Apologies for any [comments] that were truly over the top, but I see few like that.”

    It does not sound as if the best horses at WUWT all accept that Ball went over the line.

    Also without NAZI language, the claim that an entire natural science is a big conspiracy is beyond crazy. Just an illustration that these people have no idea how science works or pretend not to.

  174. I had wanted to write, but forgot, that it sounds somewhat inconsistent that a moderator is allowed to oppose the official position of Anthony Watts. But that the rest is not allowed to critique a guest poster. Makes one wonder if that rest really is so much against Ball’s propaganda.

  175. dikranmarsupial says:

    If only they had a private forum where the moderators could peer-review the blog posts prior to publication… ;o)

  176. I had personally expected that the Betts/Edwards post would be strongly moderated. This was supposed to show the moderate face of WUWT engaging with scientists as equals, I thought. I do think that we can thus interpret the comments by unknown people also as a message of the inner core of WUWT to scientists, they could have moderated the stream from the start. The message to science is clear: the middle finger.

    This is something social, something every reasonable reader can interpret. Afterwards Anthony Watts could again have posted ridiculous articles on science, something which his audience cannot judge.

    Watts made a perfect opportunity into an own goal. Might not be as good a PR master as I previously thought.

  177. Victor Venema wrote:

    At least in retrospect it was a great idea. Only made better by the decision of Anthony Watts to almost completely refrain from moderating the comments, which predictably produced a feedback loop of hatred that would deafen everyone at a rock concert. And to fully demonstrate that WUWT is not only an ugly political community with no interest in science whatsoever, but also fully into conspiracy theories he published another Tim Ball conspiracy post, which again got a lot of positive votes: again 5 out of 5 stars, excellent.

    I wonder when the “skeptic” [Mod: disrespectful] will finally realize that WUWT is actually part of the climate cabal’s conspiracy. That the original Anthony Watts, who has been stuffed into the GISP2 ice core hole, has been replaced with a plant of ours, and WUWT is just a big trap, which fulfills the purpose to isolate the “skeptics”, to make them look totally ridiculous and crazy to everyone else, so they won’t stand in the way, while we are controlling the world.

  178. BBD says:

    First VTG outs himself as a secret death metal aficionado:

    You scored 17 out of 20!

    And now Victor:

    15/20 Now beat that.

    True kvlt!

    🙂

  179. Willard says:

    Now, gentlemen, compare and contrast:

    Machine score is 35%
    Longest run of machine-like drumming is 12 beats (11%)
    Tempo:100 BPM Total beats:106

    http://labs.echonest.com/click/?songId=SOYLJSI1372FD3BD8B&artist=Napalm+Death&title=Multinational+Corporations

    with the top hit of the week:

    http://labs.echonest.com/click/?songId=SOHWWBI14957DA760E&artist=Taylor+Swift&title=Blank+Space

  180. “First VTG outs himself as a secret death metal aficionado: You scored 17 out of 20!”

    Let me humbly admit my mistake, my insufficient knowledge of Death Metal and apologise for not reading the threat with sufficient care.

    (If only to distinguish myself from the political opposition that seems to have serious difficulty with admitting mistakes.)

    Jan P Perlwitz, there are days when one seriously considers that possibility. I will only say: Greenland icecap.

  181. dikranmarsupial says:

    VV except that IIRC WUWT *did* retract that article.

  182. dikranmarsupial, may I guess you are a man?

    I also find it difficult when people change topic without explicitly saying so. 🙂

  183. anoilman says:

    The thing that strikes me about Jo Nova’s fly by squawk and deny is that its the usual tripe. Show up complain pretend there’s a discussion.

    How about she leads by example for a change?

    Here’s Jo Nova flinging insults like a bad dog barking.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/we-reclaimed-the-word-skeptic-next-we-reclaim-scientist/

    I wonder how she’ll claim the word ‘scientist’ when she doesn’t have any.

  184. dikranmarsupial says:

    VV yes, my handlebar moustache is a bit of a give away ;o})

  185. Steven Mosher says:

    “dikranmarsupial says:
    December 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm
    If only they had a private forum where the moderators could peer-review the blog posts prior to publication… ;o)”

    ######################

    That’s not how it works.

    certain people are given rights to the publish button. I had them once upon a time.
    so, you write a post and push the publish button. Anthony and the mods have no say in
    the matter.

    Long ago there used to be a couple people who would review stuff, but the day in day out publishing requirement makes this impossible.

    There is a magic to driving the numbers the way they are driven. That requires an approach to editorial control that is very different. basically, the readers do the review. And of course you get to see both the wisdom and stupidity of crowds.

  186. Steven Mosher says:

    Victor

    ‘It does not sound as if the best horses at WUWT all accept that Ball went over the line.”

    dbstealy is not what I would call one of the best. quite the opposite.

  187. so, you write a post and push the publish button. Anthony and the mods have no say in
    the matter.

    That may be what actually happens, but it’s not how it needs to happen. It doesn’t really absolve Anthony of responsibility for what appears on his site. Additionally, given this approach, it might be consistent if he (and Tisdale) were less bothered by what was said about them on other sites, but consistency doesn’t appear to be a strong point of some.

  188. Steven Mosher says:

    “I do not understand why Steven Mosher feels we should only pay attention to the people he knows. That is just a handful, the audience they cater to is much bigger and thus more interesting, even if this is still just a small subsample of the mitigation sceptics.”

    except that is not my argument.

    actually I didnt say anything about what you should do.

    “I looked for comments by “known” quantities. A good deal of the nuttery was from folks I never heard of before. There were also some well known fire breathers who didnt like Ball’s comments.
    Too few of course, ( hopefully the mod wont see nuttery as disrepectful. I have not been able to calibrate her mod style.. ) The spiteful stuff is largely formulaic and ritualistic.. and some as you note are downright funny. It’s also informative to see who didnt comment.”

    I looked for comments by known quantities. this is a description, not a proscription for you.
    Why? because I’m interested in finding people who are willing to break ranks.
    pretty effin simple victor.

    I note that a good deal of nuttery is from unknowns? why is this important?
    first time commenters are somewhat suspect in my mind. not to be discounted, but I wouldnt
    give them full weight. Its also interesting to see that the current set of mods let these unknowns
    say rather nutty things without snipping them.

    I note that there are TOO FEW who didnt like his comments.

    I note that the its informative to see who didnt comment. Why? those are likely people who
    disagree with Ball but dont want to break ranks. Later I bust them for being silent when they
    disagree. There are a couple people I have in mind here who I have long running feuds with here relative to the issue of “speaking out” and keeping your own house clean, first.

    You vitctor get to pay attention to exactly what you want to! you actually get to do that. It’s not my business what you think, what you read, what you write. So, I’m not telling you what you should do. Im reporting what I do and why. you are free to ignore it.

    when I am telling you what you should do you will know it. I will tell you “victor, you should do this”

  189. dhogaza says:

    Mosher:

    “dbstealy is not what I would call one of the best. quite the opposite.”

    Which is why, I suppose, that Watts keeps him as moderator?

    There is really no way that Watts gets off the hook for what appears on his site. He’s responsible for the decisions he’s made regarding who can publish or moderate that lead to the things being published that do get published.

  190. Steven Mosher, then I had misinterpreted you comment as an argument why WUWT is not as bad as we (I) may think. Have fun indulging in your feuds.

  191. Willard says:

    > actually I didnt say anything about what you should do.

    Here:

    use your words.

    There:

    That requires an approach to editorial control that is very different. basically, the readers do the review.

  192. Eli Rabett says:

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, the Rabett hastens to add, might not like being banned at Willard Tony’s. No not Eli. What jerks Eli’s chain is that the [Mod: censored] will take down a perfectly calm, rational comment, (the Bunny does know about such things) and simply lie about the tone of the content.

    Time for some more Climate Zork 🙂

  193. Eli,
    In a similar vein, I had a comment deleted on Bishop Hill when Andrew Montford claimed I had misrepresented what he had said. Given that what he’d said was in the post I was commenting on, either I was and it should have been obvious, or I wasn’t and that – too – should have been obvious – I still can’t work out how what I’d said misrepresented what he was saying. It’s something I’ve encountered with him on a number of occasions. He has a tendency to say “we both agree with …” while proceeding to say something entirely inconsistent with what he’s just said we agree about.

  194. Steven Mosher says:

    willard again misses the point

    Willard says:
    December 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm
    > actually I didnt say anything about what you should do.

    Here:

    use your words.

    AATP directly asked how you engage people. “use your words is directed at him”

    As I stated to Victor, my comment which describes what I did while READING, does not direct him to follow the same protocal.

    Of course since ATTP asked a question of what he SHOULD do, he will know that my imperative is directed to him. not to victor. If victor ask me how he should engage he too will get a suggestion.

    1. use your words

    why? because you can’t hit them without breaking the law.

  195. Steven,

    AATP directly asked how you engage people.

    Technically, yes, but what I had actually said was

    How does one engage with people who are willing to promote such views?

    which I had assumed most would take as being a somewhat rhetorical question. I wasn’t asking for advice as to how to do so, I was questioning how anyone could possibly engage with such people. Yes, I’m aware that I could engage with such people but have no idea why I – or anyone else – would want to.

  196. Willard says:

    The bench may be thin, but it matters that there is one, for those who sit next to it can argue for some lukewarm middle ground, or present themselves as the mamma Broker in some Goldilocks story. The bench is also important to create the effect that there are two benches against one, on which they lump a lot of players.

    And I mean a lot.

  197. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Mosher,

    How has your opinion changed about WUWT since being involved in the BEST project?

  198. Steven Mosher says:

    “Now some, not Eli to be sure, the Rabett hastens to add, might not like being banned at Willard Tony’s. No not Eli. What jerks Eli’s chain is that the [Mod: censored] will take down a perfectly calm, rational comment, (the Bunny does know about such things) and simply lie about the tone of the content.”

    yes Eli that has happened to me as well. Not cool.

    In general I think if Mods are going to make judgement calls about ‘respect’ or ‘tone’ that
    they should leave the evidence in place for other folks to see. That way people can learn from the example of others about what is over the line.

    English, unlike Korean for example, doesn’t have a way of objectively showing respect or honor
    ( willard would like Korean ) Consequently I think it makes some sense for mods to leave some examples in place of what crosses the line.

  199. Mal Adapted says:

    Eli, in the comments on that Climate Zork post we find this:

    Eli Rabett:

    Eli has sworn off agitating bags of wind for giggles. It is not seemly in a senior bunny (at least that is what Ms. Rabett tells Eli and she packs a good punch)

    So, how does Ms. Rabett feel now that you’re back to agitating bags of wind 8^D?

  200. Willard says:

    > my comment which describes what I did while READING, does not direct him to follow the same protocal.

    To direct is not implied by conveying a suggestion as to what one should do. There is no need to “tell” someone what to do to express a normative mode either.

    To presume that one must explicitly state one’s speech act to do that speech may lead to an infelicitous life.

  201. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven,

    AATP directly asked how you engage people.

    Technically, yes, but what I had actually said was

    How does one engage with people who are willing to promote such views?

    which I had assumed most would take as being a somewhat rhetorical question. I wasn’t asking for advice as to how to do so, I was questioning how anyone could possibly engage with such people. Yes, I’m aware that I could engage with such people but have no idea why I – or anyone else – would want to.”

    well I didnt take it as a rhetorical question. In general I take every question as a valid question as it mimimizes the assumptions i have to make about people intelligence.

    I’m not sure if its interesting whether or not you have any idea about engaging them. The fact that you have no idea why people would want to engage them really isnt important.

    Possible reasons.

    1. It’s fun
    2. To establish a character.
    3. To test your arguments
    4. to annoy them.
    5. cause you’re bored.
    6. because you believe you can change their minds.
    7. to illustrate to others why these people are out of bounds
    8. because the code is taking too long to compile and you want a diversion.

    There are tons of why people would want to engage them. each of them valid.

  202. Steven Mosher says:

    “Reich.Eschhaus says:
    December 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    Mosher,

    How has your opinion changed about WUWT since being involved in the BEST project?

    ###########################

    Yes, I’ve stated as much several times on threads there.

    Let’s see, up to 2011 or so there was a group of us who would meet every Xmas to go over the year and offer our criticism. In that group there were three critics. We pretty much had the same criticisms year in and year out, and readership continued to grow.

    basically.. there were 3 or 4 guys who said “change nothing” its working, and 2-3 of us who
    presented arguments for changes. I think we won one fight. In any case, as long as readership was growing, the folks who argued for changes had nothing to stand on. How you gunna argue with success?

    It used to be that you might get a good discussion. Over time that has degenerated into you rarely get a good discussion. Good discussion drives hits. I would often joke that Willis and I could drive traffic just by having a fight.

    Berkeley didnt change it per se, the issues I raised in 2008,2009,2010 still persist. I may feel them a bit more strongly.

    The main issues I had/have are this.

    1. I recognize the importance and fun of having sites devoted to the fringe. Crap anyone
    who has had to drive through the desert late at night was thankful for art bell. nutz. I love
    nutz. Long ago as a kid I used to go to the library and read a magazine called Schism.
    really out of bounds from all sides. Having said that, there is always stuff that went too
    far.. in my mind. So, my advice was always to do some checking on the stuff before you post it.
    2. Number of articles.
    3. Getting back to the style of moderation that charles used to do.

  203. Steven Mosher says:

    Again willard you miss the point

    “To direct is not implied by conveying a suggestion as to what one should do. There is no need to “tell” someone what to do to express a normative mode either.”

    of course. I am telling Victor that He will know I am telling him what to do when I use the words
    Victor you should.

    In other cases he may feel like I am commanding him,
    in other cases you might argue that I am commanding him,
    but, I am telling him that he will know it when I say “Victor you should”

    It’s pretty simple.

    However, you are welcome to present a logical derivation proving otherwise.

  204. BBD says:

    Steven

    You were sufficiently concerned about the integrity of climate science to co-author a book titled Climategate, The CRUTape Letters (anyone missing the cultural reference can google “Screwtape Letters”).

    But when it comes to the present Ball-up, you peddle softly.

    WUWT?

  205. Steven Mosher says:

    Victor

    ‘Steven Mosher, then I had misinterpreted you comment as an argument why WUWT is not as bad as we (I) may think. Have fun indulging in your feuds.”

    That’s ok. I had a bunch of fun. WUWT is just a place. words are just words. and the feuds pass the time. there might be something deeper there, or not.

  206. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Ok, but do you now think WUWT is crazy? When formerly you were a regular (I know you are now being accused as a drive-by commenter)

  207. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Are you between a rock and a hard place?

  208. Willard says:

    > I am telling Victor that He will know I am telling him what to do when I use the words
    Victor you should.

    This is an unnecessary condition. There are other ways to express a prescription than with an explicit “you should”. One could say “you could”, for instance.

    It is also insufficient, as one can say “you should” to mean “you must”.

    Normative claims do not depend upon syntactic constructs.

  209. words are just words

    My experience with words has been that once you have let them out you never get them back in the box again.

  210. Poor Steven Mosher, I would not want to have Willard as my debating partner. He is naturally right. If someone writes: killing humans is bad. This person naturally implies: you should not kill humans. This is a very clear example, in general you can say that you communicate to influence someone somehow. Otherwise you could just say it to yourself or leave it altogether. “I am bored” is not a sufficient reason to explain why people communicate, it only explains why you do not do something more interesting.

  211. John Mashey says:

    In 2012, this was Team WUWT around the dinner table.
    “Left to right
    Charles Rotter, Alec Rawls, Dr. Ryan Maue, Tom Fuller, Dave Stealey, myself, Steven Mosher, Dr. Leif Svalgaard, and Willis Eschenbach.”

  212. Willard says:

    Here’s some background, Victor:

    It’s pretty simple Willard you have a choice.
    I observe your choice.
    You have no honor.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/27/open-thread-thanksgiving-edition/#comment-651120

    This is portrayed as some kind of factual claim.

    Interestingly, the Moshpit got moderated in that thread. Since then, he’s philosophizing about moderation, here for instance:

    In general it’s a successful policy to have an open unmoderated thread.
    a mosh pit if you like those sorts of things.

    I dont know why Judith wants to moderate an open thread. she can of course.

    Again, portrayed as some kind of factual claim. I don’t know why the Moshpit wants to push the limits of disingenuousness with all these hoodwinks.

    He can, of course.

  213. Willard says:

    More science lulz:

    The audit never ends.

  214. Steven Mosher, your comment inspired a new short post: The quality assurance system of WUWT.

    Thank you.

  215. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think Steven Mosher rather missed the (ironic) point of my comment. A blog with as many active contributors ought to be able to find the time to perform some basic quality checking on the articles before they are posted. The fact that they don’t perform any real quality control is clearly evident. There are other (jolly good) blogs I can think of that manage to do this using purely volunteer effort, so I am not sure why it would be impossible for WUWT (quantity/quality tradeoffs nothwithstanding).

  216. anng says:

    I’m disappointed that no commentators take the trouble to even scan the article by Tim Ball before commenting. Dr Tim is fingering his usual targets of Maurice Strong & Club of Rome.. He didn’t mention anything about climate scientists in his post.

    If I want to be kind to Richard and Tamsin I would say they over-reacted. Otherwise I think they saw a good opportunity to isolate one sceptic. It’ll depend what mood I’m in which it is.
    .

  217. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Dikran,

    Mosher is quite busy keeping his status as a controversial person. See here (sorry for the link to WUWT, mods please do delete if you wish so):

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/02/many-thanks-to-kevin-trenberth-for-being-open-minded/#comment-1803817

  218. anng,
    I believe that Jan Perlwitz did correctly described what Tim Ball was suggesting in his post. I don’t think it makes it seem any better.

  219. Pingback: Help help I’m being repressed – Stoat

  220. Pingback: Open thread? | …and Then There's Physics

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