Hostilities

There has been a rather extensive discussion on Twitter about hostilities in the online climate debate. It seems to have been partly motivated by the recent articles by Matt Ridley and David Rose, in which they complain about how they’ve been attacked because of their views about climate change. The suggestion seems to be that these articles are illustrating how hostile the online debate has become and that we should be aiming to be less hostile so as to encourage better behaviour (or something like that, I rather lost track of the arguments being made). Personally, I have no problem with it becoming less hostile, I just don’t really think that either of these articles is a particularly good motivation for suggesting it now.

Although both articles highlight some fairly atrocious verbal attacks, my impression is that the authors are really just trying to use a few awful examples to score points against, and de-legitimise, their critics. I actually find it offensive. I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks. If Ridley and Rose think the examples that they highlight are typical of the tone of their critics, then they’re either being incredibly disingenuous or they can’t tell the difference between an attack and a critique, and should probably assume that they don’t have the intellect to engage in discussions about a complex topic.

So, as much as I’d be all for a reduction in hostilities, and a more reasoned approach to discussions about climate science, I see no reason to capitulate to those who appear to be using a few extreme examples to simply score points. I also think we all own our own behaviour. If people want to reduce hostilities, they can simply do so. People are not responsible for how someone responds to what they say, they’re only responsible for what they actually say.

I will admit, however, to what may be a very obvious bias. Although I have no problem with a reduction in hostilities, I don’t really care either way. I have no great interest in engaging in discussions with those who strongly and vocally dispute mainstream climate science. I’ve tried and failed too many times to think it’s really possible or even worthwhile. That doesn’t mean that I would encourage bad behaviour. It just means that I have no great interest in encouraging those I largely agree with to change their behaviour, just so that some of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever encountered might possibly behave a little less atrociously than they are now.

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211 Responses to Hostilities

  1. Rachel M says:

    I thought it was a bit pathetic for David Rose (and others) to make such a big deal out of a moderated comment, as though somehow The Guardian or Dana Nuccitelli are responsible for every comment made on the site. The comment was moderated. What else could they do? Turn off the comments altogether? I’m sure David Rose (and others) would complain about censorship if they did that.

  2. I’m still waiting for this one to be moderated.

  3. dana1981 says:

    I think they’re just playing games. They don’t like their misinformation being constantly debunked, so they try to create a distraction by highlighting some stupid offensive comments a few random people on the internet have made. And the ploy has been successful. Instead of talking about how Ridley and Rose are getting the science wrong and misinforming the public, we’re talking about whether efforts to correct that misinformation have been too darned mean to them.

    Honestly, if you’re going to engage in the climate ‘debate’ you need to grow a pair. We’ve all been subjected to insulting and offensive comments at one point or another. Deniers are far worse on this than climate realists. Some climate scientists have even received death threats. None of this should happen, and it should certainly be discouraged, but Ridley and Rose certainly don’t deserve a pity party because of a couple of stupid comments.

  4. dana1981,

    Honestly, if you’re going to engage in the climate ‘debate’ you need to grow a pair.

    Yes, I was going to say something like that in my post. Are we dealing with adults or children? I don’t have the thickest of skins, but even I know you can’t engage in this if you can’t take robust criticism. Offensive stuff you just ignore.

  5. Vinny Burgoo says:

    ATTP: ‘…some of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever encountered’.

    How come?

  6. Mnestheus says:

    Do you imagine realists immune to attack by those who feel entitled to their own reality ?

    It wouldn’t be a climate war if people didn’t belive their own propaganda ,

  7. Vinny,
    I’m a new South African though 🙂

  8. KarSteN says:

    Funny, got hatemails the moment I started engaing constructively (w/ non other than NL) at ClimateAudit. Guess David Rose thinks the hate he receives is different from hate actual climate scientists receive. Pathetic! Chin up, Dana (and ATTP ) … you’re doing a great job, despite some challenging tweets once in a while 😉

  9. KarSteN,
    I’m not sure what NL makes of me after my response to one of his comments on ClimateAudit over the weekend. I wasn’t very impressed by what he’d said and didn’t hide my disdain particularly well. No hate mail, though 🙂

  10. KarSteN says:

    @ATTP: Lucky you 😉

  11. dana1981 says:

    I don’t care about Ridley and Rose’s whining. What’s irritating though is that people who should really know better fall for it and start criticizing me for somehow creating the climate that led to those few stupid comments.

    It’s a pretty massive double standard that the constant vitriol on blogs like WUWT and Bishop Hill and Curry’s go unchallenged (in fact they’re invited on pleasant dinner dates), but a couple dumb comments from ‘our side’ and suddenly we’re being too mean to the deniers. Basically, this:

  12. jsam says:

    Have these chaps never read the comments on the skepticle blogs? Bless.

  13. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: You Brits have the uncanny ability to stir up a hornet’s nest with polite understatement. Your OPs bear witness to this fact. (:

  14. Dana,
    I’m being a bit thick, but I didn’t quite understand you tweet. “criticism shou;d be that we’re held to a standard of perfection, not that we meet it”?

    JH,
    As you may slowly be working out, I’m not actually British (well, kind of, but not quite).

  15. ligne says:

    “[…] wouldn’t have given [David Rose] a hook for his story”? i don’t think that this sort of issue has ever presented him with much of a hurdle before…

  16. [Mod : Huh? You seriously expect me to post your comment?]

  17. John Hartz says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    As scientists and much of the public differ on the causes of climate change, the planet keeps getting warmer … and the effects are adding up.

    Earth’s Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening? by Dennis Dimick, National Geographic, Feb 2, 2015

  18. T-rev says:

    “And the ploy has been successful. Instead of talking about how Ridley and Rose are getting the science wrong and misinforming the public, we’re talking about whether efforts to correct that misinformation have been too darned mean to them.”

    They have also been successful in sidetracking action on emissions mitigation to alleviate the “catastrophe”* So much so they have those who understand and/or agree with the Science and the need for CO2e mitigation are still engaged in profligate emissions.

    It’s like you guys and the deniers are standing in front of an oncoming bus, “debating” the existence of the oncoming bus, equipped with all manner of science on your side you’re intent on proving them wrong, until you’re run over by the bus and none of you (aside from Kevin Anderson) is stepping out of the way.

    *Carl Sagan

  19. Gator says:

    Victim bullies.

  20. izen says:

    Ha, I remember that Delingpole article, and the ‘discussion’ afterwards… not sure if I managed to contribute!

    I did try and resist, in the interests of civility, quoting heret a couple of sentences in James Delingpole’s article.
    But perhaps it shows that sometimes both sides can agree on something.

    “The problem with the Tols of this world is that they are under a naive misapprehension about the climate change debate in particular and the culture wars debate generally. Being both decent, fair-minded people and determined centrists they assume that there must be equal merit and equal fault on both sides of the argument. (What I call the dog poo yogurt fallacy). …
    Sorry to have a go at poor Richard Tol. He’s a damned useful economist, I’m sure, but he’s evidently way out of his depth in areas which require seriously critical thinking.”
    J.D.

    Are people who state that climate scientists are engaged in a fraud or hoax, or at best getting rich by providing a political cabal with a fake threat to ensure world domination REALLY complaining about hostility or incivility! Have they never read an old Delingpole thread or anything current at WUWT. 4fxache.

    I do try and avoid hostility, but I cannot help it if incredulity and ridicule are interpreted as incivility.

  21. Everett F Sargent says:

    Climate believer hate speech = Climate denier hate speech

    or …

    97% Concensus * 3% Hang ‘Em High = 3% Noncensus * 97% Hang ‘Em High

  22. Nick says:

    Ridley has little to say about climate science, but he has been give prominent venues to repeat it.

    I visited his blog post via your link, and there was Ridley tone trolling away, defining himself and positioning the utter reasonableness of his ‘lukewarm’ views…hand-wringing about how he upsets both sides, yet the pro-AGW ‘side’ more…and feeling obliged to incidentally, casually, and truly irrelevantly to the science, note his critics were ‘government funded’. A cue to his survivalist friends, I guess? Really, and I know it’s been said before, Ridley is just a public troll, draping his provocation such unrepentant neo-liberal tinsel.

    Thank the lord the government was there to bail him out in a past life.

  23. John Mashey says:

    There’s a section in Merchants of Doubt where climate scientists read short samples of emails they get regularly.
    Katharine is one of them, but see this for more examples.
    The senders of those are right with Rose and Ridley, as are those who send more death threats and envelopes with white powder.

    Police asked Steve Schneider for sample emails, but he had trouble emailing it to them – their SPAM filter kept rejecting it for obscenities.

    Movie -Those are US schedules for MoD, I don’t think International ones area available yet.
    I’ve seen it twice and strongly recommend it.

  24. dana1981 says:

    ATTP – there were some silly criticisms, i.e. of a zombie photo I used, with the implication that’s what created the climate that led to the stupid comments in question. That’s basically David Rose’s argument.

    I think the correct reaction is to point out that’s a stupid argument, holding me to a standard of perfection (i.e. I’m not even allowed to use photos that might possibly be the genesis of stupid comments). Instead I was criticized for not being perfect by people who should really know better than to fall for that ploy.

  25. Marco says:

    Since Ridley and Rose have resorted to tone trolling, this then in Ridleyian logic means a tacit admission our arguments are hitting home…

  26. Catmando says:

    I note Rose is offended to be called a denier, because he proclaims his acceptance of the consensus view on climate change (hard to see in his articles, I must admit) and because he is Jewish and the word is associated with Holocaust denial.

    The word denier has a deeper history of which Rose must be ignorant. It was used in the same anti-science context in the 1850s and I found a not very secret Carl Sagan speech where he talks about denial and deniers from 1990.

    Denier is a word that usefully describes a person’s position on a matter of fact. Those given the label would do better to ask themselves where their logic went wrong.

  27. Nathan says:

    Science of Doom has an… Interesting point of view….

  28. Nathan,
    Yes, I saw that. I’ve written and deleted two comments on that post, mostly because I don’t think what I have to say would be appreciated. As far as I’ve seen, the association with the Holocaust is made more by those who object to the use of “denier”, than by those who use it. It is certainly my view that most who make the association are simply trying to score points by associating what they regard as an insult with an horrific event. In my view, that’s at least as appalling as what they’re claiming those who use it are trying to do (for which they have almost no evidence whatsoever).

  29. I will admit that there are some absolutely hilarious comments on the recent SoD post.

  30. BBD says:

    SoD has been uncharacteristically thoughtless and gullible.

  31. BBD,
    Yes, I must admit that I was rather surprised myself.

  32. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Given your sense of humor…

    Climate change is no laughing matter, but when all else fails, perhaps it’s time to take humour a bit more seriously?

    SEVEN SERIOUS JOKES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE


  33. Nathan says:
    Science of Doom has an… Interesting point of view….

    In discussing sources of scientific arguments and ideas, the proprietor of the SoD blog offered “If you are talking about websites and blogs, no need, it’s irrelevant to this site.”

    Yet, SoD is a blog, and so by his own logic, we should treat it as irrelevant?

    I go to blogs for info all the time. Pseudo-skeptic blogs are great places to clean up on #OwnGoals !


  34. BBD says:

    SoD has been uncharacteristically thoughtless and gullible.

    Example:


    Richard Tol (@RichardTol)
    SoD’s language signals his intellectual superiority, a bad start to any conversation.

    Is that what being charitable will get you?

  35. WHT,
    I’ve no idea what Richard is playing at in the comment thread on SoD’s post, but that he identifies with people under the age of 10 is no great surprise.

  36. Marlowe Johnson says:

    ATTP I humbly suggest you change the title of the post to ‘Butthurt’. Hostilities is usually reserved for things like the middle east, fallout from golfing weekends, etc….

  37. Marlowe Johnson says:

    ATTP/Rachel apparently words like *buthurt* and/or golf land you in comment moderation…

  38. Brandon Gates says:

    BBD/ATTP,

    My initial read of the post was via the link to Tol’s first comment. Immediate disorientation because I didn’t start understanding what was funny until I hit the integral in the first equation, which Tol himself points to in his second comment. I don’t read SoD as much as I probably should — whenever I do I find it incredibly useful — so I can’t gauge what’s characteristic or not over there. But I found myself surprised as well. “Surely he’s having me on?” I asked myself. On re-reading, no, I don’t think he is. So I identify with Tol’s confusion somewhat, but that doesn’t make it not funny.

    I meant to not pile on Poor Richard, but I’m in a nasty mood with the Tone Police at Watts’ joint … they’ve been quoting Dale Carnegie’s book there of late as well. I just … how … oh screw it. It’s not fathomable, and I just can’t be arsed to even think about figuring it out.

    MikeH sums up my thinking at SoDs: “I try not to use the term ‘denier’ because it just gives the pseudo-skeptics the opportunity to play the victim card. But in the years of following this debate, the only people who I have read associating the term climate denier with the holocaust is you above and the psuedo-skeptics themselves when they have run out of other arguments.”

    My preferred term is “climate contrarian” or simply “contrarian” once it’s established what I mean. My deal is that if I must use a label of convenience, it should be as non-loaded as possible. To me that’s just a tenet of good-faith debate: the terminology used to address one’s interlocutor should not implicitly pass judgement on their position. Anything else is not a debate, it’s a polemic. If I’m going to rip someone a new one, I don’t resort to loaded terminology to do it, I tell them straight up that I think they’re full of shit. And why. And yes by God, I think that’s the respectful way to do it.

    Wouldn’t you know, I got complaints about using the word “contrarian”. I told them tough, I’m not ceding “skeptic” to them. That went a few rounds and then it got dropped.

    SoD’s post is thought-provoking. I agree with much of what he wrote. But I can think of better reasons to not use “denier” which don’t have anything to do with Hitler and also don’t pander to their idiotic conspiracy theories and multiple persecution complexes. I never in a million years would have made that connection in the first place.

  39. Joshua says:

    Tol says:

    ==> “SoD’s language signals his intellectual superiority, a bad start to any conversation.”

    I commented at SoD about how his opening gambit:

    ==> “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. …It’s heartbreaking to read about the war and to read about the Holocaust. Words fail me to describe the awfulness of that regime and what they did.”

    Reminds me of Ridley’s gambit that he’s commenting on climate change as someone who has long been a promoter of truthful science, as if to distinguish himself from those who disagree with him (in a non-pejorative way, of course, because if he did so pejoratively then it would mean that he’s lost the argument).

    SoD’s rhetoric looks to me like a gambit that is saying that his view on the use of the term “denier” is a direct outgrowth of knowledge of and concern about the holocaust. I don’t doubt the sincerity of SoD’s views on the holocaust, but obviously it is quite possible to know and be concerned about the holocaust and still not be concerned about the use of “denier” in the climate wars.

    So unless I’m reading it wrong, I think that Tol might actually have made a reasonable point, and that the point he made might not be so easily aligned with his typical orientation as a climate warrior.

  40. guthrie says:

    I think Tol has a point, but we’re talking about someone who is so intellectually superior they regularly make obtuse points, argue against straw men and always leave you with the feeling that they think they are wonderful, yet actually insecure. Secure people don’t wander the internet picking fights whenever their name is mentioned.

  41. Tom Curtis says:

    I have two things to say about SoD’s post:

    1) Ignorance of the relevant scientific theory and related maths is not sound grounds to reject the theory. It follows that SoD’s argument is wrong headed. If people reject the science out of ignorance, then they are in fact deniers.

    2) No matter how erudite SoD is on history (which remains entirely unproven), and how erudite on science (which he certainly is); neither subject has any bearing on etymology, on which subject he is offering his uninformed opinion. The term “denier” has a history in English longer than modern English has existed. It is a word very easily understood by construction by anybody with reasonable knowledge of English. That is why the term “holocaust denier” was coined in the first place – ie, because people would understand what was meant by “denier” without need of explanation. That same ease of construction means that the term can and has been used in similar contexts entirely unrelated to holocaust denial starting with the title of the Apostle Peter, ie, Peter the denier, and will be used long into the future in similar contexts with no reference to holocaust denial implicit in the term.

    It is the attempts by deniers, and now SoD to tie the term exclusively to “holocaust denial” to prevent the use of a perfectly appropriate descriptor that use the suffering of the holocaust victims for tawdry rhetorical gain. Not the other way round.

  42. It has been a subtle shift but SoD has been veering towards a more fair-and-balanced schtick, especially in terms of giving free-reign in his comments section to the pseudo-science crowd.

    My opinion is akin to what somebody recently tweeted — that allowing both sides on certain scientific topics is like having opposing food critics argue the merits of “dog-doodie yogurt”

  43. Brandon Gates says:

    Web, the frustrating thing about this is that it’s really not immediately obvious to our denier friends that they’re fans of frozen cat crap on a stick. Couching it in those terms goes right into the conspiracy feedback loop and thence to infinty plus three.

  44. Everett F Sargent says:

    Methinks SoD is just a little wee bit biased.

    “I’ve been a student of history for a long time and have read quite a bit about Nazi Germany and WWII. In fact right now, having found audible.com I’m listening to an audio book The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard Evans, while I walk, drive and exercise.”

    So in gaming the word “denial” in a word association sort of way:

    Psychologist: Denial
    SoD: Holocaust
    Sample size = 1

    Psychologist: Denial
    3% Noncensus: Holocaust (97% of the time), miscellaneous other words (3% of the time)
    Sample size >> 1E4

    Psychologist: Denial
    97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (<> 1E4

    So other than that there is a standard word definition for denial and formal psychological/psychiatric descriptions for denial (DSM-V), we can plainly see SoD’s kneejerk reaction given their current reading list. Oh, the ploy of using a complex description of climate science to ‘explain away’ those who might reject the science because it is ‘too complicated’ is a non sequitur, in my book, at least.

  45. Everett F Sargent says:

    Well, wordpress messed with part of my comment:

    “97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words ( 1E4”

    should be …

    97% Concensus: Climate (97% of the time), Science (~3% of the time) and miscellaneous other words (less-than-less-than 1% of the time)
    Sample size greater-than-greater-than 1E4

  46. verytallguy says:

    In which SoD demonstrates how to listen and respond to opposing views. Kudos.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94437

  47. vtg,
    Okay, that is impressive and rare. Kudos. Only wish more would be willing to acknowledge when they get something wrong in their posts.

  48. John Hartz says:

    Tom Curtis: Bravo!

    PS – Would you be willing to embellish your comment and transform it into a guest post on SkS?

  49. John Hartz says:

    Observation: This comment thread reminds me of an ESPN panel of experts dissecting the Super Bowl football (American) game on Monday morning. Perhaps there’s merit in the “Climateball” construct after all. (:

  50. I also never figured out why the Science Of Doom blog uses the word “Doom” in the title.

    Most environmentally-conscious types are sensitive about the tag Doomer attached to them. In particular, it’s essentially a slur to anyone analyzing oil depletion.

  51. WHT,
    I’m not sure, but I think SoD may have started as someone who was highly skeptical and thought the science was too doom laden. He, however, then proceeded through a process of genuine skepticism and clearly understands the science extremely well and writes some very thorough and informative posts.

  52. “I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

    Short memory.

  53. Everett F Sargent says:

    Kind of reminds me of this episode of South Park:

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

    “He explains to Token that, as a white person, he will never understand why Token is so upset by the word, and why it can make black people mad when a white person says it in any context. Token is finally satisfied that Stan gets that he does not get it, thus creating an understanding between them.”

    So I can see certain specific demographic groups being insulted by certain specific words.

    However, I don’t even remotely think that climate Deniers are either solely Jewish or African American, in the same way that those groups, are, well, those specific demographic groups.

    Hardcore climate Deniers are mostly old white males, there’s a certain specific pejorative term for whites used here in the Deep South, I use it a lot, and I’m an old white male. But that word does not have the same impact factor, by any means, as words associated with being owned or persecuted or systematically killed, specifically when applied to very specific demographic groups.

    In short, Climate Deniers don’t identify with each other BECAUSE of their race.

  54. Richard,

    “I’ve criticised both Rose and Ridley in the past, but have never said anything remotely offensive and have neither condoned nor encouraged any such attacks.”

    Short memory.

    Back it up, Richard [Mod: Unnecessary]

  55. [Mod : I said back it up! You do know what that means, don’t you? Now do so, or go away!]

  56. Steven Mosher says:

    The term denier is saving the planet.
    don’t give it up. the cause depends on it.

  57. Joshua says:

    Anyone using the term “denier” clearly doesn’t give a damn about the victims of the holocaust….not a single one.

    The only people who give a damn about the victims of the holocaust are those, like Judith Curry, who clutch pearls from their fainting couches about the deep, deep harm caused by the use of the term.

    Just think of how much further along we’d be in dealing with Climate change if only those AGW Lysenkoist, eugenicist, alarmist, Stalinist, poorchildreninafricastarving cultists would stop using the pejorative term “denier.”

    Oh, the humanity!!!1!1!!

  58. Windchasers says:

    I posted twice on that thread so far, not about the d-word but about the hidden premises and attitudes behind AGW skepticism. Psychology and epistemology are quite a bit more interesting than semantics.

    Honestly, I don’t care about the use of the d* word. It’s Climateball: it distracts from the real debate. So I use “skeptic” instead.

    If you’re getting into an argument about semantics, you’re letting yourself get sidetracked.

  59. Everett F Sargent says:

    So if Richard A. Muller was a Denier and is now no longer a Denier, would one say that Richard A. Muller is in Denierment (rhymes with retirement)?

  60. John Hartz says:

    One of the things about “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” is that no matter how many analysts are engaged and no matter how much analyis is prodcued, the score of the game never changes once the final whistle blows. In other words, I don’t see a lot of value in what’s being posted on this thread. Having said that, perhaps group venting has some value and is needed from time to time. I just hope it doesn’t become the norm for this website.

  61. eli says:

    Rejectionist hits all the boxes. People who simply do not deny but actively reject. Also obvious meaning for the terminally dense

  62. Lars Karlsson says:

    Here is some more Delingpole: “Why do I call them Eco Nazis? Because they ARE Eco Nazis”. Complete with a picture of Himmler, with caption “Himmler: he loved nature, furry animals and organic food”.

  63. pbjamm says:

    Guthrie right on the mark. No sooner is Tol mentioned than he arrives in a narcissistic attempt to make the conversation about himself (and I am falling for it!) by dropping a random comment with no support for his assertion. How predictable.

  64. From my experience SoD is not a worthwhile place to comment, IMO. Good comments get mixed in with pseudo-scientific assertions and it is apparently a breech of “etiquette” to call that stuff dog-doodie yogurt. I was shushed there last month for getting baited by the usual suspect.

  65. Willard says:

    Come on, guys. You play offense. They play defense. They are allowed to hold. You can’t:

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

    However, you play offense, which means you have the ball. Keep the ball moving forward. Let them do their touch down dances on their line of 20.

    Keep calm and play ClimateBall like gentlemen and gentlewomen.

  66. Dana

    The suggestion that I let stuff on BH, WUWT etc “go unchallenged” is ridiculous.

    I often respond to errors, criticisms, misunderstandings & misrepresentations from contrarians, and often in the actual forum where they are made, where they will actually be read by those who need to read them. (As opposed to shouting at a distance from the safety of some other blog).

    I realise that you (and possibly ATTP) think I’ve somehow been duped by David Rose into sticking up for him, but I think you’ve missed the point. The reason I highlighted his MoS article as an ‘own goal’ by green bloggers was not to defend him, but to point out that aggressive commentary & accusations of ‘denier’ etc just reflect badly on the side that’s making them (and, by common association, climate scientists, even if we’re not actually signed up to any particular agenda).

    Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.

    Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want. However, when the hostility and suspicion lead to scientists’ time and taxpayers’ money being wasted on dealing with things like FOI requests and other stuff then it starts to get a bit more real.

    Also I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant incidents, having to get the police involved on one occasion (and they took it seriously enough to track down the offending person) and also having to seek legal advice several times. (Incidentally, at least twice this was because of things coming from the ‘green’ side, so it’s not just contrarians who can cross the line).

    I think that climate scientists who get caught up in all this have every right to ask people to calm down the hostilities. It’s all very well having ‘hug a climate scientist’ day and the Climate Science Legal Defence Fund – both of which I’m supportive of, especially the former 😉 – but I can’t help feeling that there would probably be just a bit less need for both of these things if people just made more of an effort to tone things down rather than ramp them up.

    I’m certainly not saying that all this would go away if everyone stopped calling people ‘deniers’ or whatever. I’m sure there would still be stuff happening. However, I really don’t think it helps to keep fanning the flames.

    Just see the big picture, that’s all I’m asking.

  67. Willard says:

    Every ClimateBall player should use “contrarian”. Otters will learn, either vicariously, or the hard way.

    “Contrarian” just works:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

    Style matters.

  68. Everett F Sargent says:

    JH,

    What, you mean the game is over? So is the science settled? Who won?
    Has humanity become so civilized that no one is bullying anyone or calling them names?
    So SoD doing a Judith Curry (up is down than down is up, rinse, repeat, …) isn’t fascinating to you?
    SkS is only for true believers in the religion of climate science pron? Keith Kloor still does not have a Klue?

    You see, it goes something like this …

    There are the hardcore climate science deniers (think Fred Singer or Willard Anthony Watts), nothing will change that basic fact, they will go to their graves (of natural causes) being 110% (these go to 11) in full deniersville. They do not play nice, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Do we stoop down to level of the hardcore climate science deniers? No. But we do call them out for what they are. Deniers.

    If you think the general public really gives a hoot about climate science, then your American football analogy is apt, because they don’t, they all are already watching the next game.

  69. Willard says:

    Oh, and if you think I agree with Keith or even RichardB, see the comment over there:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/04/climate-communication-undermined-inflammatory-language/

    Keith can’t even get his history correct.

    ***

    More on labeling:

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

    I ought to write my Seven Strictures on Labeling one day. Just found my notes back.

    ***

    Just act like [Chill, W. – W]. See if I care.

  70. John Hartz says:

    Everett F. Sargent:

    You have completely missed my point and analogy. The “game” in this case is what’s been posted on the comment threads on SoD. No matter how much praticipants (ESPN analysts) on this thread slice and dice that game, it will change nothing.

    My personal goal is to help in whatever way I can to move the dial of public opinion on the need to take meaningful and timely aciton on mitigating climate change.

    My frustration about this thread and others like it is the amount of valuable time and energy that a bunch of very smart people spend discussing the banal. That time and energy could be better spent on more productive acitivites — in my opinion.

  71. Everett F Sargent says:

    RE: fanning the flames

    Truthers
    Birthers
    Partiers (Tea)
    Deniers (climate science)

    So Richard (can we get Richard Tol back, I much prefer his brand of humor), how do you think those ‘movements’ got started, perhaps it is, in large part, due to the Internets.

    Just, you know, sayin’

    [Mod : unnecessarily inflammatory]

  72. Richard B.,

    Also, and more importantly, the hostile nature of the discussion is hugely distracting from the real work (i.e.: doing the science) and off-putting to many of those who really should be joining the discussion – i.e.: working climate scientists.

    This may be true but I fail to see the relevance. There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile. Of course, there may be some examples where I could have done better, but that’s not quite the same as being hostile. In fact, one reason I may find this whole discussion somewhat annoying is that my whole intent was to try and remain civil and non-hostile and it had virtually no effect whatsoever on how I was treated.

    Most people who engage in the online climate discourse do so because it’s either a bit of a hobby or because it’s their job as a journalist. The rough-and-tumble is all just a bit of knockabout fun, and you can forget about it whenever you want.

    Yes, it’s all just a barrel of laughs for us non-actual-climate scientists.

    I’ll make the point that I was trying to make in the post again. I see far more people who object to “denier” associating it with the Holocaust, than I see people who use it doing so. I think it’s offensive to use an horrific event to try and score points against those with whom you disagree. I’m really impressed that SoD rowed back from what he said in his post, as I thought that that part of his post was appalling. If anything, what he did is what we need more of; we need more people to consider what their critics say and to change their position if it is warranted.

    I think that Ridley and Rose using extreme examples of verbal attacks to score points against their critics is also appalling. I’m not excusing these attacks, but I think it’s offensive to imply that this somehow reflects on those who have been criticising them. Have Rose or Ridley ever actually engaged with their critics. I’ve never seen them do so.

    We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.

    I’ll say something that I used to say more often. If I’ve ever said anything offensive or objectionable, or allowed anyone to do so in the comments, people can point this out and I’ll correct it. However, I’m not going to suddenly be less blunt in my criticism of some just because they don’t like it, especially given that they seem to be quite comfortable doing so themselves when they decide to criticise others.

  73. Joshua says:

    FWIW –

    ==> “There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing that I, or Dana, or anyone else who isn’t misrepresenting the science can do to reduce this hostility. I would even argue that what I write is not even particularly hostile.”

    Anders, I see a distinction between your approach to this discussions and that of Dana.

    And I think that this:

    ==> “We could stop the hostility almost overnight if Rose and Ridley thought more about what they were writing in their articles. We could stop it overnight if Montford and Watts actually thought a little about what they promote on their blogs and what they allow their commenters to say.”

    Is quite one-sided.

    The hostility in the climate wars is, I think, because folks on both sides are locked into an identity-oriented struggle. The resistance to let got of the label of “denier,” is, IMO, reflective of that struggle, just as are the laughable arguments made my Rose and Ridley and Watts and Montford and Curry, blah,blah, about what is causal for the level of hostility.

  74. Joshua,

    Is quite one-sided.

    I stand by that in the sense that I think it would reduce significantly if Watts and Montford stopped promoting the nonsense that they do on their site and moderated the comments more strongly. However, I’ll grant you that the denier label could go if that would really help. I don’t actually use it particularly often, so I have no issue with not using it myself. Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world and they would simply move on to trying to control the next bit of the narrative. Of course, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong.

  75. John Hartz says:

    Folks: It’s time to wake-up and smell the roses!

    If everyone who accepts the overwhelming body of scientific evidence about manmade climate change stopped uing the word “denier” tomorrow and started using the word “contrarion” insted, what do you think would happen?

    Here’s what I predict would happen.

    The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them. Perhaps they would claim it connotes the onset ofr early dimentia. Who knows what they would come up with.

    The folk in Deniersville are waging a propganda war. They will do anything and everything in their power to preserve BAU. There is lttle to be gained in engaging them in a serious discussion of any sort.

  76. Joshua says:

    ==> ” Of course, my gut feeling is if that did happen it would be seen as a success by the Watts and Montfords of this world.”

    Personally, I wouldn’t care. They might think it was a “victory,” but as you say they’d just move on to some other bullshit. In the real world, the use of the word or the lack thereof is, IMO, meaningless. I don’t understand why some “realists” seem to think that them thinking they’ve had a “victory” that is actually meaningless, matters in the real world. Just because they would think they had some kind of victory wouldn’t make it so.

    I don’t think that letting go of the term would make any real difference, but I also think that resistance to letting go of the term is more reflective of tribalism rather than a rational approach to moving the discussion forward.

  77. Everett F Sargent says:

    OK, so I thought that, if only we could come up with one word to ‘label’ or ‘brand’ or ‘stain’ the hardcore climate science D-word, what would that word be, other than the D-word?

    Oops, there I go stereotyping others. We need a marketing campaign.

    Well anyways, it might have to be a totally new word, it would have to go viral and be an internet meme, kind of like the Santorum neologism. Or it could be an anagram of (an) existing (word) words. Problem is, we would need a new buzzword now.

    If not a new word, than an old word, like dissident or refusenik (oops) or insurgent or recusant or heretic or apostate or paynim (oops) or cretin or …

    Problem is, that no matter what you call them, they’re bound to complain.

    So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.

    Unless, of course, you all want to be ‘branded’ an appeaser like Neville Chamberlain.

    It’s like this whole D-word thing is one big cons piracy thing devolving into Godwin’s Law.

    😦

  78. izen says:

    @-eli
    “Rejectionist hits all the boxes. People who simply do not deny but actively reject. Also obvious meaning for the terminally dense”

    Agree, I avoid using ‘climate denier’ unless I know the recipient will be very offended, annoyed and provoked, and that is the response I want.
    Rejectionists is my prefered term, although ridiculous, moronic idiotic and suffering from self-imposed ignorance would all be accurate adjectival modifiers that can be appropriately applied.

  79. Willard says:

    > What would that word be, other than the D-word?

    Contrarian:

    http://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

    It just works.

    There might even be a correlation, e.g.:

  80. Everett F Sargent says:

    Caller Steve: Whatever side says ‘oh, well, the debate’s settled, we’re not going to debate anymore’, if I was on the side that I felt like I was armed with live ammo and the other side was armed with blanks, I’d want to debate every chance I got just so I could beat ‘em every single time.

    WHO radio host Jan Michelsen: Yes! And if they’re ducking discussion, that usually means they’re not up for the task, or they don’t want to acknowledge that anybody disagrees with them, and usually the people who are in authority, the people who have won and captured the flag or the funding streams do not want to risk the ‘buffet’, they don’t want to risk the money trails by even allowing people to question whether they’re proceeding on the basis of sound science.

    Willard Anthony Watts: Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore, Katherine Hayhoe, etc. are the ones armed with blanks and they know it, they flee from debate and they flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked.

    Me: WTFUWT?

  81. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I propose that all of the people who are currently called ‘climate change deniers’, whether or not they deny anthropogenic climate change or are in denial about it, should henceforth be called ‘climate change Americans’, whether or not they are American.

    Not a perfect solution but fewer people would be miscategorized – and of course not even the most dyed-in-the-wool ‘American’ would be able to complain about Holocaust allusions.

  82. Gator says:

    They were deniers before anyone ever called them that; and they will continue to be deniers even if everyone decided not to call them that anymore. When they stop personally attacking scientists they can start complaining about terms.

  83. ligne says:

    Everett: and Then There’s Duane Gish. i can only echo your “WTFUWT?”, with some “what is this i can’t even” for good measure.

  84. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

    So, there is a certain orthodoxy in warmunist thinking.

    Kind of like water off a duck’s back.

    I actually like being called the D-word. Doing the conformist thing is not my style. 🙂

  85. Steven Mosher says:

    “So, I’m back to square one, the D-word.”

    Yup me too. I called them doubters from day one

  86. JCH says:

    Does anybody know when the first claim that “denier” was an intentional reference to Holocaust denial first appeared in the climate debate?

  87. Brandon Gates says:

    John Hartz,

    The folk in Deniersville would immediately find some reason why the word “contraion” is insulting to them.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests you are correct. I use “contrarian” exclusively at WUWT in lieu of their preferred “skeptic” and for a time dbstealey took exception to it. Observations elsewhere on this thread that the barrel of red herring is bottomless and overflowing are on the money. It doesn’t matter what tone we use, what labels we use, how much butt we kiss or kick — they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride. They’re holding an all but empty bag which they erroneously think is chock-full of great stuff. What else would we expect?

  88. Willard says:

    > I’ve been called the D-word so many times, that I’ve truly lost count long ago.

    I feel ya, Everett. The always nuanced Greg Laden recently added me to his Twitter list of deniers since I dared ask him to own his schtick regarding the Soon petition:

    http://gregladen.com/blog/2015/01/willie-soon-fire-him-soon/

  89. Willard says:

    > they’re going to find a way to doubt, dodge, distract and deride.

    Then we might as well call them [insert your favorite redacted word].

    Judy’s Denizens have yet to find something against “contrarian” after a few years now.

    “Denizens” ain’t bad either.

  90. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    Yes, I saw that one, GL can really appear to be clueless at times. Been there, done that.

  91. John Hartz says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    Global warming slowdown: No systematic errors in climate models, Phys.org,, Feb 2, 2015

  92. dhogaza says:

    [Mod: This comment has been removed by the moderator]

  93. John Hartz says:

    Much to the chagrin of the folk in Deniersville, science is not static…

    Study unravels mystery of Antarctic sea ice by Jamie Morton, New Zealand Herald, Feb 4, 2015

  94. Brandon Gates says:

    Willard, pretty much yes. When I’m moved to use a label it’s pretty much about what makes me feel good, just as surely as they obviously relish calling me a “warmunist”, or referring to properly skeptical scientists as “climastrologists”. I’m generally amused by such clever coinages, going so far as to use them to refer to myself. Interesting that [Mod: Judith’s] Denizens haven’t balked at “contrarian”. I think that’s some pretty good Climateball right there.

  95. OPatrick says:

    Richard Betts:

    The suggestion that I let stuff on BH, WUWT etc “go unchallenged” is ridiculous.

    No, it’s not ‘ridiculous’. It may be wrong, you might feel you can legitimately argue your case, but it certainly isn’t a ridiculous accusation. Given that the rest of your comment was about the importance of not fanning the flames with incendiary language I thought the use of ‘ridiculous’ here stood out. I wonder how often you describe reasonable, though incorrect, arguments as ‘ridiculous’ at sites like BH?

  96. Everett F Sargent says:

    OK, so someone (JCH) asked up thread about the earliest reference to The Holocaust and AGW/ACC/ACD Denial (can’t guarantee this is the earliest though):

    Catton, W.R. Jr. (1996). ‘The problem of denial’, Human Ecology Review, 3(1): 53–62.
    http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/Thoc/Readings/Catton_Denial.pdf
    http://www.greatchange.org/ov-catton,denial.html
    (note that the date 1994 on the PDF is wrong as well as the reference)
    http://www.humanecologyreview.org/31abstracts.htm#catton

    From page 11:

    In many instances, perhaps, denial may express a vested interest. But
    there are common occurrences of denial in other life contexts. In
    American Holocaust, Stannard (1982) presented what a catalog blurb for
    the book called “A devastating portrait of the death, disease, misery, and
    apocalyptic destruction experienced by American Indians during the
    centuries after 1492.” The pre-European inhabitants of this continent did
    indeed experience those woes, yet most European-descended Americans
    today tend not to think about the Indians’ plight. Further, it is possible to
    be so committed to reserving the term “holocaust” for another particular
    disaster that one objects to its use in the title of a book about American
    Indians. Katz (1994) has argued that “the Holocaust” is a singular event in
    human history and the only example of true genocide.

    And yet, remarkably, there was frequent resort to denial by survivors of
    that World War II, Nazi-inflicted Holocaust (Salamon, 1994). It appears
    that fear of ostracism by a society disinterested in what had transpired in
    those death camps caused many survivors to avoid speaking about what
    they had experienced. Denial, said the paper reporting this, “is considered
    one of the least mature defense mechanisms. Yet, it is the one most often
    employed when stressors are the most overwhelming.”

    So there you have it, sort of, remembering that in Deniersville up IS down, then using that illogical frame of mind, the words above are seen as:

    Holocaust Deniers = Climate Science Deniers

    😦

  97. Willard says:

    JCH,

    Les Johnson has tried to cover-up for Keith’s imprecision by linking to this list at Pop’s:

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/02/skeptics-smeared-as-holocaust-deniers.html

    [Mod: edit]

    More than 100 comments at Keith’s.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2015/02/04/climate-communication-undermined-inflammatory-language/

    Sometimes, ClimateBall players need to pick their fights.

  98. Joshua says:

    Not sure it’s possible to describe the sanctimony any better than Keith Kloor does himself:

    kkloor Mod DavidAppell • 10 hours ago
    You don’t see it because you’re in d.nial, plain and simple.

    Although Judith Curry does give it a shot:

    curryja | October 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm | ReplyYes, they confuse extreme weather events as being caused by anthropogenic global warming. I would call them extreme weather d*niers – they seem to be in d*nial that these are caused naturally.

    It’s really hilarious how obviously transparent they are.

  99. Jim Hunt says:

    Somewhat belatedly I thought I might bring to the attention of the assembled throng that I’m currently pursuing the perpetrators of the MoS article referenced in the OP, with all due hostility, through the UK’s shiny new “Independent” Press Standards Organisation. This will be on the grounds of “inaccurate and/or misleading” science rather than “hostility” per se:

    Any chance of a retweet or three?

  100. Joshua,
    Yes, amazing that somehow denial/denier is fine in certain contexts (i.e., when those who complain about it decide that they want to use it). “Pause denier” is another common one. I also noticed that Keith Kloor managed to reduce polarisation by calling you a troll on SoD’s post.

  101. Willard says:

    In his next editorial, Keith might raise concerns regarding the connotations of “alarmist”:

    Alarmists have called for skeptics to face Nuremburg trials, go to prison, ad absurdium. Alarmists have killed their children and then themselves in a chilling echo of Jonestown. Alarmists have committed suicide by cop at the Discovery Channel headquarters. They trash archaeological treasures, agitate against cheap energy for the poor in South Africa and tell skeptics ‘we know where you live.’ The issue is serious enough to warrant comparison with what happened in Paris, if not exactly the same.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/107946916374

  102. Willard says:

    Speaking for myself, I rather like the connotation of “scum”:

    Tobis is scum. You’re worse.

    https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/im-not-charlie-but-i-still-dont-like-what-michael-mann-did/comment-page-1/#comment-6484

    What would be worse than scum?

  103. Joshua says:

    Keith really got into calling me a troll when I started pointing out that his name-calling in the context of GMOs was probably sub-optimal and perhaps even counter-productive.

    I could be mistaken, but I think that “loon” was his pejorative label of choice.

    ‘Cause, you know, it’s so much more useful than “denier.”

  104. What would be worse than scum?

    I have a vague recollection of a – possibly apocryphal – story about Earl Mountbatten’s ship being sunk during WWII. Supposedly, when he finally got to the surface, there was already a junior seaman floating in the water near him, who turned to him and said “funny how the scum always rises to the top first”.

  105. jsam says:

    I comment.
    You troll.
    He/she presents strawmen.
    We comment.
    You troll.
    They present strawmen.

    The faux outrage over “d-nier” is quite sad, really. The denialists would like to be called “skeptics” despite not being skeptical. They try and construe that being called a d-nier is to equate them with the holocaust. Wrong. There are holocaust d-niers, relativity d-niers, evolution d-niers, vaccine d-niers. D-niers come in many flavours.

    The best way to stop being labelled as one is to stop acting as one.
    http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/science-deniers-false-equivalency-pretend-debate/

  106. Willard says:

    Of course it is, Joshua: could you trace back the provenance of “loon” to WWII?

    Wait:

    http://www.loonwatch.com/tag/holocaust-denial/

    A nice URL, if you ask me.

  107. Willard says:

    If you don’t want to get sued, it’s better not to mention navy stories, AT:

  108. Everett F Sargent says:

    Willard,

    RE: Kieth Kloor Korps

    Well this Wikipedia talk page has 30 archives dating to 2007:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Climate_change_denial

    30/(2015 – 2007) = 3.75 archives per year

    While this talk page only has 18 archives dating to 2002:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Holocaust_denial

    18/(2015 – 2002) = 1.38 archives per year

    Something about being over the target and taking flak comes to mind (can’t remember the exact idiom).

  109. Willard says:

    Could “troll” be traced back to Holocaust denial?

  110. John Hartz says:

    The current print edition of Newsweek magazine contains the following article. The picture it pants is horrific from more than one perspective.

    Why Hitchcock’s Film on the Holocaust Was Never Shown

  111. Joshua says:

    You know what? I’m terribly, terribly upset.

    Because Keith Kloor has used a term to describe me that in standard usage is a label for a group of people who live under bridges AND EAT CHILDREN!

    He’s trivializing the EATING OF CHILDREN!

    Oh, the humanity.

  112. Willard says:

    Ernst Zündel is getting furious over associations with James Inhofe.

    Holocaust denial might be a bit more sophisticated than SoD and Keith seem to presume.

  113. Joshua says:

    Something I find interesting that I posted about over at SoD.

    I wonder if SoD has often, if ever, been called a “denier.” ‘Cause most of what I see, he’s treated pretty damn respectfully by “realists” even though he is skeptical about the “consensus” view of the climate’s sensitivity to ACO2 emissions.

    If my sense is right, and he isn’t often called a “denier,” could that be because: (1) he’s knowledgeable about the science and, (2) he doesn’t engage in pejorative labeling himself.

    Or, (assuming my sense is right) are their other reasons why his skepticism is generally respected by “realists?”

    Perhaps well-informed and non identity-aggressive/identity defensive skepticism is viewed with at least some measure of respect by “realists?”

    That kind of blows the whole “skeptics” and “lukewarmers” position right out of the water – doesn’t it?

    And just in case….I think that using the term “denier” reflects poor reasoning and I think that it is juvenile to try to justify the name-calling on either side by saying that “they did it first.”

  114. Joshua says:

    FYI – I’ve been corrected by SoD –

    I’m not skeptical of the value.

    I’m skeptical of the certainty, the confidence and the statistical significance often cited, especially by the IPCC executive summary (although I can cite not just papers referenced in the IPCC chapters but sometimes the text of various IPCC chapters as at least support from some parts of “consensus climate science” for most positions that I believe).

    There’s more interesting stuff in his response:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/02/04/the-holocaust-climate-science-and-proof/#comment-94594

  115. Joshua,
    Personally, I had no idea that SoD had come into this topic from what one might call the pseudo-skeptic side of the “debate”. I just used to read his post to clarify some aspects of the science. I only found this out when this was pointed out to me, but – IMO – it doesn’t really matter because his post are typically very good.

  116. Willard says:

    Tracing this back to AGW contrarianism remains an open problem:

    These are among numerous unsettling implications of the “just-world hypothesis”, a psychological bias explored in a new essay by Nicholas Hune-Brown at Hazlitt. The world, obviously, is a manifestly unjust place: people are always meeting fates they didn’t deserve, or not receiving rewards they did deserve for hard work or virtuous behaviour. Yet several decades of research have established that our need to believe otherwise runs deep. Faced with evidence of injustice, we’ll certainly try to alleviate it if we can – but, if we feel powerless to make things right, we’ll do the next best thing, psychologically speaking: we’ll convince ourselves that the world isn’t so unjust after all.

    Hence the finding, in a 2009 study, that Holocaust memorials can increase antisemitism. Confronted with an atrocity they otherwise can’t explain, people become slightly more likely, on average, to believe that the victims must have brought it on themselves.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/oliver-burkeman-column/2015/feb/03/believing-that-life-is-fair-might-make-you-a-terrible-person

  117. Joseph says:

    I personally prefer “skeptics” because that also leaves open what “skeptic” really means and whether they really are skeptics.. I tend to agree with those who say it is not constructive to use the term even if it is true (and most cases it probably is). But after all this is an internet message board so none of what is said here really matters beyond this little bubble so I don’t really care one way or another about it.

  118. Joshua says:

    Joseph –

    Yup.

  119. andrew adams says:

    Jim Hunt,

    Yeah, amidst all the discussion of Rose’s spurious victim-playing the fact that his article contains a number of highly dubious claims about climate science hasn’t got too much attention. This one for example is an out and out lie

    leaked emails showed university scientists were trying to cover up data that suggested their claim the world is hotter than at any time in the past 1,300 years may be wrong.

    Good luck with your efforts with IPSO anyway.

  120. Joseph,

    But after all this is an internet message board so none of what is said here really matters beyond this little bubble so I don’t really care one way or another about it.

    Yes, it’s probably good to be reminded of this every now and again.

  121. John Hartz says:

    I suggest that we’ve gummed the upsides and downsides of the use of “denier” to death on this comment thread. It’s time to move on to topics that have impacts beyond the blogosphere.

    Here’s yet another example of an extremely important consequence of manmade climage change…

    Opponents of action to mitigate climate change often suggest that regulation could have a negative impact on jobs. But such a view may diminish the importance of other factors and obscure a fuller understanding of the big picture.

    To accurately assess climate change mitigation activities, stakeholders need to consider other benefits, too. For instance, lower emissions could produce savings in the form of lower health care costs, reductions in premature death and greater well-being.

    In a recent study published in Climatic Change, we examined the potential health care savings from reducing greenhouse gas emissions through different CO2-reduction activities in the United States. We found the reduction in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution that would accompany such activities could result in fewer health problems, potentially saving between $6 billion and $14 billion in health care costs in 2020, depending on the activity pursued. That’s $40 to $93 in health care savings per metric ton of CO2 reduction.

    Health Benefits of Addressing Climate Change by Ramya Chari, Jeffery B. Greenblatt Dev Millsttein, and Kritiew L. Ebi, Newsweek, Feb 4, 2015

  122. Everett F Sargent says:

    In keeping with Godwin’s Law, I think we need another Der Untergang video …

  123. Rachel M says:

    Joshua,

    I wonder if SoD has often, if ever, been called a “denier.” ‘Cause most of what I see, he’s treated pretty damn respectfully by “realists” even though he is skeptical about the “consensus” view of the climate’s sensitivity to ACO2 emissions.

    There are too many words and I’m having problems keeping up. Who are the “realists” again?

  124. Jim Hunt says:

    @Andrew – Nothing slips past us! I just had another long chat to IPSO, who recommend proceeding using our initial complaint about Rose’s previous article containing similarly shoddy science (SSS for short. In the current context SS would be open to misinterpretation!) regarding global mean surface temperatures.

    We will add your suggestion to our bulleted list of Rose’s blunders (BLRB for short). I’ve been phoning round Exeter University all afternoon (GMT) trying to find a public spirited expert statistician who’ll answer their phone, but no luck so far. Is there such a thing in these hallowed halls?

    Thanks also for your good wishes. I feel sure we’ll need all the luck we can muster!

  125. Joshua says:

    Rachel –

    I use the labels of “skeptics” and “realists”‘ as broad descriptors of the two “sides” of the great climate change divide. My reasoning is:

    I use realist and skeptic because I think the labels are non-offensive. I have seen each side use those terms to describe themselves – so I think that each side, respectively, considers them accurate terms. But:

    I have seen realistic “skeptics”
    unrealistic “skeptics”
    skeptical “skeptics”
    unskeptical “skeptics”
    realistic “realists”
    unrealistic “realists”
    skeptical “realists”
    unskeptical “realists”

    So I add the quotation marks to give a connotation that I don’t actually know whether in any case the terms should be considered putative. .

    Basically, what Joseph says here:

    “I personally prefer “skeptics” because that also leaves open what “skeptic” really means and whether they really are skeptics..”

    except applied to both sides.

  126. Joshua,
    What do you mean by “sides”? 🙂

  127. Joshua says:

    Be careful. I just might write a 2,000 word comment to explain. 🙂

  128. Joseph says:

    If I am on a “side” I guess it would be on the one that generally accepts the consensus science position on climate change. I don’t know what term could be applied to it though. As opposed to those on the “skeptical” side who generally reject the consensus position.

  129. John Hartz says:

    Red Alert!

    Thousands of WordPress sites affected by zero-day exploit – ZDNet

  130. Rachel M says:

    That doesn’t affect any sites on WordPress.com, John Hartz.

  131. Bonjour ou bonsoir

    La politesse et l’éducation se perdent. Quel dommage ! Politeness and education are vanishing. What is a pity ! (And my English is becoming also out of order).
    I appreciate your conclusions “People are not responsible for how someone responds to what they say, they’re only responsible for what they actually say.” And reading a lot about climate change, I share “… should probably assume that they don’t have the intellect to engage in discussions about a complex topic”.
    This discussion looks like the one about nuclear power energy in France, with often “hostilities” more than arguments.
    Have a nice and fruitful, not too hostile, debate.

    arnaud

  132. Pingback: Face to face – Stoat

  133. Steven Mosher says:

    “In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]”

    Joshua need to own that he often engages in trollish behavior.
    Willard to.
    Ya, I’m probably trolling. its fun. sometime instructive.
    In some cases Joshua’s trollish behavior is instructive. there are good times to be disruptive and bad times.

    The easiest way to spot a troll is by looking at people reactions.. not what the troll actually does.
    For example, you can post on topic and still troll. and you can post on topic and troll.

  134. Marco says:

    In the meantime, talking about hostilities, we have Andrew Weaver winning a case against the National Post and Financial Post in Canada:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B64ikvlCBaNnWVFuMTM1eEFiV2s/edit

  135. Willard says:

    > The easiest way to spot a troll is by looking at people reactions.

    This suffices to show “deliberate intent” (as opposed to non-deliberate?), no doubt.

    Then the easiest way to create trolls is to rip off one’s shirt. A recipe:

    1. Provoke the target, say by saying “you’re a liar”.
    2. When the target responds, say by requesting evidence, rip off your shirt.
    3. Since 2, feel justified to cry out “troll!”
    4. Since 3, delete the newly created troll’s contributions.
    5. Since 3, ban the newly created troll.

    Examples upon request.

  136. Willard,
    Is that related to your recent Groundskeeper Willie exchanges?

  137. MikeH says:

    Joshua.

    I have no issue with SOD’s comment that you linked to. I would happily describe him as a genuine skeptic. He sticks to the science and as he as shown, is willing to change his mind. The pseudo-skeptics including the self-styled lukewarmers approach climate science with a pre-existing political view opposed to carbon mitigation and they will use any and all means including actively denigrating and misrepresenting climate science, the evidence and the scientists to achieve their political objectives. That is what makes them pseudo-skeptics, not because they may be like SOD skeptical of “the certainty, the confidence and the statistical significance [of climate sensitivity] often cited, especially by the IPCC executive summary”. **

    e.g. in that comment SOD indicates that he is skeptical that more computing power and higher resolution models will bring any more clarity to the issue of sensitivity. James Hansen is even more emphatic – “Climate sensitivity will never be defined accurately by models”. SOMG, p44

    ** Though I am not sure where SOD sees “the certainty, the confidence” in a range of 1.5-4.5ºC.

  138. Joshua says:

    Heh-

    “In Internet slang, a t-word (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]”

    I have my own version of Ridley’s law: If you try to win an argument on a dictionary definition, you’ve probably lost the argument. Language is a living entity. The house that it lives in is context. Plucking out a word out of context, substituting a dictionary definition, and then trying to force that definition back into the context is fallacious.

    What does “sow discord” mean when people are having an open discussion to explore viewpoints? How does one avoid “upsetting people” by expressing a point of view? How does one “[start] an argument” by expressing a viewpoint in an open discussion of viewpoints? What does it mean to be “inflammatory” if you express a strong viewpoint in one direction in a discussion where many are expressing strong viewpoints in various other directions? What is an “online community?” How does expressing a viewpoint become having the deliberate attempt of “provoking readers into an emotional response?” How do you judge the emotionality of someone’s online blog comment? What is “normal on-topic discussion?

    A T-word can be a T-word. A T-word can be someone who expresses minority views (forcefully).

    T-words are created.

    Show me, in context, where you think I have been a “T-word” and then show me the reasoning behind that conclusion.

    If I cared, I could probably express my views w/o being called a T-word. This is like who gets “censored” or who gets banned. I think that usually, if someone wants to express their views w/o getting “censored” or banned, or being called a T-word they could do so.

    But I get called a T-word, just as folks on the other side of the great climate change divide get called a “T-word” (or banned or “censored”) by people who don’t like my opinions. The assignation of the label is arbitrary – not in the sense of being random, but in the sense of being based on selective use of criteria, in the sense of being subjective.

  139. Joshua,

    I have my own version of Ridley’s law: If you try to win an argument on a dictionary definition, you’ve probably lost the argument.

    You certainly see this kind of nit-picking, pedantry. What I’ve also found are those who seem to think that the dictionary is only some kind of guide as to the meaning of a word. If they want to accuse you of having done something, they can do so by changing the definition of the word that describes what you’ve supposedly done, to match what you’ve actually done. It could be regarded as quite clever. Personally, I would call it deceitful.

  140. Joshua says:

    Here’s an interesting example.

    Does Monfort try to start arguments, are his comments inflammatory, does he try to “upset” people, are his comments “on-topic,” does he try to provoke emotional responses, does he try to disrupt “normal” conversation?

    Is Don a t-word? If so, do people call him a t-word?

    Are t-words born or are they created?

  141. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    You will almost always find that they pick through the different definitions to find the one that supports their argument about the meaning of a word, and ignore the other definitions that explain other connotations.

    If you want to tell someone what you mean by a word, tell them what you mean by that word.

  142. If you want to tell someone what you mean by a word, tell them what you mean by that word.

    Similarly if you tell someone what you meant by a word and it’s a valid meaning and fits within the context you used it, you’d like to think they’d accept your meaning and not the one they decided to ascribe to you (for example : “education” does not imply “totalitarianism”).

  143. Jim Hunt says:

    @Andrew – Regarding Rose’s petulant victim playing, tis also well worth reading!

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/the-science-of-the-david-rose-climate-of-hate-self-interview/

    Skipping over all the (merely rhetorical?) self-pity, let’s move on to the climate science, such as it is!

  144. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    ==?> “Similarly if you tell someone what you meant by a word and it’s a valid meaning and fits within the context you used it, you’d like to think they’d accept your meaning and not the one they decided to ascribe to you (for example : “education” does not imply “totalitarianism”).”

    Agreed. The best example being “denier” does not imply holocaust denier (if there is a valid alternate meaning and it fits the context) if that is not how you intended its meaning.

    That doesn’t mean, however, that you should ignore how others interpret your meaning. I think that people do have responsibility for engaging with how others interpret their intent. If someone is likely to interpret “denier” as being an analogy to a holocaust denier, and you call them a denier, then you need to accept that consequence. Some call that “political correctness” (and it’s amusing to watch “conservatives” whine incessantly about the lack of political correctness around the word “denier”) but I call it a simple reaction to cause and effect.

  145. Joshua says:

    jsam says it well above – although I disagree with some of the rest of the comment w/r/t “denier.”

    I comment.
    You troll.
    He/she presents strawmen.
    We comment.
    You troll.
    They present strawmen.

  146. dmcrob says:

    The very idea there is an online debate about climate is laughable. There is one the same way there is an online debate about evolution or whether the government is hiding alien technology in Area 51. Online is generally a group of vain conspiracy theorists trying to push their pet theories. The real debate is in the peer reviewed literature.

    Online you are never going to change the minds of the conspiracy theorists, all you can do is point their errors out and show others how to point them out. If the word denier helps reinforce their isolation from the mainstream of science then its very useful, if it simply makes it look like two sides of a real debate then it is not. How it makes them feel is totally irrelevant.

    The only reason these people have any influence is they are given a media platform by interested parties (Fox, Daily Mail, Telegraph etc). We are not winning or losing because of our conduct, we are winning or losing because the cranks are given an air of legitimacy by politically motivated media outlets.

  147. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: About moderation]

  148. dmcrob says:

    Denial is the first stage of the Kubler Ross model, it describes people who have an emotional rejection to the validity of every bit of climate science they do not like.
    “Your son is dead.” “No that cant be true”.
    “I am sorry Dad but you are an alcoholic.” “No I dont drink enough for that”.
    “We need to make cuts and your job is now surplus” “No but I am needed”.
    None of the above have anything to do with the Holocaust and yet all are someone in denial.

  149. Willard says:

    > Is that related to your recent Groundskeeper Willie exchanges?

    I’m calling time early. Willard, you’re banned and all your comments are going into the trash. Bye.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/110074456384

    By “time early,” GW meant 12 hours earlier than the ultimatum he sent me by email. GW broke his word. No honor. Should I write a book?

    At least the historical record has been set straight.

  150. John Hartz says:

    dmcrob: Well said.

    I would also add that the cranks also win by trapping us to engage in endless debates in the blogosphere that have virually no impact on what the majority of people think or do in the real world. Our time and energy is not limitless.

  151. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: About moderation]

  152. Willard says:

    > None of the above have anything to do with the Holocaust and yet all are someone in denial.

    Indeed, and the D word goes at least back to the denial of the Bible truth. I found an example where Tyndall himself was accused. It’s at Keith’s.

    However, there are two correct claims one can make regarding the use. First, lots of climate people explicitly associated AGW denial with Holocaust denial. Pop has a full list. The second is that this cultural phenomenon may connote a relationship between the two.

    The crucial question is: is it true that AGW denial is like H denial? I don’t know any analysis of the argumentative structure and content of the two. Why then expect there’s a relationship?

    The main function I see is that it conveys the idea that AGW denial is as silly as H denial. Is H denial so silly than we presume? Chomsky himself denies the Rwandan genocide:

    http://www.monbiot.com/2012/05/21/2181/

    I doubt Chomsky is a denier in the clinical sense, and usually he has solid arguments

    ***

    The first star at Keith’s goes to David Appell, who pulled out a dictionary definition to argue that “denier” did not “mean” H denial. When I pointed out that the operative word was “connote,” he claimed it was in my head. When I quoted Keith to prove it was not in my head, he said I was quoting Keith.

    ClimateBall works in strange ways

  153. Willard says:

    Oh, and MT has an interesting viewpoint:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-d-word-and-s-word.html

    ***

    [Mod: About moderation]

  154. Willard says:

    [Mod: About moderation]

  155. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: Please let’s not start this again]

  156. John Hartz says:

    [Mod: It was me, Rachel, who moderated your comment and I also moderated Willard’s which should make it fair. I don’t want another Willard/JH spat so please drop the subject. I’m going for a run now and if I come back to find more comments about this there’ll be trouble 🙂 ]

  157. BBD says:

    It’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye.

  158. BBD says:

    Rachel

    🙂

  159. John Hartz says:

    Rachel: Your wish is my command.

  160. John Hartz says:

    Rachel: Given that the title of this OP is “Hostilities”, aren’t all “spats” between commenters intrinsically on topic? (:

  161. Joshua says:

    To illustrate – just some of the definitions that mosher forgot to include in his cherry-pick:

    Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can.

    OMG!!!!1!!!!1 – think of all he poor “innocent by-stander[s]”!!!!!1!!!!!!!

    a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.

    Now mosher has shown some stalkerish behavior towards me (seeking out and posting my last name online), but I don’t think that he knows where I live, my height, and what I look like (not saying that this couldn’t be a stopped clock-type situation in that regard).

    to fish for or in with a moving line, working the line up or down with a rod, as in fishing for pike, or trailing the line behind a slow-moving boat.

    Hmmm. I might just own up to that one as an analogy.

  162. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    Clearly a photoshop. Rachel would never wear that kind of helmet.


  163. The real debate is in the peer reviewed literature.

    Blogs are a good place to do American Journal of Physics style expository. No one confuses AJP with cutting-edge research but it is a place to come up with SIMPLER explanations of physics, in the hopes that students can understand the subject matter better.

    I try to do more of that style, because that was how I was taught to do physics in school.

    Peer-reviewed research does not use that approach as fundamental conceptual understanding is not the objective. Climate science tends to use pattern identification to root out empirical correlations, with the deeper meaning always left hanging.

    That’s why non-reviewed white papers such as what James Hansen periodically produces are so valuable. He is able to riff on the findings that peer-reviewed research can not.

  164. Rachel M says:

    BBD, 🙂

    Thanks, John.

  165. BBD says:

    Joshua

    Clearly a photoshop. Rachel would never wear that kind of helmet.

    Not only are you right about the hat (so last season), but I think it’s the wrong colour of squirrel 🙂

  166. John Hartz says:

    When I think of Rachel, I envision a lioness, not a squirrel.

  167. Joshua says:

    Plus a much larger bazooka.

  168. Joseph says:

    I actually would like to know whether people on the skeptical side really think people the who use the term are “trying” to equate the it with holocaust denial or is it that they just don’t like the term because it is somewhat condescending and use the holocaust association to stop its use. I think it is ludicrous to associate the two as has already been pointed out here, so the latter is probably true.

  169. Rachel M says:

    I think the size of my bazooka is a bit personal to be discussed on a blog 🙂

  170. Maybe we should stop talking about people’s bazooka’s and maybe we could move any discussion about labelling onto Richard Bett’s guest post that’s just been published 🙂

  171. Joseph says:

    Well she had a cap on in the bike picture, right Rachel?. No camouflage though 🙂

  172. Joseph says:

    RightI didn’t see that post when I made that comment.. Anyway..

  173. Joshua says:

    Rachel – 5:05 pm 🙂

  174. Joseph,
    No problem, only just been posted.

  175. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: When I saw the title of your new OP, my inner voice started to sing, “Keep those doggies moving, Rawhide!”

  176. henry53 says:

    [Mod : edited for consistency]
    Better get over to WUWT and defend yourself! Those guys are going nuts right now about this post. =\

  177. John Hartz says:

    [Mod : Let’s keep it on topic.]

  178. Jim Hunt says:

    @Henry – Can you see my comment about my CV over there yet?

    @Anders – Why indeed?!

  179. jeremyp99 says:

    [Mod : Not interested. Anyone who sends me an insulting email complaining about my tone, doesn’t get to comment here. It’s hard enough interacting with those who don’t understand a complex topic like climate science, without also having to interact with those who don’t understand the concept of irony. Ohhh, and I’m NOT a public servant. Try being informed, rather than just opinionated.]

  180. Since my now moderated incivility seems to have been highlighted and justifiably criticised, and in the interests of putting it behind me (fat chance, probably 🙂 ), I would like to apologise if anyone was offended. I also apologise to Richard Tol if he was offended (although his apparently gleeful highlighting of the incident would seem to suggest otherwise). On the other hand, if he does wish to comment here again, he should at least back up his apparent claim that I have indeed said, encouraged, or condoned offensive things aimed at Matt Ridley or David Rose. Under the standard definition of offensive, I don’t believe that I have.

  181. Jim Hunt says:

    Anders – Since you mention Mr. Rose, do you have any comment to make at this juncture?

    et. seq.

    http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/02/a-letter-to-the-editor-of-the-mail-on-sunday/

  182. Jim,
    Yes, I did notice that. There’s also this one

    Maybe Anthony Watts could highlight this lack of civility although maybe he only does that when you claim to be Trying – and sometimes failing – to keep the discussion civil. I have a feeling I’ll never quite live down that choice of tagline 🙂

  183. Jim Hunt says:

    Anders – I would suggest that avenue of attack to Anthony myself. The only problem is that my most recent (and extremely civil) message to him still hasn’t made it as far as “Awaiting moderation” 😦

  184. Rachel M says:

    Maybe Anthony Watts could highlight this lack of civility although maybe he only does that when you claim to be Trying – and sometimes failing – to keep the discussion civil.

    No, he only highlights it when people he disagrees with are uncivil. He’s showing his biases and also promoting a double standard.

    But having said that, I’d be happy to create a new tagline for you if you want 🙂

  185. Rachel,
    I actually thought of changing it to this

    likhipa inhlanzi emanzini

    I can’t remember though if my understanding of this phrase is correct or not, so maybe I should post it somewhere and see if one of my more informed commenters recognises it and understands it the way I do.

  186. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Try this one on for size:

    Trying!

  187. Rachel M says:

    I don’t know what that means. Google translate says it’s Zulu for “to produce the fish in the water”. It also comes up in Google searches for your thread with the title “Things I thought were obvious”.

  188. Rachel,
    It is Zulu. My memory is that it’s actually more like “The fish are jumping out of the water” and it’s meant to be a metaphor meaning that it’s so hot, that even the fish are jumping out of water. There, I’ve given it away. It seems apt, though, given the topic of the blog. However, I’m not sure if I’m right or not, so maybe someone else will know and correct me if not, or confirm it if so.

  189. Pingback: 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #6

  190. deminthon says:

    [Mod: Inflammatory]

  191. deminthon says:

    “Chomsky himself denies the Rwandan genocide”

    That is radically untrue. Over and over again in that exchange, Chomsky notes that he is calling out genocide denial; nowhere does he deny any of the facts about Rwanda … nowhere does he say anything about Rwanda at all … that is the essential point of the whole exchange! His position, stated over and over, is that British and American intellectuals refuse to acknowledge their *own* genocide denial and that is what he is addressing, and he will not yield to the tu quoque fallacy thrown at him. As he wrote, his article “brought up colossal cases of genocide denial, vastly beyond anything that concerns you” — You may, like Monbiot, be critical of Chomsky for “deliberately ignoring a vast weight of evidence” — his rather loaded interpretation of Chomsky steadfastly refusing to make any definite claims about Rwanda that totally ignores what Chomsky said about his motivations — but that is utterly inconsistent with the claim that he denies the Rwandan genocide! While Chomsky does not himself offer such claims, he does note what others claim: “whether the huge number slaughtered in Rwanda (Herman’s estimate is higher than yours) were mostly Hutu or mostly Tutsi” — so is Monbiot denying the Rwandan genocide because his estimate is lower? Or does that only apply to Herman because he doesn’t subscribe to the official black hat/white hat narrative? It seems you would have it that “Chomsky himself denies the Rwandan genocide” by merely allowing the thought of questioning that narrative!

    TL;DR: Prove it with a direct quote from Chomsky.

  192. deminthon says:

    [Mod: Thanks, I’ve read your comment and noted it. But it’s about moderation and so to be consistent, have removed it]

  193. Willard says:

    Deminthon,

    Here you go:

    All of that is incomparably more significant than the question of how many people Serbs “executed” at Srebrenica as distinct from killing them in combat (the issue between you and Herman, once your misquotation is corrected: and the fact is that you don’t know, he doesn’t know, and we will probably never find out) and whether the huge number slaughtered in Rwanda (Herman’s estimate is higher than yours) were mostly Hutu or mostly Tutsi.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2012/05/21/2181/

    Please don’t let me chase down comparable arguments regarding WWII.

  194. deminthon says:

    Yes, I quoted that already and commented on it. It OBVIOUSLY does not support your claim,

  195. deminthon says:

    “Please don’t let me chase down comparable arguments regarding WWII.”

    Perhaps you mean the arguments that of the 14 million non-combatants killed, the 6 million Jews were less than half. It would not be intellectually honest to call this “denial”.

  196. Willard says:

    > It OBVIOUSLY does not support your claim.

    So obvious you need to SHOUT it, deminthon.

    Noam’s argument, to be relevant in the discussion, presumes we’d need to have crisp numbers of deaths in Rwanda to call it a genocide. This, at the very least, implies Noam won’t call it a genocide before he has the numbers he requires. He states that we don’t have these numbers. Therefore, he denies we have enough evidence to call Rwanda a genocide, whathever he directly says or not about the genocide.

    This kind of argument is pervasive in all the cases of denial:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=LYIkAkBE7tsC&pg=PA238&lpg=PA238&dq=holocaust+denial+gypsies+homosexuals+russians&source=bl&ots=TwQoVDB2ls&sig=7DodBE2-1_8uIFEuzf3Cm6BDteY&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=mZzbVL2PJ838yQTm64KoAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA

    Look. I’m Chomsky’s second biggest fan. Third, perhaps. That won’t stop me from saying that he fumbled the ball on that one. “Yes, but the media” and “but the real issue is” got in the way. If there’s a consensus about the Rwanda genocide, so be it, whatever the numbers Noam would require.

  197. deminthon says:

    I apologize for multiple postings … this will be my last on this subject.

    Here are some articles worth contemplating:

    https://zcomm.org/zblogs/rwandas-1991-census/
    http://news.nd.edu/news/11353/
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jul/19/not-genocide-deniers-uncover-truth

    Again, to call any of this “denial” is absurd.

  198. deminthon says:

    Sorry, one more:

    ” he denies we have enough evidence to call Rwanda a genocide.”

    The is a blatant lie. Again, you have provided no quote in which Chomsky denies a genocide; nowhere does he say it was not a genocide. Neither does Herman. You are putting words in Chomsky’s mouth when he steadfastly refuses to state them. Consider the second link I gave above, which does refer to ” the perpetrators of genocide” but still asks questions about additional (do you call bold “shouting” too?) deaths.

  199. deminthon says:

    “This kind of argument is pervasive in all the cases of denial:” — your own citation completely refutes you … did you even read it? “Holocaust deniers do not worry about the numbers of these dead” … the arguments of Holocaust deniers have nothing at all in common with Chomsky’s arguments. OTOH, your argument is in line with those who called Chomsky an apologist for America’s enemies because he said more about American crimes than theirs.

  200. Willard says:

    > Again, you have provided no quote in which Chomsky denies a genocide;

    Neither do we have verbatim orders about genociding Jews. Yet, the consensus is that there has been a genocide during WWII.

    All you could argue is that Noam’s numbers requirement was facetious or something. The implication of the argument I presented is quite clear. It follows Modus Ponens.

    [Addendum:

    Here’s the argument I alluded to earlier:

    “One single proof” is a deceptive rhetorical flourish used primarily by denialists designed to apparently negate a preponderance of circumstantial evidence by claiming that without a specific key proof, the whole argument is invalid. The effectiveness of the technique is dependent on a sort of distortion of Occam’s razor whereby any evidence that does not provide the whole answer is ignored.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/One_single_proof

    Compare and contrast:

    (1) We don’t know the number of Hutus and Tutsis killed in Rwanda, 1994.
    (2) Unless we know the number of Hutus and Tutsis killed in Rwanda, 1994, we can’t say it’s a genocide.
    (3) We can’t say a genocide happened in 1994.

    Chomsky states (1). For (1) to be relevant in the correspondence between him and Monbiot, (2) has to be assumed **. From both (1) and (2), (3) follows by modus ponens.

    ** We can invoke the MikeR clause here and surmise also the possibility of some misreading between Noam and George.]

  201. Rachel M says:

    I’d quite like this discussion about Rwanda come to an end. It’s a bit off topic. Thank you!

  202. Vinny Burgoo says:

    The Graun’s Readers’ Editor’s decision on the beheading comments:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/13/when-joke-in-comment-thread-goes-beyond-tastelessness

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