Climateball(TM): re-energised

Apart from writing some blog posts here (and thanks to MT and others, I’ve had to write fewer than normal) I’ve largely been staying out of the whole online climate debate; ignoring the ClimateballTM mantra that the only losing move is to not play the game. It has, I will admit, been very pleasant. I think, though, that I’ve become a little complacent, as I’ve recently drifted back in. As a consequence I’ve been accussed of writing an appalling comment on another blog, under someone else’s name, before we’d ever interacted, so that I could use it against them now. I’ve learned that calling someone a twat is okay, but “denier” is totally unacceptable. I’m not sure if this is “denier” specifically, or if this also applies to “climate science denier”, “denial”, “climate science denial”, and other possible variants. I didn’t try to clarify.

So, since I’ve been getting back a bit into the climate wars, I thought I would advertise a new blog venture. It’s called Climate Scepticism and appears to be a group of people who I shall politely call “sceptics”. I can’t quite tell if it is simply a site for like-minded people to discuss Climategate, and complain about Michael Mann, or if it really is an attempt to open up some kind of dialogue. There is certainly a post about restarting the climate debate, although it does appear to be more an indication of their lack of understanding of how models are used in the physical sciences, than anything particularly insightful.

However, even if they have a goal of restarting the debate, I doubt I’d be very welcome. The typical response to me making a comment on a site like that is for people to complain about how I run my blog and to then call me various uncomplementary names. Not that I mind, but it does tend to make it difficult to have any kind of serious discussion, and you do end up wasting an awful lot of time arguing with people you’d really rather never have encountered in the first place. I thought, though, that others might have more success than I suspect I would have. I’m not hugely optimistic about how it would go, but I’m always happy to be proven wrong. I might be rather cynical about the merits of trying to restart the debate, but I have no objection to others trying to do so, and would not be disappointed if others were to have more success than I’ve had. If anyone does give it a try, let me know how it goes.

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67 Responses to Climateball(TM): re-energised

  1. jsam,
    Hmm, yes, but I’m trying to continue my attempt to be civil, even if the tagline doesn’t say that specifically anymore 🙂

  2. jsam says:

    I was being both understated and civil.

  3. dikranmarsupial says:

    “ignoring the ClimateballTM mantra that the only losing move is to not play the game.”

    There is always not playing ClimateBall and just discussing the science. I gather it is possible, but very difficult ;o)

    As to the new site, if they really do want to make progress, they could start by expressing their consensus view of the bits of the science they do agree with and stating their agreement unambiguously, e.g. Prof. Salby is wrong, the rise in atmospheric CO2 is essentially all anthropogenic. There is not much point in a scientific debate if you can’t agree on anything, so why not start with things you agree on?

  4. Joshua says:

    ==> “I thought, though, that others might have more success than I suspect I would have.

    Looking at the list of recent commenters (jsam didn’t mention kim and Barry)…I’m going to go out on a limb…

    …and guess that not a single “non-skeptic” here has had what they’d call a mutually beneficial online climate change-related convo with any of those folks…and I’ll guess that not a single one of those folks has had what they’d call a mutually beneficial online climate change-related convo with any non-“skeptics” (at least not any of them reading your post).

    The closest that I’ve had is to a mutually beneficial convo was with, of all folks, Brad Keyes. I’ve had one or two convos with him that I wouldn’t exactly call mutually beneficial, but that I would describe as a cut above the exchanges that I’ve had (or witnessed) with the others.

    If I’m right in what I wrote above, I do wonder what they might envision “restart[ing] the climate debate ” to look like? Perhaps iscussing the climate change with people they agree with and trashing anyone they don’t agree with?

    sameosameo.

  5. Willard says:

    > ignoring the ClimateballTM mantra

    They all say that.

  6. Susan Anderson says:

    Amongst several reactions I’d like to point out that the whole denier argument is a tactical move, meant to put you in the wrong, and there is no correct response other than to ignore it. I might be the source of fake or phony skeptic (or not) which was useful for a while. I now use unskeptical “skeptic”. The dictionary definition makes it clear that “denier” is perfectly apposite and if you want to be polite, you need only say climate denier, so they cannot play victim bully by saying you are accusing them of holocaust denial.

    Claiming the high ground as “skeptics” is their goal, and should not be acceded to (with apologies to Churchill, up with which I will not put).

    As for not moving being the only losing move, I sometimes wonder about that. It takes time and effort to craft an accurate and sufficiently referenced pointer to the truth, but it only takes a second to turn that meaning on its head. It’s easier to destroy than to create, and to borrow, misrepresent and twist meaning than to make a fair statement. I’ve been doing this for a long time (perhaps too long) and often wonder if I am not used for practice in crafting plausible misstatements. In particular, they have had fun with Feynman and used me as a ball in that particular game. A google on climate and Feynman now turns up denial sites as a majority. (And gaming search engines is high on their list of tactics.)

    Schopenhauer named all this a long time ago.

    [I have occasional trouble with G+ but hope this will go through somehow.]

  7. Magma says:

    Slightly off topic but still pertaining to Climateball™, I was pleasantly surprised by reading a couple of climate change-related articles on arstechnica.com and finding the comment forums packed full of sanity, with the occasional denialistas quickly and firmly (but civilly) knocked down when they popped up with the usual stale talking points. I don’t know if this is always the case or if Ars Technica is firmly moderated, but it’s a refreshing change from many similar forums.

  8. John Mashey says:

    This group might join forces with the Mathematical Calculation Society, in Paris, which I found mentioned in a Sierra foothills newspaper, but probably came from ClimateDepot, hence truckload of salt.

    This group has offered this paper, whose Chrome translation is “Global warming: hoaxes and forgeries”.
    it includes:
    ““A tidal power station uses the energy of the tides, in this case the kinetic energy of rotation. Generating electricity this way slows the rotation of the Earth, and in a lesser extent, that of the Moon: it is not a renewable energy. Winds are due in part to differences in atmospheric temperature (and thus the thermal energy of the Sun) and partly to the rotation of the Earth. Use them to generate electricity and cool the Earth slows down. This is not renewable A solar panel uses thermal energy from the sun. Be used to produce electricity returns to cool the Earth. Furthermore, in view of the reflection on the glass surface, a significant portion of solar energy, normally received by the Earth, is sent into space: the balance is particularly negative.”

    OK, tidal and wind power slow the Earth’s rotation, and solar cells cool the Earth, so not renewable. Who knew….

  9. JCH says:

    If kim is there, it’s an ekho khamber.

  10. Infopath says:

    From the About page:
    “There’s no “party line” or rulebook, and certainly no 97% consensus about anything.”

    So, the main rule is never to reach a consensus about anything…

  11. It’s a very one-sided ‘debate’ they’re having on that site. Very short on science and noticeably polarised (in one direction), I see no attempt to attract those which whom they purport to want discourse.

    The post on models is a prime example. They seem to see the wide spread of projections as proof that scientists can’t make up their minds about the science, rather than scientists not being able to second-guess future policy. I guess they also claim low sensitivity while doing all they can to ensure policy takes us towards RCP8.5.

  12. Richard says:

    While I have great respect for those, like John Mashey, who have battled the forces of crank anti-science for decades (such as the Skeptical Inquirer, which I subscribed to for many years as a student), Uri Geller will go to his grave never admitting it is trickery. I won’t waste my breath on him.

    Michael Crichton seemed to be a believer in spoon bending, suspending his scepticism, but then piling it on in his fictional attempt to present the workings of climate science. Proving I suspect, that for those who are not trained in properly assessing scientific claims, will always allow their belief systems and social bias to trump all reason and evidence.

    Is there any point in trying to convince Monckton that he is confused and really is not the reincarnation of Galileo? Who and where does one focus one’s energies?

    It is a tricky one because we know that poor science can be tremendously damaging, like the MMR debacle that got Dr Wakefield struck off, but not before huge damage was done to the vaccination programme in the UK. Who was at fault in making this story stick? The nutty antivaxxers? Well, Ben Goldacre is clear that it was the Press, and not just the Daily Fail who were to blame:

    “It is madness to imagine that one single man can create a 10-year scare story. It is also dangerous to imply – even in passing – that academics should be policed not to speak their minds, no matter how poorly evidenced their claims. Individuals like Wakefield must be free to have bad ideas. The media created the MMR hoax, and they maintained it diligently for 10 years. Their failure to recognise that fact demonstrates that they have learned nothing, and until they do, journalists and editors will continue to perpetrate the very same crimes, repeatedly, with increasingly grave consequences”
    http://www.badscience.net/2008/08/the-medias-mmr-hoax/

    Wakefield is now beatified by the antivaxxer movement in the USA, which continue to do huge damage in the USA and further afield where outbreaks continue due to insufficient take-up. Convince the antivaxxers? Forget it. Convince school governors, local health boards, etc., yes, yes, yes.

    There are a universe of those who fail to understand the blatant reality of man-made global warming, but for a wide variety of reasons:

    1) those neo-liberals who see it as an existentialist threat to the free market cooked up by environmentalists. So they will to play the man, almost irrespective of what is written on the ball. For them, a snowball in Congress is the kind of level of debate to expect. For them, shutting down NASA earth sciences is simpler than having a debate with them.

    2) he cranks who believe they are the embodiment Popperian Feynman inheritance and have discovered a fundamental flaw in the Navier-Stokes equations; or observed that CO2 must sink to the bottom of the atmosphere and is choking us as we speak; or [an infinity of paranoid rants]. But somehow never get published, because despite the fact that disproving these fundamental tenets of science should be a fast track to a Nobel Prize, there is of course a conspiracy in the Editorial teams at Nature and Science determined to prevent the truth coming out. Chucks!

    3) the Crank Attractors who amuse themselves pimping the cranks on their web sites (because the Crank Attractors need the clicks in order to raise the profile of their blogs, and the more heated and abusive the threads the greater the attraction). Of course, WUWT is the big beast here, with 250m site visits ensuring click through action; you can now buy a ShopStyle coat at a great price, after reading yet another rant from Ridley or whoever, and then wading through the vitriol to find a rare morsel of enlightenment.

    4) the commentators like James ‘The Interpreter of Interpreters’ Delingpole, in print media and the blogosphere who fancy themselves as iconoclasts – where the ratio of ignorance to arrogance is at its greatest – who crave attention (Melanie Philips is the Queen of this category, having a chip on her shoulder because of some slight that the ‘left’ meated out to her years ago, and is especially nasty in here vitriolic attacks. She was a prime advocate for Dr Wakefield, and attacks climate science, and also attempts to refute Darwinian Natural Selection … is there no end to the breadth of the subjects she feels able to master?)

    5) finally (or is it?), there are the cynical politicians who probably know that there is something afoot with the planet but who see frustrating action as a necessary price to pay to avoid the greater evil of ‘big government’ intervention (e.g. Peter Lilley). These guys spend their time bullying BBC execs or other institutions (e.g. MetOffice) that need to be cowed into silence.

    Resources are limited and efforts need to be carefully apportioned. Especially for the seasoned warriors who frequent this manor.

    This is especially true in the run up to COP21.

    Expect lots of noise and bluster from Matt ‘The Optimist’ Ridley and all the usual suspects. Targeting efforts in the right places will be crucial. Since we know what they will be writing, having the responses prepared should not be too hard!

    Be assured that the forces of anti-science are already preparing to put re-treads on their same old, same old talking points.

    This new blog you mention may be yet another distraction from the real work.

    [apologies for the long one … you pushed a button somewhere!]

  13. jj says:

    I know it is proper British spelling but when I read “sceptics,” I subvocalize it like scene, scent, and scepter and have a 6th grade giggle.

  14. Ars is great, both the articles and the comments. A group of people who really love science.

    Not playing Climateball may be boring for people studying debating, but can also be a winning move. By not responding, you communicate that something is not worth responding to. If some extremist wants to claim that the greenhouse effect does not exist, not responding may well be best response. You cannot not communicate.

    Politics is about counting heads, then it is important to play.

    Science is not about counting. There are so many terrible articles in the scientific literature, which are not worth responding to, which will die by themselves. When people pretend to discus science, not responding is a perfectly acceptable response.

  15. Clisep: There’s no “party line” or rulebook, and certainly no 97% consensus about anything.

    If they are not willing to put in some work to see on what they can agree, why should I waste my precious time on Earth to respond?

  16. andrew adams says:

    It’s a bunch of people who broadly agree on a particular issue posting articles which reflect their shared viewpoint which are probably read by people who also share that viewpoint, or in a few cases by those who hold an opposing viewpoint on the same issue equally strongly.

    That in itself doesn’t make it any worse than a lot of other sites on the internet, but I don’t see what productive outcome would result from getting involved in arguments there, apart from if you actually enjoy doing so for the sake of it, which to be honest is why a lot of us get involved in arguments on the internet.

  17. mt says:

    “Science is not about counting. There are so many terrible articles in the scientific literature, which are not worth responding to, which will die by themselves. When people pretend to discus science, not responding is a perfectly acceptable response.”

    Yes, and this is an important point.

    The public does not understand that this is so, never mind why it is so. This vast gap between democracy and meritocracy is not a problem until the political and scientific domains overlap.

  18. andrew adams says:

    That’s not to say there aren’t things worth debating WRT climate change. What are the likely impacts, how bad will they be, which are more or less uncertain, and there are all kinds of questions around what we can and should do about it. But we’re way past the point where the basic question of whether it is a serious problem which requires action is worth arguing about with those who still won’t accept it.

  19. Vinny Burgoo says:

    No, it’s not.

  20. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Victor Venema, there’s no party line here either – bloggers and regular commenters here don’t agree about everything. Some think that climate change threatens mankind’s survival, some that it merely threatens the Western way of life; some think the Western way of life is worthless and should be got rid of as quickly as possible anyway, some that it has a few good points in its favour; some think that climate change mitigation is so urgent that damage caused by rapid mitigation shouldn’t be part of the equation, some that it might be unwise to entirely throw away the present in pursuit of protecting the future; some think that climate change alarmism doesn’t exist and some that it does but it doesn’t matter; some think a revenue-neutral carbon tax is a figleaf for denialist inaction, some that it’s the best way forward; and some prominent figures here appear to think all of those things at once.

    If there’s a unifying factor here it’s that science says that climate change is the most serious threat that mankind has ever faced and that anyone who doesn’t agree with this is a big smelly poomember of a tribe of wickedly selfish unschooled unfeeling libertarian denialists .

    The unifying factor at CliScep? Probably that anyone who thinks that science says that climate change is the most serious threat that mankind has ever faced and that anyone who doesn’t agree with this is a member of a tribe of wickedly selfish unschooled unfeeling libertarian denialists is a big smelly poomember of a tribe of narcissistic pietistic scientismists who are in denial of their own tribalism.

    Having no tribe I am, of course, above all this. I think you’re all big smelly poos.

    (PS: Who or what was the alleged Fuller’s ‘Glover’?)

  21. Having no tribe I am, of course, above all this. I think you’re all big smelly poos.

    Yes, of course you are, and of course you do.

  22. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Ah! I was replying to andrew adams’ (currently) penultimate comment: ‘…which to be honest is why a lot of us get involved in arguments on the internet.’

  23. Ahh, I see. Well, you’re wrong, of course!

  24. pete,best says:

    Arn’t you guys bored with arguing with idjits when the argument is over in political terms and carbon has had its day

  25. andrew adams says:

    Vinny,

    If it doesn’t apply to you then fair enough. It’s certainly true in my case that at least on some occasions I don’t see any wider benefit from such arguments other than whatever satisfaction I get from taking part in them. That “someone’s wrong on the internet” cartoon is so widely shared and applauded for a reason.

  26. Joshua says:

    Vinny –

    ==> “egular commenters here don’t agree about everything. Some think that …”

    ==> “……climate change mitigation is so urgent that damage caused by rapid mitigation shouldn’t be part of the equation,…”

    Interesting. Can you point to someone here who has made that argument?

    ==> “… the Western way of life is worthless and should be got rid of as quickly as possible anyway, ”

    or that one?

    Also, interesting is that in your list of arguments you didn’t include any that reflect my viewpoint on any of the topics you covered.

  27. Willard says:

    > Not playing Climateball may be boring for people studying debating, but can also be a winning move. By not responding, you communicate that something is not worth responding to.

    Hence you play ClimateBall ™ whether you like it or not.

    Oh, and I noted that “boring for people studying debating,” VictorV. How un-not-playing-ClimateBall of you.

  28. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Joshua, I probably could, yes, but it would be unfair/unwise to name names without first checking whether my memory of what they said is correct and it’s getting late and a badger has just eaten my homework.

    Your views? I’m not sure I have worked out what they are yet.

  29. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Re: “How un-not-playing-ClimateBall of you.”

    I’d score that one
    VV: Az9w
    Willard: edgar allen skiddoo 6

  30. Tom Dayton says:

    ATTP, you made me look at that new site. I did a double take. Then triple. Could not resist. Submitted a comment. We’ll see if it shows up.

  31. Just tell them that the science is not settled, but they lost the debate.

    brain circuits fry

  32. Joshua says:

    Vinny –

    ==> ” I’m not sure I have worked out what they are yet.”

    Neither am I. Let me know if you have some suggestions. 🙂

  33. bill shockley says:

    Victor Venema said:
    Ars is great, both the articles and the comments. A group of people who really love science.

    Ars has a high standard for science coverage. But I don’t find the discussions on the climate change articles especially edifying. They’re not as good as the general science article discussions. They peter out quickly with no resolution. For edification I’d rather be here or RealClimate.

    The climate change articles themselves have a denialist, confuse & complicate slant to them that is consistent and odious. The California drought is not caused by Climate Change (Hoerling’s paper is cited). Hansen provides no evidence to support his claims in his new SLR and Storms paper. Jennifer Francis might not be right. Etc., etc., etc. Clever misrepresentation.

  34. Cugel says:

    Another author-list of familiar old hacks, I’ve been seeing a lot of that recently. No new blood, no new material, new web-sites are the only semblence of activity they can rustle up.

  35. Harry Twinotter says:

    A new climate blog venture? What is the point, it will just be another place where the usual suspects will post climate change denial articles. Maybe that IS the point…

  36. Susan Anderson says:

    Here’s another example of what commonly occurs when the truth is told. It is a little distressing that if one points to the article one also points to the comments, and for a layperson the quality of the obfuscation is very high and therefore confusing. I needed to point to some factual material on NIPCC, and the article itself is fine and the source unimpeachable but the targeted disinformation cannot be detached from the main body of work.

    I do not recommend wasting time with the comments, but if you wish to see the slimiest worst of plausible denial (not the nasty insults, which are obviously off the wall, but the material that you have to know something about to see through), this is the kind of thing.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v475/n7357/full/475423b.html

    Graham Wayne does a good job here of taking apart the claims. This is pernicious because it is being distributed to schools in the US:
    https://gpwayne.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/heartlands-nipcc-report-in-us-schools-notes-for-educators/
    “Heartland’s NIPCC Report in US Schools – Notes for Educators”

  37. Tom Dayton says:

    I made several comments at that Climate Skepticism site. Totally politically neutral, non-accusatory, factual, informative. Even admitted a mistake and the “Editor” thanked me. Nonetheless, I was wasting my time as you can see by a response from the “Editor”: http://cliscep.com/2015/10/19/guest-post-lets-restart-the-climate-change-debate-test-the-models/comment-page-1/#comment-266

  38. Tom Dayton says:

    And then one of the moderators at Climate Skepticism blocked my comment: “I have blocked one comment from Tom Dayton when he attempted to post another link to a misleading claim by the activists at skeptical science.”
    And the “Editor” followed up with an insult.
    So the Climate Skepticism site is just another waste of time.

  39. Tom,
    I saw that. How dastardly of you to link to those activist sites like RealClimate and Skeptical Science that write posts with links to actual published pieces of research.

  40. entropicman says:

    Pity. It looked promising for a few hours.

  41. Marco says:

    Tom,
    “…the site that sent him here…”
    was quite hilarious.

    I am sure Paul Matthews really believes you were told to go and comment on their site. John Cook is evil, I tell ya!

  42. Magma says:

    “Tom has been allowed plenty of comments here. By contrast, the site that sent him here has banned dissenters from commenting at all.” Moderator at new whatsitcalledsite

    Well, there you have it. The benefit of the doubt didn’t even last long enough to bookmark that website… although to be honest I thought the inaugural post was a large red flag.

  43. Magma,
    I did suggest that there would be complaints about my site. Of course the statement

    has banned dissenters from commenting at all.

    is utterly false. I tend to ban people who continually say things that aren’t true. Continuing to do so is hardly likely to make me regret that decision.

  44. Joshua says:

    OK. You guys made me do it. It’s your fault.

    Re-posting.

    JOSHUA says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    28 Oct 15 at 6:10 pm
    Fabius –

    Do you believe that this site is not run by activists? Remember, the debate is largely “run” by partisans on both sides.

  45. torroslo says:

    As a lurker, looking for why there is climate change skepticism, I find a distinct difference in the quality of comments between sites. I am looking for a civil, reasoning, thoughtful discussion of the research and data and what it means etc. Often however, the discussion degrades into name-calling. I don’t get it, because this is an indicator to me of someone who has lost the argument. It is also my observation that this seems to be much more common on the sites that are skeptical of climate change. I don’t have the web-logging skills, but I bet that someone could quantify the un-civility levels at different sites, or maybe even obtain a name-calling index for each commenter and post a bar chart. Does anyone else see this pattern?

  46. torroslo,
    I tend to see the same, but I suspect if you posted the same comment on a “skeptic” site and claimed that “warmist” sites tended to have lots of name calling, they’d probably agree with you too.

    I guess what I notice is a lot of rather insulting comments on “skeptic” blogs about specific people, either scientists who’ve published papers they don’t like, social scientists who study the kind of things you’ve suggested, people associated with the IPCC, or any politicians who support policies with which they disagree.

  47. Phil says:

    Its another echo chamber, isn’t it ?

  48. Joshua says:

    torroslo –

    ==> “It is also my observation that this seems to be much more common on the sites that are skeptical of climate change.”

    Be advised that at “skeptic” sites I often see the opposite claim made, along with the argument that the existence of name-calling among “realists” is proof that “realists” have “lost the argument.”

    ==> “…but I bet that someone could quantify the un-civility levels at different sites, or maybe even obtain a name-calling index for each commenter and post a bar chart.”

    You would think that with all the complaints about tone, and all the certainty that we see in how participants characterize differences in tone across the great climate divide (just coincidentally, of course, seeing a more elevated tone on their own side), that by now someone would have conducted a study to determine whether there really are any differences in the style of discourse on “realist” vs. “skeptic” blogs, respectively. I vaguely recall something along those lines once, but can’t remember what it was, and IIRC, it was problematic because there is a lot of potential for subjectivity when developing a taxonomy for classifying comments.

    It would be interesting to see, also, a study that looked at differences in moderation policies across the great climate divide. “Skeptics” certainly like to complain about being the victims of “censorship” (e..g, the classic “But, but, RealClimate!!!!!11!!!1!!1!!!”), but as someone who has been moderated at quite a few of the most prominent “skeptic” sites, I have to think that their hurt feelings of victimhood are self-sealing.

    Anders –

    ==> “I guess what I notice is a lot of rather insulting comments on “skeptic” blogs about specific people, either scientists who’ve published papers they don’t like, social scientists who study the kind of things you’ve suggested, people associated with the IPCC,…”

    I’d have to wonder if more name-calling against specific scientists at “skeptic” sites might not be a function of a greater % of scientists accepting that ACO2 emissions pose a risk.

    ==> “…or any politicians who support policies with which they disagree.”

    Hmm. I’d say that folks like Inhofe, etc., get their fair share of vitriol.

  49. I’d have to wonder if more name-calling against specific scientists at “skeptic” sites might not be a function of a greater % of scientists accepting that ACO2 emissions pose a risk.

    Would seem reasonable. Maybe we could do a consensus study : what fraction of named scientists who suffer name-calling do so on “skeptic” blogs?

    Hmm. I’d say that folks like Inhofe, etc., get their fair share of vitriol.

    Yes, possibly.

  50. torroslo says:

    So I guess the tribal behavior provides some self-reassurance when faced with inconvenient information, but it does not lend itself to an honest discussion in good faith, trying to find some “best” explanation of the observations. Has this all devolved into positions that cannot change because egos are on the line? Why doesn’t the evidence matter anymore? If you are on the wrong side of Nature, to claim otherwise is inevitably a losing battle. Doesn’t everyone realize this?

  51. Why doesn’t the evidence matter anymore?

    Well, yes, but sometimes it is sufficiently complex that some can present what they regard as compelling evidence that doesn’t really indicate what they think it does. Take the so-called “pause”, the models running too hot, medieval warm period, to name a few.

    If you are on the wrong side of Nature, to claim otherwise is inevitably a losing battle. Doesn’t everyone realize this?

    Hmmm, I regularly encounter things that I assumed were obvious that clearly aren’t to others.

  52. Joshua says:

    ==> “What fraction of named scientists who suffer name-calling do so on “skeptic” blogs?”

    Dare I guess 97%?

  53. Mal Adapted says:

    If Brad Keyes is involved in the “Climate Skepticism” site, I’m certainly not going to waste my time there.

  54. Stephen says:

    Read one article “Detonating Virtuous Cycles at COP21” – something I’m very familiar with having spent many years at those COPs. It’s typical CFACT crap slamming the UN and ‘global temps stalled last 18 yrs as everyone knows’. Complete waste of pixels.

  55. Stephen says:

    Decided to look up the author of “Detonating Virtuous Cycles at COP21” who says he’s been following the UN negotiations since 2007. Oddly it looks like Alex Kull, an unusual name, is a marketing student at the U of South Florida with a speciality in Disney Pin Collectors – no joke.

    Profiling Disney Pin Collectors: An Exploratory Study
    • Alexander J. Kull, University of South Florida
    http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.marketingadvances.org/resource/resmgr/imported/2012%20SMA%20Conference%20Program.pdf

    But that couldn’t be right could it?

  56. It seems to be Cull not Kull, so that probably isn’t right.

  57. dikranmarsupial says:

    torroslo writes: “I don’t get it, because this is an indicator to me of someone who has lost the argument.”

    In a scientific discussion, yes it [insults and ignoring the facts] is, however AFAICS in most areas of society arguments tend to be based on rhetoric rather than logic/evidence, especially in politics. I suspect this has to do with rhetoric being more entertaining and hence having a bigger impact on the media, and hence more transmissible. Most of the people discussing climate on blogs are not scientists and are far more familiar with the tools of rhetoric, rather than more scientific methods of communication, which explains why the discussion is the way it is. Unfortunately as a scientist, trying to present the science in an honest and straightforward manner, ignoring evidence/arguments and insults can only be withstood for so long before this results in irritation and an ill-tempered response (as scientists are also human beings). This means that it is very difficult to maintain a scientific discussion in the presence of rhetoricians (which is why science gave up on “debates” long ago – ask Darwin! ;o).

    “Why doesn’t the evidence matter anymore? ”

    I don’t think this has changed much over the past few decades. If the theory of special/general relativity meant that people would need to pay more taxes or make uncomfortable changes in their lifestyle, we would be seeing more blogs saying that S/GR is a hoax and Einstein should have been put in prison for his despicable behaviour and that the government must be part of the conspiracy as GPS doesn’t actually need to make relativistic corrections etc. etc. Science has been making rapid progress, human nature changes on a much slower timescale.

  58. It seems that most here are somewhat unimpressed by the new Climate Scepticism site. Maybe they could replace their banner, with the one I’ve modified below. Seems a bit more appropriate.

  59. Harry Twinotter says:

    From Climate Sceptism (a response to Tom’s post above I think).

    “By contrast, the site that sent him here has banned dissenters from commenting at all.”

    Amazing! A conspiracy theory and professional victimhood in one sentence.

  60. Joshua says:

    “…professional victimhood…”

    I like that. I think I’ll “borrow” it.

  61. Mal Adapted says:

    torrslo:

    So I guess the tribal behavior provides some self-reassurance when faced with inconvenient information, but it does not lend itself to an honest discussion in good faith, trying to find some “best” explanation of the observations. Has this all devolved into positions that cannot change because egos are on the line? Why doesn’t the evidence matter anymore? If you are on the wrong side of Nature, to claim otherwise is inevitably a losing battle. Doesn’t everyone realize this?

    dikranmarsupial’s reply was good as far as it went, but I want to expand on this:

    Most of the people discussing climate on blogs are not scientists and are far more familiar with the tools of rhetoric, rather than more scientific methods of communication, which explains why the discussion is the way it is.

    It isn’t just that “most of the people discussing climate on blogs” aren’t scientists. It is that “skeptical” commentary, almost without exception, isn’t initiated in good faith. Assuming your own comments are sincere rather than “concern trolling” on your part, here’s what I mean:

    1. Commonly, rejection of the findings of climate science is motivated by denial in the psychological sense, “in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.” Many in the developed world are uncomfortable with the suggestion that the full cost of the material prosperity they’ve purchased with “cheap” fossil energy has yet to be paid. That’s usually clear from the comments made by so-called “skeptics”: mere scientific ignorance does not justify truculent adherence to specious, sciency-sounding objections that have been repeatedly and exhaustively shown to be wrong or “not even wrong”; arguments from consequences and other obvious logical fallacies; or the preposterous claim that AGW is some kind of nefarious conspiracy enlisting thousands of scientists over two centuries.

    2. It is abundantly and reliably documented* that certain individuals, families and corporations, who have made vast fortunes by privatizing the benefits of fossil-fuel production while socializing the costs of climate change, are pursuing a strategy to protect their revenue streams by flooding the public information space with deliberate disinformation. They are able to hire the best professional talent to craft sophisticated propaganda and place it where it will reach the largest audience, much of which is all too willing to believe the most risible nonsense.

    So, torrslo, more than egos are on the line. The people who are funding the AGW-denier disinformation campaign know they are on the wrong side of Nature, and they know they will eventually lose the battle, but the longer they can delay the inevitable transition to a carbon-neutral economy, the more money they can make. And too many complacent consumers are receptive to disinformation, because they don’t wish to accept responsibility for the costs of AGW.

    * See, for example, sociologist Robert Brulle’s Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations, a peer-reviewed article published two years ago in the interdisplinary journal Climatic Change.

  62. I’ll raise the sentence with conspiracy theory and professional victimhood with this:

  63. Pingback: The Irony Tower | …and Then There's Physics

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