The average preschooler knows it rude and wrong to call names and lie about things. Where does that put Obama? Certainly dead last in the science category. Move along folks, no science here.
There are members of the Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who are calling on the media not call skeptics “skeptics”, but rather “deniers”. One can only think they are angry that skeptics of climate change have done so well while the Skeptical Inquiry folks maybe not so much so. Signers of the petition include Bill Nye, the comedian/actor guy and James Randi, the “appeal to authority” champion and religion/paranormal hater. There are also science writers, journalists, and a film producer. Remember when attacks were constantly made on genuine scientists who signed petitions saying they disagreed with global warming being a huge problem? Now, as seen with J. Cook, anyone can chime in as long as they are on the global warming side. New criteria–you’re only a scientist if WE say so. It’s interesting that skepticism is now defined by dogma and the threat of “if you’re not with us, you’re denying science” when at one time it was just asking questions of science and for data and proof. It appears those days are long gone as far as these individuals are concerned. (One also wonders if this is in part because those who tore apart pseudoscience are very uncomfortable having the same skeptical eye turned on their beliefs.)
This is really not all that surprising. The unskeptical “Skeptical Science” has been out there for years. Psychologically, it seems to be a case of “if you can’t convince them with facts (perhaps because you have so few), then club them with nasty names and shrieking. “Plus, you can claim the name “skeptic” is taken and “denier” is the only remaining name for those not following the designated truths.
I dropped reading many of the conventional skeptic sites when it became apparent that much of what they believed or did not believe was based on appeal to authority, or a hatred of religion and paranormal phenomena. (Note: Religion cannot be proven by science and trying to dissect it with science shows a lack of understanding of both science and religion.) So-called “skeptics” seem to follow the appeal to authority in part because many lack the science education that would let them form their own questions and theories and in part because it’s a CYA move, allowing them to blame scientists for any failed theory. Since they are not scientists, they cannot be held responsible for advocating what turns out to actually be pseudoscience or very bad science.
There’s a question of what the “deniers” are denying. If the scientists are skeptical, are the deniers denying that the scientists are skeptical? What parts of science specifically are they denying? Are they simply questioning if the theory is sufficiently developed to keep pouring billions into measures that do not seem effective and actually are very damaging to the environment? Are they denying that money and politics are the way to “solve” the “problem” as presented–is it really scientific to believe money, socialism and a return to pre-industrial lives are the only possible solution to the dilemma?
The entire proposal bodes very badly for science. Theory of global warming appears to be crumbling due to that lack of statistically significant warming in RSS temperature measurements, there are studies that show the ocean may not be warming as much as believed and people snowed under with 8 feet of snow are not very willing to believe “warming causes cooling”. The science is not convincing to many, including some who work in the field and associated fields and many who have examined the science and found it lacking. Rather than answer questions about the science, the “scientists” (in quotes because no real scientist would ever behave this way) call names, and refuse to address the problem. Those who do try to answer often give explanations that are lacking in believability and science to back them up. Too many of the activists in the field have made wild predictions and statements (ice-free arctic by “X” date, boiling oceans, etc) and these were allowed to stand. Sadly, at this point, the science has basically lost its credibility. All that’s left is name-hoarding, ad hominem attacks and trying to suppress opinions.
Another disturbing trend is trying to “market” the science. That seems to fall under the “if you can’t win them with facts (because you lack such things), dazzle them with BS” or terrify them with promises of a horrible, hot, wet future if they don’t go along with your “solutions”. There’s even an attempt to figure out a way to market to specific political preferences by rewording the solutions to disguise the real intent. Marketing science is truly a desperate attempt at replacing facts and data with BS and fear. Climate science has dragged science into tap dancing, threatening and smearing tactics in an effort to “win” with their theory. They simply cannot admit that the theory may be flawed and needs further research to explain the lack of warming, the natural variations and the failed predictions. Climate science is now playing the role the Church did in suppressing and vilifying Galileo, something science criticized religion for doing. The hypocrisy just screams out at you: “It’s not about science, it’s about winning”.
The exchange appears to have started in WtD with a headline “Anthony Watts: it is necessary to use correct sea-ice graphs to avoid misleading the public.” The “misleading” part was the graph does not include the SD (standard deviation) shading. I am uncertain how many people actually understand or even notice the SD shading, but it appears that WtD feels this is essential.
Later the same day, another entry on WtD discussed what the blogger had learned from the WUWT incident. It is interesting that he describes “friendly debate” and couches the remainder of the article in language befitting an army general leading troops to war (science is now war?) He proceeds to analyze what he has learned about leading troops into battle and the only thing to fear from skeptics is “our own fear”. My best guess at the meaning of this is: “if we have no fear, they can’t hurt us”. In the real world, that philosophy has proven to not be true in many cases (Custer come to mind). It does make a great war cry, but that’s about it. One would have hoped more would have been learned in the exchange.
Next, he “outs” the scoundrel who ratted out the blog posting to WUWT. What?!?!? What is it in this climate change discussion that people write a blog on an extremely controversial topic and then complain about the controversy. Better yet, the scoundrel who ratted out WtD would have been allowed to return to commenting, but not anymore. Punishment for “telling on” the blogger was swift and sure. Do these people really have egos that big that forbidding someone to comment on a blog is considered retaliation or punishment? Never mind—that may be self-evident.
Now today, WtD “discovered” an inflammatory comment at WUWT and is demanding an apology (actually more or less whining and hoping that works). The blogger actually said he “occupies the moral high ground”. The only people who write statements like that are people NOT occupying the moral high ground who are hoping their declarations will fool you. He is angry about a comment that implies he is gay. WtD quickly notes that “gay is okay”, yet writes an entire entry on how insulting the comment was meant to be and why it should be removed. Double think? In actuality, I probably would have moderated the comment (removed or modified it) because it is a personal attack and has nothing to with the subject at hand. However, if WUWT allows personal attacks, I see no problem. If “gay is okay”, then it really wasn’t an insult anyway, but a reflection on the commenter.
What was WUWT doing throughout this exchange? There was a post concerning the accusation by WtD and a statement that the graph was not fabricated. The commenter from WtD stated he lodged a formal complaint concerning the matter with the Australian Press Council. I’m not sure how much good that does–there seems to be a large number of such claims from both sides, but perhaps it will help. WUWT also clearly posted links to the graph used—this is one of the “official “ graphs from NSIDC. There is one graph with SD and one without. There was no deception in the first place.
A similar objection was lodged by a commenter on this blog concerning a graph I posted a link to: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/06/global-warming-in-a-few-slides.php The graph does not match data from Rutger’s Climate lab. I have attempted to find the source of the graph, but to date have not been successful.
The objection, however, was to the graph using November to April, leaving out May, June, October and maybe more. Rutgers uses “spring”, “fall”, and “winter”, which I am guessing (and it’s just a guess) is that Rutgers means calendar periods, not the more generic use of the terms. The graph should have been labelled with actual dates for the data range in order to remove all doubt. Both sides truncate data to their advantage and use terms that work for them. We need to educate people to ask questions about the graphs and look at the data instead of fighting over what is and is not a “deliberate misrepresentation”. Another important problem with the graph was overlooked entirely: the Y axis has no label for the units used. The numbers are too large to be square miles or square kilometers based on the Rutgers graph. For now, I am labeling that graph as questionable on the blog entry.
One last note: WtD says “If the NSIDC has elected to present information in one format as their preferred means of communication, it is beholden to all of us to follow their model.” Science is not “Follow the Leader” or “Simon Says”. It is utterly unscientific to lock data into a specific format for graphing. It cripples the ability of scientists and readers to make comparisons in the graphing and to possibly discover new trends in the data . The statement is indicative of how very little science is found on WtD.
I notice that WtD has instituted a comment policy. If I were to institute the policy about not posting anything but “facts”, I think that would pretty well eliminate all postings by advocates. I am curious why when a blog admits only the “facts” it likes, I don’t hear cries of censorship (maybe I will in time). Requiring commentors to use only approved journals, etc. is very effective in removing anyone who questions ACC. If I were to create a list of journals that were acceptable, I suspect there would be protests far and wide. Why is it that shutting down opposing views on advocate sites is “common sense” and “adherence to facts”, but do the same thing on a questioner’s blog and the screams of “Censorship” can be heard coast to coast? Limiting information sources should surely count as censorship, if anything does. (Actually, censorship only applies to the government. I use the term only because it is commonly used to describe not letting people say whatever they want.)
The policy is new. Only time will tell if this is actually an attempt to limit the information presented in the comments section. My guess is the term “non-science quote or website” will show up soon, thus eliminating all disagreement by moderation.
Perhaps my allowing dissent is a mistake. If the new normal is to limit information sources, I should not be accepting any information from journals tainted by “groupthink”, which pretty well wipes out climate science journals. However, since I fully believe that science cannot survive without varying views, I have no intention of following WtD’s lead and banning any inconvenient “facts”.
Peer-reviewed articles: Scientists who believe and work in climate change deciding which articles to publish in their professional journals. One would be shocked if there was anything but consensus. Would a pharmaceutical journal publish an article that said cholesterol was not related to heart attacks and the medication was a waste? Of course not. Peers don’t go against their self-interest. If you want innovation and correction of false or bad theories, you cannot use peer review.
For those who disagree, tell what me you consider the odds that the pharmacy industry will announce study which showed antidepressants do more harm that good and should be dropped as treatment (should such a study turn up in the future). What if they were presented with three large, double-blind tests with results that were extremely significant? What are the odds that a pharmaceutical journal would publish this study/studies? I’m guessing about the same as peer-reviewed climate change journals publishing studies that show climate change is 99% natural and we can’t change the climate like we were told.
Free energy devices: If these were real, the IPCC would demand that the UN have said devices put on the market and at a reasonable price, thus eliminating the need for using coal, NG and oil for heating and electricity. So far, the IPCC has not included this mandate and climate scientists are not screaming out about the conspiracy to block free energy. No government has moved to have free energy devices installed nationwide as a solution to climate change. Probably because these are even bigger scams than ACC and much easier to prove false.
(I added this observation due to the huge number of emails I get daily about “free” energy. I have to wonder how many people actually fall for these scams. Apparently enough to make the scamming worthwhile, which is sad.)
“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. - J Robert Oppenheimer.