Why Skeptics hate climate skeptics

by Planning Engineer

In recent years many “skeptics” have become vociferously critical of anyone who expresses any doubts toward any part of what they see as a climate consensus (both problems and cures). How did the skeptic community grow to take on this role?

This is off-topic from my usual posting areas, but I have supported, participated in and had considerable exposure over the years to the “skeptic movement”. This is from my personal observations and is not intended, and cannot be, a complete picture of the entire movement. I welcome perspectives from others that I may have missed.

Climate skeptics get a lot of grief. Much of it comes from the “skeptic movement”. People in the skeptic movement include people the denizens might know like Chris Mooney, the Bad Astronomer and perhaps this group operating as part of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) which proclaimed that “Deniers are not Skeptics”. Many within the “skeptic” community see so called deniers as anti-scientific and equate them with flat earthers, six day creationists and the anti-vax movement. I’m not sure of “official” positons, but in the ranks skeptics often react angrily to anyone minimizing fears of C02 or doubting the capability of renewable or battery technology. The word denier is tossed about casually to refer to anyone who cast aspersions or doubts around any of the finer points of climate activism. Skeptics have hosted Michael Mann at their meetings and praised him as a defender of scientific integrity. How did a group founded to combat claims of the paranormal evolve to becoming a support organization for an astronomer charging that Climate Change Denial is a Threat to National Security? If history were a little different perhaps the skeptic’s organizations would be challenging the climate mainstream.

Background History

Some credit the beginning of the modern skeptic movement to Martin Gardner’s 1952 book, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Others identify its origins in the formation of the CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) in 1976 under Paul Kurtz. I first became aware through the “Skeptics Society’s” lectures at Caltech in the early 1990s. This group was founded by Michael Shermer in 1992. The third major group in the US is The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) founded in 1996.

In the early days the movement debunked things such as astrology, clairvoyants, psychics, healers, spoon benders, bleeding statues, UFOs, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. They went after scammers, hucksters and frauds. They encouraged reason and critical thinking to arrive at valid conclusions. It was interesting learning about such things as how cold and warm psychic readings worked how people are captivated by pseudoscientific claims and how to tighten up your thinking.

Skeptics Expand

The Skeptic movement saw huge growth around the turn of the century. The internet, skeptic “celebrities”, podcasting and increased local, regional and national meetings spurred growth. The differing skeptical groups all got along surprisingly well and were mutually supportive. Skeptics were generally united without conflicting allegiances.  Some skeptics belonged to all the groups, some none of them. Conventions, podcasts, internet sites were generally welcoming. The demographics began to change as well. Previously skeptics were largely boring old white guys, while the incoming skeptics were more diverse. There was a push to go beyond the old skeptical topics and be more meaningful and relevant. It was not enough to avoid scams, quacks, woo and flim flam – skeptics became concerned with greater truths, addressing more of everyone’s daily life and fighting for social justice.

Skeptics became active in efforts to support vaccinations and keep creationism outside the classroom. These efforts likely enhanced a trend within the skeptic movement, counter to some of its earlier roots, to put science and scientists on a pedestal. Some in the movement today appear near worshipful of scientists, science and “sciencey” things.

I will try to share my glimpse of that story through a number of individuals. Please note that for all individual’s named in sub-headings I have great respect, admiration and appreciation for most all of that they have done.

The Amazing Randi (Founder)

James Randi showed that a magician who “honestly” fools people can be very resourceful in exposing the shenanigans of dishonest people. He first gained international notice in 1972 by challenging Uri Geller, a spoon bending psychic. Besides founding JREF, Randi was also a cofounder of CSICOP in 1976.

He challenged paranormal researchers in Project Alpha. He enlisted two young magicians to pose as psychics and fool researchers working under a $500,000 grant to Washington University. In those days Randi was not greatly enamored of scientist ability to get at the truth. Project Alpha was led by a physicist. Despite his warning in advance to the researchers, Randi’s posers completely fooled all of the scientists involved.

”The worst we can say” about the McDonnell laboratory, Mr. Randi said, ”is that they were far too confident of their abilities to detect fraud, and refused outside assistance because those who offered it lacked academic credentials.”

Over the years Randi has shared many stories illustrating his understanding that charlatans can fool scientists more easily than they can fool magicians. In 1988 he proved his value by investigating Jacques Benveniste who had managed to publish research showing that water had memory in the prestigious journal Nature. Randi was part of a team which published a follow up article in Nature exposing Benveniste and documenting the flaws which escaped Nature’s review process.

Within the skeptical community, increasingly after the turn of the century, some began to equate climate doubt with quack beliefs. Randi weighed in with a dissenting posting on AGW in late 2009 where he said “Happily, science does not depend on consensus.” (Click here – It’s worth a read.) A huge outcry erupted and many labelled him a denier or worse such that he posted a follow up “retraction”. At the same time, climate “advocate” Phil Plait was serving as president of Randi’s organization (JREF) and was actively engaged in fund raising efforts which appeared hampered by this inconvenient posting. The Bad Astronomer worked within the skeptical community to “rehabilitate” Randi. Perhaps Randi had given too much credence to the Global Warming Petition Project. (It wasn’t the first or last petition or survey to be given too much credit.) His other points were ignored. Basically it became fairly clear at that time that dissent from the climate change orthodoxy would not be tolerated.

Since then Randi has been redeemed in the eyes of climate alarmists and embraced “science”. In 2013 Randi’s The Amazing Meeting (TAM) with the theme “Fighting the Fakers”, provided over a thousand attendees the opportunity to be addressed by Michael Mann. Randi along with Michael Mann, Bill Nye, James Hansen, Bill McKibben and Michael Ruse serves on the National Center for Science Education Advisory Council whose goals were expanded in 2012 from fighting creationism in the schools to defending the teaching of Evolution and Climate Science apparently everywhere. Just last December he joined other skeptics in the earlier referenced CSI petition in requesting that climate deniers not be called “skeptics”.

Dr. Steven Novella (Podcaster)

Steven Novella, a neurologist and assistant Yale professor, hosts an excellent, popular and much beloved podcast with his brothers and friends called The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. The podcast began in 2005 and they have almost 500 podcasts under their belt. He and his fellow podcasters have been welcomed at various skeptic conventions and they maintain an active discussion board. Dr. Novella has been a strong opponent against anti-vaccine activists and effective supporter of science based medicine.

The podcast has a mix of skeptical and scientific subjects and an interview with a guest skeptic or scientist. The show criticizes pseudo-science and promotes science. Many of the podcasts have a segment that features James Randi.

The blend in the podcast content includes the more conventional skeptic topics; exposing junk science, critical thinking and also includes “sciencey” news. In their discussions I’d regularly hear panelists who might laugh at someone gushing excitedly over some potential benefit from a new herb, exhibit the same behavior over some preliminary finding that suggested some improvements in wind power, solar power or battery storage. The double standard suggests they probably would not appreciate this skeptic joke presented as applicable to alternative energy resources as well.

What they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work?

-They call it medicine.

This pattern of increased uncritical adulation for technological “progress” for alternative energy along with growing environmental fears strengthened by climate ”science” appeared to be a common in many skeptical forums. Over time the feedback between skeptical media and the skeptical population has served to strengthen “climate alarmism” and calls for climate activism while pushing for any dissent from the orthodoxy to be labeled as part of climate denialism. I think Dr. Novella is a bright, honest, capable person who has been shaped by group pressures to be supportive of the “climate consensus”. Michael Mann was a guest on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe in 2013 and Dr. Steven Novella is also a signer of the CSI petition.

Greta Christinna (Blogger)

Greta Christina is an effective voice for the growth of diversity within skepticism. Below are some excerpts from a piece she wrote in 2012 advocating that skeptics need to move past “astrology, UFOs and Bigfoot”.

(I)f we’re serious about making skepticism appealing to a more diverse population than the white, middle-class, middle-aged, college-educated men we’ve usually attracted, we need to do more than just have more women and people of color speak at our conferences. We need to widen the scope of our attentions, outside the topics that traditionally concern white, middle-class, middle-aged, college-educated men, and into topics that more commonly concern women, people of color, poor people, blue-collar people, people who don’t have college degrees.

(If) your idea of skepticism is, “sitting around talking about stuff we already agree about” — then all I can say is, “You keep using that word ‘skepticism.’ I do not think it means what you think it means.”
For good or bad the skeptic movement did move on beyond its original core concerns. But I’m afraid the “new skeptics” don’t live up to the ideals expressed in Greta’s posting. When it comes to important impactful topics like climate it seems the skeptics do want people only “talking about stuff we already agree about”. In fact they seem to want to impose that on the greater society in general. Perhaps there is some debate within the skeptic community on topics such as GMO’s, but the movement as a whole now, perhaps counter to Greta’s expressed hopes, seems to be all about getting people on the same page with the same playbook. Implicit in the “skeptics” critical thinking approach is the idea the correct thinking leads to correct conclusions.

It didn’t have to be this way

In most cases dealing with claims which emanate from scams, paranormal beliefs, pseudo-science or just ignorance, skeptics have shown great patience and fortitude in allowing proponents the opportunity to make their best case before carefully debunking the proffered evidence and arguments. Skeptics generally were fastidious in providing point by point critiques to each challenge. There was a common understanding that for valid beliefs evidence could be lined up and presented so that the average person could understand and follow the reasoning. Credentials did not matter so much as evidence and reason. When it comes to climate it seems this approach has been abandoned. Typically the response is merely to label anyone with an inconvenient idea or question as denier. Further discussion is usually limited to assertions that: 1) that the discussion has already occurred, 2) there is considerable (but undescribed) overwhelming evidence and lastly 3) appeals to scientific consensus and the argument that if you’re not a climate scientist you can’t “know” and you shouldn’t be questioning.

What is added by “skeptics” being cheerleaders for some or any version of consensus science?   Geography once indicated the earth was very old. Lord Kelvin with the equations of Fourier “proved” that the temperature of the earth indicated a recent origin. How could “skeptics” have helped that argument by taking sides in the years before Madam Curie discovered that radioactive decay heated the earth’s core? Had there been “skeptics” back then should they have sided with the George Gaylord Simpson and the academic majority against the outsider Wegner and his crazy theory of continental drift? Science is following the evidence to the end, not declaring winners by projecting from today’s current best available evidence.

As described above there were a number of factors and incidents that brought the skeptics movement to where it is today. Under different circumstance skeptical heroes might have included Freeman Dyson, Michael Crichton, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, and Michael Fumento instead of Carl Sagan, Michael Mann, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The forces for group cohesion can be powerful. Within the skeptic community voices that dissented in any way (or even just said “I don’t know”) tended to become more and more marginalized. Those who might dissent now have for the most part left, shut up or deferred to “science” and their places have been taken by those who believe. I once asked on a skeptical forum, why the group responded so harshly to any statements challenging climate fears, but no one ever commented or challenged any statements no matter how ridiculous exaggerating climate fears. I was told that false statements against the climate understandings represented real threats, but little harm could come from overstatements of climatic risk. No one on that forum took issue with that position and that’s when I figured I could not learn much more there. This is a group on a mission that is not accepting of distractions.

When Randi was 80 years old just before publishing his retracted controversial post on global warming, he identified news reporters and academics as the being most susceptible to “magical thinking”. Randi described what is often behind such thinking, “Ultimately it’s not about intelligence or lack thereof. It’s about people not wanting to accept that life is random, suffering is inevitable, and there is no good reason for bad things happening.” Humans naturally seek “reasons” when bad things happen.

Certainly the amount of CO2, a greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere is increasing. All else equal that will cause temperatures to increase. Skeptics argue that it is appropriate to go with our best scientific understandings when there are areas of doubt. As a society that’s a good plan, but that doesn’t mean we should not continue to question our current “best” understandings. Many “skeptics” have promoted fears and described consequences of CO2 emissions that contradict IPCC reports and go much further than can be justified by best our current scientific understandings. Perhaps with science as with magical thinking some embrace fears of climate change because they do not want to accept that weather is random and that bad things can happen for no reason.  Consistent with their role in regards to scams and hoaxes, many still see the task for skeptics as coming up with answers and explanations. Maybe the desire for impressive answers leads to excess certainty and an over-reliance on experts to quell doubts. Unfortunately today not enough skeptics see the value of critical thinking when it leads to an honest “I don’t know”.

JC comment:  Someone recently emailed me this 1995 article from Skeptical Enquirer: How to sell a pseudoscience.  Take a look; these tactics are all being used to sell climate science.

As with all guest posts, keep your comments relevant and civil.

 

 

397 responses to “Why Skeptics hate climate skeptics

  1. I stopped listening to the SGU podcast when they whitewashed and downplayed the Clinategate emails. It was unseemly, to say the least. Had a similar change of opinion of the NCSE when they picked up the climate charge. I thought their work on state by state science standards and teaching evolution in the schools was quite good.

    • David Springer

      NCSE = National Center for Selling Evolution

      It’s an atheist front organization representing political interests in the culture wars using a veneer of science to lend an air of credibility.

  2. I had the opportunity earlier in my life to collaborate with Randi in debunking a couple of “psychics” using known magic tricks. Enormously effective. I have a great deal of respect for Gardner and Randi, as well as others (like Ricky Jay) who have used their expertise to expose scams.

    However, one major problem with the skeptical movement has been that as Shermer has become more prominent the it has moved toward explicit endorsement of atheism. Advocating for a particular position on a metaphysical question that cannot be decided by science started the movement down the road to political advocacy in other areas — first evolution and vaccines (where, BTW, I more or less agree with the skeptical movement’s positions) and on to CAGW, race and gender issues, etc., where they have become unwittingly anti-science.

    It’s a sad transformation.

    • …one major problem with the skeptical movement has been that as Shermer has become more prominent the it has moved toward explicit endorsement of atheism.

      Personal belief is not the same as proof, or even evidence. That is the very heart of skepticism. Given that all religious beliefs that are testable are false (or at least explained by non-religious mechanisms), the “consensus” position should be aetheism. That it is not is testament (ahem) to the power of belief over observation.

      • David Springer

        Anyone who has a good grasp of the organized complexity of nature cannot possibly arrive at a conclusion that it’s an accident. That’s absurd.

      • David Springer:

        Anyone who has a good grasp of the organized complexity of nature cannot possibly arrive at a conclusion that it’s an accident. That’s absurd.

        It is religion that is absurd. Unlike religion, atheism resists the temptation to make things up when one’s imagination runs thin. Religious individuals can be excellent scientists. Religion, on the other hand, is not excellent science.

        One may presume that cause-and-effect applies even to the origin of the universe/matter/energy but that in no way supports any religious creation story. Of course, most religions start with a creation mythology but none stop there. And complexity does not require a celestial guiding hand through time. See: Razor, Occam’s. I suppose you could fall back on variations of the “watchmaker” theory but that negates essentially all religious theology and still leaves you with an untestable claim.

        Religions flourish, despite the silliness of most religious tenets, because of social need and cultural influence. Religions may be useful to individuals and groups but they are not truthful.

        Nature’s complexity may provoke thought but it need not invoke sky gods and it provides no support whatsoever for religious alternatives to atheism.

      • Opluso – you’re a bit too glib, and suggests a lack of deep knowledge of religion Your view of religion is very common in the modern world.

        Science itself was largely created by the Catholic Church. The university – where nature could be freely studied without interference – was itself first instantiated by the church in the mis-named dark ages.

        You show substantial *faith* that all religious pronouncements are just myths, waiting for science to debunk them sometimes – even as you mention that many good scientists are religious. Do you not see the contradictions? Those scientists, students of nature and practitioners of the scientific method, were still religious.

        Atheism (or more narrowly, the belief that there is no god) is just faith in another form – faith that what we can see is all that there is, and that all meaning only exists in that barren context, and faith that most of mankind has been deluded for all of history.

        We can decry creationism, for it contradicts vast amounts of evidence. But can we prove that God didn’t create the earth 6 months ago with all of that evidence in it? No, of course we cannot. I don’t think that’s what happened, but science has no way of answering that question.

      • David Springer

        opluso

        I agree with you on specific creation narratives. However, unless you can prove them all false then atheism is itself based upon faith. In this case faith that all we observe is the result of an accident – a random dance of atoms. As an engineer I find that conclusion absurd.

      • John Moore:

        You respond that my comment “suggests a lack of deep knowledge of religion”. You are incorrect. Although raised in an intensely Christian culture, I became an atheist because I actually read the Bible (and compared various versions). I don’t recommend it to others — I found it ridiculously overrated, both as literature and as history. I then examined other religious texts and mythologies (aka, dead religions) and found similar nonsense (literally).

        Simply believing something (or “having faith”) obviously is not the target of my criticism. Rather it is believing something irrelevant (or demonstrably false) and suggesting it should be incorporated into rational examination of the world around us. You are welcome to your mysticism and magisterium, but you shouldn’t expect others to play along. Your Catholic-centric viewpoint reveals your bias just as you suggest my atheism reveals mine.

        The fact that there are thousands, if not millions, of varieties of religion should give you a hint that religious faith does not depend upon any ultimate truth. Instead, we are dealing with human nature as expressed within multiple cultures. Since religion is just an outgrowth of human nature it should come as no surprise that good things (as well as bad) can flow from religion. Applying a “happy face” filter to history does not elevate a religion to the level of science. It merely lowers the intellectual level of the debate.

        Asserting that “something” created the universe does not support any specific religion. You might just as well assert that it’s turtles all the way down.** If religion has nothing to contribute to the discussion beyond pointing out there are limits to human knowledge, we really don’t need to add religious beliefs to the equation.

        ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

      • I guess I opened this can of worms, so I will offer a comment. i was aware that there were other rifts in the Skeptic Community besides Global Warming. As the group grew it grew more challenging of religious ideas, more liberal and anti various other political positions. Getting into all that seemed to be more clutter then enlightening, so I hoped to dodge that.

        As with my possibly dashed hopes for the Skeptic arena, I hope this site will continue to be more broadly open to all. We talk about science, technology, energy, policy as they relate to Climate. Our arguments and evidence should be broadly open to educated Baptists, Jews, Catholics, Atheists, Muslims, Agnostics, Sikhs… and put into terms that they can understand regardless of their religious/philosophical backgrounds.

        My two cents. We would not gain much by establishing a privileged view of a religion, or non-religion, but we would lose people if we did that. I understand that people want to respond when their views are attacked, but surely we shouldn’t be taking pot shots at other peoples perspectives. I welcome anyone here that wants to partake in serious discussions around climate, energy, and policy regardless of any idiosyncrasies they may have or errors they may make in other areas of their lives.

      • @AP – thanks for a most reasonable comment…. and, since I haven’t said it before, thanks for all of your deeply informative posts on power systems, etc. As an EE with vague knowledge of AC systems, I found them very interesting, and right in time with my interest in solar PV for my new home.

        I guess I opened a can of worms by mentioning the fact that the skeptics moved from going after obviously phony paranormal stuff to being an outlet for militant atheists. They are.

        To @opluso – for the most part, you are not actually responding to me. But… I do find your certainty in your views to be no less a matter of faith than with the religious, and your response shows no serious knowledge of Christianity – just the sort of surface view one can get of any field by reading a bunch of stuff.

        You might, however, try to understand that defending religion from attacks is not the same as asserting that everyone else should adopt religious beliefs, or that those beliefs should inform science. I said and implied no such thing.

      • aplanningengineer:

        Well and wisely said.

        There are religiously devout individuals on both (all?) sides of the global warming debate. And, for most, religion plays no part in the scientific investigations. They quite easily coexist in that regard.

        I do, however, detect a divide on proposed (or opposed) policies when it comes to religious believers. Whether that is a result of careful consideration or simply “my team” against “your team” is not an easy question.

        But I do believe that all scientific questions should be independent of religion, just as they should be independent of ultimate policy decisions. When either of those non-scientific “belief systems” intrudes on the scientific endeavor, mischief results.

        To John Moore:

        When someone points out the truth about religion, it is often perceived as an “attack”. Nonetheless, asserting that someone else is ignorant about a subject because you do not like their conclusions is probably an unwise habit. You might want to think about it.

        Like the poor, philosophical conudrums will always be with us. Some religious individuals truly seek answers to epistemological, ontological and/or teleological questions. I hope they find what they are looking for. But when you are seeking answers to physical, rather than metaphysical, questions, please leave your religion at the door.

      • A late comment, buts hats off to Opoluso and John Moore. Please pardon any clumsiness I may have with words or any side points I may err on and focus on for the main point. Arguements involving atheism and religion can be very passionate, heated and of critical importance to those involved. But they stopped and realized for this group the important thing is climate etc. I think there is great maturity in realizing that for the common motives of this group we are better being more inclusive
        and letting that issue be more fully debated in other places.

        I don’t write on a blog because I have all the answers. I write to learn more. The comment sections are good for that. I think I’m learning how to better describe my concerns. The difference between what happened here in the short run is very different than what happened long run in the Skeptic Movement. Just as we have different perspectives here around religious beliefs, once upon a time the Skeptic Movement had differing perspectives around Climate. When it was possible way back to discuss such things civilly, people in the Skeptic Movement did. But over time those discussions got more passionate and angry. My preferred approach for the Skeptic Movement as regards Climate wassimilar to my advice here as regards religion.

        As the issue grew more divisive, certain speakers, podcasters, writers, individuals in discussions would push the rift. This happened with increased frequency. Those who were not in alignment with severe concerns about climate would find their beliefs generally derided. At first more softly eventually more savagely. This would occur in a multitude of contexts. For example someone generally covering the subject of cognitive dissonance would lump climate denial in with flat earth views. Or talking about vaccines, they would bringup climate denial. I first was struck by that watching some guy show slides of galaxies and such and taking a detour to bash those who didn’t get how fragile the earth was. This is what connects the dots in my narrative. Was it organized and planed, a function of demographics, something else, I don’t know. But it worked to drive many out and energize others and thus the cycle fed itself. Within the Skeptics Movement there not only emerged a preference for climate alarm, but an unwillingness to hear other views and a general acceptance (and encouragement) of dismissive statements of others who might hold such ( or even just not fully embrace the group version of alarm).

        In talking of climate, factors relating to religion may be on point at times, but I think it would be bad form if in our forums people went out of their way to jab religious or atheistic ideas. Similarly to get too carried away about them when they do come up. It would show they care more about that issue tha Climate Etc. I think it would be rude and disrespectful to the group and I think it would be fair to complain of the tone of such attacks and label them for what they are. Efforts to create and support a concensus that occur at the expense of others. Maybe it’s hard to imagine this forum becoming one in ten years that promoted a combination of lukewarmism and a strong preference for Methodism (or Atheism). I don’t think that will happen. At one point it would have been similarly hard to imagine the Skeptics Movement would grow to promote critical thinking and a strong preference for climate concern.

        Some might think saving the globe is more important than the old foci of the Skeptics movement, just as some may think saving souls is more important than discussing climate. My response back when and now say even if they are right, there are other forums for those things, so why make a group which is serving more diverse group on a different subject less inclusive. I understand that those in the Sceptic movement view eliminating us doubters as being consistent in applying critical thinking. Perhaps they would describe it as the gently educated the doubters, but the true deniers were too much. It’s the same basic history either way.

        namaste

      • aplanningengineer:
        It’s difficult to keep the rhetoric out of a climate change blog. As soon as one starts trying to find even a term people will accept (I ended up using advocate and questioner), the battle is on. In order to avoid this, one much stick entirely to science. Science of Doom is fairly close, but even said blog had a posting on why the use of the term “denier” is denigrating to those who died in the holocaust. The blog was criticized (to put it mildly) both for the opinion and veering off straight science. I learned if you don’t start early with moderation, demand at least somewhat civil behaviour , and try to maintain decorum, it’s often a lost cause. The larger the blog, the more true this is. There are many global warming blogs that are not science at all, but a “rip the skeptics apart” free for all. There are skeptic blogs that do the same. It really doesn’t help either side, but if someone wants to rant endlessly on the internet, they can. When you get into politics and philosophy, it gets even worse. One does the best they can. (I also write my blog to learn. I have to research the subjects thoroughly and commenters bring up things I had not thought of.)

    • Yes, liberal/progressive ideology with its emotional attachments took over and moved the skeptic movement past a tipping point. Nothing short of internal strife will bring it back to its more rational foundational mission (some of it, anyway; ideologues who enjoy the maverick label will never change in the face of hard facts). They missed the chance with the rehabilitation of James Randi who might have caused an effective self-examination had he not caved. Now it will be much harder and the chances are reduced for a successful rebirth.

  3. I can’t count the number of times that I have been accused of accepting money from Big Oil, even from those who actually do accept money from Big Green.

  4. “Skeptics argue that it is appropriate to go with our best scientific understandings when there are areas of doubt.”

    A real skeptic, by definition, expresses doubt about an issue when… there’s doubt about an issue. They don’t gloss over areas of doubt… by defintion.
    A person who glosses over areas of doubt is no longer a skeptic.

    Andrew

      • Mosher wrote: “if you want to know the forcing for doubling CO2 just use a validated LBL physics model.”

        It isn’t that simple. You first need to specify the temperature, density and composition of the atmosphere at all altitudes. That includes the altitude and type of cloud cover (emissivity). About 60% of outgoing OLR originates from clouds, not the surface. Then you need to do this for all representative locations on the planet during all seasons. Saying we know the answer to a precision of 3.71 W/m2 is unrealistic. 3.4-4.0 W/m2 might be reasonable guess. (I don’t recall the published confidence interval, but it wouldn’t be surprising to find it unrealistically narrow because they didn’t take into account the uncertainty in all of these inputs. The definite work that led to 3.71 W/m2 was spread over several publications, some of which are behind a paywall.)

        When K&T published their energy balance diagrams, they discussed adjusting clouds to produce OLR and reflected SWR that is consistent with measurements with space. Apparently the observed climate that is input into LBL calculations has significant uncertainty or K&T resorted to fudging.

        LBL calculations are probably more accurate than most of the “contradictory” observational evidence people often cite. Global observations of surface DLR are totally inadequate for detecting changes produced by CO2 (about 1 W/m2 for doubling). CERES measurement of radiative imbalance (CERES EBAF?) are adjusted (5? W/m2) to agree with the increase in ocean heat content.

    • “Skeptics argue that it is appropriate to go with our best scientific understandings when there are areas of doubt.”

      36 year old guesstimates of CO2 forcing that have not been corrected by empirical field measurements for more that 3 decades can not even charitably be called a scientific understanding. Particularly when the mean of the range appears to be higher than the actual value by 4 times the stated error of the estimate.

      I am constantly amazed at the lack of certainty and understanding in a field that has blown more than $70 billion in Federal research funds since 1988.

      How can the government possibly blow billions studying global warming effects and still not have empirical measurements for forcing and accurate estimates of future CO2 levels? What effect were they studying anyway?

      Somebody should be fired because billions of tax dollars have been wasted.

      • I second the motion. I want a public accounting of exactly what was done with the 70 billion dollars spent since 1988.

      • Steven Mosher

        c02 forcing is known quite well.

        feedbacks to any warming… not so well.

        if you want to know the forcing for doubling c02 just use a validated LBL physics model. Iits the same kind of model that engineers use to design systems.. say to estimate FLIR performance or the visibility of IR signatures.

        3.71 watts per doubling. No feedback case.

        Again what is NOT KNOWN very well is what happens when add 3.71 watts ( regardless of the source of the forcing)

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote –

        “c02 forcing is known quite well.”

        Unfortunately, there is no single, useful, definition of “forcing”, in a climatological sense. Gavin Schmidt, for example, mentions several different definitions. Some are contradictory, and Gavin states that the benefit of at least one “forcing” is ” . . the forcing can be used as a shorthand for the climate response without having to do the experiment . . . ”

        The definition of “experiment” used here, is apparently running a computer program with changed input parameters or coding, and comparing the output numbers.

        So, your statement that CO2 forcing is known quite well, merely indicates the quality of the mind behind the statement. You might clear up any confusion by providing your rigorous scientific definition of the term “forcing” as you have used it, and indicate the class of people by whom it is “known quite well”.

        Climatology is supposed to be scientific. It seems to suffer from a plethora of words with vague meanings, supposedly superior to words generally used in the study of physics.

        No wonder some people are skeptical!

      • if you want to know the forcing for doubling c02 just use a validated LBL physics model.

        Very well, what change in downward forcing does your line-by-line (0.1 cm-1 resolution) model predict for a 370 PPM to 392 PPM change in CO2?

      • c02 forcing is known quite well.

        Forcing” is a myth.

        The (greenhouse) effect of CO2 is well known. From laboratory experiments.

        Its supposed effect on the Earth’s atmosphere (all other things being equal) can be calculated.

        But when you start talking about “forcings” or “feedbacks”, you’re talking about aspects of simplistic models based on unwarranted assumptions.

      • Steven Mosher | June 4, 2015 at 1:00 am |
        c02 forcing is known quite well.

        feedbacks to any warming… not so well.

        if you want to know the forcing for doubling c02 just use a validated LBL physics model.

        The MODTRAN model says that for a 22 PPM change in atmospheric CO2 in PPM the downward forcing change should be about 0.25-0.27 W/m2.

        Actual field measurements over a decade at two midlatitude locations indicate a 0.2 W/m2 change.

        Is the MODTRAN model wrong or the real world?

        This also raises another interesting issue. The 5.35 ln (C/C0) iPCC formulation implies a 0.31 W/m2 forcing in direct CO2 forcing with a TCR or 0.62 W/m2.

        is the empirically measured 0.2 W/m2 change in downward forcing right? The MODTRAN 0.25-0.27 W/m2? The IPCC 0.31 W/m2? Or the 0.62 W/m2 TCR?

        The real world seems less responsive to CO2 changes than physics derived models.

      • Steven Mosher

        Mike Flynn.
        Wrong.
        The value of 3.71 doesn’t depend on your semantic games.
        The impact of doubling C02 is known quite well. Doubling C02 adds 3.71 watts to the system.

        Now the temperature effect that has after feedbacks?
        That’s not so well known

      • Steven Mosher

        PA.

        Can you spell LBL?

      • Curious George

        Steven Mosher – I assume that on a planet with a N2 atmosphere with no water the CO2 forcing would be easy to compute – at least, physics equations say so. Add water, and the picture changes dramatically. Have you – or anybody else – determined the effect of clouds on an energy balance? I’ll appreciate a link or an explanation simple enough for my unsophisticated mind.

      • Steven Mosher,

        CO2 adds no energy to the system whatsoever.

        Anybody who thinks you can get energy for free is quite simply deluded.

        Maybe you have misunderstood basic physics somewhere along the way. If you heat something, and then allow that heated body to heat something else, you have not generated any additional energy, no matter how you manipulate the figures.

        This is why nobody can demonstrate the greenhouse effect. It doesn’t exist. Shouting loudly or waving your hands will not change this.

      • Sometimes I get the feeling posters are talking past each other.

        http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14240.html

        Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 0.2 W down dwelling IR for 22 PPM CO2 increase. 2000 to 2010 change.

        1. What is the mid latitudes increase in down dwelling IR in W/m2 predicted by Modtran for a 22 PPM CO2 increase?
        2. What is the mid latitudes change in down dwelling IR in W/m2 for a 22 PPM CO2 increase is inferred by the IPCC mean TCR of 7.7 W/m2?

        These aren’t difficult questions.

      • David Springer

        Mosher still fails to understand that there is a big difference between adding 3.7 Watts of shortwave illumination to the ocean surface and 3.7 Watts of longwave illumination.

        Absent that understanding the conclusions he draws about the potential effects are no more than uninformed narratives.

    • The debunkers’ strategy of disproving fakery with “real” science in the end has betrayed them by taking scientific consensus for scientific validity in all areas. When genuine uncertainty exists and should be acknowledged, such an approach routinely sacrifices babies with bathwater. “Best available” science is often superficial and flawed. Mark Twain’s wholesale returns of speculation for a small investment of facts has entirely dominated climate science, e.g.

  5. I honestly believe it comes down to most general skeptics equating AGW skeptics with right-wing religious types. Let’s face it… most general skeptics tend to be atheists (or agnostics) and not Republicans/Tories/Equivalent. I’ve found in my own interactions with them that they knee-jerk react more often than not and lump AGW skeptics into that barrel, despite the fact that many of us are non-religious and not right-wingers politically.

    • Sorry, I should have edited this better before posting. I meant that I believe many general skeptics see AGW skeptics as merely religiously/politically motivated and not truly skeptical of the underlying science (or lack thereof). They see AGW skeptics as somehow tainting the “true cause” of general skepticism.

    • Well that’s fine. Skeptics are the religious nuts yada yada.

      This in my view is a flawed understanding.

      1. The Deniers: this is the mostly conservative elements that the far left likes to tar all skeptics with. Believe that there is little or no CO2 warming.

      2. The “True Skeptics”. Don’t know how much CO2 forcing is but believe that the warmers haven’t made their case. Believe there is some warming with the minimum of the IPCC estimates as a ceiling (maximum) to the actual warming.

      3. Global warmers and pseudo-skeptics. Believe the actual forcing and future CO2 levels are within the range of the IPCC estimates.

      4. CAGW (Cult of anthropomorphic global warming).
      http://www.c3headlines.com/global-warming-quotes-climate-change-quotes.html
      Quote by Christopher Manes, a writer for Earth First! journal: “The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing.”

      These folks have drank the Kool Aid and believe disaster is coming. CAGW is a modernized version of a satanic cult – they are evil and don’t have the best interests of humanity at heart. The statements from the fringe groups like Earth First that 99% of the population is surplus suggest that some of the more radical CAGW elements could benefit from intense psychotherapy or involuntary confinement in a controlled setting.

      • The Manes quote reminds of an interaction on Twitter earlier today:

        Paul Ehrlich: Developing fusion energy for human beings would be “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.” — Alex Epstein

        Given Ehrlich’s long standing dislike for the species, I can’t tell if this is an endorsement or a complaint — @varifrank

        The ambivalence again neatly captured.

      • PA
        Largely agree with your classes above – would divide your third class between lukewarmers and warmers though, so getting as follows:

        1 – Deniers: CO2 does not cause any change in tempertture

        2 – Skeptic: CO2 has an effect, but sensitivity is somewhere in the range 0-1.2 deg C (i.e. negative or neutral feedback)

        3 – Lukewarmer: CO2 has a warming effect and feedback is weakly to moderately positive. Sensitivity is probably within the lower part of the IPCC range.

        4 – Warmers: CO2 has a warming effect with moderate to strongly positive feedbacks. Warming likely to be around the mid-point of the IPCC range

        5 – Catastrophists: CO2 warming with very strong feedbacks leading to rapid warming in or above the upper portion of the IPCC range.

        Of course, only some of those classes tell you anything about anticipated impacts and mitigation v adaptation. Obviously, for deniers there is no action necessary and for catastrophists we’re doomed pretty much regardless of what we do (warming in the pipeline arguments). The other three groups should be able to talk to each other and make progress. Unfortunately, there are too many straw men to fight past…

      • PA and IAN – I like what you have done. The problem that I see is when those who would land in the range of 2-4 (Ian’s categories) are branded as deniers and possibly ignored as anti-science. For the post at hand – that is my perception of many rank and file skeptics and some vocal leaders.

        I wonder about classifying people. My individual response is more complex. I tent to think of each of these positions as having different probabilities of being true. Do you go with your median probability or the mode?

        Here’s a rough amateur guestimate below likely to change with time, evidence, mood and maybe whimsy. (Probably give the remote chance more probability just because I know the world can surprise you.) Would that define a firm Lukewarmer or something else? Do you think there a difference between people (particularly non-experts) who put all there eggs in one basket versus spreading them around.

        1. Deniers 2%
        2.Skeptic 34%
        3.Lukewarmer 34%
        4. Warmer 28%
        5. Catastrophist 2%

      • Well, PE, the percentages seem roughly right.

        Anyone who isn’t a warmer or a catastrophist risks being called a denier.

      • catweazle666

        “Anyone who isn’t a warmer or a catastrophist risks being called a denier.”

        No risk about it, it’s a racing certainty.

  6. Very interesting topic and excellent summary. It’s something I’ve noticed and vaguely wondered about but never thought about too deeply.

    I do think an additional entry to the above could maybe touch the subject of some of the schisms in the skeptic community especially regarding the way the communities seems to have trouble dealing with feminism e.g. “Elevator gate”.

    Not heard of Greta Christina I like her quote here:

    “(If) your idea of skepticism is, “sitting around talking about stuff we already agree about” — then all I can say is, “You keep using that word ‘skepticism.’ I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    As you say it seems that no one listened to her. I remember when Randi made his mild remarks and got knocked back into line. Whenever I dip into these self described “real” skeptic arenas I mostly seem to see a parade of low hanging fruit skepticism and petty power plays.

  7. My impression is that many of the alarmists from the top to the bottom use the tactics of Saul Alinsky. I have seen it in person. Like James Carson, I have been accused of being supported by the Koch brothers and when posting a link Svensmark’s video online in the ‘Connected Community’ discussion group of the Geological Society of America, was accused of doing science by ‘U-tube.’

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

  8. Thanks Planning Engineer for some fair-minded history. As you suggest things have moved on rapidly in the last few years. Under Science of Doom’s masterly post in February on why it’s not acceptable, logically or morally, to equate climate dissenters with holocaust deniers someone complained angrily thus:

    Skeptical organizations, like the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, consider global warming d*nial to be a form of pseudoscience.

    To which I replied:

    The argument from authority has spoken – about skepticism of all things. We can all go home now.

    And:

    Stay skeptical my friends. Look up every day
    what it means on csicop.org. Never question it.

    I think we should be able to have some fun with this one.

    • Form of pseudoscience, eh?

      I am unaware of any of the many tenets of CAGW that have been proven to be true.

      The global warmers want the null hypothesis be that their theory is right. This is an admission that their theory is either unproven, unprovable, or wrong. A theory that isn’t falsifiable (makes testable predictions) has no value. The only thing worse than an unfalsifiable theory is one that makes wrong predictions. The predictions of AGW theory are mostly wrong.

      How can disbelieving an unproven theory that has by and large made nonsensical predictions be pseudoscience?

    • Science of Doom says he has never been called a “denier.”

      So it seems that maybe “many” skeptics don’t “hate” Science of Doom.

      Why might that be? What is about SOD that might exclude him from the hatred?

  9. Unfortunately many supposed skeptics like Dr. Novella don’t have the right sort of background to evaluate climate research, nor wish to acquire it. When I tried to engage him on his blog on the topic when he mentioned it, the response was mindless dismissal of anyone who dared to question his beliefs, mockery of anyone who dared to question climate science. Unfortunately I suspect he could in no way give any sort of credible justification for his belief in climate research and merely holds his views for the same non-scientific emotional sorts of reasons that junk medicine types hold theirs.

    I suspect that he merely is granting them the benefit of the doubt that since they claim to be “scientists” that they are competent and must be right, and seems unwilling to be at all skeptical. I saw the same reaction challenging him on policy issues where he seemed to be economically illiterate and merely mocking anyone who dared disagree with his politically correct positions and showing no signs of a desire to bother actually learning something about the topic since he was convinced he knows everything…. when he seems to know little. I don’t know what to make of such non-skeptical skeptics, when other skeptics more consistently apply their skeptical worldview across whatever intellectual discipline they encounter. Doctors tend to mostly use the results of scientists and may therefore not really acquire the same sort of scientific mindset that others who value science do.

  10. Many “skeptics” have promoted fears and described consequences of CO2 emissions that contradict IPCC reports and go much further than can be justified by best our current scientific understandings.

    Do you have examples?

      • O/T
        Planning Engineer, on the thread “Solar grid parity” a comment was placed which questions one of the basic numbers you use right at the start of your post. Would it be possible for you or Rud to respond to it because imo it casts doubt on the validity of your article as a whole. Here is the comment:

        Vincent Dekker (@VincentDekker4) on June 3, 2015 at 11:21 am
        Rud etal, thanks for the interesting post!
        What I don’t understand is the price you put on PV: ‘A U.S. rooftop PV system cost about $5.80/W in 2014′
        I live in the Netherlands and bought 12 panels (2760 WP) in 2011 for 7100 euro’s, everything included. So my panels cost me € 2.57/W (US $2.85/W) In 2014 this had come down to €1.60 and this year it’s €1.45 (US $ 1.60/W), again: installation, inverter, wiring etc included. Is the US incredibly more expensive when PV is concerned?

        Thank you in advance for responding.

      • wijnand2015, the actual average installed PV cost in Palo Alto California was $5.83/W in 2014. We provided a link to the city presentation urging residents to go solar. Page 27 of their presentation. The number should be accurate because Palo Alto provides a cash grant of $800/kW of residential rooftop PV that gets installed.
        Perhaps there are unusual circumstances in Palo Alto or in California, but we are not aware of any.
        Regards

      • wijnand2015 – The US cost has typically been higher than in Europe for a variety of reasons. To better understand your numbers does the SDE subsidy apply after the cost you provided, or is the SDE subsidy responsible for that cost?

      • New to commenting here, not to reading, but I have personal experience as
        1) I studied spacecraft power generation as part of my degree
        And
        2) I just had a large PV array installed.

        Excuse my mix of math and anecdotes, we call it engineering.

        The array we bought is rated at 8kW, cost about $40k USD ($5/W), and I’ve had it operational for ~6 months. On a great day, we generate about 62kWh, getting us a fractional output (24hrs at 8kW being the obviously unachievable comparator, but useful for looking at conventional power generation) of 0.32; meaning we generate 32% of the power an 8kW generator would, given only perfect days. Mix that with weather, and the surprisingly significant effect of pollen accumulation on panel output (about 10-15% during spring after a wk with no rain), and you get a pretty expensive, fairly low output system.

        For us, it’s worth it with a 12ish year payoff, but it’s not a ‘great investment’ (stocks averaging 10+%).

    • Extreme weather for one.

      Projection of temperatures out to 100 years for another.

      Massive relocation of populations – the famous climate refugee scare.

      How about the very recent one about how CO2 emissions is generating an increase in temperature within time periods of a few months.

      Or one of my favorite – how Andian birds are doomed to extinction because they are not changing their habitat as predicted by models, and ignoring the fact their populations are not decreasing.

      Joseph, you continue to amaze us with your cluelessness. Ever consider the possibility of learning something about a topic before commenting on it?

    • Tim, do you have any knowledge of the literature on extreme weather events or climate refugees or anything else that you mentioned or are you getting your info from skeptic sites like WUWT?

      • Can’t comment for Tim, but the ‘literature’? On ‘extreme weather events’ the ‘literature’ is modern journalism i.e stenographers in the press who publish anything and everything alarming about climate change from green warm alarmists the world over. The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times et al. Look them up on google. Follow them on twitter.

      • From the Orange County Register (Mark Lansbaum back in 2010 or 2011, I think:

        “The United Nations predicted in 2005 that climate change, AKA global warming, would result in 50 million climate refugees by 2010. They would flee disasters involving sea levels rising, increased and more severe hurricanes and disruption of food production. The UN identified places most at risk. Guess what. Thanks to Gavin Atkins for summarizing:

        Bahamas:
        Nassau, The Bahamas – The 2010 population increased to 353,658 persons in The Bahamas. That’s 50,047 more people in the last 10 years.

        St Lucia:
        The island-nation of Saint Lucia increased 5 percent from May 2001 to May 2010.

        Seychelles:
        Population in 2002 was 81,755. In 2010 it was 88,311.

        Solomon Islands:
        “The latest Solomon Islands population has surpassed half a million – that’s according to the latest census results,” Atkins says. “It’s been a decade since the last census report, and in that time the population has leaped 100-thousand.”

        Did we mention that this is another Global Warming Oops Moment?
        These people who want you to hock your future to pay for global warming mitigation haven’t gotten anything right yet. Not rising sea levels. Not hurricanes. Not soaring temperatures. Not polar bears disappearing. Nothing. Zip.

        Gee, why wouldn’t we jump on that bandwagon?

        Need more evidence of the utter unreliability of these UN potentates who would rule your life?

        “…far from being places where people are fleeing, no fewer than the top six of the very fastest growing cities in China, Shenzzen, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhuhai, Puning and Jinjiang, are absolutely smack bang within the shaded areas identified as being likely sources of climate refugees,”

        Atkins writes. “Similarly, many of the fastest growing cities in the United States also appear within or close to the areas identified by the UNEP as at risk of having climate refugees.”

        Settled science anyone?

        In the past, the petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide has been circulated in the US, and some folks even got their local city councils to ban it in their respective municipalites. Remember, folks…….these people are allowed to vote!

        Global warming alarmism can be fun.

        Take for instance this dire warning just 11 years ago:

        “Snow is starting to disappear from our lives. Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,’ he said.” -The Independent, March 20, 2000

        Ah yes. In 2000 we were on our way to cooking winter right off the seasonal map. But then, oops…

        “Britain should brace itself for another freezing winter with the return of La Niña, a climate phenomenon known to disrupt global weather, ministers have warned. The warning coincides with research from the Met Office suggesting Europe could be facing a return of the ‘little ice age’ that gripped Britain 300 years ago, causing decades of bitter winters. The prediction, to be published in Nature, is based on observations showing a slight fall in the sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation, which over a long period may trigger mini ice ages in Europe.” –Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, October 9, 2011

        “Britain is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it could all begin within weeks as experts said last night that the mercury may soon plunge below the record -20C endured last year. Latest evidence shows La Nina, linked to extreme winter weather in America and with a knock-on effect on Britain, is in force and will gradually strengthen as the year ends. It coincides with research from the Met Office indicating the nation could be facing a repeat of the ‘little ice age’ that gripped the country 300 years ago, causing decades of harsh winters.” -Laura Caroe, Daily Express, October 10, 2011

        Looks like any Brits who shed their sledges and cozy winter wear probably are wanting them back today, just 11 years later. Did someone say Little Ice Age?

        Wow. We thought this science was settled. Isn’t it a good thing no one’s rushed into panic mode and changed a lot of public policies to cope with global warming, at great expense and inconvenience?

      • Settled science anyone?

        I don’t believe anyone has said these examples were “settled science,” nor do I think there were many (if any) prominent skeptics (as used in this article) were claiming these were certain to happen. The refugee claim seems to originate with one researcher (Norman Myers) and most did not find his research credible (see quote below).

        Even the website of the Biodiversity Institute at Oxford University, at which Norman Myers is listed as an associate researcher, states that his work on environmental refugees “is widely viewed as lacking academic credibility”.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23899195

      • Nice try Joseph. All that shows is that like many assertions backed by the UN, this one is bogus. For a more complete history of this little episode, see:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/15/the-un-disappears-50-million-climate-refugees-then-botches-the-disappearing-attempt/

        Note that WUWT is not the only source of the info, just the one that will likely annoy you the most. From the post:

        General Assembly, 8 July 2008
        GA/10725
        Sixty-second General Assembly
        Informal Meeting on Climate Change and Most Vulnerable Countries (AM)

        Statements
        SRGJAN KERIM, President of the General Assembly, opened the discussion by saying that 11 of the last 12 years had ranked among the 12 warmest since the keeping of global temperature records had begun in 1850. Two points were significant: that climate change was inherently a sustainable-development challenge; and that more efforts than ever before must be exerted to enable poor countries to prepare for impacts because it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.

        Panel Discussion
        The Assembly then held a panel discussion moderated by author and journalist Eugene Linden. The panellists were Reid Basher, Senior Coordinator at the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; Ian Noble, Senior Climate Change Specialist at the World Bank; and Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the Environment and Energy Group at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

        As you read thru the post, you will find that the claim was updated by The American Association for the Advancement of Science setting a new date of 2020.

        You asked for literature, and while the UN later tried to absolve itself of any association with Myers, they did so in a typically dishonest way.

      • All that shows is that like many assertions backed by the UN, this one is bogus. For a more complete history of this little episode

        No, Barnes, all it shows is that they got this one wrong.

  11. There shouldn’t even be a need for skepticism in climate science but for proclamations of calamity. There was a certain degree of certainty that ghg physics ‘proved’ that ghg s would warm the planet by so much per serving. Since that wasn’t the case it should have been self evident that the reason the physics didn’t match reality needed to be determined. The hypothesis was falsified by degree. Why was this so and what was the true relationship should have been the next step in reasoning it out. Unfortunately everthing became polarized and any reasoning to be done went out the window. Competing views should have been taken into account but phycho-babble took over and caused a war. Now we just have to wait and see how it turns out because no competent science can be determined in the battle of compartmentalized viewpoints.

  12. This is my experience and a first hand report,. You might observe that my early notice that I am talking about the rank and file. I’ve observed this at various skeptic gatherings and meetings. From my recollection I’ve seen skeptic forums as well as Facebook postings.

    Would you dispute that such things happen? I invited others with differing experiences to share, Have you had exposure and observed anything different. I would love to see an example of any skeptic blog or forum when the author debunked an exaggerated climate change, or the majority of the commentators did not turn on a commentator who attempted to.

    • That was for Joseph above.

    • “This is my experience and a first hand report”

      “Would you dispute that such things happen?”

      Not a very good answer to someone asking for specific examples on a topic about skepticism IMO.

      You really should be able to point to specifics in answer that question.

      • Well thanks for your contributions above. sorry I let you down, but I like it when other responders connect the dots.

      • One thing I would add to your excellent list is Skeptics doubting the IPCC projections. I say that because it happened more than a few times 5 to 7 years back that when I mentioned to Skeptic that I thought that the IPCC projections would prove to be too high, they would chastise me for doubting the science but also say they thought the IPCC numbers would prove to be too low.

    • I would like to qualify what I said. In thE past skeptics did speak out (I provided an example) bit with time that has become rarer and rarer. I am asking for any more recent examples of skeptics pushing back n exaggerated claims. Michael Shermer may. I remember a podcast with Shermer,Lomberg and Mooney where Shermer said he believed the theory was good but we really had no idea if the effects were serious and downplaying the whole thing. money’s frustration was entertaining.

  13. Speaking personally, the main reason I adopted the term climate sceptic was the prior use in the UK of the term Eurosceptic – someone who doubts the merits of the UK being a member of the European Union. I’ve never sought praise from sceptics defining themselves more generally. I did though think I did OK in my question to a panel at Imperial College including one of the UK’s better-known members of the breed, Simon Singh, in February 2011. Inducing thoughtful silence, even for a moment, is normally a good sign.

    • As in Willard hates it when he’s wrong, which seems to be often whenever commenting on climate.

      • > As in Willard hates it when he’s wrong, which seems to be often whenever commenting on climate.

        Skeptics hate contrarians just like I hate it when I’m wrong?

        That’s just great.

        If you could point out the last time I was wrong, pom pom guy, that would be great.

  14. To be honest, I didn’t even realise that there was such a thing as a ‘sceptic movement’. Knowing that there is, and knowing that they, as a group, deride CAGW/AGW sceptics as ‘pseudosceptics’ and/or believers/promoters of pseudoscience, I am not inclined to accredit their viewpoint with much weight. Why? Because ‘scepticism’ is not a movement, which coincidentally I tweeted a day or two ago in response to the suggestion by Jose Duarte that climate sceptics should adopt a few leading figures and a code of ethics. Scepticism is a quality of the human intellect arising naturally and spontaneously in response to a situation whereby that intellect is confronted with an hypothesis/theory/explanation of real events which has gained considerable traction but which nevertheless appears to defy rationality or seems to be unsupported by a sufficient body of evidence. In general terms, scepticism is common to all of us, but its expression varies greatly from one individual to another. Therefore the idea of a ‘Sceptic Movement’ or community, to me sounds absurd.

  15. David Wojick

    This thread suffers from a lack of nomenclature to distinguish climate skeptics, like myself, from members of the self proclaimed skeptical movement, which I have never heard of. In any case I do not see the promised explanation as to why movement skeptics hate climate skeptics. Could it be that movement skeptics are mostly liberals, as are most scientists, while climate skeptics are mostly conservatives? That would do it.

    • I bet you Judith had heard of it.

      • Well i ran into Skeptics with capital S when I attended the Google SciFoo meeting (maybe in 2010?) and Michael Schermer gave a big presentation. Subsequently found out that my stepfather subscribed to various Skeptics magazines.

        I never really wondered about their position re AGW, so I appreciate this post from PE

      • Michael Shermer is a bit of a wild card and I really don’t have a good feel for his past and recent positions. He once called himself a doubter and then said he accepted climate science, but he seems very open to the possibility that it’s not all doom and gloom. For all I know my underlying take may be near identical to his, just different wording choices. Of all the “name” players I would thin he might be the most likely to be more open minded on this topic.

      • Shermer might know better, but writing for SA he has to be careful where he treads.

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/act-on-climate-change-but-tackle-other-global-problems-too/

        He was originally a climate skeptic, but he got converted waaay back when i was still a subscriber to SA.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Shermer was converted by seeing an Al Gore presentation, after he wondered why even some religious demoninations were into CAGW supporting.

        That’s a “skeptic” for ya!

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Michael Shermer:

        “What turned me around on the global warming issue was a convergence of evidence from numerous sources. My attention was piqued on February 8, 2006, when 86 leading evangelical Christians — the last cohort I expected to get on the environmental bandwagon — issued the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for “national legislation requiring economy-wide reductions” in carbon emissions. After attending a 2002 Oxford conference on the science of global warming, the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals, the Reverend Richard Cizik, described his experience as “a conversion … not unlike my conversion to Christ.”

        Later that month I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, California, where former Vice President Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the 2006 documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. “

    • Skeptics started as defenders of science. They evolved into defenders of scientists. That’s in two sentences why they hate climate skeptics.

    • Everyone is skeptical about things they believe is wrong and have consensus about things they believe to be right. This kind of takes the meaning away from both.

  16. The difference is only in the cultural potency. The most powerful cultures can hi-jack not only authority, but even science. Spoon-bending has no cultural potency, it’s a stage trick. Ghosts and similar phenomena have modest potency, because folks like to believe in something other than the dreary normal. Creationism is backed by still powerful religions, albeit in the West these are running on cultural inertia and score far below their once absolute rule. CAGW is modern and explosive and still extending it’s reach throughout society. It’s most certainly potent, and can access all those who are no longer able to believe in the traditional religions.

    Add to this that modest *initial* bias for or against CAGW, will vector those who become more climate science aware to *greater* polarization, and one can see how the ‘Skeptic community’ can be fooled.

    It’s also the case that cultures are domain orientated. Skepticism in one domain (e.g. about creationism), provides absolutely no protection whatsoever from an aggressive culture in another domain. Which means the ‘Skeptical Community’ are just as vulnerable as everyone else. For CAGW they *believe* they are on the side of science; unfortunately it is only a belief.

    • It’s also the case that cultures are domain orientated. Skepticism in one domain (e.g. about creationism), provides absolutely no protection whatsoever from an aggressive culture in another domain. Which means the ‘Skeptical Community’ are just as vulnerable as everyone else.

      This is an important observation that I have not considered before.

    • ==> “Creationism is backed by still powerful religions, albeit in the West these are running on cultural inertia and score far below their once absolute rule.”

      • You see that line up over 90%? You don’t? That’s because it’s not there any more. But it was 500 years ago.

      • So more people believe in AGW than in evolution? Not sure what to make of that. I guess that is as good as it gets for science.

      • Steven Mosher

        ” below their once absolute rule.”

        see how you narrowly construed the text. bad faith.

        basically his claim is this: once ( at an unspecified time in the past)
        The view had absolute rule.

        So:

        1. you should ask for clarification about what he meant by absolute
        and what time this would have happened.
        2. you could go back and show that at no time did it have absolute rule
        under a fair assumption of the meaning of absolute.

      • David Springer

        Poll is flawed. There should be an additional response “not sure”.

  17. I was a subscriber to the Skeptical Inquirer for over 30 years and thought they did important work. However, I dropped my subscription a couple years ago, largely because they had pretty much wholly abandoned skepticism as regards “climate science”.

  18. Skeptics have hosted Michael Mann at their meetings and praised him as a defender of scientific integrity.

    Those people are not skeptics. Those are consensus alarmists who don’t know who they are, or, they are lying.

    I have met Michael Mann, listened to his lecture, talked to him. There is not any real skeptic who could or would praise him.

  19. I fear that the modern skeptics movement has moved from going after paranormal hoaxes and foolishness to being another home of the radical atheists. Most radical atheists are also progressives, and, of course, you cannot be a card carrying progressive without constantly decrying climate skeptics as heretics.

    • The skeptic movement basically dogged the military/industrial complex on issues.

      The climate skeptics are running up against the MSM/Social Progressive/bureaucracy/NGO/environmental complex.

      The two skeptic groups are going to have a lot of disagreements.

    • David Springer

      Yup.

  20. WTF? Have I been out in the sun too much today? Maybe the 2 Gibson’s I just downed have have had more than their usual effect.

    I’ll try again in the morning, but I’m just not getting this post at all.

  21. Hate. A strong word, as is Love. Hate is Anti-Love. So what is Love?
    My working definition: Trust, Respect, Understanding, and Active Consideration (see Scott Peck – the Road Less Travelled; Eric Fromm – the Art of Loving). So the CAGW folks are doing the opposite of these and are unfortunately (for the world) too successful. The vast waste of human resources is just adding to the global financial peril we all face. When the collapse occurs, this will become a non-issue.

    But do continue the debate – I am just an old cynic.

    Tom H.

    • Oh I wish you hadn’t.

      Just like Mark Silbert above, I was lost pretty much while still reading the original post. After that I lost it with Sceptics, skeptics, sceptics and Skeptics.
      It has not helped that many, many posts seem to have been typed without being re-read before posting. Never before have I seen such poor grammar,spelling and confusion of terms.

      And it seemed to have a real point to make, I just do not know what is was anymore.

      • I read rockyspears critique of the denizens on this thread and thought that he must be some kind of internet guru and went to his webpage to find out more about him. Nothing there folks. rocky is simply having a cheap shot.

      • What was my “cheap shot”? Where does “Internet Guru” come from? Just because I am new to wordpress and do not have my own blog, how on earth can you draw such conclusions?
        I happened to agree very much with Mr Silbert, Despite not being a stupid bloke, I could not fathom the post nor many of the comments, but kept reading, to see if things became clearer. I made no comments until I found that another felt as I did.
        If people are making a point or trying to express opinion, is it too much to ask for English on an English speaking website?
        I realise that there are foreign posters, but that becomes obvious and I totally do not worry about that. Just because it is the Internet, does not mean we should lose all idea of grammar, especially when it comes to a fairly tehncal subject.

      • That does not mean I nit-pick either, Spellings slip through (tecnical), I don’t mind. But where is the edit button?

      • catweazle666

        rockyspears: “Despite not being a stupid bloke…”

        [Citation required]

      • If I was simply sitting on a park bench somewhere and someone has the gall to come up and say that I looked stupid and should really get some decent clothes to wear I would tend to respond as I just have to rocky.

        If he is new to the game then perhaps he would be better off just looking and listening to what is being said. His confusion stems largely from not being around long enough to understand the nuances behind the different spellings and capitalisations of the word “sceptic”.

        Not a good start towards being a denizen of this blog of Judiths, but there is always hope that rocky will find something to say that engages with the reader rather than to alienate.

  22. I wrote the following to another very angry contributor – the evocatively named ID9766495 – under Tamsin Edwards’ excellent piece on the sensitivity debate in the Guardian last month:

    Why the playground insults? I was making the point that when I use the label ‘sceptic’ I am not asserting superiority as you seem to assume.

    This should, at least in theory, defuse some of the hatred. I’ve never seen scepticism as the ultimate virtue in life and I’m not patting myself on the back in calling myself a climate sceptic. It’s simply a useful label. But there’s also the problem of pseudonymous actors like ID9766495 claiming ownership of such an important term. There must be better skeptics than this out in the real world still. One hopes.

  23. Prof Curry, that 1995 pseudoscience piece is incredible. 20 years old! And so apt. Whoever sent that to you is ace. Thanks for linking.

    • Judith-thanks for posting that with this piece. It helps show the value and potential inherent in the movement before it lost its way.

      • Thanks to you aplanningengineer for posting. It’s always interesting to observe ,clear thinkers a la Simon Singh and Myles Allen, on sundry complex scientific issues simply outsource their thinking when it comes to climate science to laughable characters like Gore and Mann and Schmidt and Jones and Gleick and Karoly etc etc.

        I think the baseline issue is ignorance of history. Everything is unprecedented to an alarmist. And once you’re alarmed you’re not exacty, much less thinking clearly.

      • What has killed more people in theaters, false alarms or actual fires?

      • Remember, you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater.

      • Have you read the book, The Game, about the pickup-artist community?

        I describes the social dynamics quite well and is a fairly fun read. Basically people trying to get over their difficulties talking to women develope techniques and form a community to teach eachother. It quickly developes into very unhealthy competitive tribal community.

      • David Springer

        Sure you can yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. It should be conditioned upon an actual fire of course.

      • JCH,

        You are precisely correct. If you are in a theatre, and see a fire, you may say nothing, proceed to a safe place, ring emergency services if you have a phone, or go home and ring from there if you feel inclined.

        Then you can watch reports of deaths from the comfort of your easy chair, with a clear conscience.

        I’m stupid obviously. I would be inclined to let people know they are in danger, after ensuring my own safety.

        You are free to let people die if you wish. Some people might claim you are sociopathic, but I support your freedom to decide to look after yourself, regardless of the consequences to others.

  24. This is a really good article. Thank you, Dr. Curry.

  25. Interesting post.

    My best guess is that the term (and tradition) of “skeptic” originated with people skeptical of Roman Catholic doctrine, perhaps in the 14th-15th century. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle caught well the sort of cynical advantage that was taken of people willing to believe what they were taught:

    The dead robber swung slowly to and fro in the wintry wind, a fixed smile upon his swarthy face, and his bulging eyes still glaring down the highway of which he had so long been the terror; on a sheet of parchment upon his breast was printed in rude characters;

          ROGER PIED-BOT.

    Par l’ordre du Senechal de
    Castelnau, et de l’Echevin de
    Cahors, servantes fideles du
    tres vaillant et tres puissant
    Edouard, Prince de Galles et
    d’Aquitaine.
    Ne touchez pas,
    Ne coutez pas,
    Ne depechez pas.

    “He took a sorry time in dying,” said the man who sat beside him. “He could stretch one toe to the ground and bear himself up, so that I thought he would never have done. Now at last, however, he is safely in paradise, and so I may jog on upon my earthly way.” He mounted, as he spoke, a white mule which had been grazing by the wayside, all gay with fustian of gold and silver bells, and rode onward with Sir Nigel’s party.

    “How know you then that he is in paradise?” asked Sir Nigel. “All things are possible to God, but, certes, without a miracle, I should scarce expect to find the soul of Roger Clubfoot amongst the just.”

    “I know that he is there because I have just passed him in there,” answered the stranger, rubbing his bejewelled hands together in placid satisfaction. “It is my holy mission to be a sompnour or pardoner. I am the unworthy servant and delegate of him who holds the keys. A contrite heart and ten nobles to holy mother Church may stave off perdition; but he hath a pardon of the first degree, with a twenty-five livre benison, so that I doubt if he will so much as feel a twinge of purgatory. I came up even as the seneschal’s archers were tying him up, and I gave him my fore-word that I would bide with him until he had passed. There were two leaden crowns among the silver, but I would not for that stand in the way of his salvation.”

    “By Saint Paul!” said Sir Nigel, “if you have indeed this power to open and to shut the gates of hope, then indeed you stand high above mankind. But if you do but claim to have it, and yet have it not, then it seems to me, master clerk, that you may yourself find the gate barred when you shall ask admittance.”

    “Small of faith! Small of faith!” cried the sompnour. “Ah, Sir Didymus yet walks upon earth! And yet no words of doubt can bring anger to mine heart, or a bitter word to my lip, for am I not a poor unworthy worker in the cause of gentleness and peace? Of all these pardons which I bear every one is stamped and signed by our holy father, the prop and centre of Christendom.”

    “Which of them?” asked Sir Nigel.

    “Ha, ha!” cried the pardoner, shaking a jewelled forefinger. “Thou wouldst be deep in the secrets of mother Church? Know then that I have both in my scrip. Those who hold with Urban shall have Urban’s pardon, while I have Clement’s for the Clementist—or he who is in doubt may have both, so that come what may he shall be secure. I pray you that you will buy one, for war is bloody work, and the end is sudden with little time for thought or shrift. Or you, sir, for you seem to me to be a man who would do ill to trust to your own merits.” This to the alderman of Norwich, who had listened to him with a frowning brow and a sneering lip.

    “When I sell my cloth,” quoth he, “he who buys may weigh and feel and handle. These goods which you sell are not to be seen, nor is there any proof that you hold them. Certes, if mortal man might control God’s mercy, it would be one of a lofty and God-like life, and not one who is decked out with rings and chains and silks, like a pleasure-wench at a kermesse.

    “Thou wicked and shameless man!” cried the clerk. “Dost thou dare to raise thy voice against the unworthy servant of mother Church?”

    “Unworthy enough!” quoth David Micheldene. “I would have you to know, clerk, that I am a free English burgher, and that I dare say my mind to our father the Pope himself, let alone such a lacquey’s lacquey as you!”

    “Base-born and foul-mouthed knave!” cried the sompnour. “You prate of holy things, to which your hog’s mind can never rise. Keep silence, lest I call a curse upon you!”

    “Silence yourself!” roared the other. “Foul bird! we found thee by the gallows like a carrion-crow. A fine life thou hast of it with thy silks and thy baubles, cozening the last few shillings from the pouches of dying men. A fig for thy curse! Bide here, if you will take my rede, for we will make England too hot for such as you, when Master Wicliff has the ordering of it. Thou vile thief! it is you, and such as you, who bring an evil name upon the many churchmen who lead a pure and a holy life. Thou outside the door of heaven! Art more like to be inside the door of hell.”

    At this crowning insult the sompnour, with a face ashen with rage, raised up a quivering hand and began pouring Latin imprecations upon the angry alderman. The latter, however, was not a man to be quelled by words, for he caught up his ell-measure sword-sheath and belabored the cursing clerk with it. The latter, unable to escape from the shower of blows, set spurs to his mule and rode for his life, with his enemy thundering behind him. At sight of his master’s sudden departure, the varlet Watkin set off after him, with the pack-mule beside him, so that the four clattered away down the road together, until they swept round a curve and their babble was but a drone in the distance. Sir Nigel and Alleyne gazed in astonishment at one another, while Ford burst out a-laughing.

    From this point then, IMO, the term was applied to anybody eager to question the teachings of religion, thus to the defense of “evolution” against Creationists and their “Intelligent Design” proxies. But in so doing, they lost their way, and themselves became uncritical believers in whatever “Science” taught.

    “Evolution” as taught in (most) schools, as far back as the ’60’s, was as much a religion taught by memorized dogma, lacking the many caveats that real scientists understood, perhaps usually tacitly. And so, “Skepticism” became no more than uncritical religious adulation of “science”, that being whatever “scientific” teachings were appropriate to the dogma (note the lack of “scare quotes”).

    The descent into totally unskeptical acceptance of the “climate” dogma, with all its unstated political/ideological agenda, is a natural progression. Note the similarities between the “sompnour or pardoner” and the (C)AGW types with their “curse” of “Denier!

    “Thou wicked and shameless man!” cried the clerk. “Dost thou dare to raise thy voice against the unworthy servant of mother Church of Climate change?”

    “Base-born and foul-mouthed knave!” cried the sompnour. “You prate of holy things, to which your hog’s mind can never rise. Keep silence, lest I call a curse upon you a ‘denier’!”

  26. Pingback: Why Skeptics hate climate skeptics | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  27. Planing engineer, you are confusing genuine ”Skeptics” with the ”Climate Skeptics”
    Leaders in the Warmist movement know that is no ”global” warming – they think that they are telling lots of white lies, to minimize pollution; therefore: Skeptics are the only people that believe in the phony global warmings… for some of them every day is global warming / every night is global cooling…They are good people, unfortunately their Pagan beliefs don’t let them to have an open mind for real proofs; otherwise the Warmist movement would have being finished before next Christmas; because the real proofs exist, that is all a scam; do you have an open mind, Engineer?!:
    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/cooling-earth/

    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/global-warming-lost-its-compass-again/
    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/genesis-of-the-warmist-cult-2/

  28. This article makes it clear that the history of Skepticism is to go after pseudoscience by debunking it through use of the scientific method. That climate “skeptics” want to align with their thinking is a sign that they think that climate science is a pseudoscience with no basis in actual science, and that this can be completely debunked with the true scientific method. This is a rather extreme view, but they come up short by not then proposing a scientific test to debunk it as Skeptics would. I think that some “skeptics” here are of that type, but most “skeptics” here have a milder form that the science is basically right, but it needs some numerical tweaks rather than a complete debunking. To be a true Skeptic, you would be looking to debunk rather than tweak. The Skeptics don’t see climate science as a pseudoscience because of all the evidence and scientific basis, so that is a problem for the “climate skeptics” who think it is. It is easy to find pseudoscience on the “skeptical” side like integrated sunspots or planetary alignments and galactic cosmic rays, so they do themselves no favors by unskeptically embracing these as dominant factors on their blog pages instead of trying to debunk them. True Skeptics notice which side the pseudoscience is occurring on.

    • Jim this is utter nonsense: That climate “skeptics” want to align with their thinking is a sign that they think that climate science is a pseudoscience with no basis in actual science, and that this can be completely debunked with the true scientific method.

      There are aspects of climate science that are strikingly similar to pseudoscience, but in the main most “climate” skeptics agree with a great deal of the science. It’s just certain aspects, resistance against over confident conclusions not justified by the data, and data quality itself, are what are the sticking points. Climate skeptics are just doing what any skeptic should do as eloquently put by PE, examining the basis for conclusions that are drawn to see if they stack up.

      This is also nonsense: This is a rather extreme view, but they come up short by not then proposing a scientific test to debunk it as Skeptics would.

      Well, I rather think you have this completely backwards. All a skeptic has to do is point out that some conclusions drawn from data are not justified. They do NOT have to propose an alternative theory – read the last part of the post again where PE says “Unfortunately today not enough skeptics see the value of critical thinking when it leads to an honest “I don’t know”.”

      And the “test” debunking the consensus view has been run, like it or not. This is not a test of the skeptics devising but observations that falsify the consensus theory on AGW.

      This again is nonsense as well: To be a true Skeptic, you would be looking to debunk rather than tweak. The Skeptics don’t see climate science as a pseudoscience because of all the evidence and scientific basis, so that is a problem for the “climate skeptics” who think it is.

      To be a true skeptic simply means you think critically about arguments and you don’t take things on trust or simply “believe”. Any view or argument has to be justified but what data you can find. It maybe that a theory does need tweaking rather than debunking. To discredit a theory altogether just because one small aspect of it may be incorrect is just as credulous as believing whatever some bloke in a white coat says because he has letters after his name. I actually see that a lot – people like Mosher and Willis can be guilty of that.

      And since your are predicating your argument on an assumption that skeptics think climate science is a pseudoscience, you yourself aren’t thinking critically about your own argument. Do you think Dr Curry practises pseudoscience? Do you think she thinks climate science is a pseudoscience? How about Roy Spencer? Pseudoscientist? How about Richard Betts? Do you think skeptics think he is a pseudoscientist? How about Richard Lindzen, or Kevin Trenberth?

      I am sure you could find some ‘climate’ skeptics who might view climate science as a pseudoscience. But you have drawn a conclusion that implies that all (or most) climate skeptics think it is. It’s EXACTLY this kind of thinking that ALL skeptics should be wary of, and EXACTLY the kind of thinking that climate skeptics object to in the conclusions of the consensus/alarmist view on climate change.

      • I think we see that the pseudoscience is all occurring on the side of the “skeptics”. My argument is that this is why the Skeptics are rather less inclined to take their side because they believe in debunking pseudoscience with the scientific method. PE needs to take an external view of how the “skeptics” appear as a group to understand how the Skeptics see them. Maybe the Skeptics are only looking at comments on WUWT to come up with that opinion, but that is the image projected. I don’t think the “skeptics” have defined themselves well enough yet.

  29. PE –

    In recent years many “skeptics” have become vociferously critical of anyone who expresses any doubts toward any part of what they see as a climate consensus…

    Really?

    Perhaps such hyperbole is part of the reason that climate “skeptics” are often not respected by others who more generally identify as skeptics.

    You language was entirely unskeptical.

    • That’s my experience Joshua. If anything I understated it. Just last month I saw several visibly upset to hear the “outlandish” claim that Tesla 10kw battery intended only for grid backup (50 cycles a year) would not enable solar homes to disconnect from the grid for $3,000.

    • I state upfront that this post was from my personal observations and others experiences may vary. I used the word MANY which is less strong than MOST. What do you mean by hyperbole? What expertise or experience puts you in any position to judge?

    • J (Not using your name because that evidently sends one to moderation), let me be long and tedious break this down for you in a way you may be able to understand.

      If I went to France and reported back that many service industry personnel were arrogant and dismissive when dealing with American travelers you could choose to accept my evaluation of my experience or not. It could also be true and I could report at the same time that many service industry personnel were warm, friendly and engaging with American travelers. Both statements could be true at the same time and I could choose to report either, both or neither.

      If I emphasized one perspective and you wanted to post from your knowledge or experience that you often or always found things to be different that would be your prerogative. Your saying “most” are friendly would not contradict my assertion that “many” are not. It would just merely broaden the discussion. If you want to challenge or contradict my statement you would have to bring something else to the table. Such as a statement that “overwhelmingly most are friendly” of “rarely are they unfriendly”.

      You are free not to judge me as credible for whatever reasons you have. If you want to challenge my credibility you should offer reasons. What you can’t do is just accuse me of hyperbole with no backing. I have been to over 100+ skeptical gatherings of one sort or another. I used the word “many” as opposed to “most” when “most” would not be hyperbole from my experience. Almost without exception is my experience in recent years, but I toned it down quite a bit.

      • catweazle666

        A word to the wise, Mr. aplanningengineer Sir.

        It is inadvisable to supply nourishment to blog denizens that dwell under bridges…

  30. IMO all labels should be consigned to the trash bin of history. There is no “movement” behind scepticism; its just people who like to think through things for themselves and are unawed by reputations and choose not to be bullied.

    • Well I’m not a fan of labels myself, but there is a so called (at least) skeptics movement with magazines and meetings and conventions.

    • The movements that has been described seem to be common interest groups with an interest in exposing duplicity and dishonesty in fields that they are interested in. True sceptics IMO usually walk to their own drum beat and do not seek to flock together with each other nor seek to draw comfort from other people with similar views.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      If they themselves call it a movement, and they have organized activities, and objectives, and plans, what do you call it?

      • A movement, certainly, but not of scepticism IMO. I equate scepticism to independence of thinking that bodes little tolerance for having themselves homogenised under the label of “denier” by their detractors.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        The folks that identify themsleves as “Skeptics” on “Skeptic” forums, Center for Inquiry, etc. are about the farthest possible from sceptical.
        They are consensus bandwagon rollers almost to a one.

      • Agreed TINGTG. The climate concensus guys are trying to pass themselves off as scientifically sceptical but it doen’t cut the mustard with me. I am sceptical of all self proclaimed sceptics who collect in groups because as Beth has said, this type of behaviour is reminiscent of the groupies that followed the rock stars of the past.

  31. I can defend astrology a little, here (.txt file) from a couple of sources.

    The first, excerpt, by Vicki Hearne offering a defense of James Thurber against a psychoanalysis, is something of a send-up but also poetic.

    The second, an excerpt from Douglas Adams in Mostly Harmless, the point of astrology is the rules. Would this work as well for climate science?

    Neither of these excerpts is wrong. Lit crit rules over science, rather than vice versa.

    As for my scepticism about global wamrning — my checkered career crosses climate science in a couple of places that I know about, and climate science gets it deliberately wrong on both counts, which means there’s no adult peer review on climate science.

    So, in short, they don’t know what they say they know. And so there’s no prediction and no alarm that’s justified. You can’t tell, just as you can’t tell about a million other things we can’t compute.

    The two points are: 1. You can’t solve the navier stokes equations in 3d (in 3d, flows go to shorter and shorter scales, meaning no numerical grid resolution or processing power can solve them), yet models claim to do so. and 2. You can’t tell a cycle from a trend with data short compared to the cycle to be eliminated (the eigenvalues of the discriminating matrix explode, making every observation useless). Yet here climate science is finding trends. That’s idiocy.

    So they’re blow-hards, I imagine supported by funding for alarm.

    That’s scepticism that comes from actual science and then some sociology for a concise explanation of the situation.

  32. This is an interesting post but I would argue not of the highest relevance to the public debate. Skeptics as you point out are a small group of mostly middle aged college educated men, Would you consider Richard Dawkins a card carrying skeptic? He certainly seems to think many things are “settled”.

    • I think Dawkins is a big part of the skeptic movement. I don’t think this post is of the highest relevance to the public debate. The movements demographics have been changing. The movement is having a significant impact on various media.

  33. Re the issue, above, skeptics putting scientists on a
    pedestal, an ignorant serf wishing to understand something
    of the world she lived in, came upon a book in two volumes
    by Karl Popper, ‘The Open Society and its Enemies,’ written
    just before WW11, investigating the problem of powerful
    dogmas on critical thinking.

    Popper’s investigation of the knowledge problem brought
    him to recognize, as did Socrates in the Agora in ancient
    Athens, that our knowledge is uncertain. This led him to
    propose a critical methodology that presupposes constant
    activity on our part, a process of schema and correction,
    of making guesses and modifying them in the light of
    experience and the obstacles they meet, is a kind of
    tentative evolution towards knowledge.

    The take home message of ‘The Open Society,’ Vol 1,
    ‘ Plato,’ Vol 2 ‘ Hegel and Marx,’ is that if the open society
    of civilization, of modern democracies, won at great cost,
    is to survive, we must break the habit of uncritical
    deference to great men.

    Pat Frank likewise challenging climate consensus (ref
    Fig.4) on the large uncertainties in climate projections.

    http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/a-climate-of-belief/

    • +1 Beth. Popper is right and the serfs should not care what their wannabe masters think.

    • Ah yes, Beth, that’s Pat Frank article I was thinking of, from September 2007 I think. Note the care taken to establish Pat’s credentials in the intro:

      The following is Patrick Frank’s controversial article challenging data and climate models on global warming. Patrick Frank is a Ph.D. chemist with more than 50 peer-reviewed articles. He has previously published in Skeptic on the noble savage myth, as well as in Theology and Science on the designer universe myth and in Free Inquiry, with Thomas H. Ray, on the science is philosophy myth.

      I found it an extremely good read way back.

    • I know I’m only making my own servant problem worse, but I suspect you lot are right.

  34. The take home message of ‘The Open Society,’ Vol 1,
    ‘ Plato,’ Vol 2 ‘ Hegel and Marx,’ is that if the open society
    of civilization, of modern democracies, won at great cost,
    is to survive, we must break the habit of uncritical
    deference to great men.

    Well….

    The global warmers seem to be a group of not-so-great-men. It would appear that the current habit of uncritical deference to not-so-great-men (the consensus) is no improvement.

  35. So skeptics need hives now? And the hives have to be checked for gender and racial diversity? Come a long way from spoiling magic acts or sniffing out the last surviving Bible literalists, haven’t they?

    Hives are a great idea from the point of view of control and who gets to say what. In those corny Enlightenment days, it was mostly middle-class white guys doing the questioning and debunking – and we know middle-class white guys are part of the problem, not the solution (any prob, any solution). End white patriarchy!

    Big Green needs mullahs and devotees, so recruiting from any hive is a good idea, including those hives where the people are heavily into reason and evidence. (Of course, all hives think they’re into those things, but some are more equal than others.)

    Call me a denier or flat-earther rather than something dignified like skeptic. I really don’t want my own TED talk where I get lots of titters, simpers and sighs from the hive for being so smart. I’m skeptical about hives.

  36. aplanningengineer
    Obviously you made this post; exclusively: ”to badmouth the honest deniers” Deniers are denying that is any global warming; because there isn’t one! In- between the lines: you are suggesting that: Warmist lies should be believed, because you are part of the Warmist Cult… not very clever, not at all.
    Read the links I gave you in the comment above; you’ll see that: ALL the Warmist lies have being already exposed!!! Your ”planing” is out of date!

  37. Al Gore likens skeptics to racists, homophobes and violent alcoholics

    (F)ormer Senator Tim Wirth (the guy who turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows at Hansen’s global warming hearing in June 1988) had this to say during the live video feed:

    “Skeptics are ‘truly evil people”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/23/social-good-summit-turns-to-hatefest-al-gore-likens-skeptics-to-racists-homophobes-and-violent-alcoholics/

    The inter webs are full of 97% Global Warming doomsday believers demonising “skeptics” for not ‘believing’.

    Now, too late, they realise that being ‘skeptical’ is the moral high ground in the climate wars, and want it to take it back.

    But the web never forgets.

    Mark M aka handjive

  38. Thanks for this post Planning Engineer. I have sort of noticed a pernicious tendency among skeptic movement skeptics to disparage debate. Steven jay Gould and Richard Dawkins made an agreement to never debate any prominent creationists so as not to give them any publicity. Eugenie Scott, the founder of the NCSE, is reputed to have coined the term “Gish Gallop” named after prominent creationist Duane Gish. It means throwing out a bunch of thoughts faster than they can be responded to.

  39. Try Phillip Adams in Australia:

    “Adams was the foundation chairman of the Commission for the Future, established by the Hawke government to build bridges between science and the community. In 1988 the Commission won a major United Nations award for educating Australia on the issue of greenhouse and climate change.[citation needed] He chaired the National Australia Day Council whose principal task was to choose the Australian of the Year.

    He also chaired the Advisory Board for the Centre of the Mind at the University of Sydney and the Australia National University and has been a board member of Greenpeace Australia, CARE Australia, the National Museum of Australia, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and Brisbane’s Ideas Festival. He was co-founder of the Australian Skeptics.”

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

    Note: Founder of the Australian Skeptics, AND ceaseless proselytizer for the cause. He is very influential – he writes a weekly column for The Australian Weekend Magazine, where railing against the ‘deniers’ is among is favourite topics. He is been a public figure, known for the public debunking of many a psycho-babble proposition. His opinion on CAGW will have swayed many towards accepting alarmism.

  40. One night, about five years ago my wife noticed an ad in our local paper for “Sceptics in the Pub”. The ad offered a pub meal followed by a discussion night. Might be fun, we decided. Scepticism is good, we agreed.
    When we arrived we found the room, chatted for a few minutes over a beer and then the proceedings began.
    First on the agenda was the usual ‘go around the table, introduce yourself and tell us why you’re here’. Among others we had a born again Christian who was there to learn how to take being given a hard time. (It turns out he had come to the right place.) We also had a UFO believer and an member of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). It promised to be an amusing evening.
    When my wife’s turn she pointed at me and said “I’m with him.” Thanks, dear.
    As I was next I said “I’m Pat and I’m a global warming sceptic.”
    “We’re thinking of changing the name of the group so people don’t think we’re climate change deniers.” announced the convenor.
    “Do you want us to go?” I ventured. We were allowed to stay. Reluctantly
    As the evening wore on, the group listened patiently to stories about UFO sightings, gave the poor Christian a good lesson in the folly of religious belief but focused sharply on my stupidity and downright culpability.
    At the close, the Air Force chap (a procurements clerk, as I recall) gave the following homily, slowly and loudly so even I could understand.
    “Last week I went to the doctor who told me I had a skin cancer on my arm. I told him to be on the safe side, he should remove it”. Sort of a medical version of the precautionary principle, I guess.
    I responded “Would you have a agreed if he told you he had to cut off both arms, both legs and your genitals?” (I didn’t say ‘genitals’.)
    We agreed to disagree.
    At the end of the meeting we were given an email address where we could apply for membership.
    I sent in my application the next morning, but, wouldn’t you know it, the reply never reached me

    • Funny, Pat.

      I’ve been a sucker for all sorts of stuff, but sloth and my nose for cultishness have usually saved me. The trick is to know one is never immune to groupthink and nobody else is. I’m sure if there’s an Anti-Groupthink Fooundation it’s riddled with…groupthink!

      The most skeptical of my bright classmates at Catholic boarding school used to pride himself on garnering the prize for Religion. He said the key to that success was indifference.

      My precociously skeptic mate soon went on to join Holiday Magic (one of the big pyramid scams of the 1960s – “Holiday Magic Loves You!”) and lose a bundle. When he invited some of us to a presentation, complete with past-use-by Hollywood actor, all his skepticism deserted him. He was entranced.

      He went on to a long and distinguished academic career.

  41. Steven Mosher

    I’m kinda shocked how few here knew about CSICOP and Skeptical Inquirer. Crap I think I read the first Zetetic when it came out.
    I guess there are no fans of Pyrrho here.

    • Pyrrho is about to make a comeback at a web page near you. I can’t say more now :)

    • blueice2hotsea

      no fans of Pyrrho here

      heh-heh, that’s pretty funny Mosher. good one.

      And your comment brings back memories of eager anticipation for that first issue of Skeptical Inquirer. Was pretty good for awhile, but I am a former subscriber…

  42. rogerknights

    I suggest that “skeptic” be capitalized when it refers to members of a Skeptic organization, to differentiate them from everyday persons of a skeptical bent. This capitalization is standard in parallel cases, such as capitalizing “Democrat” (a member of the Democratic political party) vs. “democrat” (one who believes in one man, one vote, etc.).

  43. Next time I’m angry I’ll consult the Angry organization.
    Pfft.

  44. verytallguy

    PE,

    the reason Skeptics don’t want to be associated with climate “skepticism” is very simple.

    Climate “skepticism” is rarely skeptical. Quite the opposite in fact; any only nonsense is avidly supported regardless of evidence as long as it supports the desired conclusion.

    Like the CO2 rise not being anthropogenic, just for instance. https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/06/quantifying-the-anthropogenic-contribution-to-atmospheric-co2/

    If climate “skeptics” want to be respected as skeptical they need to actually start being skeptical. It’s that easy.

    • Climate scepticism is rarely sceptical indeed. +1 to vtg because this is true for both sides of the debate, especially the AGW believers.

    • Verytallguy – If the “Skeptics” stopped with disdain for what you refer to as ‘climate “skepticism”‘, I probably would never have written anything like this piece. But it goes much deeper to where many of the individuals I see associated with it are very angry and dismissive of people like Judith and Bjorn Lomborg and any statements recognizing that the grid cannot be transformed overnight to solar and wind (which brought me into this).

      • verytallguy

        PE,

        many of the individuals I see associated with it are very angry and dismissive of… …any statements recognizing that the grid cannot be transformed overnight to solar and wind (which brought me into this).

        Links to these individuals and their angry and dismissive comments on overnight transformation would help understand where you’re coming from. I don’t recognise this, but maybe you have different reading matter to me, or maybe my Morton’s demon is in action.

        (I deliberately depersonalised the quote – a food fight awaits if we go there)

      • I’ve been to a 100+ events. I’m on Facebook. This is first hand reporting.

      • verytallguy

        I’ve been to a 100+ events. I’m on Facebook. This is first hand reporting.

        I’m Skeptical. Surely it can’t be too hard to reference some evidence for this?

      • For the benefit of others there are monthly meetings of Skeptics in the Pub and other skeptical organization. It’s not hard to get to 100+ and meet a lot of people and get in a lot of discussion in the process.

        In all of this my goal has overwhelmingly been to steer clear of and avoid discussions of climate. After growing frustrated with the st4ridency of Climate Statements from “Skeptics” I came here.

        I have shared this perspective and experience. You can take it or leave it. I am not providing a list of my skeptical friends on Facebook and some of their inane comments.

      • You rarely see skepticism expressed here. For instance, accuracy of the satellite measurement of the surface air temperature.

      • Or this graph, posted many many times here to trash graphs showing persistently increasing OHC:

  45. verytallguy

    PE,

    In most cases dealing with claims which emanate from scams, paranormal beliefs, pseudo-science or just ignorance, skeptics have shown great patience and fortitude in allowing proponents the opportunity to make their best case before carefully debunking the proffered evidence and arguments. Skeptics generally were fastidious in providing point by point critiques to each challenge.

    What, like this you mean?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    • I’ve seen that list. Its the closest to what I’m asking for that I’ve seen. However it’s always been presented as the end of the discussion whenever I’ve encountered it. I’ve yet to find a skeptics willing to dig down on any of the points so glibly covered, for example the 97% consensus. I don’t consider that a patient of careful debunking.

      • verytallguy

        PE,

        if a set of 176 responses, many at different levels for different audiences, all with references to scientific papers, doesn’t satisfy your demand, it’s very hard to imagine what might.

        If “skeptics” want to be viewed as Skeptical, you might be better employed looking for the skeptical equivalent – the point by point rebuttal of the supposedly dodgy science.

        A link to it would be good.

      • rogerknights

        VTG: See Lubos Motl’s SkS rebuttals here:
        http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-cook-skeptical-science.html

        But that is just a start. About five times in the past three years I’ve urged WUWTers to collaborate on a point-by-point rebuttal of SkS’s list of arguments. Here’s a post I made a week ago:

        “I think that these warmists, like many, believe that SkS’s rebuttals of contrarian claims are conclusive, and that if only WUWTers were exposed to them our ranks would shrivel. … They believe this because they haven’t read enough material on skeptical sites where, in a scattered fashion, various SkS claims have been given a going over.

        “This is why a head-on heavy-duty response to SkS’s list, on a point-by-point basis, is necessary. Perhaps the GWPF would help get it rolling.”

      • verytallguy

        Roger,

        I’d not seen Lubos’ post before, thank you.

        Obviously I’ve not read it all but on a very cursory skim it doesn’t seem to show patience or fastidiousness as demanded by PE. The conclusion seems rather, well, dogmatic:

        There exists no climate threat and there exists no empirically rooted evidence that the human impact on the climate deserves the attention of anyone except for a few excessively specialized experts who should investigate such speculative questions. All opinions that the climate change is dangerous, man-made, or even relevant for policymaking are based on the irrational attitude, cherry-picking, intimidation, censorship, and the general sloppiness of the kind that Mr Cook has shown us once again

        And the content tends rather towards the conspiratorial:

        90% of the current funding for climate science is spent for the fabrication of fake evidence supporting the alarm

        Skeptical? Not in my book, on the basis of a very quick look.

      • rogerknights

        VTG: Yes, I too got the feeling that what he wrote is open to objection. That’s why I wrote, “But this is just a start.” I.e., there are probably some good points in what he wrote.

    • Verytallguy, Do you really expect people to believe that nonsense from the cartoonist John Cook who has no science background?

      • No, we expect you to be skeptical and examine the evidence and ignore John Cook’s background and judge it based on the evidence.

        Not too hard is it?

      • verytallguy

        what Bob said.

        Look at the evidence presented. Read the references. Avoid the embarrassment of claiming to be skeptical whilst exhibiting knee-jerk rejection of inconvenient evidence.

      • Well, we can also judge him by his actions – that is, hosting what may be the most heavily moderated site re: climate “science”, where real skeptics are banned, contrary comments deleted, or are re-written after some period of time, or when he authors what was shown to be at best a dishonest paper re: the 97% consensus. IMO, anyone citing John Cook as any kind of authority on the “science” is one of 2 things, a blind ideologue or simply dishonest.

      • Steven Mosher

        ordvic.

        What’s funny is that it only takes a cartoonist level of understanding to debunk the skeptical CRAP you and others spew.

        Let me make it easy.

        There is one and only one interesting unsettled issue that skeptics should focus on: sensitivity. There is a debate there. Join it. Nic Lewis shows you how to do that.

        Every other argument skeptics have is a clown argument or stupid pet trick. These arguments are easily dispatched– even by someone with a cartoonist back ground. That is why Cooks web page is so important. It shows you how someone with minimal understanding can take apart 97% of the skeptical arguments. the 3%–, the issue of sensitivity.. Not so easy. I’ll suggest skeptics focus on the issue where they have a chance of winning OR of making a contribution.

      • verytallguy

        Barnes,

        you, along with many others who call themselves “skeptics”, seem afraid of evidence which doesn’t support your preferred conclusion.

        Skeptical Science provides a very easy to follow introduction to a range of climate science issues. Without exception, it provides links to the actual scientific papers behind their summary. Every time I’ve done it, the SkS claims are backed up by the science.

        You don’t like it? I’m not surprised, but I am Skeptical of your claimed reasons.

        Why not link me to the skeptic site which provides the same point by point rebuttal of climate science, and links to the research backing the claims.

      • > http://notrickszone.com/100-papers-sun-drives-climate/

        Thanks for that resource, Ordvic. I’ve updated my “lots of theories” page acordingly:

        https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/lots-of-theories/

        100 papers is way better than some random post by Norman Page.

        PS: What are Pierre’s scientific background, BTW?

      • Willard, verytallguy asked for a skeptic page, in this case by an engineer who is a skeptic, with peer reviewed papers linked.

      • “Every time I’ve done it, the SkS claims are backed up by the science.”

        I’m skeptical this is true.

        Andrew

      • Gosselin also links to this page:
        1350 peer reviewed pages supporting skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW alarmism

        http://populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

      • > verytallguy asked for a skeptic page

        Not exactly. He asked you for a page. I can give him a Page if he wants. Norman Page.

        ***

        > engineer

        That’s not a science. “Engineering” is another name for “rubber stamping projects by looking at specs and charts.” Engineers are more or less technical notaries.

        This might explain their literalism, come to think of it.

      • > Gosselin also links to this page: 1350 peer reviewed pages supporting skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW alarmism

        You should look at this page yourself, ordvic. We might not share the same concept of “support”. I reject his definition of skepticism. His CAGW is also a straw man.

        Tell me if Pop deleted all my comments.

      • I am not sure what happened to my original comment, so instead of reposting, I will just provide a link to illustrate the dishonesty of John Cook and SkS:

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2012/09/skeptical-science-censorship-of-poptech.html.

        The reason I give little credence to anything posted on SkS is because they delete any posts that provide contradictory information. I am a layman, not a scientist, so I look for sites that allow for open, even snarky/nasty, debate, which is the reason I prefer CE – it is lightly moderated (notwithstanding my prior comment here apparently being deleted after it appeared) and I can see the full debate and make my own judgement. What I see in the unmoderated debates is skeptics winning the argument hands down – which gives credence to the skeptics position that warmests are afraid to debate in open and honest forums, it is simply too easy to shoot down the basic hypothesis that the only thing that can possibly control climate is Co2, that fossil fuel use is evil and should be banned immediately in favor of windmills and solar panels – which can not exist without fossil fuels. (this last statement may be a little hyperbole, but it’s not far off).

        If Sks did not ban skeptics, delete comments, edit comments, etc., maybe they could be a credible source. As they stand, they are anything but.

      • JC note: I restored your original comment; i mistakenly thought it referred to ATTP (a commenter here)

      • Willard, I was only suppling what verytallguy asked. Since I am not a scientist, I am not either a skeptic or an alarmist. Those guys can speak for themselves. I don’t have the backgound to support or deny any of it. I am a climate science consumer of all the information provided from either side.

      • > I was only suppling what verytallguy asked

        You did not do any such thing, ordvic.

        Very Tall asked you for a “the point by point rebuttal of the supposedly dodgy science,” not “a random list of papers that speak to the contrarian soul.” Perhaps he has problem getting his point across. Let’s hope that it’s not because he comes from another planet.

        Speaking of which, you have bought a Babel Fish? I seem to suddenly make sense to you.

      • Thank you Dr. Curry.

        And to add to my comment to VTG – I am skeptical for a number of reasons, one being the dishonesty displayed not only by SkS, but by many on the warmest side who defend the indefensible – like defending Sks which only allows one side of the debate to be heard, as well as those defending the hockey stick, climategate, Peter Glieck, etc.

        Mosher gained a lot of credibility by writing his book, but loses credibility when he posts inane comments like he did a couple of posts back when he says skeptics believe only in ABC – anything but co2. I can’t speak for all skeptics, by my guess is that most see evidence that co2 plays a role, but far from a dominant one, and in fact, a very minor role, and that sensitivity to Co2 is far below the claims made by the IPCC. There is a lot of literature supporting the skeptical view that you will not find on Sks.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | June 4, 2015 at 10:31 am |
        ordvic.

        “What’s funny is that it only takes a cartoonist level of understanding to debunk the skeptical CRAP you and others spew.”

        Or an English major’s level of understanding. Both on a par. LOL

      • And, it is very easy to “debunk the skeptical CRAP…”. Yes,very easy when you delete posts that provide contrary evidence. If sks are so sure of their position, then they would be unafraid to allow skeptical posts to stand where they could be debunked or not. That they delete and also edit long after the fact is evidence of the shallowness of their “debunking”.

  46. As you all know, I like to point out fossil fuel resources are much lower than the “business as usual” case used by the IPCC (the RCP8.5). I’m convinced we ARE doing things which tend to increase temperature, but I don’t believe the IPCC projections.

    Given the flaws I see in the “climate standard model”, and how political it has become, I tend to hold my nose when I read anything about the climate, and this of course means I get insulted as a ‘”climate denier”. As if anybody were denying the planet has a climate.

    And then there’s physics. Today’s renewables technology fails to deliver cost effective “de carbonized” energy. We ARE running out of economic fossil fuels, which means we ARE in a bind. We have no feasible full scale replacement. Those who can’t understand this are hiding their heads in the sand. And that includes luminaries such as Christiana Figueres, Obama, Ban Ki Moon, Pachauri, Stern, Gore, etc.

    • Hmmm, so you simply decide that you don’t believe the IPCC projections while claiming that others are burying their heads in the sand?

      What I don’t understand about what you seem to be saying is that if you’re right that we are running out of economic fossil fuels, then the solution to that would seem to be about the same as what we should do to address the risks associated with climate change. Is it your view that there is nothing that we can do? That’s how it seems. A bit pessimistic, if so.

      • Actually, what you say ATTp is wrong on several counts. The fossil fuel that pinches first by far is petroleum, which is primarily transportation fuel. And peaking production does not mean the world runs out, it means less can be produced than before. That leads to scarcity and sharp price increases, and all kinds of bad things.
        The war on coal and renewable wind and solar don’t address this at all. There is an easy way to cut CO2. Its called nuclear power. But it would be better not to rush if there is no need, and take the time to develop 4th generation nuclear solutions.

      • ristvan,
        I fail to see how what your response relates to what I said. Are you sure you actually read my comment? If you did, are you sure you read what I actually wrote, rather than what you think I wrote. You might want to consider that my comment was actually a response to Fernando’s claim that we were running out of economic fossil fuels, not a suggestion that we will actually do so.

  47. This seems to be becoming something of a theme. People who hold some kind of contrarian position, trying to cast their critics as people who hate them and want to silence them. That’s not to say that they haven’t been exposed to some fairly unpleasant experiences, but I don’t think that’s something only they experience. The problem I have with the whole theme of this post is that genuine skepticism is open to anyone. Anyone is free to investigate our understanding of a topic like climate science. What you’re not free to do is to do so while insisting that noone criticises the views that you hold. That’s all part of the skeptical process; put forward your views for scrutiny. Complaining about being hated, or about how vociferous the complaints are, just appears to be an attempt to dismiss your critics without actually engaging with what they’re saying.

    • I like to point out when I feel insulted. I have a really thick skin, mostly because when I was a teenager in Cuba the dictatorship designated people like me, who didn’t adhere to Marxist dogma, as “worms”. Later after I escaped I had to put up with a lot of garbage from locals as I rolled around.

      I don’t see a good reason to be silent when I see a tribe firming itself to declare me an unethical criminal who should be placed in a mental hospital because “97 % of scientists say so”.

      ATTP, my impression is that your tribe includes many who don’t know what they don’t know. I believe I wrote a pretty nasty post at Taminos suggesting lessons in fields beyond climatology, and less Twitter shaped thought processes.

      • I like to point out when I feel insulted.

        Sure, as does everyone. Someone disagreeing with you, or suggesting that you’re wrong about something, is not an insult, though.

        I don’t see a good reason to be silent when I see a tribe firming itself to declare me an unethical criminal who should be placed in a mental hospital because “97 % of scientists say so”.

        What? Who’s ever said anything like this about you?

        ATTP, my impression is that your tribe includes many who don’t know what they don’t know.

        What tribe?

    • Put forward yr views fer scrutiny, show yr data, no seeking
      ter gatekeep the journals.

      Verbal us as ‘deniers,’ infer as did Lewandowsky in his suss
      survey,say that we’re flat earthers if yer will, fact is evidence
      rules, nullius in verba. Feedback evidence, clouds, hot spot
      signature, coupla’ selected tree ring samples, oops, poor
      temperature and CO2 correlation. Cards on the table, aTTP

      • Hmmm, I’m not sure how that’s really a response to my point. Firstly, I don’t gatekeep the journals, or call people deniers or flat earthers. Also, you seem to think that skepticism is checking other people’s work, rather than doing your own. That might be where the confusion is coming from?

      • ATTP,

        hmmmm. I’m not sure sure whether anybody really cares whether you’re sure or not.

        Anyway, provide just one demonstration of the fabled greenhouse effect, under reproducible scientific conditions. Something along the lines of increasing the temperature of a target by interposing CO2 between it, and a heat source.

        But what am I talking about? This would be nearly as bizarre as asking somebody to show that the global surface temperature has increased due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere!

        One thing climatologists haven’t figured out, is how measure the surface temperature, rather than measure something else, and claim the surface temperature was measured.

        Fraud or stupidity? What do you think?

      • Mike,
        Firstly, I think you’re confusing being skeptical with being dubious. Secondly, the goal of scientific enquiry is not to convince everyone of the validity of a particular idea; it is to provide evidence in support of – or to oppose – a hypothesis. If you really are unconvinced by the evidence for the existence of the greenhouse effect, then you should just look harder. There’s probably little I can do to help you.

      • ATTP,

        Firstly, mind reading – FAIL.

        Secondly, demonstration of greenhouse effect – FAIL.

        Lastly, your assessment that you have nothing of value to offer me – PASS.

        Thanks for your input.

    • davideisenstadt

      “Complaining about being hated, or about how vociferous the complaints are, just appears to be an attempt to dismiss your critics without actually engaging with what they’re saying.”
      A practice that you are quite familiar with…..

      • If you mean how you behaved on my site and elsewhere (Jan Perlwitz, for example) then, yes, I am familiar with people who who appear to hate what others are saying, are vociferous – and very rude – in their complaints, and don’t actually engage with what others are saying. This comment thread is a good illustration.

    • What ATTP is saying is that he endorses skepticism, generally, just not for AGW. Because… because… because… lol

      Andrew

    • In ATTP’s mind, the existence of something called The Greenhouse Effect means automatically that AGW exists. But sorry, he can’t help you with the evidence for it. Wink, wink. ;)

      Andrew

    • Hmmm, interesting, I’m not actually aware of the existence of such a tribe and – if it does exist – I certainly don’t belong to it. Strange.

      • Someone broke the Internet again. Is that you, Don Don?

      • Hmmm, interesting, I’m not actually aware of the existence of such a tribe and – if it does exist – I certainly don’t belong to it. Strange.

        Ultimately, in the back of everyone’s mind, no matter how technical, educated, or specialized in the science, is the dichotomous question: Is global warming a (big enough) problem to require a policy response?

        That is why people care about the subject to begin with.

        So there is emotional bias that everyone has. That’s why I don’t mind some of the adversarial nature because it has to be backed up with evidence that all can see. Now some, including Margaret Thatcher, and many leaders to day, are counting on people being emotional and not rational about things, but it is our job to point out, with data, what those irrationalities are.

      • Don Monfort

        Your alarmist tribe embraces all who adhere to the dogma, kenny. That includes those who said What TF I said they said. But you of course, are innocent.

      • That’s because you are the chief of your tribe over at ATTP.

      • You didn’t realize, you were in on the conspiracy, ATTP??

    • “I’m not actually aware of the existence of such a tribe”

      Who’s the Denier now?

      Andrew

    • AGW? What AGW? Where?

      Andrew

    • catweazle666

      “The one that has declared that the debate is over and if you ain’t on board you belong in a concentration camp.”

      Or the lunatic asylum.

      Or a hole in the ground, of course.

      • Even a good faith belief in the myth of global warming does not excuse a scientist’s role in helping to destroy the American economy.

      • Don Monfort

        Thanks cat, maybe that ‘s a way I can get in comments that Judith doesn’t delete for some freaking reason known only to her schoolmarmish self. I just say what I got to say, put it in italics and quote somebody else.

    • ATP it would be easier to agree with you if I hadn’t seen this recently.
      http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2015/05/26/climate_change_denying_reality_is_a_threat_to_our_nation.html

      We should not expect to have our views free from criticism or challenges.. I’ve never suggested that Skeptics (or anyone) should not advance their ideas. I have tried to engage with this group as many others have. I would think a group calling itself Skeptics would try to be open, but groups are free to do as they please. I am free to call them out on their inconsistencies but they are free to be inconsistent.

      The Bad Astronomer came up through the Skeptic Community and was a key player in stifling dissent from climate orthodoxy in that community. Perhaps he is just engaging in hyperbole by calling climate change denial a threat to national security. But what if it’s more than that?

      ATP how do you feel about his posting as compared to mine? Who is asking for the right not to be criticized?

      • You may have to explain your issue a little more. Presumably you object to the tone of Phil Plait’s article, but it’s not clear how it relates to yours. He’s making an argument that climate change presents a risks and that dismissing that risk (or denying that it is a risk) is a threat to national security. Whether I agree with him, or not, the optimal response to that would – IMO – be to illustrate why he’s wrong, not complain about the tone. Your post seems to be complaining about tone, rather than presenting an argument as to why your position is credible. I sympathise with you about tone and have complained about it myself at times, but I do think that ultimately we should be presenting arguments that can be challenged, rather than complaining about the manner in which they are supposedly challenged.

      • Arguments that speech represents a threat to national security are a step towards banning that speech. My complaint and concern is not about tone, or being criticized, but rather of being silenced. Being silenced by the state for threatening national security is an extreme possibility (and I would never have brought that up except for Phil). But cultivating a general idea within society that any challenges to “our best climate understandings” should be meet with shock, ridicule and dismissal seems dangerous to me as well. (Treating climate doubt as if it is the same as hate speech.) There is a movement to do that, and it is gaining traction in the Skeptic Community.

      • Well, if we get to the stage where there is an explicit movement to actually restrict your free speech, then I would agree with you. Given that you seem to be responding to people who are making arguments (right or wrong) that certain views present a risk, then I think you’re engaging in hyperbole. If anything, you appear to be arguing that people should not present those views, which might seem somewhat ironic.

      • ATP- it’s challenging issue and we all have our biases. Sometimes I don’t get you, but you could be right here. I will try to be sensitives and aware of the concerns you express there.

      • Okay, that’s a better response than I was expecting, which is a pleasant surprise :-) . Overall, I think it would be better if we all simply tried to present arguments that can be judged. If you don’t like how someone judges an argument with which you might associate, you can either decide that maybe the other person has a point and that your argument isn’t as strong as you think, or you can decide that they’re wrong and counter – or ignore – their argument.

      • ATP – this does not say anything about my arguments or my style, but it might help you understand where I’m coming from. In the old days the Skeptic gatherings were more open to people. Skeptics didn’t argue politics for example. Politics wasn’t on the agenda and if you heard somebody’s you didn’t try to chastise them or reform them. Just like today I suppose for example both vegetarians and meat eater could go and in the course of skeptic talks and sidebars they might agree to leave and let live, or agree to disagree. If you had a business where you charged people for “talking” to their dead relative, or ran tours to see Bigfoot, or claimed to bend spoons with psychic powers you probably should expect some push back – for skeptics those would not be live and let live issue. There is value in exclusion and inclusion. (You might notice a post of mine here suggesting I think religion-non-religion is a live and let live, lets not try to resolve it here issue.)

        So once upon a time as interest in global warming began to take hold – you had skeptics on two sides of the issue. The magazine would feature alternative views. From the Climate Activist side, I can accept that they think they’ve won this issue. That they think they have the better evidence and don’t need to include both sides. But I don’t think they need to be so harsh with those who don’t feel as strongly. You can’t be like Switzerland on the issue. In practice anyone that is seen as not on their “side” and understands the issue fully as they do – is subject to ridicule and censure. What Skeptic would want to go to a meeting where their beliefs were compared to flat earthers. (No agreement to live and let live.) I think in the old day Skeptics would have been kinder and less hostile to someone who practiced astrology but lined up as a Skeptic otherwise.

        So I’m a little bothered they took over the organizations and pushed out people who could contribute and be part in a live and let live way. I think their scope is getting more and more narrowly liberal in other ways. (Me I’m all over the board-I like some of the liberal positions and not others. But I like people all over the board participating too.)

        So I think Phil Plait was a contributor to disenfranchising many former Skeptics. I think thats a sad thing for all involved. I think he’d like to treat what he calls “climate denial” as hate speech and force it out of popular discourse. And I do think it borders on sinister to say it’s a national security concern.

      • PE,
        I do understand – I think – where you’re coming from. I do think, though, that you should at least consider that scientific skepticism is a well-founded scientific process in which you consider and evaluate the actual evidence. In public life, it’s perfectly normal for people to hold different views about the same thing. In science, that isn’t always true. There are certain things about which there is virtual certainty. So, those who choose to hold views that are regarded are almost certainly wrong, will tend to be dismissed by those who regard themselves as genuinely skeptical. There isn’t much point in continuing to discuss scientific issues about which there is virtual certainty.

      • *Slowdown (or?)in global warming, despite Karl et AL,
        – satellite and other inconvenient records.

        * Reduced estimates of sensitivity of climate to CO2.

        * Climate models predictions waaay out. Hot spot
        signature, where is it?

        https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/house-science-testimony-apr-15-final.pdf

      • ATTP: Yes, there are certain things in science that are virtual certainties. Climate changed caused in the most part by humans in not one of those things. It requires models that may or may not predict, parameterization of variables that cannot be quantified, etc, etc, etc. It’s closer to the science we see in medicine, where there are many, many factors contributing to cancer and other such illnesses, yet science and the media will often fixate on one variable and then another to the exclusion of all others. This is inviting failure. When dealing with a system as complex as climate, there is no virtual or real certainty. We know it’s getting warmer some places, colder others. Beyond that, it’s computer assisted guessing (lots of math and statistics which people are often afraid of and don’t understand). Yes, we do know that CO2 and humans and animals and everything else on the planet can and probably do affect climate. But calling someone names who actually can see the level of uncertainty and speaks up just because they disagree with your own assessment is not scientific, it’s political and outright foolish. No, there’s no point to discussing gravity, but there’s certainly tons of room for discussing a science that’s not a hundred years old and is based on probability, with no immediate way of verifying the accuracy. In fact, it’s prudent and wise.

      • catweazle666

        “There isn’t much point in continuing to discuss scientific issues about which there is virtual certainty.”

        There are few – if any – scientific issues which come into that category, and climate science is amongst the least likely of them.

        Nor – I suspect – are there many real scientists who actually believe otherwise.

  48. Planning Engineer — I don’t understand your post. Maybe one question will turn my light-bulb on: Why do have Chris Mooney in the category of Skeptic?

    • Because I saw him speak at “Skeptic Conferences” and know he spoke at others I did not attend. For years he hosted a podcast for the Center of Inquiry (a “Skeptic Organization”) and working for this organization was his first job out of college. He was a columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer. I’ve seen him comment frequently in various discussions in the “Skeptic” “blogosphere”.

      Unless you thank me Stephen, I’m quit doing your Boogling for you.

      • >i?Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science and The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality. He blogs for Science Progress, a website of the Center for American Progress and Center for American Progress Action Fund.

        Well…

        Mr. Mooney blogs for a number of groups such as CAP that would be charitably characterized as “loony left wing”. His books are extremely critical of the right.

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-6-2-3.html
        “their estimated median TCR is 2.1°C at the time of CO2 doubling (based on a 1% yr–1 increase in CO2), with a 5 to 95% range of 1.5°C to 2.8°C”

        Now lets see who is the real science denier:
        1. A study measured 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM of forcing.
        2. The MODTRAN runs for 22 PPM of forcing are in the 0.25-0.27 W/m2 range.
        3. The IPCC formulation for direct CO2 forcing (5.35*ln(C/C0) yields 0.31 W/m2.
        4. The IPCC midrange TCR of 2.1°C is about 7.77 W/m2 of additional downward IR. For a 22 PPM change this would be about 0.647 W/m2

        The change at two midlatitude locations was only 0.2W/m2 for 22 PPM. The high end of the IPCC TCR estimates yield a value of 0.863 W/m2 for the same CO2 PPM change (more than 4 times reality).

        Why are real world empirical measurements far more than 2 standard deviations below the IPCC TCR mean? Why has the IPCC not corrected their numbers?

      • Planning Engineer: beththesurf answered my question explaining how you are defining the term: Skepticism is about criticism, looking at evidence presented, it is not about presenting a specific hypothesis.

        Under this definition, aren’t Chris Mooney and someone say like Rush Limbaugh both Skeptics? Or is there a difference between them?

      • Stephen – I am not trying to define any of the terms but rather only characterize a subset of people within a movement. That is to say a group of people who identify with the term. I have not sought to identify anyone as worthy or not of the label or defined what true, correct and valuable skepticism would be to me. (Other than to say I think the skeptic movement used to be characterized by better aims and practices).

        This is similar to if I were talking about the “Tea Party” movement. People quibbling over whether they actually have conventional Tea parties or even Tea Parties similar to what occurred in the Boston Harbor, would be outside my intended coverage. Defenses of white gloved formal tea parties with crust less finger sandwiches are not really needed because that group is not really the focus of the piece – even though they are the ones who really are having tea parties. If the reader wants to think of Tea Parties every time he sees that reference and question if that is going on within this political group, he will undoubtedly be confused.

      • Stephen Mooney has worked for the groups, been at the conferences and been identified with the movement in many ways over many years. Rush Limbaugh has not in any way done things of this sort in any way that I am ware of. Nor has he been embraced by any segment of that community but rather been disparaged by it.

        This was not a piece on who I like and don’t like. I think many people within the “Skeptic movement” have strong critical thinking skills in many areas. (Also many within seem to lack these skills in many areas as well). People outside the movement I could characterize the same way.

        From my perspective, which I don’t advocate anyone emulate both Rush Limbaugh and Chris Mooney have raised valid considerations and presented good arguments and evidence at times in support of their position. However on many other occasions they have both revealed themselves to be subject to extreme bias and poor judgment.

      • > only characterize a subset of people within a movement

        Impressionists don’t characterize. They portray using their impressions.

        Once you put “it’s just my impressions” on the table, you’re stuck with it. Dogwhistle accordingly.

      • Planning Engineer: Oh, OK You are talking about a formal “Group” of Skeptics. I think I understand now — I’m just not familiar with this formal Group.

    • Mooney is truly Looney.
      Take the pretext of this book by him:

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.de/2011/11/new-eugenics-from-looney-left.html

      If this science were valid – then we could certainly substitute ANY religious, ethnic, gender or cultural designation for the term “Republican” in the title.

      Would anybody want the government to be funding this field?

      Just how incredibly bescheuert could this man possibly be, not to realize where this takes us?

      • Many people virtually never believe they will be affected personally by their beliefs. If the book says “Republican” and they are a “Democrat”, they’re obviously safe. It is inconceivable to them that Democrats could be next on the list, or atheists, or a specific gender. It’s inconceivable to them that any future offspring of theirs could be declared as undesirable and possibly prevented. Funding the research is good because it hurts their “enemies” and they are sure it won’t hurt them. Americans join ISIS thinking they will be part of something bigger and better, not realizing they are nothing to ISIS but someone to follow orders. If they die doing so, no one cares. People have very convoluted belief systems, many of which have no contact with reality at all.

  49. Have you expressed criticism of those in yr consensus
    who gate keep. or use the denier terminology, aTTP?

    Have you on your site excluded comments from the
    uther side, rhetorical question? )

    Are you perhaps a little confused re the null hypothesis
    of natural variability and who needs to back up their
    hypothesis with observational evidence? Skepticism is
    about criticism, looking at evidence presented, it is not
    about presenting a specific hypothesis of yr own, though
    there are many research papers out there investigating
    the complex interactions in climate, not man produced
    CO2 as the main player, sunspots, cosmic rays, clouds,
    water vapour, ocean ENSO climate responses.

    Still waitin’ fer that, gasp, unprecedented CO2 warming,
    ‘say,let’s git rid of the Roman ‘n Medieval Warming Periods,’
    ‘heh, no more snow, OMG we’re doomed,’ Ehrlich, Club of
    Rome scenario. Faites vos jeux., mesdames et messieurs!

    • This serf does have a point. Not that one should indulge the Help…but she may be on to something.

    • > Skepticism is about criticism, looking at evidence presented, it is not
      about presenting a specific hypothesis of yr own,

      The shortest demonstration that skepticism is not enough to even science.

      Skepticism has very little to do with contrarianism anyway.

  50. Every once in a while reading while reading these posts I think of a book from on a very different but similar topic. It’s about an elite claiming to be the interpreters of reality who in the past suppressed one set of ideas at least in terms of laws but spawned a social movement like the one I see with the ‘skeptics’. The book described at Amazon is: “Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America’s Concealed Weapon Carry Movement (2013 Edition) Kindle Edition by Brian Anse Patrick ….The only comprehensive discussion of the American Concealed Weapon Movement that has appeared in print, Professor BrIan Anse Patrick traces the emergence and diffusion of this powerful and successful citizens’ movement. Patrick shows how a New American Gun Culture has mobilized, created its own media systems (anti-media) and, by means of what he call horizontal interpretive communities, has overcome deeply entrenched, top-down professional opposition (including well-organized vertical propaganda systems delivered by mass media) to establish a new political information system in which Second Amendment rights have been recognized unambiguously as a fundamental individual right. This new informational sociology has empowered citizens in the most important informational battle of modern times–namely the right to interpret the meaning of reality for themselves, instead of having it interpreted for them by the elite propagandists who interpret it in self-interested ways at the expense of freedom. “

  51. The “skeptical” community/movement is not skeptical, just like the skeptical science blog. They’re opposite of skeptical, protecting various scientific paradigms. They suppres scientific progress.

  52. Pingback: Why Skeptics Hate Climate Skeptics | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  53. rogercaiazza

    Good post. I wish the celebrity skeptics would read it and respond.

    In response to “Typically the response is merely to label anyone with an inconvenient idea or question as denier. Further discussion is usually limited to assertions that: 1) that the discussion has already occurred, 2) there is considerable (but undescribed) overwhelming evidence and lastly 3) appeals to scientific consensus and the argument that if you’re not a climate scientist you can’t “know” and you shouldn’t be questioning.” I would add another assertion to the effect that research supporting the inconvenient idea was funded by “Big Oil” and therefore cannot be trusted.

  54. I’m a former member of CSICOP. I was appalled at their article calling climate skeptics “deniers”. I wrote a fairly intense letter to the organization. No doubt it was a waste of pixels.

    • I sent them the following e-mail:

      I am curious just who are you are calling deniers. Richard Lindzen? Freeman Dyson? Judith Curry? Roger Pielke? Steve McIntyre? Certainly plenty of people do call them deniers, and it’s not clear from your piece whether you agree with that or not. If you are labeling principled objectors to the majority opinion like this as deniers, then I say that you are putting yourselves firmly in the anti-science camp. If you do not mean to call people like this deniers, then all would be better served if you would make it clear that you do not agree with the common usage of the term. It is a great travesty that on the subject of climate, skepticism has come to be regarded as a dirty word, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry should know this better than anyone.

      I received a brief non-responsive reply.

      • Mike – I’m glad you sent that in. If my motivation relative to time available would have been up to it, I would have written something similar. The non-responsive reply is not surprising. I don’t think it’s possible to elaborate as to what they might and might not encompass within the term denier. Doing that would require some serious grappling as to what is known and not known. Such efforts would contain the seeds of it’s own undoing.

      • > Doing that would require some serious grappling as to what is known and not known. Such efforts would contain the seeds of it’s own undoing.

        See for yourself:

        https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/

        ***

        > It is a great travesty that on the subject of climate, skepticism has come to be regarded as a dirty word

        Diverting “skeptic” from its noble origins is a greater traversty.

        Contemporary contrarians might be closer to the old sophists than the Stoics.

    • David Skurnick,

      I am appaled that you are using the word “skeptic” to refer to climate contrarians. Scepticism has a long and venerable tradition in philosophy.

      Please cease and desist.

      • Steven Mosher

        +1

      • Surely climate sceptics are primarily policy sceptics and the long and venerable tradition is thus preserved with its virtue in tact?

      • > Surely climate sceptics are primarily policy sceptics

        You mean, contrarians doubt that policy-making can ever be justified?

      • Willard — I don’t know what a “climate contrarian” is. Is it someone who
        1. Denies that the planet has warmed.
        2. Denies that CO2 causes warming?
        3. Agrees that CO2 causes warming, but believes that natural factors also play a large role?
        4. Thinks that the rate at which CO2 causes warming is unknown (BTW this is the IPCC official position)?
        5. Thinks that the warming models have failed to predict the slowdown in warming (that’s reality.)?
        6. Doubts the accuracy of the models?
        7. Believes that the proposed remedies are not nearly enough to prevent CO2 from continuing to rise?
        8. Believes that the entire field of climate change is rife with uncertainty?
        9. Thinks that adaptation makes more sense than mitigation?

        Willard — people with any of these views have been sometimes tarred with the label “denier.” I presume you may be using “climate contrarian” as a synonym. Anyhow, I think you need to define what you mean by “climate contrarian”.

      • > I don’t know what a “climate contrarian” is.

        All of 1-9 are cases of incredulity, David Skurnik, not skepticism. You may find other cases in that matrix:

        https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/

        If you have other cases that have not been mentioned in the contrarian matrix, with a source, I’ll consider adding it.

        ***

        Here’s how we can distinguish incredulity from skepticism:

        [I]n all ordinary cases of incredulity, the grounds for the doubt can, in principle, be removed. As Wittgenstein would say, doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted. If something is doubted, something else must be held fast because doubt presupposes that there are means of removing the doubt. We doubt that the bird is a robin because, at least in part, we think we know how robins typically fly and what their typical coloration is. That is, we think our general picture of the world is right—or right enough—so that it does provide us with both the grounds for doubt and the means for potentially removing the doubt. Thus, ordinary incredulity about some feature of the world occurs against a background of sequestered beliefs about the world. We are not doubting that we have any knowledge of the world. Far from it, we are presupposing that we do know some things about the world. To quote Wittgenstein, “A doubt without an end is not even a doubt” (Wittgenstein 1969, ¶ 625).

        In contrast, philosophical skepticism attempts to render doubtful every member of some class of propositions that we think falls within our ken. One member of the class is not pitted against another. The grounds for either withholding assent to the claim that we can have such knowledge or denying that we can have such knowledge are such that there is no possible way either to answer them or to neutralize them by appealing to another member of the class because the same doubt applies to each and every member of the class. Thus, philosophical doubt or philosophical skepticism, as opposed to ordinary incredulity, can not, in principle, be removed. Or so the philosophical skeptic will claim!

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/

        If you want an application of more of the same:

        http://planet3.org/2012/08/24/incredibilism/

        Incredibilism is easy. Skepticism is harder.

        ***

        In all fairness, those who call themselves “skeptics” (those who hate) are no true skeptics either. They are merely evidence-based knowledge activists. OTOH, there might be reasons why evidence-based activists “hate” climate contrarians.

      • Willard — your list is so broad that you would classify the IPCC as “contrarians.” The latest IPCC report says that climate sensitivity is highly likely to be between 1.5 and 4.5 deg C. That’s a wide range of uncertainty. And, the phrase “highly likely” means that for all they know, the true value of climate sensitivity might be less than 1.5 or greater than 4.5. In short, the IPCC endorses #4 — the rate at which CO2 causes warming is unknown

        The IPCC has also acknowledged the hiatus in warming. They discuss possible reasons for the hiatus in their latest (fifth) report.

      • > Willard — your list is so broad that you would classify the IPCC as “contrarians.” The latest IPCC report says that climate sensitivity is highly likely to be between 1.5 and 4.5 deg C.

        Your argument is invalid, David.

        First of all, either you accept the IPCC’s range, or you don’t. If you want to challenge it by touting the lowest range justified disingenuousness (e.g. Nic Lewis, Pat Michaels) can buy (e.g. the GWPF, CATO), then you are not accepting the IPCC’s consensus’ statement. This argument follows from the usual meaning of “challenging” and “accepting.”

        Second, these are contrarian lines of argument because they serve to challenge the accepted view. They (and you) are called contrarian for this very reason. However, that contrarians are using these arguments does not imply that these arguments are wrong, or that only contrarians can use them. These are contingent matters. It just so happens that contrarians are those who promote them to undermine the establishment.

        Your argument is invalid because it fails to distinguish the content from the argument from their function. People do things with words beyond stating facts.

        ***

        Your comment in unresponsive to the main point I made regarding skepticism, BTW.

      • David Springer

        Willard found someone who takes him seriously. What joy there must be in Willardville today!

    • Let’s pick a position that seems reality based. We will assume everybody on the two ends of the debate is wrong.

      1. The ECS is around 1°C (TCR around 0.65°C) – consistent with only actual study that measured forcing.
      2. The emissions will at most increase moderately (0%-30%). Consistent with actual global emissions the last couple of years.
      3. CO2 level will rise and will exceed 460 PPM but is unlikely to exceed 480 PPM. Consistent with 50 year and 30 year trends which show absorption increasing 2.2 times as fast as emissions.

      Is this a Denier position, a contrarian position, a skeptical position, or a global warmer?

      • > Is this a Denier position, a contrarian position, a skeptical position, or a global warmer?

        Species: naive empiricist.

        Genus: lukewarmers

        Family: contrarians

        Order: ClimateBall

      • PA, does it look like from this that there is any slow down in the growth CO2 in the atmosphere.

      • PA, does it look like from this that there is any slow down in the growth CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Since you asked…

        Yes –

        April 2013 to April 2014 ( 401.29 – 398.35 ) = 2.94 ppm
        April 2014 to April 2015 ( 403.26 – 401.29 ) = 1.97 ppm

        Pretty dramatic slow down.

        Looks like the El Nino is coming through, and 1997/1998 had a decrease in CO2 uptake as a result of that event, so we’ll see about this year, but since emissions were flat in 2014, a slow down in accumulations should result.

      • Pretty dramatic slow down.

        One year doesn’t make a trend and is practically meaningless. You didn’t know that Eddie?

      • Eddie, from the same site:

        For the past decade (2005-2014) the average annual increase is 2.1 ppm per year.

        Dramatic slowdown?

      • Well, your question didn’t have any caveats, it was any slowdown, and yes, there is a slow down.

        To be sure, flat emissions in 2014 was only one year and may not persist. On the other hand, most developing nations already have falling CO2 emissions and it appears China is now in that group also.

        Flat emissions wouldn’t indicate a dramatic slow down, only a slight slow down. Never the less, a slowdown.

      • Eddie, the only thing I mentioned was atmospheric CO2 levels, which is the only thing that matters. And if anything, the 2013 – 2014 period was a dramatic increase from the average.

      • Well, your question didn’t have any caveats, it was any slowdown, and yes, there is a slow down.

        So you decided to bring up a meaningless comparison? Come on, man I know you aren’t that slow..

      • Joseph | June 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm |
        PA, does it look like from this that there is any slow down in the growth CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Yeah, it pretty much does.

        Between 1980 and 2015 Emissions doubled.

        Has the rate of atmospheric increase doubled?

        Not so much.

        Because all that CO2 is leaking into the environment it is getting increasingly hard to add CO2 to the atmosphere. And we only have about 76 years of fossil fuel to work with.

        If we don’t increase emissions the atmospheric CO2 level will stablize in about 35-44 years.

        When we get to 460-480 it will take about twice current emissions to keep increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere. The 76 year supply of fossil fuel – at doubled emission – would run out in about 38 years.

        So since 2 * 38 = 76, 476 is about the high end of where we can push the CO2 level. Once the CO2 level stabilizes we will have to continue to burn massive amounts of fossil fuel just to keep the CO2 level in PPM from decreasing.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Indonesian_forest_fires
        The spike in CO2 in 1998 was unrelated to El NIno. It seems to be caused by the Indonesian fires. The rate of rain forest burning would appear to have as much impact on the annual CO2 increase as fossil fuel emissions.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Indonesian_forest_fires
        1/2 of tropical rainforests, between 7.5 million and 8 million km2, have been destroyed since 1842. Tropical rainforest went from 10% of the land area to 5%. There were originally 15-18 million km2. We are down to 5.5 million km2. If you do the math on carbon emitted and sinks destroyed – the rainforests are the biggest contributor to the rise in CO2. And as we are running out of rainforest to burn, the rainforest emissions and rate of sink loss has started to slow down.

      • Has the rate of atmospheric increase doubled?

        Is it suppose to double? Does the IPCC projections assume it will double along with emissions? If so, please provide some references.

      • Joseph | June 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm |
        Has the rate of atmospheric increase doubled?

        Is it suppose to double? Does the IPCC projections assume it will double along with emissions? If so, please provide some references.

        Well… let’s look at the topic in context. Since 1980 annual emissions have doubled. Now, if emissions were driving the CO2 increase the rate of CO2 increase would double.

        The 1980s trend was about 1.7PPM/Y 1980 was 1.73PPM/Y. The current trend is around 2.2 PPM/Y with last year being 2.13PPM/Y.

        We’ll divide 2.2 by 1.7 and woolly (or is that voilà?), anyway it is about 1.3 times the 1980 rate which isn’t exactly a doubling. Most of the new post-1980 emissions aren’t going into the atmosphere. Since the ocean already has 38,000 GT of carbon those few GT of little carbon atoms that didn’t go into the atmosphere are gone for good (no measurable impact on ocean outgassing). Each PPM is 2.13 GT so that 0.5 PPM/Y (2.2 -1.7) is roughly 1.065 GT/Y.

        So only about 1.065 GT/Y of the 5 GT of new post-1980 emissions are going into the atmosphere. If only a little over 21% of new emissions go into the atmosphere that isn’t going to do a lot of warming…

        Now the IPCC RCP 8.5 scenario features a 940 PPM 2100 CO2 level.
        940/400 = 2.35. That is more than twice the current CO2 level (2.35 > 2).

        940 PPM… “Sigh”, there doesn’t appear to be any possible way short of Yellowstone blowing or a 30 km impactor to get to CAGW from here and in either case global warming will be the least of our problems.

        Anyway Joseph that is how I see it.

  55. “Randi described what is often behind such thinking, “Ultimately it’s not about intelligence or lack thereof. It’s about people not wanting to accept that life is random, suffering is inevitable, and there is no good reason for bad things happening.””

    It fact the assumption of weather and climate being random or chaotic becomes the basis for postulates of how weather events may become more extreme in a warming world.
    But even within the framework of how they think that the climate functions, where do we get to hear about the net gains of a warmer world? and of the more serious effects of periodic and inevitable cooling episodes?

    • “Randi described what is often behind such thinking, “Ultimately it’s not about intelligence or lack thereof. It’s about people not wanting to accept that life is random, suffering is inevitable, and there is no good reason for bad things happening.””

      Yup, there is a whole herd of sheeple out there that just wet themselves at the thought that someone might not be in control.

      This explains the popularity of conspiracy theories. Some people would apparently rather have someone evil in charge rather than no one in charge. It also explains the global warming theory, an attempt to blame man for climate.

      By and large the control freaks (thankfully) are mostly on the left.

      However this does explain some of the political polarization of the climate issue since people on the right tend to be less sheeple oriented. They don’t get scared by the thought that man isn’t controlling climate and nature is in charge..

  56. “… deniers as anti-scientific and equate them with flat earthers, six day creationists and the anti-vax movement. “

    This is how the warm side has managed to frame the issue in the MSM in general. It is a big lie, but they have been successful, They have managed to put anybody who questions the worst predictions of impending doom into the category of irredeemable nut cases.

    If anything, this probably lends credence to flat earthers, six day creationists and the anti-vax movement – at the expense real of science as a whole.

    • It is very strange to have one side of debate claim the debate is over, consensus, we deserve to be the null hypothesis etc. without proving any of their points.

      I don’t understand what global warmers are afraid of. Go measure things and report back.

      1. Prove that the forcing is high. 0.2 W/m2 from 22 PPM according to a recent study. Is that above or below what was expected from the IPCC mean TSR of about 7.7 W/m2 ?
      2. Prove that the IPCC RCP (scenario) CO2 levels are possible. Only 21% of the 100% increase fossil fuel emissions since 1980 is contributing to the rise in atmospheric CO2.

      These two points should have been solidly proven decades ago. Prove them. Then we can start analyzing impacts – no forcing – no impacts.

  57. AGW theory is a perfect example of myth-making. It’s common wisdom among Western scientists that any amount of human CO2 is bad. Any real scientist is rightly skeptical of the common wisdom buy many do not question it.

    The climate change establishment pretty much believes we just know these things. But, in many instances, there’s a lot more we know that we don’t know and yet people continue to believe in the myth –e.g., “People still think that we’re all going to die or our kidneys will shrivel up if we don’t drink eight cups of water a day… From what I can see, there’s never been any evidence in the medical literature about it.” Margaret McCartney

  58. The skeptical movement is not against a “consensus” but against the WRONG consensus.

    Within the skeptical CLIMATE CHANGE movement, you see the same thing. The criticism of disagreements with what the “skeptics” say is taken as support for the warmists.

    The angels-and-demons narrative seems to be a solid human story. Perhaps it is because, deep down, virtually everyone wants certainty. The bend of skepticism – of looking for reason behind every claim, whether from your foe or friend – is overridden by the ego of a more primitive, frightened being.

  59. I have followed the skeptics movement loosely since my 20s in the 80s, even subscribing to SI for a while then, checking out its Swedish forum once in a while, and indeed, the single climate issue happened to effect its sorry death in my eyes. Two impressions: young, angry adherents preferring shallow science-speak over the nuts and bolts of climate geoscience, and, a disproportionate amount of evolutionary biologists stuck in creationism trenches also irrelevant to climate science.

    • Curious George

      Evolutionary biologists stuck in creationism? Illogical, but I got the same impression. Logic does not matter much.

  60. Within the Dutch Skeptic community sometimes critical papers are written in their magazine Skepter. However, these are a minority. Last month’s issue published a favorite review on Michael Mann’s recent book.

  61. “…he [Randi] identified news reporters and academics as the being most susceptible to “magical thinking”. Randi described what is often behind such thinking, “Ultimately it’s not about intelligence or lack thereof. It’s about people not wanting to accept that life is random, suffering is inevitable, and there is no good reason for bad things happening.” Humans naturally seek “reasons” when bad things happen.”

    “God moves in mysterious ways.”

    There is however, a more malevolent component to the climate change cabal; and that is the suppression of dissent; hence, my religious note. It took the Protestant Reformation to address the abuses of the “Church.” And a bloody scenario lasting more than 100 years. Always the motives for conflict were commingled with pecuniary agendas and ascendancy to a throne.

    I do not see an early ending to the climate wars as the conflict is not about skepticism, or CAGW, rather, it appears to me to be about all the pecuniary agendas and ascendancy to a throne which need first to play out.

    The shtick is to keep everyone’s eye on catastrophe; i.e., “bad things happening”, while manipulating other people’s money out of view.

  62. Thank you for this. I too had a CSICOP card. No more

  63. Pingback: “Skeptics” | Transterrestrial Musings

  64. Don Monfort

    I don’t see what the issue is with this:

    “Real skepticism is summed up by a quote popularized by Carl Sagan, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Inhofe’s belief that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” is an extraordinary claim indeed. He has never been able to provide evidence for this vast alleged conspiracy. That alone should disqualify him from using the title “skeptic.”

    As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is “denial.” Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.

    We are skeptics who have devoted much of our careers to practicing and promoting scientific skepticism. We ask that journalists use more care when reporting on those who reject climate science, and hold to the principles of truth in labeling. Please stop using the word “skeptic” to describe deniers.”

    They are not saying that all those who disagree with the consensus are deniers. Are we just looking for another opportunity to whine about being called deniers? Waste of time.

    • “They are not saying that all those who disagree with the consensus are deniers.”

      Perhaps, but I think most people thought that was implied. That is the way most of the media reports seemed to spin it. Who they really meant as “deniers” is what I asked them (see above) but did not get an answer.

  65. thisisnotgoodtogo

    Some skeptic sites have policies against “climate denial”. One site makes you defend the tobacco industry as well, or be banned.
    Randi poses with Michel Mann when in his presentation, Mann shows model to reality graph with date of cutoff , years old, in order to not show the divergence from reality.

  66. I have always believed it’s a CYA move on the part of skeptics. Few if any are capable of understanding the actual science. So they defer to climate consensus with the idea that if it turns out to be wrong, the skeptics can say it was the best science at the time and it’s not their fault. I had a skeptic tell me something to that effect—he did not understand the science so he had to go with the “experts”.

  67. Interesting post. I knew about Randi and Shermer, but not that there was a Skeptic granfalloon, let alone that it had been coopted by CAGW. Many of the comments on this thread are also illuminating, especially about definitions, different ‘inside/outside’ perspectives on granfalloons, and the meanings of ‘science’ and ‘climate science’, with the the latter doing increasing damage to the former. The coopted Skeptic granfallon is new evidence of that damage. Cancelling my SciAm substription was old evidence.

    • Don Monfort

      What PE and a lot of people here seem to be missing is that Randi et al. have never been about challenging consensus, textbook science. They go after the spoonbenders and the ghostchasers. It is not surprising or out of character for them to support the alleged AGW consensus.

      • I didn’t mean to miss that. Its a very important point. I meant to be clear that’s how it started and change crept in around the turn of the century. I spoke of how Randi was a little dismissive of scientists in the earlier days

        Back then they didn’t take issue on partisan politics, scientific debates or the like. Rand did take a stand against the global warming push but was slapped down. The content of what they think about various topics may or may not be out of character, what is out of character is bringing those issues into the Skeptic arena.

      • Don Monfort

        I don’t get your point, PE. People and organizations evolve. You seem to be suggesting that some sinister force took over here:

        “How did a group founded to combat claims of the paranormal evolve to becoming a support organization for an astronomer charging that Climate Change Denial is a Threat to National Security? If history were a little different perhaps the skeptic’s organizations would be challenging the climate mainstream.”

        Are they really a support organization for that? Seems rather hyperbolic. What little differences in history could have resulted in these folks doing the opposite of what they are doing? You seem to give them little credit for integrity, or is it intelligence. My guess is they are persuaded by the consensus story. A lot of people are.

        As for Randi’s (1) comments seemingly endorsing climate skepticism and (2) what you characterize as the retraction, he said the same thing in both:

        (1)”I base this on my admittedly rudimentary knowledge of the facts about planet Earth.”

        (2) “Again, the importance and the impact of this phenomenon is well beyond my grasp. I merely expressed my thoughts about the controversy, and I received a storm (no pun intended) of comments, many of which showed a lack of careful reading that led to unfair presumptions and interpretations.”

        He didn’t know what he was talking about. Perhaps later he felt that he gained some insight and decided to go with the consensus, textbook science as had been his habit in the past.

        Why they call themselves skeptics, we don’t know. Probably just an affectation. Anyway, not very interesting.

      • Don – well it’s probably closer to sociology than anything else, so it’s fine to have differing opinions. I don’t know if I’d say sinister but maybe a little co-optation.

        It would be like if the ACLU which is all about civil liberties changed to ignore the civil liberties of some. While many may of the as ACLU as a traditional liberal organization-they do stand up for the free speech rights of extreme right wingers. I see free speech as a core value. They have to struggle with their donors and supporters from time to time when they have big cases that are lined up with right. I think it would be sad if they lost their focus and became just anther organization pushing progressive causes across the board. (I haven’t been paying attention maybe that has happened.). As you say organizations evolve and with different leadership and a few quirks in history that could have happened.

        Similarly the skeptics stood for something much more valuable than being cheerleaders for a scientific concensus they may or may not be capable of Understanding The old stuff they wrote about how you look at evidence and questioning your biases and being wary about how you could be fooled were great. I’m sad that tradition is lost. That it seemed to take the whole of the movement with it, Whether the worst fears of climate disaster come to pass or if its a false alarm – I still miss conventional skepticism. I wish they’d do something like that on Tuesday under the skeptical banner and use Wednesday to cheerleader for science.

      • Re: ACLU – they do in fact take sides, and the only right wingers they help out are a few very extreme cases. I think they do so to polish their phoney even-handedness credentials.

        And in that, like with the Skeptics, likes a lesson: organizations formed for one purpose often deviate over time. O’Sullivan’s law is popular with those of us on the right, and while it’s pretty narrow, it at least suggests a form of how to look at this stuff. O’Sullivan’s law states that any organization that is not right wing from the start will become left wing. In the US, in today’s politicized world, it’s pretty accurate.

        But… getting to the “skeptics,” where I also think this sort of organizational evolution is at work. The skeptics started out debunking new age/occult stuff – UFO nonsense, psychics, etc. This was rich territory – there were lots of things going on that they could get their teeth into. Randi did very good work showing how practicing scientists could be fooled. To emphasize: he caught working scientists in errors.

        But… the skeptics naturally attracted a lot of intellectual bullies who enjoyed showing off their smarts by debunking popular ideas. It is no surprise that Mensa and the Skeptical Society have significant overlap – especially to those of us who used to belong to both.

        The skeptics forgot that Randi initially debunked scientific research, among other things.

        Hence, they have latched on to climate change “science” as something to worship, not be skeptical of. In that sense, they went from Randi’s essentially scientific activity to a form of scientism – the worship of the forms and people of science rather than the core of science – the scientific method and it’s necessary true skepticism. Of course, this gives them a nice perch from which to bully others – in this case, those who doubt that the science of climatology is giving trustworthy answers in the case of CAGW.

        Like so many, they forget that science is a long process of eventual convergence on the truth, and that this convergence is often far from monotonic. Rather, they assume that if magical forms are followed (peer review being the most sacred ritual), the results must be true.

      • Don Monfort

        PE, did your disagreement with the Skeptics start with the AGW controversy?

        I don’t see them as having been co-opted by mainstream science, since they have been there all along.

      • I am a fan of the scientific method but sciencey worship bugged me and the idea that science was easy. That and the dogmatism growing dogmatism around climate is what disillusioned me. I wouldn’t mind if most Skeptics felt strongly about it, it was the pressure and derriision for those who said I don’t know.

      • Don Monfort

        This looks to me like a reasonable position:

        “As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is “denial.” Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics.”

        I don’t think they would consider you to be a denier. Stephanthedenier they would probably spot right away. A lot of others here, give em about three sentences. Anyway, I don’t take the denier crap personally. I started out as one, but now I am firmly in the lukewarm, lukewarmer camp.

      • Don -It does look like a reasonable position. But as it was pointed out elsewhere it’s not clear at all who might be a climate denier and who is a skeptic. I think Mike wrote in and asked for clarification and got a non responsive reply. Maybe many of the signers would be open to discussion, but many in the rank and file would not. They call out Judy and Bjorn and anyone who finds the credible. Pushing a seemingly reasonable position like that would be fine if dcent behavior where the mode among their constituency. But celebrity skeptics get pilloried if they say I don’t know when it comes to climate change. Hyper link in main blog.

      • Looks like they are calling me a denier. The link to my post is titled “a link into what climate deniers believe.”
        http://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/comments/38hn5h/why_skeptics_hate_climate_skeptics_a_look_into/

      • catweazle666

        aplanningengineer: “Looks like they are calling me a denier. “

        I wouldn’t let it worry you!

        Being sneered at and insulted by the type of scientifically illiterate buffoons that scoff at Freeman Dyson (I kid you not!) is a badge of honour!

  68. …and Then There’s Physics said:
    ” What you’re not free to do is to do so while insisting that noone criticises the views that you hold. That’s all part of the skeptical process; put forward your views for scrutiny”

    Physicist expert, here are my views; I’m challenging you. -”to scrutinize my 3 posts, every sentence of it; because many people are reading those -> and believe less and less what YOU and your propaganda machine misleads – please don’t chicken out and run under your rock, after reading first couple of real proofs. The rest of you gentlemen; see if your ”scrutineer” is a good sport, or a coward, physicist expert, I’m a soft target, go for it, or run for cover:

    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/cooling-earth/

    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/global-warming-lost-its-compass-again/
    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/genesis-of-the-warmist-cult-2/

  69. I joined the Tasmanian Skeptics in 1966 when their focus was on conducting scientific tests to determine whether ghosts existed. I drifted away but many years later thought of rejoining – however one look at their magazine with its endorsement of the AGW consensus convinced me otherwise.

  70. I think a lot of Randi and enjoyed at least one of his books many years ago. But, it sure looks like he’s been hoodwinked by non-magicians.

  71. Geoff Sherrington

    Planning Engineer correctly identifies two groups which have long had Australian equivalents. The Australian Skeptics is a non-profit organisation based in Australia which investigates paranormal and pseudoscientific claims using scientific methodologies. It was founded in 1980. I was a member for many years, resigning a few years ago precisely because of its stance on climate matters when, as on many matters, there was close alignment with American organisations with familiar names like Randi, Schermer, Plait, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Skeptics
    From about 2005, there was international growth on the Internet of ‘sceptical blogs’ of which Climate Audit, Watt’s Up With That, The Air Vent were a few of the earliest globally, with Australia’s JoNova and Niche Modeling being among the Australian pioneers. In short time, other English language blogs like Climate Etc and Bishop Hill earned prominence.
    Because some readers here are confused by the difference, I shall call these types “General Skeptic” and “Climate Blog” respectively. If readers do not know of the distinctions, they should be cautious before commenting here. (Also: English spelling is ‘sceptic’, USA is ‘skeptic’; but the distinction is blurring).
    Overall, my experiences have been very close to those that Planning Engineer reports here.
    The early years of the General Skeptic movement had emphasis on the paranormal and related matters like teaching of creation vs evolution. In Australia, there was a great example of the General Skeptic approach as applied to the craft of the dowsing swivel, aka water divining. http://www.skeptics.com.au/publications/articles/australian-skeptics-divining-test/
    This was a great example because quite rigorous tests were designed to leave little doubt of veracity. Nobody showed it worked, nobody claimed the prize, general belief in water divining might have declined, but it still goes on – despite the absence of credible science to support it.
    I have little doubt that most Climate Blog skeptics would be in harmony with the General Skeptics on that outcome. The belief level would be lowered in both camps.
    “Belief” is a very important word in this discussion. “Belief” and “Science” are often used together. This is wrong because they are properly on quite different planes of thought. Science is not strengthened because more people come to believe in it. Science is strengthened because experiment and evidence points that way.
    OTOH, belief can be strengthened because science supports it, but belief is inconsequential to the higher goal of the approach to truth. Unfortunately, belief in an aspect of science is of consequence for lower goals, because it can be a powerful way to get money, reputation and even important changes to national laws.
    There is far more theft of property based on promotion of beliefs than based on promotion of science. Part of this reason is that science can be used to falsify belief, but belief cannot be used to falsify science. At least, not in any hard, traditional ways, like before the times of post-normal science with its lazy-minded acolytes.
    Planning Engineer points to a divergence between the “General Skeptic” and “Climate Blog” philosophies. I see it also. My interpretation is that the older “General Skeptic” group has lost some of its more rigid logician scientists, either from age or from adopting unwise positions; and that the “Climate Blog” concept continues to strengthen because its dominant purpose is to question poor science, in this case mostly related to climate research.
    Books will be written on this schism. Books will be needed because the arguments are many and complex and difficult to emulate by scientific experiment.
    Overall, at present, I have a lot of time for both groups, but I do wish that the former would accept that many major aspects of climate change are as full of holes as early explanations of water divining and should not be approved until they have been subjected to similar, well designed, rigorous tests, even ones offering large prizes for those who crack the problem.
    At present, after 30 years of expensive research, we still have no single, quantitative, seminal paper that usefully links GHG concentrations in the atmosphere with its temperature however defined.
    The lack of this paper, Nobel potential material, should cause those with inquiring minds to become skeptical in the classical sense. Then the skeptic groups would come closer together

    • Thanks for those comments. I wish you nothing but the best as you work within. That was my general impression of Australia but no solid experience except for brief meetings and discussion with a few Skeptic notables from down under.

  72. Of course climate scientists are not charlatans in exactly the same way that homeopathic doctors are–even if Prince Charles happens to believe the utterances of both groups. Climate scientists probably aren’t as quick to tamper with evidence as the creationists–although I believe there is a similarity in maintaining a narrative, and making the evidence fit with answers that are decided in advance.

    (I don’t really want to encourage Lewandowsky-style research–that circus has already come to town a few too many times–but it would be interesting to know: how many warmists believe in alternative medicine? how many are anti-vaxxers? anti-GMO?)

    Climate scientists “follow the scientific method”; what could possibly go wrong? Boomer group think actually has gone wrong: believing that human action is (all too often) bad, while nature is good, and interpreting a lot of phenomena accordingly. The scientists are likely to believe this themselves; they learn early in their careers that widespread boomer beliefs, brought to a focus by civil servants and politicians, determine what side their bread is buttered on; and they publish work that is marbled with ignorance and dishonesty, while telling themselves that they are not actually lying. So-called big-S Skeptics don’t question any of this because they enjoy being among the cool kids.

  73. The skeptic group at reddit found this and labeled me a denier (and accused Judith of being a conspiracy theorist). I sent them the following:

    If you are open to questions as one poster suggested, I have one. Why does this post heading call me a Climate Denier? My concern is that Skeptics toss this term around too casually. If any significant number of respondents here who don’t feel marginalized by this group could tell me specifically that some of the potential reasons listed below should not brand one as a Climate denier, it would do much to rehabilitate my opinion of todays’ participants in the Skeptic movement.
    • Wishing that Skeptics would focus more on traditional skeptical topics rather than on supporting science (Surely you can disagree with my preference bus does that make me a denier?)
    o Cringing when I hear the phrase “settled science”
    o Cringing at comparisons that equate the certainty of climate change with certainty for common descent.
    o Thinking Skeptics can add so much more in other areas than they can to this particular science debate.
     Having the opinion that most Skeptics don’t understand the science and that we and that echoing consensus is a bad precedent.
    • Thinking that of all the practicing scientists in the world Michael Mann was a poor choice of someone to be honored at a Skeptic convention? (Say what you want about his science-his current lawsuit suggests he is not a friend of open dialogue.)
    • After researching the Cook 97% consensus study, coming to the conclusion that the intentions of the researcher biased the results considerably and that anyone referring to that study should be embarassed.
    • Believing, like the Google engineers after millions in studies, that today’s renewable technologies will not a good answer for reducing CO2 emissions.
    • Believing fossil fuel use can be justified by a full consideration of cost benefits, particularly in the cases of Africa and India.
    • Being critical of some subset of the participants in the Skeptical movements reasoning abilities and suggesting they may have drivers of bias.
    • This excerpt from my piece: “Certainly the amount of CO2, a greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere is increasing. All else equal that will cause temperatures to increase. Skeptics argue that it is appropriate to go with our best scientific understandings when there are areas of doubt. As a society that’s a good plan, but that doesn’t mean we should not continue to question our current “best” understandings.”
    • Thinking Freeman Dyson, Michael Crichton, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, and Michael Fumento might have a place in the Skeptic movement under different circumstances.
    • Being less than completely enamored with Carl Sagan, Michael Mann, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
    • Saying that when I look at all the evidence, I just don’t know.
    • Possibly being a lukewarmer at most
    I understand others thinking I am wrong about each of the above and I could understand being called foolish, naïve or worse. But why Climate Denier? The CSI statement suggests that there may be Climate Skeptics that are not deniers. Here is an alternate question that could convince me of your sincerity and good will. What is the scope, or what type things is it ok to be skeptical about and not be called a denier? Can anyone in this group offer a legitimate climate skeptic and not get raked over the coals by others?

    (Note-the heading also accused Judith Curry of offering a conspiracy theory. Anyone here willing to acknowledge that suggesting that “Climate Science” is being marketed and that there is a commonality of tactics between that and pseudoscience marketing is very different from suggesting a conspiracy theory? Or do you believe that any efforts, no matter how sketchy, are worthwhile in defense of a good cause.)

      • The fact is the people who answered you aren’t skeptics. They’re just ign0rant “science fan(atac)s” who think whatever they see as the “consensus” must be true.

        Take this, which stuck out for me:

        That depends a lot on the context. Is Evolution “settled science”? How about Germ Theory, or the Big Bang Theory?

        AFAIK “the Big Bang Theory” is far from universally accepted, although it seems to be the most popular. And I must admit I’m not up to speed on the opinions of scientists working in that area.

        As for “Germ Theory”, consider prions. “Germs”, meaning viruses and bacteria, not to mention various eukaryotes, are well accepted as a major cause of diseases. But the controversy over prions showed that it was declared “settled” way too soon. Other issues could be brought up, including the placebo effect and psychosomatic diseases.

        Now, to “Evolution”. No, it is notsettled science”. Certainly no scientist today would sign up for “Intelligent design”, much less 6-day Creation. But evolutionary theory has gone through a number of controversial paradigm shifts, and is currently undergoing its latest revolution. Only a blind denier would claim that “Evolution is settled science”. Which pretty much sums up the folks (most of them) you’re arguing with.

      • Check out Jose Duarte’s blog for more information on skeptics and the Cook study. I noticed your were being slammed for not believing a study that was clearly fraudulent.

      • Evolutionary cell biology: Two origins, one objective by Michael Lynch, Mark C. Field, Holly V. Goodson, Harmit S. Malik, José B. Pereira-Leal, David S. Roos, Aaron P. Turkewitz, and Shelley Sazer PNAS December 2, 2014 vol. 111 no. 48 Open Access

        All aspects of biological diversification ultimately trace to evolutionary modifications at the cellular level. This central role of cells frames the basic questions as to how cells work and how cells come to be the way they are. Although these two lines of inquiry lie respectively within the traditional provenance of cell biology and evolutionary biology, a comprehensive synthesis of evolutionary and cell-biological thinking is lacking. We define evolutionary cell biology as the fusion of these two eponymous fields with the theoretical and quantitative branches of biochemistry, biophysics, and population genetics. The key goals are to develop a mechanistic understanding of general evolutionary processes, while specifically infusing cell biology with an evolutionary perspective. The full development of this interdisciplinary field has the potential to solve numerous problems in diverse areas of biology, including the degree to which selection, effectively neutral processes, historical contingencies, and/or constraints at the chemical and biophysical levels dictate patterns of variation for intracellular features. These problems can now be examined at both the within- and among-species levels, with single-cell methodologies even allowing quantification of variation within genotypes. Some results from this emerging field have already had a substantial impact on cell biology, and future findings will significantly influence applications in agriculture, medicine, environmental science, and synthetic biology. [my bold]

      • Thanks all. I included Duarte and some of the other suggestions in my rejoinder.

        Most infuriating answer to me was relating to the CSI letter noting that that not all who call themselves climate skeptics are deniers. I asked which skeptics might not be deniers and got this answer:

        Sure, I name plenty. Just to pick a few, though: Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Andrew Dessler, and Gavin Schmidt. Generally, scientists practicing in their field are skeptics (although some demonstrate otherwise…).

    • PE: What is the scope, or what type things is it ok to be skeptical about and not be called a denier?

      Reply: You have to practice scientific skepticism, and not engage in denialism.

      “In human behavior, denialism is exhibited by individuals choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable truth. Author Paul O’Shea remarks, “[It] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event””- Wiki

      Thinking we can lower the temperature of the atmosphere might be a failure to deal with the uncomfortable truth that we can’t effectively do that. An uncomfortable truth is that renewables cannot yet make much of a positive difference. What might be an uncomfortable truth is that temperatures seem to rising at only 1.2 C per century. Our truth is that CO2 causes warming. Beyond that what truths can we claim to have? I think the unkind comments at reddit were made without much care.

    • Gee. PE

      I always had pegged you as more of a lukewarmer than a skeptic…

      You are one of the more balanced, thoughtful, and objective posters.

      You would be well served to view the “denier” accusations as more of a comment on the character of the accusers.

      The skeptics are asking that warmunists operate under traditional rules of proof and debate which is not unreasonable. That the warmers think requiring proof, and fair and honest debate, is unreasonable… is worrisome indication.

  74. Willard quoting me:

    > Surely climate sceptics are primarily policy sceptics

    You mean, contrarians doubt that policy-making can ever be justified?

    Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. No policy-making – and therefore no government – can ever be justified.

    The crassness with which people ‘on the other side’ interpret one’s words makes the climate debate tiresome in the extreme.

    What I really meant is that climate sceptics, almost to a man, or woman, have some doubts about some of the policies proposed or already rolled out in the name of global warming alarm. Like biofuel subsidies. How many sceptics do not have doubts about the wisdom of those?

    This makes climate sceptic a reasonable shorthand. No more than that. The arguments of the ‘Skeptics’ are for me childish. They don’t own the word. Did they ever complain about the use of Eurosceptic in Britain? Life’s too short for such tiresome logic-chopping.

  75. I find it ironic that the left has killed the social pressure for people to have children only in a marriage. But this was good for society since there were two parents to support the children, and in some cases the mothers. Now society has to supply welfare money to the single mothers unable to support themselves and their offspring. I guess this way they get more poor, uninformed voters for Dimowits.

    Instead we have in its place this social pressure from the powers that be to conform to CAGW, pushing society to accept a half-baked hypothesis about CAGW or even just AGW. Depending on the “fix,” this could be very bad for society as we continue to see our lifestyle erode due onerous government taxes and over-regulation, and could be very expensive in other areas to boot.

    Stupid, all that.

  76. @A Planning Engineer
    Thanks for this post. Not having followed the supposed Skeptic movement formally I had a severe case of dissonance associating warmers like Mooney and Plait as sceptical.
    However the name that really caught my eye was Michael Ruse as member of NCSE. If there is anyone to cause a certain group to break out in hives, it’s this guy.

    Double-Dealing in Darwin
    Are intellectuals allowing dogma in science but not in religion?

    Today, likewise, we see that evolutionism has its priests and devotees. Entomologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University tells us that the “evolutionary epic is mythology,” depending on laws that are “believed but can never be definitively proved,” taking us “backward through time to the beginning of the universe.” Wilson knows that any good religion must have its moral dimension, and so he urges us to promote biodiversity, to amend our original sin of despoiling the earth. There is an apocalyptic ring to Wilson’s writings, and in true dispensationalist style, he warns that there is but a short time before all collapses into an ecological Armageddon. Repent! The time is near!
    snip
    I am saying that when I hear people with spiritual views accused by scientists of “cowardly flabbiness of the intellect,” I suspect that there is more at stake than factual disagreement. In that context, when evangelicals complain that it is unfair if a secular religion (evolution) is allowed into classrooms but competing theological views are not, I start to feel sympathy. Not for creationism, which is pernicious nonsense, but for stacking the deck against religious thought, by allowing dogma in science but not in theology. If creationism has no place in the classroom, then neither does a secular religion based on evolution. We who care passionately about science should know when to keep the science and religion separate and remember always when it is appropriate to teach the one and not the other.
    http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Science-Religion/2000/01/Double-Dealing-In-Darwin.aspx?p=1

    Curb your enthusiasm
    High priests, holy writ and excommunications – how did Humanism end up acting like a religion?
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/michael-ruse-humanism-religion/

    cheers
    brent(agnostic)

  77. That says something about you. Nothing about skeptics, but thanks for the input.

  78. I gave up on Reddit a year and a half ago. Nothing to do with climate. It was other sruff. But when I read that the site aggressively censors those who don’t accept the so-called consensus on AGW, it didn’t surprise me at all.

    Reddit is just like Daily Kos and Wikipedia. Whatever flash mob happens along will kick a dissenter off the island. They don’t believe in genuine dialogue. Reddit, et al are manifestations of the tribalism that’s rife throughout our society at this stage.

    • I’ve been involved in internet discussions for 30 years now (yes, there was an Internet way back then). Flaming and narrowmindedness is hardly new.

      What is new, to the US anyway, is the censorious nature of modern progressivism, and hence, of the warmist cause, which has bedded down with the progressives. As I posted before about O’Sullivan’s law, it should not come as a surprise that this form of intolerance has taken over the Skeptics – it is taking over all sorts of organizations. This sort of behavior extends well beyond the global warming, err climate change debate. It is Orwellian and smacks of the Red Guards of Mao’s China.

      That Planning Engineer should be a target says a lot about these folks. I have rarely seen as careful, non-political and thorough set of articles on a subject in that realm as by PE. That this should lead to shouting “denialist” shows the bankruptcy of those who do so.

      It’s one thing to dislike evidence to the contrary, or to honestly believe that the warmists have the better of the evidence. It is quite a different thing to label people pejoratively (“denier”) and to seek to squelch debate by calling deniers traitors or the equivalent.

      • To be rigorous about it, the censorship and blocking of opposing views really started in any kind of big way on right-wing sites during the Iraq War. But the “progressives” have definitely caught up.

  79. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #182 | Watts Up With That?

  80. Follow up to the main post, it’s pretty clear they don’t like us very much. A Skeptic site at Reddit (Note self label-not my evaluation) linked to my posting above and called me a denier. I registered to question what made me a denier and be available. The ensuing discussions did little to encourage me about the future of the Skeptic movement.

    I’m not proud of what ensued. It’s an environment where things quickly degrade below the level of “I know you are but what am I.” I feel a little foolish as if I were involved on the same terms in an argument with a couple of 14 year olds, or someone living in Mom’s basement. I don’t know how it came across, but I was not trying to tell them they were wrong, but just to recognize there might be other valid viewpoints worthy of consideration. Two posters certainly gave a defense of the climate orthodoxy and tossed out the denial label in a fashion that confirmed my initial post.

    Besides me and Judith, Matt Ridely, Bjorn Lomborg, Michael Crichton and Michael Fumento are called deniers. (I don’t know, is Fuemento a denier? He is the only journalist I know of who provided an appropriate assessment of risk for the then approaching US heterosexual Aids epidemic and I know he’s posted on Global Warming-did I make a bad choice). When I asked who might be an acceptable “Skeptical Science” (consistent with the CSI position that not everyone skeptical of climate was a denier) I was offered the names of Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Andrew Dessler and Gavin Schmidt.

    Ragnaar joined me and I was accused of using an alias to make his postings. The commentator who had said it was obvious that Raganars post were written by me to support myself, backed down when I encouraged him to come here and provide a warning of my duplicity. We both encouraged visits here. Doubt we’ll get them, but if so, please be nice.

    Flawed as it may be at times (no exception for myself), we should all appreciate the level of discourse here. I say that for overwhelmingly all Denizens with different positions across the spectrum.

    Below are some quotes from the exchange. Pretty opinionated and not willing to give an inch.
    • The only reasonable position at this time is to accept warming could indeed be as high as the upper limit, and to assume it will be (because we just cannot take a gamble on this) as far as policy decisions are concerned.
    • Disinformation is coming almost exclusively from those who claim AGW isn’t real/a threat.
    • It’s not as if the people of India and Africa hadn’t managed for centuries using little power.
    • I’m sorry, but in this case any political belief that isn’t based on a scientific understanding of man-made global warming will simply not be valid.
    • The problem is that, when looking at the entire body of scientific literature on the subject, there is just as much chance that ECS ends up being 4.5C. The only acceptable strategy, from a mitigation point of view, is to hope for the best (1.5C) but prepare for the worst (4.5C).
    • Climate Etc. is Lukewarmer central, and I’ve already explained how Lukewarmers are not much better than outright deniers
    • I personally tend to make a difference between deniers (i.e. people who deny or misrepresent the empirical evidence in support of AGW theory and by extension those who deny the theory has merit), and contrarians, who mostly claim that the uncertainties are too great for us to be certain enough that AGW represent an actual threat. Both are wrong, IMO, but the former are more wrong than the latter.
    • Duarte is a non-expert with an ideological axe to grind. He’s not worth paying attention to.
    • To me, the difference between Lukewarmers and outright deniers is academic.
    • Referring to Judith as a denier. – It’s sad, too, to watch an actual scientist and expert in the field say things they could easily determine are factually incorrect (if they weren’t already aware).

    In closing be warned I am very dangerous (and for sure I make a lot of typos too).
    PE- Nothing more dangerous than a rightous group that has all the answers and an overwheliming cause
    Response – Actually, people like you who minimize the threat of man-made global warming in order to protect the bottom lines of fossil fuel companies are much more dangerous.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/comments/38hn5h/why_skeptics_hate_climate_skeptics_a_look_into/?sort=top

    • > I feel a little foolish as if I were involved on the same terms in an argument with a couple of 14 year olds, or someone living in Mom’s basement.

      The Reddit crowd seems to have any experience with the good old shirt ripping with “but, denier”.

      To top it with a variation of the CAGW strawman (“nothing more dangerous than a righteous group”) was quite inspired.

      Well played!

    • aplanningengineer: Interesting that Duarte gets mentioned. Like many “deniers”, he actually believes AGW is real, has sited studies showing up to 80% of actual climate scientists agree, etc. What he does not do is blindly accept everything. It seems quite apparent that skepticism is not what it used to be. Now, it’s blind allegiance using the appeal to authority. Guess it had to happen. It’s very difficult for people to veer from the mainstream authority. Only the true skeptics, not the commercial or “I want to belong” variety will withstand this. Skeptics, after all, are human beings who want to be liked. Many will do whatever it takes–even dumping skepticism if that works.

      Sadder still, many just fall into infantile name calling and insults. It does not help a cause that exchanges sound like a kindergarten playground. Rational adults do not discuss like that—and rational was the original idea for skepticism. It seems we now have skepticism-lite or skepticism 2.0. Maybe it’s just a reflection of a society where individuals find it necessary to insult anyone different from themselves or who challenges their beliefs. True skepticism is going to be very limited in such a society, as is apparently the case now.

      (I am so sick of hearing that fossil fuel mantra. It is demonstrably FALSE. Oil companies and fossil fuel companies LOVE AGW. So many subsidies for worthless renewable energy to be soaked up, so much advertising potential, so many ways to look like they believe while they know full well we cannot dispense with fossil fuels without starting WW3. Why in the world would they want this to stop???)

    • > Rational adults do not discuss like that—and rational was the original idea for skepticism.

      You just did:

      Sadder still, many just fall into infantile name calling and insults. It does not help a cause that exchanges sound like a kindergarten playground.

      Planning One did too with his ageist remark, i.e. “14 year olds, or someone living in Mom’s basement.”

      ***

      Concerns about tone fails the golden rule of etiquette: never mention it. Let your own protocol rule the.

      Using good manners as a weapon goes against good manners.

      • No, Willard, you are not understanding this. I did not call these people infantile. I called their behaviour infantile and said the exchange sounded like a kindergarten playground. That is an objective, and verifiable, statement concerning behaviour. Had I called them infantile and stated they were just stupid and wrong, then it would be the same behaviour. For all I know, these individuals are brilliant computer programmers or artists, etc. My reference is to the one exchange and the elements contained therein.

        This is not the same as calling people “deniers”. That is an ad homenem attack. It says the person is wrong and bad. Saying that these persons are displaying denial of a scientific consensus is not. Saying these persons are denying science is also not a personal attack. Both can be discussed and evidence produced. Calling someone a denier cannot be discussed nor evidence produced. It is a value judgment against someone one does not like. It’s the same reason calling AGW proponents “warmists” is not accurate.

        If we cannot accurately identify behaviours and beliefs, there can be no discussion whatsoever. Which is precisely what seems to be the goal of the AGW crowd. This just lands us there by a circuitous route.

      • > [Y]ou are not understanding this.I did not call these people infantile. I called their behaviour infantile and said the exchange sounded like a kindergarten playground. That is an objective, and verifiable, statement concerning behaviour.

        Thank you for probing my understanding and using a false dichotomy to justify your whining, Reality check. It denotes a vicious rationalization that we observe among sociopaths. Incidentally, a related defense mechanism is denial:

        As a partner of a sex addict you minimize, discount, rationalize, deny, and pretend things are different than they really are because you want to trust your partner. You want to believe the relationship has a strong foundation. You want to be able to believe all is okay. That is absolutely understandable. Don’t be critical of yourself.

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-many-faces-addiction/201003/deceived-denial-rationalizing

        As you can see, these are all objective, and verifiable statements concerning your and related behaviours. So I hope you will accept this as a way to have a reasoned debate among “adults.”

        Don’t be so critical of yourself.

      • I can’t say that I am always above name calling and you can probably find some examples and I don’t endorse it, but please note the fuller quotation: “I feel a little foolish as if I were involved on the same terms in an argument with a couple of 14 year olds, or someone living in Mom’s basement. ” I am saying where I felt I descended to.

      • > I am saying where I felt I descended to.

        Good. I hope this covers your shirt ripping too, Planning One. Considering your last piece (note the title, btw), I’m not sure you agree. Raising concerns about tone about (!) and on (!!) a subreddit only shows you don’t know much about subreddits:

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

        The weirder, the better:

        http://mashable.com/2013/01/02/weird-subreddits/

        Note the demographics:

        http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/07/03/6-of-online-adults-are-reddit-users/

        If all we have to appreciate Judy’s is that it’s better than a subreddit, then I guess words fail me to end this sentence.

        Thank you nevertheless for your concerns.

      • Don Monfort

        Moderating a blog where the neglectful stargazing proprietor is off chatting on a blog, with an actual audience, must be a lonely avocation.

      • > Raising concerns about tone about (!) and on (!!) a subreddit only shows you don’t know much about subreddits

        Willard-no argument here from me, I just can’t quite get what you are saying and I’m trying to understand it. Evidently I’m entering waters I have never encountered before, and unaware of the norms, and I’d like to know a little more about some of the expectations. I don’t know much about subbreddits at all. I clicked on your first link and it took me to a posting on some weird stuff. I don’t know that I will be prouder of myself when/if I know more about subreddits. So I think you meant to disparage me, but if my transgressions ONLY show be to be uniformed about subreddits …that doesn’t seem too bad. I’m thinking maybe you meant to say something more like “Raising concerns about tone about (!) and on (!!) a subreddit shows MORE PROBLEMS than that you don’t know much about subreddits” But I’m not sure. You had that “well played” comment and I can’t pick up reliably on your snarc or sarcasm.

        Are you saying nobody should ever complain about tone? In which case I don’t get why you care so much about my use of the word “hate” as a more dramatic way to say they are not pleased with us. Plus you seem to be complaining about tone. Or do you think nobody should ever use a bad tone? Which in that case I don’t get why you mind me pointing it out. Or is it that you think I’m being hypocritical and that if I want to point our others tone I should make sure I am above reproach? I don’t know if that could describe your approach. I don’t’ really have a leading theory as to what your advise is.

      • Willard: Thank for your comment. Your statements on psychology are falling on trained ears, which is not good for your comments. I do applaud your ability to choose totally unrelated material and twist it in to comment. That’s a skill that is very useful when ignoring the message at hand. I truly love it when people drag out that “false dichotomy”. You might as well tattoo “really reaching here” on your forehead. Not only is it improperly applied, but it indicates that I should be suspicious of any logic you inject into your comments. Again, I am impressed with your ability to twist and avoid. The level of insecurity/fear/anger/aggression (avoiding a dichotomy there) displayed is remarkable. Of course, you can go find your cookbook psychology and label my remark as whatever you want. Projection is a wonderful thing, you know. All in all, you’ve given us a great example of unthinking, angry comments whose only purpose is to be rude and aggressive. Thank you. We are suitably impressed with rational, thinking skeptics.

      • > I don’t’ really have a leading theory as to what your advise is.

        My advice rests on a whole field of study, Planning One:

        Victim playing (also known as playing the victim or self-victimization) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking.

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

        What I refer to as “shirt ripping” is a variant of victim playing:

        Senior’s modus operandi is based on a variation of the same:

        http://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/05/22/climate-science-debate-84789/

        ***

        Writing an essay at Judy’s about how mean are members of skeptic societies to contrarians is just business as usual. I don’t mind much, except for the misconstrual of the concept of skepticism. I don’t think you address that point so far, even if I wrote many comments on it.

        I also don’t mind smarm because in the eternal battle between snark and smarm on the Internet, snark always win:

        http://gawker.com/on-smarm-1476594977

        That you now minimize your usage of “hate” as “dramatic” just shows how passive aggressivity can easily lead to a double standard.

        Of course, in saying all this, I do not wish to disparage you or what you do. My claims are as objective and verifiable than Reality Checker’s.

        Thank you for your smoke screen of many questions.

      • > I truly love it when people drag out that “false dichotomy”.

        Not only can I drag out that false dichotomy, Reality Checker, but I can defend my claim. Both “you are an X” and “your behavior is like the one of an X” can lead to ad hominem arguments:

        All four subtypes of ad hominem are personal attack arguments in which one party, called the proponent, attacks the person of the second party (the respondent) in a dialogue in which both parties are arguing about something. The basis of the argument is that the proponent is attacking the credibility of the other respondent, and then using this proposed lowering of credibility to argue that the respondent’s argument should be reduced in plausibility value.

        http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/00AdHominem.pdf

        I don’t always hear the word “infantile,” but when I do, I seldom think it the target increases in credibility. This has an impact on the plausibility value of the target’s standpoint. Your “I should be suspicious of any logic you inject into your comments” looks a lot like the fourth one, BTW.

        Moreover, appealing to infantility cannot be meant as a pediatric diagnosis. Even if it were, it would be an incorrect context to do it. Were you a trained psychologist right now, you might risk losing your license in abusing your authority.

        ***

        > The level of insecurity/fear/anger/aggression […] displayed is remarkable.

        Thank you for noticing. This was my point exactly. Now, read back your silly “I called their behaviour infantile” defense. Don’t forget your last comment too. One of the best one I’ve ever read. A magnificient offering to the lords of ClimateBall.

      • Willard:

        “Concerns about tone fails the golden rule of etiquette: never mention it. Let your own protocol rule the.

        Using good manners as a weapon goes against good manners.”

        interesting dilemma.

        is it bad etiquette to mention that mentions of etiquette are bad etiquette.

        regardless. good point.

      • > is it bad etiquette to mention that mentions of etiquette are bad etiquette.

        Right on. However, I can own my snark. ClimateBall players ought stop playing the ref, and ought to focus on the ball. BTW, there’s no dichotomy (that word again) between the ball and the man:

        https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/play-the-ball/

        If one wishes to stop playing the man, there’s no other solution than to stop playing the man:

        If you choose to do so, you need to accept that this is your own damn personal journey. Don’t brag about it. Don’t whine about those who don’t follow suit. ‘More importantly, don’t blame otters because of what you do, and don’t use it as a weapon that will replace the gun you’re supposed to have dropped down.

        If what you want is a reasoned argument, keep calm and present reasoned arguments. There’s nothing else you can do.

      • willard.
        The Samuel jackson Video had a profound effect on me. Thank you for posting it the other day.
        I am still processing. This weekend i was asked for advice.
        I’m learning not to give it. I passed the link along instead. More of a reference than a piece of advice. That’s what I tell myself.

      • Willard – I give you credit for trying to answer me to the best of your ability. I will try to do the same for you. I’m sorry you think I was barraging you with questions. I really wanted to know what you were saying.

        >I don’t mind much, except for the misconstrual of the concept of skepticism. I don’t think you address that point so far, even if I wrote many comments on it.

        I have not been trying to define the concept of “skepticism” or put a flavor on it. I have been trying to talk about a movement. Much as in an example I wrote here if I were talking about the “Tea Party” – I wouldn’t set out to define Tea Party. Or perhaps you remember the religious/social/political men’s movement called the Promise Keepers. Just by using their names I would not be endorsing their integrity more or less than any other men, or men who dislike the Promise Keepers either. By avoiding what I think a is involved in keeping promises I don’t think I would be misconstruing the concept.

        For you-I liked the early direction of the Skeptic Movement. I think Richard Feynman embodied a true skeptic as far as a concept goes.

        I am sorry the use of “hate” in the title set you off. Maybe it’s just where I grew up. We hated mosquitos, vegetables, homework, some musicians, and the rival sports teams. It was “dramatic” but common language. Perhaps the title should have been “Why the people that are part of the movement that is sometimes identified as Skepticism (who may or may not actually be skeptics-I’m taking no position on that) have grown to be very unappreciative of people who are not sufficiently alarmed by climate projections particularly those who downplay climate concerns in any way.” What I told was a story about a family that I and others once were part of, but because we did not line up with others on our understanding of climate risks and remedies we were forced out. Happily some found it worthwhile. It was expected that not everyone would, but I was surprised how much it troubled some.

      • Don Monfort

        I think the behavior that Reality Check has so aptly described is commonly called trolling. Although some practitioners aren’t so common. Some got pretty impressive skills that we hope will someday be used for good deeds, instead of for messing with people. An interesting question that this thread brings to my mind:

        Is trolling a popular blog much more fun and satisfying than moderating a blog that few care to visit?

      • Willard: Nice try–miss by a mile. The word infantile is completely appropriate in the context I used it. I have a great deal of experience with toddlers and young children and this is how they behave. Also, being suspicious of your logic is only logical–you misused a fallacy. Logically, I cannot therefore trust your logic.

        Really–trained psychologist risking losing my license? Another huge, desperate reach there.

        ClimateBall–what a cute little idea there. I had no idea there was a trade-marked (not really, of course) name for the endless rambling of the worshippers of climate science and any who dare engage them. Of course, it’s not about science and that should conclusively prove there is no science in any of it. Thank you for verifying the complete absence of science.

        I really don’t care at all what you comment. If there were any actual science in the comments, it might be worth checking out. The fact that you can only play a game and attempt to drag people into your quite useless commenting is a clear indication you have no interest whatsoever in climate change. You just like antagonizing people. I don’t have time for your games. I have a real life and things to do than play semantic, convoluted mind games with someone who obviously is clueless about climate change. You waste my time. There are people out there who actually are interested in why global warming is wrong and why followers of it are so rude and condescending. Feel free to come back and post whatever you want. I only address people who show an actual interest in climate science, not internet commenters that just like to take up space.

      • Oh, and thank you so much for posting my comment on your blog. You are such a sweetie for that. Feel free to post whatever I type—I appreciate any exposure my comments can get, though I am concerned about some here who say your blog is not widely read. Oh well, I’ll take having my logic and assesments repeated wherever. We can all use more reasoned thought, don’t you think?

      • I prefer palace etiquette.

      • “Also, being suspicious of your logic is only logical–you misused a fallacy. Logically, I cannot therefore trust your logic.”

        willard did not misuse a fallacy. He pointed you at some arguments and accounts of the ad hom that are quite interesting. You should really read Doug Walton’s stuff. Especially if you have had any exposure to philosophy. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that much of what I believed about the fallacy was too limited or overly narrow.

        http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/04historical.pdf

        Second, even under the assumption that he misused the fallacy, nothing logically follows from that other than he misused it. The logical implications can’t go much beyond that act. That you think there are implications beyond that is akin to another form of the ad hom.
        kinda funny.

      • Philosophy certainly has changed its definitions and functions in the last 30 years. Soon, fallacies will be facts and facts will be fallicies. Oh wait, we may already be there…..

        (I am very familiar with philosophy and logic. I am appalled at what has been done to the field, mostly due to global warming advocates needing new definitions of fallicies to make their claims “valid”.)

      • ‘Philosophy certainly has changed its definitions and functions in the last 30 years. Soon, fallacies will be facts and facts will be fallicies. Oh wait, we may already be there…..”
        #################################
        The link I provided covers controversies about the definition of the fallacy that go back quite far. Well beyond the 30 years you cite.

        “It is argued in (Walton, 1998, pp. 21–27), that this historical development
        from Aristotle to Locke and Whately has led to a widely entrenched
        ambiguity about the meaning of the ad hominem. ”

        Assuming that the definition was somehow fixed up until 30 years ago, is an interesting assertion. Unsupported of course, and beside the point.
        #################################################
        (I am very familiar with philosophy and logic. I am appalled at what has been done to the field, mostly due to global warming advocates needing new definitions of fallicies to make their claims “valid”.)

        1. Asserting that you are familiar doesn’t constitistute a demonstration of mastery.
        2. You failed to address the issue I raised about the flaw in your logic.
        you can appeal to your own authority and knowledge of logic, but it is rather self defeating in a discussion about logic and fallacies.
        3. I cited Walton. His work , the work of Locke, and others, pre dates global warming advocacy .I am not convinced you have demonstrated that their discussions of rhetoric have anything to do with global warming advocacy.
        4. Even IF global warming advocacy had play a role in redefining fallacies, it would be a fallacy to reject the definitions based on the genesis of the definition.

      • Steven: I see your link and raise you this one: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html
        To be ad hominem, I must attack the person. Otherwise, there’s no “hominem” in the statement. If I address the argument or the behaviour, I am not attacking the person. I made it very clear I did not dismiss everything someone said based on one incident or behaviour. I did not reject any of their beliefs based on said behaviour. I simply stated the behaviour was infantile. It is not an ad hominem statement.

        Yes, it is beside the point, yet you felt obligated to type that into the comment.

        “Especially if you have had any exposure to philosophy”–that was what my comment concerning philosophy familiarity was about. It was not a claim to know all about it. Yet you went there, also.

        I know enough about philosophy to know for certain no philosophical discussion is ever settled. It is a characteristic of philosophy. If I had more time, I might find this as amusing as I did in college. However, since I don’t have time, I am not going there.

      • Steven: Your statement that I thought philosophy had only changed in the past 30 years is not correct. No where did I say that or imply it. I said I did not like the changes I had seen in the last 30 years. Only that. You added the rest.

        To be an ad hominem, I have to say you are wrong because your behaviour is infantile. I can call you an idiot, I can comment on your behaviour. However, it’s not an ad hominem. Technically, the term “denier” is not an ad hominem—it’s just name calling. Claiming Willie Soon’s paper was wrong because the university he worked for got grants from oil is an ad hominem. Claiming anyone is wrong about climate science because they believe in UFO’s is ad hominem.

        “The basis of the argument is that the proponent is attacking the credibility of the other respondent, and then using this proposed lowering of credibility to argue that the respondent’s argument should be reduced in plausibility value.” Show me where I said anyone’s argument for or against AGW was invalid because of their infantile behaviour. I never addressed the validity of their beliefs anywhere. Only their behaviour.

      • > Nice try–miss by a mile.

        Which is why my main point has not been addressed, I guess.

        ***

        > I have a great deal of experience with toddlers and young children and this is how they behave.

        Indeed, and Hitler was a vegetarian too.

        Now we have toddlers and young children. Planning One was talking about 14 yo. Evidence showing how toddlers argue would be interesting.

        ***

        > trained psychologist risking losing my license?

        One does not simply diagnoze in public. A diagnosis presupposes a particular relationship, and a proper context. Also, a diagnosis is never offered to demean someone. In other words:

        Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity

        Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making. Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.

        https://apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

        Revealing private information (like a diagnosis) in an arena that is unfit to do so is more than uncool: it can get you radiated from the order.

        In other words, what can look like a description in one context (a psychological diagnosis) can very well be just a cheap shot in another one (ClimateBall).

        ***

        > I really don’t care at all what you comment. […] I only address people who show an actual interest in climate science, not internet commenters that just like to take up space.

        And yet Reality Checker commented on the behavior of subreddit commenters.

        It’s just a flesh wound, I guess.

      • RealityCheck

        What I wrote:

        “willard did not misuse a fallacy. He pointed you at some arguments and accounts of the ad hom that are quite interesting. You should really read Doug Walton’s stuff. Especially if you have had any exposure to philosophy. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that much of what I believed about the fallacy was too limited or overly narrow.”

        your response:

        “Philosophy certainly has changed its definitions and functions in the last 30 years. Soon, fallacies will be facts and facts will be fallicies. Oh wait, we may already be there…..

        (I am very familiar with philosophy and logic. I am appalled at what has been done to the field, mostly due to global warming advocates needing new definitions of fallicies to make their claims “valid”.)”

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

        1. Willard discusses ad homs
        2. you accuse him of misuse
        3. I give you information that indicates he didnt misuse it.
        4. you argue that you are appalled at what AGW advocates have
        done in coming up with new definitions.
        5. I pointed out that the definition has been a ambigous beyond the
        30 years you refer to.
        6. At no point do I argue that you asserted that philosophy only changed in the past 30 years.
        7. you imply that the “change” in definition is somehow related to AGW.

        Then you write the following

        “Steven: Your statement that I thought philosophy had only changed in the past 30 years is not correct. No where did I say that or imply it. I said I did not like the changes I had seen in the last 30 years. Only that. You added the rest.”

        1. Willard refers to a controversy that PREDATES AGW.
        2. you accuse him of misuse.
        3. i point you to sources that support willard.
        4. you refuse to consider them.

        Willard is correct. you engaged in a form of ad hom. it may not be a form you are familar with. Since you are not infallible, it might be an interesting exercise to investigate. The you could say to willard. Thank you for pointing out my use of the fallacy.

      • Checking reality check

        version 1.

        ‘(I am very familiar with philosophy and logic. I am appalled at what has been done to the field, mostly due to global warming advocates needing new definitions of fallicies to make their claims “valid”.)”

        version 2.
        “No where did I say that or imply it. I said I did not like the changes I had seen in the last 30 years. Only that. You added the rest.”

        Claims made by realitycheck.

        1. he is familar with philosophy and logic
        2. he is appalled at what has been done
        3. Most of the appalling things are due to global warming advocates.
        4. Global warming advocates have done these things because they
        need new definitions to make valid claims.

        Let’s assess.

        In the second version he says
        1. he didnt ‘like’ the changes. appalled is replaced with not liking.
        2. that is all he said.

        But clearly he said more than that he didnt ‘like’ the changes.
        he implied the changes (like willards mention of ad hom) were due to global warming advocates.

        Not the humerous thing is this. he claims to know logic and philsophy, but commits additional fallacies. Knowing or not knowing philosophy doesnt protect you from making mistakes.

        1. Saying you are familar doesnt entail mastery.
        2. being ‘appalled’ at something doesnt not entail it is incorrect.
        3. appealing to the motives of people ( why people changed defintions) is
        a form of the genetic fallacy.

        just checcking

      • Reality check

        ‘To be an ad hominem, I have to say you are wrong because your behaviour is infantile. I can call you an idiot, I can comment on your behaviour. However, it’s not an ad hominem. ”

        You misunderstand. As Aristotle wrote an ad hominem is an attack against the person rather than the argument. In it’s most extreme form the argument is made directly. Lets call this the STRICT FORM.

        “your argument is wrong because your character is bad.”

        essentially you are attacking the person and not the argument. But, this is only its most explicit form. There are also ad homs where you attack the person, to reduce his credibility so that people will not take the argument seriously. It matters little whether the explicit argument is made
        ( your argument is wrong because you are bad) or whether the argument is made only implicitly by attacking the persons character. The rhetorical effect is the same. the target is the same. and the avoidance of the real issue is the same.

        In other words you’ve taken a simple clear example of an ‘attack against the man” (the strict form) as the only example of how one can attack the man.

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominem

      • This discussion has clearly gone over my head. If I ever had the brain connections for it, they are gone now. I did add some thoughts relating to etiquette and tone elsewhere. They can be found by searching for namaste.

      • Thank you for your answer, Planning One. Life is short, and the audit never ends, so I’ll comment on this:

        > I have not been trying to define the concept of “skepticism” or put a flavor on it. I have been trying to talk about a movement.

        You’re right, and I liked the story. I did not know about the Randi kerfuffle, so that you for that. Randi did go a bridge too far on his quest against hi-fi snobism, BTW:

        http://gizmodo.com/307473/pear-cable-ceo-calls-james-randis-1-million-offer-a-hoax

        He has a point, but it’s a bit more complicated than he presumes.

        ***

        What I don’t like about the story is the underlying identity politics:

        Under different circumstance skeptical heroes might have included Freeman Dyson, Michael Crichton, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, and Michael Fumento instead of Carl Sagan, Michael Mann, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

        I duly submit that this comparison goes a bit beyond storytelling.

        In any case, as usual, Denizens jumped on the opportunity to talk about true skepticism. As Bad said, “A real skeptic, by definition, expresses doubt about an issue when… there’s doubt about an issue.” How to self-seal oneself in one sentence. Or take this other one: “They see AGW skeptics as somehow tainting the “true cause” of general skepticism.”

        As you can see, even the word “true” can carry a bit more than an epistemic value. A moral judgement is implied. The same applies to all kinds of linguistic devices. Sure, there’s the D word, but juts take the exemplars you chose.

        This looks like identity politics all over again. This hypothesis is reinforced when you say things like that:

        I wonder about classifying people. My individual response is more complex. I tent to think of each of these positions as having different probabilities of being true. Do you go with your median probability or the mode?

        Your episode on a subreddit also reinforces that hypothesis.

        ***

        It would be tempting to dismiss such identity quest as mere adolescent behavior. I could even try to convince you that I would only be describing what I see in a neutral, non intrusive, and neutral manner. Telling you that you’re stuck on a teenage pattern: what could go wrong?

        You’d argue about my definitions of youth that I’d reply that challenging definitions is also seen among college freshmen. You’d remind me to challenge what you say that I’d reply that only behavior matters to me. I could also add that not seeing the difference between behavior and a person is often seen in irrational arguments and idiotic essays. In all this, I’d make sure to keep my conception of personhood to myself.

        Should I add an emoticon here? If I do, the Poe effect is lost. Anyway.

        ***

        To cut a long story short, my point here is only to say that I agree that you did not talk about skepticism, but I’m not sure I agree about your claim that you only wanted to talk about a movement. I think you did a bit more than that.

        In any case, I liked your story. So thank you for it.

      • Thank you for that Willard. I don’t know that we will ever feel close, but we’ve bridged some difference.

        I view my speculation of who might have been Skeptic Movement heroes very differently than you do, but maybe you are speaking more to motives of which I may be guilty. Baptists were once big defenders of free speech rights and keeping religion out of government. I believe Roe v wade was argued by a southern baptist and the ruling was approved by the southern baptist leadership, the thinking was if the govt could make such decisions for you they could restrict your religious freedom as well). Clearly not the position of southern Baptists today. Unitarian Universalists were heavy humanists for years, but have shifted to paganism and had largely been deserted by humanists. Catholicism wavers between more conservative and more liberal tendencies and barring a strong faith in divine guidance who know eventually where they will be. History is filled with contengcies, Reminding people that history could have taken different turns and organizations could have had different heroes does not seem so suspect to me. I don’t think there was a natural immutable historical progrssion for the Skeptic movement to grow toward either climate doubt or climate certainty and that seems an Important point to me. The belief is out there among many that naturally Skeptics must line up on climate.

      • > I don’t think there was a natural immutable historical progrssion for the Skeptic movement to grow toward either climate doubt or climate certainty and that seems an Important point to me.

        I see.

        My own impression is that skeptics hold mainstream science as the standard for evidence-based knowledge. They are epistemically conservative. Under that light, that they take the consensus position AGW is just natural.

        I think the only wiggling room you can try to pull would be regarding the Skeptic movement’s position (assuming this generalization makes sense) regarding future impacts of AGW. The immediate difficulty is to characterize evidence-based knowledge about the future. There’s no such thing as evidence of the future.

        The most obvious trap would be to use this project to recycle the CAGW strawman. I call CAGW a strawman because the IPCC does not hold that AGW will lead to catastrophic events. All one can say is that there are risks. Since nobody can dispute that there are risks associated to AGW, the CAGW strawman has been created. If you dispute that, reread just about anything Lomborg or Ridley have written recently.

        Hence the identity politics too.

        Hope this helps,

        W

      • I think the Skeptics fell into a natural trap. Today’s society is so highly politicized that it is hard to keep a group focused on logic. I cited O’Sullivan’s law earlier as an example of the tendency of groups to become politicized, and to become politicized in a particular direction.

        In the case of the “skeptics”, it was pretty natural to unconsciously move from science to scientism, and from the comments, that appears to have happened. One needs to think pretty carefully to maintain the difference between supporting science, and accepting scientism. Also, rational skepticism is much harder to maintain in a group than uncritical acceptance.

        Much of the poplar movement towards CAGW is scientism – an uncritical acceptance of the results of a scientific establishment, as opposed to the results of the scientific method.. Scientism by itself would not lead to attacks on “deniers.” That involves the acceptance of a general political/social movement, and that’s where O’Sullivan’s law comes in. The attacks on PE in Reddit are political in nature, and have nothing to do with science.

      • Just to show I’m no Johnny come lately,I wrote the note below to James Randi way back when. He sent me back a very nice reply (which I would not publish without his permission.

        Dear Mr. Randi,

        I’m a big fan of what you do and what you have accomplished. I read your mea culpa on global warming. … I wonder if it’s appropriate for skeptic’s to seek a role in the global warming “controversy”. What does it mean when prominent skeptics state they are convinced now? Typical “skeptical” issues are pretty much a case of logic and reason versus
        nonsense. For example: telekinesis versus physics, snake oil versus modern medicine, ID versus evolution, and similar. The skeptic tool bag is very effective in attacking pseudo science, but that seems a lot different than making pronouncements on scientific issues.

        In overseeing the battle waged by the pseudo scientific, skeptics don’t see many good punches landed against science. Attacks on science turn out to be illogic, misrepresentation, scams and such. Within science rival camps land some pretty good blows on their opponents, yet
        sometimes the science stands and sometimes it’s overturned. On global warming the skeptics may be giving credit too soon. The arguments for and against global warming are both much stronger than most anything that comes from the woo woo crowd.

        Lord Kelvin landed a good blow against evolution showing the earth was to warm to be the age needed for Darwinian evolution. Years later Marie Curie discovered radioactivity, and that argument wasn’t so strong. Scientific controversies can take some time. Both sides can have
        strong evidence. While have tremendous respect for the leaders in the skeptic movement, I think they are grossly over-estimating the ability of their critical reasoning skills when they apply it to true scientific controversies.

        t’s okay not to have the answer on everything. There are plenty of issues that skeptics can weigh in on to help increase understanding in our society.

        Highest Regards,

      • > The immediate difficulty is to characterize evidence-based knowledge about the future.

        There’s the rub.

      • Well, Planning One, this rub also applies to our evidence that the Sun will rise tomorrow. As my avatar once said, the Humean predicament is the human predicament.

        Skepticism is mostly an academic exercise.

        ***

        > The attacks on PE in Reddit are political in nature, and have nothing to do with science.

        This applies to ClimateBall in general, including what we can read each day at Judy’s. Humans are political monkeys.

      • Are there two Willards? Wasnt I quoting you?

      • I was referring to the real Willard, Planning One:

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quine/

        I’m not a complete Quinean. (His idea of a naturalized epistemology has merits, and holism, in the end, wins.) It just so happens that I needed an email address, so I took the first sentence of his Word and Object.

        Language is a social art.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard,

        FWIW I was a bit surprised to see the Skeptic organization make a pronouncement on AGW. It seemed outside of their established genre.
        Genre is a slippery thing.

  81. Pingback: Sailing Dreaming | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

  82. Well, Judy, I think you’ve “over-thunk” it.

    There are really just two camps that oppose the CAGW mantra…

    (1) informed and educated skeptics who are mostly lukewarmers who simply think the issue is over-hyped and

    (2) uninformed, opinionated people who simply follow their political leanings (conservative) and quickly contend that it’s all a bunch of hogwash.

    The warmists and the media love to act like there is no such thing as category (1) and anyone who opposes CAGW is simply in category (2). This has been a very effective strategy which has made being part of category (1) very unpleasant.