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Sunday, July 28, 2013

More denier self-portraits, including around 60 35+ engineers

Sou | 4:17 AM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Update: In the article and comments, I've counted 35 deniers professing to be engineers.  Did an actual count (but didn't double check).  Could be more but definitely fewer than the 60+ I initially thought.  The word "engineer" comes up 75 times so far. - Sou Sunday 28 July 13, 2:54 pm AEST.

The confessions from science deniers at WUWT keep coming.  I commented just a short while ago about Jonathan Abbott's heart-wrenching story about his short path to fake scepticism.  Did he read science papers? No.  Did he read the IPCC reports? No.  Did he do any research at all? No.  What he did was hear about global warming on the BBC, decided it wasn't for him, so he went looking for other people who rejected science.  He found a denier film and a denier blog (WUWT) and has since stopped "looking". Actually, like most fake sceptics, Jonathan didn't ever start looking at science.

Here are a few other stories, most of a similar vein.  The starting point varies but for most deniers, the journey stopped at the first denialistic journalist, author or youtube video they found.

Bloke down the pub didn't want to "believe" so, ignoring the fact that CO2 has been higher in the past and earth has been warmer as a consequence, when he discovered there were others like him, the rest, as he says, was history:
July 25, 2013 at 11:55 am  My academic standard only reaches Geology A’level. From what I had learnt though, I was pretty sure that the global temperature had previously been much higher than present. That seemed to torpedo the warmist’s claim that feedbacks were catastrophically positive. My first contact with sceptics came from Chris Bookers column in the Sunday Telegraph who guided me to WUWT and the rest as they say is history.

Shano got his "science" views from a Crichton novel and youtube:
July 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm  Well put. My journey toward climate skepticism began with reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. I was so intrigued that I checked the data, listened to skeptical speakers on you tube, and visited the sites you mentioned on line.

Bob Johnston says he stopped "believing" scientists when television spruikers were wrong about house prices:
July 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm  My conversion from believer to skeptic came only after I came to rude awakenings in other disciplines. It started during the housing crisis (which is still ongoing, btw) – my occupation was residential construction and despite all the “experts” on TV and in newspapers saying it would keep going up I knew they were wrong and I was subsequently proven correct. That episode bitchslapped me into awareness – if everyone was wrong about something as fundamental as housing prices, what else are we wrong about?

kretchetov found a denier film and lots of denier websites.  His motive for looking for other science deniers was because he is a conspiracy nutter and is paranoid about global control.  He found a kindred spirit in Jo Nova :)
July 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm  I had a similar path to the author. I had lots of questions, but seeing breathless propaganda about “settled science” made me suspicious.  “The Great Global Warming Swindle” prompted me to seek answers on the internet, and I stumbled upon Jo Nova’s website, and from there, others.  Having had classic scientific education, I can judge facts for myself, and what I saw made me really angry. And I saw a fraudulent attempt to use the name of science to install global control, raise unjustified taxes and impose bogus regulations.  I still believe that CAGW ideology is more dangerous than any other totalitarian ideology or religion, as it has such popular support, yet outright wrong and will inevitably result in utter misery and death to many.

Too many engineers

Probably 60+ engineers among the 412 comments to date.  Update (28/7/13) - I've done a quick count and have come up with 35 definites, so a bit short of the 60 plus I initially thought:
  • Michael J. Dunn says: July 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm I’m also a professional engineer,...
  • Dave the Engineer says: July 25, 2013 at 11:31 am  Skeptic from the beginning.
  • Ken Hall says: July 25, 2013 at 11:37 am  ...I was also educated in the 1980s and came to climate scepticism in an almost identical way...Being from a computing and engineering background, I instinctively distrusted climate models...
  • John de Melle says: July 25, 2013 at 11:47 am  I’m another proffessional engineer. Your road of discovery matches mine, exactly....
  • Richard Lawson says:  July 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm  As an Engineer who was also messing about with Bunsen burners in the early ’80′s your story is a carbon copy of mine....
  • Theo Barker says:  July 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm  Another engineer with a very similar path to similar stance. 
  • and many more.

In all, a search of the so far 412 comments finds the word "engineer" listed 67 75 times in that thread, only two of which were in the original article.  Most At least 35 were from people saying they are engineers.

There were eleven mentions of the word "geologist" but only four deniers saying they are geologists.

By contrast, the word "biologist" only appeared twice, both times in disparaging comments about biologists.  The word "chemist" or a variant appeared seven times, but not a single person claimed it as their field. The only time the word "physicist" appeared was a denier saying they are a retired particle physicist.

Bombshell**! Smokey admits WUWT "regularly hears from scientific illiterates"

The following excerpt is just to show that WUWT moderator dbstealey/smokey skirts perilously close to the truth on rare occasions. The italics are my comments, with the second link showing how at least two of jai mitchell's comments were censored in the past week.  Ironically, Smokey was trying to argue with jai, the subject of much censorship.

dbstealey says:
July 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm  We regularly hear from scientific illiterates here. (Sou: more than regularly.  You pretty well only have scientific illiterates, Smokey.) This site doesn’t censor their opinions, no matter how much pseudo-science they contain.  (Sou: you allow pseudo-science.  That's true. What you ban and censor is real science.)

**Bombshell is a word much used in climate discussions.  It's a dog-whistle word.


  1. 60 engineers?

    That confirms what I've known for decades -- many engineers aren't as smart as they think that they are.


  2. "many engineers aren't as smart as they think that they are."

    No human is as smart as many engineers think they are....


  3. Thanks. Sounds a lot like the anti-wind folks. "I did some researching on the web ... " (and only looked at the negative sites). Wonder how many engineers believe that if you leave your car in the sun with the windows closed, it won't heat up, because it's been cold (warm) in the past or whatever?

  4. Shano nails it:

    Well put. My journey toward climate skepticism began with reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.

    Political fiction -> political fiction.

    No factual/scientific knowledge/curiosity/objectivity involved.

    Fiction -> fiction.

  5. Enough with the engineer bashing. I agree that engineers as a lot are conservative individuals. Not necessarily political, but risk adverse. But let's not paint them all with a broad brush.

    Consider that there are many disciplines of engineering. Some more connected to science than others. As in any field there are going to be people resistant to change and being shown wrong in their beliefs. I believe (hope) that the majority of the engineer deniers at Tony's excuse for a site are of the kind that are used to being "right" and are vocal about it. It would be interesting to see a survey of the various professional engineering societies ( IEEE, etc.) regarding the understanding of climate change.

    Full disclosure, I am a retired systems engineer with expertise in infrared imaging.

  6. This is just too funny. Full disclosure: I'm an EE (erstwhile computer designer turned professional programmer) who has been programming computers since around 1974. I too was initially taken in by the claims in the appendix of State of Fear (mostly because I'm a big fan of Crichton's work over the years). But I parked my thoughts after reading it, being occupied with more seemingly pressing pursuits for a few years.

    But my interest in climate science was piqued again when Climategate broke in late 2009. It was only then that I wondered if there was really something to all this. I finally sourced and watched An Inconvenient Truth 'round then, and started reading up about the science concerning AGW in earnest. And reading... now, how is it that I wound up hanging out on sites like Real Climate and tamino's after only a few months of research rather than, say, at WUWT or Jo Nova's place? Short answer: what the science says:

    * Ongoing anthropogenic contributions of CO2, a known GHG, has resulted in a 40% increase of this gas in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times. As far as we can tell, this rapid increase is unprecedented in all of geologic history
    * The signature of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere has our fingerprint all over it, in the form of the C12 - C13 isotope ratio, which is consistent with that of burning fossil fuels

    That, coupled with observations of what is happening in the world around us:

    * Arctic has lost almost 80% of its ice volume just since satellite records began in 1979
    * Spring, and lake/river ice-outs come earlier every year in many regions
    * Species migrating hundreds of miles north in just the past few decades to escape the heat
    * Increased frequency (2:1 or even 3:1 in some locations) of record highs vs. record lows
    * Marked increase of disastrous precipitation events over the past decade since the anthropogenically warmed atmosphere can hold 4 - 5% more moisture than it used to
    * Noticeable worldwide increase in the Palmer Drought Severity Index
    * Glaciers retreating worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century

    And well, you have to have ideological blinders on not to get the message. But I am preaching to the converted here.


  7. I've been having an on and off debate with a climate skeptic who is also, according to what they say, an engineer. What's interesting is their view of how to improve science (and, in particular, climate science). Have more audits. Have more checks and balances. Have more rigorous tests. He seems to think an industrial engineering-like approach would be better. The problem is partly that it's seems unlikely that this would work in academia. Who would audit? Who would check? But also it seems to misunderstand the fundamental differences - I think - between industrial engineering and academic research. In industry you want to develop a product with a well-defined role. In academia, you're investigating and studying. You don't know what the outcome will be. Yes, you need to compare with observations and data, but it still isn't the same as, I imagine, the processes involved in developing some kind of engineering product.

  8. About engineers, google Salem Hypothesis.

  9. I took the time to do a count. Looks like only around 35 are referring to themselves as engineers - out of 75 mentions of the word "engineer" or variant. Sorry for not doing this at the start, particular apologies to intelligent, educated professional engineers.

    It's still a hugely disproportionate number - to that of other professions or trades.

    (Note: people in an amazing variety of jobs can call themselves an "engineer". It doesn't necessarily mean a university education nor does it necessarily mean that their work has anything to do with engines or anything mechanical.)

  10. I'm an engineer, University of Waterloo, Systems Design. None of my co-alumni are so-called sceptics - nor am I. I do know of one with a Mathematics degree from my year but he sees conspiracies in everything and is regarded as a bit of a joke.

    It is rather ironic to see Willard having to fill air time with the testimonies of his converts. He could rewrite a Pilgrims Progress. It all seems rather religious as in the likes of

  11. Can you imagine the reverse?

    'How I came to believe what science was telling me.'

    'How I grew to understand that the multiply-confirmed, peer-reviewed research of the actually-qualified almost-certainly provides us with the greatest insight into reality.'

    It's hardly 'Road to Damascus 'stuff, is it? It's how any educated person is supposed to think post the Enlightenment.

    That's probably why I've never seen one of these embarrassingly confessional, risible soul-searching episodes on a Warmist blog.

    It's all projection with Deniers, and never more so than when they proclaim they're up against a 'Warmist Faith'.

  12. Smokey really is the gift that goes on giving. As I pointed out earlier his favourite 'proof' that ClimateGate revealed serious wrongdoing is written by John Costella who also runs the Assassination Science website, where Costella 'proves' that the Zapruder film is fake.

    Here dbs/dbstealy/Smokey informs us that

    Even climate alarmists like Richard Alley show that the MWP, the RWP, the Minoan Optimum, etc., were significantly warmer than now.

    and he links to a chart on denier 'Jo Nova''s website plotting the GISP2 Greenland ice core data. GISP2 is a favourite amongst deniers, Monkton and Don Easterbrook in particular love it. Only trouble is, the last point in the series, which they commonly refer to as 'present day' is actually 95BP, or 1855 so it captures none of the recent global warming. Also, Greenland is a lousy proxy for global temps as the area shows about twice the variance of the global mean.

    As Smokey cites Richard Alley, here's the conclusion of an email the scientist himself wrote in response to a query from Andy Revkin at Dot Earth ...

    So, using GISP2 data to argue against global warming is, well, stupid, or misguided, or misled, or something, but surely not scientifically sensible. And, using GISP2 data within the larger picture of climate science demonstrates that our scientific understanding is good, supports our expectation of global warming, but raises the small-chance-of-big-problem issue that in turn influences the discussion of optimal human response.

    So next time you see Smokey, Monckton or some other denier citing Alley and GISP2, ask yourself if they are stupid, misguided or misled or something.

    'We regularly hear from scientific illiterates here'.

    Oh Yes. We do.

    1. The misrepresentation of paleoclimate by the deniers is pernicious. They know that most people aren't conversant with the vast topic and will not spot their distortions, however egregious.

      It is calculated dishonesty.

    2. 'We regularly hear from scientific illiterates here'.

      Yeah, that one kills me. Because most of their article writers (like Tisdale and JustTheFacts) and 95% of the people that regularly post comments there are in fact anti-science know-nothings. They actually imagine it is themselves that understand the science, and that the climate scientists who have studied this issue their whole lives have it all wrong/are only in it for the grant money/can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

      Dunning-Kruger writ large is the way I like to sum up WUWT.



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