A commenter alerted me to a post by science denier Pierre Gosselin (archived here). He reckons that because there are quite a few climate cranks who run blogs, it disproves the fact that 97% of science papers on the topic find that humans are causing climate change. Or something like that. Which of course it doesn't.
Pierre Gosselin, you may recall, back in 2008, two years before the equal hottest year on record so far, said he thought that Earth would become icy cold by 2020, writing (archived here):
Pierre Gosselin says:
October 23, 2008 at 2:03 am
-2.5°C by 2020!
Some powerful cycles appear to be aligning to deliver a vicious deep freeze.
- Solar cycles
- Ocean cycles – PDO, AMO, etc.
- and the 100K year ice-age cycle
There are some things to keep in mind:
1. Climate does not change gradually.
2. Climate changes abruptly, without warning.
3. Temperatures over the last 2 million years have been colder than today’s 95+% of the time.
4. Warm, like today, is in fact highly unusual.
5. Our current interglacial has been abnormally long.
6. Interglacial are more often much briefer, short-lived spikes.
6. Thus, the climate dice are not in our favour!
Ice ages have occurred right ON SCHEDULE for the last 3 million years.
And if you examine the interglacial temperature peaks, i.e the brief optimums between the cold intervals, you’ll see our modern optimum is indeed prolonged. More often the interglacials are just brief spikes that suddenly nosedive back into prolonged deep-freezes. Now the sun is going to sleep, and the oceans are reversing to boot!
My prediction is we’ve started a nasty cold period that will make the 1960s look balmy. We’re about to get caught with our pants down.
And a few molecules of CO2 is not going to change it.
Here is what Pierre's prediction looks like. In six years from now, according to Pierre Gosselin, the temperature will drop to 2.5 degrees Celsius below that at the beginning of the 20th century:
|Data sources: NASA and WUWT|
Now we've established Pierre's credentials, let's look at how he measures scientific acumen. He was referring to a list of mostly climate disinformers, made up on a blog called "ScottishSceptic" (archived here) and made an odd observation. He wrote at Notrickszone (archived here):
Having done a quick count of the warmist sites, I came up with 48 from a total of 137. That’s crunches to be only 35%. That’s a far cry from the 97% the warmists like to try to have the rest of the world believe.
He thinks that because ScottishSceptic found a whole bunch of crank climate disinformation blogs that somehow PROVES that only 35% of the scientific literature on the subject finds that humans are causing climate change.
You think that's weird? He goes even further and writes:
That means that almost two thirds of all climate science blogs are very skeptical or somewhat skeptical of the IPCC science (skeptic or luke-warmer). That’s hardly a consensus! Many of the skeptic sites are run by scientists and meteorologists…also showing that that “consensus among experts” is a complete myth.
Moreover, the top 20 sites are clearly dominated by skeptics.
I'd love to know which "skeptic" sites are run by "scientists and meteorologists". Anyone?
The list puts websites like Jeff Masters at Wunderground.com and ClimateProgress, which would both beat WUWT readership by a mile, way down in the rankings. That's because ScottishSceptic used wrong and outdated addresses. The list doesn't rank any of the scienceblog blogs because they aren't shown separately in Alexa. It leaves off the really popular blogs such as the BadAstronomy on Slate.com, and the myriad of general and specialist science websites that post articles on all sorts of topics, not just climate science. All of which, like Carl Zimmer on the Loom and Ed Yong at National Geographic would leave Anthony Watts' pitiful effort at WUWT in the dust. And it doesn't include discussion boards like Reddit, which was the subject of my last article.
Thing is, fake sceptics have very little choice when it comes to quack websites. They have blogs run by cranks like Anthony Watts and Pierre Gosselin and that's it. Their choice is very limited.
Pseudoscience nutters don't have science blogs or specialist climate science blogs. They don't have quality websites like ArsTechnica.com or Smithsonian.com or Scientific American or National Geographic. They don't have science and environment sections in mainstream media, like at the Guardian or the Sydney Morning Herald.
And there is no such thing as in-depth discussion of pseudo-science, which is why they are stuck with the sort of quackery you read at WUWT and notrickszone and similar.
There are no equivalents in pseudo-science land of climate websites run by scientific organisations, like NASA, the CSIRO, all the universities and meteorological offices around the world. They would get vastly more web traffic than the piddly little anti-science blogs at which science deniers congregate - and from a much better educated and informed class of visitor, too.
Of course, one big information source the fake sceptics lack is pseudo-scientific journals. They is no pseudo-science equivalent of Nature, Science, PNAS, the Journal of Climate or any of the dozens of other high quality scientific journals. Fake sceptics and contrarians have a few, like Energy and Environment and the dog astrology journal. But not many fake sceptics bother with getting their pseudo-science published. Why would they when it's so much more fun to attack scientists personally and make silly "ice age cometh" predictions?
I expect there are equivalents to the climate disinformation websites in other aspects of science. I'm not up with blogs that specialise in promoting HAARP and chemtrails conspiracy theories, which fall into the same bag as the climate science cranks as far as I'm concerned.
There are also the cranks who peddle health pseudo-science. One Mike Adams, who blogs at various places but who I'd not come across before. I have come across people who are fans of another health pseudo-science crank called Joe Mercola. Unlike the climate science disinformers, these blokes seem to be able to earn a good living from their quackery and they attract a lot more traffic than WUWT does.
So the climate cranks might pat themselves on the back for getting lots of readers. The rest of the world scratches its collective head and wonders. Why would anyone be pleased to be viewed as a crank, even a popular nutcase? Is it really something to boast about? What motivates someone to have the "most widely read crank pseudo-scientific blog"? Why would anyone be proud of being anti-science?
To finish up, I'll list what I see as the main ingredients for attracting the most nutters to your pseudo-science blog:
1. Be a crank yourself. The most popular pseudo-science blogs are run by cranks. Be a caricature of a human being. Make believe you are a hero for fighting all those nasty scientists and the guvmint, or even portray yourself as a god (worshipped by Janice Moore).
2. Be a conspiracy theorist. If you allege that all climate science is a hoax you'll draw a lot of other conspiracy theoriest out of the woodwork. Add in conspiracy theories about money and government, like JoNova does, and you'll draw a bigger crowd.
3. Publish outlandish articles. The more outlandish the better. Catching UHI disease from Russian steampipes isn't bad. OMG it's insects isn't bad. An Ice-Age Cometh is better still.
4. Make fun of well-respected scientists. Libel them ferociously. Support your mockery with cartoons. Your readers might not understand science (or pseudo-science) but they just love being part of a lynch mob. They take special delight in "shooting the messenger".
5. Keep text to a minimum. Short sentences and short paragraphs are best. Words of no more than two syllables and not too many of them. Your audience finds text tedious but can (sometimes) follow pictures, especially coloured pictures in cartoon-style.
6. Blow the dog-whistle loudly. Make sure even the dimmest person in your audience understands that you are mocking science. Otherwise they will leave you for another crank blog.
7. Reward readers who flame sensible comments. Make sure your readers pile on so heavily that normal people will disappear never to return. Otherwise you'll lose most of your ratbag audience and your blog will fail dismally.
8. Regularly post silly drawings that look "sciency" - the uglier the better, supported by "equations" that look sciency to the uninformed. That way you can proudly claim to be a 100% genuine pseudo-science blog.
9. Make up lies about what scientists actually have found so that you can say "it's wrong" and "aren't we clever for showing all the science is wrong".
10. Wear your politics on your sleeve. You really don't want any bleeding heart liberals polluting your blog with comments.
Finally. Flatter your audience. Make them feel they are clever for rejecting science. Tell them how smart they are for not accepting anything from the evil guvmint or gravy-train scientists. Everyone loves a bit of flattery.