A guest blogger, Ari Halperin, at WUWT has decided to create a new search tool especially for science deniers (archived here). Ari behaves like a full-blown conspiracy theorist, which is par for the course at WUWT. He has all the right words on his blog "CO2 is plant food" mixed in with some that I haven't seen before.
Musicologists impersonating climate scientists
Ari says that climate scientists are imposters. They aren't really scientists, they are instead "journalists, historians, musicologists, copywriters, and professional activists".
He has written:
The majority of the media hugging “climate change scientists” are impostors. Some of them were recruited from among green activists and obscure PhDs by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a UN organization, where a vote by North Korea or Zimbabwe weighs the same as a vote by the US. After such recruitment and the delivery of expected results, the careers of these “scientists” have skyrocketed. Some other “climate scientists” are simply journalists, historians, musicologists, copywriters, and professional activists, talking about science.I wonder which career scientists he has in mind when he wrote that? Do their employers know that they employed a bunch of musicologists and copywriters who fudged their CVs and faked their academic quals?
The Google conspiracy
Ari's one of the "off the planet" conspiracy theorists who are a dime a dozen at WUWT. The only reason I'm writing this article is because I noticed something odd. Ari has accused Google of "foul play" because it gives a low page rank to WUWT. He's also complained loud and long that Google searches don't give prominence to anti-science websites. He wrote on his own blog how:
Using Google or other general search engines to find reliable information on anything related to climate change has become almost impossible, because the search results are dominated by alarmist nonsense. I estimate that the alarmist propaganda machine receives tens of billions dollars annually. Our tax money at work! (As well as our pension savings, tuition payments, utility fees, etc.)He is quite put out that the Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, accepts climate science, and wrote at WUWT:
Usually, I do not give much weight to claims that Google Search unfairly discriminates against X or Y. These complaints sound like sour grapes, and Google has too much to lose and too little to gain from such actions. But the case of climate change seems totally different. Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, talks like a fanatical alarmist. He really believes that the orthodox alarmist position is the scientific truth. In 2014, he said: “… we should make decisions in politics based on facts. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people–they’re just, they’re just literally lying” (as quoted by Paul Driessen and Chris Skates) .It's time I got to the point, isn't it. It's not Ari's horror that most people accept science that's odd. It's this: for all of Ari's antipathy towards Google, he doesn't dislike them so much that he will avoid their products. When he put up his search page, guess what search engine he used. Yep - it's a Google search bar, customised to only search his favoured denialist blogs.
Guess who got trapped in the denier filter
One more thing - in among all the expected conspiracy climate blogs, if you use Ari's denier search engine, you'll find links to the blogs of Judith Curry and Roy Spencer. I expect you expected that :)
From the WUWT comments
There aren't a lot of comments yet. However already some conspiracy ideation has emerged.
Mark from the Midwest says it all boils down to money. (Deniers are money mad, I've found.)
September 9, 2015 at 7:54 am
Google doesn’t really “cook” the rankings, the process is pretty transparent, anyone with deep pockets can buy a good search position. The reality of Google’s own revenue generation process is that a large plurality of search users know that the pages that are returned at the top of the list are biased, and/or blatantly commercial. I’ve seen a lot more depth in the mid rankings in the number of pages that either lean away from the hardcore AGW meme, or are walk-backs. So I really see this as a bad situation that is improving rather than a dire conspiracy that’s too big to overcome.
MCourtney wonders if it's politics, a hack or corruption:
September 9, 2015 at 7:58 am
It’s true. Search Google for “climate change sceptics”.
And the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change, which has won best science blog numerous times, comes out on page three. It should be far higher up the list.
There’s something wrong with Google’s algorithm here.
But instead of just pointing out that Google is broken, why not email them directly and ask what’s happened?
It may be politicisation of Google’s search results by a policy of Google themselves.
Or they may have been hacked or corrupted by a jaded employee.