Monday, March 24, 2014

Fake outrage from fake sceptics at WUWT about faking debate on the BBC

Sou | 1:05 PM Go to the first of 11 comments. Add a comment

In a dramatic about face, is Anthony Watts now saying that he welcomes comments and articles from the "sky dragon slayers" on his blog and will give them equal space with all the other pseudo-scientists at WUWT?

Previously he had banned Doug Cotton and John O'Sullivan because:
These folks mean well, but they’ve latched onto an idea that just doesn’t work. Some of the main players, such as Doug Cotton and John O’Sullivan have gotten so entrenched and angry that they have made persona non gratas of themselves here and at some other blogs.
“If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”
Like Dr. Spencer,  if and when they are able to provide a simple working model of the atmospheric energy balance that matches their theory with observations, I’ll be happy to take another look at the idea here.

And of course, Anthony is perfectly entitled to ban anyone he likes from his blog.  The above is an exception.  He still promotes other slayers, like the uber-conspiracy theorist Tim Ball. Mostly he bans people who promote mainstream science - using one frivolous excuse or other.

Of course, Anthony might be now saying that he'll be more balanced and only publish three pseudo-science blog articles for every ninety-seven articles by proper scientists.

What he's complaining about (archived here) is apparently a report in the Daily Mail.  Reportedly a BBC editor has pointed out that it's false balance to put a climate science denier on a program about climate science.  Which it is.  Apparently the BBC has decided to stop promoting fake sceptics on the same program as scientists.  Anthony is up in arms and wrote:
These antics where climate alarmists rig the news program so they don’t have to appear in a one-on-one situation where an uncomfortable question might be asked, is in my opinion, the ultimate act of cowardice and intellectual dishonesty.

It's nothing to do with "uncomfortable questions" or "rigging programs".  It's to do with whether the BBC wants to give deniers and disinformers a voice as if their utter nuttery is somehow on par with rational views of rational people, or their quackery is on par with proper science.

Following Anthony Watts logic, he would argue that evolution deniers should be debating biologists on the BBC.  And flat-earthers should be debating geologists on the BBC.  And BBC health segments ought to provide equal time to the views of homeopaths, anti-vaxxers and crystal-healers as is given to medical professionals.

Not that it's any business of Anthony Watts what happens on the BBC.  Anthony doesn't contribute anything to the BBC.  He probably doesn't ever listen to the BBC or watch the BBC.  It's not Fox, after all, is it.

I've no time to filter out the choicest WUWT comments - you can imagine them or read them in the archive here.


  1. "... they have made persona non gratas of themselves here ..." (Anthony Watts)

    I understand the plural of "persona non grata" is "personae non gratae."

  2. The problem though is that it's always been a fake debate anyway. It's never a debate between two climate scientists. It's always a climate scientist debating some fossil fuel funded shrill who hasn't even got the slightest climate science experience. It's like having a discussion about the latest medical research and having a doctor debate a taxi driver. The Watties seem to live in a distorted Bizarro world where doctor's give expert legal advice and lawyer's give expert medical advice, and that all seems OK. It's crazy on a stick!!!

    1. I have this vision of a few theoretical physicists leaving the Large Hadron Collider after a long night of experiments, and stopping in at the local pub for a drink, where a few of the rowdier locals decide to challenge them on the fundamentals of quantum chromodynamics and a nonsense argument (debate) ensues.

    2. Not to be mean, but theoretical physicists do not do experiments. As a matter of fact you let the good one near your lab at risk of losing it.

  3. Anthony Watts: "...cowardice and intellectual dishonesty."

    There's an expert talking.

  4. "Apparently the BBC has decided to stop promoting fake sceptics on the same program as scientists."

    The BBC has made similar promises before: which hasn't stopped them using Nigel Lawson as a climate expert.

    1. to be fair, as a retired politician and former financial journalist, he's the about the best expert the "sceptic" side has got.

  5. Apparently the BBC has decided to stop promoting fake sceptics on the same program as scientists.

    And I'd like to think I played a tiny little part in that change by giving certain individuals there a very hard time indeed about their indefensible editorial policy of false balance.

  6. A time-limited oral debate is not well suited to find the truth. It is so easy to spout a heap of erroneous claims that cannot be refuted in the limited time.

    Blog discussions are already a bit better, that gives you time to look up information and all questions can be answered in depth. Down to the level of detail where it becomes clear the the dissenters are simply and plainly wrong with their crude claims.

    Some more examples of not wanting to debate climate science by climate dissenters. Only two posts ago Dumb Scientist and I remarked that we were waiting for an answer by Eric Worrall, waiting for a long long time.

    And some time ago, a "moderator" at WUWT challenged William M. Connolley to debate Monckton. However Monckton was not interested in debating WMC on WUWT.

  7. Off-topic but


    Watts has just spent an afternoon trying to 'prove' that the graph Prof. Mann's latest piece in SciAm is faked cos it doesn't match any global dataset. No Anthony, cos, as the first line pf the caption says, this is a model and data for the Northern Hemisphere. And it took me 5 mins to locate the ReadMe file and the actual datasets used. I've put him straight:

    Erm, the simulation and data are for the Northern Hemisphere. I deduced this from the fact that the graph legend says so. The data is GISTEMP NH and HADCRUTNH. Here's the readme


    Hope you didn't spend too much time on this ...

    If I may repeat


  8. The comments that Eric has made on this site gives a unique and interesting insight into the brain of a denier. His main tactic is to breathlessly attack with misrepresentations and logical fallacies, hoping that by the time the first attack is refuted, he is already a dozen moves ahead.

    So lets drill down into one and focus on the technique, since it's used so often by deniers everywhere, it's good to see how the trick works. So, one of the key predictions made by the enhanced greenhouse model, is that the stratosphere will cool, while the troposphere warms. (It's a sign that energy is being trapped) This prediction has turned out to be true, and so is considered a 'fingerprint'. But when facts like this and others are presented to your average denier, like Eric, they will try and come up with any old feeble excuse (shat out by their Morton's daemon) with which to dismiss it, and so enable them to continue with their ideology intact. (I've seen it now so many times it's a 'tell' of a denier) Most of the time it's a logical fallacy or misrepresentation. And what logical fallacy did Eric come up with. A fallacy of composition, linking to some research by NASA about the thermosphere. He thought, hey, it's part of the atmosphere, so it means that we don't really know what has caused the cooling in a completely different part of the atmosphere. Totally wrong of course, but for your typical denier, this is how they roll. They can now continue with the next attack with a new logical fallacy, with the smugness of knowing that they've managed to dismiss and hand wave away a key piece of evidence. But to someone who has killed off their Morton's daemon long ago, the argument reeks of nonsense, and looks utterly foolish. But try as you might to point this out to your average denier, it falls on deaf ears, as to accept the original fact, means having to rewrite all their previous misconceptions, and to accept that everything they have ever believed in is bullshit.

    The way science works is that an existing model is refined or refuted over time, but deniers don't come up with a new and better model that is able to be tested. All they do is to try and refute the existing model with logical fallacies and then replace it with, it could be anything, or it doesn't exist, there are too many unknowns, it's all natural, or as in the case with Eric, I don't know. But to do this one has to ignore all the overwhelming evidence and studies done to date.

    This is why all you ever get from deniers is misrepresentations and logical fallacies. It might convince the feeble minded and especially gullible folk (which makes up the majority of WUWT readership), but to everyone else, they end up looking like fools. If you want to convince me, misrepresentations and misquotes of Flannery and Gore, or out of context quotes from stolen emails just won't cut it. What will convince me that the current model is wrong, is well supported evidence, and a well rounded alternate model, one that is able to explain the myriad of observations. Until the deniers are able to do that, well, they are just spinning their wheels.


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