Thursday, July 17, 2014

Anthony Watts and others are heading off to England to hear John Cook and Michael Mann

Sou | 1:04 AM Go to the first of 41 comments. Add a comment

Update: see below how Anthony was mulling his choices and evaluating his options. Flattery will get him nowhere.

This is cute. Anthony Watts is going to take a trip to England in September (archived here). He's arranged it specially because he saw that John Cook is speaking for an hour and a half (including question time) at the University of Bristol. Apparently Anthony prefers to try to get in "some questions" at the end of the lecture in Bristol rather than sending John Cook an email.

Anthony wrote:
Note: I registered since I’ve always wanted to come to England anyway, and this was as good as an excuse as any…plus I have many questions to ask. Note also that while the event is free, there are a limited number of tickets available.

Not long after he wrote about John Cook's lecture, Anthony discovered that Michael Mann is also speaking there four days later in September. Anthony decided to take the opportunity to go to his session and see if he can ask him a question or two as well. Here's the updated archive.

For anyone in Bristol in September, here are the dates and times:

John Cook: Dogma vs. consensus: Letting the evidence speak on climate change 19 September 2014, 6 pm - 7.30 pm, Victoria Rooms, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1SA
Michael E Mann: Cabot Institute Lecture: The Hockey Stick and the climate wars - the battle continues 23 September 2014, 6 pm - 7:00 pm plus question time, The Victoria Rooms, Queen's Rd, Bristol, BS8 1SA

You might even get to meet a real celebrity, Anthony Watts, blog owner of the crackpot blog, WUWT. After all, now Anthony Watts has now made the public lectures with John Cook and Michael Mann all about Anthony Watts. Narcissism in extremis.

Reading the comments there could be an opportunity for US-based deniers to cobble together and charter a plane :) You'd think that John Cook and Michael Mann never spoke in public in the USA. Do the WUWT-ers know where Bristol is, I wonder? Seems a long way to go to sit in a lecture theater for three hours. Not that I don't think that John Cook and Michael Mann aren't worth listening to. But to fly half-way around the world for two one-hour lectures? To stopover in Bristol for four or five days? (Oh, I'm sure it's a lovely town. Yep, quit while I'm ahead - I'm just grovelling to the fine people from Bristol now :D.)

Click "read more" if you're on the home page and want to see the reaction of deniers at WUWT.


Apparently Anthony was mulling over who to visit to learn about climate. If it came from anyone who knew anything about climate I'd be tempted to be flattered to be put in the same class as Michael Mann and John Cook. You and I know better.

From the WUWT comments

I don't know if Anthony Watts or his readers have much experience with public lectures at universities. I wonder what they are expecting.  The comments will give you an inkling. (I don't know if the lectures will be in the auditorium, which apparently seats 650, or one of the smaller rooms.)

Gary says:
July 16, 2014 at 4:54 am
Skeptics obviously will not be given much rebuttal leeway. The most effective would be to distribute a short set of reasonable criticisms outside the venue to attendees before the talk.

That'll go over about as well as the two man anti-chemtrail demonstration I encountered outside a climate lecture earlier this year.
Photo: Sou at HotWhopper

Barry Woods thinks "denier" is a derogatory label. Well, "duh" - of course it is. What does he expect? Respect for being flat earthers or climate science deniers? Barry says (excerpt):
July 16, 2014 at 5:00 am
John Cook knows that denier is a derogatory label in the climate debate, since before he started Skeptical Science.

Bloke down the pub figures he might as well toddle down to the lectures, too, and says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:06 am
Not too far from me, so if Anthony can make the effort I’m sure I can. Anthony, let me know if I can be of help while you’re in the area.

Ooh, it'll be an Alice's Restaurant "movement", because John Catley says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:09 am
I’m certainly going to attend this.
Perhaps the “deniers” will make up a goodly proportion of the audience and confound Mr Crook.
I’m certainly going to take my vuvuzela just in case.

Hot under the collar thinks the public lectures were meant to be a secret and mistakenly thinks that John Cook and Michael Mann aren't used to explaining their work to deniers and says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:26 am
They managed to use the denier / denial tag three times just in the introduction to a lecture, not biased much?
Now that the talk has been ‘outed’ do you think he will turn up?

MikeUK goes all paranoid conspiracy - and Anthony joins in the paranoia. MikeUK says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:26 am
Anthony, was it wise to announce your attendance? I think there might be some organised defenses put in place by the “Planet Savers” and it could become unpleasant, no doubt with articles appearing in The Guardian and elsewhere about a few brave souls battling the forces of darkness, etc.
REPLY: Well if they put up a blockade, they’ll out themselves for the imperious holier than thou fools that they are – Anthony

This is funny. American deniers are busy booking plane tickets to these one hour public lectures in Bristol! Another denier blogger lucia liljegren (@lucialiljegren) says:
July 16, 2014 at 6:04 am
Tickets are going to go fast. I reserved mine. I’m hunting for cheap flights to Bristol now.

auralay is attending, hoping to catch a glimpse of his hero, Anthony Watts and says:
July 16, 2014 at 6:21 am
I have just booked both. Very excited at the thought of seeing a legendary giant of the climate change world. Guess I can put up the presence of Cook and Mann for that!

David Chappell reminds everyone that Stephan Lewandowsky is at U Bristol and says:
July 16, 2014 at 6:34 am
And the bonus is that presumably Lewandowsky will be there too as Bristol has taken him under its wing. In fact, he’s probably the organising genius behind the project. 


  1. Love it. It'll be one of those real-time science demonstrations. "People deny science because of personal biases" - then Willard or Lucia actually follow through with a public demonstration through a comment or question. I just hope they make it entertaining by talking about insects or UFOs. I'll even settle for a steam pipes in Russia.

  2. Here's a suggestion for Cook and Mann: enlist a couple of grad students to pass out a climate science quiz when a denier who starts to utter nonsense. Then tell them they get an hour of his time if they can get a passing grade.


  3. Oooh! I have got a ticket to the Mann talk in Bristol.

    1. Me too, for both :) 284 tickets left for Mann's talk & 546 for Cook, currently.

    2. Hope you'll both let us know how they go.

    3. Sure, will do. There are plenty of tickets left at the moment - so much for a blizzard of purchases from that lot, how would lucia know 'tickets are going fast' anyhow?

  4. Here's what Mann and Cook should do to prepare for Watts and his buddies.

    They should go to their respective hometown zoos, head on over to the children's zoo section, and ask the zookeepers there to bring out their smartest goat.

    Once they get to the point where they are able to teach that goat how to calculate how many molecules of water are produced by oxidizing a molecule of methane, they will be well-prepared to talk shop with Watts and his buddies.

  5. Perhaps the faithful at WUWT could help draft the killer question? The case is tailor-made for clown-sourcing.

  6. I suspect he isn't looking to ask questions: he will want to engage in a 'live debate' which will be filmed and then edited to suit his agenda. So I'd recommend that Cook and Co also film it to show what actually happened.

    I'm afraid that climate change deniers can be very effective in live debates where there is no opportunity to do fact checking: people whose facts are simply made up have them at their fingertips. And those facts are conclusive. Made up facts are very convenient like that.

    And don't forget that he can engage in any behaviour he likes because getting thrown out would be a plus from his point of view.

    1. Millicent, I don't think Anthony will try to get thrown out. Oh, he'd use it if he was but I don't think he will do anything to deserve it. Based on past behaviour he really, really wants to be acknowledged by real scientists. His brashness is reserved for his own audience not the general public.

      My guess is that he'll be satisfied with people at WUWT telling him how brave he was to attend the talks. Even better if he manages to ask a question in public. (It won't matter how dumb the question is. His fans will agree he was very clever, and maybe sly and "gotcha'd them scientists".)

      That's what happened when he went to AGU last year.

    2. Yeh, but throw him out anyway! Before it starts even.

    3. I wonder if he was hoping for an invitation to Lord Monckton's royal palace? :)

      He's out of luck - and so are we. Christopher says he's going to be in Australia in September.

    4. Last year we sent what was apparently a cricket team. This year we send Christopher Monckton. Australia must have been very naughty to deserve the both of them.

    5. I think Millicent has it about right. Watts is probably planning a pre-rehearsed Gish Gallop of a few JAQing-off type questions (he'll probably distribute them amongst his cronies) that would take several hours for either Cook or Mann to address satisfactorily, in what will only be a 20-minute or so allocated Q & A slot.

      In other words, he's going to try to have a debate in the Q & A session. I've seen it happen before on talk shows where they field questions from the audience, but there are obvious 'plants' in the audience. I hope the rest of the audience will see through it, but if it's stacked with AGW deniers...

    6. This internal chatter is all well and good, but has anyone let Mann and Cook know that the Keystone Kops will be coming to put them straight?

    7. Yes, Don. They both know about it.

    8. I think Millicent has it about right. Watts is probably planning a pre-rehearsed Gish Gallop of a few JAQing-off type questions

      If he did anything else, I'd be astonished. His options are somewhat limited.

    9. All these deniers seem to spend a lot of time and energy attacking what they consider not to be real with a tad too much over zealousness.
      In the process they make absolute fools of themselves by their careful dodging of the evidence.

      I just do not know how you can even look into the cesspit Sou, let alone analyse it. I feel unclean by reading what you write about this idiocy but I keep watching! Bert

  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalking

    "Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The word stalking is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense."

    Now if I posted the above comment at WTFUWT!, somehow, don't ask me how, the half-life there would be 1E-666 seconds.

    1. Anthony Watts claims I stalk him, referring to this blog as his evidence. I don't agree. I critique the articles written on his blog WUWT and sometimes articles written by deniers elsewhere.

      Also, the intent of HotWhopper is not to harass or intimidate, but to show why the denier articles are wrong, to explain the actual science and to ridicule where the denier "wrong" is just too silly.

    2. On that note - see see the update above. Anthony Watts classes me and HotWhopper as being on par with Professor Michael Mann and John Cook.

      How silly is that :)

    3. He thinks you've published groundbreaking climatological research?

    4. Anthony doesn't understand anything he puts on his own blog. He has no chance of figuring out the difference between active climate research and science communication and blogging.

      I see he's now begging for funds to pay for his holiday. That was easily predicted. It's a good way to keep hold of your fan base. People feel more attached and their commitment to you rises when they pay you. Charities and churches and cults know all about that.

      I bet a) he doesn't account for his donations or expenditure; b) his reports are at least as bad as when they paid for his (free) ticket and trip to the AGU Fall meet last year (ie nothing they couldn't download for themselves from the internet), c) he complains that no-one in the UK knows who he is or that he is shunned by all.

    5. OK.

      So just posting a definition of stalking without any filler material could be misconstrued, I was referring to Willard taking a jet to the UK to what can only be construed an stalking.

      Your blog on the other hand, IMHO does a great job of exposing the utter nonsense that is all things Denier. It's not like you are the 1st blog to do so wrt Willard. Also, you do so in a very fast turnaround fashion, and your writing style/speed/coverage is very good to most excellent IMHO.

      I was not directly referring to your blog either implicitly or explicitly, but I'll admit that that thought of stalking did cross my mind, in its broadest possible context.

      I'll leave you with this thought though, Willard Anthony Watts makes the GEICO cavemen look relatively handsome, in terms of looks/thoughts/words/works/deeds.

    6. Sorry, I knew what you meant Everett. It just reminded me of how Anthony refers to me these days. He went off "female eco-nut" for some reason.

  8. He's looking for cheap publicity. He'll be accompanied by a Fox News team, or some other sympathetic video team. He'll ask inane, inappropriate and probably misleading questions. He'll be politely told that his questions etc are inappropriate in that particular context. He'll attempt to portray this as a conspiracy by warmists to silence him, and he'll have Fox footage to whip his adoring masses into righteous fury and bolster his sagging profile. He wants to look like a martyr- it sells well to his constituency.

    1. I find it hard to imagine a Fox News team being interested in a denier blogger attending a one hour public lecture in Bristol.

      Honestly, Anthony gets very little mileage out of any of this sort of thing. He barely reports it on his blog even, let alone get publicity anywhere else. He's just another denier attending a public lecture. In England he's a nobody, except for a few fans who visit his blog. He's not known to anyone anywhere outside the climate blogosphere. His influence is little to none in his home nation, the USA, let alone anywhere else in the world.

    2. You don't think Richard S Courtney would meet him over a pint?

    3. More to the point, actually: indeed, Watts is waning. He hasn't come up with novel tricks to hide the incline in a while. I look forward to this blog increasingly being filled with actual science (it's already happening) rather than running about slaying zombies.

  9. OMFG,

    Willard Anthony Watts latest Want Ad:

    Money needed for stalker(s), but mainly for me. Others are also welcome in stalking climate scientists in the UK this coming September. However, they will have to find their own means of begging for money. Oh, and here's a link to the upcoming StalkerFestPalooza 2014.

  10. John Cook on his old cricket website (just before he started Sks)

    "I've been following the global warming argument closely of late and I've noticed both sides often fulfill Godwin's Law. Global warming advocates liken skeptics to Holocaust deniers (akin to a Nazi). Skeptics compare Al Gore's public awareness campaign to Nazi-like propoganda. It's lazy debating - why discuss the issues with facts and logic when you can easily write off your opponent with a derogatory label?"

    full article is available on Wayback machine (blog was live a few months ago)


    Barry Woods

    1. Yes it is terribly unfair to Holocaust deniers to put them in the same bracket as climate change deniers. Holocaust deniers are not looking to put the futures of billions of people in harm's way.

    2. How did that abomination from Barry Woods sneak through? Does anyone else see the irony?

      While Barry is busy resurrecting old, deleted websites and complaining that deniers call scientists "alarmists". (Oh, that wasn't what he complained about? Was he complaining that deniers label SkepticalScience.com SS in a deliberate fashion or more explicitly refer to them as Nazis? No not that either?)

      Anyway while Barry Woods was getting his knickers in a knot about calling climate science deniers "deniers", John Cook has been working very hard explaining the science for the last several years.

    3. Exactly Sou. How much work do these guys put into searching wayback machine to find the exact quote they need to win a blog comment argument. What a waste - I don't care what names people call me. I finally laughed when I heard where the term watermelon came from (especially funny for me because I'm an economic conservative). I use my free time reading up on science so I can learn more. As you get old, you realize there's so little time and so much to learn.

      The Cook paper is a great example. Deniers have spent a huge amount of energy trying to counter it, find flaws, ask for "data," yet all the papers are there and you can rate them yourself. No denier has tried...for the obvious reason that they'd reproduce the same numbers. They might even become curious enough to go on to read a paper or two in full...gasp! The best they've tried is Tol's embarrassing attempt to discredit the paper, which has only resulted in everybody asking Tol to release the 300! LOL

      It's 2014, we have years of OHC data, ice melt history in the arctic, Greenland and WAIS melt, measurements of IR radiation, May as the hottest May in recorded history, June the 3rd highest,...seriously, deniers wouldn't be such an apt term if they weren't in denial. It's just physics as Lawrence Krauss says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ7ppxvW_5k Whenever I talk to deniers I have to figure out which fact(s) they deny - that CO2 is increasing because of man-made activity? that CO2 let's UV in but not all IR out and thus has a warming effect on the globe? That the sun's incident radiation on our planet has actually been declining while temps have gone up? At WUWT, I can get multiple answers just to the above 3 questions. What a joke. It's like creationists - are you a young earth or old earth creationist? do you literally believe in the flood? The good news is that recent polls have shown more and more Americans (I'm not as aware of polls elsewhere) are seeing past the BS from shills and useful idiots. They're realizing that global warming is real.

    4. Joe, you've probably heard the old saying, "the devil makes work for idle hands to do". Barry Woods is one of many deniers and disinformers only too willing to do it.

  11. Shall we raise some money so that AndThenTheresPhysics aka WottsUpWithThat can attend the two meetings and go there by train?

    P.S. I do hope that Watts will bring this oh so provocative WUWT suitcase with him, so that at least some people will recognise him.

  12. Surely this is madness,
    why are all these people coming to England anyway, just to make a few remarks and statements at some Q&A session, Aren't we in the 21st century, and cant we just get a Google Hangout-on-Air going with all the participants staying exactly where they are, and we can all watch the meeting live on Google+, and a recording later on if we all want.

    Think of the time and aircraft fuel saved alone.

    Come on you guys, wise up and join the 21st century.

    Best Regards,


    1. The only people who aren't going mainly for the public lecture at the University of Bristol would be Michael Mann and John Cook. They'd have added it into their existing itinerary and giving the lecture while they are in England on other business.

    2. I read what you say Sou, however the point I am making is that why is ANYBODY travelling to this event at all, including the lecturers and students themselves, because this could all be done with an online streaming service, and live and recorded too, all FREE of charge,

      The amount of fuel saved and CO2 emissions prevented would be VERY significant, and equivalent to thousands of train journeys perhaps. Maybe somebody will work out how much might be saved.

      Surely we must make use of new technologies to save energy and CO2.

    3. There's a common confusion that the point of a lecture is whatever is communicated in the lecture -- which, it's true, can be done with videoconferencing. But actually the lectures at a conference or trade show are just a sideshow; the real point is the mingling. You walk around and chat with people two degrees removed from yourself, and thus meet new people.

  13. This is what I am talking about :

    Hangouts On Air - Broadcast to the world for free - Go live in front of a global audience, whether you're an aspiring artist, a global celebrity or a concerned citizen.

    Noah Diffenbaugh, Associate Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, uses Google Hangouts, 653,080 followers|6,964,293 views. How much CO2 did that save? see his youtube channel - mostly HOA recordings.


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