Thursday, August 7, 2014

Irony alert! More conspiracy plots discovered at WUWT and elsewhere...

Sou | 5:23 AM Go to the first of 55 comments. Add a comment

Irony meter blows up.
The irony meter is overheating today.

Anthony Watts decided to whistle up all his conspiracy theorists today (archived here). He's found some grad student blogger called José Duarte who's been ranting and raving against Cook13 on any denier blog he can find (to uncritical acclaim by Judith Curry and critical derision by others). On his blog, after deciding that scientists (citizen or otherwise) aren't competent to read scientific abstracts, he wrote (archived here):
There's a much better method for finding out what scientists think — ask them. Not just about their abstracts, which you already rated – you're still adding unnecessary layers of complexity and bias there. Direct surveys of scientists, with more useful questions, is a much more valid method than having ragtag teams of unqualified political activists divine the meanings of thousands of abstracts. 

Ha ha. Guess what, those nefarious plotting "unqualified political activists" did ask them. But that's not what José wants. He doesn't want to confuse the results of a study looking at what the science says by examining what the science says. That would add unnecessary layers of complexity. Say that again? (Best not.)

José's also been writing nonsense about Lewandowsky13, the "moon landing" paper, about how people who think climate science is a hoax don't necessarily think that HIV causes AIDS - or do think that, or something or the other. He's a bit of a nutter. Full of conspiracy ideation himself. And very emotional about it too. He's flinging all the usual accusations using words like fraud and scam. Which is funny, because Anthony Watts has just written two articles bemoaning the fact that climate change tugs at the emotions. After flinging around wild accusations, claiming that the paper was a scam and a lie, José himself tells a lie of his own by implication. He wrote (archived here):
Why would anyone participate in our research if our goal is to marginalize them in public life, to lie about them, to say that they think the moon landing was a hoax, to say they don't think HIV causes AIDS, to say they don't believe smoking causes lung cancer – when none of those things are true. Do we hate our participants?

Thing is that the paper didn't find that every science denier thinks all those things. Not every conspiracy theorist thinks those things. Not every right winger thinks those things. What the paper found was the thinking those things was a predictor of science denial. This is what the paper found, from the abstract:
Paralleling previous work, we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (r≈.80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the CIA killed Martin-Luther King or that NASA faked the moon landing) predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific findings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets. This provides empirical confirmation of previous suggestions that conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science.

José fits the bill. He is obviously prone to conspiracist ideation, which he dresses up using words like "scam" and "fraud". (In much the same way as Steve McIntyre did.) He clearly places himself at the extreme end of the right wing ideology spectrum. And I'm guessing from his strong reaction to Cook13 that he also rejects climate science. I wonder what other science he rejects. I wonder what other conspiracy theories he subscribes to?

On the topic of conspiracy theories, sometimes I check out who's been discussing HotWhopper. Guess what I found. John Reece wrote: :
"...The AGW scam is the greatest hoax in the history of the world. What could be more fascinating as a focus for one's attention?..."

Followed shortly afterwards with this. John Reece wrote:
"...Anyone who sees (in what I post) evidence of a conspiracy theory mindset is projecting in the psychological sense ― a phenomenon with which I am quite familiar, having worked for an entire career as a professional colleague of psychiatrists and psychologists in a community mental health center..."

Similarly at WUWT, in response to Anthony's call for all his readers to come up with their best conspiracy theories.

ossqss thinks there is deception in the climate science community and says:
August 6, 2014 at 10:26 am
It is amazing the extent of deception in the climate science community. Data tampering, rigged review, outright lies, refusal to share code or data, policy implementation without representation, agenda driven study results, funding impropriety, and on and on. We need a reset button as everyone is paying the price for this abhorrent behavior.
Incarceration is the only button that can bring this systemic fraud to an end.

Alec Rawls is a long time conspiracy theorist who I've written about before. He claims scientists deploy "scurrilous strategems" and goes further. He's doing what John Reece did above. He's projecting (excerpts):
August 6, 2014 at 9:13 am
As any real scientist should be, Duarte is flabbergasted to witness the scurrilous stratagems deployed by the relentlessly dishonest Lewandowski, Cook et al.. Those of us who have for years been the targets of eco-alarmist slander cannot muster the same surprise, but our years of familiarity can help to answer the questions Mr. Duarte has about the etiology of this perversion.
...These leftists always assume that the correlation between right-left ideology and skeptic-believer views on climate are because people on the right compromise scientific thinking in favor of politically preferred conclusions. The reason they jump to that conclusion is because they are always projecting. Leftists think that everyone engages in “motivated cognition” because that is what THEY do.  ...
...The leftist mind is a truly foul and perverted thing....

Alan Robertson speaks about nefarious plots and says:
August 6, 2014 at 10:05 am
It was only a matter of time until someone within the social sciences community spoke against the farcical works of Lewandowsky. Now that Oreskes has inextricably linked her name to Lewandowsky, the scions of Harvard are surely plotting their next move… 

MattN decides that at least two scientists are charlatans and says:
August 6, 2014 at 9:42 am
Lewandowsky and Cook are just two more in a long line of charlatans bleating out the party line, albeit with unusual attitude and arrogance. 

john robertson reckons that science is dangerous to personal liberty and destructive to civil society and says:
August 6, 2014 at 8:44 am
Possibly too little too late.
Climatology is drowning in Lew Paper and the byproducts associated with it.
Social Science is about to get lumped in with “Climate Science”.
As dangerous pseudo sciencey rubbish that is dangerous to personal liberty and destructive to civil society.
Just another front, a cover for the statist do-gooder power hungry people haters. 

There's a bonus, too. I've often noticed that most deniers at WUWT don't click links. It took more than two hours and 32 comments before someone remarked that the main link to the origins of Anthony Watts' copy and paste was broken! MattS finally says:
August 6, 2014 at 10:38 am
The link in the main post to the José Duarte blog is broken.

And they don't bother reading the papers they complain about, either. If arthur4563 had bothered to read Cook13's scientific consensus paper he'd have known that asking the scientists was exactly what the researchers did. And guess what. 97% of them said their papers endorsed the fact that humans are causing global warming. But arthur4563 is a science denier and science deniers as a general rule don't bother with papers in scientific journals. He says:
August 6, 2014 at 10:42 am
To me the major problem with Cook’s sudy was the fact that it was so stupidly designed and
obsolete. The study was supposedly to determine the opinion of climate scientists about global warming. That implies it should canvas their “current” beliefs, not beliefs they may have held in the past, in some paper they may have been involved with (perhaps before the “pause”).
And the strategy Cook chose almost looks as if it was designed to introduce human bias into the results. If you want to know a scientist’s beliefs about an issue, you do what everyone else (except Cook) would do : YOU ASK THEM. You don’t dig thru a bunch of published papers trying to read tea leaves and infer the answer to a question that the papers probably never even addressed. In court, such a claim as Cook’s study makes would be tossed out as “not best evidence” as well as “including answers likely to be obsolete.” 

The other problem with arthur4563's comment was that the Cook13 study wasn't about personal opinions. It was about the science.

Perhaps the most irony-filled comment comes from Anthony Watts himself, smearer extraordinaire, morally bankrupt blogger, who wrote:
It is heartening to see somebody outside of climate science finally call these spades a spade. Now if we can just instill some sense of moral responsibility to people in climate science who really should be speaking out about using science as a smear tactic, we’ll be gettin somewhere.

Cook, John, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A. Green, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting, Robert Way, Peter Jacobs, and Andrew Skuce. "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." Environmental Research Letters 8, no. 2 (2013): 024024. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024

Lewandowsky, Stephan, Klaus Oberauer, and Gilles E. Gignac. "NASA faked the moon landing—therefore,(climate) science is a hoax an anatomy of the motivated rejection of science." Psychological science 24, no. 5 (2013): 622-633. doi: 10.1177/0956797612457686


  1. There was a wikipedia entry on its home page a few days ago that put me in mind of Watts and his friends:


  2. It's that last comment from Willard that makes me want to remind everybody that Watts just isn't stupid (as in the 3 year old paper from a day ago), but he also is an ass. He doesn't have a moral compass as much as he denies getting money from the Heartland institute. Remember that his site grew on the back of stolen emails.

  3. I love the double think deniers use: consensus in science means nothing but well spend thousands of hours trying to disprove the consensus anyway.

    The more they whine about Cook 2013 and Lewandowsky 2013, the more those papers get read. You'd think they'd learn to shut up. Oh, my bad.

  4. Well, Jose does seem to rant an awful lot. Not to mention calling for the retraction of every paper he disagrees with:


    He's basically saying that Lewandowsky doesn't have the first clue about what he's doing - an assessment that 99% of WUWT readers would no doubt concur with, but I somehow don't think it squares too well with reality. Sorry, but with the years of experience that Lewandowsky has with psych stats, I'm just not willing to believe that he would lay his reputation on the line by publishing a complete load of tosh, and that instead, some random grad student has it all sussed. I'm more inclined to believe that our Jose has an agenda, along with an acute case of Dunning-Kruger. And, true to form, Barry Woods and Geoff Chambers are all over it like an oil slick in the comments, goading him on.

    And he keeps referring to the people who evaluated the abstracts for the Cook et. al. 2013 paper as "political activists". Seems like projection to me.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. All I need to know is what the hell timestamps have to do with anything.

    2. Physics doesn't care. You can fuss until your ears fall off, but the climate system will continue to accumulate energy while you are doing it.

    3. I really do wish you people would keep your zealot religious beliefs to yourselves. Hysterical demonization is tiresome, and coming from an idiot, doubly so.

      All you need to know about this people is right there. Auto-irony or what?

    4. Physics, hazym. But do keep talking. It passes the time.

    5. "Not much as far as I can see" - ahh, so it's just a way for you to stay in denial and convince others to join you. I bet you have no problem with the Tol 300, which is a clear math error.

      Seriously, to repeat BBD...physics doesn't care. It really doesn't.

    6. Sorry BBD, should've guessed you were responding already

    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    8. The work is trivial to check: take a random sample of the papers, read them, see if you get the same number within statistical bounds. If Cook is far off, you are very likely to notice with just a hundred or two abstracts, assuming you honestly did choose them at random.

    9. hazym, do stop spreading lies about people. Just because other people do so on denier sites doesn't mean you can do it here.

    10. For the record, there were no time stamps by the hour and minute. The only "time stamps" were dates. If you thought about it, it's pretty obvious why hour/minute stamps would tell you zilch even if they had been recorded. The researchers worked in their own time at their own pace and may have downloaded multiple abstracts to work on at a time.

      As for the rest, I agree with the others. Show me anyone who doubts the fact that almost all scientific papers published are built on the knowledge that human activity is causing global warming, and I'll show you someone who doesn't read scientific papers. Or someone who knowingly spreads disinformation.

    11. Joe

      Sorry BBD, should've guessed you were responding already

      Please, comment as you see fit. Never mind me. The more the merrier.

    12. hazym

      If you don't want to have your comments removed, try to avoid tendentious and unsubstantiated claims about eg. Cook et al. and instead focus on the substantive.

      You appear to believe that the scientific understanding of atmospheric physics is flawed. Describe how, and support your argument with references to the published literature.

      If you can't do this, then ask yourself what you are arguing about.

      If it's not science but policy, then argue policy. Denying the scientific evidence leads nowhere and is corrosive to your credibility.

      Whilst I don't agree with say, Tim Worstall on climate change economics, I've a hell of a lot more time for arguments that accept the scientific consensus.

      Instead of trolling, you might find your voice.

  6. As has been pointed out numerous times, if "skeptics" had put the time into redoing the study instead of just talking about it, they'd have something useful to talk about.

    1. No they wouldn't -- they would just confirm what's known. Useless to science, and useless to denial.

  7. Seems like projection to me.

    The universal constant of denial. But they are also laying pipe (and showing a lot of horrible builder's bum crack in the process). The fake controversy over the hockey stick is threadbare. Arguments about climate sensitivity are too complicated for the baying mob and even the smart ones lose if it goes to level 2.

    So a new fake controversy is needed. A new hate figure needs to be bodged up in effigy and set atop the moronic inferno. The crowd must have something to wave its pitchforks at and SL seems to be on the way to becoming the new Michael Mann.

    1. Agreed, and meanwhile nothing happens. Relatedly, saw this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDL4Bs3NbB0#t=111

      This comment I read summed up my thoughts exactly, "Its depressing that this man even has to make this speech, but uplifting that he did it and did it well."

  8. hayzym seems to be able to post here and even when his post is absolute rubbish it is still visible in the hotwhoppery sin bin.

    Try and post a rational factual evidence based argument on wuwt and see what happens.


    1. Sou, can you make the "removed by administrator" message link to the hotwhoppery? Otherwise here's no link to the silly on mobile (except by asking for the desktop version).

    2. Numerobis I've already looked for a way to do that and it's not possible on Google blogger. What I've done instead is add a link to the top of the "Popular" page. You can get to that on the mobile version by clicking the link up the top labelled "Blog Posts". It opens up the pages menu. "Popular" is the last item on the list.

      Not every deleted comment appears at the HotWhoppery. Eg defamatory remarks about scientists etc or endless moaning about the fact I've deleted a dumb comment or one liners/one worders that say nothing.

      If a comment is removed completely it usually isn't posted at the HotWhoppery. OTOH, sometimes I'll leave a comment in place and add it to the HotWhoppery as well.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. Oh, for God's sake. Who cares? Knock yourself out. As has been pointed out, physics rolls along, but meanwhile a moron's just gotta keep shouting 'gotcha!' and 'win!'

    5. Ah, "popular" for the hotwhoppery wasn't where I expected to find it -- it's more infamous than famous ;) Thanks!

  9. Not much to say about the paper because I didn't like the writing in the snippet shared in Anthony's blog post.

    The paper's message may or may not have been correct, but the snippet turned me off so much that further reading would have been like ripping off the top of my head and giving my brain a cold shower.

    However, I did read Cook et al.

    A few weeks ago I did some simple spreadsheet analysis of "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." The dataset I analysed contained the 2,136 author "self" ratings and the Cook et al "abstract" ratings.

    (I use the word ratings where Cook's paper used the word endorsements.)

    I concluded Cook et al were correct about the 97% and 3% numbers, but only if you segmented the data the way they did.

    (skipping to the point)

    What troubled me was endorsement 4:
    - Cook's team gave 62% of papers an endorsement of 4.
    - endorsement 4 was the only endorsement split into two endorsements: 4a & 4b

    Cook explains the reason for the split. But the explanation, like the effect of five alarm chicken vindaloo on my bowels, stirred something deep and left me feeling uneasy.

    The given definitions:

    4a - Does not address or mention the cause of global warming
    4b - Expresses position that human?s[sic] role on recent global warming is uncertain/undefined

    Part of the explanation:

    "To simplify the analysis, ratings were consolidated into three groups: endorsements (including implicit and explicit; categories 1?3 in table?2), no position (category 4) and rejections (including implicit and explicit; categories 5?7)."

    Clearly the paper defines 4b as a position on AGW. So why lump it in with 4a?

    I don't get it. Why not show 4b in the stats? Doing so drops the 97% figure (1,2,3) to 35-65%.

    *The author self ratings the results a little more clear, but still you only get 55-65% consensus.

    I don't understand splitting endorsement 4 into "no position" and "position" and then regrouping in the final results.

    I wish Cook et al would share the dataset with 4a and 4b data points ungrouped.


    breakdown of ratings:

    ratings broken by paper publication year:

    1. Give me a break, Matt. You're writing utter rubbish. Use your brain. That's what it's there for.

      There is no way that 35% to 65% of scientific papers on the subject dispute the fact that humans cause global warming. You'd be lucky to find one published paper these days and if you did it would probably be in Pattern Recognition or E&E. And no, that's not because deniers can't get published, it's because nonsense doesn't get published too often.

      If you wish to do the research differently then do it and get it published, like they did. There are more ways to skin a cat.

      I have to say that deniers are not very creative or sensible or intelligent in their attempts to refute the science.

    2. And your 'rebuttal' of the paper will be published where exactly?

    3. I come here with a reasoned question and this is how I'm treated!?!

      Just kidding. With a name like mine, I'm used to being walked on.

      I do admire the way you implied the answer is there in front of me if only I looked harder. I've noticed it's a common device used by scientists across the spectrum of climate science.

      That said ...

      I still don't understand why endorsement 4 was the only endorsement split.

      And I don't get the reason the paper defines 4a as "does not address or mention cause of global warming" and 4b "expresses position ... uncertain" and then groups them in the end result as "no position". That seems off.

      The first pattern that comes to mind is atheist, agnostic, theist. In Cook et al, the agnostics didn't count.

      Though not at 97%, Cook et al would likely still have had the majority supporting AGW.

      The team took the trouble of splitting 4a and 4b, why not share the data?

      @Millicent, I know right? Like the famous philosopher said, "I publish, therefore I am. All others need not exist. Now pass the gravy." Or something like that.

      I'm with you on this. Everyone knows published papers are the holy grail ... and the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle and the chalice with the palace has the brew that is true.

    4. Matt,

      You raise an interesting question. Where to bin people who say explicitly "I don't know!", as opposed to not mentioning the subject at all. I don't know how many CS papers you've looked at, I'm pretty sure my count is several hundred. I have yet to see a paper that upfront says "answer hazy try again later". I have yet to have anyone cite such a paper, even if I know Curry's "Uncertainty Monster" paper does stake that claim. One paper. I suspect the numbers in 4b are close to zero. So more than likely it changes 97.3% to 97.25%. And I don't buy subtracting category 4 out entirely as you seem to want to do. I don't expect every paper in virology or immunology to address Duesberg's worries about HIV causing AIDS, even if they're talking about HIV DNA or protein folding. I don't expect every paper on the behavior of some gas to explicitly endorse or reject Henry's and Boyle's laws, and I don't expect papers on the thermodynamics properties of systems to take a position on the 3 laws of thermodynamics.

      But then here's a proposition for you.... take any of those kinds of scientific systems I mention and score them with category 4 removed. THEN compare climate science with those other systems. Good luck.

    5. Matt, I don't understand your point. If a paper expressed no position (ie was neutral) then it cannot be counted as having a position. You cannot report that it takes a position when it doesn't. You cannot argue, for example, that by not mentioning that DNA plays a role in inheritance, a paper on inheritance doesn't accept the role of DNA. Nor can you argue that it does. It is probably fair to assume that it does, because these days almost all scientists who study genetics would accept that DNA plays a role, even though they may not explicitly say so in every published paper. Also, probably most papers on genetics these days are built upon the knowledge that DNA plays a role, even if they don't explicitly state it one way or another. Without doing any analysis, it could be 97% of geneticists who accept the role of DNA and build upon this knowledge in their work. It could even be 97% of biologists. Without doing an analysis of papers I couldn't say.

      As for 4b - the way I read it is that these papers were originally included in 4 as a "neutral" category, but after completing the analysis, the researchers decided to split the "neither accept nor reject" into a category of "not take any position" and "take an explicit position of "not know"".

      Therefore they took a sample and, extrapolating from the sample, estimated that 40 papers fell into 4b. This wasn't included in the 97%. It was only 0.3% of all papers anyway, so is even less consequential than the 78 papers that either implicitly or explicitly reject humans as being the main cause of global warming.

      I don't know what data you think hasn't been made available. If you are referring to 4b, then the number was an estimate based on extrapolation of a sample. So you won't get a list of the 40.

      As you'll have already found, since you did an exercise yourself (kudos for that by the way), all the information needed to redo the study was made available by the research team.

      If anyone wanted to do an analysis their own way, they can do so. As others have done (eg James Powell).

      My exasperation was because you posited (using the converse of your numbers) that a huge proportion of scientific papers reject the notion that humans are causing global warming. It's obvious to anyone who reads science that's not the case. Almost all science is built on the knowledge that it's rising CO2, from human activity, that has caused most if not all of the recent global warming, offset to some extent by aerosols - again mostly from human activity.

      The correct number is 97%, not 65% or 35%. Anything else is flawed logic.

      All the information is right there in the Cook paper and in scientific journals. The reason fake sceptics play with the numbers is because they don't want the world to know that this is a fundamental fact. Well, most of them have shifted to accepting reality in that regard now, they've moved on to "but pause" or "it won't be bad". It doesn't seem to stop them from wanting to deny that climate scientists know what is causing global warming.

  10. I thought this would be relevant and interesting, so I posted it at WUWT yesterday.

    "This is what I've seen a lot of climate skeptics do: They come into the climate debate with preconceived notions, and they latch on to those handful of dissenting scientists who agree with them. They don't know the names of a lot of non-skeptic scientists, except perhaps for a couple of people they view as arch-villains. This is pure confirmation bias. You're less likely to get to the truth if you only read people who agree with you. Do you read champions of the "mainstream" view like Gavin Schmidt, Kevin Trenberth, and Drew Shindell? Why not?

    A critical reason why this approach is faulty is that skeptical climate scientists are significantly outnumbered by scientists who are more confident in human-caused warming and in future warming scenarios. I think some of the research on the climate science consensus is garbage, but even if the numbers are inflated, it looks like a large consensus will still be there if you fix the studies and revise them downward (there's a lot of room to go down from 97% and still have a very high number)."

    Jose Duatre.


    I am sure the mods will publish it any time now. After all, as Smokey keeps reminding us, WUWT never censors .... ;-)

    1. That was a faster turnaround than Judith Curry. I'm guessing not - that it was just an opening gambit. Didn't work for him, so now he's come out in full denier mode. (Perhaps he's doing a psych experiment :) /joke - in case anyone thinks I'm conspiracising.)

      José 's been "discovered" and is enjoying a most probably brief period of celebrity status, feted by conspiracy theorists and disinformers on dumb denier blogs. (Notice some people have said they are afraid for his career and his personal well-being. They think he's so..o..o..o brave to come out as one of "them", him being at a university and all, which is den of horrors to the illiterati. Knowledge-seekers are the most feared of all to the fake sceptic. Who knows what dastardly academics will get up to? Imagine all the perils lurking in university dungeons to trap the unwary fake sceptic?)

      He's become Judith Curry's golden-haired boy because, on no grounds at all, he's written a paper suggesting science could be all wrong because - politics! Plus the fact that he's written so much nonsense about Stephan Lewandowsky and the Skeptical Science research team. Judith loves fake sceptics and she especially favours conspiracy theorising fake sceptics. (Ben Pile anyone? Check her blog roll.)

      You need to read that thread of Judith's that I linked to above. Jose gets all tied up in knots, doing everything he's falsely accusing other people of doing. He reminds me of someone here recently.

      Did you know that if you accept mainstream science it makes you a political activist? What a weird world some people inhabit.

      Here's the archive https://archive.today/jkZv7

      There are a few sharp cookies there who ran rings around José. Especially the language prefect, willard (@nevaudit).

    2. You know, I think he missed something along the way towards his PhD when his first reaction to a paper he disagrees with is to call for a retraction. He lost any credibility he might have had with that move.

    3. His dismissal of Cook et al is also an epic fail. You can criticize plenty of things (as with just about any scientific paper), but it looks very much like he didn't even read it.

      For one, apparently, Duarte thinks it is easier to just ask the scientists. Apart from the fact that that actually isn't that easy (ask Bray and von Storch how good response rates are), Cook et al actually did that.

      Second, Duarte seems to have missed the authors explicitly discuss the potential that their evaluation is biased, as they are all convinced themselves. Which refers back to the author responses, showing the raters have been at worst been conservative, but clearly not selective.

      A third funny comment he made is that the raters are not climate scientists and therefore would have trouble with interpreting the abstracts properly. Well, this could potentially be one reason the rating was more conservative than the authors, but Duarte then ignores he himself has very little experience with this type of research (having some publications in social science does not make you an expert in all of social sciences), and therefore this comment contradicts his own strongly critical statements about the work that was done. Apparently he believes that *his* lack of expertise in the area is no barrier to evaluate it (and make blanket statements) - to the extent he even calls for retraction of one of Lewandowsky's papers.

    4. Seems he doesn't yet have a PhD.

      One thing I noticed along the way from undergrad to postdoc is that younger students tend to be unimaginably harsh, and soften up with experience. By the time a prof has tenure they seems to be total softies (unfortunately I haven't had that personal experience).

    5. Agreed, he has that naive attitude of the PhD candidate or even newly minted PhD that he will not fall foul of the errors he sees others making. Hopefully he will soon learn that science, like all things, is done by humans, and that none of us, not even Jose, are perfect.

    6. "They come into the climate debate with preconceived notions, and they latch on to those handful of dissenting scientists who agree with them. ... This is pure confirmation bias"

      I'd apply it more widely and to many more fields than climate science, but it's so true it's universal.

      On WUWT, I once wrote that skeptics should read this blog. (I think) My comment did not auto-post because I used the phrase HotWhopper, but it was published after a few minutes.

      The response to my comment surprised me. Even if you think HowWhopper is full of crap, the posts are quick reads and, overlooking the liberal use of snark, full of useful info.

      Apparently reading any view which dissents from your own is taboo. I didn't get it.

      I wasn't advocating shaking hands, scheduling play dates or sleepovers. And I know there's not enough time to read or to consume everything on a topic, but knowing what your competitors are up to and understanding their POV is a fantastic way to stay relevant.

    7. Thanks, Matt. IMO it's human nature to be more comfortable with people who agree with you or are like you in many ways. Not many people differ in that regard. Comfort takes precedence. People have to force themselves to read stuff or go to sources that make them squirm a bit - not just on climate but on current affairs and other subjects as well. (Some of our newspapers here have one or two columnists that are of a different political leaning to the main slant of the newspaper. I'm not sure if it's to provide more balance on topical subjects or to give their readers something to get mad about :D.)

      The thing is, I've learnt an awful lot about climate science firstly by engaging with deniers (at HotCopper mainly) and later by watching WUWT and a few other denier blogs. I investigated the denier memes. Firstly by reading blogs and websites like SkepticalScience and RealClimate.org and BoM, NASA, CSIRO etc to find out the real story. These days I spend more time reading the scientific papers on different subjects. It's been a good learning experience. I'm no expert by any means. I've barely scratched the surface. At least I'm learning where to look for information. And though I'm no expert, I know as much about climate now as I do about any hobby I've ever had, probably a lot more.)

      Back when I was posting about climate on HotCopper, occasionally deniers would cite WUWT as a source. I'd check it out but never saw it as a serious web site. It seemed more like a conspiracy theory site for nutters at the time. A joke. Not worth any time at all. I've got to know it better over the past few months. It is overwhelmed by utter nutters, which puts it in the fringe. Anthony Watts doesn't help either, although I do think that if he made the effort he might understand some of the science. But that's not the business he's in, so why would he bother? He's in the business of stoking fear about climate mitigation action and ridiculing scientific research. What drives him is ideology and the attention he gets. He's a bit like Jose Duarte and Judith Curry. It doesn't matter who gives the attention, they'll chase it wherever it leads them and do whatever it takes to get the biggest crowd.

    8. When it comes to anything hinting of climate change denial, I am full of snark. Just how many times can you answer crap about "no warming since the 1998 El Nino" before all your patience is gone?

  11. His conduct and Blog content is all rather opinionated (in the "what I'm saying is obvious" way). Lot's of confidence. Less than sure about the accompanying competence.

    One can be very smart and, yes, even be a PhD candidate - yet also be a complete twerp.

    I'd guess that the Jury might not be out on this for too long.

  12. Sorry about the OT, but I thought this worth sharing: South Australia hits 43% renewable electricity for July. No disasters ensue. Go figure...

    1. That's for a whole month. Excellent. We used to get numbers for a day, which didn't mean a whole lot. I see Germany is up to around 30% renewable these days too. It's about time Victoria ramped up wind power.

      All the "stone age" alarmism from fake sceptics is sounding very hollow :)

    2. "Before that, the state’s 1,200MW of wind farms had provided around 28 per cent of the state’s electricity demand in 2012/13."


      (Check out the graph. The industry has really turned around Snowtown's economy - it's ~$8K a year per turbine to host, folks, whether it's a good season otherwise, or not - and whole image after the 'bodies in barrels' tragedy.)

      I agree the daily stuff means little - we frequently get well over 50% on individual days now (this is, after all, a freakin' blowy place!) - but that's a whole year! I well remember sententious 'now then children' lectures that we'd never get over 10-12%... If we do build solar-thermal at Port Augusta we may make some really serious inroads into the fossil mindset.

    3. I'd expect Australia to be coated in solar panels by now. Too bad for your idiot PM (not that my PM is any better).


    4. Yes, sadly we're being held to ransom by idiots (the sheer scale of imbecility coming out of Canberra at the moment has achieved a kind of perverse grandeur! Pyne, Abetz, Brandis, Hunt and Abbott seem to be attempting to outdo each other in some bizarre situationist - if not outright dadaist - performance piece...)

      But the sheer scale of solar uptake is actually one of the factors driving the crisis in the conventional generation model. And we just don't use as much electricity as we used to!


      Interesting times...

    5. Ah, so you've managed to make the unit cost of electricity high, which drives individuals to tack solar panels on their own roofs -- brilliant!

      Do rooftop solar panels get counted in the electricity usage numbers?

  13. "Science vs Conspiracy: collective narratives in the age of (mis)information"
    Alessandro Bessi, Mauro Coletto, George Alexandru Davidescu, Antonio Scala, Guido Caldarelli, Walter Quattrociocchi

    The troublesome aspect of this is that the deniers are convinced that the roles are reversed. They think that their conspiracy is the science while the mainstream science is the conspiracy.

  14. WUWT has this stuff
    running now where Watts misrepresents Dr. Craig Loehle's proxie temperature reconstructions and gets called out by....Dr Craig Leohle forcing Watts to correct it.

    He also suggests that the animated arm waves of the SkS's 97 caricatured scientists are reminiscent of Nazi salutes. He then talks about John and Dana photoshopping themselves into Nazi costumes. There's a shopped picture of John dressed as a Nazi in the comments section. What's this all about?

  15. Thanks. Were these photos stolen as part of the big hack?

    1. No. It was some script kiddie, who makes a habit of scraping urls to see what open window he can find to break into. He mostly targets SkS AFAIK, but he could wander further afield I suppose.



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