Friday, November 28, 2014

Disgusting Deniers: Anthony Watts exploits the publicity he got from Tim Ball

Sou | 1:56 AM Go to the first of 57 comments. Add a comment

Added an addendum. Sou 28 Nov 14

Update again - The article I've written about now has more than 500 comments (archived here) and Anthony has chosen to not dilute it's impact (he's not posted any other article today), unusually but not unexpectedly. Thus adding considerable weight to my contention that Anthony Watts saw the opportunity presented by Tim Ball's article as too good to pass up. He couldn't believe his luck when he got the huge bonus that scientists themselves even offered to lodge a complaint at WUWT. This is being mis-sold as if it means Tim Ball's nasty weird impossible ideas has legs (smoke and fire). Meanwhile Anthony Watts is sitting back with a big smirk on his face, rubbing his hands gleefully.
Sou - 28 November 2014

Tim Ball wrote an absolutely disgusting article from his first words to his last and everything in between, and Anthony Watts went and put it up on his blog - see here. Lots of people were appalled and shocked. So you can guess how bad it must have been. For anyone to be shocked at something that appears at WUWT it has to be really, really bad.

Anthony's reaction was shameful and continues to be so. He tweeted at one point (h/t rubiginosa):

Can you imagine? WUWT claimed that all climate scientists, including Richard Betts, are fooling the world and engaged in some giant deception, and Anthony has the gall to invite a scientist to "refute" it. He sees a chance to get more people to read his blog.

Canny Anthony sees a chance to boost his readership

"Aha", Anthony thinks to himself. "Here's an opportunity to try to lift my flagging Alexa rating".  He runs it all through his head and realises that if he took down the article his main audience would not approve. A lose-lose proposition. But if he leaves it up and manages to persuade some real scientists to "refute" the claim it's a win-win. If he can con persuade a scientist or two to claim they aren't really deceiving the world and they aren't really Nazis or Hitler, then he'll double or maybe even treble his readers for the day.

I'm surprised that Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards took up Anthony Watts rather disgusting "invitation" to "respond" to that vile article by Tim Ball. Why they acted as if they had to answer the "tell us if you've stopped beating your wife" challenge. They did. And their article was very good, too. I cannot criticise them for anything they wrote. You can read it here.

I don't think it was a good idea for them to have written it at WUWT. They are just having their strings pulled by Anthony. Maybe elsewhere if they felt they had something to say. And I don't like the fact that they let Anthony off the hook a little bit by quoting his excuses, though I'm pleased to see that they didn't let him off the hook about his awful "dislaimer". And it was a hard-hitting article, particularly for those two. Richard and Tamsin know how I feel about associating with people like Anthony Watts and I can't imagine they care a great deal. In any case, that's not what this article is about.

You wouldn't believe it of anyone else

Anthony Watts on the other hand, I can and do criticise. Instead of an unequivocal apology, this is what he wrote (archived here):
I agree that Dr. Ball’s post had some “over the top” rhetoric in it, and it is my error that the post was published without benefit of editorial actions. It does not reflect my views. My excuse is simply that I was distracted by a extreme challenge in my life at the time, and I didn’t get to vet the guest post as I normally would have. That won’t happen again. On the plus side, this issue illustrates why one of the most common ugly claims about WUWT, the claim of being in the pay of “big oil” or some NGO, can’t possibly be true. If that were true, I could have long ago hired an assistant editor and such missteps would not occur. While there are many things that the IPCC can be validly criticized for, parallels with Nazism is not one of them.
While there remain wildly disparate views about climate science, I see that there are people on both sides that are gravitating towards a more central and in my opinion, more reasonable view. Climate skeptics and climate advocates should do everything possible to help facilitate such dialog, otherwise all we have is just noise.  – Anthony Watts

An article that was full on claiming climate scientists have all deceived the world in some grand hoax by citing Hitler - not once but twice. Prominently. Tim Ball used Hitler's writings as his proof that climate scientists are all deliberately deceiving the world in some mad, bad, coordinated effort lasting decades - Tim says the hoax began before the IPCC was created and scientists have been perpetrating it ever since. He's nuts. Nasty nuts. And Anthony Watts doesn't disown what he wrote. The closest he comes is "it doesn't reflect my views".

Does Anthony say "I'm sorry"? Nope. At least he's not being dishonest.

Does Anthony unequivocally distance himself from the opinion of Tim Ball? Nope. Why would he? That would alienate 80% of his readers.

Does Anthony say it should never have been posted? Nope. In fact the opposite. He says of the ugly article that it merely had some "'over the top' rhetoric in it. And that it shouldn't have been published without "benefit of editorial actions". In other words, he reckons the article was fine. All it needed was a bit of editorialising.

Anthony trades on the situation to milk sympathy, crying "poor" - how low can he go

Not only that but that dreadful man is blaming his own atrocious action on his lack of an assistant and lack of money. He's not only not apologising, he's using this dreadful example to milk sympathy from his readers. Just how much lower can he sink in anyone's estimation?

He claims he doesn't read every article. What a cop out. That's not only not an excuse, it's an appalling admission on his part. He should read every article. It's not as if he's not got the time. He's not busy writing articles. He very rarely does that. Some of the time he doesn't even bother laying out his copies and pastes properly.

Anthony Watts is not a real blogger. He's a notice board thumb tacker. He gets people to write for free and pinches the rest of his articles from other people's blogs and from syndicated science news feeds.

His complaint that he can't afford an assistant is bullshit. No blogger of any decency would have posted Tim's disgusting article. Bloggers do read what they post. In any case Anthony Watts probably earns more from his non-blogging notice board than anyone else who blogs on climate - with his donations, his no-name societies that go nowhere, his panhandling for holidays, his merchandising, his speaker fees. And that's on top of all his other business interests and income.

I've got to say that Anthony Watts' behaviour is appalling in every way.


Anthony Watts isn't the only opportunist. See this tweet. Tamsin Edwards is weirdly treating it as an honour to be allowed to tell people that WUWT is wrong and that scientists aren't crooks. And trying to claim (wrongly) that her article was "only possible" because she and Anthony had dinner together. That's either post hoc rationalisation or extreme self-deception. Anthony would just love to have scientists post articles for his mates to throw rocks at. Most scientists aren't so foolish as to comply. Some used to. Not any more. There is so much wrong with Tamsin's tweet (and approach - eg commenting at WUWT and tweeting like crazy) that I won't even bother. I'm sure every reader can see it.

From the WUWT comments

Two people, Barry Woods and Tony Brown (climatereason) both agreed the article was bad. But then it started, as Anthony no doubt hoped for. The controversy. The attacks. The article hasn't been up long and already there are 21 comments.

Nigel S says vaguely and to no-one, or more likely accusingly to Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards:
November 27, 2014 at 5:28 am
You started it!

John Leggett claims that Tim is right - picking up on Anthony's signalling:
November 27, 2014 at 5:33 am
When a group of people are committing a massive fraud. When their actions are causing the deaths of thousands if not millions of poor people and insuring they and their children will continue to live in poverty. When they advocate actions that will destroy the environment (wind farms and solar farms). When they want do destroy the economies of the developed world and bring everyone’s lives down to the level of North Korea It is hard to be civil in response to their lack if civilly. 

Then a crude one liner from Jimmy Haigh.
November 27, 2014 at 5:33 am
They do not like it up ‘em!

Richard M thinks that it's all the scientists fault. He imagines "hate language" where there is none and uses it to rationalise the appalling behaviour at WUWT.
November 27, 2014 at 5:45 am
I suggest that Richard and Tamsin work to clean up their own house first.
Complaining about describing the techniques used by climate activists (maybe not all climate scientists) accurately is weak. How many climate scientists have stood up publicly and condemned the use to hate language from activists and scientists like Mann? Have you guys gone to activist web sites where skeptical comments are deleted and skeptics banned to voice your objections? If so, I sure haven’t seen it.
Sorry, but when your side started the name calling, ad hominem attacks and massive propaganda to denigrate anyone skeptical of AGW, you really need to show some good faith. Until then you’ve lost the right to complain. 

omnologos does an Anthony Watts and keeps a foot in both camps. He probably thinks that freedom of speech equates to freedom to defame. It doesn't.
November 27, 2014 at 5:47 am
There’s a propaganda aspect to climate change action and it might be appropriate to quote from the evil master of propaganda, Hitler, without offending anybody.
However I don’t believe climate scientists are part of any conspiracy, I support Tim Ball’s right to speak out his mind and my right to ignore his opinions.

wickedwenchfan says Tim's article was spot on and that 97% of scientists over the past several decades have been involved in a coordinated program of deception. He's nuts. And nasty. Like Tim Ball. Not like Anthony Watts. Anthony Watts is nasty and conniving and an opportunist. He's not nuts.
November 27, 2014 at 5:52 am
Parallels with Nazism? No, the original article simply quoted from Mein Kampf, which is something else entirely. The charge was willfull deception and the means needed to carry it out on a large scale. You don’t have to slaughter millions of people to use tactics that the Nazis first systematically used for their benefit. More mundane uses of their tactics are also possible. I didn’t read the intitial article and think that the IPCC was about to start rounding people up and putting them on cattle trucks just because Hitler’s name was used. I simply nodded my head about the incredible nature of humanity and it’s ability to be deceived.

I was thinking earlier when someone here said he was polite, that he didn't speak out on Tim Ball's article - or I didn't see it. And he didn't. And he apologises. Good for him. M Courtney wrote:
November 27, 2014 at 5:52 am
Two wrongs don’t make a right… and we are only responsible for ourselves.
I wasn’t outspoken enough on the original post.
I should have condemned the demonization of people whom I disagree with, more fully.
For that I apologise.
Yes. I’m very glad this post appeared. 

Stacey, who has obviously not read an IPCC report or a Summary for Policy Makers in her entire life (or she'd know they reflect each other), says the scientists might not be Hitler, but they are all deceiving the world. She's one of the nuts.
November 27, 2014 at 5:55 am
Sorry I do not see how Dr Tim Ball’s post is in anyway offensive and neither did he call the alarmists Nazi’s as implied by Dr Betts and Dr Edwards.
He used an example of how people could be fooled by a big lie he could have used any other example from the Stalin era or middle ages where the King or Pope is God’s anoninted representative on earth.
The IPPC reports may well be the state of the art in man made global warming, although better men and women than me have shown otherwise. What cannot be called into question is the deception created by the summary for policy makers.
I paraphrase ” Hey guys get those names no ones going to check whether they have pHd’s or not. This was pre Kyoto.
I pose one other queation imagine if all the billions wasted on climate change research and subsidies had been spent saving lives in the third world would it be tens of people or millions of people?
The big lie of the Nazi’s, Stalin, Pol pot resulted in millions of dead.
The big lie of the climate change community resulted in ????????? still counting?

"Bob Tisdale" who thinks that Tim's article was fine by all accounts and that I was nasty for criticising Anthony over it, or so I've been told, just wanted to see his name in print. He doesn't side with anyone one. He's another fence sitter. That must hurt after a while.
November 27, 2014 at 6:00 am (excerpt)
Thank you, Tamsin and Richard, for your post and your concerns.
And thank you, Anthony, for posting it. 

davideisenstadt  is typical WUWT:
November 27, 2014 at 6:06 am
the chutzpah!
these guys were part of a group that promoted the big lie…over and over again, using goebbels’ techniques. if they get compared to a historical figure once in a while (like george bush had been, numerous times) well, so be it.
no tears shed here.

And the WUWT winners are the execrable Tim Ball and Anthony Watts

Okay, it's time to do a head count. How does WUWT fare? I've added Anthony Watts to the 21 comments, making it out of 22. He's the "half-baked excuses".

  • 4/22 or 19% - Fake sceptic apologies, or otherwise clearly disowning the sentiments expressed by Tim Ball
  • 18/22 or 82% - Half baked excuses, scientists are deceiving all humankind, and/or just wanted to see their name in print (including fence-sitters).


As I predicted and Anthony would have hoped, the comments are flowing thick and fast. I think the percentage of fake sceptics disowning Tim Ball's dreadful article has dropped quite a lot but I haven't done a count. You can check for yourself in the latest archive if you want to.


  1. Actually the original Ball article would appear not to be comparing climate scientists to Nazi's; it's a lot worse than that. In fact Ball appears to be comparing his perceived conspiracy of climate scientists with Hitler's belief in the conspiracy of the Jews. He's saying, in the end Hitler went too far but that doesn't mean he was wrong about the conspiracy.

    It's truly and utterly despicable; and a sort of 'double denial' if you get my drift.

    The fact that the original Ball article got 5/5 'likes' and the Betts/Edwards refutation is currently on 3/5 shows what Watt's followers mostly are.

  2. The idea that Anthony needs an assistant if he is to avoid posting dire stuff like Ball's article is pure comedy. That it proves he is not a fossil fuel industry shill moves it into farce: I take it their Unabomber billboard proves that Heartland are not shills either then.

    1. You could say he's admitting that Wondering Willis was correct, that he can't tell rubbish from gold.


      But that would be wrong. He knows exactly what he's doing and has from the start. He's a born manipulator and opportunist. Not clever but canny. He won't waste an opportunity. What does he care what decent people think? They aren't his source of income.

      He's just doing a soft sell for more people to put their hand in their pocket. He's so transparent. He must have been over the moon when Tamsin and Richard fell for his lark.

    2. I follow WUWT relatively well, because Watt's pet project is station data, which is also my topic, but I had not noticed that Ball regularly writes such posts. (I guess Ball writes little about station data.) It is thus very well possible that also Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts thought that this was a first time digression of this magnitude.

      Thinking it was a first timer, this project gave me the impression that he was bought by Greenpeace.

  3. Replies
    1. ;-) More than deserved, which can be taken any number of ways or multiple ways. Agree that this is one great opportunity for a cog. sci project, so many facets.

  4. Sou,

    IMHO, even if Watts were to have read that piece of trash, Watts would have published it anyways. The horse blinkers are strong, don't you know, as we have seen in this most recent episode of WTFUWT?

    As for me, as I've stated previously, I love rubbernecking the train wreck that is WTFUWT?

    That means that every time I start up my browser, your and Watts blogs are always the 1st two that I open. And I do hit the refresh button often (I'm emeritus, err, retired now, so go figure).

    I rarely, if ever, read a Ball post, but for some reason, this time I did.

    So I read the entire rant/screed/manifesto of Herr Ball.

    (1) Very quickly, I Googled: big lie (no qoutes, no caps), 1st hit "Big lie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" and lo and behold, the antisemitic connotations therein.

    (2) The Non Sequiter comic strip(s) were next in line, Herr Ball appeared or seemed to be taking something out of context and he was (Google is your friend again). One of the three comic strips states:

    "Well ... We don't come with theories. We just dismiss existing science that gets in your way"

    At that point, my irony/projection meter disappeared due to a spinning micro black hole created by Herr Ball. Technically, the meter wasn't 1st pegged, the meter needle just started spinning like crazy, then poof, the entire meter simply vanished.

    (3) There was also something very odd about that UN/IPCC "flowchart" (Google to the rescue again) timeline, Rio 1992 points towards the (creation of) the IPCC. Nope. 1992 predates 1988 by four years.

    Having come to those three basic points, and being the major introvert that I am, I waited, and waited, and waited for several hours, in fact. I'm thinking, will Sou make a post on this abject and deeply flawed nonsense.

    However, also frequenting RR and Stout on at least a daily basis, Victor Venema mentioned said article at RR, now locked and loaded, boom goes the dynamite, as the saying goes.

    ... to be continued ...

    1. Everett, as I said in my last post on the subject, this isn't the first time that Anthony's posted an article with the same "arguments" and the same sentiment from Tim Ball. Nor is it the first time I've written about it, though usually in the past I've taken a mocking tone because the material is so shocking I couldn't believe that any sane person took it seriously.

      I think it's great that more people are condemning this - but don't make the mistake of thinking this is a once off "mistake" by Anthony Watts - or Tim Ball. This sort of article appears frequently - several times a year at least. Do a search for Tim Ball in the bar at the top of the page.

      Anthony milks these situations for all they are worth. He cannot make excuses. He posts this sort of tripe often. It's just that this time it caught the attention of more people.

  5. The rebuttal by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts can do not harm. Because I no longer believe that WUWT has any problems with science and scientists, I also do not think that it helps much. (I have not seen any sign of these people being interested in doing better science, I guess they just do not like mitigation or like the consequences of climate change.)

    It may give WUWT a few additional pageviews, but there is anyway no independent counter on WUWT any more. Watts can claim any number of pageviews. He is good enough with computers to set one up to continually download the first page to increase the counts of his own counter.

    I agree that the response to these two posts is the most shocking. In that light maybe the repetition was even worth it. Some of the comments write that they do not read Ball posts and thus did not reply the first time. Now we know that such moderates are a very small minority at WUWT. Which makes it even clearer that this community is not interested in science.

    Scientists should not communicate science more clearly, even if that is the part I can and like to do. To solve the problem in the US, you have to communicate to the US Christians that all the other Christians of the world having read the Bible think climate change is a problem. The US conservatives should be told that catastrophes lead to social upheaval and new elites. The US right wing extremists should be told that uncertainty due to climate change will in the long term increase the birth rates in poor countries (you need surviving children to take care of you in old age) and lead to mass migration to America.

    And if they do not listen, The Netherlands will not sit back at watch the seas rise, they will start geo-engeneering. This will have unpredictable consequences, but getting the global mean temperature about right should work. It will also mess up the hydrological cycle and the circulation, too bad for the US and Australia, which already has much problems with droughts and severe weather. The Netherlands has very moderate weather, enough rain and the big rivers will reliably bring more. Not ideal, but better than drowning.

  6. In Germany you regularly hear the stories of contemporary witnesses of the Nazi area. Hearing it from someone who experienced it him or herself is very different from an abstract description in your history book. I found one on youtube in English.

    If you have this background, the lightness with which the people at WUWT write about citing Mein Kampf being no deal or comparing climate scientists to Jews or climate change to the Big Lie, is very shocking. Maybe this is different in the US, not having been told those stories with that intensity and not having lived through how much damage right-wing extremism does (the African-Americans did and do).

    1. Thanks, Victor. Lots of survivors came to Australia, too. I don't imagine there are many Australians who don't know a survivor or their children. It's not the same as being surrounded as one is in Europe, however.

      Still, we in Australia have welcomed many people over the years who have sought a new home after war and persecution in their own country - present government demonisation of asylum seekers aside. Many of us are descended from same. If we don't understand we have no excuse for not doing so.

  7. My question to Tamsin and Richard is : if comparing scientists to Hitler is no more out of bounds, would any allusion to Munich re: their post be inappropriate?

    1. You mean:


      as in appeasement?

      If so, then ah shucks, their just (kind of) young naive scientists, not political leaders of that (or this) time, don't you know.

      Its like, you know, they walked into an lunatic asylum, expecting that a laying on the hands would make everything just peachy keen with the inmates, don't you know.

    2. There is no suggestion that Richard or Tamsin condoned Anthony's WUWT article by Tim Ball. Quite the contrary if you read what they wrote (link above).

    3. Of course not. But they are unwillingly giving him too much assurance.

    4. Agree - Raoul.

      Anthony wouldn't have published the Betts/Edwards article except for Richard and Tamsin putting in the "out" clause or a similar exoneration. It seems pretty obvious that it came from Anthony after they'd sent him the first draft, or maybe he gave them the words in his "invitation". It was his instruction - either explicit or implicit. A condition of the article - or that's what it looks like.

      That's another reason why it was a bad idea. I mean Richard and Tamsin should know that this is the umpteenth time Anthony has published a Tim Ball atrocity along exactly the same lines as this most recent one. It's nothing new. It's mainstream WUWT.

  8. Richard Betts & Tamsin Lewis statement is an error of judgment IMO. It lets Watts off the hook. He can portray Ball's post as an exception when it is in fact entirely consistent with WUWT's long term denigration of climate science and scientists.

    They say "Tim’s post does not at all reflect Anthony’s views"

    I do not agree. He may not agree with some of Ball's more extreme statements but he definitely agrees with the overall theme of denigration.

    If there had not been pushback, Watts would have never added a disclaimer.

    1. ==> "Richard Betts & Tamsin Lewis statement is an error of judgment IMO. It lets Watts off the hook. He can portray Ball's post as an exception when it is in fact entirely consistent with WUWT's long term denigration of climate science and scientists."


      ==> "I do not agree. He may not agree with some of Ball's more extreme statements but he definitely agrees with the overall theme of denigration."

      Again, precisely.

      The overall theme of denigration is a constant at WUWT, Climate Etc., and indeed, throughout the entire climate "skept-o-sphere."

      IMO, if Richard and Tamsin want to lodge a complaint, they should offer a direct criticism of Anthony's contribution to the tribalism. Of course, they're quite entitled to do as they wish - but I do admit finding it annoying that they would offer a guest post without holding Anthony accountable.

    2. "Tamsin Lewis" A Freudian slip.

      Tamasin Edwards, Nic Lewis.

    3. Doh. Thanks Victor and apologies to Dr Edwards for messing up her name. (*Tamsyn* Lewis was a very articulate and talented Australian Olympic middle distance runner who also had a high profile media career.)

  9. I've been under the impression that Watts legitimately does NOT have the time to properly attend to his blog. Is he not still working overtime with Pielke Sr to get his long-awaited "game changing" paper ready for prime time?

    1. Doubt it. In any case even if he was involved still, that would be no more than a team meeting for an hour or two every month or so, if that. He's got Evan Jones doing all the drudge work - if it's still in train even.

    2. If he had strong doubts about the quality level at WUWT, he could post less than 5 posts a day. That would give him more time to read.

  10. Tamsin Edward's idea that the dinner made their guest post possible is not impossible.

    First of all, if Watts thought he won the lottery, he probably has noticed by now that it has become an own goal. No more proof needed as reading/sampling the comments to see what an ugly community completely disinterested in science WUWT is. If you are not appalled by that, you are beyond hope.

    Secondly, it is not that easy for a real scientists to get published on WUWT. In the days when I was a naive researcher and had only vaguely heard about problems with mitigation sceptics in the US, I wrote a validation paper of homogenization algorithms that remove non-climatic changes from climate data. To make publicity for the paper I also wrote a blog post about it.

    Vaguely knowing that Roger Pielke Sr was interested in the topic as well and knowing he had a blog, I asked him if he was interested in reposting. Pielke referred me to Anthony Watts. Watts asked me for permission. By then I started smell the rotten fish and I replied carefully that all my posts have a Creative Commons license.

    Maybe I should have been more enthusiastic, but it is also possible that Watts did not like the message that homogenization methods improve temperature trend estimates. At least he did not publish my post. He does not take any post by a scientist to gain credibility (if it really works that way). Maybe I am also just a too small fish.

  11. Old Grumpy is having none of that "over the top" talk:


    "This is an ad hominem attack on Hitler."

    1. In the same archive, jolly farmer: "So we have to conclude that Betts and Edwards are prostitutes, pimps, or both at the same time. May the good Lord rot their souls."

      One wonders what a grumpy farmer would write. A reason to go organic.

      But they are just worried about the science.

    2. And in response: I totally agree with jolly farmer. Anybody who has read the history of totalitarian regimes like the National Socialists in Germany and has read The Road to Serfdom by Frederik Hayek will clearly understand what is going on with the climate scam. Tim Ball is right on the money.

      'CameronH', completes the bingo card. Paging Prof Lewandowsky...

  12. The Tim Ball Nazi post has less comments (585) at the moment as the Edwards/Betts Post (722, in the above archive). But the Nazi post is liked by 24 bloggers, the call for civilized language is liked by only 8 bloggers.

    The Nazi post get 4.5 of 5 stars (n=115), the call for moderation post gets 3/5 stars (n=60).

    That tells you what kind of community WUWT is.

    Just smile the next time they claim to defend science against the scientists.

    1. And laugh next time anyone there complains about them being described as conspiracy theorists. (Do a count - it looks as if WUWT is dominated by conspiracy theorists these days).

  13. Asking to "refute" the content of delusional, paranoid conspiracy fantasies is like asking to refute the existence of invisible pink unicorns. Refuting such a thing would mean proving the non-existence of it. It's objectively and logically not possible to prove the non-existence of invisible pink unicorns.

    I have to say that Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards do not speak for me with their opinion. I also don't share the judgement that their article at WUWT was good. They already didn't even get right what Tim Ball actually said in his text.

    And I don't know how there could be any dialogue with someone, if there isn't any common ground. The common ground I would see is the acceptance that statements, hypotheses, or theories in science can only be debated using scientific arguments, and that they can only be potentially refuted by evidence, which is provided by applying scientific methodology and arguments. This includes presenting them at the proper venues like the specialist journals of the field. This acceptance is just not there at the side of the AGW-deniers, which is clearly demonstrated by the vast majority of the comments at WUWT. There are only a few exceptions, and when those exceptions publish then there is a basis for an exchange of scientific arguments, even if their views strongly deviate from the mainstream. There is even a common basis with Roy Spencer, as long as he presents arguments in a scientific publication, despite the disgusting, vile stuff he is spewing elsewhere. One still can reply using reason and scientific arguments to what he publishes.

  14. The article by Betts and Edwards is a continuation of the mistake of engaging fake skeptics like Watts as if their opinions deserve recognition. All this does is to provide a false degree of legitimacy to WUWT, Watts, Ball, and the followers over there.

  15. I said it was more than 'bad' -

    the most dumber than dumb and offensive post ever and really stupid.. ( I may have mentioned on twitter irrational , conspiracy theorising, irrational, and really stupid as well.

    and I said that it should be just deleted (with an explanation as to why, not to just vanish it)..


  16. I read the Edwards-Betts bridge construction blog post right after it was published, and I don't know if it was my imagination, but I thought seeing all the names of the people attending the dinner in there as well (you know, with Edwards and Betts calling on the entire dinner company to distance themselves from Ball's balls). The problem is I refreshed right away to see if there were any comments, and the names were no longer there.

    Which is why I suspect I have imagined it.

    Anyway, I wonder what Edwards and Betts think now of all those lovely comments on Watts' charming blog. Good luck with finding a common ground! Watts will be sure to help you (if it increases traffic).

  17. Betts displayed an unwillingness to promote and protect science and scientists in his obsequious accommodation of Watts' fragile sensibilities. Tamsin Edwards is positively giddy with excitement at her WUWT post and the ensuing twitter jerk circle.

    I don't care how good a scientist Betts is, he is not a leader.

    I am more insulted by his delusional WUWT post than by his attendance at the Lewis dinner.

    Do we really have to remind leading scientists that playing luvy duvies with those who promote an existential threat to our children is antithetical to their calling and their senior appointments?

    1. @PG. Excellent comment. There were many ways Tamsin and Betts could have responded to the Ball post at WUWT: they chose the worst option possible. The Dana and John blog at the Guardian would have been a much better venue.

    2. I 'spose we should be grateful that the Met Office failed to attend Professor Curry's George C Marshall Institute lecture.

  18. Betts and Edwards could have posted their rebuttal at The Guardian, SkS, Hot Whopper - any number of places without having to play "Praise The Perp" to get access.

    They went to WUWT on Watt's terms and becomes click bait for egregious deniers.

    1. I threw a few comments in to the roil, which made no difference, of course.

      But consider a second. Had they posted in any other venue, it would have necessitated exposing new people to the sliming from Ball. Posting at Watts' meant that the people who saw the slime were the main group who saw the response. This avoided the Streisand effect. All to the good. There's also little point in them posting such an article here -- few here would disagree that it'd be nice if WUWT wouldn't engage in Nazi/Hitler namecalling.

      It also has a striking merit as a resource for any undecided people you might encounter. The pair of posts, that is, plus their comments. The original's comments consisted of a bunch of people praising Ball for his post. But perhaps there are people there who were just so turned off by Ball that they didn't comment, or even finish the article. (Your undecided friend might think.) The comments on the second, where there's a chance for such people to comment (and some did say that they had skipped the Ball article) is the telling part. _Again_ the overwhelming majority were praising Ball.

      There was also a lot of 'no compromise with evil' talk, and demands for Richard and Tamsin to make everybody in the world quit using 'denier' before the commenter would believe anything they said, plus many rounds of calling them whores/prostitutes/pimps/etc., and allusions to conspiracy. Tamsin, for instance, can't be trusted on sea level change, for instance, because she's been engaging in a big research project (Ice2Sea) on sea level change.

      It's a great resource to point your undecided acquaintances to.

      Plus, note moderator's only interjection was to my first comment (in which he added some name-calling), and not any of the whore/pimp/prostitute/... calling against Richard and Tamsin.

    2. I've been looking at the comments and noticed yours in among them, Robert. That comment from the mod was the icing on the cake and showed that Anthony is such a fraud that he couldn't even get his mods to support his tale that it was a "mistake" to post it.

    3. A couple of thoughts. One is, the mod's response clarified the rather peculiar disclaimer that Anthony added on Ball's post. "... does not necessarily represent". The usual disclaimers omit the 'necessarily'. Now, though, it seems safe to say that Ball's post _does_ represent the opinion of at least that one moderator.

      The other, connected, is that at this point, I wonder how much control or involvement Anthony has over his blog any more. If we take him at his word about the Ball post, what we observe from the moderator and comment section says -- 'not much'.

      Could be that he's in the position of someone who unleashed a beast, and it has now gotten away from him.

      I'm having some schadenfreude now, looking in at 'steve goddard's blog. Having collected a group who thought Watts' didn't have enough accusations of fraud and conspiracy, 'goddard' is discovering that his crowd also doesn't believe that there's a greenhouse effect.

  19. Sou: ‘Meanwhile Anthony Watts is sitting back with a big smirk on his face, rubbing his hands gleefully.’

    I don’t think so, Sou. My guess is that Anthony Watts was made very uncomfortable by the furore created by the Ball article, despite its potential for ratings (and not all publicity is good publicity). He has publicly admitted that the post as it stands was a mistake.

    Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards have scored a qualified success here. Many of the denizens of WUWT have been dismayed that their arch-enemies have been able to take the high moral ground, sit at the ‘top table’ as it were, and offer some pointed comment about the value of civilised discussion.

    Remember that it is sceptics who have waxed indignant over civil behaviour and raised it to a make-or-break issue on the credibility of climate science. Richard and Tamsin have been able to leverage that issue and turn the tables on those sceptics who specialise in demonising climate scientists and their supporters.

    And they’ve been able to do so ‘in the belly of the beast’. The reason why they have been given the soapbox is because they have taken the trouble to try and build bridges. Few other people would be able to do that.

    And in my view those bridges will be necessary if any progress is to be made on taking action on climate change.

    1. "He has publicly admitted that the post as it stands was a mistake"

      As I noted elsewhere, in different wording, Ball's previous guest posts at WUWT make the same claims as the current one, with similar allusions to a grand conspiracy headed by Maurice Strong. The only thing that was new this time was the comparison with nazi-Germany. It wasn't like the comments on the current thread are very different of those on prior guest posts of Ball. Watts *knows* fully well what he gets in any guest post of Tim Ball.

      He may thus act "surprised", admit "a mistake", but don't think he'll hesitate next time Ball offers a guest post. Oh, sure, he may not want any further nazi-Germany references, but the main message of Ball's posts will not change, and thus continue to claim a large conspiracy of evil people. Those guest posts will continue to be followed by many comments applauding Ball for telling the truth, hurling abuse at climate scientists. Consider this a prediction you may test me on.

    2. As an addition, Brendan, the faux "civility" complaint is easily shown "faux" just by looking through almost any WUWT thread discussing Mike Mann, or Phil Jones, or Kevin Trenberth, or a range of others. If the main post itself is not already insulting, you generally do not need to wait long in the comment section to see the abuse start.

    3. You don't build bridges with a lynch mob.

  20. Marco: ‘Those guest posts will continue to be followed by many comments applauding Ball for telling the truth, hurling abuse at climate scientists.’

    I get that. And I’m well aware that the civility charge by sceptics is a rhetorical strategy, and that WUWT regularly attacks climate scientists by name and reputation.

    But the sword cuts both ways. Sceptics are also subject to attack by pro-AGW bloggers.

    The only way to occupy the high moral ground is to occupy the high moral ground.

    1. Brendan H, if by "sceptics" you mean the fake sceptics that inhabit denier blogs, and by "attacked" you mean they are described as climate science deniers, then you have a point. However whatever point you have is pretty weak if not downright petty.

      "Attacks" like that pale into insignificance when compared to the threats, defamation and other ugliness that deniers heap on scientists (who are the real sceptics here).

      If you are wanting to engage with fake sceptics, by all means do so. There is little value in it in my experience. I'll talk to them when they come here and be reasonably polite in the main, depending on their attitude and the content of their comment.

      The only value in commenting on denialist and pseudo-science blogs is for the benefit of the unwary and/or ignorant and the stray reader who is looking for good information about climate and happens upon a denier blog by accident.

      That's one of the reasons I keep this blog, so that when people google the rubbish they read on denier blogs they may stumble on this one and get some science instead.

      Oh - and the only people I've come across who are "pro-AGW" are denier bloggers who bleat about CO2 being plant food.

    2. ‘“Attacks” like that pale into insignificance when compared to the threats, defamation and other ugliness that deniers heap on scientists (who are the real sceptics here).’

      The attacks against climate scientists deserve condemnation. They go well beyond mere criticism. And in this particular case, you are entirely justified in letting rip on Ball’s original post. It deserves to be trashed.

      But in general, I’ve also read justifications similar to yours from the other side. Everybody has a tendency to favour their own case.

      The big irony about your website is that it not only mirrors the content of WUWT, it also mirrors the tone and the types of arguments offered.

      (This is not to underplay your critiques of the content of the posts at WUWT. I just prefer less editorialising.)

    3. Fair enough, Brendan. I'm well aware this blog isn't to everyone's taste. There are many, many less snarky blogs around.

      I'd say most climate blogs are extremely civil and almost snark-free. Some people enjoy the fact that they can read here what they think but are too polite to say or write :)

  21. There is a revealing symmetry about the Tim Ball post. As has already been astutely pointed out Ball does not directly compare scientists to Nazis. He claims they are engaged in a 'Big Lie' campaign where the sheer scale of the distortion of the truth makes it credible.

    The Hitler/Mein Kampf connection is that this 'Big Lie' strategy in politics was described by Hitler as the method the Jews used to disguise the fact they were in control.

    The reality of course is that the Big Lie was promulgated by Hitler and the Nazis; that there was a jewish conspiracy that had control of politics.

    Claiming that Maurice Strong and his cabal were responsible for the IPCC and the political use of the science of climate is rather like the Mein Kampf claim that international jews were responsible for the defeat of Germany in 1918. In both cases a conspiracy is evoked to explain how contingent events evolved.
    In both cases the Big Lie turns out not to be where the conspiracists point, but within their own analysis.


    1. My thought exactly, izen - the "big lie" Mein Kampf talks about was fictious, as is the "big lie" Ball talks about.

      In the most rigorous reading of this analogy, the international jewish conspiracy = the international climate conspiracy; logically the two parties "revealing" the conspiracy are analogous. Those who thought Hitler did a great service revealing how the conspiracy worked are then (presumably) analogous to those who think the same about Ball's expose. I mean, that's not what I think, but its the most accurate reading of Ball's analogy.

      I wonder if the WUWTians realise that Tim has just accidentally called them out as being like Nazi's...? :-/

    2. ‘The Hitler/Mein Kampf connection is that this 'Big Lie' strategy in politics was described by Hitler as the method the Jews used to disguise the fact they were in control.

      The reality of course is that the Big Lie was promulgated by Hitler and the Nazis; that there was a jewish conspiracy that had control of politics.’

      Exactly, and unwittingly Ball has put himself in the place of Hitler – the exact opposite of his intention. Not many of the WUWT commentators have taken this on board, but there it is for posterity.

      To rework the old saying, in Ball’s case we can explain his behaviour as an outcome of both incompetence and malice.

      (The other major incompetence in the article is that it is supposed to be about the IPCC’s motives, but any talk about motive has been swamped by his Big Lie accusation, which is about method, not motive.)

    3. It is indeed incredibly ironic.

  22. I have no problem with Edwards and Betts trying to engage these people in ways to decrease the animosity. As long as they are clear about the science and discuss real issues and the appropriate areas of uncertainty.
    I think it also quite fair to consider the possibility of conspiracy in science.
    certainly there have been numerous cases in the past where there has ben a consensus about an issue and then a new perspective has shown that view to be either wrong, or inadequate and was then replaced by a much more effective and detailed scientific perspective.

    If we analyze the science politics and history of climate science it displays almost none of the necessary characteristics of being a "conspiracy".
    The only area where climate science has any aspect of that possibility is in the extreme politicization of the issue. I do think that there are probably many climate scientists that are so emotionally disturbed by the attacks on science itself that they may very well have a bias toward current conceptions of ACC.
    Yet in order for it to be a hoax, these scientists and almost all others would have to be preventing research in areas that would lead to undermining the theory. My understanding of the research is that it is expanding in almost every area where there is any connection to ACC. this fact totally undermines the possibility of conscious attempts at controlling the science to prevent more accurate understandings.
    The fact that those attacking the theory are overwhelmingly of specific ideological bent and that they are not presenting one specific alternative, undermines the argument of conspiracy to being a vanishingly small possibility.

    Also in my personal dealings with climate scientists I have yet to engage one that discounted the possibility of their being some potential major errors if empirical evidence suggested such.
    Again among those attacking the theory there seems to be a complete credulousness towards any suggested fault with the theory, regardless of whether there is any logical basis for the critique.

    My main issues with people like WUWT and Curry and some others is the complete refusal to counter comments that promote absolutely ridiculous arguments on their sites. I initially thought that Curry might be using her site as some sort of pedagogic open door where all views could be presented and worked out honestly, but was soon disabused of that notion, since she never (in my experience) contradicts the most egregious and unscientific assertions by any of the most extreme commenters.
    On the contrary I see those more knowledgeable about ACC correcting inaccurate or exaggerated claims made by people that are not as knowledgeable on sites that are supposedly pro-"CAGW"

    I never expected honesty and accurate info from WUWT or Goddard, or Jonova, or similar sites, since the point of the blogs seemed to be just to undermine ACC no matter what.

    But if Actual scientists want to try to engage these people in real scientific discussion then, as long as they stick to the science and don't accept unscientific arguments then, that is their decision. As long as they police how their views are presented.

    1. Millicent November 30, 2014 at 2:25 AM
      You don't build bridges with a lynch mob.

      A lesson in economy Tony.
      BTW this particular choir has a strangle hold on all the melodies.

    2. Or:
      You don't build bridges to somebody brandishing a flamethrower.

  23. I respect Edwards and Betts willingness to engage in a conversation. But they have made a serious categorical error.

    Climate denialists aren't interested in a conversation, in which one discusses arguments and opinions while respecting others and honestly examining evidence. Rather, they have near-immutable fixed views tied to their ideology and (very importantly) their self-image, and are not dealing with evidence. They denigrate those who disagree, certainly do not respect them, and do not honestly evaluate what is presented. In the case of those who engage - like Edwards and Betts, actual academics with relevant experience - they will fawn over them hoping to be taken more seriously in their penumbra. But they won't listen.

    A conversation takes two participants. Climate denialists fail that criteria, and Edwards and Betts are just fooling themselves thinking that they are persuasive enough to make a difference to those rigid opinions.

  24. "He used an example of how people could be fooled by a big lie he could have used any other example from the Stalin era or middle ages where the King or Pope is God’s anoninted representative on earth."

    Who knew The Onion began publication during the medieval warm period?

    Makes a deal of sense.


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