Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quote of the Day from WUWT: Fleeing Tough Questions

Sou | 9:37 PM Go to the first of 57 comments. Add a comment

Seen at WUWT today (my emphasis):
Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore, Katherine (sic) Hayhoe, etc. are the ones armed with blanks and they know it, they flee from debate and they flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked.

Q. Who flees from tough questions? A. Anthony Watts

Remember how Anthony Watts gouged funds from his readers to take a jaunt to the UK? He got into their wallets with the promise that he had "many questions to ask".

And he slunk away, cowered into silence, ducking every opportunity to ask a question, tough or otherwise! He didn't even raise his hand.

Q. Who thrives on tough questions? A. Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore and Katharine Hayhoe

I've not heard of Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore or Katharine Hayhoe ever fleeing from anything, let alone tough questions about climate science. They all love a challenge. Three of them devote a huge amount of their after hours time to explaining climate science. Bill Nye's career is explaining science - of all kinds. These are some of the toughest people around and go-to people when it comes to the media. Anthony Watts (or Russell Cook) is just making up stuff as usual.

None of them are wimps like Anthony Watts.


  1. Where is Anthony's head? Bill Nye jumped into a debate with Ken Ham with an audience consisting mostly of creationists.Katherine Hayhoe reaches out to the fundamentalist community and is available for interview after interview. Michael Mann is constantly being interviewed (based on the stream of info I get from his Facebook/Twitter account). I don't know much about Al Gore, but if Anthony is so wrong about the first three, I can't see him being any more right regarding the last.

    Regardless, the first three for sure don't flee challenges or tough questions and frankly, I doubt Gore does either....he's been standing up to hostile scrutiny for a long time now and his skin is probably pretty thick.

    But if you've made a point of ducking tough questions and challenges and acting like a coward (flinging accusations from safety of the web, but meekly keeping quiet when meeting scientists in person), then you're going to project your own spinelessness onto others especially if you feel inadequate.

  2. I think the main ingredient here is that what Anthony calls"tough questions" is what the real world knows as anti-science nonsense. A few years ago I remember Anthony making the same "tough questions" assertion at WUWT. Someone asked what those questions were and in response all he could do was point to a web page filled with a lot of anti-science garbage. The one I remember (because it was so outrageous) was that, if global warming is so real, how come Al Gore bought a property at sea-level in California? That's Anthony's idea of a "tough question."

    -- Dennis

  3. The problem is that you really cannot win a debate against flat-Earthers: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/rosetta-stones/2015/01/12/wallaces-woeful-wager-how-a-founder-of-modern-biology-got-suckered-by-flat-earthers/

    1. yup, my immediate thoughts were of Duane Gish (he of the Gish Gallop).

  4. Michael Mann flees tough questions? Did anybody conduct polling at Mark Steyn's house (yes those stains are Steyn's)

  5. In order to avoid answering some tough questions of mine recently, Anthony Watts "snipped" them. He still couldn't refute my assertion that he had been "telling porky pies". Read all about it at:


    Be sure to scroll down to the bottom and watch the video.

    1. Jim, about three years ago a journalist, Peter Hadfield, who is also a qualified geologist, started posting on WUWT as "potholer54", taking Monckton to task about the multitude of incorrect statements and the innumerable inconsistencies in his statements. Typically, Monckton replied with threats, abuse and intimidation but failed to provide any evidence which proved Hadfields claims incorrect.

      So embarrassing was this for Watts and particularly Monckton that Watts banned Hadfield and any mention of Hadfield will get you banned.

      Willard Watts better known as Willard "The Wimp" Watts. Big brave man behind the keyboard, but as we've seen at the lectures he has attended, too scared to ask a question. Then after asking for a more reasoned and civil debate between both sides of the argument, continues to insult and ridicule those who were kind enough to take the time to respond to him.

      Watts is a complete waste of space.

    2. I had a go at the Monkton/Watts combo myself once:

      Snow White is Actually a “Cowardly Cross Dresser”!

      Needless to say it all ended in floods of tears :)

      Since you mention potholer, here are his "climate change" videos:


    3. Man, that was a great piece of investigative journalism if I ever saw one.

      I'm talking about the WUWT article about Serreze. Great work!

      I was pointing out to someone that calling the IPCC alarmist might not be correct, since in "Stroeve et al, Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast" there is a graph showing that the observations could have gone under what the models projected.

      By the way, is that graph updated yet? I would want to know if the observations really were much worse than what the models predicted or not.

  6. In the distant past, Watts emerged with a possible critique of one aspect of observing systems. Within the limits of his abilities, and with the enthusiasm of amateurs he had enlisted, he approached this issue, probably with sincerity...but his claims were rebutted politely, and his public education began. He did not like what he learned, and rejected it.

    It's been toys out of the cot ever since. Watts is a case study in failure to accept correction, failure to learn and grow, and the enabling power of the internet that exists for anyone determined to construct and advertise an alternative reality. His intransigence, and this sort of infantile abuse directed at knowledge bringers is all he has allowed himself.

    1. One thing that stood out about the surface station project launch was the way that Watts and his acolytes were celebrating what the data would show - before any came in. That went on for a while as the photos arrived and then gradually faded away to nothing. Now the monster stirs when prodded but never actually wakes up.

      Watts is an abject failure of a human being, there I've said it. From observing his behaviour in Bristol I think he knows it.

    2. Cugel,

      "One thing that stood out about the surface station project launch was the way that Watts and his acolytes were celebrating what the data would show - before any came in."

      Similar to the pre-celebration of BEST, only it not being his pet project he was able to throw it under the bus with alacrity when vidication was not forthcoming. In a way, they appear to be mimicking the despairing tendency of the ever-evil "MSM" to strip out qualified statements of uncertainty, specifics, and other important caveats when covering consensus primary literature. When one does science by PR, everything looks like science by PR. WUTTers are engaged in a massive campaign of unwitting self-mockery. It's really quite delightful to look at it in these terms.

    3. Chapter and Verse

      "I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment."

      The Penn Tribune in 2007, before even 5% of the data had been collected ... looks to me exactly like the confirmation bias the Watties see everywhere else ...

  7. I was at the Bristol meeting and looking forwards to a right old verbal punch-up. Watts was there. Delingpole was there. They didn't as much as raise their hands. To be fair, I think Michael Mann's presentation left them with no questions to ask. But it was a major disappointment.

    1. My, I missed something, particularly that Delingpole thing :)
      Otoh I've seen Bob 'Smirkin'' Carter and Singer. The latter conspicuously avoiding eye contact, the poor old tormented thuggish sod.

  8. See my pics from the lecture - Delingpole very blurred at the end! Interesting to see who was chatting to who, you'll recognise a few. https://flic.kr/s/aHsk3vJ6AY

    1. Wonderful pictures, KatyD. Am trying to imagine what was going through Watts's mind as he stared at the 'Observed Temperature Trends' slide.

  9. OT

    1. Thanks, Anonymous. Great to see. I've made it an article.

  10. "because of their climate-change denial and "have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts."

    Who would have thought!? :)


  11. "I've not heard of Bill Nye, Michael Mann, Al Gore or Katharine Hayhoe ever fleeing from anything, let alone tough questions about climate science"

    Regarding Bill Nye, the guy that plays a scientist for television. During the silly deflate gate investigation he appeared on television a couple of times as an expert and showed that he doesn't even understand the basics of the ideal gas law.........or else, for some odd/personal reason he chose to not share it's relevance with the viewing audience.


    1. I'd never watched Bill Nye before, but I did enjoy his deflate gate video - I'm assuming this is what you're talking about, Mike:


    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I don't see anything wrong with Bill Nye's understanding of the ideal gas law.

      He says that by reducing the temperature of the air in the football by 30 deg F (or about 17 K for Science Guys) the pressure will decrease by only about 6%.

      So, let's have a look at that ideal gas law. We can write it as

      pressure = (density) * (temperature) * (a constant)

      Assuming the size of the football doesn't change *too* much, we can treat density as a constant and the constant as, well, a constant. Divide the ideal gas law at the warm temperature by the ideal gas law for the cold temperature gives us

      (pressure at warm temperature)/(pressure at cold temperature) = (warm temperature) / (cold temperature)

      So the ratio of the pressures is just equal to the ratio of the (absolute) temperatures.

      Following Nye's example, if the cold temperature is 51 deg F = 283.7 K and the warm temperature is 300.7 K, the ratio is

      (300.7 K)/(283.7) = 1.0599

      which gives us Nye's 6% change.

      Physics is fun.

    4. @MeteorMike

      I cannot see your point. What is your problem with Nye? I do not think he describes himself as an expert. Where did he undertake to explain the ideal gas law to the public?

  12. I was at both John Cook's talk and Michael Mann's talk and had the "pleasure" of sitting near James Delingpole although I didn't know who he was at the time. I can say first hand, there is clearly some form of psychopathology there.

    John handled the questions like a pro. At one point some nutter with an outlandish degree of venom in his voice tried to make some ridiculous false equivalency between John's study of 1000s of climate abstracts that contained one or two studies with questionable relevance to climate science with that ridiculous petition claiming 30,000 "scientists" that in reality contains about a handful of folk who actually have a PhD in the climate sciences.

    I'm honestly not sure whether the deniers are all nutters or just completely stupid. Anyone who's been unfortunate enough to visit WUWT can see within about ten seconds what a bunch of scientifically illiterate morons they are.

    1. My experience with climate change deniers is they are

      a) lazy and tend to just go with "authoritarian" people who, for some reason (usually political), do not like climate change.

      b) they are politically motivated not to believe in climate change, usually because they do not like the social and political consequences.

      c) not really climate change deniers at all, just trolls. They just want to cause trouble especially in blogs.

    2. Watch this series of videos from the Australian Insight program and you will see what I mean. I cringed when I watched it.


    3. I'd never watched Bill Nye before, but I did enjoy his deflate gate video - I'm assuming this is what you're talking about, Mike:


      I too enjoyed this made for the internet video, especially knowing that it was made for damage control after the embarrassment of the live television network interview a couple days earlier(shown on previous link).

      He was questioned as their expert about the science of changing air pressure in the ball and he failed to mention the changes related to the ideal gas law and "assumed" that all the air was taken out by a human with a deflation needle.........and definitively stated that was the only way the balls could have lost their pressure.

    4. @Meteormike

      You keep hammering some point about Bill Nye. I watched the video and it does not bear any resemblance to your description. All I heard him say was that you could not change/reduce the pressure by "rubbing" a ball. As this was all the context given you cannot really make any judgement on what he was saying. I suppose you are saying you could raise the pressure if you rubbed enough because the temperature would rise. But as it is deflategate that is probably not what Nye was referring to.

      Is this just some feeble attempt to discredit Bill Nye because he is an advocate for climate science? It feels a bit desperate.

    5. "Is this just some feeble attempt to discredit Bill Nye because he is an advocate for climate science? It feels a bit desperate."

      Yes and yes.

    6. I'm still trying to figure out how you 'definitively' state something.

    7. @Joe

      "Yes and yes."

      I tried to give MeteorMike a chance to explain himself but he did not take the opportunity. A severe case of parrot repetition and confirmation bias I suspect. Plus a case of making up stuff. See A serious case of defamtion warning against doing this!

    8. You must have been watching the damage control video he created after the interview. This is the interview I've been referring to and provided a link to on my first post.


      Regarding my opinion on Bill Nye. He's a gifted actor and communicator and has done hundreds of great science videos for kids and in other places.
      The live interview on national network television where he claimed that only a deflation needle could change the pressure in a football shows he's weak on atmospheric science.

      Defend him and attack me if you want but my degree is in atmospheric science and on this one, BIll Nye "fumbled" the science football.

    9. Oh just listen to yourself Meteormike. No. I watched the video you posted. Are you sure you have watched it? Bill Nye says about 3 sentences one of which is something like "the only way to really change the pressure is ...". Clearly the "really" means to get a substantial decrease in the pressure compared to Belchick's explanation.

      Instead of making rather unsupported snipes at Nye, try actually quoting what he said and what you think is wrong with it. You may have a degree in atmospheric sciences but what you need is some English comprehension.

      FYI I am not particularly trying to defend him. It is only a bit light-hearted froth on the media. What I attack you for is making such a baseless attack on someone just to make a fake case for your prejudices.

    10. "what you need is some English comprehension"

      "What I attack you for is making such a baseless attack on someone just to make a fake case for your prejudices"

      As stated before here. I come in peace, am not a troll and treat others with respect. Attempts to bully me because I think that CO2 only warms the atmosphere half as much as you (or Bill Nye) don't work with me. I sort of like that term denier..........of dangerous warming that is.

  13. Well Meteormike, you give a very good impression of someone who is trolling. Your abrupt change of subject when lightly challenged is symptomatic.

    So, I offer the challenge again. From the video you posted quote the words that you think are scientifically incorrect and state why you think they are wrong.

    Nothing about peace. Nothing about bullying. Nothing about CO2. Nothing about the term denier. Nothing about dangerous warming.

    Just try and give some backing to what you said. Or perhaps you cannot stand by what you said?

  14. "To really change the pressure, you need one of these," Nye said, holding up a regulation football and a ball pump, "the inflation needle."

    1. Meteormike

      And what do you actually think is wrong with that statement?

      Are you really (sic) trying to say that he was using the word "really" to mean anything other than a measure of magnitude? Really!!? Especially in the context of someone saying the ball pressure was changed by "rubbing" it?

      All you have done is confirm that it is a weak, desperate and poor attempt by you to slur someone for no other reason than they represent something you disagree with. What makes it even more weak of you is that it is quite obviously a denier meme stirred up by some disinformer. Do you really just want to parrot this stuff without any critical faculties?

    2. Meteormike

      I notice I must have imagined the word "only" as you did not quote it. That makes your slurs even less credible.

    3. It's funny that this discussion about a 10 second television segment has gone on so long. One thing's for sure (and to relate back to the OP), Bill Nye doesn't "flee from any interview where tough questions might be asked" - or easy questions.

      Also I noticed that Mike, let's assume accidentally, left out a critical part of the quote:

      "Rubbing the football, I don't think, can change the pressure. To really change the pressure, you need one of these," Nye said, holding up a regulation football and a ball pump, "the inflation needle."

      I'm guessing Mike is a Patriots fan. I don't know if Mike thinks that rubbing a football will deflate it (unless there's already a hole in the football). Have to say I side with Bill Nye on that score, rather than Mike.

    4. This is an example of the Pinhole Strategy : rather than look at the big picture, focus on this pinhole view, and that one, and there's another one over there ...

      Bill Nye said this once, and Al Gore said that once, and look, here's a guy saying "trick"! The whole house of cards is tumbling down.

  15. Meteor, Nye trained as a mechanical engineer and worked for Boeing prior to his media career. So he does have a bit of an idea of what he's talking about and a bit more than a talented actor, which sounds like it belittles him. He studied astronomy under Carl Sagan so I suspect he knows a bit about atmospheric science too. Probably more than most.

  16. "I'm guessing Mike is a Patriots fan"
    Detroit Lions are my team, the city where I grew up.

    On Nye, as mentioned already, he's a talented guy and done lots of good science stuff on tv. I have always been especially impressed with how well rounded his knowledge of science is and ability to present it.

    On this one, however, he messed up by not knowing(or for some reason left it out) the ideal gas law during the initial live interview when the major news networked asked for his opinion regarding the pressure change in the football.

    Even the smartest scientists can't be experts about every scientific field.

    1. Yes Sou, it is strange that a 10 second slot of Bill Nye can take so much discussion. I am just fascinated by how much in denial Meteormike is about his delusion. I would have expected any normal person to either have admitted they got it a bit wrong or given up. I guess you can say Meteormike does not flee from tough questions but neither does he answer anything. I would not assume he "accidentally" missed out a critical part of the quote. It looks very deliberate to me as it does not fit the misrepresentation he wishes to promulgate.

      So, Meteormike. Let me ask another question once again. Where and when did Bill Nye undertake to explain the ideal gas law to the general public? Why do you invent that omission? That just looks like one big strawman raised by you (or some misinformer) to try and paint a false image of Bill Nye.

    2. "Even the smartest scientists can't be experts about every scientific field."

      That punchline wasn't worth the week's wait.

    3. "That punchline wasn't worth the week's wait."

      What?! You aren't impressed by Meteormike's clinical take down of Bill Nye? :)

  17. Wow, so far it's been suggested that I am or might be:

    1. A Patriots football fan
    2. Making stuff up
    3. Not producing the quote from his interview
    4. After producing the quote, accidentally not putting in part of it that was already posted here and suggesting that this part added something to the meaning
    5. Of attempting to slur someone because they represent something that I disagree with....a feeble attempt to discredit Bill Nye because he's an advocate for climate science....having a baseless attack on somebody because of my prejudices.
    6. Having a severe case of parrot repetition and confirmation bias
    7. Needing english comprehension
    8. Received a response of: "A serious case of defamtion warning against doing this!"
    9. Acting like a troll

    I made positive comments about Bill Nye, except for the indisputable fact that during the live interview, he failed to mention the very relevant ideal gas law. The entire point of that interview was to get the expert opinion from an authority of (atmospheric)science about the pressure inside of a football. He failed on that particular day.

    The main topic was "Who flees from tough questions" and Bill Nye's name was mentioned as somebody that does not. I agree with this. I thought his most recent interview and tough question(s) was relevant.

    I can't be any more clear than this(maybe not to your satisfaction). So let's consider this case closed shall we?

    1. Every suggestion about you stands vindicated.

      So, what your case about Bill Nye adds up to is he didn't mention something in a silly ten second slot that you think, with no reason given, he should have mentioned. All your flannel around it is just to disguise you wanted to spread a baseless smear. Shame on you.

    2. Sure, Mike. After derailing the discussion to focus on American football. After alleging that Bill Nye didn't know about the "ideal gas law" - all based on something you think he should have said in a humorous ten second clip about some potential football mini-scandal - you finally agreed that Bill Nye is a good guy and doesn't flee from questions - tough or otherwise.

      Now, having successfully got the attention you sought, *you* have decided that it's time to close the "case" - that never was. (That is, nothing you wrote suggests that Bill Nye doesn't know about the ideal gas equation. On the contrary - it suggests he knows it better than you.)

      I think your behaviour is commonly referred to as attention seeking by thread derailing - aka trolling.

    3. Lol :)

      Nah, Mike's okay. He likes to pop in from time to time and I really don't mind at all. He's welcome here.

    4. Narcissistic attention seeking thread-derailing troll. (Misses out the whiney "I am being bullied" victim.)

      It is your blog Sou so you can be nice to him but I am puzzled why. He seems to be engaging in spreading disinformation and smearing good people in exactly the same way the denial movement encourages, to undermine scientists with innuendo and fraud accusations.

  18. "Nah, Mike's okay. He likes to pop in from time to time and I really don't mind at all. He's welcome here."

    Why thank you Sou!

    It made no sense to continue the previous discussion.

    Yes, I disagree with Bill Nye on his global warming view. Yes, I probably would not have mentioned it otherwise..........mainly doing so here because you used him in your post.

    However, if Anthony Watts had been the one interviewed and not mentioned the ideal gas law, I would have thought the exact same thing........but obviously not said anything here and probably not elsewhere.

    It's true that I have cognitive bias's like everybody else. This makes me more prone to pointing out legit mistakes of those that I disagree with and sometimes giving those that I agree with a pass(not football).

    I think Sou realizes that I try to be objective and open minded...........and my degree and 33 years of experience is in atmospheric science.

    The main difference between this denier and most others here, is that I think doubling CO2 will only lead to around another 1 degree C of additional warming vs higher projections from global climate models.

    1. Meteor mike.
      You didn't talk about Hooke's law. I would not have mentioned it but I know your views on global warming. That proves you are not a scientist.

      That is what your posts add up to. You call that trying to be objective? I think Sou should HotWhopper you.

    2. Anonymous, Mike's been HotWhoppered in the past and no doubt will be again. He likes to test my mood (as he has today above, with him calling on himself as an authority, and his repetition despite saying there was no point in continuing, and saying what I "realise", which I don't etc etc) and sometimes finds me in a HotWhoppery mood. Other times I'll let it go.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.