Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Something went wrong at WUWT. Is Anthony Watts ceding his title?

Sou | 6:22 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment
Anthony Watts has just discovered, more than two weeks after everyone who is anyone in climate-land knew about it, that Dr John Cook is moving from Queensland to take up a new post at George Mason University. He's been appointed as Research Assistant Professor in the GMU Center for Climate Change Communication, and will take up his post in January 2017.

Congratulations, Dr Cook.

The reason I say that something went wrong at WUWT isn't that Anthony has only just got the news, or at least is only just spreading it to his disciples. He's shown before that he's out of the loop when it comes to climate news. No, it's because a comment from ATTP got past the WUWT sentinels.

Anthony's headline was:
Climate skeptic basher John Cook joins the George Mason University #RICO20 gang
Now I'm sure that Anthony doesn't want to cede his title of "the world's greatest climate scientist basher". And so is ATTP.

...and Then There's Physics wrote:
September 20, 2016 at 12:52 am
I think you forgot the inverted commas around the work skeptic in the title of your post. Presumably you meant Climate “skeptic” basher…. You do need to be careful, or else people will think that you mean actual skeptics, rather than fake ones. I presume that you’d hate to be regarded as someone who spreads misinformation…..oh, hold on?


Jim Hunt said...

Ho ho ho!

A packet of virtual peanuts for ATTP.

Congratulations to Dr. Cook on his departure from Down Under, but I feel I should point out at this juncture that The Ashes are currently in the UK, not the USA.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Oh dear. That was simply me being slightly bored and deciding that if Anthony can dish it out, he should be able to take it. I'm probably wrong about that, though :-)

Sou said...

I'll add commiserations to my fellow Australians not just for not regaining The Ashes from the UK, but for losing Dr Cook to the USA, for now.

Sou said...

I'd have thought going to WUWT would aggravate boredom, not be a palliative :(

BTW, ATTP, evidence suggests you are right about that (being probably wrong, that is.)

...and Then There's Physics said...

At the end of the day, it probably doesn't help much :-)

Sou said...

A little "skeptic" bashing (talking about me now) is one way to let off a bit of steam, especially when denier blogs become tediously repetitive. (It's not happening, sea level isn't rising, the little ice age is bouncing, it's sure to cool down any decade now, etc.)

jrkrideau said...

george e. smith September 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I know a Psychologist; two of them in fact; …

Well they study ” behavior ”

That is what Psychologists do.

They do NOT study what people think

Oh the ignorance hurts.

jrkrideau said...

It occurs to me that by moving to George Mason, it will be easier for John Cook to collaborate with Ed Wegman. :)

JCH said...

I wonder if he'll "network" down the hall with Wegman?

Anonymous said...

Cute as anything, redefining words:

So now, by your definition, skeptic means 'a person who correctly doubts a statement by others, but only if those others are factually wrong.'

It once meant, 'a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.'

AND as an added bonus you get to decide on whether the point is factual or not.

Sou said...

Wishful thinking from George, based on a sample size of two. Some study how people behave; some study what people think; some study how we think; some study why people think; and some what makes people have the thoughts they have. (The "thoughts" expressed at WUWT would provide psychologists with a source of data for challenging research.)

Marco said...

Wegman doesn't show up on the people finder of GMU, so maybe he has completely retired? Last publication seems to be from 2013. There's a 2016 one, but that managed to sneak its way into the journal of a predatory publisher...

jgnfld said...

Only a bit behind the times. Like half a century. But being 50 years behind current science probably is not bad for a denier.

For his edification: Ulric Neisser published Cognitive Psychology in 1967. Even before the stranglehold of behaviorism was being loosened by the likes of Tolman, Hilgard, Atkinson and others.

PG said...

I love you John and I'm sad that you are leaving the sky rocketing UQ. It's rated 60th on the planet with a bullet whilst George Mason is 651st with an anvil.
Your first-rate social science research helped UQ get up there (University rankings are based on publications).

John was it the free parking or George Mason's proximity to the sinking Norfolk Naval Base which won you over?

Sou said...

No, that's not it anon. The context here is a fake sceptic is someone who claims to question the validity of something but doesn't bother taking the next step of finding out whether that something is valid or invalid.

A real sceptic may question the validity of something, then they'll go see what information they can find on the subject to see if the "something" turns out to be valid or not.

Most scientists are sceptical in that sense. They do real research, they don't just look it up in a journal. They investigate.

Most fake sceptics don't even bother looking stuff up in a journal. They just tout their disbelief, often with the logical fallacy of personal incredulity. (I don't believe it therefore it's not true.) Sometimes citing another denier. More rarely citing a scientific paper and, if so, misrepresenting it for their own dubious purposes.

Sou said...

BTW, if you want to learn about skeptics (real ones, not fake ones), you could visit http://www.skeptic.com/

Don't let words like "evidence" and "research" put you off. It's not that hard to learn how to research research :)

jgnfld said...

I do find it concerning that John would accept a position at a university which could not muster the integrity and (very small amount of) courage to censure a faculty member (Wegman) for plagiarism that would have been open and shut case had the plagiarism been committed by a student.

I'm sure he has his reasons, but that one bit would make GMU a complete nonstarter for me if I were still job searching and not retired now.

Sou said...

I agree that's a black mark against the university. On the other hand, the Centre for Climate Change Communication has Ed Maibach, close links with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (Anthony Leiserowitz), and has been running the Six Americas poll for some years, among other things. I can see it as a logical step for John Cook.

There aren't many places that specialise in climate change communication to the public, and the USA would be a ripe ground for John's ongoing research into climate science communication and science denial.

John Cook said...

Low blow, Jim, low blow!

John Cook said...

It's the world-leading climate comm research at the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C), and the prospect of the collaborative environment with the researchers at GMU as well as Yale, that won me over. I was also enticed by the 4C dual-approach of research + practical application which mirrored my own approach.

I had no idea they had free parking, that's the cherry on top! :-)

PG said...

John I'm glad about the practical aspect. You are one of the most valuable and influential climate policy people on the planet (even though 97% + of the planet's population has never heard of you).
You will of course be on the wrong side of the Scientific Mason Dixon Line but then so is your fellow traveller (in more ways than one) that other masterful communicator Katharine Hayhoe.