Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stung? Gotcha? The games deniers play.

Sou | 6:32 AM Go to the first of 64 comments. Add a comment
Here's a change from WUWT. Well, not a change of subject, just a change of venue.

I don't usually bother with science deniers on Twitter these days. They are too predictable, pointless and boring. However this little episode is an example of how science deniers operate. I feel for scientists when they are quote-mined, misrepresented and libeled. It shows how far deniers have to stretch to get any joy these days, when the climate isn't behaving as they think it should.

The bait

Someone called @blairking_ca whistled me into a tweet fight he tried to start with Andy Skuse and ATTP. He claimed that I and Naomi Oreskes call everyone we don't agree with a "denier". (I'm flattered to be mentioned in the same tweet as Dr Oreskes but won't let it go to my head.) Normally I ignore such silliness. This time I didn't, and replied with a link to the definition I use for climate science denial - from RationalWiki (as in the sidebar here). Incidentally, there are people with whom I've disagreed on particular topics (and they me) who are by no means science deniers (see here and here for examples).

The con

@blairking_ca said that he wasn't a science denier. I let that ride. He showed all the signs and symptoms, and I had a vague recollection of him running into me some time ago, leaving a nasty taste behind him. However it wasn't relevant to the exchange so I didn't quibble. It turns out that claim was part of the con, leading up to the sting.

The sting

The twitter discussion went on and Blair continued to dwell on his complaint about the word "denier". He was arguing how some climate science deniers object because they claim it is a slur (which it is) and linked to Holocaust Denial (which it isn't). I responded - asking at one point why I should be concerned at what science deniers think. (They don't get to label themselves.)

The gotcha

Well, after mulling on this for some time, Blair decided that would have to do. After claiming he wasn't a science denier he turned around and decided that when I tweeted "Why on earth would I be concerned about fake umbrage from a science denier?"  I was referring to him. Which I wasn't, of course, as should be clear from the preceding tweets.

Now that might have been an innocent mistake on his part, in which case, he'd have soon realised that I wasn't talking about him, but about deniers in general. He'd have let it go. But it wasn't an innocent mistake at all. It was deliberate (if nonsensical). In the style of  climate conspiracy theorists, he hung onto his persecuted victim complex, even after it was pointed out to him that:
  1. he claimed he didn't reject science (turns out he does),
  2. my response was in the context of him arguing I should take the feelings of deniers into account - with me naturally responding "why should I".

Nope. He decided both that the hat fitted him too well, plus he figured he'd won a gotcha. He leapt about with glee, tweeting not just once, but twice that my innocuous tweet was identical to him saying "Miriam, you are insane." (Deniers don't observe internet decorum, you'll notice.) He not only won pats on the back from a couple of his fans and fellow deniers (presumably), he managed to make a blog post out of his quote mine.

Emasculated deniers

I haven't read his blog article, but someone else did, and called it "the Blair Bitch Project". Now this has a double meaning. Firstly, I presume he was bitching about me (not) calling him a "denier". But go back a bit. Remember when I first came into the tweet exchange? Blair had singled out me and Naomi Oreskes - it's likely that not only is he a science denier, he feels threatened by women. He fits the profile to a T.

There's more to support that notion. Blair hinted that it's happened before. So he makes a habit of bitching about women? That wouldn't surprise me at all.

Conspiracy ideation

Consider all the elements in this exchange.
  • Unreflexive counter-factual thinking (against the evidence, and despite constantly claiming context is important)
  • Nothing occurs by Accident
  • Persecuted victim (and a chance to play hero)
  • Nihilistic Skepticism and over-riding suspicion (against all "alarmists")
  • Nefarious intent  and questionable motives (after all, Sou accepts science plus she's a woman) 
  • Something must be wrong (and if there isn't, Blair will make something up)
  • Self-sealing reasoning (Sou denies it therefore Blair must be right)

The moral of this story

Like I said right up at the beginning - I don't usually bother responding to denier bait these days. In this case I did. If you're a scientist, not just a blogger like me, don't bother. No denier who's following the discussion will be persuaded by science or facts, use logic, or be capable of critical thinking. They are merely playing games, behaving like adolescents showing off to their mates. And like adolescent wanna-be-jocks who treat a scornful look from a girl as a come-on, they'll make believe they scored one over a climate hawk.

What pointless games deniers play - a toxic waste of time and space.


  1. Not only does Blair complain about labelling, while doing so copiously himself, he seems to think that this comment (which ends by asking another commenter if they're a "science denier") is simply someone being funny. Seems that it's okay to use "denier" as long as Blair thinks it's funny.

    1. Not overly endowed, is he :) (Intellectually I mean, of course.)

    2. "Intellectually I mean, of course"

      "Emasculated deniers"

      I am not sure I believe you here Sou. And of course both conditions could co-exist.

    3. Actually I demonstrated quite nicely that the usage was a literary device intended to demonstrate why the use of the term was inappropriate. Sadly this use of irony was lost on some.

    4. "Actually I demonstrated quite nicely..."

      You should leave it to other to decide what you did well and what you did badly. Being your own self appointed judge and jury just marks you out as a dick.

    5. Actually I demonstrated quite nicely that the usage was a literary device intended to demonstrate why the use of the term was inappropriate.
      You claimed this, you certainly did not demonstrate it. Repeating something many times, does not make it true. Additionally, your argument is that the term has associations that mean that it should not be used; you're not arguing that we shouldn't use it because it's not nice to do so, you're explicitly arguing that it should not be used because of the association. If so, then this should apply always, not just when you want it to. If you think there are occasions when it's okay, then others can also think there are occasions when it's okay, and we're back to people being free to use it when they would like to (as it should be).

      The irony is you complaining vociferously about the use of the term, and then excusing its use when it's done by someone you happen to agree with.

    6. The use of inappropriate and banned terms in an ironic sense is a time honoured tradition in classical writing because only by confronting those terms can you demonstrate them to be foul. Sadly some schools fail to train their students in scholarly traditions of discourse.

    7. Blair,
      That may be true, but does not mean that the comment you refer to was being used as a literary device (one commenter - in an argument - asked another "have you become a science denier"). You continuing to repeat that it was, does not make it true. If you really think that "denier" is a term that should not be used because of the association, then you should - IMO - apply that to all, not just to those with whom you disagree.

      On the other hand, you can continue as you currently are; insulting those with whom you disagree, and excusing those with whom you agree.

      Oh, and I don't care that you haven't shown anger over that comment. It simply illustrates your lack of consistency, which is neither a surprise, nor something that bothers me particularly. You're free to be as inconsistent as you wish to be. It's entirely your choice.

  2. I will start taking the feelings of climate change deniers into account when they start putting the welfare of billions of people before fossil fuel industry profits and/or preserving their slob polluter lifestyle.

    1. I suppose this makes me one of the most unusual "deniers" around having worked to enact a carbon tax (which we succeeded in doing) and enhance renewable energy in our province while getting us off fossil fuels. Oh wait Sou didn't tell you that part and none of you bothered to look it up. Thanks for asking.

    2. I didn't/don't know "that part". I didn't know you from a bar of soap, Blair. Now you've taught me the difference. (Rubbing up against soap imparts a feeling of cleanliness.) (I took what you said once at face value. That was a mistake.)

      And yes, it would make you an unusual climate science denier if it were true. One who trashes people who accept science as "alarmists" (eg here and here and here), and who denies the evidence that there is still a large minority in the USA who are climate science deniers (maybe by redefining climate science rejection - who knows).

    3. Amusing that you continue to choose to use individual tweets (out of context of course) rather than the thousands of words I have written on various topics.

    4. Now you want context all of a sudden? The article is about how you refused to look at context, refused to accept that my tweet wasn't about you. And, after all that, the double irony was that it turns out you do reject much of climate science and you refer to people who accept science as "alarmists".

      The Twitter links go to the full context of the discussions. Hard to deny the evidence.

      (I could regard your latest little whine as click-baiting.)

    5. Personally I don't give a rats arse about your cherry picked biography.

  3. Aside from the fact that Blair has a personal hate on for the word 'denier', which I suppose I can understand given his past encounters with Holocaust deniers, he's got one of the most annoying AGW denier (see, that's a very well qualified 'denier') traits going for him as well: the inability to adjust your view of things when circumstances change. In this article on his site:


    He says:

    ...Since then the field of chemistry has refined the number and it is now generally accepted that that the direct climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide (excluding all positive or negative feedbacks) is roughly 1.2C of warming per doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations. What that means is in the absence of feedbacks (positive or negative) every doubling of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere should result in an increase in the global mean temperature of approximately 1.2C.

    Well, take a look around you, Blair. 2014, 2015, and 2016 (so far) are the hottest years ever recorded, 3 in a row. We are *already* at 1.2C above pre-industrial, and haven't even doubled CO2 yet! So I guess there must be *positive feedbacks* then, huh? So much for your 1.2C ECS. An ECS of 3C is looking more likely than it ever has. In fact, the surface temp *trend* has been going up in a straight line since the 70's. But Blair is still apparently stuck in faux pause mode. Wake up and smell the coffee, Blair. The game changed when you weren't looking and you don't even realise it.

    1. Metzomagic, I think the key words there were "excluding all positive and negative feedbacks". That is, not counting feedbacks, in which case that would be about right.

      AFAIK Blair is a fan of Matt Ridley and fancies himself as a "lukewarmer" - aka rejects mainstream science. I suspect he thinks that feedbacks won't raise temperatures much beyond the 1.2C - but I haven't explored his blog much and wouldn't waste my time.

    2. My point is, Sou, that we already appear to be at ~1.2C above pre-industrial, yet we are only at 400ppm out of the ~560ppm needed to double CO2 from pre-industrial. Therefore, 1.2C for ECS isn't feasible, and paleoclimate data already tells us this.

      There are already positive feedbacks which Blair seemingly wants to ignore because he imagines that negative feedbacks will magically appear to save our collective bacon. He's denying the reality of our current situation with out-of-date data from a few years back.

    3. Or you could read my blog post and discover that I agree with mainstream science. https://achemistinlangley.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/on-lukewarmism-denial-and-a-look-at-the-state-of-the-environmental-movement/

    4. Here is a nice new graph from James Hansen and Makiko Sato.



    5. Only by rejecting mainstream science could one adopt the term "lukewarmer" for themselves. (And no, I didn't bother to read the article. Why would I want to know someone who trashes opinions on the strength of ad homs? Someone who is very rude, having no internet etiquette. It was enough to know your motivation.

      (I've no desire to get to learn any more than I already experienced first hand and already knew, when I was checking your claims that you don't reject science. This turned out to be false. You regard people who accept science as "alarmist".)

    6. Thanks MM. Yes, Blair portrays himself as a "lukewarmer", explicitly rejecting the vast body of science. He also refers to people who accept mainstream science as "alarmists". Plus he's a fan of Matt Ridley. Enough said.

    7. @ Bert
      Yes, that's a good uncluttered plot. Of interest is an aside in the description: "We suggest in an upcoming paper that the temperature in 1940-45 is exaggerated because of data inhomogeneity in WW II."

      I don't think they are the only ones to be looking at the inconsistencies of the ocean temperature records taken by the rapidly expanded naval and merchant marine fleets during the war with data before and after, but it will be welcome.

      That has long appeared to be a measurement artefact rather than a true physical phenomenon, and it would be good to clear it up.I've wondered whether one way would be to examine the direct or lagged correlation between ocean temperature measurements and land temperatures in stations within ~100 km of coasts.

    8. "My point is, Sou, that we already appear to be at ~1.2C above pre-industrial, yet we are only at 400ppm out of the ~560ppm needed to double CO2 from pre-industrial. Therefore, 1.2C for ECS isn't feasible, and paleoclimate data already tells us this."

      When CO₂ first hit 400 ppm I did a quick back of the envelope calculation using a logarithmic model and assumed a preindustrial increase of 1.2 °C from a baseline of 280 ppm. That calculation gave a sensitivity of 2.33 °C on the realised warming to date from the CO₂ that we've currently emitted. With feedbacks and thermal equilibrium lags the equilibrium climate sensitivity is going to be very close to 3 °C, and has a good chance of exceeding it.

      The only way that climate science deniers and physics deniers can possibly argue that ECS is less than a minimum of 2.3 °C is to postulate a new radiative physics kicking in at the current level of CO₂, and/or for a set of as-yet unidentified, very powerful, and collectively-negative feedings-back to suddenly appear.

      I've lost count of how many times I've made posts similar to this one, but always the deniers ignore the simple mathematics and physics, and go back to the beginning of their loop.

      As for Blair, I've not seen any of his exchanges with Sou but I seem to recall him from a year or two ago - wasn't he an exemplar of the Salem hypothesis?

    9. I had a look at Blairs blog, and saw that he proudly touts himself as a lukewarmer. He, and other she'll-be-right fantasists, might like to listen to this broadcast:


      Something to consider is that many of the effects that are being recorded were predicted to not occur for decades yet... many of my scientific colleagues were conservative in their estimates. The thing that people should have their eyes on is the effect of warming at plateaux of 3, 4 or more °C: for each degree of warming the impacts increase in severity by more than an order of magnitude, and in some cases even by orders of magnitude. Lukewarmers are in some ways worse than the outright science deniers, because they lull people, businesses and politicians into a sense of complacency. In my opinion such willfully ignorant lobbying constitutes a crime against life.

  4. I don't recall Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Naomi Oreskes, Ben Santer or the late Stephen Schneider taking offense at the term 'denier' being used for those who repeatedly denied the clear evidence of AGW over the years, rarely on scientific grounds but often for reasons of political ideology or for financial or employment ties. In fact, all of those scientists have used that term themselves, Oreskes and Mann with regularity.

    I have to wonder a little about Blair King's feigned outrage, and that of many other AGW deniers, contrarians, lukewarmers and 'skeptics'. Maybe it's an accurate label that has unrelated negative connotations in some countries, and they just don't like that.


    1. Alternatively you could read my blog post https://achemistinlangley.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/on-lukewarmism-denial-and-a-look-at-the-state-of-the-environmental-movement/ and see the basis of my comments.

    2. I read it before I wrote the above comment.

      Understanding does not imply agreement. Nor does it imply sympathy.

    3. ****************************************
      Blair, I read part of your blog. You say -
      "I’ve been a Lukewarmer for over two decades (even before Lukewarmers had a name) and in that time my Lukewarmer viewpoint has been consistently demonstrated to be a better representation of climate sensitivity than the alarmists’ views. More specifically, in the last two decades the consensus climate sensitivity estimate has gradually decreased to approximately the point I guessed it would be when I last looked closely at the topic over a decade ago."

      "If the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere is indeed doubled and remains so long enough for the atmosphere and the intermediate layers of the ocean to attain approximate thermal equilibrium, our best estimate is that changes in global temperature of the order of 3°C will occur and that these will be accompanied by significant changes in regional climatic patterns."
      https://www.nap.edu/download/12181 Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, July 23–27, 1979; NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
      Washington, D.C. (AKA The Charney Report)

      " Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence)."
      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf IPCC IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.
      Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)].

      The middle of the range of the latest IPCC estimate is 3.0°C. The "alarmist" best central estimate remains exactly what it was 37 years ago, contrary to your claim of gradually decreasing consensus estimates of sensitivity.
      I'll bet you believe you , like Trump, also know more about ISIS than all the generals - but I'm not going to waste my time reading your blog to find out.

    4. I notice that Blair is trying to ingratiate himself with Curry and Watts by tagging the in his tweets. "now I know how you feel ...". (Pause to wipe away a tear). I think this rush of unexpected fame has gone to his head and he is hoping to get some more click bait at a denier site. And become a lukewarm martyr on the way.

  5. I don't think much should be read into the "Blair Bitch Project" comment considering the 1999 small budget horror film The Blair Witch Project

  6. My response is _ who gives a stuff whether you feel insulted or not; if the label fits, wear it.

    Whereas many feel the need to differentiate between the Holocaust deniers and climate deniers, I think there are strong similarities. While the ideologies are different, the psychology is the same _ the rejection of things which cannot be reasonably denied, not based on genuine countervailing arguments, evidence or facts but purely because they present inconvenient and uncomfortable truths. And when all their piss-weak talking-points have been debunked all they can do is resort to trolling and playing silly games because at their core they're so intellectually dishonest and so strongly coupled to their ideologies that they'll never admit to being wrong. Generally speaking, that is. Some have changed side after seeing the light, but very,very few.

  7. I confess I hesitated before hitting send on my "Blair Bitch Project" Tweet, but I can't resist a little joke from time to time. I do think that Blair exhibited a rather exaggerated amount of personal hurt and complaint in his blogpost. In any case, he's not unfailingly nice to people he disagrees with.

    I tend not to use "denier" myself, not because the term is not accurate, but because pearl-clutches suck you into rather boring and distracting disputes over what they think the only meaning of that word is. However, the last thing I'm going to do is to condemn, on demand, bloggers like Sou who make different vocabulary choices than me.

    1. In any case, he's not unfailingly nice to people he disagrees with.
      Indeed. In fact he seems particularly unpleasant to those with whom he disagrees.

      I also tend to not use "denier" (which means I try not to and normally succeed, but not always). However, like you, I have no interest in condemning those who do, and since Blair seems to think it's okay to use denier when it's used as a literary device, I have no interest in the views of those who complain about it's use.

    2. Andy and ATTP, I'm far from alone in holding you both in the highest regard, not just because you are both (almost always) civil in your dealings with people. Also because of your understanding of climate science, the time and effort you give to communicating it, and your approach to the subject.

      On this blog (but not in the past so much) I've tended to use a "gloves off" approach because the topics relate more to hard core denialism. HotWhopper has a particular style:)

      I used to always be careful to preface the term "denier" or its variations with "climate science", when I used the terms. With this blog being about climate science, there should be no need to be so careful here. The context is clear. (You'll notice that in the tweet in question I did qualify the word.)

    3. Sou,
      My comment wasn't a criticism. I don't object to a gloves off approach; each to their own really. In fact, one major issue I have with Blair's complaints (apart from the inconsistency of complaining about using "denier" and then excusing its use when used by someone who agrees with him) is that he's imposing conditions on others that he doesn't follow himself. There's quite a lot of this in the climate blogosphere; people who complain about the conduct of others, claim to want more civil discourse, but never really practice what they preach. If people like Blair really do want more civil debates, they could try starting. Others can either choose to follow, or choose not to. I have much more time for those who own how they choose to behave than for those who complain about others, while ignoring their own behaviour.

    4. I know, ATTP. And thanks for saying so. I didn't take either of your comments as a criticism. You've shown it's not, by your actions (as well as I feel I've got to know you both over time). I wrote what I did to publicly show my support of both your approaches, as a compliment. (I'm a big fan of diversity :D)

      [Blog comments are hard sometimes.]

    5. [Blog comments are hard sometimes.]
      Indeed, in fact any form of social media communication can be difficult. Wish some would try to recognise this before jumping to conclusions :-)

    6. Rational wiki again.
      It is a great resource and has goats.

      The tone argument (also tone policing) is a logical fallacy that occurs when an argument is dismissed or accepted on its presentation: typically perceived crassness, hysteria or anger. Tone arguments are generally used by tone trolls (esp. concern trolls) in order to derail or silence opponents lower on the privilege ladder, as a method of positioning oneself as a Very Serious Person.

      The fallacy relies on style over substance. It is an ad hominem attack, and thus an informal fallacy.

      Objection to a particular word in the argument to dismiss the argument and speaker henceforth.

    7. and increasingly, as they realise just how absurd their position is you will get the

      "people are being mean to me on the internet" meme

    8. "Blog comments are hard sometimes."

      The more so for the fact that many scientifically-objective people posting about the science of climate change are somewhere on the spectrum, and have a greater-than-average tendency to use logic and (apparently) obvious meaning, with the purpose of communicating said meaning, and with probably less care for mollifying recalcitrant ignorants. Perhaps doing so steps heavily on the toes of the science deniers, especially as straight-forward language is a challenge to their propensity for obuscation and misrepresentation. But then, the laws of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology care not a whit for bruised feelings or for the fantasies of ideologues, and there comes a time when there's no further benefit to walk on egg shells.

    9. ...obfuscation...

      It is late here...

  8. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wingnut
    Being a wingnut requires a particularly paranoid worldview, teetering on the edge of or falling wholesale into tinfoil hat territory, as wingnuttery causes the victim to refuse to accept any source of information that doesn't back up their prejudices (essentially, wingnuts are almost always authoritarian as well as being politically right-wing). Constant gibbering about the "liberal media" as well as a slavish devotion to cognitive dissonance, conspiracy theories, global warming denialism, psychological projection, and crackpot theories of economics (i.e. Austrian school) are also, if not required, at the very least nearly universal symptoms. This is all usually accompanied by a side dish of a severe persecution complex. Not all wingnuts are racists, misogynists, homophobes, or transphobes, though many racists, misogynists, homophobes, and transphobes are also wingnuts.

  9. The link between right-wing political ideology and climate science denial or contrarianism is so obvious it is often not even noticed by those engaged in argument. Why point out that water is wet, after all?

    For a minority on the far right or 'alt-right', this can pass into outright anti-Semitism directed at climate scientists who are (or are thought to be) Jewish, as well as the usual old standby of the vast global conspiracy led by a small secret elite. A small sample of how this can be egged on, from Anna Rose's 2012 book Madlands:

    On one occasion, [Marc] Morano posted two email addresses for the highly respected (and sadly now deceased) climate scientist Stephen Schneider under a photo of Hitler. This incident occurred after Schneider’s name appeared on a neo-Nazi website’s ‘death list’ alongside other climate scientists with Jewish ancestry.

  10. I've never thought much of those who conflate climate denial with holocaust denial, but then I read this and it made me think that there are at least some similarities:

    "We [have now discussed] eighteen proofs all converging on one conclusion...the deniers shift the burden of proof to historians by demanding that each piece of evidence, independently and without corroboration between them, prove the Holocaust. Yet no historian has ever claimed that one piece of evidence proves the Holocaust. We must examine the collective whole." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience

    1. There is also HIV/AIDS denial. In my experience, the main group of these deniers are probably those who believe that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. There are also some who deny that millions of people have contracted and died from AIDS. By no means all climate science deniers are also HIV deniers (or probably anywhere like a majority). I don't know how many (if any) HIV deniers are not also climate science deniers.

  11. Lukewarmerism is in general "I accept all of this [points to some basic stuff] science...but this stuff, no way! Here I'll cherry pick the few, often very few, studies that fit what I believe".

    1. Indeed
      The fashion is for them to accept the basic level directly from co2 @1.2C for double and ignore that the physics behind h2o also increasing in the atmosphere is just as sound. They then waffle uncertainty about clouds and deny the research that says the effect is probably neutral or very small.

    2. Marco,
      Indeed. What is very common is to see people say "I accept the IPCC position, but I think ECS will be on the low side". Well, that's not really consistent. If you accept the IPCC position, then you accept their distribution for ECS. If you think it is probably on the low side, then you don't accept the IPCC position.

      Maybe someone should write a paper about people who can hold inconsistent views - a bit like the saying from Alice in Wonderland?

    3. Deniers often seem to cling onto the lukewarmer position at moments when outright blatant denial is inconvenient to their immediate aims.

    4. I think it is when their self-awareness overrides the outright "denial"

      People don't like to be laughed “at” after all – especially when they think they are making a serious point

      Most deniers have so little self-awareness they simply don’t realise how stupid they sound

      The contradictory positions they hold, the strawman arguments etc etc

      And saying they accept the basic science – but little or none of its conclusions allows them to bypass that internal physiological contradiction

    5. "... some climate science deniers object because they claim it is a slur (which it is) ..."

      I do not think it is a slur. If the description fits. If the alleged denier objects (s)he can make a case for why it is not denying. There is no need to take offence if you think you have been misunderstood.

      Which brings us back to discussing Blair taking offence ...

    6. at this point it is worth noting Stephen Fry's* view on "offence"

      “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

      *Stephen Fry is a well known UK humourist

    7. @Tadaaa

      Much as I like Stephen Fry I disagree with him here. I think people have a perfect right to say they have been offended. They are not saying that as "if that gives them certain rights". Neither is it meaningless or purposeless. It is not necessarily a whine and it is worthy of respect as a statement of fact, if honestly and proportionately felt. They then have the option to explain why it is offensive to them. But that is as far as it goes.

      I will make a exception here for Blair though. Whiney, meaningless, disrespected, purposeless ...

    8. @ jammy dodger
      Yes, it is certainly not a black and white issue and I suspect it has quite nuanced in meaning

      I take it to mean that simply saying you are offended IS meaningless, especially if you can give no reasoned argument as to why that is the case

      I have no control over your (the royal your) emotions – you could have simply got out of bed the wrong way and decide to be offended

      I nor Fry (I hope) would argue that nothing said can be offensive

    9. The irony of passionately and repeatedly denying being a denier. Bert

  12. The reason denier object to the term "denier" - the ONLY reason - is because it is accurate. Deniers don't like having their game blatantly displayed.

    And that's all there is to it.

    1. There's more to it. It's convenient to distract, and to take up time and energy. Demanding that the terms of the discussion conform to arcane requirements and implying that nonconformance to same is a personal attack is part of the (dead serious) game of distraction.

      Remember, distraction and delay are effective on behalf of those who want to prevent action. It is always easier to persuade people to do nothing.

    2. Of course you're correct on that particular use to which the denial of denialism is put. No doubt they'd be happy to deny they are denying their denialism, and even to deny they denied denying it. In any case, we must proceed to reveal the denialism for the sham it is.

  13. Slightly ot, but in the matter of "catching up" is the appearance all over the internets of the spectacular ice recovery denialist meme. (Jim Hunt has been doing valiant battle on this one (GreatWhiteCon and elsewhere) and Wayne of EH2R has an odd but fascinating theory that what we are seeing is a "big bang". I'm skeptical, but it's an interesting thought exercise:

    By the way, on denial, I tend to stick to climate science denial just to be clear. I also like to use unskeptical "skeptic" which pulls the rug out from under the argument. But I am also a fast typist.

    The demand for perfect communication by people with real expertise while anyone and everyone on the political, amateur, carping world can say anything and everything is typical.

    Of course, in the US, we have a horrible problem of similar dimensions in trying to remove the false equivalence imposed on Clinton as we try to overcome the festering infection on our body politic. Sadly, we get it from the left as well. It seems pragmatism is out of fashion, and nothing but purity will do.

  14. Sorry about no html. That monster link was a comment here:

  15. The Noami Oreskes "Denier" episode was when she called Dr. James Hansen and other scientists "deniers" simply because they point out that renewable energy alone is probably not going to be enough to protect the climate.

    I happen to agree that Naomi Oreskes was completely out of line in her attack on James Hansen (which she still has not retracted, despite a whole lot of people asking her to please retract.)

    Even the IPCC now says that a quadrupling of global nuclear power is consistent with any credible plan of limiting co2 to 450 ppm.

    I've always had respect for Naomi Oreskes and have read most of her books. But on that fateful day when she launched her misguided assault on Dr. James Hansen, and then refused to retract her statements after her error was pointed out to her in exhaustive detail, she lost my respect, FWIW. I hold her and all other prominent antinukes personally responsible for global warming impacts. They are just as dangerous as the climate science deniers. Perhaps more dangerous, because the climate deniers are a minority while the antinuclear propaganda movement is a $M500/yr international effort.

    1. I was agreeing with your comment, including that I think it would be good if Naomi Oreskes were to withdraw her labelling of James Hansen, until I got to the end, where you effectively did the same to Naomi Oreskes as she has done to James Hansen. Was that intentionally ironic, or not?


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