2012-03-12 21:30:21Fred Singer: Climate deniers are giving us sceptics a bad name
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

OK here is a rough draft:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/singer-criticises-deniers.html

I think just that one Houghton "quote" shows Singer is not following his own advice!

However, how shall we go about the bit in the middle where he gish-gallops about the IPCC AR4? We a) could link rebuttals to his key criticisms or b) leave them out altogether with one link to the 100 myths page. If a) can the most experienced SkS-ers suggest the best rebuttals please?

I like the idea of keeping his entire three paragraphs about the deniers verbatim, because he cannnot then protest that he said no such thing.

Feel free to savage!

Cheers - John

2012-03-13 13:19:51
Doc Snow
Kevin McKinney
kdmsooboy@comcast...
76.17.37.231

Interesting.  I didn't have a problem with the laundry list in the middle--it's not that long, and if linked to the appropriate rebuttals, why not?

FWIW, I have encountered "CO2 was higher in the 19th" buffs, or one of 'em, anyway.  He didn't seem to think an additional conspiracy was required to suppress the truth as revealed by Ernst Beck; just the natural perfidy of us 'warmistas.'  

:-)

In his case, the argument usually segues into "Prof. Jaworowski proved ice-cores can't be trusted."  (BTW, has that one ever been debunked?)

2012-03-13 19:58:30
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

John – You should tell people we know the middle-ground game Singer is now playing and he is trying to reinvent himself. He is the grandfather of denial. He just transferred to climate from all his other denial he was involved in. Give links to his past including SkS profile.

I would re-title the article Fred Singer - Climate “Skeptic” gives Deniers a Bad Name

Is it possible to shorten the Houghton misquote example because the shorter it is the easier it is to understand?

2012-03-13 20:36:44
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

The one thing about the title is that it is identical to that in Singer's piece we're discussing, hence there is a Googling advantage built-in, although I like your idea.

I'll take a look at the Houghton example, although I do think telling the story in full causes maximum embarrassment. The middle-ground claim is certainly worth more work - I'll get to it!

Cheers - John

2012-03-13 21:23:17
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

OK - I have tightened up the introduction to go into this "middle ground" game:

*********************************************************************************

Somebody recently emailed John Cook to draw attention to a provocatively (!!) titled piece by Fred Singer on the website of the Independent Institute, another of those many think-tanks over in the USA. We had a look at the piece and it turns out that it is another strange example of someone well-known over many years for their contrarian views on climate change (among other things) attempting to claim some kind of 'middle ground'. In short, as you will see below, he is saying, "most deniers are wrong, most climate scientists are wrong but I'm right".

It's not the first time we've seen someone trying to re-jig the debate, with a number of leading political anti-science activists now saying that they accept that the greenhouse effect exists and that temperatures are increased by Mankind's industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases (but only by a teeny-weeny little bit). In doing so, they are putting ground between themselves and the rank-and-file who daily appear on comment threads to insist that the greenhouse effect doesn't exist, is a hoax and blah blah blah. It's as if they have realised that there is no longer any mileage in promoting that particular bunch of myths to policymakers and public alike, so that instead they are going for climate sensitivity as an alternative target. "Calling all think-tanks. Calling all think-tanks. Go to Plan B, repeat, go to Plan B."

**********************************************************************************************

I've also edited down the section on the Houghton quote, and removed the IPCC points because they're not really what this post is about: it's on the subject of the middle ground thing and putting ground between themselves and the more hardcore deniers. We can use divide-and-rule here to our advantage; the more divisions in the opposition camp the better.

Cheers - John

2012-03-14 08:38:43
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

John – good changes and will do the trick!

Re title: The seasoning behind the change was to set the tone of the article. It takes Singer out of the middle-ground and puts him below average denier where he belongs –he’s one of the ring leaders. I see your Google concerns but I searched using suggested title and went to this page – don’t know there Google would put it though? Maybe can be said differently so will leave it to your judgment.

2012-03-14 10:32:55
Same Ordinary Fool

chicagoriverturning@gmail...
71.35.29.177

John Mason    You shouldn't ask for "skilled contributors, since that will ordinarily scare away the unskilled help, like myself.  But I had nothing else to do, and will simply deny any responsibility for accuracy.  "Par" are the paragraph numbers, and "Fxd" are are from the Fixed Number Argument list.  *----* is a summary of Singer's description.

Par6-IPCC-AR4...     *no increase after 2001*     Fxd7-1998 and Fxd106-stopped

Par7-Most...     [refers to AR4]     [? Fxd35-pre1940 and Fxd64-aerosols]     [not Fxd162]

Par8-Their arguments...     His statement is covered in Fxd5-model (intermediate) and Fxd91-acrim

Par9-There are...     Mentioned are aerosols (Fxd64-aerosols) and clouds (Fxd143-cloud)

Par11-The third...     Same as Paragraph 8, covered in Fxd5-model (intermediate) and Fxd91-acrim

Par12-But what...     *no warming 1978-2000*     Fxd4-cooling, Fxd62-dropped, and Fxd65-microsite

Par13-Now let...     *second law*       Agreeing       Fxd68-thermo

Par14-Then there...     a.  *CO2 higher in 19th century              ?????????????

                                 b.  *New CO2 from ocean*       Agreeing       Fxd84-oceanco2

Par15-Another.....     a.  *CO2 concentration too small*       Agreeing       Fxd127-trace

                              b.  *natural CO2 exceeds human*       Agreeing       Fxd29-co2

                              c.  *volcanic CO2 exceeds fossil*       Agreeing       Fxd54-volcano

 

Even though we agree with Fred Singer on the six denier issues, we may still want to provide a link, or show the Fixed number, to the Skeptic Arguments.  (1)  For any readers who don't believe him.  In particular for all the complaining WUWT commenters.  (2)  For any reader who wants to know more.  (3)  To show off Sks's accomplishments, that we've covered all but the obscure one.

This article was picked up by WUWT on Feb 29.  So it's not necessary to mention how JC received it..........Many of the 272 comments were from offended deniers..........Bob Tisdale counters the AR-4, p 648 (Par6-IPCC-AR4...) statement, with his Feb29,2012,11:11am comment.

I strongly disagree with your division of deniers into 5 groups..........First of all, you've missed the 6th, which is the middle one in Par15-Another...   "...natural annual additions to atmospheric CO2 are many times greater than any human source...ignore the natural sinks..."   .........The second objection is a fussy one, that you've put the Second Law into a "group", when he hadn't..........But my biggest objection is that these are meaningless groups in his article, since they can be held in varying degrees, and thus aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.  And for us they are even more meaningless because for SkS they match separate Skeptic Arguments.  So to also call them "groups" just introduces unnecessary confusion. 

Fred Singer deserves credit for debunking some of the denier's arguments.  And SkS looks good when we acknowledge same.  And because such an event is very rare, it would be appropriate to mention it in your introduction...or somewhere.

2012-03-14 12:59:10
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
138.130.140.206

But you have to look at Singer’s motives – do you give credit to devious motives? If yes, be very careful how it is done.

2012-03-14 15:01:05Gift horses...
Same Ordinary Fool

chicagoriverturning@gmail...
71.35.29.177

Brian P    I'm willing to consider that Fred Singer might harbor devious moives.  But am inclined to overlook this worry when he is actively distancing himself from both sides..........Mentioning some denier myths won't move this long term denier into a more centrist "skeptic" category.  Not when he packages it with this whopper from Par12-But what...,  "But what if there is little to no warming between 1978 and 2000?"..........While he's burning bridges among deniers.  Just read some of those Feb 29th WUWT comments...

2012-03-14 15:33:39
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.110.129

I'd add that the many think tanks are generally libertarian/right-wing/climate denying.  Some sort of descriptive phrase.  I always find that interesting.  I guess progressives feel that academic science research sufficies as their 'think tanks'.

"...instead they are going for climate sensitivity..." => add link

2nd law of thermo link

CO2 increase is natural, not human-caused link

CO2 is just a trace gas link

Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans link

"Anyway, he Singer seems to have lost patience with both “sides”

What's an MOT test?

Singer tobacco link

Mr. Singer => Dr. Singer

2012-03-14 16:21:01
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
121.216.117.104

Dana

MOT - Ministry of Transport.

We recently had the American OMB - Office of Management & Budget.

There is a problem with nation specific acronymns that we have to be careful of.

2012-03-14 16:27:32
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

Thanks guys - some smashing links there! Many thanks - will edit them in. Noted re - nation-specific acronyms.

Cheers - John

2012-03-14 19:45:52
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

OK have blended in the critiques. Hope you guys like the way i've added in ten links to myths by simply going "here, here, here, here....." rather than giving the myths airtime :)

Just had an email off John Houghton so in reply I told him we're including a debunk of the famous misquote in the piece, and a sensible justification of his actual, original quote.

Cheers - John

2012-03-14 21:50:43
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

I love this comment from the WUWT thread:

"I am skeptical about the claim that the deniers are wrong.."

Cheers - John

2012-03-15 13:09:20
Andy S

skucea@telus...
209.121.15.232
Nice one, John. Two things: one is that when you insert hyperlinks in quotes from Singer you should make it clear that it was you, not him, who inserted those links; two is that you could have made a snarky comment about Singer using the D-word.
2012-03-15 20:03:01
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

Done :)

Cheers - John

2012-03-16 02:05:46
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Will probably post this on Saturday (USA time).  I'm also going to do a post looking at Singer's various scientific denials you mention, and will reference your post.

2012-03-16 02:46:11
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

Good stuff, Dana. We need to keep piling on the pressure!

I think this is a pretty resilient article because so much of it is hard evidence that is extremely difficult to construct a denial against, but I guess it might cause a certain amount of annoyance in some circles!

Nothing from Houghton which to me means he has no objection to this. Had he objected for any reason I'd have started on one of the other quotes. But this one Monckton uses all the time so it made sense to back up what Hadfield has been saying.

Cheers - John

2012-03-16 04:13:39
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.193.168

Singer shouldn't be able to get away with saying that warmistas have "fixed views about apocalyptic man-made global warming" and then go on to say "The warmistas, generally speaking, populate the U.N.’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and subscribe to its conclusion that most of the temperature increase of the last century is due to carbon-dioxide emissions produced by the use of fossil fuels." as he falsely equates "most of the temperature increase being due to CO2" with "apocalyptic MMGW".  AFAICS the IPCC make no "apocalyptic" projections, just the potential for severe difficulties for many parts of the world.  This seems to me to be rhetoric at its finest (i.e. worst).  In reality the IPCC don't have fixed views and are skeptics, they evaluation of the evidence has led to their position.

as for

"We try to repeat or independently derive what we read in publications—just to make sure that no mistakes have been made."

try

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.1651/abstract

you could always challenge him to repudiate that paper, of which he was an author, given that the statistical test it on which it was based has been shown to be incorrect.  I rather doubt he will as he still cites it.

2012-03-16 04:17:02
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
88.108.193.168

also for CO2 being well mixed, the AIRS observations may be of some use, see

http://skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1259#76340

this indeed may be a topic worthy of a rebuttal to add to the list

2012-03-16 04:43:02
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.44.252

I wonder if it would make sense to go through all of Singer's prominent papers and critique them?

2012-03-16 06:04:44
John Mason

johntherock@btopenworld...
81.129.232.193

Dana has the second wave of criticism in the oven!

Cheers - John