2011-09-13 08:45:14Intros to our skeptics at http:..sks.to.skeptics
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191

The discussion about the Pielke attack raises the valid point that the intros to our skeptics need work. I've only written a few, Monckton and Spencer, and the two are both quite different in tone. So there needs to be consistency and some focus on what the intro is meant to achieve.

The way I thought about the intro was if someone asked you about a particular skeptic, what would you say in a few sentences? Think of it as your elevator pitch. If someone said "what's the story with Monckton?" as you got on an elevator, how would you boil it down to a few floors worth of discussion? I'd probably summarise it as "Monckton has a long history of misrepresenting the scientists he quotes - he'll make some outrageous statement, citing a scientist, then when the scientist is asked about it, he'll say 'what?! That's not what I was saying at all". And we have documented proof of many examples of Monckton misrepresenting scientists so we're on solid ground there.

So I'd suggest we take this approach with all our skeptic intros - a pithy summary of the skeptic and how they misinform, but with rock solid statements that can be substantiated. With the current Roy Spencer intro, I based that on some text from John Abraham but it could probably be scaled back a bit and include links to examples to back up the statements. 

If SkSers don't agree with this approach, let's nut out the approach more clearly. Once the goal of the intro is clearly defined, I suggest we go through the current intros first to clean them up, make them more consistent - then start writing intros for the others.

2011-09-13 09:12:00
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.4

Sounds like a plan.

2011-09-13 09:27:02Wow, unqualified thumbs up from Neal...
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191

...doesn't happen every day :-)

2011-09-13 09:29:30
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think it just requires some basic background about each guy (i.e. Spencer and Christy being from UAH, having expertise in satellite temperature data).  They all have a history of making wrong statements or we wouldn't have series devoted to them, so I think that goes without saying.

It's probably worth saying that they go beyond their realms of expertise, like Spencer/Christy/Lindzen making economics arguments (especially the former two).  That's really where they get in trouble.

Monckton, he's just an amateur who doesn't know what he's talking about.

2011-09-13 21:27:01
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.101.74

"...doesn't happen every day :-) "

It doesn't happen every month.

2011-09-14 01:23:36Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.17.21

I had never known that Christy's supervisor for his Masters and his Ph.D was Kevin Trenberth... that's an interesting piece of information.

2011-09-14 10:44:00
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

It would also be good to qualify that Spencer, Christy, and Lindzen are by far the three most prominent of the very few climate scientist "skeptics".

2011-09-15 09:50:53So do we want a tepid bio or a hard hitting elevator pitch?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Dana suggests just having a straight down the line brief bio. But what's the point of that? The whole point of SkS is to take rich layers of information and encapsulate them into bite sized morsels that link to the more detailed versions. So I still lean towards the "elevator pitch" that summarises on what they do wrong - with links to fact based details.

But happy to discuss this further if others disagree (but Neal is on my side and he fights for his position like a pitbull so good luck, anyone wishing to disagree :-)

2011-09-15 10:09:29
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

i could go either way.  I have a hard time seeing what the 'elevator pitch' version would look like, since what these guys do is spew as much crap as they can.  There's no pattern to the myths propagated by guys like Christy and Monckton.  If it's a climate myth, they'll repeat it.

2011-09-15 10:14:38
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

A combination of the two approaches might be good too.  Here's what Alby has so far for the straight up version.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, as well as the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)]

He is known for his work with the satellite-based temperature monitoring for which he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. 

Dr. Spencer suggests that global warming is mostly natural, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.  [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy]

Other professional affiliations: Dr. Spencer is on the board of directors of the George C. Marshall Institute, a right-wink conservative think tank that on scientific issues and public policy.  He listed as an expert for the Heartland Institute, a libertarian American public policy think tank.  Dr. Spencer is also listed as an expert by the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), a global warming "skeptic" organization.

Dr. John Christy is a Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).  He has also been Alabama's State Climatologist Since November 2000. He is mostly known for his work with the satellite-based temperature monitoring for which he and Dr. Roy Spencer received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.  [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy]

Christy was a lead author of the 2001 report by the IPCC and the US CCSP report Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere - Understanding and Reconciling Differences.  Christy helped draft and signed the 2003 American Geophysical Union statement on climate change. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy]

Dr. Christy believes that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and is doubtful that human activity is to blame for most of the observed recent warming.

Other professional affiliations:  Dr. Christy is listed as a "Roundtable Speaker" for the George C. Marshall Institute, a right-wink conservative think tank that on scientific issues and public policy.  He is also isted as an expert for the Heartland Institute, a libertarian American public policy think tank.

2011-09-15 11:15:22That's actually pretty good, Dana
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

I like the idea of mentioning their pet myths, linking to the myth concerned. That's very SkS.

Re the elevator pitch, just imagine if you had 30 seconds and someone asked you "what's up with Roy Spencer?", how would you answer? But we might be on safer ground (and easier from a producing content point of view) just to go with their fav myths.

On the other hand, I do really like the idea of stuff like "Monckton has a habit of misrepresenting the scientists and organisations he quotes". Great summation of the man and backed up with concrete examples, very powerful.

But mentioning professional affiliations, do we want to do that? Is that too ad hom for SkS? Or is omitting it leaving out vital info for people. If we do the affiliations bit, we should link to a site like desmogblog and/or sourcewatch.

Recommended course for now: I'd suggest the following template for now to get things moving (noting it doesn't have to stick to this rigidly):

  • 1-2 lines of straight bio
  • 1-2 lines of fav myths (linking to rebuttals)
  • 1-2 lines of affiliations (linking to Desmogblog)

If we can get in an elevator pitch in there (linking to concrete example), all the better.

2011-09-15 11:37:56
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

In pharma, where you are lucky to get more than 30 seconds in the average interaction, you have to get in your key takeaway in your first sentence.  That first 7-10 seconds determines how much more attention your audience will then give you before the tuning-out process begins.

Typically you deliver the key takeaway, the second selling message, squeeze in a clock-stopper question designed to get you more time then repeat the key takeaway at the end of the interaction.

I see little reason this should be any different for the intros.

K.I.S.S.

2011-09-15 13:27:14
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Christy and Spencer's intros have been updated using Alby's work along with John's structure.

2011-09-15 19:00:56
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.127.254

Spelling needs to be checked:

"right-wink"

"isted as an expert"

 

2011-10-26 19:17:53
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
121.218.235.210

Perhaps some sort of allusion to their motivations - christian fundamentalist, old cold warrior etc. For example, signatories to the Cornwall Declaration. Also something to look at commenting on is the extent to which their comments and statements are limited to their field of expertise. Political outlook is useful if it shows that most/all denialist scientists are right-wing. Also how many are still active or 'have gone emeritus'

Obviously we can't put all that in in so many words. But keep it in the back of the mind when writing. Showing that these guys (and they are mainly guys) are peas from very similar pods.