2011-06-19 19:04:26Bishop Hill impugns SkS reliability
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

Bishop Hill posts re SkS:

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/6/19/reliable-sources.html

His problems seem to be quoting from a peer reviewed paper he doesn't like and not referencing issues that I have referenced (divergence problem) but apparently not on the post he must've read.

2011-06-19 19:06:53On the other hand, he's right about one thing...
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229
It always puts you behind the 8 ball if you quote SkS. I originally started SkS because everyone was quoting Real Climate and other blogs and I needed a resource of peer reviewed papers to quote. That made it much harder for people to ad hom your posts. But now SkS has become the reference people quote and deniers love to hate.
2011-06-19 19:23:28The article that got Bishop Hill riled up
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

Followed the link on Bishop Hill to this article:

http://skeptoid.com/blog/2011/06/15/i-global-warming-skeptic/

This part jumps out at you:

Since his talk I have spent a lot of time on a site he recommended, skepticalscience.com. There they have taken each of the most common science questions, numbered them, and carefully addressed them with the current science. The answers are even presented in basic, intermediate, and advanced formats so that there’s likely to be one matching the reader’s level of scientific knowledge.

With the caveat that a few of the questions don’t belong on their list (42, 63, 105 and 165, at least) because they are economic and/or political rather than scientific, I highly recommend the site.

So, yes, I am now persuaded that anthropogenic global warming is real. That’s because I’m a skeptic.

So that's FOUR people I know that have changed their mind and become convinced of AGW. Miracles do happen!

2011-06-19 19:38:35
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

And I notice Phillip Bratby posts a comment.

2011-06-19 20:16:35H/T to all contributors
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn
bioluminescence@hotmail.co...
80.42.210.30

Great work everyone! I'll admit to feeling deflated occasionally when the same debunked arguments rear their ugly head time and again in debates, so to see that some people, even if only four, have changed their mind is a huge achievement. And it encourages me to carry on debating :)

2011-06-19 20:27:37That feeling of futility
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

Sometimes it's hard to know whether we're having any traction. When I meet people at various conferences/workshops/etc, they often say how significant the work of Skeptical Science is - that it makes more difference than I realise. I'm tempted to retort "can you provide some hard numbers and empirical evidence for that?" but I smile graciously and thank them for the kind comments.

On a related note, James has been emailing politicians, mentioning he writes for SkS, and a few of them (including the former leader of the opposition) say they use SkS. So that's very encouraging - that our work is being used by the nation's leaders. Hopefully James will post some comments here sometime.

2011-06-19 20:56:54
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.45.169

I'm sure it's having an impact. Keep in mind, the WHOLE GAME is perception: If the skeptics get you to thinking that the case is hopeless, THEN the case really is hopeless.

To take another angle at it, for Tolkien fans: If you look at the strength of Sauron, although he had monsters and powers, his main real weapon, when you boiled it down, was his ability to discourage the other side: individually or by group, by fear or by corruption.

On a more prosaic point, the ultimate defense of a good SkS article is the point that the assertions therein are backed up by cited scientifically accepted papers. So don't argue with us: Go argue with the experts.

UPDATE: I've made a posting at the Benny Hill site on the last point (not about Sauron).

2011-06-19 20:59:54
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

The bigger the impact Skeptical Science has, the more it will be attacked.
It would be nice to think that success could be measured purely based on praise, but the level of attack will also be a measure of success.

2011-06-19 22:21:04
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.115.90

Benny Hill?, now I've got that tune stuck in my head!

JC - I've turned my father from the darkside. I think the dramatically worsening weather situation worldwide might have done it for him (I've bored him with explantion of warming and the hydrological cycle). I thought that was a hopeless situation too.

2011-06-19 23:21:00
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
121.79.16.75

I’ve changed my father’s mind too. That brings our grand total of changed minds to… six!

Re contacting politicians, I encourage the other Australians on this forum to also do so. Now is a, perhaps the, critical time to influence Australian climate policy. I have posted the email I sent to every Member, Senator, and Senator-elect, and their contact details, here.

I got this response from former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull:

"I think your blog is excellent and I often refer to it, usually via the app in fact. Well done."

And this from the office of Greens Senator Christine Milne:

"I also want to say a big personal thank you for helping make www.skepticalscience.com the fantastic resource it is. I can’t tell you how many times I have referred people to it as part of my job of handling Christine’s correspondence, and it is the ‘go to’ site for all Greens staff when dealing with genuinely confused people on the issue of climate change.  You have made a really significant contribution to the debate by helping that site exist, thank you – and please feel free to pass this on to your collaborators for the site."

Who'd have known the site would become so high-profile?

2011-06-19 23:56:02Another snipe...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

LOL....

you speak as though skepticalscience was a credible source.

how silly. Might as well listen to realclimate if all you want is propaganda


Posted by anonymous-the-denier on the comment thread to: Ice Age Cancelled: Deniers Destined for Disappointment

 

2011-06-20 00:56:19
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
Firstly, being criticized by Montford is a compliment. He's as biased and inaccurate as they come, so if he says you're inaccurate, odds are that means you're actually accurate! Secondly, it's great to read that we're actually convincing some skeptics about the science. Thirdly, the Bishop Hill comments are quite entertaining. The first calls John a cartoonist, which is funny because he and I were just discussing a new cartoon he drew. Another says SkS is as biased as the IPCC, which I find a great compliment!
2011-06-20 01:28:20
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

this SkS stuff is coming up all over the place lately.  We are undoubtedbly in their crosshairs.

 

http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/#comment-2308

 

http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/

 

http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/06/10/beware-of-green-tyranny/#comment-64586

 

You have several refereces to the cartoonist.  Marxism.  Dana's job.  False equivilencies to Monckton of all people.  David Wojiak the tobacco lobbyist, etc, etc.  So, it is all the same generalized nonsense that the IPCC gets, so, as Dana says, we are in good company.

 

"Cook’s core motivation is extremely political, his expressed views being boilerplate Marxist, anti-capitalist, and anti-scientific" - NikfromNYC

 

"The good thing about SS.com is that it makes clear just how complex the debate really is, Once you get passed their intentionally deceptive formula that is. Every one of the skeptical arguments they address is significant, once it is properly understood. Many are quite deep."  - David Wojiak

 

"The second guess I have is you take issue with me setting up an equivalency between Monckton and others.  In this case I say, “tough luck.”  This is not a defense of Monckton.  It’s an accusation of hypocrisy.  If behavior which would never be tolerated from Mockton is tolerated from Skeptical Science or anyone on that “side,” it’s a demonstration of a problem, and an argument can be made about it." - Shollenberger

 

2011-06-20 02:39:05
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
188.152.84.245

Anne Marie
you will here some arguments forever, like we still hear evolution or quantum mechanics or whatever can't be true. You'll always find someone "not convinced" who, being a small minority, make a lot of noise wherever he can. And the more they feel they're loosing the louder they shout. In the end, this is not a good measure of the impact we have.
I feel proud of this site because I see it quoted more often every day and this is the measure of the impact we have. Each time I see SkS quoted I think "good job mates!".

2011-06-20 02:51:44
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

grypo, that Nik character is a difficult one to deal with.

2011-06-20 03:07:27Virtual warfare...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

After reading some of the comments on Judith Curry's blog, it suddenly dawned on me that climate deniers have transformed what used to be a "debate" about scince into virtual warfare. They are operating in a "take no prisoners" mode while we operate in a "reason will prevail" mode. Their pithy statements resonnate more with the average person than do our scholarly tomes. Perhaps we should go on a vitrual retreat and redefine our strategy and tactics? 

2011-06-20 03:07:30Revising SkS articles: How do we improve on what we've done?
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.45.169

The good thing about all this free PR is that more and more people will be coming to check out SkS.

Our challenge, and our strength, is in presenting good science that relies as much as possible on clear argument and reasoning; as well as on transparent citation of scientifically accepted expert literature.

One aspect that interests me: From time to time, we should probably go over the existing presentations and see if we can improve them:

- bring them up to date with more recent and stronger evidence

- simplifying the language as much as we can (we should be aiming for 8th-grade reading level)

- streamline the wording, if possible

- add more cross-linking, when appropriate

 

Any ideas about how we can do that while:

- not destroying the work of the original author(s), and

- not creating a discrepancy with the line of discussion?

How important is it to maintain the lines of discussion, as time wears on? If we revise the article, should we erase the old discussion and start from scratch?

2011-06-20 03:21:25nealjking raises excellent points
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

I recommend that a small team (John Cook, Dana & neljking) triage all existing rebuttals with respect to need for updating.

I also am concerned about the sheer number of articles now posted on SkS. At some point, the number of articles becomes overwhelming and daunting to the average person looking for basic information on a particular topic. If you don't believe me, put "Medieval Warm Period" into the search engine and see the myriad of rebuttals and articles that come up.

One solution to this problem would be to archive all articles of more than ___ months old.

Another would be to immediately elininate a blog post article once it has been transformed into a rebuttal.

I also agree that SkS authors need to do a better job of both cross-referencing within SkS and providing refernces to external sources for more information.

The bottom-line is that SkS needs to formulate and activate an internal housekeeping process.

John Cook also needs to offload some of the webmaster work he now does. 

2011-06-20 03:47:41
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal,

Excellent ideas, as always.

2011-06-20 04:41:20Revised original texts and translations
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.193.100.92

Should blog-posts and/or rebuttals be revised, the changes may also need to be reflected in any of the already existing translations. This in turns means, that a mechanism to alert the translators to any changes (and their magnitude) is needed. Ideally, the changes should be somehow or somewhere documented to make it as easy as possible to see for the translators of what may be in need of updating.

Ideally, a history of the changes (or versions) for each post/rebuttal should be kept somewhere. This might also help with the decision of what to do with the comment-thread as it could for example stay with the appropriate version of the text.

2011-06-20 04:52:11
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
grypo - somebody made a comment about my job? What was it?
2011-06-20 05:15:52
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Dana - it was the repost of the Christy's Skepticism article by Treehugger.  Who was it, NikfromNYC? - he made a comment about Tetra Tech.  This was also brought up in another forum section here, not sure if you saw it.  To quote:

"This is written by a guy who lacks a Ph.D. who works for a billion dollar engineering firm called Tetra Tech in Sacramento who are expanding from designing nuclear weapons into obtaining $300 million dollar government contracts for green energy work. He has a very direct conflict of interest in attacking skeptics."

2011-06-20 06:17:30
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

Dana

http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/#comment-2308

Your name links to comic John Cook’s SkepticalScience.com web site, whose site partner is an employee of a nuclear weapons design firm that now gets $330 million green energy contracts too. Cook’s core motivation is extremely political, his expressed views being boilerplate Marxist, anti-capitalist, and anti-scientific:

 

I'm assuming that's you, right?

2011-06-20 07:03:57
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Badgersouth

"I also am concerned about the sheer number of articles now posted on SkS. At some point, the number of articles becomes overwhelming and daunting to the average person looking for basic information on a particular topic."

The shear number isn't particularly a problem.
You can have a large number as long as navigation is good enough.

If you want to target a specific group of people then you simply develop a navigation method that satisfies their need which would supplement existing navigation.

2011-06-20 07:43:35Badger
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Arguements can be looked at by Taxonomy:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?f=taxonomy

 

Aside from using the Search function, posts can be found in the News Archive, where they are listed chromologically:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/newsarchives.php

2011-06-20 07:55:06Review & Revise: Framework
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.45.169

- It would make sense first to group the articles & postings by topic, so they can be revised as a group.

- For each group of articles, it would be good to create an ad-hoc team to revise that group. Ideally, the original authors would be part of the team. Each team should consist of our subject-matter experts on that topic, as well as anyone who has an interest in improving the quality (readibility and effectiveness) of SkS articles on that topic.

- After each group of articles has reached consensus within the team, the group should be released for general discussion within the Forum. Each article should have an editor from the team, to control the editing of the document.

2011-06-20 07:56:45
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.45.169

dana,

Maybe you should add onto the next article that you work for an international WMD corporation on the topic of death rays - green death rays!

2011-06-20 09:02:02
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37

Wait, WTF, I'm the nuclear weapons guy?  Seriously?

LOL that's just so crazy.  Tetra Tech is an environmental consulting firm.  We do environmental cleanups and some engineering.  Yeah it's a huge company with offices all over the world, but nothing even remotely related to nuclear weapons.  I think some of our offices do a bit of green energy work, but not hundreds of millions of dollars worth.

2011-06-20 09:12:29Dana
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

You need to author a rebuttal.

2011-06-20 10:03:42Lots of interesting discussion in this thread
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

A lot of weird fictional stuff seems to come up related to Dana. He makes WMDs. He's female. Other people make his graphs :-)

I don't think Dana should do a post about the nuclear thing though. It's a marginalised obscure comment in a discussion thread somewhere, doesn't deserve elevation. Remember George Lakoff's "Don't think of an elephant" - as soon as Richard Nixon said "I'm not a crook", all everyone could think of is he's a crook and that's how history remembers him now. By attracting attention to a myth, you strengthen it.

Re converting fathers, my dad also came over from the dark side. We'd had several discussions where he was skeptical about AGW. That he commented that he thought humans were causing global warming at my book launch. I nearly dropped off my chair. Later, first chance I had to have a private discussion with him, I asked what changed his mind. He replied "changed my mind? I've always thought this!" In denial about his own denial!

So I've mused on why he changed his mind. At first, I thought it was the fact that his son got a book published that may have swayed his mind. But the other day, I came up with another theory. He worked out that he would make more money putting solar panels on his roof than investing the money in a term deposit. So he's been calling me regularly giving me updates on the panels - got a quote... ordered... installed... first readings. Cognitive dissonance occurs when our beliefs conflict with our behaviour. But now, suddenly, in his head, climate action was a good thing - he ended up with more money in his pocket. The cognitive dissonance was removed and he stopped being skeptical. It's a theory anyway.

Nik from NYC's comments about me being boilerplate Marxist come from quotes from Climate Change Denial - they're actually from Haydn's portion of the book. My political views are not as well-formed as Haydn (who has been an environmentalist for decades) but I can expect people to take his quotes and apply them to me - that's fair game as my name is on the book.

The cartoonist slur comes because over the last few decades since I did my physics degree, I've dabbled in a number of things - graphic design, cartoons, web programming. I even drew a few cartoons for SkS:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Cartoon-about-global-warming-alarmism.html

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Christmas-cartoon-on-melting-North-Pole.html

I've thought long and hard about whether to get more active about cartooning, use it in climate messaging, worried it would lead to more "SkS is run by a cartoonist" slurs (and also the extra workload). I'm now thinking I *should* use cartoons more in messaging. We need to use anything and everything to get the message across and not shy from trying things because it might attract criticism. Deniers will throw any mud at us anyway and if they can't find anything, will make stuff up (nuclear weapon, anyone?). So now just the tiny problem - finding more time in the day...

I'm a strong advocate for revising old SkS rebuttals. Not the blog posts - just the rebuttals which are our encyclopedic reference. Peter Gleick has told me they need revising and updating and I agree. Problem is I don't have time to add this to my workload at the moment. So the only way it could happen is if others take this on. I would suggest the following approach, if and only if there is interest from a number of parties in tackling this:

  1. Start a new "Revising rebuttals" forum
  2. If someone sees a rebuttal that needs revision or updating, start a new thread and post suggested text
  3. Others can comment on it, the usual peer review process
  4. Once there's consensus on the update, one of our Admins update the rebuttal with the revision

So this can be an ongoing process of improvement and updating - not an all-out single effort but just adding things as we notice them or as new research emerges. Anyone can contribute to this just by starting a thread on the forum.

Also, I'm about to start posting info on how we can improve our messaging - we can most likely apply these to old rebuttals - particularly the Basic versions. In fact, if we do major revisions of old rebuttals, it would also be worthwhile posting them as blog posts to get the information back out there in the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with repetition - in fact, it's essential to get the message across.

2011-06-20 10:51:10For the record...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

My suggestion that Dana do a rebuttal was tongue-in-cheek. 

2011-06-20 10:53:13John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Creating a "Revising Rebuttals" forum would be an excellent move.

2011-06-20 16:10:43
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.102.37
I think a revisions forum is a good idea. The more help and coordination in updating rebuttals, the better. There are only so many hours in the day, and John and I are only human [contrary to the borg/cyborg rumors]. btw John you should post your new cartoon sometime.
2011-06-20 21:00:36
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.61.243

I think a revisions forum is a great first step.

Since I think a goal of the revisal should be to improve the coverage and consistency of the site, I suggest that a second step would be to agree on a rough division of the body of articles into groups, so that revision can be done with a clear idea of how revising one article affects another. There are 184 items in the Rebuttal List, so this should take a little time to review and classify.

2011-06-20 23:44:52Archives and updates
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.136.119

I’ve been saying for ages the blog archives should be broken down into months, not years – there are hundreds of posts for 2010 and 2011.

Re revising rebuttals, I think some of the global cooling rebuttals could do with some revisions and updates. If I recall correctly the 1998 rebuttal still has a graph showing temperatures increasing from 1998 to 2007.

2011-06-20 23:52:20
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.61.243

I agree with James: There is little value in clogging up the blog conversation with year-old concerns. If there is really good content in the discussion, it would be appropriate to incorporate it in the revision.