2011-09-26 07:16:54Watts proposal to us
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/25/a-modest-proposal-to-skeptical-science/

2011-09-26 07:24:43
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

The response here should be to point out the treatment that SkS has recieved over the past couple of weeks.  How to do that, I'm not sure.

2011-09-26 07:37:20
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

It deserves some consideration. We should consider what we have to gain or lose.

I would be careful about goiing too much on the defensive.

The main thing I would avoid: The Australian Museum's press release is THEIR press release:

- It's already happened; and

- It's their's.

It doesn't make much sense to me to ask them to change it.

2011-09-26 07:44:46
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
94.174.78.42

Don't respond.  Responding will only massage the ego of an idiot.  There is too much idiot ego massaging going on around here recently IMHO.  We need to focus on our target audience and maintain the moral and ethical highground.

2011-09-26 07:45:27
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

I would be careful about goiing too much on the defensive.

I know.  If we do this, I'm not sure how to make people aware that it is NOT Watts taking the high road, it is SkS.  It's not typically considered civil discourse to abuse someone, like john was for instance, then make odd demands based on a false equivalency.  It's really a sign of an abusive personality, to be honest.

2011-09-26 08:07:42
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Agreed with Steve.  Just ignore him.  A response elevates his position and reframes this into a negotiation between equals.

2011-09-26 08:21:32
adelady

amgnificent@gmail...
124.171.82.190

What Daniel said.

2011-09-26 08:28:34
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

One has to wade through a pile of crap to get to his proposal. Ignore the SOB!

2011-09-26 08:49:08I think we need to respond somehow
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

If we don't respond to this, Watts will still claim to have taken the high road. So I think it is in our interest to respond.

 

What he's proposing:

- Stop using "denier", in accordance with our policy (and that IS our policy, anyway). So it actually doesn't cost us much to do this.

- Ask the Australian Museum to alter their press release, after the fact.

 

In return, he will:

- Stop using "SS"; and

- Replace the term "warmist" by "AGW proponent".

 

I notice that, although he wants credit for dropping the "Al Gore is an idiot" label, he has dropped the demand for the change to "Christy Crocks".

In internal discussion, I believe we have already come to the general consensus that "Christy Crocks" does us no good anyway, and should be changed to something else. So we should decide on the new name and add it to our pile of chips. We can still keep our general approach to naming, because we don't toss all of the denunciators' (How's that for a new euphemism?) work into the pile, just the work which we think is in bad-faith or deliberately deceptive; or perhaps an exercise in cherry-picking.

We can inform the Museum of certain changes we are making; but I would not go so far as to ask them to change what their press-release. They have awarded us the prize, not the reverse.

We could propose a better name than "AGW proponent", because we're not happy about AGW, so we're not proposing it. But I don't like much the name "warmist" either, as it seems to me to hint that such a person has come to this conclusion first and insists on seeing things that way no matter what (which is probably what they think).

Actually, it seems to me that when we deep-six the "denier" term, we are missing a socially acceptable term to fit that need. If we call them "coolists", they will be entitled to call us "warmists" (and maybe that's not such a terrible combination). It doesn't make sense to adopt "AGW proponents" because we're not. "AGW believers" would be OK except that it makes it sound as if it were a matter of belief. "CO2-ists"? This is the framing question, guys: What names do we use for the two sides?

They're still harping on the "alteration of history" issue, which I thought we had explained. I think the unfilled gap in the story is how could you erase old answers to old questions and over-write them with new answers (based on the new text) without realizing that these were old questions that already had answers? At least Watts seems to realize that there is little to no advantage to doing that ("Of course the original commenters had no idea they were being demeaned after the fact since the threads were months old and probably never visited again. The exercise was apparently done for the eyes of search engine landings.") But it is unclear to me, procedurally, how this error occurred. Just not thinking straight at the time? I don't know if this item will drop, by itself. We need a crisp (if embarassing) answer, to put an end to it.

 

2011-09-26 08:57:22
thingsbreak

things.break@gmail...
98.204.66.145

Gals and guys,

 

I would just like to repeat my plea from the previous lucia thread. Whatever you do, keep in mind that the slightest hint of anger or sarcasm is going to be amplified as much as possible. SkepticalScience is a great brand and they are trying to destroy it. I think that Skeptical Science is the last big site that isn't viewed as hyper "alarmist" by a lot of non-partisans. Sites like RealClimate and Climate Progress have been demonized to the point where "skeptics" feel comfortable dismissing links to them out of hand. There has been a lot of movement in the last year to do the same to SkepticalScience.

 

I understand Gavin and Tamino and others' tone in responding in comments. I act the same way at my own blog. But I think SkS might be better off holding itself to a higher standard. People that imagine themselves to be even-handed and centrist value politeness much more than factual accuracy. It's not enough that SkS brings the latter.

 

Like I said, kill them with kindness. Destroying arguments with the facts as well as civility is a devastating combination.

2011-09-26 08:57:45
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

I very strongly agree on ignoring Watts.

He's playing games here.  He removes one category called 'Al Gore is an Idiot' (while dozens more instances of calling Al Gore an idiot and otherwise insulting him remain on the site), and he pretends he's taking the high road, asking us to follow suit by changing Christy Crocks.  If we do, it looks like we're following Watts' example.  If we don't, it looks like he's better than us.

Now he's again trying to seem like the one taking the high road.  The only reason I commented on the use of "SS.com" is that deniers have specifically said they use the acronym to liken us to the Nazi SS (from Bishop Hill comments).  Nobody uses the term "deniers" to link climate deniers to Holocaust deniers.  So again, he does something that should be done anyway (stop with the Godwin's law crap), and then expects us to follow his suit.

There's no reason to even acknowledge this "modest proposal".  We get nothing out of it, and no matter how we respond, it makes Watts look good, covering up his pile of manure website with a few daisies.  No response is the only option.

As John said, let's stick to the science.  Don't get pulled into Watts' stupid games.

2011-09-26 09:04:07
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

I don't think a straight negotiation over terminology is the best path here.  There's gotta be a better way to handle this. Like, just do it, not expecting anything in return.  I would only get involved in a trade if I thought this was an honest attempt at discourse.  I'm 100% sure that it isn't.

2011-09-26 09:06:06nealjking
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

SkS is at a crossroads. Either we suck up all of our time and energy continuing playing silly reindeer games with the climate deniers, or we get back to our basic mission. 

I'm much more concerned with what's happening in the real world than in the artifical Deniersville created by the like of Anthony Watts.

Playing nice-nice with a snake oil salesman like Watts will ultimately backfire on SkS.

If your line of thinking on this particular matter prevails, I will most likely bow out as an SkS author.

2011-09-26 09:08:57
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

I favor what thingsbreak said. If you handle yourself well, it doesn't cost you anything to keep an even tone and to avoid snippiness - and I'm afraid I don't give our side an unblemished record on the latter.

By not responding, we still make Watts look good.

Let's not stick our heads in the sand.

2011-09-26 09:10:23
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

grypo - we already do this.  We almost never use the term 'denier', and as Watts admitted in his post, it's already discouraged in our comments policy.

I think if we were to respond (which I strongly oppose), we would have to take Watts of his high horse.  Point out all his Gore insults, his use of cartoons of John, other attacks like calling his commenters "trolls", etc.  Then point out that even though it has nothing to do with the Holocaust, and even though it's an accurate description of those who deny facts, we already discourage use of the term 'denier'.

But any sort of response to Watts distracts from the science.  That's what he wants.  We only make Watts look good if we do respond.  The worst he can do is write a couple more posts about how wonderful he is for making the proposal and how awful we are for ignoring him.  Big whoop.  Anyone who takes Watts seriously is not our audience anyway.

John is right - stick to the science, and ignore these distractions.

2011-09-26 09:18:03
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Watts craves attention; any response to this will give him relevance he does not currently have.

2011-09-26 09:18:24
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

Dana,

I see it otherwise:

- If we can bring the temperature down, we can keep the focus on the science, which is our strong point.

- We do not have to "take Watts off his high horse": a temperature reduction looks good on both sides; and, as asserted above, actually helps us.

- By refusing to acknowledge their opening, the issue is kept alive.

2011-09-26 09:21:45
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Dana, the problem with that is we have this

 

My initial opinion, subject to change:

John should respond by email (that Watts can print in WUWT) telling him we will scrub 'denier' from our posts because *insert reason here - not related to Watts request* and discourage it in the comments by moderation (shouldn't be too hard do a text search on the comments page a few times a day).  John should also tell him that we are not in any negotiation due to *insert whatever reason here* and if Watts would like to discourage "SS" or "warmist" it is up to him.  Put the ball back in his court.

Don't bother with the Austrailian museum as it is a silly request and we are not negotiating anyway

 

As an aside, who cares about the word warmist?

2011-09-26 09:37:43
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

I could not disagree more, neal.  Responding to Watts brings the issue alive.  Right now it's just a blog post on WUWT - who cares?  Responding to Pielke, fine, he's a climate scientist.  Watts is a crap blogger.  Ignore him.

grypo - I don't see that as a problem in the least.  As I said, the term "denier" is an accurate description (just look up the definition of the word), which we only discourage because deniers have made such a fuss about it.  In short, using the term usually starts a fight and causes a distraction.  That doesn't mean we should waste the time scrubbing every use of the word on the site.  All those previous uses aren't causing any distraction.

Any response, including an email, plays into Watts' hands.

2011-09-26 09:38:55Speaking only for myself
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

I made the following comment at WUWT:

 

Anthony,


The very first problem with your proposal is that your assumptions about the use of the word "denier" are incorrect.  If I look up my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary I am informed that "denier"  is Middle English, ie,, the language of Chaucer, for "one who denies".  The next entry informs me of the first modern use of the word, - 1532.  I do not believe anyone will be so obtuse as to believe the use of the word in 1532 was a reference to holocaust denial.


What has happened is that a perfectly ordinary english word has been used of a morally obnoxious group.  After that, other people of whom the word might normally have been thought to apply have then objected to that word based on a supposed implied implication of moral equivalency.  While I cannot speak for all "AGW proponents" (another obnoxious and inaccurate term), there has never been any implication in my use of the term "denier" of a moral equivalence between "AGW deniers" and "holocaust deniers".  In fact I used the term for several months without making that connection before somebody (falsely) claimed the connection was intended..


My problem with ceasing to use the term "AGW denier" is twofold. 


First, I do not believe the existence of holocaust deniers is reason to impoverish the language.  Just because holocaust deniers exist is no reason to use the term "denier" exclusively in reference to them.  If we are to accept the logic that "denier" should not be used because of its association with holocaust denial, then we also ought not to use the term "national" because of its association with the term "National Socialist" as in the Nazi party.  Likewise we should cease to use the term "democratic" because of its association with Stalin (through the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Kim Il-Sung (through the Democratic People's Republic of Korea).  On the same basis we should also object to the use of the term "People's" and "Republic".


Once you decide to exclude descriptive words because of unfortunate associations, you are on your way to limiting thought by limiting language.  The Minitruth of "1984" beckons down that path, and it is not a path I will follow.  Indeed, my suspicion is that many of the people I would normally describe as "AGW deniers" find the term offensive not because of any holocaust denial association, but because it is accurate.


Second, I do not have any other useful short descriptive term for those I would normally call "AGW deniers".   I know that they call themselves "AGW skeptics" or something similar, but that term is tendentious and attributes to them a virtue I do no see much displayed by their reasoning, ie, skepticism.  Using that term would put me in the same position as a Christian who is told to call a group "The Virtuous" because that is their self descriptor, when that group frequents prostitutes and regularly blasphemes.  A Christian faced with that demand will rightly reject it.  (Please note: the analogy is merely to make the point clear, and is not in anyway an imputation of moral equivalence.)   For similar reasons, I call Randians (ie, the followers of Ayn Rand) "Randians" rather than the undeserved term, "Objectivists".


However, I understand that the term "denier" does genuinely cause some "AGW Skeptics" offense, and am happy to drop it ... on one condition.  That condition is that you find a suitable, non-tendentious descriptive title for those who call themselves "AGW Skeptics" and who I call "AGW Deniers".  If you can find such a term, and pesuade your fellow "AGW Skeptics" to adopt it so that people will understand to whom I am referring, I will adopt it also, and drop the term "AGW denier".  If you do not come up with such a term, I will continue to use the descriptively accurate term "AGW denier" rather than the tendentiously false term "AGW Skeptic".


Finally, speaking for myself (which is all I do here), I have no objection to the term "warmist".  I know it was coined with the deliberate intent to belittle the opinions of those that you would describe as "warmists", but it is descriptively accurate, and those opinions are correct.  Therefore I wear the term as a badge of honour.


In contrast, I object to the term "AGW proponent".  I may be a proponent of the theory of AGW, but I am appalled by the prospect.  I wish fervently that  I was wrong.  Unfortunately, evidence indicates other wise.


Tom Curtis. 

 

Obviously I think a similar response would be appropriate for SkS.  Appropriate and tactically wise, are however, not the same thing.  I believe grypo describes the best tactical response, except that I ojbect to dropping the term "denier" when I do not have a succinct, descriptively accurate substitute.

2011-09-26 09:44:27
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

I will add that if you do actually enter into negotiations, the fundamental position should be that WUWT should no longer make, or entertain accusations of fraud and/or conspiracy against scientists.  It is the height of hypocrissy of deniers to talk about "warmist" inflammatory rhetoric while they regularly make such accusations.  If they really want to take the heat out of the discussion, and focus on science, they need to stop slandering scientists.

 

There is, I believe, no possibility of their acceding to this.  Further, I suspect they would spin such a negotiating position as censorship.  Therefore, as they are offering nothing in exchange in the negotiation that even remotely interests me (except the offer to stop using a term I don't object to, and substitute a term I do object to), I do not see any point in negotiation.

2011-09-26 09:55:49
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

Tom:

- Maybe the best compromise is warmist vs. coolists. Luke-warmists is already extant, and fits right in.

 

All:

- I think thingsbreak's observation about RC and CP are on-target: I am a bit reluctant to quote them because they've been demonized, partly on the basis of bad manners. I dismiss CA and WUWT for the same reasons. Lucia's site still seems reasonable. The advantages SkS has are: 

a) Transparency: assertions are backed up by links to papers;

b) Civility: seeming to be reasonable.

I can see that there is no consensus to do this; but if this keeps up for another week, you may want to reconsider. We have to think about how things look from the outside.

2011-09-26 10:01:02
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

Tom:

If we want to tone things down, we have to take them down in pieces. Stacking all complaints up on a big dish does not make that any easier.

It's true that WUWT et al. accuse climate scientists of fraud. But have you noticed that we accuse Spencer, Christy, Lindzen and Pielke of cherry-picking, which is quite close? "But we're right!" That's not an argument that anyone on the other side can accept; just as we wouldn't accept it from them.

2011-09-26 10:07:23
adelady

amgnificent@gmail...
124.171.82.190

No negotiation, no trading, no nothing.    

We just continue to do what we do.  Maybe we do it more thoroughly or more cautiously or whatever.  The only reason Watts is after this is because he doesn't just want to borrow SkS credibility, he wants to diminish it. 

otoh, some of us should perhaps frequent that place more often and advance comments based on science rather than suspicion, doubt, fear, personal attacks and all the rest of the charmless pantheon. 

I really don't want to go there.   He hasn't done any of that 'outing' business lately, but he'll start again in a heartbeat if he feels a commenter is getting uppity.   So a single comment every now and again might not bring down the wrath of the slavering hordes. 

2011-09-26 10:11:10
Sphaerica

Bob@Lacatena...
76.28.5.93

I think his challenge should be ignored.  Any response just makes him feel important, and will be ridiculed by him no matter what it says.

I also think that it is (a) irrelevant whether he uses SS or SkS (for him to use it just makes him look bad, and rather deadens their whole "don't call us deniers" schtick and (b) he is going to use things like SS in the future, along with other name calling, etc., etc. because it is who he is.  You're asking him to hand over his knife so he has to shoot you with his gun or club you with has mace.

I have always disliked the clever names like "Christy's Crocks", etc.  I think they cheapen the site, not because Watts or anyone else objects, but they simply come across as propaganda.  I am in favor of simply changing them all to a uniform, uncolored name like "Christy's Misrepresentations", "Spencer's Misrepresentations", etc. [I don't know that "misrepresentations" is the best word, it just does not come across as cutesy.]

I have at times tried to use "contrarian" in place of denier myself, but denier just rolls off the tongue.  Contrarian does have almost the same negative connotation (implying one who says the opposite just because they live in a state of perpetual opposite day), but if an adequate alternative name can be found, I'd certainly love to just stop hearing about it all the time from the poor, insulted deniers. At the same time, the very fact that it bugs Watts and his crew makes me want to keep saying it.

I do like Tom's challenge to him... if they want a different name, let them come up with it.  They can ask us to call them "Heroes of the Light and Defenders of the Actual, Real, Honest Truth That AGW is a Hoax," but we get final say.  They either come up with something worth using, or we ignore them and call them deniers.

To sum up:

  1. No response at all to Watts
  2. Change the titles of the scientist-focused articles to be purely objective just because it's more effective from our POV
  3. Ask Watts (maybe with a post?) to come up with a replacement for "deniers" but use whatever we please, and make them live with it, because no matter what we do, "alarmist", "warmist", "warmista" and a million other things will be flowing from Watts' mouth before the sun sets.
2011-09-26 10:13:31
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.37.113

adelady,

If you're concerned about IP-address outing, I think there are methods for disguising it. It worked in the Arab spring revolutions.

2011-09-26 10:14:00
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Tom - excellent comment (I especially enjoyed how you snuck in a comparison between deniers and prostitutes).  But I still don't think we should issue any response.

Consider that SkS is not your standard blog.  We stick almost exclusively to the science.  Even when we foray into politics, it's to discuss where politicians got the science wrong.

Most other blogs which are run by a single individual will reflect whatever subject the blogger is thinking about.  Spencer talks economics and conspiracy theories.  Watts makes fun of Al Gore and John Cook.  I think it's a strength that we always focus on science, and I think engaging in some sort of negotiation with WUWT over terminology brings us down towards his level.  He knows he can't touch us on science, so he's trying to get us into his comfort zone, talking about other issues.  If we stick to the science, we're better than him.

As for SS, my only issue was that deniers were intentionally using it to liken us to the Nazi SS.  I wouldn't have even made the connection if the commenters at Bishop Hill hadn't said that's why they were using it.  Watts actually did us a favor by bringing attention to it - now anyone who uses SS.com clearly loses any argument via Godwin's Law.

2011-09-26 10:29:54
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

>>>If we can bring the temperature down, we can keep the focus on the science, which is our strong point.

The temperature isn't up.  This is Anthony taunting us, this is absolutely nothing more.  There is no response needed, both from the perspective that his head will inflate to massive proportions and also because his requests require no outward action on our part, but non-action.  I think if John were to send him an email then fine, though I completely disagree with the idea of wasting our time going through past articles to modify them.  From here on out, any inclusion of the word "denier" just ought to be filtered out.  I might suggest this also goes for cartoons down the road.

There exists a SUPREME moral non-equivalence here, between outright calling Skeptical Science "SS" to purposefully liken them to the SS, and between calling people deniers because that's exactly what they do.  Watts is FOS, his post is FOS, and we shouldn't humor him in even the slightest except for, again, private communication.

Grypo: that link does not demonstrate that we use "denier" on a regular basis.  Take the iPhone app page, where it comes up was not our own wording.  I would also suggest logging out and performing the search, some of the results currently are of non-published articles.

2011-09-26 10:33:25
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

As Dana said as well, and as I commented at Shub's, "SS" is a fine short-hand and is quite valid in and of itself.  It is where people specifically use it (and openly admit to this reason) to liken us to the SS - it is similarly unjustified to use "deniers" to liken people to Holocaust deniers, though as Tom pointed out, that is not the only way "denier" can be used and it is often quite appropriate to call a duck a duck.

2011-09-26 10:36:47
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

FWIW, I remember the terms "convinced" and "unconvinced" coming up as suggestions for replacements.  They were by a "skeptic" at Y!A who was channeling the idea from a scientist in the field (a "skeptic" who has since abandoned his previous stance that he would stick to those replacements... whatever), but I think they are the most neutral of all I have ever heard.

Not that I'm necessarily promoting their usage.  What would we call a single person?  "A convinced"?

2011-09-26 10:39:51How to respond to Anthony Watts
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Still toying with what is the exact best way to respond but the general gist of any response should be to direct people back to the science because Anthony Watts' whole intent is to distract from the science. It's not even necessarily a political ploy - it's just as much a psychological response for the denier mind to gravitate towards comfortable topics like what a big meanie John Cook is with his Holocaust slurs rather than muse on the full body of evidence. Getting into slanging matches over whether they should call us ss.com is playing into their hands as you're just enabling more discussion about the distracting issues rather than the science.

So how do we point back to the science? Well, I had been thinking about doing a blog post this week titled "Conservatives convinced by the evidence" where I talk about how few conservatives are convinced of AGW because of ideology, citing that study of 2% of participants changing their mind on a strongly held view, then holding up the few rare examples of deniers who DID change their mind. A famous example is Tucker's "I was defeated by the facts". Specifically, I'm very keen to mention the two conservative bloggers who "converted", citing the evidence presented at SkS as a key influencer. That was the key point of the post - and what I think would really get up the noses of denier blogs - that SkS has played a key part in convincing conservative bloggers.

However, I've hit two snags. One is that I can't remember the first conservative blog - if I remember right, they cited Peter Gleick, they cited SkS then they critiqued a few things about SkS they didn't like. Can anyone remember or find the URL? The other is the second conservative blog, referenced in this forum thread, is now off-line. I've emailed the blogger today to find out what the story is - that's a real spanner in the works.

Now I am tempted to quote Anthony Watts from this article about skeptics converting:

I asked Anthony Watts, the meteorologist who runs what may be the most popular climate-skeptic blog,Watts Up With That, what could lead him to accept climate science. A "starting point for the process," he said, wouldn't begin with more facts but instead with a public apology from the high profile scientists who have labeled him and his colleagues "deniers."

So basically, Watts says point blank won't stop ignoring facts, and denying science until someone apologises for calling him a denier. Aren't we at a Mexican stand-off?

But while it would be satisfying to ridicule Watts, I think it would not be the most productive response (just very, very satisfying). We have to think "what do deniers least want us to do"? What deniers fear most is SkS being seen as a credible, authoritative resource. So our response should work towards that goal. I'm just not sure how exactly (sorry, not a very definitive response, just thinking out aloud at the moment).

2011-09-26 10:42:27
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Here John.

2011-09-26 10:54:38Alex, you da man
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Thanks for that link - couldn't find that elusive thread!

Now if only the Nathan McKaskle blog was back up also :-(

2011-09-26 10:55:56
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

neal, an accusation of cherry picking is hardly as bad as an accusation of fraud.  A scientist found to have cherry picked data will loose his/her reputation; but one found to have committed scientific fraud will loose tenure and any future prospect of employment in research (except by the Tobacco industry).

 

Furthermore, accusations of fraud are the least of the accusations leveled against climate scientists by deniers, the worst of which is deliberate conspiracy to commit genocide.  Bizzarely, some deniers will object to being called "deniers" because it associates them with holocaust denial while accusing climate scientists of a deliberate genocidal conspiracy to kill billions.

2011-09-26 10:57:21
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Yeah, it's a good quote but its use might be counter-productive.  Namely Watts would write another blog post saying "see, all I want them to do is stop using 'denier', and they won't even take that small step".  Though I suppose you could counter that by following up the quote pointing out that it's against our site policy to use the term, and we rarely use it in our blog posts.  But then you're still feeding into this whole rhetorical debate instead of focusing on science, so I still think it's best just to ignore Watts altogether on this issue.

2011-09-26 11:02:18
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

Does anyone think my continuing to respond at WUWT speaking only for myself would weaken any responce (or non-responce) SkS finally decides upon?

2011-09-26 11:04:04
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

I wonder if an "audit" of SkS for past usage of "denier" would be an idea worth pursuing.  Not because we actually need it, but because if we really want to bury this zombie [heavy duty nails, not the ones they try to use ;-)] that would be the way to go.

Of course that's where the "worth it" aspect comes in.

Edit: FWIW, looking through our listing of rebuttals to "skeptic" arguments, only one actually shows us using the word "denier," quote here:

  • “The WG1 report was authored and reviewed by approximately 2000 scientists with varying expertise in climate and related fields, and so having a list of over 30,000 scientists that rejected the WG1’s conclusions was a powerful meme that AGW skeptics and deniers could use to cast doubt on the IPCC’s conclusions and, indirectly, on the entire theory of climate disruption.”

Which I think is a poor example as we distinguish from skeptics and deniers.  The other post that shows us "using" that word actually only uses it in the section detailing the "skeptic" argument - in other words, not our words.

Our rebuttals are virtually pristine.  We should try to show that.

2011-09-26 11:12:42
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Tom: I don't think so myself.  If Watts wants to take your words later as being representative of SkS as a whole we will call him on it.

2011-09-26 11:16:38
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

@ Tom:

For my part, I have no problem whatsoever with your continued shoving a stick in Watts' eye interacting with considered and well-spoken dialoguing at WUWT.  Watts will do what he will do anyway, no matter if SkS ignores him or takes any other actions.

2011-09-26 11:21:58BTW, some email advice from Joe Romm
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Got this email from Joe Romm:

It is a losing battle to  engage with a rabid dog.  I'd suggest you  simply not engage him.

I actually stopped even looking at WUWT entirely a few months ago.

You've  reached the big time, which is why they want to take you down, but  being in the big time is precisely why you shouldn't waste your time on the blogosphere, but  focus on the bigger dogs in the real media.

You'll note  that I hardly ever write a post  going after someone in the blogosphere anymore.  Why?  It just  gives them attention/recognition and wastes my time.  Pielke Jr and Sr. are eels  who will always slip away from your grasp by redefining terms.  They are bit players, really.

Many deniers use the term denier.  As you know, Heartland  even ran a video embracing the term.

I actually  tried to get away from it for a while and use delayer.  I still use disinformer, since denying  the truth isn't what's bad about these guys. It's  spreading disinformation that is destructive.

WUWT is a nasty person.  He  questioned the patriotism of Tamino and Rabett.  He  smears the reputation of practicing climate scientists on a regular basis, as Tamino has shown again and again.  And his  commenters make  can seem like Miss Manners.

Stop reading him and  your mood will improve as will your productivity and your value to all of us.

I tend to agree with him re not directly engaging with Watts. 

Also got a reply from Nathan McKaskle but don't know whether his site will go back up anytime soon.

2011-09-26 11:33:16
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

If engaging Watts if not an option then let's just scrub the site of the word denier (pejoritively used, as last year, I got Watts to admit that's what the problem is hehe), moderate it out moving forward, and note what we have done (dated to avoid accusations and use of the wayback machine again) on the SkS policy page - with some reason, like 'we believe that the word hurts the trust that is crucial in difficult communication' blah blah.

 

The post by John about conversion would do well

2011-09-26 11:42:34Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.205.112

I think it is a trap. If we say yes we run into issues but if we say no we lose credibility. With all due respect to Joe Romm he has lost a lot of credibility in my eyes because of his rabid dog like mentality. This is about winning a war not about our egos and Joe has to learn that.

Regarding Direct Engagement I think that this could be the best thing to come out of the climate science debate. If we get them to stop doing certain things including making accusations about SKS only for getting rid of the word denier I think we have made as positive a change as has happened in the blogosphere over the last year. If we don't respond they will drag us out as being unreasonable and that argument does have sway. Tactically it does make sense to play nice. Frankly I don't like the use of the word and I don't think we should condone it nowmatter the connotation.

Our goal is to be above the fray and above the antics that Romm, Tamino and RC have become famous for. We aren't elevating Watts, he already has the most popular website as is out of any of us. All we are doing is stopping saying a particular word and changing the whole tone of the debate. AGW proponent instead of warmists is a great change and one that would permeate throughout the blogosphere once Watts adopts it.

You can all make your own decisions on this matter but I think its a PR disaster to be so stubborn that we can't stop using the word "denier".

2011-09-26 11:42:42
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

You know, I find this whole "proposal" interesting for different reasons than I think anyone has stated (unless I accidently skipped a post somewhere).  

Look at what Watts is doing.  He's essentially and unknowingly elevating us.  He saying that he wants to negotiate some form of d'etante with us.  He's willing to give up something (really very little) if we make some bigger changes on our site.

There may be an opportunity to one up him here.  List our greivences of his activities and ask him to change his policies in exchange for us doing the same.

Strategically he's putting himself in a potentially awkward position and we should carefully consider ways of making hay of it.

2011-09-26 11:43:55
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Personally, I prefer the word "dissembler" rather than denier.

Verb 1. dissemble - make believe with the intent to deceive; "He feigned that he was ill"; "He shammed a headache"
misrepresent, belie - represent falsely; "This statement misrepresents my intentions"
make believe, pretend, make - represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like; "She makes like an actress"
play possum - to pretend to be dead
take a dive - pretend to be knocked out, as of a boxer
bullshit, talk through one's hat, bull, fake - speak insincerely or without regard for facts or truths; "The politician was not well prepared for the debate and faked it"
2011-09-26 11:46:52
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Rob H, Watts never does anything without a plan.  This is a chess move by him.  He has a next step planned, as well as steps beyond that.  No good can possibly come out of negotiations with AW.

2011-09-26 11:51:39Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.205.112

DB,
I disagree. The same things were said about engaging Pielke and I think that it is unanimous that overall we took a lot of good things out of that, including some clarification on his statements.

2011-09-26 11:53:54Proving my point about permeating throughout
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.205.112

Way to go Anthony, although I think it’s a safe bet nothing will change. Look at the change of language in post conflict situations – Bosnia, S. Africa, N. Ireland. Using less inflamatory language is a good thing.

I’ll happily delete all references to “warmists” and “alarmists” from my site and change to “AGW proponents”. I’ve aspired to present a more neutral stance (at least as far as language is concerned) for quite some time. Trouble is when I do I have a tendancy to fall off the wagon.


"Be the change you want to see in the world"

I want a more civil debate. Don't we all? This is a chance to make a counterproposal and to bring things back to the science.

2011-09-26 11:54:54
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

I would highly recommend against putting anything more into the issue for the public to see.  Watts will not cooperate with any sort of negaotiation that involes him giving up anything more - I would be pessimistic enough to suggest equal - than us.

This is a game, the only way to win is either to not play or bring out what can be described as nothing short of a check mate.  This is a TAUNT by him, either we let it go and make our changes in secret (and moderate our posts from here on out), or we crush him.  And that doesn't mean address anything he's done, I mean crush all expectations of his.

I again propose (*snark) my idea of a self-audit.

2011-09-26 11:55:57
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Daniel...  I think you give Watts way too much credit.  I think he tends to shoot from the hip.  Look at that recent stupid post he made where he talked about cloud effect being -21W/m2.  He never ran that past anyone before posting.  I think the same thing is happening with the Monckton "commentary."  He's not asked anyone to review Monckton's work and just posted it because it was sent to him.

Watts is definitely a fierce dog but I don't think he's strategic at all.  I actually don't think he's really even that bright.

2011-09-26 11:58:17
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Question for everyone...  What your personal grievances are with WUWT?  Let's see what pops up.

2011-09-26 11:59:13
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Alex C

I wouldn't do it in secret as then we can be accused of 'hiding' our use of the word and the wayback machine will be used again.  We put an update w/ the date of completion on the policy page or do  a blog post and turn off the comments.

2011-09-26 12:00:14Just hit the page turn...
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Question for everyone...  What are your personal grievances with WUWT?  Let's see what pops up.

2011-09-26 12:02:59
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

My number one is his continual accusations that climate scientists with which he doesn't agree are corrupt.

2011-09-26 12:05:05Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.205.112

Agreed with RobH on that one.



Does anyone else not see this as a wonderful opportunity to change the public discourse. Agree to his terms and then take a step further. We up the ante, see if he responds.

2011-09-26 12:08:00
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

It bugs me that Anthony has tons of posts on freedom of information but refuses to release his own data.

I think there's an opportunity to up the ante a TON without giving up anything that is not already within the ideals professed by SkS.

2011-09-26 12:10:45
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

I hate the idea of turning this into poker.

RE WUWT, I don't pay too much attention to the site but what I have found annoying is the man himself.  He's a megaphone for everyone out there, and reposts material without consideration for either its implications toward himself or its conclusive worth.

2011-09-26 12:15:00
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Alex... Watts has the most popular climate related site on the internet.  He's dealt us a hand whether we like it or not.

2011-09-26 12:18:28
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Robert Way...  I think that's exactly the brass ring that is available.  Watts is clearly a website that has fostered some of the worst vitriol related to climate.  He's saying he wants to take the high road.  

Let's definie FOR him what the high road actually is.

Come on people.  What are your grievances with WUWT?  Why do you hate Watts?  Out with it.  This is our chance to make him change or look like he's rejecting the high road.

2011-09-26 12:22:44
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

We haven't put in the ante, we're not even committed to playing.  Responding to him, especially with the tone of "now you jump," is just going to re-open the whole Pielke fiasco but this time very likely won't lead to new enlightenment on what Watts' views are.

As that's now lost on the last page and nobody has commented on it: internal audit anyone?  Want to have pocket aces?  If we do respond, that's what we ought to have.

2011-09-26 12:29:13Understanding Watts
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Watts' issue with the term denier is an emotional one so there may or not be strategy involved. But he wears his emotional umbrage about being called a denier on his sleeve and has done so for a while.

I don't have any grievances with Watts. Sure, he abuses me, makes false accusations, insults, posts cartoons (not that I'm keeping a log or anything :-) but I don't care about any of that. My main concern is that he has one main agenda here - to reduce the effectiveness and credibility of SkS. A secondary agenda is to distract from the science. You have to understand the psychological powers at play here - attitude bolstering, confirmation bias - climate deniers would love nothing more than to sink into the warm, comfortable subjects of civility, framing, "deniers vs skeptic", etc. Pielke tried to get us to chase his blimp of diagnostics. Watts is trying to get us to chase his denier blimp.

It's not just a strategy, this is genuinely where these people want to exist, discuss and think about. It's where they're comfortable. Engaging on these issues takes SkS away from where we want to be, discussing the evidence. 

I've just thrown together a blog post which is a possible response, not directly engaging Watts but redirecting people to the evidence and also making the point that a few conservatives have perused SkS and become convinced (a fact that will I imagine enrage some deniers). It's a bit rough and I don't know if it's the response we want to do necessarily, feedback welcome:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Conservatives-convinced-by-the-evidence.html

2011-09-26 12:34:14
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I have never commented at WUWT and cannot stand reading it for more than a few minutes at a time.

AFA issues with AW:  I simply find him completely unscrupulous, vile and totally untrustworthy.

But other than that, he's fine.  :)

2011-09-26 12:37:24
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

>>>We will continue to do this, despite the many attempts to distract from the science and deny the full body of evidence.

Considering Watts' tendency to blow things out of proportion, would it be wise to include even "deny" here?

2011-09-26 12:38:04
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.155.206

Come now Daniel.  Such restraint!  Don't hide your true feelings  But I do share your views

2011-09-26 12:43:07
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Good post John.  I'd clarify when you first refer to "conservatives".  Perhaps "ideological conservatives" or something like that.  Maybe even specify "American ideological conservatives", if that's the case.  And it's "Saddam Hussein".

It's not actually a response to Watts though, because it doesn't address his pet "denier" issue.

2011-09-26 12:46:04
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Oh and I still don't think we need to purge all uses of the term "denier" on SkS.  Maybe just have moderators snip it in any future comments, and we won't use it in blog posts or rebuttals.  I haven't seen us use the term in ages.

As for WUWT, I agree personal attacks on scientists is the big problem.  And Al Gore.  And John.  And anyone Watts doesn't like.  I tried commenting there for a couple days this week, and was generally attacked nonstop by commenters, including Watts himself.  All they know how to do is personal attacks.  We're not going to get them to change that.

2011-09-26 12:59:53Internal Audit
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

ahem.

I've gone through the two rebuttal entries in which "denier" appears, only one true instance and we said "skeptics and deniers" so it's not like we're painting with a broad brush.

I've also gone through the first 7 entries on the list that have been published (remember, Authors see embargoed and unpublished posts), and 2 articles contain quotes from other sources containing the word (no implicit endorsement either), one is a repost in the "Clearing up the climate debate" series, one incorporated several "denier skeptic" parts, one had an off-hand "denier" usage in its fourth update, one was describing a "denier event" in Brisbane, and one was an article discussing John's article "Are you a genuine skeptic or a climate denier?" and how it was republished.

Rather petty list so far.

2011-09-26 13:05:48proverb
jyyh
Otto Lehikoinen
otanle@hotmail...
193.66.74.38

"Don't argue with idiots, you'll end up looking stupid and losing for they have the experience."

In addition an idiot who is willing to lie might even have a better voice.

2011-09-26 13:08:27
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
60.230.5.210

I'm away from my computer for a day and WOW!

Short views:

Definitely don't respond to Watts with posts here. Rule of thumb I would apply is similar to Romm. Focussing on skeptical scientists is OK. Focusing on specific scientific claims a skeptic blog may make, yes but with a light touch. Blog vs Blog general argy-bargy. Ignore it.

Individuals here might post comments at WUWT making some point but that is all.

Since we are getting enough traffic and mmaking enough impact, its time to ramp up the effect we can have. Our efforts need to be focused on impacts beyond the Denialosphere, even beyond the Bloggersphere.

Wrt the D word, I would use this as an opening for discussing the word. It certainly isn't used by us in the WWII sense at all. And I would take its meaning beyond just the dictionary definition. This could be a lead in to some of the Psych of Climate Denial, specifically because the D term is used, at least when I use it, specifically to refer to the psychological concept of Denial, dating all the way back to Sigmund Freud. Ideas or perceptions that are too threatening to someones sense of self, identity, meaning etc may trigger Denial. The complete (and often subconscious) rejection of the idea that is the threat. And thus the need to throw other forms of perception and reasoning out the window in order to defend the denial. And this then includes Denial of Denial. The denier MUST never admit to themselves that they are denying.

Perhaps we could look at a series of posts on the psych. Not just of how deniers distort things, but also the reason why some are prone to denialism - personality types and worldviews, why it is more conservatives and why this differs between countries so much. Maybe some posts on psych papers John has read or even some guset posts from psychologists and cognitive scientists.

 

Also JC, you nneed to update your bio that WUWT referred to. The cartoonist thing is used against you and now you hold an academic position. That is your day job. Say so.

2011-09-26 13:08:37
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

Rob, any sort of negotiation is a mistake.

 

The only thing Watts can offer that is of any value to us is a refusal to host defamatory comments against scientists, but he cannot make that offer even if he would like to.  Any such offer, and certainly any attempt to enforce it by moderation policy would lose him too much of his core audience.

 

Our response should be limited to unilateral action at most. 

 

If we can come up with a suitable non-offensive term to replace "denier", we should switch to using it.  We can even make a blog post about it, which should:

Indicate that our focus is the science;

Acknowledge that the term AGW denier is descriptively accurate but not intended (by us) to offend;

Acknowldedge that it does cause offense to some;

Indicate that the comments policy prohibiting the use of the term "denier" will in future be strictly enforced, including future moderation of the term "denier";

Explicitly state that the policy applies to future articles and  comments only, ie, that no retrospective action will be taken because we think it is really a bit of a non issue;

Thank Watts for bringing the issue more explitly to our attention, but firmly repudiate the idea that any quid pro quo is expected; and possibly

Point out some of the more egregious ad hominens from WUWT and other denier blogs, and suggest that any deal with WUWT would be pointless as we doubt Watts could, or even would hold up his end of the bargain.

 

Of course, all that is premised on our finding a suitable substitute word.  "Dissembler" is not it.  It suggests deliberate dishonesty, which is not true of most deniers, and more offensive than "denier" as a term.  I dislike "contrarian" as an alternative because it suggest the denier reject AGW simply out of a desire to be contrary.  "Coolist" is innaccurate in that many deniers think the Earth is, and will continue to warm - only very slowly (or rapidly, but that is a good thing).

2011-09-26 13:12:25
thingsbreak

things.break@gmail...
98.204.66.145

I think that SkS should ignore WUWT on issues that don't pertain to science. If SkS wants to make a new policy about usage of "denier", that's one thing (obviously document it somehow). Do not try to engage Watts on it.

 

If a change is made and WUWT notes the change, individuals can mention in the comments that decisions were made based on the merits rather than wanting recognition by "skeptics".

 

I tend to use "denialist" rather than "denier", but use "skeptic" (with scare quotes) most of all. Denialist is something that I think is sufficiently different than "denier" so as not to evoke "Holocaust denier" for non-partisans, and "denialism" is in common usage.

 

The number of actual uses at SkS of "denier" is trivial. It's small enough that I don't think it's an effective attack, and it's also small enough that I don't think it's much a "concession" to revise the few instances.

 

The genocide point by Tom C. is well made. Tom Fuller is accusing me of Lysenkoism (with all of the deaths that implies) for merely citing the Anderegg PNAS paper, yet he is one of the first to melt down into hysterics over the use of "denier".

2011-09-26 13:16:05
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Honestly, I think "denial" and "denier" of the most accurate terms for people who clearly reject the basic facts of climate change.  This is specifically because denial is a clearly defined psychological state that fits the situation.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

2011-09-26 13:16:52Why I'm reluctant to drop the d-word
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

I'm thinking about this issue and trying to be rational and remove emotion from my thinking. Yes, I know, impossible. But whether I'm being rational or rationalising, here are my thoughts on whether we should purge denier from our vocabulary.

I think we should NOT purge the d-word from SkS. Why? By removing it, we are conceding the issue of whether they are denying the science. We are letting them continue to claim the term 'skeptic'. This is a shifting of the Overton window - they're trying to position themselves as the rational, reasonable middle-ground with warmists at the extreme end of the scale. The scientific reality is deniers are the far extreme and the IPCC is the middle ground (in fact, it's slightly to the denier side of the scale as they tend to underestimate the climate response).

However, we should not use the term as a derogatory term. We should avoid the use of the word 'denier' and instead focus on the process of 'denial' rather than the title 'denier'. We would be surrendering too much if we conceded this ground because a key element to debunking the misinformation is to explain what they're doing. And what they're doing is denying the full body of evidence.

So perhaps an appropriate semi-direct response to WUWT is a blog post like "Understanding Climate Denial" which explains that when we talk about denial, it's not a title or derogatory term, it's referral to a real, empirically observed psychological phenomenon. Then I explain the phenomenon, show how and why it manifests in the climate debate. And the key point being skeptics consider all the evidence, in contrast to those who deny any evidence that runs counter to their pre-held views.

The important thing, as always, is our audience and our goal. We don't aim to placate Watts. Nothing will placate him - if we give ground here, he'll demand something else and so on with no satisfaction or relenting until we're denying AGW just like him. Our audience is the large undecided majority, our goal is to become a trusted, authoritative resource. So our response needs to be written for this audience, not WUWT readers, and should reclaim the middle ground. We're in the middle, assessing all the evidence, while those skeptics in the extreme end of the scale are denying any evidence they don't like.

2011-09-26 13:20:08
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

Glenn - John has updated his background info.  IIRC, Watts said he found the 'cartoonist' reference in an old version of John's background with the Wayback Machine (which deniers seem to be falling in love with using on SkS).

2011-09-26 13:21:55
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Using "skeptic" will almost always suffice.

I've personally grown a huge liking to Tamino's new "fake skeptic" meme.

BTW anyone have ideas on such an audit?  Looking through old posts and identifying where we've said denier, or some derivative/root?

2011-09-26 13:25:25
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.106.125

I like the 'understanding climate denial' post idea.  It will give us something to reference when the deniers complain about the use of the term.  We can say it has nothing to do with the Holocaust, it's about denying the full body of evidence - see John's post.  It also hammers home the point that they're not real skeptics.

2011-09-26 13:26:38Deniers deny facts; you can't deny that
muoncounter
Dan Friedman
dfriedman3@comcast...
76.30.158.238

There's no reason to stop using the word 'denier.'  It is an accurate descriptive of one who refuses to accept fact.

 

Read their comments objectively and you find that the Watts crowd has a totally different set of facts.  In their world, warming stopped, an ice age is coming and its no ones fault. 

 

When you compromise with crazy, all you get is half crazy.

2011-09-26 13:38:01
jyyh
Otto Lehikoinen
otanle@hotmail...
193.66.74.38

"suitable non-offensive term to replace "denier" ", well denialist as well, I think this has been attempted before on some blog.

the trouble is that as it captures quite many sorts of denial:

people, who would rather freeze than use a blanket for their ideology,

people who think warmth doesn't escape from an open window on the roof,

people who think paying bills is possible by looting the treasury and/or killing the creditor,

people who think killing debtors s is a way to get rich,

...

I could go on but won't use the space.

Should there be additions to the Skeptic Arguments Rebuttals, "IF YOU DENY THIS, YOU AT THE SAME TIME DENY/BELIEVE THAT (use the physical law in question to construct a silly character)" or to the Skeptic Arguments themselves, "CLAIMING THIS MEANS YOU ALSO BY (physical law) CLAIM... (add a perpeetum mobile argument)"?

2011-09-26 13:40:31
Brian Purdue

bnpurdue@bigpond.net...
121.218.161.146

My gripe with Watts.

I’ve landed some telling blows at WUWT – the first one (about a month ago) was with comment about an over-the-top video sent by Andrew Bolt that used a clip from Q&A that was actually about Norway’s shooting tragedy and made out it was about global warming.

I then got involved in the Monckton/ Nurse post. Made a lot of comments, other than debunking Monckton’s “science”. Interestingly I didn’t get one attack from deniers – even had some support, which I acknowledged.

Then Watts went for me using rubbish from Monckton tirade. In an earlier post I said there was a lot of “noise” coming out of WUWT at present and in his support words about Monckton’s rubbish he used the word “noise” to describe me.

Then Watts ran the Monckton/remote sensing post - maybe to show who’s boss.

Don’t trust the bugger – stay away from him!

One example of my posts

The other Brian says:

September 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm

This is a quote from the director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre made in an article yesterday.

”People say we need to make a decision about climate change. We’ve made that decision that we’re just going to let it happen. We just have to hope it is more benign than we think it might be.”

Doubt is not creeping into scientist’s minds – but fatalism is.

2011-09-26 13:45:49Yo.
jyyh
Otto Lehikoinen
otanle@hotmail...
193.66.74.38

I might add that IPs are not the only way to track people over the net, if some here didn't know this already. I mean, Watts may make it look like this is a game for _him_(In which he tries to change the rules if it suits him), but as this issue involves some serious consequenses for many, it's not a game for many.

The nicer way to say this is Watts is an escapist who just has some fun pissing more serious people off.

2011-09-26 13:47:36
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

John...  I think that's a really good approach.  The term, I believe, was originally coined by Freud for a very specific human psychological response mechanism.  

It could also be pointed out that, regardless of how anyone chooses to take the word, the term is not intended to relate to Holocaust deniers.  Anyone who takes the term in that manner is creating that association for themselves.

It could be pointed out that there are good skeptics out there.  But skeptics do not deny that there is a GHE, or claim that there is a conflict with the 2nd law of TD.  That's denial.  It's a term for people who deny basic established scientific facts.

Goddard trying to deny that Arctic sea ice is melting is denial.  In the early days of Watts Surface Station Project, that was good skepticism.  But at this point it's become denial because it's been shown so many times to not have an impact on the data.

2011-09-26 13:48:55A key point
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

The main point here is not trying to please WUWT or deniers. It's SkS striking the right tone so we don't alienate the middle-ground readers. So a blog post "Understanding Climate Denial" can strike the right tone that is targeted at our audience of undecideds, achieving our goal, while still having Anthony Watts frothing at the mouth. I call that a win-win.

Watts will use anything to slur SkS, reduce our credibility and distract from the science. That will involve citing my past as a cartoonist, concern trolling about the d-word, concern trolling about moderation, anything to get people chasing the blimp. Our response should always be to do what he fears the most - point people to the science, the full body of evidence.

If a few more agree with the idea of this blog post (noting it won't directly engage Watts or even mention him, it'll be a general discussion post) and the direction I propose we go with the d-word issue, I'll have a crack at writing it over the next day.

EDIT: sorry, accidentally posted this under my Lubos_Motl username, sorry for any confusion :-(

2011-09-26 13:51:04climate change denial
muoncounter
Dan Friedman
dfriedman3@comcast...
76.30.158.238

See the wiki page, well-written with 55 refs. 

This article is about campaigns to undermine public confidence in scientific opinion on climate change.

 

Its hard to call those behaviors 'skeptical'.  BTW, some of the Watts crowd deride the name 'Skeptical Science' because 'all science is supposed to be skeptical'.

2011-09-26 13:53:49
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi John C.

"The important thing, as always, is our audience and our goal. We don't aim to placate Watts. Nothing will placate him - if we give ground here, he'll demand something else and so on with no satisfaction or relenting until we're denying AGW just like him. Our audience is the large undecided majority, our goal is to become a trusted, authoritative resource. So our response needs to be written for this audience, not WUWT readers, and should reclaim the middle ground. We're in the middle, assessing all the evidence, while those skeptics in the extreme end of the scale are denying any evidence they don't like."

I could not agree more.  Do not engage him on this John, he is being mendacious and duplicitous to boot.  As someone else said, he is doing this but has probably been thinking several steps ahead-- this is not a 'modest' proposal, it is baiting, an attmept to fabricate debate, to get into a flame war and in a flame or blog war the honest guy will not come out tops (they can lie, deceive etc etc.), an attempt to reframe thnigs, an attempt to dictate the path SkS will take.  And the idea of someone like him offering unsolicited advice to you about etiquet and civility is just plain nonsense, he forsgts that he routinely provides a platform and podium for people like Monckton to attack and even threaten scientists is just silly.  Anthony seems to have already forgotten Monckton accusing Professor Ross Garnaut of being a fascist recently, and also associating him with a swastika.  The double standard on Anthony's part is pathetic.

Watts is entitled to his misguided opinions, but quiet frankly him suggesting how you should run your own blog is nonsense, he would not entertain your suggestions on how he should run his blog (even if sincere) for one second, he would laugh it off.  Once you have decided what to do or what not to do, perhaps I would at most write him a sincere and polite email.  Request that it be private/confidential (so do not run it by us), but knowing that he will probably not respect that, so to be sure, you could perhaps consider placing something in there that will be embarrassing for him if he does elect to leak it.  Don't make the latter obvious, it has to be subtle.

He will continue to try and taunt you, but like I tell my eldest  daughter when her younger sister is teasing her, "Do not get upset or irritated, because then you are just doing what she wants you to do, she weants a reaction from you.  If you ignore her, she will get bored and move on."  Anthony is trying to do the same to you IMHO.

But that is my take on this....I would suggest contacting others.  You contacted Romm, good move.  But also speak to Mandia, Hayden, Gareth R., Lambert  and others whom you can trust and who know what the deal is, but who have the benefit of distance and a diffwerent perspective.  Most of us here, inlcuding myself, are really all too wound up and involved in the thick of things to make an objective, impartial and rational decision.  Do not feel pressured to respond promptly-- the posts at WUWT will keep flowing and they'll likely soon get distracted by something else.

2011-09-26 13:59:45Internal Audit of SkS for all times we have used "denier," etc.
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Anyone want to comment on my idea of working on and publishing a full audit of SkS to show when we have used that word and its derivatives, as part of the "Understanding denial" post John wants to do?  I have already started, I'm done with 14 articles so far.

2011-09-26 14:03:00John Cook
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
112.213.151.63

would you please stop posting as Lubos Motl.  There is reason to doubt his sanity, so I don't like seeing his name.  Further, it is his name, and therefore one you are not entitled to use.

2011-09-26 14:04:24
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

John...  You freak me out every time Lubos Motl's name pops up!

2011-09-26 14:06:08
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Plus you may run into problems if any lab rats have ever heard of him.

2011-09-26 14:14:13
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

I'm coming around to the do-not-engage way.  I totally concur on the target audience aspect.  The WUWT is going to hate us regardless of what we do.  They don't matter.  We don't need to play nice with them.  The fact that they are paying attention just means SkS is making an impact.

I'll also restate my bit from the other day about using the term "full body of evidence."  I think that's the most powerful piece of framing SkS has and we should be stating it over and over and over.  If that phrase popped up in almost every article published it would do wonders for creating tone and direction for everyone involved.  Both authors and readers.

2011-09-26 14:27:45Sorry about the Lubos thing
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

Was posting some Lubos comments for the UWA experiment and forgot to log back in as John Cook.

For the record, if just one or two of you SkSers jumped over to the Technical Forum and posted some comments to the 4 Experiment Conditions, I'd get my 10 comments and wouldn't have to log in as Lubos anymore. Only one or two more comments required to get the quota. Just some incentive for you :-)

EDIT: one of the conditions now has 10 comments, so only 3 more threads (with 2 of them only requiring one more comment). So Lubos very close to being put to bed :-)

EDIT: only one more thread to go...

2011-09-26 15:26:54
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.178.33.88

“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

Commonly attributed to Mark Twain.

 

If SkS retroactively deletes any comments then Watts will claim proof of 'evidence tampering'.

If we totally block the term 'denier' then Watts will claim to have won some sort of victory.

If we ignore him, Watts will claim some sort of victory.

 

Whatever SkS does regarding WUWT, Watts will claim the moral high ground.

Since he tends to do that anyway, it is best that his high ground be nothing but his own hot air.

 

Bear in mind also that WUWT is very prolific.  Any post about SkS is likely to be buried and forgotten in his garbage heap archives quite soon.

2011-09-26 15:46:41My Audit so far...
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

I have so far gone through 27 blog posts that are listed when you search for "denier" in the search function.  For a summary so far:

- 2 actually don't have the word or any related word in them at all;

- 1 is the blog version of one of the rebuttals listed;

- 1 used the word to bring up this issue, and promptly rejected the usage of the word for the article;

- 9 were within excerpts of articles quoted in the posts, or were other peoples' words (not necessarily affiliated through SkS - this does include a couple of articles by John himself, published outside of SkS);

- 1 used "deniers skeptics" style and such a number of times;

- 1 was a rather off-hand comment made in the fourth update to the post;

- 1 was describing Andrew Bolt and a denier convention in Brisbane;

- 1 completely about the release of John's book (so "denial" and such is used a lot);

- 2 posts from the "Clearing up the climate debate" series, which we reposted here at SkS;

- 4 posts were recaps of Climate Denial videos, h/t Treehugger;

- 1 post had a single usage of the word;

- 1 post had three usages of the word, or similar;

- 2 listed topics covered in the Irregular Climate podcasts, topics that had "denier" in them (and weren't obvious quotes from the source themselves)

 

and then a couple analogies to smoking tobacco and the denial around the health effects of that, one instance of calling WUWT a "mecca" (which might raise some stirrings amongst what I presume to be a mainly white conservative Christian American group), and that's about it.  Pretty uninflammatory so far, it's been used very sparingly.

There are maybe ~35 more to go, perhaps a bit less.

2011-09-26 15:49:43
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

logicman: If we do what Watts expects us not to do - go above and beyond his expectations - he loses his moral high ground.

That's why I like the idea of auditing our past usage of "denier" and rubbing it in his face that we're quite starved of it.

2011-09-26 15:54:31Auditing denier
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

We audit 'denier' and Watts will say "okay, now get rid of the word denial". Eg - he won't be satisifed until we remove any mention of "Climate Change Denial" from the website.

Even if we did that, he would then demand I go to any 3rd party website where I've used the D-word, like the Guardian or ABC Drum, and demand they update their text also.

And if I did that, he'd then find something else to whine about.

During all this haggling back and forth, mankind would've emitted hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2. In Watts' book, that's a victory in itself.

2011-09-26 16:00:14
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

He's already implicitly asking for removing "denier," if we don't respond then he's going to outright say it (and I still do think we shouldn't directly respond to his request, yet anyways).  I like the idea of posting an "Understanding climate denial" article to set the record straight on what we actually mean when we say "denial" - and to kill this myth about its usage being a connection to holocaust deniers.  I think showing an audit on how we have used "denier" would be a great way to help that point along, we have very few instances of actually using it, and nothing worse than equivalence with tobacco smoking harm has ever come up.

There's no need to concede anything - his major complaint rests upon the notion that "denier = holocaust denier."  We ought to set the record straight on that.

BTW, I'm not suggesting getting rid of past usages, just make a record of specific instances.  I'm also currently keeping up with any usage of words related to denier (e.g. denial).

2011-09-26 16:53:39
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

Did SkS complain about "Al Gore is an Idiot"?  AFAICS I first brought it to refute Prof. Pielke's calim that WUWT didn't label individuals as SkS had done.  This wasn't actually a criticism of WUWT, if I were to criticise WUWT, then the content of the articles is far more in need of correction than the indexing.

The problem I have with the term "denier" is that it gets over-used to simply mean someone who doesn't accept AGW is a significant problem.  It is valid to use when someone has unambiguoualy chosen to ignore a fact or argument that has been posed to them, but otherwise it is well wiorth avoiding.

If there is to be any counter-response to WUWT (which I would suggest is not worth the bother), would be to ask them to suggest that they stop all name-calling, accusations of dishonest, fraud etc. and so will we.  This will be a far greater problem for WUWT as it is something we avoid here, but an everyday tool for WUWT.

My personal grievance is that I got banned from WUWT, and Watts took a cheap shot article on WUWT AFTER I had already apologised.  Nice guy!

I have also noted that quite frequently when I have been posting there, my IP address occasionally gets blocked by all word press sites for no apparent reason, but this only happens when I post at WUWT (which I generally don't any more).

2011-09-26 17:37:52
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
2.200.52.132
I like John's idea to do a post and to not directly reference WUWT and the "modest proposal". The focus needs to be on the science and not on semantics. It won't really matter anyway how SkS responds as Watts will always find s.th. to complain about. The word denier properly describes what they are doing and therefore should not be banned from being used here. Why should we let "them" decide which words to use?
2011-09-26 17:44:59
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

WUWT allegedly banned me a few years ago, but recently I posted a comment there using the same username and he let the comment through. I don't think his banning mechanism is very sophisticated.

I can't even believe this thread discussion is taking place, as others have said, don't respond.

You will never stop 'them' attacking SkS, focus on the science instead.

'KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON'

2011-09-26 17:49:44
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.122.57

- I stick to my original point of view (that we should respond), but I see myself vastly out-numbered. Only Robert is still on my side. (Weird, that: considering what a rocky start we've had.) I don't think any of us here want to take a lot of time on this issue: The question is, What is the most appropriate way to end it and move on? The consensus is against talking with WUWT. OK, let's go with the consensus. But maybe things will look different in a week or two.

- Alex C: Your investigations into the actual utilizatiion of the "d-word" are interesting, and actually seem to show that we're pretty much sticking with our policy. We should stiffen up compliance with this policy going forwward; but we shouldn't go back and change history.

- If we're we're going to announce a change in policy (or a re-stiffening), it doesn't make sense to say that this has nothing to do with WUWT, because: a) It's dishonest; and b) It rather obviously does. Rather say that we decline to treat with WUWT on this matter, but have taken consultation internally and decided to re-affirm our original policy, with greater conscientiousness. That means, we're not asking for anything from them: period. If you ask for anything, you're treating.

- My 2-cents on "denier": Since it presses so many buttons, I am in favor of avoiding the term (both for open and Forum consumption). I don't see a perfect replacement, but i toss the following log on the fire: being "in denial" about global warming. It has a certain "pop psychology" feel to it, which is not great. Otherwise, I'm not against the coolist/luke-warmist/warmist triage method. We can remark that the coolists are melting into luke-warmists (see Lucia's site); and if anyone calls us "warmistas" we can return the favor.

2011-09-26 18:01:36
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I have to say that Watts is exploiting the situation. Before SkS responded to the rather minor Pielke mention of SkS, Watts had only sent a private email to John about being named a denier. Clearly Watts is now joining the band waggon and taking full advantage of the subsequent brouhaha. The more that is responded to, the more they will dig.

Another point is that these bloggers are attacking because they percieve SkS as being important now, if SkS wasn't doing well they wouldn't bother.

BTW I agree with the idea of ONLY responding to scientists criticisms.

2011-09-26 18:02:52
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.155.206

I agree with John.  Never, ever make a concession to WUWT.

SkS is in the admirable position of being science based, science which is reliable and, as far as I know, has never been shown to be wrong.  WUWT on the other hand is an organisation which, if it printed scientific truth, probably did so inadvertently.  As such, WUWT is in a weak position while SkS is impregnable - so who should be making concessions?

2011-09-26 18:14:08Blog post written
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191

Have started a thread on the blog posts forum which I propose as the SkS response to Watts:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=2898

Suggest we continue feedback on the blog post there.

2011-09-26 18:24:25
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209

I'm going to be oversimplistic, but reality is not far from this:

- we have no reason to respond to WUWT and to have any discussion (with him or anyone else) outside the realm of science, let alone stipulating a fair game agreement with a shark (the "gloves off" man, remember?). Anthony Watt and his blind followers are not in the position to complain about our or anyone else fairness.
- we have no reason to not use the word denier, we're talking about climate and the meaning of that word is pretty clear. At most, we could explicitly use AGW denier. True, as Dikran noted, that the term may be misused or over-used; pay attention.
- we have no reason to plublicly declare anything on this (non) issue.

On a more general note, there appears to be a concerted effort to put SkS down by forcing us on their ground. I'm not surprised, but their chances to succeed are zero if we stay on track, they won't derail the train by pushing it bare hands.

2011-09-26 18:25:57
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191
Riccardo is right. Let's not chase WUWT's blimp.
2011-09-26 18:43:41Simple distinction...
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.180.40.205

What (BIG no pun intended) is the difference between WUWT and SkS?

He is a Blog.

We are a Website

Take out Ants, Wiilis (the brains of the outfit in my opinion) and Monsr Goddard and what is left. Two Tenths Of Sweet Fanny Adams. (some day someone needs to combine the profanities and slang of the Cockneys, Cornish, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies & Kiwis. We will have a Lingua Franca for the Whole World. Maybe add some serious Arabic cussing and what the Khabiru say back when - that's the early pronunciation of Hebrew - and we might have the most FUN language in human History)

Time to adopt our new mantle. WUWT is now 'beneath us'. And no, that's not Hubris, Its PR. If we want to move outside that world, we have to act like we already have. Ants will be apoplectic. His 'loyal followers' will rail against us.

And this matters why? Ants matters why?

2011-09-26 18:45:33
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I think it is important that a line should be drawn underneath this.

We need to go forward, being aware of what is being written about people on SkS. Make fixes to the way SkS is structured but do it because we believe it will make SkS a better product not because some blogger is dictating the terms.

2011-09-26 19:27:58
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.210

Responding to Watts is being on the road to the puppet that moves every time some denier site decides to pull our string.

2011-09-26 20:29:37
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
91.220.25.25

An important point that relates to the advice received from Joe Romm is that we must always be aware that we don't fall into the trap of assuming that the climate blog bubble we inhabit encompasses the entire known universe.  The overwhelming majority of people on this planet have never heard of Anthony Watts, Bishop Hill et al.  The number of regular posters on climate "skeptic" blogs is probably no more than a few hundred, with a regular lurker readership of maybe a few thousand i.e. a miniscule fraction of the Earth's population.  We must not allow inconsequential blog-wars to intrude on our primary mission.  The battles that we must be fighting and seen to be fighting are against the "skeptics" who hold real power, such as elected representatives and the Delingpoles, Bolts and Bookers in the mainstream media.

2011-09-26 21:03:19
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.6.13

Neal

- If we're we're going to announce a change in policy (or a re-stiffening), it doesn't make sense to say that this has nothing to do with WUWT, because: a) It's dishonest; and b) It rather obviously does. Rather say that we decline to treat with WUWT on this matter, but have taken consultation internally and decided to re-affirm our original policy, with greater conscientiousness. That means, we're not asking for anything from them: period. If you ask for anything, you're treating.

If we go ahead with that, either back editting or just moving forward, I agree we should announce this somehow and include Watts' name on the policy page in an  update.  Something akin to, "We are now no longer, or refirming, not using the pejorative form of the word denier," blah blah, "after an audit for the word on our site taking A Watts' request into consideration" blah blah "the word is against our policy of keeping debate civil" etc etc.  

I think that's a resonable response.  I still don't think a negotiation will work under the current circumstances.

2011-09-26 21:45:40Use attention
Hoskibui

hoskibui@gmail...
217.212.230.11

I posted this in a new thread by mistake (ignore that): 

A suggestion: Use the attention that Watts et al are giving skeptical science. Instead of using up all the energy to answer and respond to skeptics on their terms do this:

Repost (slightly rewritten maybe) few of the most compelling evidence that you can find wich support the main arguments that skeptical science uses. Repost f.example something alongt the lines of "The big picture" - or the "Scientific Guide to Skeptism".

They are reading skeptical science now - waiting for response. Give them science instead.

2011-09-26 22:12:06
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.17.202

Neal: Yep, that was my point about doing the audit, it places us one step ahead of Watts and also puts down his concern trolling about us.

2011-09-26 22:27:34
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Steve Brown

"An important point that relates to the advice received from Joe Romm is that we must always be aware that we don't fall into the trap of assuming that the climate blog bubble we inhabit encompasses the entire known universe.  The overwhelming majority of people on this planet have never heard of Anthony Watts, Bishop Hill et al. "

I stated much the same thing at least once on this or another thread.

2011-09-26 22:29:38Watts is winning...
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Step back and take a look at all of the time and energy everyone has already expended on this matter.

Ignore the SOB and move on!

2011-09-26 23:07:16
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.122.57

JH:

I don't agree with your assessment: Let's make our moves with due deliberation, and we won't have cause to regret them.

2011-09-27 01:25:49
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Steve Brown @ 26 Sep 2011, 8:29 PM makes some very important points IMHO. Including,

"An important point that relates to the advice received from Joe Romm is that we must always be aware that we don't fall into the trap of assuming that the climate blog bubble we inhabit encompasses the entire known universe.  The overwhelming majority of people on this planet have never heard of Anthony Watts, Bishop Hill et al. "

It is true, people who I speak to who know climate change is an issue/concern and some who are scientists have no idea who Anthony Watts is, nevermind Lucia or Bishop Hill.  These guys operate in a vacuum or sorts, a microcosim.

It also strikes me that Watts is being a concern/tone troll-- which, given his history, is absolutely ridiculous and hypocritical in the extreme.  He wants to wrestle in the mud and start a blog war.  No thanks.

And John Hartz makes another good point regarding time and resources.  If we have to go through this each and every time Anthoy tries to bait us it is going to be a huge draw on people's time and resources and may also lead to bickering rather than constructive dialogue amongst us, a very slippery slope.  And if we decide to respond, look how much time we have all spent on dealing with Pielke?  Do we really, really want to go down that road? I for one do not, and I do not thnk John Cook has the time to deal with Anthony's games either.  Anthony et al. are happiest when they are slinging mud....let us please not feed their habit.

So in my  opinion it now becomes a question of how to very nicely to tell Anthony "thanks, but no thanks" and to PFO.

PS: Riccardo @26 Sep 2011, 6:24 PM also made osme good points for not engaging Watts.

2011-09-27 03:07:20toward an SkS concensus on language
Tom Smerling

avi@smerling...
216.164.57.97

I'd like to second the comments about not geting too distracted by this.    Clearly, its the kind of juicy issue that can become a black hole.    Just look at the # of views on this thread....

However, WUWT aside, it would be useful for SkS to reach a consensus on the most effective terms to use (or avoid).   We could be more consistent, and help shape the debate in way favorable way.

The terms I've heard so far:   skeptics, deniers, disinformers, misinformers, dissemblers, denialists, critics, anti-science critics, closed-mind skeptics, anti-government ideologues ...and more.

The criteria?   For starters it seems to me that

a) we don't want to alienate anybody who is (or could become) even the slightest bit open-minded.   It is crucial that more vocal conservatives come to accept the science; it would enable others to follow.    So that's a key audience to keep in mind.  

b) we don't want to sully the concept of healthy skepticism, which is so integral to scientific inquiry, nor cede it exclusively to the other side.  We all aspire to be simultaneously skeptical and open to considering new ideas.

I've been experimenting with distinguishing open-minded skeptics vs. closed-minded skeptics.   It which works OK but is rather long and clunky.

2011-09-27 04:35:02 A Watts calling the kettle black etc.
Peter Hogarth

peter.hogarth@geoacoustics...
81.157.14.211

Late to this post and absent for a while.  Amazing.  My small contribution, I agree with nealjking.

Drop the “crock” “confusion” etc titles (not sure I’m alone in this, but they really turn me off), and replace with something along lines of “skeptics name”, then reference or quote what they have said or published, then simply two headings:

Case for: (This should be their stated position with their references or justification)

Evidence against: Where SkS comes in...

Then a short summary, or post area, if possible.  The skeptic should be welcomed and positively encouraged to clarify their position on this site, and we should all try to assemble evidence that forces either a re-evaluation (either way, this is science folks!) or at least an agreement to disagree on which evidence outweighs the other.  

I believe this is following the dominant meme of SkS.  Dignified rational evidence based argument and intelligent debate.

We shouldn't do this in response to Watts, but because it is the right thing to do.

Stick to the science. 

However...  maybe we need a "Ranters corner", just to let off steam, with Johns disclaimers all over it!  Humour would/should be the main guideline for this part?

2011-09-27 04:38:59comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.162.53

Agree with PH

Not a big fan of the "crocks" labels either.

2011-09-27 05:52:43
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Regarding alternatives to "denier", somebody else mentioned tamino's "fake skeptics".  I rather like that too, but I don't think the fake skeptics will :-)

I suspect next time we do a Christy post, we'll change the category and button (hopefully to 'Christy's Mythsteries'!).  Unless John finds the time to update them sooner.  So if you want it changed, be on the lookout for a new Christy myth we can rebut so that we have an excuse to do it!

2011-09-27 06:47:55
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana et al.,

Re Christy, he gave this talk in February 2010, so it might provide to be a source...I have not had time to watch it yet.

http://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/dr-john-christy-global-warming-where-is-the-alarm/

2011-09-27 08:39:42
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Alby.  I've got to tackle Bastardi on sea ice first, then I'll have a look at this one, see if we can come up with a new Christy post and change the button/category.

2011-09-27 10:56:24Updating the buttons
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

I'm thinking we do update the buttons but do it with an "official" post that explains the reason why and reaffirms the emphasis on SkS is about the science and rebutting the misinformation, so we're not conceding anything.

Ditto with the Watts denier thing - it's all about redirecting people to the science and the evidence.

So hold off on any Christy posts until we've done the button redo. But a few things I have to get out of the way before we can do that.

2011-09-27 11:22:00John Cook
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.194.22.39

Did you receive my email?

[Edit - ayup; thanks]