The IPCC is a Right-Wing Fringe Group

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an prick who routinely misrepresents the nature of science to feed his ego. Bill Nye is a buffoon who, I assume inadvertently, misrepresents science in glaringly obvious way. I just had to get that out of the way because of a discussion going on in the forums for the online class the Skeptical Science group is teaching titled, "Making Sense of Climate Science Denial." This discussion began when a user made a post saying:

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I thought that was funny so I pointed out:

Neither Bill Nye nor Neil DeGrasse Tyson are experts in climate science. You say one should "consult a physician to diagnose your illness," but suggesting people should rely on either of those two is like saying you should consult an orthopedic surgeon for your heart condition.

The response I got seemed somewhat unhinged:

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I tried to be civil and helpful when I responded, but the responses just got more and more crazy. I said, in part:

The reality is there is far more room for debate than you say. Even climate scientists would say so. You can trust media scientists like Tyson and Nye who routinely do disservice to science simply because they're popular, and you can mock people who disagree with you all you want, but the reality is your position is not supported or agreed upon by the climate scientists you say everyone should depend upon.

Which triggered this response:

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The user actually believes we're all going to die because of global warming. The user believes global warming will kill us all before the debate ends if people like me keep speaking up. I struggled to respond without making fun of the user, writing a comment which concluded:

If you want to know more about why people don't agree with you on global warming, I'd suggest you stop paying attention to media figures like the ones you cite and try looking at something like the latest IPCC report. It's generally promoted as explaining the consensus position on global warming. If you read it, you'll find it doesn't say anything like you describe.

I thought things were crazy before, but I never expected what came next. The user quickly wrote a comment saying:

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I don't know why the user thinks that NASA statement means global warming will kill us all. It doesn't say anything like that. I'm not sure how much it matters though. Look at what the user said at the start of his or her comment:

Really? I got this info from the NASA climate science website, perhaps you should go there...I will go to this IPCC report whatever that is, but I bet it's a right wing site.

This user thinks global warming will kill us all but hasn't even heard of the the IPCC. That's pretty weird, but what's bizarre is what came next. Almost immediately after that comment, the user posted another to say:

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The IPCC... "a conglomeration of worldwide right-wingers." The IPCC doesn't know "diddly." And because I dare to cite it, I am a "blind, and selfish" person who doesn't "give a hoot about future generations."

But even that wasn't enough for this user. The user then quickly proceeded to make another comment:

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And okay, sure. This person is unhinged. That's not a big deal. It's hilarious I got insulted as some immoral denier for daring to recommend people look at the latest IPCC report, but it's not a big deal, right? I mean, anyone can sign up for an online class. It's not surprising a crazy person or two might.

Except for one thing. This user insulted me, repeatedly making absurd and offensive remarks which had no basis in reality. That's the sort of thing you'd think wouldn't be allowed in a classroom. So what do the instructors of the class have to say?

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I highly recommend everyone sign up for this course. It's a fascinating experience.

20 comments

  1. Every skeptical denier who signs up, receives a year's free membership to "Masochists Anonymous".

  2. Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are top scientists now???

    LOL.

    Tyson is probably a smart guy and he is a trained scientist. But one of the top scientists??? He barely even registers on the research scale in his research concentration.

    Bill Nye is a pleasant enough fellow, but he's not a scientist at all, let alone a "top scientist".

    Your suggestion that people read the IPCC is a good one.

  3. "This user thinks global warming will kill us all but hasn’t even heard of the the IPCC. That’s pretty weird, but what’s bizarre is what came next. "

    Honestly, I would bet most people don't know what the IPCC is. And in the UK, those that thought they did know of the IPCC would probably say it is the national independent police complaints commission.

    Those kind of expressed views are not unusual, I believe. Just reading (unrelated) typical comments on uncensored sites like youtube, yahoo news, twitter etc leads me to think that.

  4. I enjoy few things as much as injecting an inconvenient fact into the echo-chamber, and watching the resulting matter-antimatter explosion of idiocy (from a safe distance, of course).

    I'll consider signing up, but my work schedule is pretty hectic right now, and so time is tight.

  5. "“Masochists Anonymous” ? As a long-term supporter of Newcastle United FC and the English cricket team, I've been a certified member for many years. More on topic, I live near UQ, my kids all graduated there (arts & science, engineering, medicine), I considered joining the course but the line-up of so-called educators and the drivel on the site was too off-putting even for a super-masochist. Brave Brandon, I say. A condemnation of the state of Australian academia, not, alas, an isolated example.

  6. First off, it's strange that someone who believes herself* well-informed on the subject of climate change has never heard of the IPCC. Even for persons who get information second-hand -- and I would think relatively few have read the IPCC WG reports, though more should have read the SPM -- that strikes me as unusual.

    The revealing aspect is that, when faced with an unfamiliar reference, she immediately ascribes a motivational error to it: "I bet it's a right wing site". I bet she's heard that put-down of contrary information many times before. Shows how destructive the polarizing commentaries on this subject are, causing folks to become closed-minded.

    [* I speculate that "jeaniedoux" is female. Apologies if that guess is wrong.]

  7. It's interesting that the NASA site is quoting the 97% (at least according to jeaniedoux). Your experience illustrates a big problem for the Greens. If they stick to “trust me I'm a scientist” they can be accused of of remaining in their ivory tower and having no democratic mandate. If they go the Bill McKibben route they'l pick up millions of Jeaniedouxes. I meet them all the time on the internet.

  8. That user has posted more comments now. I posted a couple screenshots on Twitter because they were funny on their own, but here's the beginning of a lengthy one:

    dude, I know who the IPCC is because I went to the website but they didn't have a lot of information for or against climate change.

    Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up.

    Morph, I know a couple people were listed as affiliated with the University of Queensland when they aren't, but I didn't see him listed as a climate scientist. What page was that on?

  9. By the way, the NASA page the user quoted is kind of crazy. Not only does it say what that user quoted it as saying, it says things like:

    The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.

    I don't have the energy to explain just how bad that page is.

  10. Very entertaining post Brandon. I do salute your ongoing resilience...I went to the course but could not bring myself to signup despite the temptation of getting certified. Live is too short to waste on something like “Making Sense of Climate Science Denial.”

  11. Fun update. BaerbelW, the moderator who helpfully responded to the person who ranted at and insulted me without saying a word about there being an issue, has now indicated I'm going to get in trouble because I took these screenshots. The forums have a rule:

    Please refrain from posting content of the forums publicly unless individuals consent to having their contributions mentioned elsewhere.

    Where it's apparently okay to share contents of the forum privately, but not publicly. So people can break the rules to insult me (yes, it is against the rules), moderators can participate in the discussion without being bothered by it, but I'll apparently get banned if I show anyone. Or rather, if I show the public. It's okay for me to e-mail the screenshots to people. I just can't post them where the public would see them.

    The worst part of this, to me at least, is the forum is filled with topics attacking people not in the forums. Companies, politicians and even just named individuals get referred to in negative ways on a regular basis. And thanks to this rule, it's all expected to be done in secret.

  12. When I first began arguing skeptic point, I once mentioned that the IPCC was funded by the UN (I was a total beginning and didn't even know the IPCC was Created by the UN, just that it was funded by it). The other person proceeded to tell me that the UN had nothing to do with the IPCC. And now I learn that 15 years later, people STILL don't know the first thing about it!?!

  13. Yes, @GeoffChambers, @Brandon Yes I came across these/similar NASA pages 6 months ago.
    60 posts into a discussion with people calling themselves "proper Science Skeptics" as I tried to pin them down to a definition of "denier" they finally pointed me one of those NASA pages **. Although seemingly since updated it still is pretty much the same stating lots of ludicrous things as "fact" and centering it's science around the 97% claim (it failed to cite the origin then ) and a list of statements from scientific associations. Astounding as of course that is not science rather it is the fallacy of "argument from authority"
    The whole set of pages was clearly PR stuff even tho it was on the NASA page
    Note the AAAS website uses the same techniques http://whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts/
    "Climate scientists agree: climate change is happening here and now. Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. This agreement is documented not just by a single study ..." yet they don't actually cite any.

    National Center for Science Education NSCE is the same they tweeted "New Year's resolution: bookmark NASA's resources on global climate change: http://climate.nasa.gov/ "
    (BTW when NSCE brought in a person to head it’s climate education programme.. his first act was to fraudulently obtain info from Heartland and then publish it in a cunningly unrepresentative way : one Peter Gleick.)
    BTW seems like NCSE is now a Climate /greenpropaganda trojan horse operation as almost all their material is about climate with a few stories thrown in about mad creationists as if to say we are fighting for science in general. Yet their website seems to have almost nothing on science which is not to do with climate science.

    ** Of course I was then able to denounce that NASA site and go into details on the problems with the 97%'s validity etc. Next day those ""proper Science Skeptics" I was debating just deleted the entire facebook thread.

  14. @Brandon of course some anonymous person might post relevant screenshots onto a webpage or Facebook page and you could then point the world towards them. That way you wouldn't be breaking the wacky rules that "screenshots from that NameCalling101X forum can be shared with anyone via email, but not via web"
    How can a forum that shares info between the alleged 10,000* course attendees, many of who hide behind pseudonyms be considered private .. it's hardly any different from being on the whole of the web. People will be already sharing info with their spouses and possibly passwords with others. Is it wrong to share info from a MOOC Massive Online Open Course or is it a MOCC (closed course). Jonona has shared the pics of the first test paper.
    *ooh 14,000 SkS have shared a screenshot of the signup graph.

  15. Any time anyone throws up the "if you're sick, consult a physician" straw man, just refer them to Stephen Schneider's Patient from Hell book. Where a climate scientist, or biologist (take your pick) was skeptical about his expert's opinion and sought to design his own treatment. He went against the consensus, educated himself in oncololgy but ultimately failed to defy probability. This was permissable on the grounds of enlightened self interest, but it is not permitted to question or defy the consensus with respect to climate science. Which is somewhat hypocritical, but also demonstrates that no matter how much you'd like to change the outcome, nature usually wins.

  16. Bill Nye's experimenting of Patriots footballs shows how clueless he is about science. Check it out at FunnyOrDie.

  17. I haven't seen FunnyOrDie talk about that one, but yeah, I cringed when I saw him talking about that. It was terrible. I'm starting to really regret watching his show when I was growing up.

    I wonder if the guy from Beakman's World is as bad.

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