This post is obviously a bit mistitled due to today being a Thursday. I had planned to post it yesterday, but I managed to break the cord on my keyboard and didn't get it replaced in time to get the post finished for yesterday. I would have re-titled the name, but I couldn't think of a synonym for "weird" that worked with Thursday. I'd be happy to take any suggestions for future posts.
Anyway, as readers will know, on Monday I encountered some strangeness at Watts Up With That when the proprietor of the site decided to delete one of his comments without any indication to hide the fact he had made an embarrassing mistake in telling me I was wrong in my criticism of one of his posts. As he's since explained, he intended to reinstate his comment shortly after in an edited form to correct his mistake, but he got distracted so he didn't:
Brandon, I’d planned to clarify that in an edit, But got distracted with phone calls before I could edit it to be correct for the context.
Now personally, I think that's an incredibly shady practice. I don't think a person should use powers reserved for moderators to try to cover up mistakes you make. He apparently thinks otherwise. He sees nothing wrong with it, to the point he did it again almost immediately afterward.
That's not what's weird though. What's weird is during the discussion of this issue, he decided to defend statements like:
It appears the President is the denier in chief.
People familiar with Watts Up With That will know the site has frequently complained about the use of the word "denier." Anthony Watts himself has done so many times, such as in this post where he compared it to the "n-word":
We’ve known for sometime that there’s an underlying, sometimes overt display of hatred towards climate skeptics. However, it generally never made it into science publications. Unfortunately, the editors of the journal Nature Climate Change just made one of the ugliest decisions ever with the publication of the Bain et al letter. One wonders though, if this were a study about… say, attitudes about racism, would the Nature Publishing Group allow things like the “n-word” in the graph and text? I think not.
Said it was associated with Holocaust denial:
In case anyone thinks the word isn’t rooted in offensiveness, I’ll remind you of the syndicated column that gave the use of the word the big push:
I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future. – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate” on the Wayback Machine here
Called people hypocrites for complaining about similar Nazi references while using it:
Of course, we’ve stopped using “SS” (another well known reference to Nazi Germany) to refer to the website Skeptical Science, but proving himself a hypocrite, Skeptical Science contributor and editor Dana Nuccitelli has not returned the favor, and continues to be snipped here at WUWT for using the word. The word also continues use at Skeptical Science on a daily basis. It seems this is a common problem with AGW advocates, they have no sense of fair play, only dogma and thinly veiled hatred for people who disagree with their position.
And said he was "shocked" people would endorse the use of the word:
I was shocked to learn that Nature has apparently endorsed the use of the word “denier” which is deemed offensive by many people in the climate debate due to it being associated with Holocaust denial thanks to a widely syndicated opinion column in 2007
These views have been long held for Watts. I won't bother to survey the whole history of his site or public engagements, but this is from the introduction he wrote to another post he ran from several years earlier, in 2009:
This comment was sent to me in case it was not posted at all or in it’s entirety over at Climate Progress. It wasn’t, so I’m repeating it here because I think it is relevant to the discussion that Dr. Judith Curry started. From my perspective, the best way to begin to foster understanding is to stop using labels that degrade, and that goes for both sides of the debate.
The comment sent to him reasonably said:
Judith Curry wrote “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue…”
I reserve the word “deniers” for people that explicitly reject the history of Jewish extermination in wartime Germany.
When I see anyone legitimize the term “denier” in the context of this debate, an alarm bell goes off – “this is not a serious person”.
To do so is to commit an unforgivable devaluation of the historical relevance of the word “denier. It’s a rhetorical tactic unworthy of anyone who wants their scientific credibility to remain above reproach.
Watts clearly rejects the use of the word "denier," saying it is an offensive word with connotations of Holocaust denial. He says labeling people in ways which degrades them is harmful and hinders discussions. And yet, just a couple days ago, he runs a post titled, "An Update On The Real Deniers." There's no way a post with that title should have been allowed to run, especially not when it begins:
Denialism is defined as “the practice of creating the illusion of debate when there is none.” In climate the problem is those who label others deniers are the real deniers. They don’t even acknowledge there is a debate to deny.
Hello?! What happened to not using the word "denier"? What happened to not labeling people in ways which degrade? Where were those repeated complaints when this post said things like:
Even the Pope denied the deniers by excluding them from his climate conclave...
Sadly he doesn’t know enough to know who the real deniers are...
Either way they are the real deniers.
Here are just a few, but sufficient to expose the deniers.
The phrase “cherry-picking” is all too familiar to those following the history of the real deniers.
Logic says it’s those who want to stifle debate, to silence individuals and groups, who are the real deniers.
It appears the President is the denier in chief.
Further proof of who the real deniers are is found in...
In the case of the real climate deniers, they ignore the demonstrable facts and compound their denial by changing the record.
I'll tell you where: Nowhere. Not only did Watts not complain, nobody else complained either. Nobody said a word. Apparently everybody at Watts Up With That, who have spent something like ten years complaining about how wrong it is to use the word "denier," decided it was cool to start using the word "denier" now because they were the ones doing it. Or at least, that's how Watts explained it:
Perhaps Brandon can’t understand Dr. Ball’s definitional use of the term in his essay, in a “turnabout is fair play” sense, complete with references, which wasn’t done with any pejorative intent (i.e. “stupid deniers”, “oil-funded climate deniers”, “Koch shill deniers” and dozens of other pejorative uses that we have to suffer daily) because Brandon was blogging today while impaired?
That's right. According to Watts, I must be drunk or stoned to think it is wrong to call people deniers.
Seriously. It's okay for "us" to call people "deniers" because we're the "good guys" folks. There's no "pejorative intent" to it. We're not trying to insult anyone when we do it. We're not labeling anyone with the intent to degrade. We're just using the word in a "definitional" manner. And if you don't get that, you must be drunk or stoned.
Because we're not being insulting, at all. We're being purely definitional here. There is no negative connotation to our use of the word "denier." And when the author of this piece, Tim Ball, wrote another piece a couple years ago where he said:
Those who knew how much climate changes naturally were those previously called global warming skeptics. They now became climate change deniers with all the holocaust connotations of that word.
He really meant "climate change deniers" have "all the holocaust connotations of that word," not that "deniers" have "all the holocaust connotations of that word." Because the word "deniers" is cool folks. It's fine to use it. Have it at. Call anyone you want a "denier."
Except climate change "skeptics." Don't call them deniers. Call them deniers, and you're a terrible person making Nazi references. Nevermind if they call you deniers. They're allowed to do that. Just like how they're allowed to insult you by making Nazi references. And if any of this seems unreasonable to you, you're probably just a pill-popping alcoholic like me.
Now pardon me while I go drink a forty with my homeboys I have to remember I can't call the "n-word" because I'm white.
Sept. 11, 12:10 PM Update: Since Anthony Watts decided to look through my Twitter feed to find something to use to insult me, I got curious to see when the last time condemned the use of "denier" on Twitter was. I've seen him do it a few times on there, and I considered spending a little time checking. Then I decided that was lame and a bit creepy so I didn't. It turns out someone else already had posted a tweet though, over at the messed up Hot Whopper blog, and I thought I'd share the tweet here. Because really, it's too rich:
@AOCarr Try not to use that hateful word. I accept warming, but only question magnitude and climate sensitivity to increased CO2
— Watts Up With That (@wattsupwiththat) August 20, 2015