Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!

Lately I've discussed some examples of how the once great site, Climate Audit, has been going downhill as its proprietor, Steve McIntyre, has taken to a strange behavior in which he says and does all sorts of bizarre things which make him seem little more than a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda.

McIntyre complains about being described as such, but at this point, I think it is a completely appropriate description. We've reached the point where McIntyre happily even the most obvious of tricks used in Russian propaganda. Consider, for instance, this tweet of his:

Here, McIntyre slams a group for supporting "Ukraine, one of only three nations in world to vote against UN anti-Nazi resolution." McIntyre apparently feels this is a terrible thing to do, but if so, why doesn't he mention who the other two countries who voted against the resolution were? Maybe it's because he's Canadian, and those two countries are the United States and Canada. I guess he didn't want to admit he refuses to support his homeland due to it being run by Nazi sympathizers.

For context, what's been going on with Russia over thast few years is Russia has been invading countries and conquering territory. That's really all the context you need to know why people would support Ukraine, a country Russia has invaded and is currently trying to conquer.

But I'm not good at brevity. As such, I'm going to point out this "UN anti-Nazi resolution" is nothing but a cheap ploy by Russia to excuse its behavior even as it sends its military into countries to conquer them. The process is simple. First, Russia uses state-controlled media to issue propaganda labeling people it wishes to undermine Nazis. Then, it attacks those people, not verbally, but with guns and tanks, on the supposed basis of, "They're Nazis! We have to stop them!"

Of course, the leaders of countries like Canada are not dumb enough to fall for this. They see through this cheap ploy and refuse to go along with the propaganda Russia tries to push through the UN. So do the leaders of the United States and Ukraine. But so do the leaders of 55 other countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Iceland, Germany, Swedent, Switzerland, Greece, Australia, Poland and Ireland.

That's right. 55 countries refused to vote on this "UN anti-Nazi resolution." These were countries which refused to support the obvious Russian propaganda introduced for no reason other than to excuse its military incursions into other countries. They just didn't have the courage to vote "No" because they knew doing so would cause lazy and intellectually dishonest people to rush to spread the news of how they support Nazis. Which, as McIntyre demonstrates, is exactly what would happen.

Anyone with the slightest integrity in regard to this subject would see through what Russia is doing. It introduced this resolution year after year solely to get a talking point to use in its propaganda. The United States was clear the reason it refused to vote for this resolution wasn't because it supported Nazis. This is from its statement on its vote from 2014:

In the current global context, we are especially concerned about the overt political motives that drive the main sponsor to introduce this resolution year after year. We are alarmed by its recent efforts to vilify others by loosely using terms such as “Nazi” or “Fascist.” The government of Russia has employed this rhetoric during the current crisis in Ukraine, including against the current Ukrainian government, and has used it in this very Committee to condemn the Baltic States. This is offensive and disrespectful toward those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and other Fascist regimes, and it should not be tolerated. We believe Russia’s efforts at the General Assembly, via this resolution, are aimed at its opponents, rather than at promoting or protecting human rights.

This observation is completely unremarkable as Russia isn't secretive about its propaganda. It is quite open with it. And it's clearly having an effect. Just count how many times McIntyre used the word "Nazi" on this page alone. Leaving aside the constant misrepresentations and fabrications McIntyre posted there, it is clear the "Nazi" narrative is central to him excusing Russia's military actions (which to this day, he stubbornly refuses to label invasions).

Nobody but the laziest or most biased of individuals are falling for this propaganda, but there are many lazy and incredibly biased individuals. People like them won't even show the slightest integrity and tell you why people oppose Russia's "anti-Nazi resolution." Note, the same year Canada, Ukraine and the United States voted against this resolution, Russia invaded Ukraine region of Crimea, where it used its military troops to take over the Crimean government and hold it hostage as it forced the Crimena parliament to vote to secede from Ukraine so that it could vote to join Russia. And all this, on the back of the narrative it was "fighting Nazis."

People like McIntyre won't tell you that. Similarly, he won't tell you a common view amongst the countries which refused to support this "anti-Nazi resolution" is, again from the United States statement explaining its vote in 2014:

In addition, we remain concerned that the resolution fails again this year to
distinguish between offensive expression, which should be protected in the name
of free speech, and actions, such as discrimination and violence motivated by bias,
that should always be prohibited. The United States shares the concern expressed
in this resolution regarding the frequency of racist views expressed in any medium
or forum, including on the Internet. However, we do not consider curtailing
expression to be an appropriate or effective means of combating racism and related
intolerance. Rather, it is our firm conviction, as reflected in the U.S. Constitution
and laws of the United States, that the individual freedoms of expression and
association should be robustly protected, even when the ideas represented by such
expression are offensive or hateful.

He also won't tell you what Ukraine had to say about the resolution. Here is Ukraine's statement on it when it was introduced again the next year, in 2015. From it:

Ukraine is among the countries who suffered most of the occupation by Nazi regime during the Second World War. That is why we strongly condemn all forms of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In this regard we reiterate our consistent position that the above mentioned resolution has nothing in common with fight against Nazism, neo-Nazism and other forms of intolerance. On the contrary we are witnessing how the penholder of the draft resolution – Russia, manipulate with the history and twist the essence of the Nuremberg Tribunal in pursuance of one’s aggressive political interests.

And:

Ukraine condemn this cynical attempt of the Russian Federation to present itself as a champion of combating Nazism and neo-Nazism while repeating those same crimes against entire nations.

We are deeply concerned with the deteriorating situation in Russia and state propaganda of racism, racial discrimination and superiority of “Russian world”, xenophobia, related intolerance to other nations as well as glorification of totalitarian regimes and its leaders.

Bearing in mind the propaganda motives of the resolution, Ukraine has decided to vote “against” this draft resolution.

If McIntyre doesn't want to be dismissed as just a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda, he should stop mindlessly repeating every piece of Russian propaganda he comes across. he should show the slightest shred of integrity and acknowledge any of the many basic facts he refuses to admit as they'd make his pro-RUssian narrative fall apart.

Put simply, Russia is the bad guy here. You have to be stupid or dishonest to paint the countries Russia invades and conquers as the bad guys. And let's be honest, McIntyre isn't stupid.

41 comments

  1. Disgusting! And sad. Steve's really lost it... You are 100% right, Brandon. For years pretty much all EU member states would have also voted against this Russian propaganda resolution but there is a strive towards united EU position and that brings us usually to "the lowest common denominator". With countries like Greece and Cyprus with their special ties to Russia, the maximum common position is abstention. Most of the rest of the UN membership have really no idea what it's all about (and, as most UN member states are not democracies, many see Russia as a hero standing up to these awful developed western countries demanding democracy and human rights) and as the name is OK and "who wouldn't be against Nazism", they vote in favor. By the way, this year, in order to make it at least somewhat less an imperialistic propaganda piece, the US for the first time tried hard to engage the Russians and proposed numerous amendments to the Russian text. None were accepted. Next year, in order to counter this Russian propaganda, the US is planning to table their own resolution.

  2. I do not want to become a conspiracy theorist, but looking at his recent activities I'm really beginning to wonder whether he's on someone's pay list. Or what would be the alternative explanation?

  3. Sven, I have no explanation for it. I don't think anybody is paying McIntyre. If nothing else, if that's all it was, I'd expect McIntyre to do a better job. A much better job, in fact. It wouldn't be difficult. His commentary on these topics has been almost the worst caricature one could come up with for Russian sympathizers. If I were going to propose a conspiracy, I'd propose he is intentionally making the worst case he can for a given narrative. I can't imagine that'd be true though as I don't see any reason he'd do that, and it'd be greatly out of character.

    The worst part of all this isn't the rampant intellectual dishonest McIntyre has been demonstrating, to the point where he intentionally deceives readers and tells what any reasonable person would have to conclude are lies. For instance, I noticed McIntyre misquoted and commented on that. McIntyre surreptitiously edited the post to "fix" the problem. Only, he fixed one error while failing to fix several others. When I pointed out he did this in secret, he turned around and said no he hadn't, that he had told everyone. He also edited one of my comments to add an inline response mentioning the change. Because the inline response wasn't timestamped, nobody could see he only disclosed the change he made after I complained that he had made it secretly. On top of this, during this entire process, McIntyre never once mentioned the fact he made a second change to his post, meaning nobody knew it had been made until I discovered it later.

    I don't consider any individual case of intellectual dishonesty to be damning. I don't condemn McIntyre for any one misrepresentation or outright false statement, even when he flat-out makes things up about what other people said. However, he's constantly resorted to a pattern of behavior which is inexcusable. I don't know why he does any of this, but at this point, I have no compunction about calling McIntyre dishonest. It isn't just about intellectual dishonesty at this point. He's become outright dishonest.

    It's kind of heart-breaking.

  4. One obvious alternative explanation would be that he's stupid but there's no question that he's exceptionally smart so that can clearly not be it. Or would there be an objective reason for this bias? Like a family story or something? Or a particular reason to be vulnerable to Russian brain wash? No idea. But what's going on is mind boggling.

  5. By the way, to this day McIntyre refuses to acknowledge Russia invaded Crimea. According to him, there was no invasion because Russia merely moved the troops it already had stationed in Crimea around. Imagine if the United States did that. We have a bunch of military bases in Japan. We could just "move them around" by having them take over a few cities, blockade highways, force soldiers to disarm and take the nation's government hostage. According to McIntyre, that wouldn't be an invasion because we were legally allowed to have those troops in Japan in the first place.

    As an aside, Russia did in fact send troops across the border into Crimea. That means in addition to being utterly insane, McIntyre's narrative is also false. I'm not sure if that matters.

  6. If you want to engage in conspiracy theories, why not go all the way to he's been a Russian mouthpiece all along - and that his years of activities as a "skeptic" are a reflection of that? As far as wacky conspiracies go, it doesn't seem particularly implausible; there is an argument to be made that Russia benefits in a number of ways from public polarization (particularly in the US) related to climate change.

    That said, I don't think that conspiracies are at all required, and certainly aren't the most likely explanation. People are naturally inclined towards letting biases affect their thinking. IMO, McIntyre has always displayed rather obviously biased reasoning. Not to mention, it seems quite implausible to me that such a behavior would manifest suddenly. It also seems particularly implausible to put McIntyre (or any other particular individual) into some category as being less-inclined towards biased reasoning. Usually, IMO, putting a particular individual into such a category is likely a reflection of the biased reasoning of the "categorizer." Sometimes, evidence of a consistent application of criteria across ideological categories could be a sign that a particular individual is less likely to be subject to biased reasoning. In fact, I think that Brandon deserves some credit for displaying such a pattern of behavior. But McIntyre has always been suspect, IMO, because of the near total uniformity of where he targets his criticisms (e.g., check for patterns in who/what he "audits").

    As to what particular bias any individual orients towards, as a starting condition, I think that the process can be relatively random. I don't think that there has to be some particularly clear attribution of cause-and-effect for where they wind up starting. The key is that for some reason, which can be a confluence of any variety of myriad influences, someone becomes "identified" with a particular viewpoint on a particular subject.

  7. Plus:

    you support Ukraine, one of only three nations in world to vote against UN anti-Nazi resolution. And you see nothing wrong with Ukraine honoring Nazis.

    Without even considering the specifics of Russia and politics, that tweet is a grab bag of logical fallacies (Tu quoque, as hom, straw man, ad absurdum). Quite impressive for such a short tweet. Why would someone who so openly displays such a high concentration of poor arguments, without apparently any awareness that he's done so, develop that habit all of a sudden? Doesn't make sense to me. Seems to me that someone who so openly displays poor reasoning likely has developed a habit of doing so over time. Of course, this could just be a one off, but more likely, IMO, that a whole bunch of people have looked the other way with McIntyre's poor arguments for a very long time because he can hide them well behind a veneer of technical sophistication in arguing points that align with their own (usually ideological) viewpoints.

  8. Sven -

    You might be right, Joshua. But at least Steve's previous biases were not so obvious and crazy.

    Ok. I'll go with that.

    But I would add that maybe his previous biases (or more specifically, his indulging in logical fallacies), were easier for some to see than others; not so much because of higher intelligence or more finely developed observation skills, but because of the breakdown in the biases of his audience. Consider that maybe those that weren't aligned with him ideologically were more likely to see his biases, just as they might have been less likely to see the strengths of his reasoning. Seems like pretty much a given of human nature, to me.

  9. Eh, I'm convinced Joshua's view on McIntyre is inaccurate to a significant degree. Previously, when I asked him for an example of the sort of thing he was referring to from McIntyre, he cited an example where McIntyre responded to a user having fabricated a claim about what people in the discussion had said. McIntyre strove to get that user, Nick Stokes, to correct the fabrication. Stokes tried to change the subject. McIntyre didn't go along with that change of subject.

    Joshua faulted McIntyre for this, saying by focusing on that issue instead of some larger, substantive point Stokes was making (which Joshua didn't identify), McIntyre did wrong. I think that's nonsense. When someone starts making things up about what people in a discussion have said, I think it is perfectly reasonable to pause any pursuit of the larger discussion and focus on getting the record straight as to what was and was not said. I think Stokes making every effort not to do so speaks poorly of him, not of McIntyre. I expressed this view to Joshua, but he disagreed.

    When Joshua gives such a strange example of supposed wrongdoing on McIntyre's part, I have to suspect his view on McIntyre is not well-founded. Additionally, my personal impression of McIntyre is quite different, and I am knowledgeable enough to follow the substantive discussions McIntyre has. Joshua says he isn't. Given the many times I've seen McIntyre deal with the very sort of behavior he's demonstrating on this subject, I feel confident saying his behavior on this subject is anomalous compared to what he normally posts on his blog.

    (That said, it is by no means the only anomaly. As an example, back when McIntyre discussed the Weaver lawsuit, I was quite critical of him for making false/inaccurate statements and/or giving misleading portrayals of things. When I compare his writings on subjects like that, Syria or Ukraine, there are very noticeable differences than when I compare what he writes on technical matters regarding things like paleoclimate reconstructions. It is not simply that people gave him a free pass on such topics.)

  10. Brandon -

    We agree on the recent example, that you provided. I'm not expert enough to evaluate that example on its technical merits either, but I can see that it is based on fallacious logic. I could just take your word for it on the technical aspects, but I'm not inclined to do so and I'm not inclined to take the time to do the research. But the point is that I don't need to because the fallacious aspects of his tweet are stunningly obvious (IMO).

    I think it is implausible that someone at a relatively late stage in life proudly runs an obviously, highly fallacious public argument up the flagpole, for everyone to see, seemingly completely unaware that he's done so, if he isn't likely to have had a habit of making such bankrupt arguments for quite a while. My guess is that he would deny the fallacies of his tweet vociferously, because he isn't able to see them.

    Of course, his tweet could be an anomaly, or it could be a recent behavior that perfectly coincides with your recognition of that behavior. You're certainly entitled to believe that if you wish. I believe otherwise.

  11. Joshua, I don't think it is surprising something like this could happen. McIntyre long refrained from political discussions, almost never commenting on any sort of policy issues. His discussions were almost only about technical matters or basic issues of scientific practices. It could well be his biases don't show up in those topics.

    A skilled lawyer may be such a partisan hack he engages in all sorts of behavior/logical fallacies in regard to politics which he wouldn't engage in in regard to the law. A mathematician might do perfectly sound work and handle discussions of it appropriately yet have religious views he defends to the point of irrationality. A person can possess traits that affect them in one arena yet not in another. Or the traits might exist in all arenas for them, but to vastly different degrees.

    My experience is the further McIntyre gets from technical discussion, the worse he gets. When he discusses the technical aspects of paleoclimate reconstructions, he behaves admirably. When he discusses the legal merits of lawsuits people file, he behaves mediocrely. When he discusses things related to Clinton, Russia, Syria and the like, he behaves horrendously. Similar patterns can be found in plenty of people.

  12. Brandon -

    Yes, it is certainly theoretically possible that McIntyre is free of fallacious thinking when he discusses technical matters, and chock full of fallacies when he talks about politics. But it is also theoretically possible that, as Sven suggested above, it is merely easier for some people to see the fallacies of his reasoning in particular contexts. I don't think that people who engage in overtly sloppy thinking in one particular context, and display that kind of thinking freely in public, and appear to be oblivious to the obviousness of that sloppy thinking, and in fact double down and shirk accountability for that sloppy thinking, are likely to have some kind of hard and distinct boundaries as to which contexts that thinking takes place.

    It certainly makes sense to me that the degree to which a person is vulnerable to faulty thinking can be influenced by their level of "motivation" that varies across context. It makes sense to me that people might be more prone to sloppy thinking when they identify heavily with a topic. But part of my point is that McIntyre does identify heavily with the "skeptic" community. His identity as a "skeptic" has been a fundamental part of his life for years, as is his interaction and association with the "skeptic" community.

    It certainly seems to me that it is generally easier for other people to recognize someone's sloppy thinking if they aren't aligned closely with the implications of that person's arguments. It is generally easier to see the flaws in someone's arguments if you disagree with their arguments. For me it sort of parallels how much easier it can be for me to see flaws or weaknesses in my writing if I've put a piece of writing down for a couple of days and then come back later to re-read it. It can be easier to see the flaws in something if you've had some distance in order to gain perspective. That doesn't mean, of course, that you don't gain some special insight into flaws in an argument if you are in agreement to that argument; sometimes it is actually easier for me to see the flaws in someone's argument if I am aligned with their opinions. But as a general rule, I think it is often easier to see the flaws in the arguments of people we disagree with.

    And there is another problem with your view on this, IMO. Consider the many readers at McIntyre's website, where for years you have read their technical discussions with McIntyre and I'm guessing had a lot of respect for the depth and insight in their views just as you did with McIntyre's. And now you see McIntyre fly ridiculous arguments up the flagpole, and point the flaws in his thinking out to him, and the vast majority of his readers line up right behind him to dismiss your criticisms and defend McIntyre's nonsense. I mean it's flat out conspiratorial nonsense. And it isn't just at McIntyre's crib. Think of the nonsense that you see over at Lucia's, where they line up in support of the inane arguments such as the conspiracy thinking about Clinton's health.

    So what would explain how all these smart and knowledgeable people, whose intelligence and knowledge were on display for years in their reasoning about climate change, in arguments that were free of fallacious thinking (and which you largely agreed with), but you now think are engaging in overtly vacuous reasoning, without any compunctions about doing so, and doubling down in defense of that conspiracy nonsense about Clinton?

    Now indeed, it is theoretically possible that all of these people have morphed in their thinking skills, to begin to display poor reasoning, as soon as it started to become apparent that you had disagreement with them about political topics. Yes, it is possible that their poor thinking began precisely when you began to recognize it. And yes, it is also theoretically possible that their poor and biased reasoning is strictly proportional to the extent that they are talking politics; more or less absent when they are talking about technical matters, somewhat present when they are talking about somewhat political matters, and strikingly obvious when they are talking about Russia and conspiracies about Clinton. And yes, it could be entirely coincidental that the magnitude of their faulty thinking is more or less directly proportional to the degree to which you disagree with them about topics.

    That's all possible. I can't deny it. But it doesn't seem particularly plausible to me.

  13. Joshua, there is a name for this. The examples I've seen are you read a newspaper, see an article on a subject you know, think to yourself that they got it all wrong, then you go on to read the rest of the newspaper, assuming they will be correct on the subjects you don't know well.
    Another example is when people heard Bill Clinton, they would describe him as very intelligent, but on a subject they knew they would say he was mistaken.
    For that matter, William Connolley argues against the 'consensus' on sea ice his subfield of expertise.

  14. MikeN -

    Joshua, there is a name for this. The examples I've seen are you read a newspaper, see an article on a subject you know, think to yourself that they got it all wrong, then you go on to read the rest of the newspaper, assuming they will be correct on the subjects you don't know well.

    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying - but it seems to me that your aren't describing a parallel phenomenon, as a newspaper is a collection of articles written by different people. Certainly, if you read an article by a particular author and find it off the wall with irrational reasoning, you would likely distrust anything that author might write on a different topic.

    Another example is when people heard Bill Clinton, they would describe him as very intelligent, but on a subject they knew they would say he was mistaken.

    Just to be clear, I'm not questioning McIntyre's intelligence. Not in the least. And I certainly wouldn't be in a position to do so. But I don't think a high level of intelligence prevents someone from making bad arguments, however. It helps to prevent it, but it isn't sufficient.

    For that matter, William Connolley argues against the 'consensus' on sea ice his subfield of expertise.

    Again, with the "consensus," you're talking about a collection of opinion from a bunch of people. I'm not getting how that's a parallel. But my guess is that Connolley doesn't argue that the "consensus" viewpoint is full of overtly and obvious fallacious reasoning - but offers a difference in opinions about interpreting evidence. Besides, I tend not to trust Connelley that much anyway, because while I don't have any reason to doubt his technical and intellectual skills, I've seen him make some god-awful arguments (in not technical frames) and then double down in defense of those arguments. I think he's kind of like Richard Tol in that regard.

    Anyway, here, I'm suggesting that it isn't plausible that McIntyre is making irrational arguments w/r/t Russia (or other political issues) while his arguments about climate change are above fallacious reasoning. Making overtly and obviously fallacious arguments suggest a lack of control for biases - and even more importantly, IMO, when that person doubles down in defense of those fallacious arguments with more fallacious arguments, when the flaws in their arguments are pointed out. We all make fallacious arguments at times. Biased reasoning is a rather hard-wired trait. But a dedication for controlling against those biases is, at least to some extent, is a matter of choice and personal control. Certainly, it is possible for someone to lack control for biases (and overtly fallacious reasoning) when making arguments in one area and to have excellent control for biases (and fallacious reasoning) in another area. But my view is that generally, there is probably a reasonable degree of overlap; people who display obvious difficult controlling for biases when making a public argument, and who double down with defending irrational arguments, are not likely to be above failing to controlling their tendency towards argumentative fallacies in other areas. I don't find it plausible that their ability for control exists merely in association with which topic they're discussing.

  15. Joshua, your thoughts would mean more if you didn't say things which simply untrue:

    It certainly makes sense to me that the degree to which a person is vulnerable to faulty thinking can be influenced by their level of "motivation" that varies across context. It makes sense to me that people might be more prone to sloppy thinking when they identify heavily with a topic. But part of my point is that McIntyre does identify heavily with the "skeptic" community. His identity as a "skeptic" has been a fundamental part of his life for years, as is his interaction and association with the "skeptic" community.

    McIntyre doesn't "identify as a 'skeptic.'" He never has. He has repeatedly said he has no desire to shape policy, and if he were a policymaker, he'd follow the advice of the IPCC. His association with the "skeptic" community extends only so far as he calls for good science.

    So what would explain how all these smart and knowledgeable people, whose intelligence and knowledge were on display for years in their reasoning about climate change, in arguments that were free of fallacious thinking (and which you largely agreed with), but you now think are engaging in overtly vacuous reasoning, without any compunctions about doing so, and doubling down in defense of that conspiracy nonsense about Clinton?

    I don't know who you are talking about here. Almost none of the readers who contributed substantively at Climate Audit back when McIntyre focused on paleoclimate issues still participate there. Of the ones I have seen comment there in the last year, maybe one has lined up with McIntyre on this. I suspect most of the old crowd have stopped commenting there for various reasons, one of which being they've noticed the same things I have. In fact, I've had private communication with one individual who said just that.

    Now indeed, it is theoretically possible that all of these people have morphed in their thinking skills, to begin to display poor reasoning, as soon as it started to become apparent that you had disagreement with them about political topics.

    Or it's possible you've created a strawman by ignoring how the demographics of Climate Audit have changed over the same period of time in which I've noticed the quality of posting there decrease. This strawman would also allow you to ignore how I have been pointing out this drop in quality for a couple years now, discussing how it has gradually gotten worse over time until it reached its current point.

    That you didn't even consider such suggests to me you are rather biased on your thinking in this matter.

  16. MikeN:

    Joshua, there is a name for this. The examples I've seen are you read a newspaper, see an article on a subject you know, think to yourself that they got it all wrong, then you go on to read the rest of the newspaper, assuming they will be correct on the subjects you don't know well.

    This parallel would seem more plausible to me if I were not someone who had done significant work of my own to examine the subjects on which I've agreed with McIntyre. However, I've spent hundreds of hours reading, researching and doing analsyses. The result is I have consistently verified the things McIntyre says and often been able to find additional details which support his points.

    Similarly, this paralle would make more sense if I had been hesitant to disagree with McIntyre when I thought he was wrong. I never have been. One of the reasons I've respected McIntyre in the past is when people, including myself, disagree with him on verifiable issues, he's handled the disagreements reasonably. That includes correcting errors I and other people have pointed out.

    The reality is McIntyre has done a great deal of good work, and in the process, many intelligent people have verified that work. For whatever reason, his standards on issues related to things like Russia are far, far lower. Those intelligent people who verified his previous work aren't showing up to agree with his current writings. Pretty much the only people who are showing up to agree with these writings are the "me-too" crowd who have almost nothing to contribute. As the quality of McIntyre's writing has dropped, so to has the quality of the responses he's gotten.

    I don't think Joshua could find a remotely comparable example on any paleoclimate related issue from McIntyre. In fact, I don't think anyone could. I know some people will use the nonsense McIntyre posts now to discredit his writing on paleoclimate issues, but that'll require relying on fallacious reasoning. Anyone who actually examines the work will find it stands on its own.

  17. McIntyre doesn't "identify as a 'skeptic.'"

    The classification of who is and isn't a "skeptic" is highly subjective. I was using the term as a shorthand. IMO, McIntyre is highly identified with the "skeptic" side of the debate of climate change. If you think that isn't true, or that he doesn't self-identify with the "skeptic" side of the climate wars, more power to you. (BTW, this is the kind of pedantic distraction that I think is pretty funny about your argumentative style).

    I don't know who you are talking about here. Almost none of the readers who contributed substantively at Climate Audit back when McIntyre focused on paleoclimate issues still participate there.

    Fair enough, Brandon. Indeed, I haven't examined that very closely. I briefly skimmed the comments of one post, and saw you pointing out what you thought obvious errors, and saw you facing negative responses with little support. I saw that his threads on the related topics hundreds of comments. And I've also seen, again through brief sampling at other blogs, that the "skeptic" blog commentariat has largely shifted en masse to rationalizing Russia's politics, supporting conspiratorial thinking about Clinton, etc. And so I made an assumption which may well have been in error. I'm not particularly inclined to take your word for it, but I don't have any particular reason to doubt that what you say is accurate. If there is little overlap there, then the point I made was in error, due to my sloppiness.

    Similar with Lucia's. Although I saw a similar dynamic where you got a lot of pushback for disagreeing with the commentariate consensus on political issues, I haven't studied the commentariat there enough to say how much overlap there is between the supporters of political conspiracy theories with the supporters of the "lukewarmer" discussions related to climate change. I will say that I know that there are some of the same participants, but again, if the commentariat there has changed such that it is more or less a different list of participants, then my argument doesn't stand.

  18. Joshua:

    The classification of who is and isn't a "skeptic" is highly subjective. I was using the term as a shorthand. IMO, McIntyre is highly identified with the "skeptic" side of the debate of climate change. If you think that isn't true, or that he doesn't self-identify with the "skeptic" side of the climate wars, more power to you. (BTW, this is the kind of pedantic distraction that I think is pretty funny about your argumentative style).

    Oh cut it out. You said McIntyhre self-identifies as a skeptic and this identification has been a fundamental part of his life for years. Me pointing out he doesn't identify as a skeptic is not being pedantic. If he doesn't have the identification you claim, it cannot be a fundamental part of his life.

  19. I don't think Joshua could find a remotely comparable example on any paleoclimate related issue from McIntyre.

    I wasn't intending to argue that I could. I wouldn't be qualified to make such an argument. My point was that I saw him engage in overtly fallacious argumentation (in non technical frames - related to the bickering about the politics of climate change) contemporaneous with his focus on paleoclimate - with the overall point being that it is a habit that predated your recognition of such,and that it seems unlikely to me that there would be some Chinese Wall between overly fallacious argumentation in one frame and contemporaneous argumentation that is fallacy free in another. With the overall point that it is implausible that such a strikingly habit of poor control for biased reasoning miraculously became manifest when he started voicing political opinions that you weren't in agreement with.

    And yes, you can ask me to provide specific examples, but I'm not inclined to take the time to do so. Digging through all those threads isn't worth the time for me. I can think of one possible example, off the top of my head, where he made some (plausibly deniable, of course) allusions to Nazis as a rhetorical device when discussing the politics of climate change, and then hid behind that plausible deniability to laughably claim that he wasn't making a Nazi analogy. I would imagine that Willard has quite a list in both categories.

    Anyway, it certainly makes sense to me that you would hold onto your belief on this unless I provide what you consider to be valid proof. Except that I think it is highly implausible that anyone's tendency towards fallacious argumentation would follow such a trajectory such as you seem to think is the case with McIntyre.

  20. Joshua, I think my example fits what you are arguing. I wish I could remember the name for this.
    You can recognize the errors McIntyre is making in one subject because of your knowledge there.
    You argue that this means he is likely making similar errors on another subject that people know less about.
    The errors are easier to spot in one subject vs another. The fallacy I was describing is when people ignore
    this argument and continue to follow the person/source on subjects they don't know.

    Brandon, others can identify McIntyre as a skeptic, even if he doesn't publicly claim it.

    I keep seeing this name Willard come up. Who is this?

  21. MikeN, of course others can identify McIntyre as whatever they want. Joshua didn't just refer to how other people identify him though. Joshua referred to McIntyre's self-identification and how that was supposedly a fundamental part of his life. That's what I disputed. I disputed it because it is untrue, and I think the fact Joshua stated it as fact goes toward showing his views are not well-founded.

    Joshua:

    I wasn't intending to argue that I could. I wouldn't be qualified to make such an argument.

    It's interesting you call me pedantic yet cheery-pick part of what i wrote to come up with this talking point that doesn't respond to the issue I raised. Immediately after saying I don't think you could find such an example, I said I didn't think anyone could find such an example. The point was to indicate I don't think such an example exists. Talking about your own inability to find such an example does nothing to address that point.

    You're free to believe such examples exist for whatever reasons you want, but as long as you offer no substance or evidence for what you believe, it is unlikely anyone will change their mind.

  22. MikeN -

    Thanks for that clarification. I think I get it now. Sorry for my confusion earlier.

    Willard is a very active participant in the climate wars. He has a long history with Brandon, for one example. And he has a long history of animosity with McIntyre - where he is very critical of the portrayal of McIntyre as a non-partisan "auditor." Willard is largely identified with the "realist" side (although I would imagine that he might self-identify as a non-partisan).

    If you click on his name in blog comments, you will be redirected here:

    https://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/

  23. It's interesting you call me pedantic yet cheery-pick..

    I wasn't feeling particularly glum when I did that, but neither do I think I was particularly cheery when doing so.

  24. You did it wrong.
    >It's interesting you call me pedantic yet cheery,
    pick part of what i wrote to come up with this talking point that doesn't respond to the issue I raised.

  25. Brandon, You are certainly amassing a long list of silly opinions and contradictions. McIntyre is one of the most valuable voices in paleoclimatology and has worthwhile opinions on recent hacking issues. Maybe he is wrong on some issues, but he's a tremendous resource. You would be best advised to first remove the beam from your own eye before removing the speck from thy neighbors eye. Pedantic is the right word for your nit picking.

  26. Willard is little more than a pedantic and very wordy obfuscator. Generally, he is as obscure as a philosopher arguing over epistemology when he could make his point with 1/10 the words. He never contributes to any scientific issue because he is totally ignorant. Thus he is left with style and must ignore substance. Pathetic and unenlightening.

  27. Generally, I would assert that if someone is incapable of contributing substance at Science of Doom, they are an obfuscator of science and not a scientist. You will not Wee Willy has no contributions, nor do you Joshua. Why is that?

  28. David Young, if you think I have gotten anything wrong in regard to recent hacking issues, by all means, correct me. If all you have are "me too!" posts where you signal your allegiance to a narrative... well, I doubt you'll get anywhere.

    The reality is McIntyre has not been a tremendous resource on these issues. I'd argue he's gone so far as to spread more misinformation than information. He certainly doesn't know what he's talking about, and much of what he's writing is lame attempts at scoring rhetorical points rather than examinations of facts. McIntyre would mock anyone he disagreed with for the sort of arguments he's been using.

    So tell me, what have I said that is wrong? If you can't answer that, then tell us, what has McIntyre said which is so insightful? I'd wager the answer to both is, "Nothing."

  29. Brandon -

    So I see that David has unwittingly piped in to make my point for me. Of course, doubling your quantification only leads to 2 out of many...but I suspect that you have underestimated the # of McIntyre fans who are inclined to accept his conspiracy ideation lock, stock, and barrel. There could be a lot out there who aren't interested enough to comment but still won't break away from their loyalty long enough to engage in any independent thinking on the subject (let's see if David responds to your challenge). There is no shortage of unskeptical thinking among "skeptics" as a group, and I see no particular reason to exclude McIntyre's readers from that categorization.

  30. Brandon -

    I just went for a stroll along McIntyre's Twitter stream. Wow. He's full on "Mueller investigation = FBI left wing conspiracy to fry Trump.". I could just as easily been reading Fox News or Breitbart. Regardless of whether he identifies as a "skeptic," his lack of skepticism is breathtaking.

  31. Joshua, I agree about McIntyre's Twitter feed, but I don't see what you're talking about with David Young. Young has almost only commented at Climate Audit in the last couple years, after the hockey stick controversy had died down and McIntyre had largely stopped writing technical posts. In that time, I think he's posted only ~20 comments, comments which never had any particular insight or substance. I don't see how you could count him as one of "these smart and knowledgeable people, whose intelligence and knowledge were on display for years in their reasoning about climate change." Whether or not Young is "smart and knowledgeable," he hasn't put any "intelligence and knowledge" on display at Climate Audit.

    If anything, I'd say Young is representative of the change in demographics I previously referred to. People like him have made up more and more of McIntyre's audience over the last handful of years.

  32. Brandon -

    OK. I guess I was working on a different time frame - not realizing fully the time frame you were referencing. I'm not sure I even looked at CA comments much before David started appearing in the climate-o-sphere, and I assumed he would be commenting there pretty much when I saw him commenting elsewhere, and didn't realize that McIntyre's focus on paleoclimate would be cut off that far back. I was pretty sure I had seen him commenting over there, but couldn't pin-point the time frame with any accuracy. I could be guilty of guilt by association.

  33. Brandon, McIntyre has continued to post on climate science and paleoclimatology with many recent examples. These posts show the same dedication to quality and technical detail as a decade ago. The recent one on models vs. observations is particularly interesting. You are just wrong about this. Generally, I tend to comment on these technical posts.

    I don't know much about the hacking issues so I don't pay much attention to these posts except to read the main post. I've not spotted any obvious difference between them and what McIntyre used to post about climate gate emails and the arguments with Schmidt. In any case, why don't you spend your time on more important issues? You were clearly wrong on the Jacobenson law suite defamation issues, on which a huge amount of words were wasted. You should try to develop a broader vision of what is important and be able to argue with yourself to see how your initial reaction might be wrong. Just advice from someone who has been around a lot longer than you have.

  34. On the models vs. observations thread there are lots of comments from Nic Lewis, Frank, myself, and Nick Stokes, who was arguing the worse case as he sometimes does at Climate Audit. That was an interesting thread and I learned a few things. Did you Brandon even read it?

  35. Actually, upon further thought, I'd say that McIntyre's Twitter feed looks more like Alex Jones than Fox or Breitbart.

  36. Joshua, McIntyre still posts on paleoclimatology and other climate science issues to an extent, but a couple years ago the pace changed a great deal. Part of that was because McIntyre stopped posting frequently. The site went months without posts. In 2017 so far, McIntyre has only written half a dozen posts related to climate issues.

    David Young, I find jumping into a discussion to tell a person they were wrong in some previous discussion, without any detail or explanation, to be quite unhelpful. I also find it makes one look bad. You might consider that. Then again, if you shared my views on comments like that, you'd probably have to stop commenting all together 😛

  37. As for David's knowledge level and intelligence...

    Of course, I can't make a direct assessment, but I have read some of his exchanges with people on technical and complex topics, and even if his interlocutors might have argued that his self assessment exceeded his actual qualities in those regards, from what I can tell his level of exchange was far above that of someone who is dumb and ignorant.

    And then there are his qualifications that he advertises at pretty much every opportunity. And while credentials don't necessarily prove intelligence or knowledge level, they do shift the probabilities to the point that I'm quite willing to make a positive estimate.

    So then what explains the weakness of his reasoning in non-technical frames? It's an interesting question, IMO.

  38. Joshua, I'm not speaking to the level of intelligence or knowledge David Young has, merely the level of each he has put on display at Climate Audit. So far, he has put very little of either on display there. He might have far more of both than he has shown there.

    The point I am making is Young isn't one of the contributors at Climate Audit who could have been expected to verify anything McIntyre posted. There are plenty of commenters who could, including a number of mainstream climate scientists who commented there and commenters like UC who did impressive work checking and expanding upon things McIntyre wrote. Those people have, by far and large, stopped commenting at Climate Audit. The people who still comment there are of a type which seem to like using commenting styles like Young has shown here.

    Which isn't to say there wasn't a "me-too" crowd at Climate Audit before. There was one. It just didn't make up the entirety of the Climate Audit demographic back then. Now it seems to.

  39. Brandon -

    The more I understand the nature of the CA commentariat you're thinking of, the more I begin to agree that there would likely be less support within that subset for McIntyre's FBI/deep state/left wing anti-Russia conspiracy ideation. I'm not certain about David's ability to be a source of verification of McIntyre's writings on paleoclimate research, but it does make sense to me to estimate that since his expertise is peripheral to that subject, he would likely be less reliable than other participants whose expertise is more proximal to that core subject area.

    I would have to think more about the implications, of a better understanding (on my part) of the segment of the CA commentariat over time that you're thinking of, to the discussion of whether it is likely that McIntyre's detachment from rational argumentation is a new phenomenon or more a phenomenon that shows up in starker relief due to a change in context (or background), or degree of overlap of agreement with/perspective on, the implications of his conclusions on the part of the observer. (A ridiculously long sentence and convoluted sentence....I hope that it makes some sense.)

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