Is it Worth Rebutting Conspiracy Theories?

People say untrue things all the time. Sometimes what they say is so untrue I feel obliged to respond. I'm not sure that is healthy though. Today I'd like to discuss an example which shows why. The example involves the alleged chemical attack on Douma, a city in Syria, on April 7th, 2018, by the Syrian government. Many people have alleged this attack didn't happen, claiming reports of a chemical attack were a fabrication created by a conspiracy of people seeking to create negative sentiments for the Syrian government.

These claims were first brought to my attention by Steve McIntyre, of Climate Audit fame, when he challenged the mainstream narrative about the attack. I quickly noticed McIntyre's commentary was biased and one-sided, but when I tried to discuss it, I quickly found my comments on his site would disappear when I submitted them. I pointed this out, only to have McIntyre give a series of deceptive responses.

I won't dwell on the matter today. Anyone who cares can see the issues laid out here. The reason I bring this up today is solely for context. Because of my attempts to call McIntyre's posts about this alleged attack into question, a user by the name Ron Graf e-mailed me to say McIntyre was right. I responded to him explaining why what he said in his e-mail was untrue, saying I didn't want to talk to him about the issue any further. A couple weeks later he showed up to this site to try to get me to talk about the issue again.

This created an awkward situation for me as Graf's comments on this site were deceptive given the exchange we had in e-mails. For instance, his first comment said:

Brandon, you accused Mc of mental imbalance for his skepticism on Syria's use of chemical weapons in April. It turns out the official evidence now greatly supports Mc's early analysis.

And gave some additional remarks which were directly shown to be false in the e-mail exchange we had had just two weeks prior, an exchange Graf didn't even disclose had happened. This created an awkward situation as demonstrating the deception carried out by Graf would require sharing private communication. Even now, I'm not sure how to handle that. As a sort of compromise, I'll share just this e-mail I sent as a response:

Ron,

I am afraid I have no interest in discussing this matter as you've clearly misrepresented what you cite. Not only have you misrepresented what the findings were, but you've portrayed them as coming from a finalized report which concluded the analysis being done. That is simply not true. The findings were clearly labeled as being in an *interim* report where entire sections have yet to be written. The report further states it is based upon analysis of only a portion of the samples taken as they have not gotten around to analyzing the rest yet. Even with these limits, the report notes a number of cases where chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples.

I have no idea how you interpret this interim report as conclusive proof no chemical weapons were used, but quite frankly, given that portrayal is your starting point, I can't see any value in pursuing the matter. This is particularly true given my criticisms of Steve McIntyre were never based upon whether or not chemical weapons were used, but upon the faulty logic he used to argue none were used. It is perfectly possible for a person to reach the right conclusion for the wrong reasons so even if your portrayal of this report were accurate, it would do nothing to address anything I said.

Ultimately, I have neither the time nor interest to hold a discussion in which a person says accusations chemical weapons, possibly including chlorine gas, were used have been conclusively proven false by pointing to an interim report which says chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples. What the presence of those chemicals means is something I do not know, but neither do the authors of the report, a fact they made clear.

(On a fundamental note, any report which merely states it failed to find evidence of something is not a report which conclusively proves that something never happened.)

Regards,
Brandon Shollenberger

Despite not arguing anything I said in this e-mail was false, Graf showed up to this site and started trying to re-argue points he had made in our exchange without ever addressing anything I said to him in private. The exchange which followed was fruitless, and it eventually led to Graf receiving a "soft ban" (details of how this works can be found here).

My impression is Graf wasn't willing to listen to anything which contradicted his views. That included contradictions like, "That quotation you posted isn't real, you fabricated it." As such, when he claimed an official report came out proving chemical weapons weren't used in Douma, it didn't matter how many errors in his logic I could point out. He would never believe otherwise.

The reason I bring this up today is that e-mail I sent Graf seems to have been prescient. The central issue in my response is the report in question was not final as not all evidence had been examined, yet even so, they found evidence which at least sounded like it might suggest a chlorine based chemical weapon had been used. I recently found out the final report had been published last month, and it says:

Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon on 7 April 2018 in Douma, the Syrian Arab Republic, the evaluation and analysis of all the information gathered by the FFM—witnesses’ testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts, additional digital information from witnesses—provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.

There are many details in the report which could be discussed, and perhaps someone could fine flaws in the report which undermine its conclusions. That's not the issue to me though. I'm curious about something more fundamental. Graf rushed breathlessly to contact me about the interim report (which he falsely labeled an official, final report) as proof my criticisms of McIntyre's commentary on the alleged Douma chemical attack were wrong. I immediately noted the report wasn't final, large sections hadn't been written, significant evidence hadn't been examined yet and the evidence examined made it at least sound like a chemical attack may have happened.

Pointing all that out accomplished nothing. I said I wouldn't form conclusions on a preliminary report written without having examined all the evidence. It turns out the conclusions of the final version of the report were quite different from those of the preliminary. I pointed out the preliminary version of the report found "chlorinated organic chemicals" and hadn't reached a conclusions to what they meant. I also pointed out not all evidence had been examined yet. The final report says further examination of those chlorinated organic chemicals and of evidence that hadn't been examined before indicates a chemical attack happened.

My comments were prescient at the time, but they made no difference to Graf. Now that we have the final version of the report, and it clearly contradicts Graf's viewpoint, should we expect things to be any different? It's worth noting Graf hasn't e-mailed me about this final version of the report, nor has he posted about it anywhere.

This isn't to say Ron Graf is a terrible person unlike regular folk. Quite the opposite. Lots of people believe in seemingly outlandish things. Conspiracy theories are discussed on national news stations on a daily basis. Blogs are filled with discussions of them. My impression is there's no point in responding. Today's post shows just one example.

Will pointing out errors by people who allege conspiracies like these accomplish anything useful? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure that out.

24 comments

  1. Brandon -

    (On a fundamental note, any report which merely states it failed to find evidence of something is not a report which conclusively proves that something never happened.)

    In his testimony today, Barr said that the accusations that Trump or his campaign had colluded with the Russian government have been "proven false" (by the Mueller report).

    Is pretty remarkable that smart, knowledgeable people still promote Barr as a symbol of their belief in the importance of the rule of law, and as an authority and leader in matters of criminality and justice.

    I mean that is just a completely misleading statement that goes to the heart of our judicial system. I can't believe none of the demz called him out.

  2. Joshua, I haven't seen Barr's testimony so I don't know what he said in it, but if he said what you claim, he lied. There is nothing more to it. I don't know why people focus so much on "collusion" when it's a term without legal meaning, but the Mueller report doesn't even prove a lack of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump administration and Russia. The report's findings definitely make such a conspiracy less likely, but they do nothing to disprove such a conspiracy. In fact, the strongest argument the Mueller report offers that no such conspiracy existed was despite how hard Trump and his administration tried to engage in such a conspiracy, they weren't able to pull it off.*

    That's not what makes it a lie though. I mean, it is probably sufficient to make such a claim a lie, but perhaps one could try to find some semantic parsing to claim it isn't (like saying Barr didn't know what he said to be false even though it obviously was). That doesn't matter though. Barr is in a position of responsibility, with an obligation to know certain things. He has an obligation to talk about those things openly and honestly with Congress. If he said what you claim he said, he either flat-out lied, lied by omission or lied by pretending to be carrying out his duties when he knew he was not.

    I mean that is just a completely misleading statement that goes to the heart of our judicial system. I can't believe none of the demz called him out.

    That wouldn't surprise me a bit. I've watched testimony in front of congressional hearings where the person outright lied, and many people there were fully aware of it (e.g. during hearings about the torture program of not long ago). Congressional hearings are, by far and large, a joke. Most legislators don't know how to ask good questions. And even if they did, often, the reason they ask questions has nothing to do with getting information or answers which clarify anything. Given how much of committee hearings is about grandstanding and other things like that, it wouldn't surprise me if even when it was in their best interest, most members of Congress couldn't do a mildly competent job of examining a witness.

    *One of the best parts of the Mueller report is it explains how Trump and his staff actively sought out e-mails from Clinton he believed had been stolen by a foreign entity yet failed to obtain them because they didn't exist (as in, had never been stolen). If there was no conspiracy, it was not for a lack of effort. It was because Trump and his staff were too dumb to pull one off. Heck, Russia actively chose not to pursue possible avenues because they felt the people they were engaging with weren't qualified/competent/capable enough to warrant the effort.

  3. Joshua, that is a bit better, though not that much. A number of specific allegations were proven false. That doesn't mean all the specific allegations, much less the narrative in general were though.

  4. Is it Worth Rebutting Conspiracy Theories?

    Conspiracies exist. But impossible conspiracies don't.
    They can't.....because they are impossible.
    A conspiracy, for it to be taken seriously, must provide two things: evidence and mechanism.

    The wack-a-loon conspiracy theories that fester on the internet fail consistently on both counts.
    Could "the mafia" knock over a bank? Sure. Would that qualify as a conspiracy? Sure.
    Could you or anyone idly speculate on something like that and provide a multitude of mechanisms on how "they" might "do" "that'?
    Sure.
    It's the stuff of pulp fiction and crime thrillers and crime histories.
    It takes very little imagination to construct a vaguely plausible scenario.

    But I'm not talking about actual, real-life conspiracies.
    Oh no. I'm talking about the "other ones".
    Once you go on to the actual internet "conspiracy theories" that are the stuff of fever dreams...there's not only no evidence, there's no imaginable mechanism.
    And therefore, those ones can be dismissed as simply silly.

    In fact, it's a misnomer to call them conspiracy "theories". There's no actual theory worth a damn. It's always only a randomly collected shopping list of anomalies. It's little more that a raised eyebrow, rhetorically speaking. A coy allusion.
    So I don't call them conspiracy theorists usually. I just call them anomaly hunters.

    I always give these people the benefit of the doubt for the sake of pity.
    Someone has a malformed proto-thought on some conspiracy "theory" that they suspect is what "really" is going on?
    Ok.
    Bring it.
    I'm your huckleberry. Try and scribble it down on the back of a napkin the mechanism. Take an anemic stab at it. Feel free to use a really thick and chunky crayon if it will help you.

    And they always choke. They've never really thought it through.

    If I could get "conspiracy theorists" to really think about something, I'd get them to consider the Problem of Scale as it relates to conspiracy thinking. But they don't. They gloss over it. They pretend I never mentioned it.

    I once managed to reach a 9/11 Troofer.
    Once.
    Once out of hundreds of attempts.

    I've never reached a science denier. I got one to admit that he had never really thought about it properly before and that he was going to try and square that particular circle but sadly, there was no satisfactory resolution. The shutters slammed shut soon after and that was the end of that.

    Is it worth rebutting them? Well, it's not really about rebuttal. The conspiracy theorist doesn't even make it that far.
    The worst thing that can happen to a conspiracy theorist is to have someone politely ask them to the sketch out their "theory" on the back of the napkin.
    Extend them every courtesy and fairness. Bend over backwards to accommodate any resources or conditions that they suddenly realize they are going to need.
    Conspiracy theories are crushed under the weight of basic logistics.
    There are no exceptions. Ever.

    Problem of Scale

  5. Cedric Katesby, there are plenty of non-impossible conspiracy theories alleged regarding climate science. For instance, it's been widely alleged journals have engaged in gatekeeping to keep results deemed "unfavorable" from being published via the conspiracy of editors and reviewers. Similarly, it's been alleged the IPCC has intentionally published misleading, if not outright false, claims due to conspiracies of lead authors/reviewers/IPCC staff handling situations in a dishonest manner. Such conspiracies have even been alleged on this site.

    You've commented on this site many times, but you've never made any attempt to address the substance or evidenciary basis of such allegations. I feel that's worth mentioning. I also feel it's worth mentioning you just said:

    I once managed to reach a 9/11 Troofer.
    Once.
    Once out of hundreds of attempts.

    Which means you claim to have attempted to have discussions with 9/11 truthers hundreds of times. That seems... well, crazy.

  6. For instance, it's been widely alleged journals have engaged in gatekeeping to keep results deemed "unfavorable" from being published via the conspiracy of editors and reviewers.

    Have you ever heard of anybody trying to do more that just allude or vaguely suggest?
    Nope.
    Once you think about it seriously, it's easy to realize that such a thing is unworkable.
    They always choke.

    Similarly, it's been alleged the IPCC has intentionally published misleading, if not outright false, claims due to conspiracies of lead authors/reviewers/IPCC staff handling situations in a dishonest manner. Such conspiracies have even been alleged on this site.

    Equally stupid once you think about it. There's no mechanism.

    "They" cannot keep the "real science" from being published. It's not possible to keep the cat in the bag, so to speak. The journals and or IPCC cannot do what needs to be done to keep it all successfully hush-hush. They don't have a way of controlling authors or the paper trail of correspondence. The worst they can maybe do is somehow make up an excuse to "not publish". That's nowhere near enough possible actions to be successful.

    It's the same with NASA. You can have a fever dream that NASA is lying to you...but it doesn't work.
    NASA is big. It's not a monolithic entity. People come and go. People retire. People gossip. People have bitter divorces. Some personnel have political views and loyalties "X" and some have political views and loyalties "Y". Some come from poor backgrounds and others are very independently wealthy, thank you very much. Some really need that job, others are spoilt for choice with offers of chushy tenure at the best universities.
    There are other scientific communities out there calmly looking on and taking notes.
    Obama can't control them.
    Nor can Individual 1.

    The purpose of science deniers suggesting that there's a conspiracy is not to alert the world that there's a conspiracy.
    That's not what's going on.
    It's about discrediting sources. The science deniers don't have any good ones. It's about making themselves feel better.

    The science denier lives in a bubble. Once they step outside the bubble, they are toast. That needs a rationalization to preserve the bubble.
    That's where conspiracy thinking comes in.

    The people that suspect that there is hanky-panky never do anything about it. They never call the police. They never alert the fraud squad.
    They never jot the possible nuts-and-bolts.
    They never set up a Royal Commission or a congressional committee and sent people to jail. They never produce the receipts.
    They just blog. They just write books. They just preach to the bubble and congratulate themselves on not being fooled.

    A lot of work has been done on science denial. It's not possible to be a science denier and not play footsie with conspiracy theories.
    It comes with the territory.
    It's the exact same stupid.
    Any website that takes on the issue of science denial can contrast and compare the various groups out there and looks at how conspiracy theory underpins them all.
    All science denial groups rationalize the same way because they have the same uncomfortable problem that is really hard to ignore.
    They are fringe and as the decades go by, they remain firmly in the fringe. That's not normal. That's not how it works.

    Which means you claim to have attempted to have discussions with 9/11 truthers hundreds of times. That seems... well, crazy.

    Every year, the anniversary of 9/11 comes around and those people pop up like a rash. I say only one person because that's one person that changed his mind in real time and then admitted it in his own comments and we had quite an amicable conversation about it afterwards.
    There have been a few more....maybes. I don't count them because it wouldn't be fair. Maybe they kept their promise to think about it more. Maybe they really did plan to get back to me with that vital piece of information that would cement things.
    But maybe not.
    Plus there are the lurkers.
    On the other hand, it's important to challenge conspiracy theory in the market place of ideas. They are all toxic. Do a public takedown of a conspiracy theory and you erode the cred of all the other conspiracy theories out there. It's a public service. All fever dream conspiracy theories all equally worthless. There are no good ones.

    When I break down 9/11, I'm also breaking down Sandy Hook. And the science deniers. And the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And Pizzagate. And the latest babble from Individual 1.
    Science Denial and the Science Classroom

  7. Cedric Katesby:

    Have you ever heard of anybody trying to do more that just allude or vaguely suggest?
    Nope.
    Once you think about it seriously, it's easy to realize that such a thing is unworkable.
    They always choke.

    See? This is why there's no chance I'll even attempt to have a discussion with you. Not only have I heard of people "trying to do more than just allude or vaguely suggest," I've written about examples, in detail, with evidence in the form of things like communication between parties which showed exactly what was being done. Similarly, you say my remarks about the IPCC are false:

    Equally stupid once you think about it. There's no mechanism.

    Even though I've discussed multiple examples of this happening, in great detail. You've never once attempted to address any of these allegations of mine, yet now you turn around and dismiss them all as complete nonsense, utterly impossible. It's ridiculous. You're just a waste of time. This is why nobody cares what you have to say.

    Feel free to write longwinded rants nobody cares about. Just don't think people ignoring you somehow means you're right.

  8. "Not only have I heard of people "trying to do more than just allude or vaguely suggest," I've written about examples, in detail, with evidence in the form of things like communication between parties which showed exactly what was being done."

    Wow. That's terrific.

    "You've never once attempted to address any of these allegations of mine..."

    I don't recall you mentioning any conspiracy theory. Certainly not with a mechanism. I have no idea what you are talking about.

    "...yet now you turn around and dismiss them all as complete nonsense, utterly impossible."

    Well, the Problem Of Scale does have an impressive track record so far.
    But maybe your conspiracy theories are completely different from all the other conspiracy theories that are simply unworkable?
    Great.
    I'm your huckleberry. What have you got?

    "Feel free to write longwinded rants nobody cares about. Just don't think people ignoring you somehow means you're right."

    Of course not. You are the very model of reasonableness. No other conspiracy theorist would ever say anything like this.

  9. Cedric Katesby:

    Well, the Problem Of Scale does have an impressive track record so far.

    Seeing as the conspiracies I allege require the involvement of fewer than 20 people, and many conspiracies involve far more than 20 people are well known to have been carried out, I feel like you have no idea what you're talking about. Again, you're showing why nobody will care what you have to say.

  10. Seeing as the conspiracies I allege require the involvement of fewer than 20 people...

    This is the first time you have mentioned it.

    I feel like you have no idea what you're talking about.

    That's ironic. I have no idea what you are talking about.
    It would help if you would be a little more forthcoming about your conspiracy theories.
    Details? Mechanics?
    It's impressive that you have a rough number of required conspirators for...whatever it is you are talking about.
    Most never get that far into it.
    The last time I spoke to someone about this, they mentioned two people. That grew later into several more. Which later grew into rather a lot more than that. Very quickly, he stopped using numbers altogether to keep things as vague and and insular as possible.
    He hadn't proofread his own theory ahead of time so...it was a bit awkward.
    Didn't really work in practical terms.

    If you can actually do this, you'd be the first ever to successfully do so.

  11. Cedric Katesby:

    It would help if you would be a little more forthcoming about your conspiracy theories.

    I have been plenty forthcoming over the years. You've commented on this site plenty of time, apparently without seeing any of a number of topics I've discussed many times. Similarly, you apparently decreed I was wrong before even attempting to find out what sort of conspiracies I allege. Given this, I don't think it would help if I were more forthcoming with you. Given how you've never addressed the substance of any post I've made despite having commented here as many times you have, I am certain it would not help if I were more forthcoming with you.

    In case you haven't figured it out, when you visit a site to repeatedly say people are wrong while heaping derision upon them yet fail to address the substance of any post made at that site, you're not going to have productive discussions. You're just going to waste people's time. Personally, I'm not going to chase you down rabbit holes of obnoxiousness and obtuseness.

    If you want to have a productive discussion here, I'd recommend trying to respond to the substance of a post written here.

  12. Similarly, you apparently decreed I was wrong before even attempting to find out what sort of conspiracies I allege.

    Not you personally. Just science deniers in general. Conspiracy theorists overall. There's never been an exception where they didn't choke.

    ....even attempting to find out what sort of conspiracies I allege.

    I had no idea that you had already done the heavy lifting on all this.
    I salute your courage and intellectual integrity. The rest of them run like a scalded rabbit.
    I'm sure you've noticed.
    They sometimes even do this little game where they get all wriggly and backpeddly and pretend that they never suggested a conspiracy theory in the first place.
    (...true story...)
    But you just come out and declare it?
    Well done.
    It's all news to me though. That's why I'm here and asking you for details.
    I really am your huckleberry. If you are prepared to take it seriously then I certainly am.

    I am certain it would not help...

    Or you are just uncomfortable revealing whatever conspiracy theory you may or may not have to scrutiny.
    (...)
    The worst thing that can happen to a conspiracy theorist is to have someone politely ask them to the sketch out their "theory" on the back of the napkin.
    Extend them every courtesy and fairness. Bend over backwards to accommodate any resources or conditions that they suddenly realize they are going to need.
    Conspiracy theories are crushed under the weight of basic logistics.
    There are no exceptions. Ever.
    But hey, maybe you're in a superior class to the rest of 'em?
    Could be.

  13. Cedric Katesby

    I really am your huckleberry. If you are prepared to take it seriously then I certainly am.

    I am certainly prepared to take my allegations seriously. They are serious. In fact, several allegations involve criminal activity. There's at least one person who could potentially go to jail for defrauding the government via outright lies on grant proposals (to the tunes of ~$150,000).

    What I don't take seriously is you. As I've said many times, you're a joke. I know better than to waste time pretending it's possible to have a productive discussion with you.

  14. Sure. That must be it. It's not like anybody would use that as an excuse. And besides, you're very busy etc.
    It's a real shame. You really could have done this.
    I guess the global scientific conspiracy wins this round.

  15. Cedric Katesby, acting as though what I said is in any way suspect shows exactly why I call you a joke. I've expressed my views regarding you, and the pointlessness of trying to discuss any issues with you, numerous times over the last year or two. You should not, in any way, be surprised by them. I don't think I could have been more clear about them. The idea this is somehow an excuse I'm offering to avoid dealing with what I've said here is ridiculous.

    The simple truth is in all the times you've visited this site, you have never once attempted to discuss any substantive issue raised in any post on this site. Given that, what possible reason would I have to chase you down whatever rabbit hole you might be interested in today? That sounds like a terrible idea.

    If any when you try, for the first time ever, to address any substantive issue raised in any post on this blog, then I'll be happy to have a discussion with you. Until then, all you're going to get from me is ridicule.

  16. Well, you did mention conspiracy theories. And here I am pointing out that they never work.
    You claim differently.
    If you don't want to discuss it and go into the substance of your claim then that's you.
    It's not me at all.

  17. Conspiracy theories never work? Huh. Strange. I thought all sorts of conspiracy theories have been shown to be true. I guess Edith Wilson didn't really run the country for over a year after her president had a stroke? The CIA didn't actually drug people with things like LSD as part of secret experiments? Researchers for the United States government didn't kill over a hundred black men testing treatments for syphilis? Tobacco companies didn't hide evidence smoking causes cancer?

    And here, I thought we had incontrovertible proof of each and every one of those conspiracies, conspiracies alleged and dismissed as paranoid rantings until eventually proven to be true. That's good to know. I've never smoked before, but I was thinking about picking up the habit. Thanks to you, I now know there was no conspiracy to hide the dangers of smoking. I guess smoking is safe after all. Light 'em boys!

  18. Do all of those conspiracies run foul of the problem of scale?
    Nope.
    They all have a way of getting "it" done.
    But it's impossible to fake a scientific consensus.
    Nobody can come up with a viable mechanism. That goes for all science denial groups out there.

    NASA is not lying to you. It can't even if it really really wanted to.
    Problem of scale.

  19. And... you just showed your character perfectly changing the subject from the allegations I referred to something else entirely in order to create a nonsensical strawman to pretend you are answering anything, all while feeding your obsession for talking about NASA as much as you can.

    That is all you ever do in any exchange here. I'm done humoring you for the sake of demonstrating your character. You have nothing to say that you haven't said a dozen times here already. At this point, I could write a chatbot that'd emulate your comments and get the same results by talking to it.

    I wonder if anyone would even notice the difference. I think I may give it a try.

  20. And... you just showed your character perfectly changing the subject from the allegations I referred...

    I asked you for details. You decided not to because reasons.

    ...a nonsensical strawman to pretend....

    Don't be silly. Science denial requires conspiracy theory. All of it.
    It has to be global in scope to explain away the scientific consensus which is.....um.....global.

    It's not possible to get around the Problem of Scale.
    If someone had done it already, you could just cut-and-paste the creationist/fluoride/flat earth/moonlanding/whatever model off the internet and insert "climate change" in the relevant spots.
    But nobody has ever done that.
    They can't. Even though they really want to.

    You can't fake a scientific consensus.

  21. Ron Graf, you've posted a comment on this page you know perfectly well violates this sites rules. Incredibly, you do so even though this post explicitly draws attention to the fact you're not allowed to post like you just did. Just this once, I have moved your comment to an appropriate location:

    http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2018/09/moderation-hole/#comment-20557

    If you intentionally break this site's rules with a comment again, I will simply delete it. The fact you're intentionally breaking this site's rules shows the dishonest of your supposed concern for civility:

    we can do our part to add to civility by not attacking people personally when we disagree with their analysis on topics.

    To be clear, when you lie, especially about the people you talk to, you are not being civil. When you fabricate quotes for dishonest purposes, you are not being civil. When you intentionally break sites' rules, yo uare not being civil. The fact I call you a lying, conspiratorial prick does not make me less civil than you. Sometimes speaking ill of others is necessary within a civil society.

    That all said, if you would like me to discuss any new factual matters, please first attempt to resolve any of the many outstanding factual disputes that exist between us. I have accused you of making numerous false factual claims, doing so even in this very post. I can't see value in discussing more falsehoods being spread by you if you're not going to do anything about all the ones you've spread previously.

    For the record, it is trivially easy to see you have once again misrepresented the material you're promoting in trivially obvious ways.

  22. I had to delete a comment from Ron Graf because he refused to abide the very simple rules explained to him. Had he wished to comment here, he could have as he is not banned. I am sure he'll paint himself a victim in this, but having your comments deleted because you repeatedly refuse to follow simple rules like, "Post your comments on X thread" does not make you the victim.

    I don't like the idea of preventing people from commenting, no matter what their views may be, and as such, Ron Graf is not banned from this site. That said, I will not be commenting each time I am forced to delete a comment he knows is breaking this site's rules. If you see a comment from him disappear without notice, that is why.

  23. I want to cite two tweets from Steve McIntyre, for record keeping. Assuming he continues on down the line these tweets (and others) show, I'll discuss why I think this is important. Short version, what he says is nuts. I'm hoping he realizes on his own how grossly he's misrepresenting things. Probably not, but it's really, really obvious if you read the OPCW report. Or even just look at the parts he cites.

    7/ OPCW reported, apparently with straight face, that cylinder "hit[] the concrete floor of the balcony causing a hole in it, but without sufficient energy to fall through it". In other words, the cylinder paused in mid-air, pirouetted and then flopped onto its side. Laughable.

    https://twitter.com/ClimateAudit/status/1131580008378642432

    9/ OPCW Report appears to have worked backwards from conclusion that cylinder dropped. They calculated that, if cylinder had impact velocity of 30 m/s, concrete roof would slow to standstill with crater of approximate size. (This doesnt explain failure to fall thru hole.)

    https://twitter.com/ClimateAudit/status/1131584292855918592

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