2010-09-17 19:44:27iceagenow attempt to debunk Skeptical Science's debunking of iceagenow
John Cook


Noticed a bit of traffic coming our way from www.iceagenow.com and it turned out to be this webpage:


The highlight of the debunk is an email from a reader:

"Though I agree by your views and your website I must say I am getting pretty convinced by the arguments on skepticalscience.com. I am confused as to what I should follow - the arguments for human induced global warming as per the above mentioned site, or the lack of it from your website. Please enlighten me."

The iceagenow response is pretty disappointing, a bit of repetitive rhetoric about past climate change and an argument based all around the misreading of a graph of Milankovitch cycles. I don't think such a page is even worth drawing attention to as a blog post but had to share it here, even if just for the quote from that reader.

2010-09-17 20:24:09
Rob Painting
What's funny is that they even post that e-mail. One thing I've found is that deniers/skeptics don't have a very good sense of humor, the intent of that e-mail went completely over his/her head.   
2010-09-17 23:37:54

Actually there's nothng to debunk, we can see many of the things he points out. The problem lies in his "logical" conclusions. I doubt any skeptic will show up here quoting that web page.
2010-09-18 01:58:18what a dumb site
Dana Nuccitelli
That is a really, really dumb site.  Seriously, it could be run by a third grade child.  "It used to be warmer therefore humans can't be causing global warming" seems to be the entire argument.  Plus ignorance about the Milankovitch cycles.
2010-09-18 02:14:19


dana1981, I've been fantasizing lately about starting a blog to discuss skeptic arguments, not in terms of their factual errors, but purely in terms of their logical reasoning or lack thereof.

Seriously, it's amazing how many skeptical arguments just plain don't make sense.  Most of the worst offenders are of this type -- "it was warm during the previous interglacial or the Mesozoic Era or whenever, therefore recent warming must be natural too".

Just a couple of hours ago Berenyi Peter posted a comment noting that some glaciers retreated during the mid-Holocene.  He's smart enough that he ought to know that's irrelevant to the questions of whether/why glaciers are retreating today ... but like most "pseudo-skeptics" he only applies his critical faculties to one side of the discussion.

I also like all the people (e.g., GnDoty) who insist on informing us that the past half-century is just the blink of an eye in geologic time.  So?  What's your point?  How is that a logical argument in opposition to the claim that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are altering the Earth's climate?  There's a woman who posts on Lucia Liljegren's site who does virtually nothing except inform people that "the earth is really old and geologists know that climate changes all the time and it's all really complicated".  Once again, so?  These aren't logical arguments, they're intellectually lazy shortcuts that "skeptics" use to dismiss inconvenient facts without having to provide either contrary evidence or a logically sound argument. 

2010-09-18 05:58:59
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn
My claim to fame at last! I can't read much online at the moment - conjunctivitis, eyes stream if I stare at a screen for too long - and the post at iceagenow has made my eyes stream even more. Is that really the best they can do?
2010-09-18 07:54:18Anne-Marie

have you heard anything from Moth Incarnate concerning the ecological-impact series of articles?
2010-09-18 08:01:59Finding the Moth
John Cook


Neal, I just sent off an email to Tim (Moth Incarnate), hopefully we'll hear from him soon.

BTW, I think a worthy skeptic argument to rebut would be "It was warmer in previous interglacials". The rebuttal should comprise two parts, I think: first part is explain why it warmer in previous interglacials citing peer-reviewed research (orbital forcing for the most part, I believe) and what I think is an important point to make, describe what conditions were like during these warmer periods as they give a vivid, empirical insight into our future. Last interglacial, 1.5 C warmer, sea levels over 6 metres higher than now. 1.5C warming is our most optimistic IPCC scenario. That's the take-home message. So it would definitely be a worthy rebutal to do, to turn that skeptic argument on its head.

2010-09-18 10:41:33
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn

Actually having thought about it I'm a bit peed off that iceagenow included that comment by Keith Connelly, which is nothing more than his personal opinion of me. Now I couldn't actually care less about what they think of me but I haven't got the option to respond. So I'm thinking of contacting iceagenow to make my point - or shouldn't I bother? I don't think there's any point  in responding to the 'arguments' put forward on the website - frankly, they're embarrassing. But the personal stuff is annoying me.

Anyone with diplomatic skills care to give their opinion?

2010-09-19 00:56:27

I think that is part of the "cost" of blogging.
2010-09-19 02:34:00Neal
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn

True, but it still bothers me. It's poor to include quotes from private emails, especially when they contain no science whatsoever. But I guess this is really the best iceagenow can do. Thankfully I suspect that few people read that website and even fewer take it seriously.

I have been in touch with Tim with regards to the ecological impact series - are we carrying on as planned or have things changed? My email is bioluminescence@hotmail.co.uk in case you want to contact me directly.

2010-09-19 02:55:02Eco impact series (EIS)


I projected my idea of an outline here, Tim also responded:


How does it sound?



2010-09-19 09:04:01Whether to respond to iceagenow
John Cook


It's always a fine line whether to respond to a skeptic article. Is it better to rebut their misinformation or do you risk giving them oxygen. I think you have to take it on a case by case basis.

In this case, on the one hand, iceagenow gets a lot of traffic - according to alexa.com, more than Skeptical Science. If it was a blog that allowed comments, it might be worth posting a comment. But as it doesn't allow comments, you can only depend on emailing the author and depending on them to give you a fair hearing. I don't think the chances of that are very good. So I don't think I would bother trying to email them - I can't imagine they would post up a comment from you that in any way weakens their own argument (which is already pretty shaky).

For the record, take the personal stuff as a badge of honour. I've noticed that personal criticisms against me are getting more intense. I'd like to think that maybe it's an indication that Skeptical Science is having an impact - at least that's how I choose to interpret it :-) Some of the stuff from WUWT:

"When you engage a site like ‘Skeptical Science’, you are engaging a site that is neither scientific or skeptical, much less amenable to reason."
"Skeptical Science was conceived by, of and for mendacity."
"The SS bloggers don’t understand scientific skepticism, and the Scientific Method is apparently beyond John Cook’s grasp. Ad-hominem attacks are the stock in trade of SS, as Dr Pielke observes. Mr Cook is not a skeptic, he is simply a climate alarmist promoting a scary agenda — and using his disingenuously named blog to do it. “Alarmist Pseudo-Science” would be far more accurate."
2010-09-19 09:35:10compliments
Dana Nuccitelli
There are few better compliments than insults or criticism from the likes of WUWT or iceagenow.
2010-09-19 10:35:12Comment
Robert Way

This is for me a nice little comment from Goddard about me from a couple months ago when I tried to tell him that significant ice losses were occurring in Greenland.


Snow falls in the interior. The extra weight forces the glaciers to move towards the sea. When they reach the sea, they calve icebergs. The great circle of life, Little Foot.

Try taking a physical geology 101 class at your local community college. It is one of the first things they will teach you."

Always a badge of honor when a comment like that comes from Goddard...

Here's one I really liked in response to being shown my SKS articles disputing his analysis:

stevengoddard says:

July 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm


That article made no attempt to address my question about claimed recent losses far away from the coast. He did set up lots of strawman arguments, supposedly in response to my articles.

Robert says:

July 22, 2010 at 4:30 am

The article shows these losses are occurring based upon multiple sources of evidence…

…You can make fancy rhetorical statements about "strawmen" all you like but the truth of the matter is that someone caught you and you are not willing to admit it.”

Goddard never responded after that despite having responded to all 6 of my other comments...

All it goes to show is that sometimes it is really an accomplishment whenever they go to name calling because it means their science just isn't there...