2010-10-25 12:43:09Should we credit skeptics when they sometimes get something mostly right?
Andy S


In my basic version rebuttal on Mauna Loa I originally included a link to article on the same subject written by Willis Eschenbach and published at Watt's Up With That. I thought Willis's article was pretty good on the whole and was well written and illustrated. Riccardo correctly pointed out that there were some errors in it but I still thought it was sufficiently correct to link to it. Doug Bostrom, Dappledwater and CBW all expressed reservations about including any link to WUWT. I decided to cut it out.

There's a similar case that could have been mentioned on the Second Law rebuttal where Roy Spencer had previously made a case on his blog that the greenhouse effect didn't violate basic physics. Someone duly brought it up in the comments.

Here are some pros and cons of occasionally giving credit to skeptics: 



  • the skeptical authors may have more credibility in the eyes of other skeptics and the undecided than we do and this may increase the palatability of our argument;
  • some credit is actually due to these guys for arguing with their fan base on a point of principle;
  • it shows a certain open-mindedness on our part; 
  • pointing to those particular posts and their often crazy comments shows that the skeptical world view is actually pretty fractured and irrational.




  • sending any traffic their way is detrimental since the great majority of information, especially on WUWT, is wrong;
  • it confers some scientific respectability on people who seem mostly driven by ideology.
As Riccardo suggested, perhaps we should just say something like "even some prominent skeptics don't dispute this particular point" without providing a link.





2010-10-25 13:55:35I suggest do link if a skeptic gets it right
John Cook

Particularly if you make it a nofollow link, you're not giving away that much but you do earn yourself a credit in some skeptics' eyes for the gesture.
2010-10-25 22:21:05

You can't rehabilitate a criminal without catching him doing something right, once in a while.
2010-10-27 18:47:32


Any opportunity to dismantle the edifice of mistakes or lies built to support skeptics cognitive dissonance should be taken. The cons listed by Andy are related to the blog where a skeptic scientist eventually write which should not be given any credibility. As quoted by Andy, I think that we should separate the scientists from the blog, quoting just the former.

Anyways, I don't think it's going to be such a big problem. At the moment I can list just a few arguments on which we may happen to agree with skeptic scientists, CO2 record, satellite temperature record, GHG effect. As for the rest, they tend to have the bad habit to try to question anything that might even indirectly be seen as a support for AGW.