2011-06-30 08:51:57Skeptical Science, or just plain old alarmism?
John Cook


Denier response to The Age opinion piece:


When I first became interested in climate change a few years ago, I visited "Skeptical Science" thinking it was exactly that, sceptical of the consensus on man-made warming. To my surprise it was exactly the opposite, attempting to rubbish all the sceptical arguments and bolster the alarmist consensus. In fact, the site is "skeptical" of sceptics, which is an odd concept, but still. The site lists the usual "denialist half-truths" (as I am sure they are regarded by the author), and places a rebuttal next to them.

However, in the comments on Bishop Hill's post, someone pointed me to an extensive response to these "rebuttals" by Luboš Motl, who writes the equally excellent blog "The Reference Frame". Here are the first few, with the sceptical argument first, then Cook's rebuttal (each of which is a link on the site to a longer rebuttal) and then Lubos's response (since Luboš wrote the response, the numberings have changed, so there's a little cross-referencing to be done):

Two thoughts. First, as the attacks increase, we may have to start a "Attacks on SkS" forum just to keep track of them

Second, was tempted to respond to Lubos' rebuttal when it first came out. But "SkS response to Motl's response to SkS" would only be followed by "Motl's response to SkS response to Motl's response to SkS" and so on, generating a lot of noise and chest thumping but to what purpose?

But this does seem to be getting quoted more often (see recent Bishop Hill thread) so perhaps something is required - but not just a "my science vs your science" type post which would only fuel the "ongoing debate" narrative. I'm not sure what the narrative would need to be - have to reread Lubos' post.

2011-06-30 09:31:55


we may respond to some of the criticisms without quoting them directly. Title: Skeptical Science Misinterpreted" :)

2011-06-30 11:51:13
Dana Nuccitelli

Motl didn't really say anything quantitative in that "response", at least not in the bit that I read.  Just a standard Gish Gallop really.  Not worth a response IMO.

I think it's worth keeping the audience in mind.  Anyone who reads Motl's blog is a hardcore denier, and thus we're not going to have any impact by responding to him.  Outside the denialsphere, he has essentially no impact.

2011-06-30 13:38:05The impact of Lubos' rebuttal
John Cook

The content of Lubos' rebuttal doesn't matter. All that matters is there exists somewhere a rebuttal of 106 SkS rebuttals. When confronted with SkS, all deniers have to know is someone has it all sorted and their minds are set to rest. This line of thinking may have sway on moderate deniers. But I'm inclined to agree with Lubos - his page is marginalized and a response would elevate it at this point.
2011-06-30 14:18:13Comment
Robert Way


SKS misinterpreted may be a good idea however... you know respond to some criticisms seen in the blogosphere over a multitude of cases.

Could be a group authorship

2011-06-30 16:23:28
John Mason


I see nothing of substance in Motl's responses - just lots of unquantifiable waffle. I'd be somewhat disinclined to give him any more exposure.

Cheers - John