2011-07-12 06:58:38Please allow me to rant!
Julian Brimelow

I posted the quoted text below on the Jeff Masters thread on extremes, but the moderators may rightly snip it. 

For once I have been able to speak to somethign at SkS that I am very well informed on (heck I did my MSc on hail), and it has been bizarre experience dealing with "skeptics".  What the hell compels "skeptics" to think that they can opine on everything? Since when did science become a free for all? 

It is impossible to debate them or inform them, because their understanding is so horribly shallow, their preconceived (and erroneous) notions so obvious, and becasue they refuse to learn even when an expert in the field tries to help them understand it.  Additionally, their posts often make so little sense, or are so internally inconsistent that it is impossible to detemrine what theya re trying to say or trying to argue.

You know, sometimes I follow other threads and the "skeptics" seem to have the people in the know tied in knots-- and sometimes I have (erroneously) thought "maybe the "skeptics" are onto something".  But after this experience, I now understand that the appearance of the expert or person in the know being "tied in knots" is because the 'skeptic' is being so incoherent and dogmatic and intentionally (or unintentianlly) persistently missing the point.

Anyhow, this is what I posted:

"PS: I have no idea what compels people to think that climate science and complex issue such as severe storms are an open house to speculation and 'debunking'; that equipped with Google and their misguided and shallow understanding that the science and physics can be dimissed or overthrown. It is infuriating to say the least. I am pretty well educated, yet have no intent or drive to argue with an engineer or oncologist  that they have gotten something wrong because I happen to think differently, or because a result is not intuitive to me (nor should it be, I am not an expert in that field) and have access to Google. So it blows my mind to see self-professed 'skeptics' on the internet passionately arguing the physics and science on all aspects on climate science (oceanography, radiative transfer, physics, modelling etc.). Worse yet, when presented with the physics and facts, they then contort all kinds of excuses to dismiss them rather than using it as an opportunity to learn."


Sigh, is it time for a beer yet?

2011-07-12 07:27:26
Alex C


>>>I now understand that the appearance of the expert or person in the know being "tied in knots" is because they 'skeptic' is being so incoherent and dogmatic and intentionally (or unintentianlly) persistently missing the point.

I can empathize with that, we've been having a stint with one "skeptic" for a while on Y!A about whether the 0.01% increase in atmospheric volume due to CO2 increase is equivalent to a 40% increase in CO2 concentration.  He has been persisting that we're simply trying to use the larger number because it has more impact.  Despite being told consistently and unequivocally what in the world a percent change is and what figure he is actually giving, and despite him practically admitting to knowing perfectly well what he is doing (obfuscating), he insists on using the 0.01% figure and saying "see, so small it can't have an effect."

(*puts head down*)

2011-07-12 07:41:57
Rob Painting

Hey Albie, stop posting those Hockeystick graphs on the MWP post. You're just gonna allow the "skeptics" to veer dicussion off on a tangent. They dun' got no answer to advancing glaciers, cool oceans and how they match climate models, which was the whole point of the post - to re-frame the MWP & Hockeystick and show that Mike Mann etc got it right.  

2011-07-12 07:43:38
Julian Brimelow

Hi Rob,

Oops.  Sorry.  Feel free to delete my post-- I do not want to distract everyone from the point of the article.

2011-07-12 07:44:58
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

"Sigh, is it time for a beer yet?"

Rhetorical.  Like the 1st Law of Committees (a motion to adjourn is ALWAYS in order), there can always be time for a beer or three. 

As da Fins up in Ishpeming say, "I'll have a nar" (I'll have another).

2011-07-12 08:35:54
Dana Nuccitelli

I hear ya Alby.  Preaching to the choir :-)

You just have to keep the goal in mind.  We're not going to convince any deniers, but the goal is to inform those who are really open-minded and uninformed on the subject.  I try to avoid arguments with deniers because you just end up banging your head against a brick wall.  If you're going to argue with a denier, keep in mind your real target is the person watching the back-and-forth, not the denier himself.

2011-07-12 08:53:07We all need...
John Hartz
John Hartz

some "Cool Hand Luke" training.

A couple of years ago, after engaging in marathon blogging sessions wirh Teapers and Libertarains on the website of our local newspaper (all issues not just climate change were ont eh table), I concluded that I needed to cease and desist and take a long bath. Blogging on comment threads is akin to mud wrestling.    

2011-07-12 08:56:53
Julian Brimelow

Thanks all :) I would rant to my wife but she has long tired of my involvement in this "debate".

Dan I have a beer chilling in the fridge :)

Dana, thanks.  I'll try to keep that in mind, but it ain't easy.  So what would you recommend that I do on the extreme weatehr thread?  I mean it is abubdantly clear that they will not let this go, and that they have no bloody idea what they are talking about.  Are my posts helping, or coming across like someone preaching form the "ivory tower"? The last few are pbably the latter b/c I'm so annoyed at having my time wasted.

They seem to obtain satisfaction thinking that they are debating a scientist, whn in fact we are actually talking past each other b/c of the gap in levle of understanding.

Maybe we need a post on the tactis used by "skeptics" on threads, with some examples?  It is also interesting how a non-expert int he field like Tom Curtis can read a paper and get the science and interpret it correctly, while Norman just misses the intent and findings of the paper entirely. 

Anyhow, maybe my aforementioned suggestion has already been done. 

Yet another bloody day wasted.....I really, really have to get working on my latest paper!  No more blogging this week!

2011-07-12 09:33:23
Rob Painting

Albie - I'm building up a database of "skeptic" rhetorical devices, logical fallacies etc. The way I see it, if we can just refer to the technique in use, by hyperlinking to an SkS database it will be a powerful weapon. For example:

'Jerry MacGuire' - is "show me the proof!"

Might be a while in coming though, I've got a long 'to-do' list.