The denial database/portal: this weeks crazy idea

I’ve been involved in great discussion over at Tim Lambert’s blog Deltoid with posters debating the effectiveness and limits of simply debunking the claims of Monckton et.al.   Debunking is a valuable and effective tool, but we need other strategies to counter the “denial machine”. I’ve been musing on this for some time as readers know.  

One thought I had (aka this weeks crazy idea) is to create a “Denier Database” or “Portal”.   In short a “one stop shop” that pulls together everything we know about the denial movement, their claims, tactics and the psychology of denial. It may help us both understand and counter the deniers.   Crazy?   Perhaps.   But I envision a “wiki” that acts as a repository of information that does not address the specific claims of deniers (John Cook’s wonderful Skeptical Science does this), but provides the resources to understand and counter the denial moment. I could bring together content such as:  

  • Studies on the psychology of denial so we understand it’s basis (there is a great deal of papers out there that could be collated)
  • Who the primary players are (again DeSmogBlog and Source Watch does this so links to these and other sources)
  • Suggested debating points, examples of presentations (PowerPoint, videos etc.)
  • Resource kits/fact sheets for journalists to help them understand how anti-science movements work 

There are many great resources out there already, but it takes considerable time and effort to pull them together. However science advocates may benefit from such a tool, and wiki’s lead themselves well to collaborative efforts.   I’d also note AGW Observer has a great list of papers on “denial”, which is a great foundation.   There are many issues that would need to be hashed out:

  • Does it simply replicate existing tools?
  • How “secure” would such a tool be, given the denial movement actively attacks pro-AGW sites?
  • Should it be an open source project like Wikipedia, or with restricted editing rights?

 As I said, it’s just a thought… [readers opinions welcome] 

5 thoughts on “The denial database/portal: this weeks crazy idea

  1. it would be, as you said, very time consuming, so you’d probably want a number on contributors, although having it unrestricted would have its problems when you get people deliberately working against it.
    You’ve mentioned some excellent sites/blogs that have certain elements of what you’re talking about, but not the whole package. I’d suggest a forum section that’s open for stimulated debate and a semi-closed resource base.

  2. Fred Orth says:

    This seems to be on the path towards creating a very valuable resource.

  3. manuelg says:

    > Does it simply replicate existing tools?

    Perhaps. But that is not a bad thing, if you emphasize organization (“one stop shopping”) instead of needing “considerable time and effort to pull [info from different sources] together”.

    > How “secure” would such a tool be, given the denial movement actively attacks pro-AGW sites?
    > Should it be an open source project like Wikipedia, or with restricted editing rights?

    Restricted editing rights seems like a good idea. Every quarter, give the option of letting interested parties pay a nominal fee to download the database, so the project can “fork” if interested parties have the time and resources to maintain a public editable wiki.

    I think your blog comments contain stories about honest skeptics looking at the “warmist” case, looking at the deniers case, and finding the deniers definitely lacking. This would be a fine group of people to serve.

  4. I think a Global Warming Denial Wiki is a good idea. If we can make it happen I’ll contribute a couple of my blog posts to help get things started:

    References for Debating Science Deniers
    http://rationallythinkingoutloud.wordpress.com/references-for-debating-climate-change-skeptics/

    and

    “The Great Global Warming Swindle”? Shams & Lies
    http://rationallythinkingoutloud.wordpress.com/2007/07/12/loooking-for-the-material-that-debunks-and-discriedits-the-great-global-warming-swindle/

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks JJH, there is some growing interest in this so I will hope to chat to you soon.

      Cheers ~ Mike @ WTD

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