Watts down under, bit of a fizzer… and do sceptics really want a debate?

A low key affair*

Megan Evans has posted a summary of the Anthony Watt’s presentation in Noosa on Skeptical Science, and it is well worth the read:  

When faced with the prospect of attending a climate skeptic speakers event such as the current Watts Up with the Climate? tour of Australia, anyone who understands climate change science could easily think of a plethora of reasons not to go: I don’t want to provide any further opportunity for the skeptics to propagate their disinformation, I can’t bear to hand over my hard earned money to fund their campaign, I fear I may gnaw my own arm off in frustration whilst listening to the talks, and so on. I considered all of these before attending last week’s event in Brisbane, where Anthony Watts, David Archibald and Bob Carter spoke about why we shouldn’t be concerned about climate change. Although I certainly listened to the talks, was more broke after I left than when I arrived, and found the whole occasion undeniably frustrating, it turns out that the event wasn’t really what I expected – in fact, I almost enjoyed myself.  

And, it seems that unlike Christopher “Lord” Monckton’s tour, the response from the punters to Watts down under has been a bit of a fizzer:  

The attendance was certainly less than Watts would have hoped for – it seems that the awareness through word of mouth wasn’t enough to pull a sizeable crowd (Noosa’s event on Friday evening was attended by just 36 people).  

As expected, Watts and his co-hosts simply recycle the same arguments, however Evans makes a very good point:

Despite all of the misinformation, obfuscation, and frustration from hearing the same tired arguments churned out and chopped and changed throughout the night, I’m glad that I went. I’m grateful that I was given the chance to ask questions of the speakers and raise my concerns, and I was glad to be able to meet with other attendees and discuss points of disagreement in a low-key, friendly environment. One man told me that it was good just to be able to talk things through, while another thanked me for my questions. The experience made me reconsider initial resistance to go anywhere near a climate skeptics event, as it seems that although the Watts visit to Australia has yet to draw much attention from the general public at all, he and his fellow skeptics are not likely to fade away if simply we pretend they’re not there. Seeing and hearing firsthand how Watts, Carter and Archibald shamelessly mislead people made me realise how important it to try to engage in a dialogue with climate skeptics – and not just over blogs, but in person (and preferably over a drink). If that means politely sitting through a seemingly endless collection travel photos on the off chance that you could make your voice heard, then I think I can live with that. The alternative is sit back and allow the circus to roll on by.

A very good point, however do climate “sceptics” want to have  conversation?

On three separate occasions I’ve offered climate sceptics the change to post their arguments on my blog and for us to conduct a formal debate. 

Each time they have declined pleading “I’m too busy” or they simply go silent. And this is after they have bombarded the comments section for days. It’s a pattern that Peter in his guest post notes.

Confronted with evidence that may shake their “faith”, it would appear they retreat into silence or denial.

Still. Megan has a point.

We need to get out there and engage not only the sceptics, but the public as well.  


* Sourced from Skeptical Science

4 thoughts on “Watts down under, bit of a fizzer… and do sceptics really want a debate?

  1. JG says:

    And this is after they have bombarded the comments section for days.

    Whatever happened to that New Zealander who kept exhorting us all to go look at his “skeptic” blog, no really look at it, and follow up all the links, and . . .? I haven’t been here as often as I should recently. Is he one of the fader-awayers you mention?

  2. EoR says:

    Watching a whole slew of some guy’s home slides of weather stations must be as enticing as a night of watching slides of twentieth century telegraph poles. There isn’t even anyone pretending to be an Hereditary Lord. They really need to focus more on the entertainment aspect of denial if they want to draw the punters.

  3. […] A recent modest blip in traffic is apparently “due in part to Anthony’s speaking tour, where he has spoken to packed and enthusiastic crowds”. Nothing to do with a wash of half-hearted denialist mutterings in response to the final dismissal of the false Climategate allegations, right? By the way, my understanding is that the Grand Tour was more like this. […]

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