Question for readers: how would you counter the denial movement?

Even though I was late and arrived half way through the discuss, the talk given by Robert Manne and Adam Brandt was well worth the effort. Held at Melbourne University last night, they spoke on the “victory” of the deniers in front of a large and appreciative audience. 

Getting there later was frustrating as the rain and hostile traffic lights conspired to prevent my attendance – I blame the international bankers, but hey what do I know?.

But what I did see was worth the effort.

Overview of Manne and Bandt arguments

To paraphrase both Manne and Bandt:

  • There is no question the science is settled: that is not the debate
  • The issue is “not what to believe, but who to believe” – the denial movement has confused people on this question
  • Climate change is now a part of the “culture wars”
  • The struggle is over “cultural values” which can’t disproven by facts
  • Culture wars are hard to fight: to quote Manne “I’ve fought several and lost” (citing the history wars in Australia)
  • Manne stated he “didn’t know how” we could fight a successful culture war
  • The extreme weather events and Arctic melting may have pushed some into “not talking about” climate change (i.e. it is too scary for the punters).

I hope some of you caught the live tweets as well. It was an experiment I wanted to try, and something I hope to do more of. I was restricted by the technology (I have a Blackberry, which quite frankly is sub-optimal for this kind of thing) and missing part of the talk. These are valuable lessons and I’m sure the next attempt will be worth it. I also note

I’ve picked some new Twitter followers – so welcome!

Obviously what Manne and Bandt had to say interested me and I’m still reflecting on their observations. But, I am in general agreement. For me the obvious question – for which I’d hoped there was more discussion about – is how to challenge, combat and perhaps negate the denial movement.

So I’m throwing the question over to you:

  • What can be done to combat the effectiveness of the denial machine?

Feel free to post ideas, links and even rough thoughts in the comments section of this post.

I’ll send your ideas to my paymasters at the United Nations and Hose of Rothschild – they’re one in the same you know.

You don’t have to post it on the blog, simply email me at watchthedeniers@gmail.com

91 thoughts on “Question for readers: how would you counter the denial movement?

  1. I like to ask denialists what they think climate change is and why they believe it isn’t real. Almost always, their understanding is faulty and their justifications for denying climate change are based on those faulty ideas, the remainder oppose AGW on political grounds, or, they believe there is some hidden conspiracy driving it all. Almost all have a poor understanding of basic science.

  2. Phil Smith says:

    As a fan of the grassroots, the deniers and their messages need to be challenged ‘in the field’, out in the community. I think the solutions lie in the kinesthetic, the doing, the practical. This is not a discussion that can be solved online or in the media.

    What underpins the views of those who would believe ‘deniers’ is their fear of change. It is It’s the change they refuse to accept. So regular discussions about ‘change’ they have experienced in society and climate in the last 10/20 years is a useful start.

    Culture wars are also about fear and about nostalgia > the past is a place where there is no change, except how you cast it (balckarmband view etc)

    But most vocal deniers seem to rarely talk about the future, unless it’s to ridicule the bleak vision of destruction painted by others. The future seems to be less scary when you are ‘doing something’ to engage with it or change it. So we need to use participatory models to engage with ‘would be deniers’ and help them face the future, engage with it, shape it.

    But most importantly, the culture war needs to be swung back to a ‘values’ discussion. Not which side/what to believe but what are the values that underpin good society now. What are the values we want to take into the future – resilience (positive thriving, not survival), collaborative effort (shared load), creativeness (innovation and enjoyable change), honesty (evidence, science) and equity (a fair go), etc

  3. zoot says:

    I’m at the stage of apologising to my grandchildren’s grandchildren. It is becoming ever clearer that the human race is too f**king stupid to save itself.
    An old friend of mine is in the denier camp (it’s all a conspiracy by the UN to make us smoke gay drugs). We argued back and forth (he is totally immune to evidence) for a few days before agreeing to disagree.
    When the subject of nuclear energy came up he was an enthusiastic supporter of reactors everywhere because we have to combat the carbon pollution in the atmosphere. This is an otherwise intelligent man – go figure?
    So, how do we counter the denial movement? I don’t know , but I do know it won’t involve logic or rational thought.

  4. Sammy Jankis says:

    I guess it depends on which part of the denial movement you’re engaging.

    Climate Change Denial Internet Warriors
    When it comes to regular Joe Citizen denialists on the internet, who show up in the comment sections of blogs or news articles to regurgitate all of their favourite talking points in a single post, one approach is to ask them to pick one, and only one, of their talking points to discuss. Explain that they are welcome to present what they consider to be the single strongest argument against the consensus position, on the condition that they don’t change the subject when things don’t go their way. They probably won’t accept, because they’re horrified about getting into the details. They don’t exactly know why “the hockey stick is broken”, but they know, deep down, in their heart of hearts, that it’s part of a trick to make them pay more tax. In the event of obvious trolling, the best course of action is to deny them food.

    In the media
    This is tricky, because in the case of News Ltd bloggers for example, efforts to correct them at their blog can simply be ignored and quickly drowned in a sea of denialist comments. Alan Jones and other radio shock jocks are experts in shouting down opponents and controlling the discussion, so there’s probably not much point in calling into their shows to put the pro-science side. The Bolts, Albrechtsens and Ackermans of the world don’t care what you or I think about them, but they do care what their media colleagues think. If a great take-down of denialist trash appears in the media, link to it. Spread it far and wide. Help it to go viral. People like Bolt react furiously to criticism from journalists and opinion writers because they know those criticisms will be widely read.

    ‘Like’ good science reporting
    I also think it’s really important to provide positive feedback to good science reporting. Seen a good article on developments in climate change science? – Write to the journalist and thank them. A quick e-mail thanking them for not falling into the ‘balance’ trap by seeking out a contrarian may go a long way. Tweet their work and stress how important accurate science reporting is. Journalists who write decent articles on climate change issues probably receive nasty feedback from denialists, so let’s let them know that there are people out there who value their efforts to present accurate information.

    …that’s my 2 cents.

  5. Watching the Deniers says:

    Many thanks all – keep the discussion up. I’ll post thoughts as well.

    Mike

  6. Watching the Deniers says:

    Also – if you can, Retweet or sent this out to your readers on your blogs (if you have one)

  7. 2012 and all that says:

    -Perhaps the scientific community can improve their public image, get better at PR, use the media to its advantage. This might be a case of fighting fire with fire but they are playing a political game and in politics, fights are won by those who can shout the loudest and convince the most people NOT the person/group most thorough evidence.

    • john byatt says:

      Carlos Duarte, the conversation,

      The noise on the climate change debate has reached such level that my colleagues in the US, particularly scientists within Federal agencies, tell me that they avoid taking a position on climate change in public conversations and news releases. The reluctance of the US public to agree with the wealth of scientific information pointing to an on-going and future warming of the climate due to anthropogenic green-house gas emissions seems to be curving now with the severe heat, drought and crop failure in the US this year.

      we have seen this in the past month with NASA saying that greenland was a 150 event, right on time and climate change not even getting a mention on the arctic ice crash interview.
      Come winter they will all forget the heatwaves,

  8. Liz Jensen says:

    I think that at some level denialism is a personality issue as well as a cultural one. The deniers I know – very bright people, all three – have something in common: a view of themselves as “individualists”, “eccentrics”, and “mavericks”: freethinking people who won’t join the herd, and who pride themselves on taking an outsider’s sceptical view of an issue on which they perceive an established consensus. Perhaps their self-image as individualists is more important to them than the facts of climate change.
    What they also have in common is an attraction to conspiracy theories.
    I like them too – in fiction. But in real life, screw-up and short-sightedness are far more often at the root of catastrophe than evil master-plans.

    • klem says:

      “Perhaps their self-image as individualists is more important to them than the facts of climate change.”

      Um perhaps it’s a bit deeper than that, perhaps they understand that the facts of climate change are very few indeed.

      • Nick says:

        Liz has it right,klem. I usually find that claims like yours are simply based on ignorance of the breadth and detail of observation.This is understandable,as much literature is not open source,but presumption about the state of the issue is no substitute for knowledge of it.

  9. catweazle666 says:

    Any comment on this?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/29/new-film-the-boy-who-cried-warming/

    One thing I will tell you.

    Insulting my intelligence by claiming that I deny the existence of climate per se, likening me to a Holocaust denier and claiming that because I am sceptical that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are going to have a catastrophic effect on human civilisation that means I therefore believe the moon landings were a hoax, 9/11 was a US Government black op, Princess Diana was assassinated by MI5, smoking doesn’t cause cancer etc. etc. is most definitely NOT going to convert me to your point of view.

    I can assure you that I an not alone in possessing that attitude.

    So my first suggestion is that you stop referring to AGW sceptics as “deniers”,

    Until you understand why that is the case, you have no chance whatsoever.

    Not as you have much anyway, because I strongly suspect that Mother Nature herself is a denier!

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Simple questions:

      Do you deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that humanity is impacting the climate? Y/N
      Do you believe scientists are lying? Y/N
      Do you believe the multiple inquiries that looked into the “Climategate affair” and cleared scientists of any wrong doing were rigged? Y/N

      And answer this: do you agree with Christopher Monckton that the birth certificate on the White House web site is a forgery and there is good reason to doubt Obama’s place of birth? Y/N

      • Lars P. says:

        Do you deny natural climate change? (Y/N)
        Do you deny natural climate change can be and has been on occasions of high intensity and occurred over short periods of time even much more dramatic then what we see today? (Y/N)
        Do you believe scientist are never lying – ie always telling the truth nothing but the truth and all they know about the truth? (Y/N)
        Have you read yourself the climategate mails – especially the ones highlighted by skeptics? (Y/N)
        Have you tried to learn why skeptics are skeptics of AGW? (Y/N)
        Do you believe any birth certificate has anything to do with science and climate change? (Y/N)
        Do you deny there is the UHI effect? (Y/N)
        Do you believe the UHI effect over 200 years was a general cooling in comparison with non-UHI influenced areas? (Y/N)
        Do you have the integrity to post my answer (Y/N)?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Do you deny natural climate change? (Y/N) – NO

          Do you deny natural climate change can be and has been on occasions of high intensity and occurred over short periods of time even much more dramatic then what we see today? (Y/N) This is misleading. What events? What evidence? What claims? What time scales. Are you talking about the Permian-Triassic extinction event? Or ice ages? Or what? As usual wild claims, no evidence and truthiness.

          Do you believe scientist are never lying – ie always telling the truth nothing but the truth and all they know about the truth? (Y/N) There are times when some scientists have acted unethically. But I trust the scientific method.

          Have you read yourself the climategate mails – especially the ones highlighted by skeptics? (Y/N) Yes I’ve read them, all of them AND the numerous reprots So your answer is yes to conspiracy

          Have you tried to learn why skeptics are skeptics of AGW? (Y/N)

          Do you believe any birth certificate has anything to do with science and climate change? (Y/N) No, but Monckton is a conspiracy theorist. You didn’t answer the question, but dodged it. Can you answer the question, or duck and weave like?

          Do you deny there is the UHI effect? (Y/N) If you are referring to urban heat island ,then is is well understood and accounted for by the science.

          Do you believe the UHI effect over 200 years was a general cooling in comparison with non-UHI influenced areas? (Y/N) Are you suggesting the globe has been cooling for 200 years? If so, then no – I accept the scientific consensus.”

          Do you have the integrity to post my answer (Y/N)? Yes- but you didn’t answer my questions did you?.

      • catweazle666 says:

        You lot do love your binary-Y/N-black/white-no-shades-of-grey BS, don’t you?

        Don’t you understand how downright idiotic such inflexible attitudes appear to the public at large? Have you no conception of subtlety or nuance? What a strange, colourless life you must lead.

        As to your questions….

        Do you deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that humanity is impacting the climate? Y/N

        Of course not (and I don’t know any other AGW sceptic that does, either), but I see no evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are affecting the climate to any catastrophically dangerous extent, I think that the logarithmic relationship between temperature and CO2means that the majority of the effect has already taken place, and that there is no0 evidence whatsoever for the necessary CO2/water vapour positive feedback necessary for any catastrophic effect. I believe that the present obsession with this matter is wasting huge quantities of resources that could be better spent on other problems, the supply of clean drinking water and the reduction of burning of wood for cooking fires in Africa springs to mind, for example.

        Do you believe scientists are lying? Y/N

        Clearly some are, as any unbiased study of the Climategate unequivocally demonstrates. Do you believe that scientists are some sort of superior being that is not subject to the same weaknesses that afflict the rest of humanity?

        Do you believe the multiple inquiries that looked into the “Climategate affair” and cleared scientists of any wrong doing were rigged? Y/N

        None of the enquiries into the Climategate affair could by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as unbiased, and none of the enquiries actually touched on the science. Further to that, it was demonstrated that Jones had broken the law with respect to the Freedom of Information act, both by non-compliance with requests and deliberate destruction of data.

        And answer this: do you agree with Christopher Monckton that the birth certificate on the White House web site is a forgery and there is good reason to doubt Obama’s place of birth? Y/N

        WTF? Are you having problems with your tin foil hat? I have no opinion on the matter of Obama’s birth certificate, as it is a matter that is well beyond my sphere of competence. Nor am I either familiar with or interested in Christopher Monckton’s notions on the subject, I make my own mind up on matters of science based on close to half a century of its application in a professional capacity, allied with a reasonable familiarity with the published literature on the subject..

        Further, I am entirely unable to understand why you should introduce such an utterly irrelevant question into a debate on climate science. Are you some sort of conspiracy enthusiast?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Many thanks Cat, your responses are illustrative.

          On matters of fact it really is a simple question – yes or no. I don’t believe in epistemological relativism. I detest that post-modernist line of reasoning which so many climate sceptics seem to embrace.

          Does the sun go round the earth? Yes or no? That is black and white. Is evolution true? Yes or no? That is black or white.Is there a link between smoking and certain forms of cancer? Yes or no? Do CFCs impact the ozone layer? Yes or no. Does DDT have an impact on the environment? Yes or no? On all of these issues considerable numbers of conservatives reject the evidence for religious or ideological reasons.

          Is humanity changing the climate through its activities? Yes.

          The reason you are going to baulk at Yes/No questions is because you have to make a statement on a scientific truth. You know your position is rejected by the scientific community and the vast majority of the public. Don’t worry I get nuance. I know there are gaps in knowledge. And?

          Are scientists superior human beings? Straw man argument. No, they’re very human. In fact, they will make mistakes. I have no doubt about it. But I trust the scientific method which is designed to weed out error and remove individual bias. Is the scientific method perfect? By no means – but it is the best we’ve got.

          You’ve ducked the question on Monckton – like all climate sceptics.

          Why?

          It goes right to the heart of Monckton’s “expertise”.

          The reason you fail to address it because it opens an uncomfortable line of questioning for you: if Monckton is nutty on Obama’s birth certificate, can you trust him on climate? Or any of those sceptics (like David Evans) who claim international bankers killed Lincoln? In fact, what if they’re all crazy as squirrels on crack cocaine? Because then climate change might be true… and oops, there you go retreating into cognitive dissonance again to soothe your anxieties.

          Your response is incredibly telling – you actually imply there is a “debate” on the issue, that you have “no competence” to judge the claims. I think I spat out my coffee with laughter when I read that. To even entertain the thought – i.e. that it is up for debate – that the President was born in Kenya and the there exists a high level conspiracy to fake his birth certificate is telling.

          Thanks for bringing me the lulz for today!

          You wont read the material on Monckton because that is a form of denial. If you are a true sceptic then read this. I’ve provided video and documentary evidence for you to look at.

          Go on , I challenge you personally. Read it. Comment:

          https://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/monckton-questions-obamas-status-as-president-states-there-is-enough-to-cast-doubt-on-potus-place-of-birth/

          So again, answer the question based on probabilities: was the President born in Kenya? Yes or no? Would reason even lead you to such questioning?

          You claim you can overturn the scientific understanding of climate change, and yet have no competence on such a simple issue as Obama’s birth?

          Do you really need to go back over all the evidence for and against such an idea?

          Empirical research is showing there is a strong correlation between those who reject the science and hold strong views on the primacy of free markets and conspiracy ideation. You have waved away the investigations of “climategate” as biased – without a shred of evidence because it does not fit your world view. Uh uh.

          It is wonderful how well you are confirming the research.

          Let me profile you: older white male (early or late boomer), qualified – and works – in a technical area (engineering, geology or an associated discipline); socially conservative (votes LNP, GOP); industries worked in may include infrastructure or mining (or related) – possibly on a consultant basis – moving in and out of large companies and organisations; at times a free lance consultant; retired or heading that way; free market advocate.

          Close?

      • john byatt says:

        Catz,

        You are confusing atmospheric concentration with emissions. Radiative forcing is logarithmic in concentration, but the concentration increases faster than linearly with emissions, since the more you emit, the less is taken up by the oceans and the more remains in the atmosphere. That effect turns out to cancel out the logarithmic behavior, giving you a nearly linear warming (at least up to about 5000 gigatonnes total emissions). All based on fairly simple carbonate/bicarbonate equilibrium chemistry. –raypierre]

      • Lars P. says:

        1) No
        Good. Have you heard of LIA and what is your take of it?

        2) “This is misleading. What events? What evidence? What claims? ”
        Have you ever heard of Younger Dryas? the 8200 years event? Bond events? Please read about these before, then we can talk.

        3)But I trust the scientific method.
        3a) So do I. The scientific method requires that ones results are reproductible – this is why there is need of access to all data and information (methodology) Do you agree with this too?
        3b) some scientists…
        Well, there are statistics which say that between 10 and 30 % of scientists would lie to get a grant. What is your take on these statistics? Would you like first to google search?
        If the scientist thinks that through his lie he would also “help do the right thing” will this increase the chance that he/she/it would lie for a grant?
        4)”So your answer is yes to conspiracy” What? This is your logic? How comes?
        I ask you what is your take on the mails, if you find the scientists there acted according to the scientific method? I find they did not.
        5) So you are not interested why skeptics are skeptic of CAGW. This is very important point. Please do some research, else you will never understand why.
        Please note that it is CAGW what matters.
        6) I couln’d care less, am not at all interested.
        7) “well understood and accounted for by the science.”
        Well accounted for by the science – this sounds like a screenplay. What science are you talking about?
        Do you know that Berkeley temperature chart does not do any adjustments for it? Have you read that paper?
        Do you know what Watts at all 2012 scientific paper is about? Is this what you mean – accounted for by the science?
        8) “Are you suggesting the globe has been cooling for 200 years? If so, then no – I accept the scientific consensus.”
        Funny how you accept something without knowing what you talk about?
        First no, the globe has been comming out of LIA – which is Little Ice Age – and has been warming.
        So first you should read about LIA – maybe reading about the ice fares on the Thames could make it palatable for you.
        Then please read what Berkeley paper says about UHI effect on temperature trend.
        What I am asking is the following: we are talking of the 200 years temperature graph. When you go in a city now, you will see an increase of temperature especially in winter, this is UHI.
        How big was UHI 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 150 years ago, 200 years ago?
        How is this accounted for by “the science” and “scientific consensus”?
        Btw, Do you believe that science advances by “scientific consensus”?

        No I didn’t. but catweazle666 did, I do agree with him, no need to repeat.
        However your answer to him is another own goal. There is no skeptic that has a post-modernism line of reasoning, rofl. Please do go on skeptics sites and try to read the reasoning.
        You keep on with your Monckton bashing, don’t you understand that first this is ad-hom and second I am not interested? Really whats wrong with you guy? I am interested in why my tax money is being wasted, this is what I am interested in.
        See what a Nobel Laureat – Ivar Giaever – says about your religion:

  10. Robert says:

    Well, there’s half my day gone.😉

    Watching the Deniers asks: How would you counter the denial movement? And I think the answer is very simple; we need to bring them across the Akin line. We need to gently and truthfully shape the public debate such that outrageous comments provoke outrage, that laughable ignorance provokes laughter, until we reach a point that those that advocate science denial get shunned by their own political allies as liabilities in the battle for electoral success.

    So why did Akin and Bachmann instantly provoke national scorn, while Benishek and Broun have not?

    http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2012/08/fighting-climate-denial-akin-line.html

  11. Moth says:

    I have to say that I’m with Sam Harris on morality and belief and thus the point, “The struggle is over “cultural values” which can’t disproven by facts”, in my view, is wrong.

    While it is beyond a doubt a debate about social values – of which ACC is but a fragment – and thus the scientific evidence isn’t enough to counter (hence the relentless debate), I think those can be debated, valued and judged in a critical fashion. We can debate climate change on the front of values pragmatically.

    Certain cultural values are, after all, better at obtaining greater societal well-being than others. Just look at the Amish for instance – without coincidentally making allowances within their culture to overcome standing values, they would be worse off (ie. the fact that they do make use of modern medical services, fire extinguishers and telephones, when needed).

    If there are wrong answers, then we can take the core scientific principle of chipping away poor hypotheses. We can argue that some cultural values (in relation to climate change) are bad – eg. growth economies dependent on greenhouse gas emissions. We will not know what answer is “right” (which, arguably isn’t the point to science – rather increasing certainty), but we can eliminate “bad” environmental choices – eg. cutting down the last tree on Christmas island for wood.

    We do waste a lot of effort skirting around values and I think we need to toughen up and be willing to talk / debate about values in the same we do facts.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Indeed – we should be bot merely comfortable talking about our values, but asserting the value of… well, our values.

      • Moth says:

        We have avoided it, most likely due to our past empiricist outlook – going too far in the opposite, claiming that all values are equal, when clearly they’re not.

        I would like to see more scientists being advocates – that is, to state their values, due to the evidence they are aware of – such as James Hansen and not skirt around them so as to apparently remain impartial. That removes the humanity of the debate and thus the point (ie. when we’re talking about social changes).

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          We got stuck in the rationalist/Enlightenment frame which many of us prefer: give “us” lots of evidence and a nice, big issue to sink my teeth into and we will spend hours going over it. But not everyone works like that. They will look for cognitive cues from trusted sources. That’s where the deniers have tried to place themselves, and break the bonds of trust between scientists and the public (hence just how nasty their campaigns are).

          We forgot human behaviour and psychology and thought simply explaining facts to people was what it was all about. Try explaining evolution to a creationist? They’ll list 100 counter arguments – each flawed and deeply wrong. But it is their epistemological armor designed to shield their world view and values from reality.

      • Moth says:

        We forgot, deeply to our detriment. Ultimately, we understand the world only within our mind and not in some external capacity due solely to the evidence. Thus can can only rationalise the incoming information with the internal tool kit we have.

        It is our place in the world that we are defining. You couldn’t ask for a better reason as to why values are important to reasoning. I think part of the shielding is due to the clever development of certain memes – eg. question X and you will suffer perpetual torture forever or believe, with innocent (and thus virtuous) naivety and enjoy endless reward.

        Climate does affect our values. It even affects religious values, as I have been writing about recently. For this reason, the discussion much be about values which may doom such communicators to a label comparable to the “New Atheist”.

        We could learn a lot from the successes and failures of the “debate” over evolution and we must include value to the message.

  12. catweazle666 says:

    Re the post above:

    You state: You’ve ducked the question on Monckton – like all climate sceptics.

    Why?

    It goes right to the heart of Monckton’s “expertise”.

    Try reading my post again.

    Excuse me,

    I specifically stated that I have no interest in the views of Monckton on Obama’s birth certificate, and I have no idea how you can possibly bring the matter into a discussion on climate change. I stated that I base my ideas on my scientific training and experience and the scientific publications relevant to the subject at hand, not the outpourings of assorted politicians.

    If you want to play silly buggers, by the same token I could point out to you that the Church of England and a number of other religious institutions are heavily committed to supporting your cause, and beyond doubt the Archbishop of Canterbury is a committed Creationist. According to you, that on its own should discredit the whole of AGW theory.

    I have come across some dodgy arguments in my years on the Internet, but your attempt to conflate Monckton’s notions on birth certificates with my comprehension of atmospheric physics is probably the most bizarre I have come across yet.

    As to john byatt on August 31, 2012 at 1:30 am, you really don’t know what you are talking about.

    Carbonate/bicarbonate equilibrium chemistry is applicable only to aqueous solutions, and has absolutely zero relationship to atmospheric absorption of low energy photons.

    I suggest you familiarise yourself with the MODTRAN program, as described here:

    http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page28.htm

    • klem says:

      Dear Catweazel666

      A word of advice, do not spend more than a minute on any post for the members of the climate alarmist faith/religion on this site. They do not hear you, they do not read your posts, they simply interpret comments from any skeptic as an offence to their doomsday faith.

      One good thing here though is they don’t ban skeptics outright, like on some alarmist sites.

      Cheers

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Nope “we” don’t ban sceptics. But I’m going to ask hard questions and test people’s claim to “scepticism”.

    • Sundance says:

      Catweazle666 – I have played with MODTRAN and your link is great! Just wanted to say thanks.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      You are ducking and weaving – you said you don’t have the “expertise” to judge the claims about Obama’s birth certificate. I’ve asked you to use your scepticism. Be honest with your self and everyone else: answer the question.

      I accept the scientific consensus in the same way I accept evolution and that the age of the earth is over 4 billions years. There are creationists who claim biologists are engaged in a conspiracy as part of their liberal agenda, and that “evilution” is a lie. Some even have scientific credentials.

      Thus I reject your argument based on individual analysis: have you published your results? In what papers? Is climate science your discipline? You make claims with no evidence? Based on what?

      The point is this: there is an empirical link between some parts of the denial machine and conspiracies. Monckton is one of the world’s most prominent climate sceptics. He accepts the arguments of the “Birther” movement. He believes it is all socialist plot. Monckton views the world through the eyes of fantasy and conspiracy, which shapes his rejection of climate science. David Evans thinks the world is run by “international bankers”.

      Now, if Michael Manne or a climate scientist made a “Birther” claim you’d be all over them.

      What you are doing is obfuscation.

      I’ll make a predication, after all my years debating “sceptics”: when presented with information they don’t like they ignore it, wave it away or adopt faux-outrage. Or they never come back, and slink off to sites where they’re claims are not put to the test.

      Again, answer the question please.

      It is a simple, polite request.

      • Phil Smith says:

        Yes! C’mon Catweazle666, answer the question! do you agree with Christopher Monckton that the birth certificate on the White House web site is a forgery and there is good reason to doubt Obama’s place of birth?

      • catweazle666 says:

        Now, if Michael Manne or a climate scientist made a “Birther” claim you’d be all over them.

        No I wouldn’t. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his expertise in his field.

        As a result of a lifetime of experience, I have discovered that an individual’s expertise in any particular field has little or nothing to do with their perception of any other fields. This is most marked in the academic field, many extremely learnerd academics of my acquaintance are quite literally not safe to be let out on their own.

        Many of the cleverest individuals I have met have been – shall we say eccentric – and possessed a remarkable naivety with regard to life in general.

        I find it disturbing that you seem to place such weight on the idiocyncracies of particular individuals, incidentally.

        strong> Have you ever heard the axiom PLAY THE BALL, NO|T THE MAN” ?

        It doesn’t seem so.

        To return to my point about the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has put his oar into the climate debate on more than one occasion, and to the best of my knowledge no sceptic has attempted to discredit him for his belief in the Creation, whereas I have seen numerous attacks on assorted individuals by Warmists for alleged belief in Creationism.

        Oh and guess what – I would bet good money that the good Archbishop believes in evolution too, which tends to cast doubt on your binary black/white either/or theories

  13. Skeptikal says:

    “What can be done to combat the effectiveness of the denial machine?”

    I don’t think you very much at all. What you have to ask yourself is why are you having to try so hard to sell a problem that people just aren’t buying. Is there a problem with your product?

  14. Sou says:

    You’ll never persuade the dyed-in-the-wool deniers like some who’ve posted in this thread (they seem to want to change the topic from the initial question, presumably to distract). They do not deny the science for rational reasons. It’s people who are looking for information who will, if they persist, sort out the fact from the fiction.

    Eventually the changing climate will alert almost everyone to the problem, even those who’ve never been interested in the topic to date. (If we haven’t taken sufficient action, for some that realisation may come too late to avoid radical climate change.)

    I don’t have any really good answers, but will suggest we keep urging mainstream media (MSM) to publish facts about what is happening to the climate, and keep urging governments to provide information to the public. Apart from word of mouth, they are two of the main ways that the general public gets information.

    Also, now that we can often comment on articles in MSM published on the internet – keep doing that.

    Another suggestion is to join (or form) a climate action group locally – and use it to help inform people about how they can help reduce CO2 emissions. It gives people a sense of control. A feeling of being helpless to do anything is, I suspect, one reason why some people don’t want to know about the problem.

    The contortions some people go to to deny AGW would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic – all that effort to end up with nothing but huge inconsistencies and lack of any real science on some of the websites.

    As an example of some of the silliness, apparently today some paranoid conspiracy websites (Eg Jo Nova’s) and right wing extremist websites (Eg WUWT, climate audit etc) are complaining that they weren’t among the five denier websites invited to take part in a survey to show why they deny climate science. (The results of the survey showed that right wing extremists slightly beat paranoid conspiracy theorists in their race to denial.)

    http://psychologyforasafeclimate.org/resources/Motivated%20rejection%20of%20science-2.pdf

    • catweazle666 says:

      They do not deny the science for rational reasons.

      Unlike you lot, who – judging by the posts on this thread – seem to believe the question hangs on the validity of Barak Obama’s birth certificate, and Christopher Monckton’s somewhat bizarre belief on the subject?

      they weren’t among the five denier websites

      Heh!

      I’m sure Scott Mandala, John Cook etc will be absolutely delighted to be described as “deniers”!

      I imagine that’s as close to a blood libel as you can get in this business.

      The five websites in question couldn’t by any stretch of imagination be described as denier websites, they are the top rated five alarmist Warmist websites on Earth FFS and thus about as unreliable a set of sources for the survey in question as it is possible to get.

      Ye gods and little fishes, do you seriously mean to tell me you didn’t know that?

      • Sou says:

        That response from catweasle666 illustrates some of the points Mike referred to quite nicely.

        As well as (deliberately?) by-passing the main topic of this discussion, catweazle666 didn’t bother to read the Lewandowsky et al paper. The paper states:

        “Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 skeptic” (or skeptic”-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.”

        (Needless to say, I was referring to what Lewandowsky et al less accurately described as ‘skeptic’ and ‘skeptic-leaning’ blogs.)

      • catweazle666 says:

        To Sou (below)

        It seems none of the sceptic blogs actually received notification.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/paging-dr-stephan-lewandowsky-show-your-invitation-list/

        But hey, you’ll, just put your fingers in your ears and go LA-LA-LA and witter on about conspiracy theories, won’t you?

        Can’t you get it into your little tiny minds that trickery and abuse aren’t gaining you any friends whatsoever from the uncommitted, and are actually losing you support from the previously committed?

        If you actually cast your net wider and opened your eyes, you woould find that even highly sceptical commentators are expressing concern about that particular paper.

        But hey, keep up the good work, it you and your ilk – especially the likes of Lewandowsky – that are ensuring that we sceptics are going to win the debate.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Oh my! Watt’s confirms the paper’s arguments by engaging in motivated reasoning. *Shocked*

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          All the sceptic blogs were invited – they declined. To say they were not is a bold face lie.

  15. Lars P. says:

    Watching the Deniers says:
    August 31, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Many thanks Cat, your responses are illustrative.

    On matters of fact it really is a simple question – yes or no. I don’t believe in epistemological relativism. I detest that post-modernist line of reasoning which so many climate sceptics seem to embrace.

    Does the sun go round the earth? Yes or no? That is black and white. Is evolution true? Yes or no? That is black or white.Is there a link between smoking and certain forms of cancer? Yes or no? Do CFCs impact the ozone layer? Yes or no. Does DDT have an impact on the environment? Yes or no?
    —————————————-

    Err, actually not WtD. The sun does not go round the earth but the other way around + the Earth spins.
    Is evolution true? We think so with our level of understanding, but we find new and interesting ways how this happens – see epigenetic and other.
    Link between smoking and cancer? Possibly. Most studies show it.
    Do CFCs… Do they really impact? We think so but the mechanism is not yet proven. The ozone hole is not growing and not getting smaller but shows year to year variations. It was there in the 50s (which some people do not seem to know) and might have some unknown yet mechanism how it gets created. It is linked to very cold air and lack of sun radiation (see also the appearance of ozone hole in the arctic recently due to cold air), also still unknown natural sources of chemicals which might deplete the ozone layer, like this:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v403/n6767/full/403295a0.html
    There is still a lot that we can learn and need to learn about nature and natural processes.
    Good to know that UV is also generating ozone. But how much do we know yet about suns UV radiation variations?
    Does DDT have an impact on environment? Well also good question for your black and white categorisation.
    What does DDT do? How would the bedbug epidemy in the US evolve if DDT would be used? How many people would not have malaria if DDT would be used? How many people would not have died if DDT would have been used? How is this in comparison with the impact on environment that it has? There are many questions that I read about it that make me doubt if it is right to ban DDT or not.
    There is always a grey zone that needs to be thought about, there are no black and white questions and some need throughout examinations, cannot be answered by simplistic Y/N questions which could harm much more then we think.

    You said above to cat:
    “Let me profile you: older white male (early or late boomer), qualified – and works – in a technical area (engineering, geology or an associated discipline)…”

    are you saying that technically knowledgeable people are rather against CAGW propaganda? Leaving away the racist “white” you are showing that you support an ideology not science.
    The fact that you do not discuss the science and arguments but hide under “I accept the science” shows the difference between the skeptics and the “denier callers”.
    The “denier callers” do not seem to be interested in the science and the facts, even if presented to them. Here something about the 8200 year even I mentioned above:
    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/geos462/8200yrevent.html

    here some more info about rapid natural climate change:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/data4.html

    here some info about the arctic warming at the begging of the century:
    http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHistory%201900-1949.htm#1930:%20Birkeland%20draws%20attention%20to%20Arctic%20warming

    This is all science, but not of interest for the “denier callers”.
    The “denier callers” are interested only in their “selected science” and social science – why other people do not accept their point of view?
    Well because it is flawed, because it is too superficial. You will never get a good technical guy accept a superficial pov, he will ask for evidence, data and check it.
    This is the difference between what you call “deniers” and the “denier callers”

  16. Sou says:

    People might be interested to scan the comments to an article about the Lewandowski et al paper in the UK Telegraph. They conform very closely to the paper’s findings.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9503044/Climate-change-deniers-are-either-extreme-free-marketeers-or-conspiracy-theorists.html

    Not sure why WUWT etc are so miffed they didn’t post the survey. Being somewhat familiar with the views of the audience, I doubt it would have changed what was observed.

    Back on topic, the comments to the Telegraph article show the intransigence of hard core deniers, including the ideological deniers as well as the conspiracy theorists. Not too many of them would be open to facts. It’s the general public (those who have not yet informed themselves about the science) that will be persuaded eventually, not those who are stuck in a rut of denial.

    • catweazle666 says:

      Are you familiar with the paper to be found in ‘Nature’ – a somewhat more august publication than the parochial effort that posted Lewandowski’s effort) that stated (and I quote):

      Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change.

      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1547.html

      In other words, thew more scientifically literate you are, the less likely you are to believe that climate change was a problem.

      That doesn’t seem to bear out the Lewandowsky paper’s findings at all, does it?

      Or how about the Scientific American poll (since, not surprisingly, pulled – but the substance can be found here http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/scientific-american-poll-81-think-ipcc.html and the Scientific American apologia here http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2010/11/17/do-80-percent-of-scientific-american-subscribers-deny-global-warming-hardly/) that found that 81% think the IPCC is Corrupt, with Group-think & Political Agenda? (For what it’s worth, I consider that particular poll to be as worthless as Lewandowski’s parlous effort, as it was probably polluted in exactly the same fashion).

      • Sou says:

        Since catweazle666 left off the important part of the Nature abstract (why?), I’ll post it here.

        Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.

        So, contrary to what catweazle666 states, the findings of the Nature paper were very similar to those of Lewandowsky et al.

        I really think it’s strange that deniers like catweazle666 don’t seem to recognise the source of their difficulty in accepting science – even to the extent of blatant misrepresentation like the above. I know their disability is now fairly well documented in the literature but I still find it hard to fathom.

        But it supports the notion that you cannot hope to influence hard core deniers. What can be done is to point out to normal people where and why deniers are wrong.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Yes, I’ve read it – when it was published – and you are badly misrepresenting what it actually says: it’s about cultural cognition and motivated reasoning, and how “surprisingly” to the authors those sceptics with a higher level of numeracy where even more certain to reject mainstream science by engaging in motivated reasoning. In fact, they are BETTER at finding excuses and facts to fit their view of reality. Jeez mate, this is psych 101.

        The moment you cited it I chuckled.. “Oh here we go again lulz”.

        The paper is about world views. What you say is a gross misrepresentation. You know it. And readers here know it. To quote:

        if cultural cognition serves the personal interests of individuals, this form of reasoning can have a highly negative impact on collective decision making. What guides individual risk perception, on this account, is not the truth of those beliefs but rather their congruence with individuals’ cultural commitments. As a result, if beliefs about a societal risk such as climate change come to bear meanings congenial to some cultural outlooks but hostile to others, individuals motivated to adopt culturally congruent risk perceptions will fail to converge, or at least fail to converge as rapidly as they should, on scientific information essential to their common interests in health and prosperity. Although it is effectively costless for any individual to form a perception of climate-change risk that is wrong but culturally congenial, it is very harmful to collective welfare for individuals in aggregate to form beliefs this way.

        One aim of science communication, we submit, should be to dispel this tragedy of the risk-perception commons24. A communication strategy that focuses only on transmission of sound scientific information, our results suggest, is unlikely to do that. As worthwhile as it would be, simply improving the clarity of scientific information will not dispel public conflict so long as the climate-change debate continues to feature cultural meanings that divide citizens of opposing world-views.

        Nice try and you follow it up with grey literature and internet poll survey the SciAm acknowledge was swamped by sceptics. I know about. I watched it as it happened. I saw the denier blogs put out the call to crash it. And I thought it was amusing. I was waiting for you to cite the Oregon Petition next, but you got close with the SciAm poll.

        Here’s a pro-tip mate.

        I’m across the literature.

        I’ve read thousands of sceptic blog posts, dozens of books and hundreds of sceptic papers. I read sceptic stuff every day. In addition to the actual science. And the crazy conspiracy stuff. Alex Jones? Watch it. And Glenn Beck. I’ve read the nasty New World Order stuff. The stuff from the IPA and think tanks? I’m across it. Bob Carter and Ian Plimer’s books? Read em. James Delingpole’s insane “Watermelons”? Read it. Inhofoe’s book? Read it. Murdoch papers? I’ve got Google feeds watching em.

        And I see it for what it is: a mountain of disinformation protecting the world view of those that lack the courage to face reality. And it’s junk. Cultural, intellectual junk. It’s the sewage waste of legitimate culture, chewed up and shat out by conspiracy theorists for the fearful. It’s faux knowledge. A counterfeit copy of real science made to look “sciency”.

        Say let’s do a comparison: here’s a list of Nobel Prize winners who reject Einstein’s theory of relativity. There’s thousands of cranky old men out there disputing relativity. Every month, physics departments get sent “papers” by these guys who generally engineers or have science degrees.

        You know, just enough to understand but not enough to overcome their prejudices and get it wrong. The anti-relativity crowd have got books, websites, pod-casts… sound familiar?:

        http://www.anti-relativity.com/

        How can so many Nobel laureates, inventors and great contributors to society go to their grave believing relativity was false? How could anyone not be convinced all the way into the 50s and 60s? Wasn’t it proven over and over and widely accepted by that time? Isn’t that what we are taught? History is written more by popularity than by fact and unfortunately science occasionally follows suit. There are logical reasons why these great men of science never accepted relativity. There exists very significant experimental evidence against it. Unfortunately, there are far too few people willing to challenge the safety and security afforded them by belief systems. Only those exceedingly strong in mind and of the greatest humility can stand to see that which they held in the highest regard, those things they trusted as universal truth, utterly fail. Only those with the greatest mental fortitude and confidence can become one of the few willing to withstand the onslaught of ridicule and not be swayed by the popularity of popular belief. You have been given the opportunity to examine doubt, while not free from scorn, in very good company. Like the story of ‘The Emporer’s New Suit’, will you be the child that says aloud, “The Emperor is Naked!”?

        Word for word, its the climate sceptic argument. Oh yes, those brave Galileo’s… lulz. Climate sceptic literature is no better than the thousands of creationist and anti-vaccination stuff of which I’ve read as well.

        I can predict what you’ll say. I will find your sources in moments.

        I’d place you in the spectrum of “genuinely skeptical” but not a conspiracy theorist. Everything you do is text book motivated reasoning in support of your values. The science of climate change threatens your world view (conservative, hierarchical, status quo orientated) , thus you seek out data/information to soothe your anxiety. You latch on to smatterings of data, isolated from each other and construct a counter-reality. That’s what you just did. You also avoid direct questions that take you too close to breaking cognitive dissonance. As predicted.

        To make yourself feel better, you’ll head on over to some sceptic blogs, bitch about warmists and “some blogger” and have your confirmation bias bolstered in a safe environment.

        You’re interesting to study.

        I’m curious to why individuals reject reality.

        What drives their ideologies? Why reject science?

        I respectfully ask you to answer the question on Obama/Birth/Monckton, which I’ve asked you repeatedly. Ask yourself, just how bad does it look if you refuse to answer a simple question?

      • Sundance says:

        @WTD – “Everything you do is text book motivated reasoning in support of your values.”

        If it’s in the textbooks then it must lend strong creedence to the notion that motivated reasoning is a part of human nature. President Obama constantly exhibits motivated reasoning such as his recent reversal on the XL Pipeline expansion. His motivated reasoning was that he needs unions to support his re-election bid and unions want the pipeline.

        What are the alternatives?

        Unmotivated reasoning?
        Motivated irrationalism?
        Unmotivated irrationalism?

        The survival instict is a great example of why motivated reasoning is critical to man’s nature. Do you suggest you are exempt from such human nature? Is it that such human nature as motivated reasoning is a bad thing or is it that it is only a bad thing when it is used in ways that conflict with your views?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          You make a very good point Sundance.

          We are pattern seeking animals, it is what marks our species as distinctive. And is foundational to our survival. Agreed. There is a difference between politics and human behavior, but one informs the other.

          I’d also note the “flight or fight” response is also essential to survival (actually that’s a very crude way to describe a complex range of adaptive behaviors, but lets treat it as shorthand). It is near universal among all animals. Deep within the structure of our brain is the amygdala – associated with modulating fear, aggression and memory consolidation. But the flight or fight response can also be maladaptive.

          The point is this: the interaction between our psychology, individual values and the norms of our community and society will temper how we react to the world quite profoundly. I have a hunch that the climate change debate is less about left versus right and more about our species and its ability to problem solve.

          We evolved in the plains of Africa, and for hundreds of thousands of years lived in extended family groups as hunter gatherers. 5,000-10,000 or so years ago we started farming and building the first cities. In the last 100 years the world’s population has grown from 2bn to almost 7bn. We’ve been to the moon, invented writing and developed complex societies. Our cultural evolution has been stunning, and yes worth celebrating. I celebrate the achievements of our civilisation.

          And while evolution has continued its pace is slow and iterative. The cognitive skill set we have is perfectly adapted to foster the individual’s survival instincts has changed little. Put crudely, the problem is beyond the scope of the individual and even groups of individuals.

          That’s what makes climate change seem overwhelming – terrifying even. Thus an individuals reaction in either denial, indifference and at the other extreme fatalism (the world is doomed!) is understandable. Everyone will grapple with these basic emotions – including myself. I have no special knowledge, but I have meditated long on my own response and sought out the best information to ensure I am informed.

          Flight or fight responses can be maladaptive: to give but one example of fight or flight misfiring, think of the zebra standing frozen before the lion unable to react.

          Climate change is a civilisational challenge that transcends the individuals ability to both fully understand it’s risks and devise potential solutions. This is why we may be at such a stalemate.

          The scientific method is one of our tools in understanding the world, but also recognizing and explaining risk.

          Climate science is the early warming radar of civilisation: we can pay attention to the looming danger on the screen, or scream at our instruments in terror and frustration. We can choose to dismiss one set of instruments, and claim it broken. But when all the instruments and all the warning systems are screaming “code red” to ignore them is denial. It’s flight or fight gone awry.

          Then we are no different than the zebra standing transfixed in the face of a predator.

          Readers here appreciate I am very much focused on exploring and even countering arguments from climate sceptics – this is part of the political debate and the discussion over values. I’ve always acknowledged that. Indeed, my values and centrist politics are stated on the “about page”.

          But I see this debate between sceptics and proponents of the science as a tiny component of a much larger, richer and more complex problem of mitigation and adaptation.

          And for me that is what is both fascinating and tragic.

  17. klem says:

    I would counter the denial movement by being a good person and when I see a denier I’d point my bony finger at her and scream “Denier!’ out loud. This will alert any alarmists in the area to be aware that there are deniers in their midst. Since I always keep a copy of the IPCCs AR4 report on my person, I’d begin reading the AR4 report to the denier in an attempt to convert them from the dark evil side of climate life to the alarmists side, the happy side, the side full of joy and light. That’s how I would counter the denial movement.

    cheers

  18. Sou says:

    Finally catweazle666 did some (limited) fact-checking – but can’t bring him/herself to admit being wrong.

    Who knows if those particular sites were invited to take part or not? I’m not accusing them of telling lies in this case, but their track record on fact-checking is certainly poor. In any case, they are far from being the only denier blogs around. (Denier blogs are a dime dozen.)

    Those particular sites might be vying among themselves to be seen (by deniers) as the cream of the anti-science crop. (If they are, then it’s not much of a crop is it.)

    After smearing and harassing scientists for years, now they are whingeing because they reckong they’ve been ignored. Says a lot about them.

    I think it’s funny😀

  19. catweazle666 says:

    I respectfully ask you to answer the question on Obama/Birth/Monckton, which I’ve asked you repeatedly. Ask yourself, just how bad does it look if you refuse to answer a simple question?

    You really are totally round the twist, aren’t you?

    What is the relevance of Monckton’s belief on Obama’s birth certificate?

    Many of the believers in AGW – such as the Archbishop of Canterbury – are Creationists. Is that equally relevant? (Curiously, you seem reluctant to comment on that.)

    Have you ever heard the expression PLAY THE BALL, NOT THE MAN?

    Do you understand what it means?

    • Nick says:

      Re Monckton,his latest ‘sciency’ offering on climate sensitivity at WUWT has been subject to some exacting review by readers there. Monckton is incorrigible,despite clear presentations of the errors in his work,and polite repeatings of the corrections. And that’s on the friendly ground of WUWT.

      The ‘relevance’ of Monckton’s ‘belief’ on Obama’s birth certificate? An indication of character and modus. I doubt that Monckton genuinely believes the birther nonsense,but he knows that he can give the issue a run before susceptible audiences. He knows to give his audience what it wants:affirmation.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        I’m writing a longer post on this, but I actually think Monckton believes what he says. In the UK he is regarded as a national joke. Indeed, the United Kingdom Independence Party cut him lose for being even too crazy even for them. He is a regular on the Alex Jones radio show – conspiracy stuff. He has gone to the US because of the large audience for conspiracy culture. In effect, he has found not just a willing audience but a community that will adore and stroke his ego.

        I predict that very soon he will start doubting evolution. Indeed, there is evidence in his writings he does.

        The reason Cat etc. won’t comment or even look at all the evidence is just how uncomfortable it makes them.

  20. catweazle666 says:

    The science of climate change threatens your world view (conservative, hierarchical, status quo orientated)

    What a curious statement.

    Why does the science of climate change threaten my world?

    For what it’s worth, the family fortune – such as it is – is based on over half a century of recycling, amounting to millions of tons of product, and dating back to well before such an activity was regarded as gaining environmental brownie points.

    I live in a small cottage, albeit in a very pleasant part of the country that people pay money to visit, mostly due to the scenery, which was forged by the glaciers and their retreat,

    I was trying out LED lights and devices to inform me of my electricity consumption long before it became fashionable, and as a result of effective insulation my energy bill is under half of the national average and I drive a second-hand diesel saloon that runs some of the time on recycled cooking oil and much of the rest on new cooking oil.

    So I don’t think I conform to your stereotype, somehow.

    As to your assertion that I am “conservative, hierarchical, status quo orientated”, do I sense a distinct tendency towards Left-wing collectivist thinking there? Touch of the class warrior, is there?

    What drives their ideologies? Why reject science?

    What ideologies? You seem to be hung up on ideology. Most people in the real world don’t give a flying dog’s bollock for ideology, it is seldom discussed outside bolloxology lecturers’ common rooms and adolescent students’ cafeterias. In the real world, most people don’t have time for ideologies, they’re too busy paying their mortgage.

    Why would I reject science? The theory and practice of science and engineering (which is the physical application of science – and involves possessing a profound understanding of it, unless you want to end up in court charged with some very serious offences) has made me a good living throughout my career spanning nearly half a century. So I’m hardly likely to reject it, am I?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Answer the question.

      • catweazle666 says:

        Oh dear, here we go again.

        When did you stop beating your wife?

        Because that is as relevant to the question of AGW as my opinion on Obama’s birth certificate.

        Why can’t you get it through your thick head that I don’t give a flying fuck for the opinion of Monckton, or anyone else – especially politicians, come to that, either on the matter of AGW or anything else. I have sufficient knowledge and experience of thermodynamics, gas laws, reaction kinetics, along with a lifetime of reading technical literature literally across the scientific and engineering board, that I have no concern for the opinion of activists of any colour, stripe or variety.

        Do you know, before you brought it up, I didn’t even know he held contentious ideas on the POTUS’ birth certificate, so it doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all. I do not belong to those you consider to be “them”, I’m me, I make my own mind up according to my own criteria.

        And I’ll tell you something else, if you want to counter the “denial movement”, you are going to have to do a damn sight better than obsessing over Obama’s birth certificate.

        You just make yourself look as big a bunch of nutters as the Birthers, Truthers, Creationists, Scientoligists, Twelvers and all the other anti-science buffoons that create masses of hot air but fail to shed any light whatsoever on the debate.

        And not forgetting, the sceptics may have Monckton, but you have Al Gore. Do you have any idea what a figure of fun he is to the World outside your little conspiranoid bubble?

        It’s not flattering, believe me!

        Oh, and as to the question, I really haven’t the first idea. It would seem unlikely that a man could become POTUS without the right documentation, but given the level of corruption, greed and space-time bending crookedness that appears to be current in the upper levels of World government – and having had some experience of the matter, in local government too come to that, absolutely nothing would surprise me. WMDs, anyone?

        And truly, I couldn’t give a flying fuck, I’ve got far more pressing matters to deal with, like getting my recently acquired classic motorcycle (which, before I acquired it had spent almost half a century standing in a shed) back on the road while there is still some possibility of decent weather. THAT is the sort of thing that I get excited over, unlike Obama’s birth certificate it is within the sphere of things I have some real control over.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Thank you Cat for clarifying a statement you made on you inability to make a judgement on the status of Obama’s birth. I note you reluctantly did among a stream of invective:

          Oh, and as to the question, I really haven’t the first idea. It would seem unlikely that a man could become POTUS without the right documentation, but given the level of corruption, greed and space-time bending crookedness that appears to be current in the upper levels of World government – and having had some experience of the matter, in local government too come to that, absolutely nothing would surprise me. WMDs, anyone?

          Which I’ll let readers determine your views.

          I will note: I can see the rationale for cynicism by so many. After Iraq, WMDs and the Global Financial Crisis many people are disappointed with the political and business elite. And understandable so. It is also a cynicism which some will exploit to advantage.

          Regards
          Mike @ WtD

  21. Sou says:

    Mike, fascinating isn’t it, to see all this in action. You couldn’t make it up.

  22. Nigel says:

    How would I reply to the deniers who still try to maintain that AGW exists, in spite of all the developments of the past few years? I would say, “You must be aware that the IPCC-serving scientists’ own emails showed that they were having to fake warming (hide the decline) because CO2 was rising steadily and there wasn’t any. You must be aware that over the past fifteen years or so nature has proved the “sceptics” arguments exactly right. So if you still maintain that AGW is true, you must be someone who needs it for a “green/left” political purpose. Well, good luck with that, because it seems you’ve been rumbled by the public worldwide.”

  23. catweazle666 says:

    Looks like you Warmists are going to have to pull your fingers out.

    http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/sceptics-winning-climate-debate-through.html

    This excerpt is telling:

    Leading the charge was the blog WUWT administered by Anthony Watts, a former TV meteorologist. In 5 years, the blog received a whopping 124,746,322 hits. This made WUWT not only the world’s most viewed climate science blog but also the worlds most popular science blog.

    If you don’t consider “the worlds most popular science blog” to be “highly respected” (“hilarious” was your comment, I believe) it’s not us sceptics that are the deniers, it’s you.

    • Moth says:

      Isn’t the committed sceptics that insist that consensus isn’t a measure of validity? I would go further and say that the reassuring lies spilled by an ex-weatherman is weaker again (perhaps the REAL fastest growing religion?). For someone who claims to be no stranger to the real science and well read in the technical lit, it’s odd you would offer this nonsense as proof of anything (except the number of people needing comfort or with a morbid sense of humour).

      Following this discussion quietly, it’s funny how you skirt around like this, with an air of confidence and little objective evidence to truly hold up your position. Give me the tech lit that I’ve overlooked (being a researcher, I have access to full articles from all the major journals) and make a believer of me.

      • catweazle666 says:

        For someone who claims to be no stranger to the real science and well read in the technical lit, it’s odd you would offer this nonsense as proof of anything

        Oh, I don’t offer it as proof of anything to do with the science, I purely offer it as an example of what you are up against, the most popular – and thus, when it comes to influence, the most powerful – scientific blog in the World.

        Do you believe that absolutely all the visitors to that blog are AGW sceptics? Really? Surely, if it is truly the case that 97% of scientists support AGW theory, there is something paradoxical about the World’s most successful scientific blog being run by and for AGW sceptics?

        Why are the Warmist blogs such as realclimate and skepticalscience not the leading blogs, if 97% of scientists are Warmists? If you go and check on Alexa, you will find that they don’t come even close to WUWT. Like I say, if, as you claim, 97% of scientists are Warmists, why is the World’s most successful scientific – not just climate scientific, overall scientific – blog a Warmist blog?

        Before you have any chance whatever of mounting a successful campaign, you are going to have to RESPECT your opponent. That is the case in any confrontation from a bar brawl to a World War. If you don’t, you are totally screwed before you even start. Your casual dismissal of Watts as a “TV weatherman” when he is in fact a qualified and highly respected meteorologist is symptomatic of your problem.

        Basically, you are going to have to persuade all the AGW sceptics who use WUWT that they are wrong, and you will not accomplish that by insulting them and telling them that they are all stupid victims of some blatant conspiracy and no better than Holocaust deniers.

        So, if you’re serious and not just another run-of-the-mill echo chamber set up to reassure each other that you are the really right on people and the rest of the World just doesn’t understand, you need to back off and try to work out where you are coming from and where you hope to get to.

        Hearts and minds, folks. You don’t win them by calling people names.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          I’m not interested in persuading the likes of Watts and the hardcore sceptics who reject science. They’re not worth my time. What I am interested in is countering misinformation.

          Again, you use an argument from popularity re Watts blog stats. I would not care if Realclimate had one hit per month and every person on the planet read Watts. It wouldn’t change the science or reality one jot.

          So what is your argument? That hits equals truth?

        • Moth says:

          It’s very liberal to call WUWT a ‘science’ blog, let me assure you. I would also add that hits may not relate to favoured popularity. In Watts case, I’m certain many of the hits counted are from his critics, keeping up to date and many more from the aggressive fans who log on in the morning just to shout down any critical comment posted. It’s morea chat room, attracting a certain sort than fans hitting the site to brows through Watts wisdom.

          Again, as I’ve watched you on this comment thread, you reply bombastically, with a sense of outrage, but quickly side step reason. You suggest the worst of me and ask for me to take others seriously – but I do. I am a serious researcher with the technical experience in analytical chemistry and ecology, relating to atmosperic chemistry and ecosystem function. I’m certain, if you gave me a taste of the journal articles within peer reviewed science, I would do my best to collect them and review them. If there is validity to your claims, it would be valuable not only to my work, but to the wider field.

          Yet, you ignored this entirely to jump to the defence of WUWT and to tell me to take people like you seriously… Get off your high horse because I am taking you seriously!

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          Indeed, it is a reasonable request: Cat, please provide the sources for your claims. I for one would be happy to review.

        • Moth says:

          Please excuse the couple typos (eg ‘brows’ – lost its ‘e’ and spaces missing). I’m out in the field this week and have to rely on my mobile to converse.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Does blog hits make good science?

      I mean Britney Spears has 19 million Twitter followers?

      https://twitter.com/britneyspears

      Argument from popularrity = logical fallacy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

      50% of the American public think the world is less than 10,000 years old.

      • catweazle666 says:

        50% of the American public think the world is less than 10,000 years old.

        Actually, 50% of Americans don’t, any more than 97% of scientists believe in CAGW. They’re Christians, which isn’t the same thing.

        I’ve asked you a number of times, do you believe the Archbishop of Canterbury – a fully committed Warmist – is a Creationist and a denier of Darwinian evolution?

        Fact is, WUWT is the most popular SCIENTIFIC blog in the World. Do you really believe that all the visitors to that blog are idiots?

        You’re a blogger. Watts is a blogger. If you are to be believed, you are hoping to go head-to-head with Watts in the battle for hearts and minds.

        Do you think you’re going the right way about it?

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          I’m not sure what your point is? You know very well the difference between scientific consensus and popular opinion.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution#United_States

          The Archbishop is not a scientist – so therefore is as much an expert on AGW as Monckton. So I’d never take his statement as definitive. I’d turn to the scientific consensus and literature. And yes, I reject creationism. And yes, I accept the scientific consensus on evolution.

          I never said visitors to Watts blog are idiots. It is no doubt visited by sceptics, warmists and the curious. As much as 19 million people follow Britney Spears on Twitter. Your argument is a logical fallacy = popularity does not equal truth. Gosh, you really struggle with basic facts.

    • Sou says:

      You may respect WUWT but you can’t describe it as a science blog. It’s an anti-science blog.

      You won’t find a site run by someone whose main aim is to belittle science and falsely smear scientists gets any respect from too many people. Most articles are utter rubbish. When a post is made reporting actual science, more often than not it is misinterpreted or made fun of or completely misrepresented.

      The site is only respected by people who can’t hack the fact that humans are messing with the world.

      (I even read people over there saying the rapid decline in arctic summer ice signals the beginning of an ice age. WTFUWT?)

  24. […] Wilson quote reminded me of the long running discussion that raging on my post on countering the denial movement. In response to a question from Sundance, a regular commentator here, on the question […]

  25. Sou says:

    By the way, McIntyre says he finally found not just one request, but a follow up request to post a link to the survey. He said he ignored both requests.

    Prof Lewandowsky has written an article about this storm in a tea-cup:
    http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/ccc1.html

    And Eli has commented on the questionable ethics of ‘skeptic’ bloggers pressuring other ‘skeptic’ bloggers to reveal private requests to post a link to the survey:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/here-there-really-be-tygers.html

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks! Much appreciated Sou – and yes, isn’t it interesting how they denial machine is reverting to standard tactics of bluster, bullying and… well, denial?

      • Sou says:

        Yes, it’s the same old tactic. Bluster loudly. Suggest professional malpractice or worse to get your fans all riled up. When it’s proven that it’s deniers who made a mistake and there was no malpractice, no further mention of it.

        (Steve McIntyre posted a comment on Watt’s blog that he got two requests to post the link to the survey. So far, Tony hasn’t updated his article to that effect. Even if he does do this at some stage, it’s highly unlikely he will apologise to Prof Lewandowsky. He’ll leave any update buried under his other posts.)

        Watts has made the point he wants to make, why spoil it with facts or retractions or apologies? (Real deniers don’t apologise :))

      • Harpo says:

        The point being Tony Abbott is Prime Minister and you are now trying to change your blog name!

  26. john byatt says:

    catz “I’ve asked you a number of times, do you believe the Archbishop of Canterbury – a fully committed Warmist – is a Creationist and a denier of Darwinian evolution?”

    most creationists agree with you catz, but why cite one that does not ?.

    well we both know why don’t we ?

    • Sou says:

      Catweazel666 wrote:
      and beyond doubt the Archbishop of Canterbury is a committed Creationist and I’ve asked you a number of times, do you believe the Archbishop of Canterbury – a fully committed Warmist – is a Creationist and a denier of Darwinian evolution?

      But is the Archbiship of Canterbury a ‘denier’ of evolution? This interview on his website does not support that contention:

      http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/757/the-guardian-interview

      And more here, in a more recent ‘debate’ with Richard Dawkins, the Independent reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury accepts the theory of evolution:
      The cleric even confessed his belief in evolution, and agreed with Dawkins that humans shared non-human ancestors.

      Not that it’s at all relevant what the Archbishop may or may not ‘believe’.

      • catweazle666 says:

        But is the Archbiship of Canterbury a ‘denier’ of evolution? This interview on his website does not support that contention:

        You ought to try reading my posts, Sou.

        Like the one that says “Oh and guess what – I would bet good money that the good Archbishop believes in evolution too, which tends to cast doubt on your binary black/white either/or theories”.

        Otherwise, it is pointless either of us posting.

    • john byatt says:

      Creationists also misrepresent the opinions of others without checking the facts,

      not at all surprised Sou

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Indeed, the similarities are remarkable.

      • catweazle666 says:

        So I’m a Creationist now, am I? Well, Glory Be and Hallelujah! And all this time I’d never realised!

        Watermelons misrepresents the opinions of others without bothering to read their posts, see my reply to Sou above.

        See, I can post fatuous, insulting inaccurate crap too.

        Tell me John, have managed to get your head round the MODTRAN stuff yet and understand why CO2 warming is self-limiting and thus not a major problem unless amplified by feedback from other GHG (predominantly water vapour), or do you still believe that carbonate/bicarbonate buffering in aqueous solutions (which incidentally explains why “ocean acidification” is a paranoid fantasy too – glad you brought it up) is somehow related to radiative transfer physics?

        Truly, you lot are going to have to do a bit better than this if you want to turn back the tide of “Denialism” that even “Death Train” Hansen is worried about.

        Anyway, here’s a nice little ditty to give you some idea of the quality of the behemoth that you are challenging.

        So come on and tell me folks, how are you going to turn the tide?

  27. Sou says:

    Fair enough about the Archbiship, catweazle666. But now I have to admit to failing to see the point you were making.

    I do notice, however, that you didn’t ever admit to cherry-picking and thereby making gross errors of your own. Is that a ‘skeptic’ thing?

    Also, your latest post is more or less reflecting what many of us have been saying. One can’t really hope to change the mind of hard-boiled deniers. It’s people who are wanting to learn about climate that are important.

    (I don’t imagine anyone but a hard-boiled denier would think that video represents a ‘behemoth’. Was it made to mock deniers or is it something deniers made themselves?)

    • Moth says:

      That seems to be the theme with cat. The point appears to be debate for its own sake, only to move on to the next argument when the other fails to see why cat brought it up in the first place.

      On the otherhand, when evidence of the original point is requested, it is ignored.

      Basically, when cats bluff is called, a new hand is held up for a new game rather than exposing the (obviously poor) hand held. Cat’s not after clarity or reasoned bebate at all, but hides this behind dramatic tone and positiining. It’s classic attention seeking behaviour.

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