Whom should I attack?

I’m not a mass-media-audience type of blog, so I excuse myself from having to be kind to “my side”; I don’t think I need to avoid worrying Joe Public about dissent in the “we believe in GW” side of the blogosphere, because I don’t think JP reads me. And it is far more fun trying to pick holes in the relatively minor errors of “my side” than it is to point out the gross stupidity of The Dark Side.

Which brings me on to Terms of Engagement by Keith Kloor who points to Shellenberger and Nordhaus explaining why they don’t take on the other side: The work of holding Republican obstructionists, anti-government extremists, and right-wing conspiracy mongers to task is work for principled conservatives, not liberals… And now I think of it, this makes sense (Kloor thinks this is too restrictive, and I agree, taken as an absolute restriction it is bad). It is rather like the Tories being the ones to cut the Army. Your own side knows you better and knows (or at least ought to know) that you are “on their side” and ought to be able to take the criticism in that light. The Dark Side, however, will just react to criticism from an enemy.

[Aside: you may like: http://www.badscience.net/2009/11/wtf/%5D

25 thoughts on “Whom should I attack?”

  1. Eli. I could use the hits. If I don’t get enough views Ms. Rabett tells me I should be doing something useful like painting the front room.

    [Alright: you’re a wotter πŸ™‚ Slightly more seriously, you’ve failed to say anything I disagree with recently -W]


  2. I think you should call out your own “side” whenever they deserve it. Intellectual consistency and honesty require it.

    To stray momentarily into politics, I think it reflects very badly upon, say, US Republicans when they don’t denounce the crazies who think Obama is not a US citizen; it makes it seems like they condone the craziness.

    I think it’s good that you speak up if you think somebody makes a poorly grounded statement, criticism or prediction.


  3. The problem we bunnies have is not criticizing each other, we rather enjoy that, but any bunny who doesn’t talk up about the evil stoats is a concern troll.

    If nothing else, if the criticism only goes in the direction of “your” side, strangers will get the impression that “your” side is wrong, which is why the other team fields concern trolls.


  4. It’s part of the Enlightenment, and part of doing science — to keep each other updated on news and honest about what we tell others. Hard argument is hard, it can be damned scary the first time a youngster sees scientists go at one another face to face in a discussion. All the human failings are there. But so is the basic primate social grace, mutual nitpicking. We are primates; we ought to be better at it.

    If people give up mutual nitpicking and hard argument in order to do politics, we might as well go back to the old prescientific policymaking. There are certainly many who’d prefer that even nowadays. Not many scientifically-trained people have lived on this planet yet, compared to those who’ve made their decisions without the notion of doing science.


  5. William – if the debate disengages from the ‘Dark Side’ (and I agree with you about SuperFreak. – see my comment under APS thread) then next they’ll come for you (“trying to pick holes in the relatively minor errors of ‘my side'”) because you’ll no longer be on their side (!?!) if you get my drift.

    Also, in case I’ve missed a trick haven’t you gone emeritus now, being employed in a capitalist enterprise? At what point will your expertise cease to be allowable under the conditions proposed by others around this blog? You should think long and hard about this. You are not, for example, a member of the History of Science Society and yet you have the ‘flagrant audacity’ to question an ‘Expert’ – Naomi Oreskes – how dare you πŸ™‚

    The climate science shouldn’t be about political views. Clearly what to do about it is political though. The intervening variable the press release, NGOs and the media is also a worthy opponent.


  6. The work of holding Republican obstructionists, anti-government extremists, and right-wing conspiracy mongers to task is work for principled conservatives, not liberals.

    This sounds nice, but is really just arrant bullshit. There *are* no “conservative” principles other than political obstructionism, anti-government extremism, and right-wing conspiracy mongering.


  7. Brother Comrade

    I think the Austrian economists, inter alia, would have much to say on your fascinating and informed insight. Even Wikipedia would show you to be a denialist and dangerously flawed in your ontology.

    Is this your expert opinion? Shall I send round certified members of the American Society of Politics to re-educate you?


  8. William

    Have you seen this from Chaucer’s 13th C blog – “The men who glare at stoats”:

    Key excerpt:

    “–A syde-project of the Privy Garter ys able to make the Frensshe soldiers falle yn to wepyng and crying and lamentynge of their sinnes, and thus maketh them nat fit for deedes of armes. Thys syde project is called Knightyle Emocional Manipulacioun of Powers of the Enemye, or K.E.M.P.E.

    –Wyth the mocioun of the mynde and the eyes aloon, these knightes kan stoppe the beatinge herte of an adult stoat at a range of XX feet.”



  9. Breaking news, breaking news! In a breathtaking turn of events, William Connolley (formerly a groupthinking warmist culter) has said on his blog that Eli has “failed.” (comment 1) Eli, a chemist, is James Hansen’s right hand poodle and is single-handedly responsible for all the chemistry in all the models, but doesn’t let the world see his code or data. Connolley has somehow managed to see the code, and as sceptics have been saying for years, Eli’s calculations violate the 5th law of chemistry. Hopefully more “scientists” will now be brave enough to jump off the sinking ship of AGW.


  10. Hank

    The first edition of Hougton’s book, Chapter 8, Why Should We be Concerned, would be a good start:

    “Science and religion need to be seen as complementary ways of looking at the truth, a point made strongly by Al Gore in Earth in the Balance which lucidly discusses current environmental issues such as global warming.”

    “However, he [Gore] also points out that ‘there is now a powerful impulse in some parts of the scientific community to heal the breach between science and religion.”

    The heading of the next two sections of this chapter are “Gardeners of the Earth” and then “Partnership with God”

    The chapter is at least well referenced I’m pleased to note including 8 refs to Genesis and 1 each to Romans, Mathew and John, which I have pointed out were not peer-reviewed (Stoats passim).


  11. Remember, it’s fun when weasels and rabbits cooperate against the arrogant self-righteous; great things are possible. These folks may or may not be any relation to you all, who can tell?


  12. W.,

    Well, as soon as you figure out which “side” TBI and Pielke Jr are actually on, do please let us know.

    Or you could ask your new best friend, Eli. Eli knows. Hank does, too.


  13. Hmmm… After reading the linked article, I think I suddenly understand Mickey Kaus and understand exactly who he tells himself he is. Yet somehow I don’t think any more highly of the guy.

    I also wonder why Kloor used a word as non-incendiary as “McCarthyism” when there is precedent for liberal-bashing liberals to use fascism to mean essentially the same thing.

    Okay, on a slightly more serious note, I understand why you don’t care much for Romm, I don’t care much for his style myself, and he is influential, but the fact is the mainstream journalists who read Romm do a better than average job of covering climate issues, so I don’t think he’s a particularly malign force. Read Tom Fuller some time to get an idea of what mainstream journalist coverage might look like if they all read RP Jr. instead. That isn’t to say we couldn’t benefit from a better Joe Romm, but he could be so much worse.


  14. 1. I wonder if the principled conservatives agree with S+N that there should be no help in terms of analysis etc. from anyone who isn’t conservative.

    2. SN are making a virtue out of exclusively focusing on a molehill instead of a mountain.

    3. Context and style are relevant too. William has corrected stupid stuff I’ve occasionally said on my blog, but there’s no burnt-earth feel to it that you get from Pielke Jr. calling RealClimate authors as liars. I, on the other hand, identified columnist Tom Friedman as a low-IQ/high visibility type, despite being good on climate. S+N might be thinking I’m attempting a gentle correction, but I’m not. I don’t know how to correct his IQ problem, so I’m trying to hear him down in the tiny bit I can.

    4. What Michael Tobis said at Kloor’s blog, that it’s ridiculous for S+N to posit the nonexistence of the undecideds out there.


  15. Attack indicates you are willing to be counterattacked. Blog feuding is a siren’s song. You’ve already gone off on Joe Romm, who claims to be on your side. And whose side are you on, anyway?
    The basis for your attack will determine the target. Is it science, policy, tone or what? There seems to be two camps, the land use, innovation advocates and the CO2, government control advocates.


  16. Are S&N liberals? I have had a look at their site off and on (at the TBI) and that conclusion had escaped me totally. Must live in a parallel universe.


  17. Who’s side is Al Gore on? The other night on the Tonite Show, he said “….but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, ’cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot…” How does it help that the leading voice, so concerned about the temperature of the planet, is so woefully misinformed?


  18. Some time ago, I did need to buy a good car for my business but I did not earn enough cash and couldn’t buy something. Thank heaven my brother proposed to get the business loans at trustworthy creditors. Therefore, I acted that and used to be satisfied with my term loan.


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