Over at WUWT, AW wondered Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance? To me, that looked like a fairly crude attempt to monetise WUWT and provide some kind of career path for himself. But, it would be a big step, and risk humiliating failure. So he vacillated and started a poll. He doesn’t know his own mind, perhaps someone else does.

The results are now in and they present a quandry: there’s a clear majority of votes in favour, but a clear majority of those who could actually be bothered to comment against. What that says – but what AW doesn’t point out – is that the fire-and-forget unthinking multitude are the support group. That’s not the sort of support you want. This resembles oh-so-much the “shall I sue them?” post – all the yahoos said “yeah, yeah go for it” but he didn’t dare.

There’s also a fairly perceptive comment that AW quotes, but clearly doesn’t understand:

It’s become a social activity, a recreational pastime, a macho ego trip, a catharsis for a lot of tangential frustrations. Log in quickly, hurl an insult or two and surf onto the next brawl. Underneath the most combative blogs, out of hundreds of comments, barely a single digit percentage of the comments even reference the original blog topic, whatever it was.


* Sou takes the piss out of the “nuclear reactor” post.
* KK wonders

44 thoughts on “”

  1. There are already plenty of “official climate sceptic” orgs.

    In the US they call the biggest one ‘the Republican Party’.
    In Canada it’s ‘the Conservative Party’.
    In the UK you’ve got yer UKIP.
    In Australia…

    They issue press releases, and policy statements.
    Educational guidance, not so much.

    But AW should definitely go for it.
    Anything that keeps the rubes stuck to their keyboards is very likely to reduce their use of internal combustion engines, and thereby their carbon-footprint.


  2. Even worse, given how divided the septics are on the facts you are going to get a lot of ragequits whenever that organizations gives the “wrong” explanation for why AGW isn’t a problem. Admit that CO2 causes the greenhouse effect and the dragonslayers drop out, claim that it doesn’t and lots of others will walk out in disgust.

    The only reason their movement works is because for the most part they don’t try to create a unified view on the science but in true post modern spirit let everyone have their own opinion.

    [Now you mention it, that’s something I should have looked at when I looked at the NIPCC report: whether they actually try to present a viewpoint, or just attack other peoples’. But, I tried to avoid reading too much of it -W]


  3. You can buy the domain.

    If the pseudo-skeptics would discus amongst each other and be able to come up with their consensus position, I would take them more seriously and would be more willing to read their [mod, snipped].


  4. In the Salby blog storm last year
    Internet handles {Colin Henderson, Thinking Scientist, KenB, DCA} offered/pledged funding for Salby and
    and {tumetuestumefaisdubien1, metamars} suggested crowdfunding, all based on an unmsupported email to pseudoskeptic bloggers.

    Somehow, I suspect thsoe funds didn’t get there. A few people bought Salby’s book in support, although I’d be curious to know how many had the math and physics background needed. 🙂


  5. I think it would be a great idea, I suspect discussions with skeptics would be a lot shorter and more productive if they were to actually nail their colours to the mast and stat explicitly what their scientific position actually is on the key topics. However as they can’t even agree that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic (which is known with *very* high certainty), the project is doomed to failure, which is why I suspect there were so many against it.


  6. Bogosity transmission example:
    the chain includes Morano to Cato to CFACT to Twitter, without any of them ever checking Snopes — and from ‘oogling, the misstatement may go back years earlier to Anthony et al.


  7. That Keith Kloor article is a very sad item. If somebody accuses a person of being defensive, that person cannot and may not defend. It’s difficult to know how to be both reasonable and honest in the midst of the phony skeptic mishigass. He makes so much sense in many ways, and then undermines it with his vendetta against the many of the most audible voices for reality.


  8. It is of course impossible to really know what someone thinks, one can only analyze actual behavior.

    a. Those who reject the main consensus (getting warmer, and we’re doing it, and under BAU it will cause much damage) and often called {contrarians, deniers, dismissives (as per Six Americas studies) might fit in several categories:

    a.1) Real skeptics may be unfamiliar with climate science, say they don’t know much and they doubt it … but if they care at all, they look into it and usually come to support the consensus. A good example was Michael Shermer.
    Hence, this tends to be a transient status, since any real skeptic would ask people and look for credible sources.

    a.2) People nonskeptical on the topic, and who are exposed to a steady stream of selective or misleading claims from someone they trust, or news sources, or because they happen to wander into the blogs that do this.
    Perhaps this status can be changed if exposed to credible information, but if not, it is more likely that the next fits:

    a.3) Those who go much further into pseudoskepticism a term with a long, well-established history. Again, one cannot know what anybody thinks, but I’d speculate that the unpaid vast majority strongly believes this, whereas I am less sure of some of the minority who get paid for it. Changing from this state seems extremely rare.

    The ontology is:

    a. dismissive (from observed statements) on this topic
    – a.1 real skeptic
    – a.2 nonskeptic
    – a.3 pseudoskeptic

    It can be very hard to distinguish among these from a single statement, but much easier if one can see a trajectory over time in response to new information, especially if it challenges what they said. There is pretty good evidence that many the more vocal participants in dismissive blogs exhibit strong pseudoskeptical behavior, although some are not so strong, and some are commendably able to show skeptical thinking on related topics.

    b. accepts mainstream consensus
    – b.1 real (scientific) skeptics who know the science well enough and typically have explored the arguments against.

    – b.2 nonskeptics who accepted it because of other beliefs, and occasionally switchbecause some strong pseudoskeptic challenges them and shakes their beliefs. Rare, but happens.


  9. Befuddlement–
    Helas!–the plight
    Of your basic

    “What is it ’bout
    The ‘little guy’
    That he’ll not our
    flim-flam wares buy?”

    Bemoan the hive’s
    Best smarty-pants
    Anxious for their
    Green research grants

    ‘Midst “Amen!” wails
    Of eco-claques
    And Gore-groupie

    And worry-wart chats
    That lack a clue
    Just how one might
    The helots screw


    So what’s with you
    Pathetic dorks
    That you avoid
    What really works?

    Want to sucker
    The hoi-polloi
    With any ol’
    Hive rip-off ploy?

    Well if surefire
    Your “hooks” you’d sink
    And gull poor saps
    With your group-think

    Then guide your cons
    By this slick rule
    Which always will
    The peons fool

    And morph any
    Headless chickens
    Into headless


    Practice first the
    Hum-bug you’d preach
    And only then
    For wallets reach

    For coolie-trash
    Follow leaders
    Not hypocrite
    Pig-trough feeders


  10. You in fact make it appear actually simple along with your presentation but I locate this subject to be actually something which I believe I may possibly never recognize. It seems too complicated and quite broad for me. I


  11. John should accordingly note that my critique of the innumerate and since redacted rate-of-extinction graph in the first editions of The Earth In The Balance appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer


  12. Wheee… first Curry, now Watts, have picked up on a paper discussing an apparent slowdown in sea level rise. They both object to the authors proposal to use an ENSO correction which eliminates the apparent slowdown.

    Of course, since the paper’s data ends in 2011, there seems to be an easy way to test whether or not the apparent slowdown was related to a big 2011 La Nina, which would be to look at the next couple years of data… but, nah, that would be too difficult, wouldn’t it?

    (mind you, the Curry post also reproduces the AR5 WGI SLR graphic which, in my opinion, exaggerates past variability in SLR by including the Jevrejeva paper whose methodology realclimate fairly soundly picked apart)


  13. Dikran Marsupial, from the link, a new meaning for No True Scotsman?:

    Scottish Sceptic says:
    May 1, 2014 at 7:11 am
    I’m sorry the title is really stupid.
    Because if they don’t hold water then they are not skeptical arguments.


  14. It would never work. There is no cohesive alternative view to the mainstream one. Any attempt to build one would just lead to people leaving when their pet theory, be it OMG ITS THE INSECTS or ABIOTIC OIL, wasn’t included.


  15. Oh, there’s a cohesive alternative:


    Find one, including Spencer, who doesn’t believe that.


  16. Hank: ”


    Find one, including Spencer, who doesn’t believe that.”

    What about the professional deniers employed by the stink tanks? Do they actually buy the crap they’re peddling?


  17. “Do they actually buy the crap they’re peddling?”

    When I used to work in environmental law, the good side that is 😉 , I talked to one of the senior partners about the lawyers on the anti-environmental side. He said many them deep down knew what they were doing was wrong, but some of the anti-environment lawyers truly believed what they were doing was the right thing, and they were the most dangerous kind.

    I can’t say who, but I’m sure some of the professional deniers truly believe they are correct. They are probably the most motivated to keep peddling their nonsense to the public.


  18. I especially like “the non-rectilineal harmonic regressivity of the constant …”

    Makes perfect sense to me 🙂



    “… the country’s information aggregators are picking up on the urgency: the “news” is getting better at disseminating facts and ideas about climate change.

    For me, the sudden flood of climate change stories generates relief, not terror: the world is finally acknowledging, on front pages and in top stories, the truth that scientists have known for a long time. Media representations are aligning with reality, even if that reality is still invisible or only barely discernible to non-scientists. I feel less alone.

    But how climate media affects me doesn’t matter. I’m the choir.

    What matters is whether the new density of climate news is reaching people beyond the core of climate nerds and, more importantly, whether the new information is causing people to change the way they think and behave. Unfortunately, I don’t see much evidence that the heightened volume (in both senses) of climate warnings is having much impact — yet.

    The right wing pundits respond by adding a ring to their increasingly outrageous denial circus, as a core of them will continue to do come hell or (literally) high water. They are paid to deny and are therefore a lost cause. …”



    … the Environmental Policy Alliance, a group with ties to prominent conservative donors including the Lynde and Harry Bradley and the Searle Foundations, has run full-page print ads this week in Politico and USA Today comparing “Obama’s EPA” to terrorists and anarchists who would shut down a quarter of the nation’s electric grid….

    … The Environmental Policy Alliance, a subsidiary of another group called the Center for Organizational Research and Education (CORE) that is run out of the D.C.-based PR firm Berman and Company, has been running a campaign against the EPA since March. In an earlier incarnation CORE had been named The Center for Consumer Freedom, an organization originally formed by Phillip Morris to fight smoking bans in restaurants.


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