Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6

A more than unusually obscure headline perhaps. Here’s the link. I noticed, because my watchlist contained a pile of changes like:

(diff | hist) . . mb Nir Shaviv‎; 23:31:54 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Henrik Svensmark‎; 23:31:53 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Jan Veizer‎; 23:31:50 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Antonino Zichichi‎; 23:31:49 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Philip Stott‎; 23:31:48 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Willie Soon‎; 23:31:47 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Roy Spencer (scientist)‎; 23:31:45 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Frederick Seitz‎; 23:31:44 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers (scientists) per CFD at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6.) [rollback]
(diff | hist) . . mb Timothy Ball‎; 23:31:35 . . (-1)‎ . . ‎Cydebot (talk | contribs)‎ (Robot – Moving category Climate change skeptics (scientists) to Category:Climate change deniers
…and so on…

The proposal was that the Category “Climate change skeptics” should be renamed “Climate change deniers”, and the Nominator’s rationale was I think we are at the point to where it is unacceptable to claim that it is skepticism. Everyone should be skeptical as a part of good science. But climate change deniers are not engaging in scientific skepticism, but rather political rhetoric and ideology. I think we are far behind in letting this stand this long. Interestingly, neither the nominator, nor any of those who voted, are in the “usual suspects” category either way. They also proposed renaming “Climate change skeptics (politicians)” –> “Climate change deniers (politicians)” and “Climate change skeptics (scientists)” –> “Climate change deniers (scientists)“, which is what you’re seeing above.

Ever so slightly confusingly, a few months earlier the category “Climate change skepticism” got moved to “Climate change skepticism and denial”. That one was somewhat more controversial.

Meanwhile, on Talk:Climate change denial, they are pondering the question Should climate change skepticism, and similar redirects, point to this article, or to Global warming controversy? (Actually that’s not quite the question any more, but you get the idea).

31 thoughts on “Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 October 6”

  1. and your point is:

    That people keep moving things around, demonstrating the pointlessness of getting too involved with Wikipedia?

    Or that it is unusual and interesting for the “usual suspects” not to get involved?

    Or that it is interesting that there is more support for calling scientists deniers rather than skeptics? Is the level of support for this something that varies with whether global average temperature is high or low, or does it reflect increasing confidence in the science or something else?

    Or something else?

    [Mostly, that it was interesting that “the outside world” has decided to move towards the “denialist” label. Oh, and I forgot to say: I still owe you a sea ice post -W]

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  2. Not the best. Roy Spencer admits to being driven by religious and political ideology, he’s certainly a contrarian, but does he belong on a list of deniers? What does he deny?

    [I wouldn’t put RS on a list of deniers -W]

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  3. >”[I wouldn’t put RS on a list of deniers -W]”

    So are you going to remove him from [[Category:Climate change deniers (scientists)]]?

    (He certainly complains about ‘denier’ having holocaust overtones.)

    [No. Firstly I’m probably not allowed to; but secondly I far prefer watching these arguments to joining them -W]

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  4. #2:

    Roy Spencer admits to being driven by religious and political ideology, he’s certainly a contrarian, but does he belong on a list of deniers? What does he deny?

    [I wouldn’t put RS on a list of deniers -W]

    Well, as a signer of An Evangelical Statement on Global Warming, he endorsed this:

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

    So, until he rescinds his signature, he’s unequivocally an AGW-denier.

    And just in case anyone cares: I’m not aware of any evidence he’s a Holocaust-denier, and I do not imply that he is one.

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  5. Re. Roy Spencer, I unequivocally agree with Mal Adapted on this one. AGW denier. You can’t have it both ways.

    As Raypierre at RC puts it:

    However, the thing you have to understand is that what he gets through peer-review is far less threatening to the mainstream picture of anthropogenic global warming than you’d think from the spin he puts on it in press releases, presentations and the blogosphere. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/#sthash.VZN3Wa1d.dpuf

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  6. William wrote: “I wouldn’t put RS on a list of deniers”

    I would. Roy’s starting point is…

    1. God created the heavens and the earth
    2. God is supremely intelligent
    3. Humankind cannot seriously effect His supreme design
    4. End of discussion

    He even signed a petition underscoring this very point.

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  7. Spencer’s opinion may be informed by religion and ideology, but he does not deny that humans are increasing atmospheric CO2 or that this is leading to increased temperatures.

    On the other hand, Freeman Dyson is missing from the list. Dyson accepts the basic physics, but he denies that CO2 levels have been increasing as a result of burning fossil fuels or that global temperatures have been rising for the past 50 years. – http://www.populartechnology.net/2015/04/correcting-history-dyson-and-einstein.html

    To my mind (admittedly I’m no Freeman Dyson), these are things that cannot be reasonably questioned. Should he be exempt from the list?

    [FD has said some mad things about GW. I’d put him on the emeritus list, he’s pretty wrinkly -W]

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  8. Layzej, where in the link you provided does Dyson deny these things?

    [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-reid/freeman-dyson-offers-up-a-smorgasbord-of-climate-change-misconceptions_b_7259170.html is full of the usual drivel; did you want more? -W]

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  9. Whoops. Sorry Marco. Wrong link. Here is the one where he denies that temperatures are rising or that humans are contributing to the rise in CO2: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/letters-to-a-heretic-an-email-conversation-with-climate-change-sceptic-professor-freeman-dyson-2224912.html

    My feeling is that ‘denier’ is a strong word and should be used with caution. Creating a bucket list of deniers is probably a bad call.

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  10. How about a term like ‘rejecters’ or ‘dissenters’? ‘Denier’ is certainly tainted by Holocaust denial (more so for older people perhaps?). But ‘skeptic’ is way too egregiously spin.

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  11. Layzej:

    Spencer’s opinion may be informed by religion and ideology, but he does not deny that humans are increasing atmospheric CO2 or that this is leading to increased temperatures.

    Sorry, but by signing the Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, Spencer publicly declares that he does deny those facts. From the EDoGW (my bolding):

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

    His public endorsement of that unambiguous declaration of AGW-denial is probative, until he publicly repudiates it.

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  12. outeast:

    ‘Denier’ is certainly tainted by Holocaust denial (more so for older people perhaps?).

    There are individuals who have explicitly associated AGW-denial with Holocaust-denial for their own rhetorical purposes, and there are AGW-deniers who insist that because somebody made the association once or twice, it has become permanent and absolute. That’s nothing more than a transparent attempt to play the victim card. Nobody is obligated to let them get away with it.

    “Denier” has been used by English-speakers for centuries to mean a person who denies something. “Denial”, “in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence“, was incorporated into the specialized vocabulary of Psychology in 1925. It is the psychological definition that makes “AGW-denier” a concise and accurate description for people like Spencer. Denial is denial and a denier is a denier, whether of the Holocaust, the NASA moon landings, or AGW. I, for one, see no need for circumlocution.

    What AGW-deniers really object to is being told they are fooling themselves, which they feel is insulting. If so, they have accurately taken my meaning. They need to understand that AGW-denial is just not respectable!

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  13. Mal –

    You do not read very well. I am an Orthodox Christian and disagree with that Cornwall Statement, but nowhere does it deny that CO2 is increasing and that temperatures are rising. It just denies that these are abnormal and dangerous trends.

    I think you should read more carefully and pontificate less.

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  14. Tom C,
    but nowhere does it deny that CO2 is increasing and that temperatures are rising. It just denies that these are abnormal and dangerous trends.

    But it does say

    Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    which would appear to be a textbook example of denying anthropogenic global warming. Denial/denier refers (even if only implicitly) to the anthropogenic part.

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  15. Layzej, William, thanks. I knew he had said some strange stuff, admitting he actually hadn’t done much research, but well, here was his opinion anyway. His e-mail conversation with Steve Connors is quite telling: stop bothering me with the (actually quite fundamental) details, let’s talk the big picture, in which I have dismissed the fundamental details to talk the big picture.

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  16. Lazeyj wrote “Spencer’s opinion may be informed by religion and ideology, but he does not deny that humans are increasing atmospheric CO2”

    I’m not so sure of that…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/

    I (much) later wrote and SkS article on why this argument is mistaken (as it is closely related to Prof. Salby’s incorrect argument).

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/roys_risky_regression.html

    I emailed Dr Spencer a draft for his comment, but received no reply (likewise Prof. Salby).

    It is not clear that Prof. Dyson doesn’t accept that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic as the question posed had two parts, so he could have been disagreeing with the second part.

    I suspect that Dr Spencer would now agree that the rise is anthropogenic, even if he wasn’t convinced in 2008.

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  17. Layzej:

    Here he says that he doesn’t agree with the statement he signed: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/01/science-and-religion-do-your-own-damn-google-search/

    I’m familiar with that post. It’s pretty interesting.

    The declaration Spencer links when he says that, isn’t the one on Global Warming. His link is broken, but it’s The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. The Cornwall people are prone to make declarations, and Spencer is prone to signing them, even if he doesn’t support “the wording” of all their positions.

    In that post, Spencer reveals the cognitive motivation for his AGW-denial:

    Nevertheless, I still support the work of Cornwall. Seldom does a member of an organization agree with all of that organization’s stated positions.

    Why do I support it? The central reason is I believe that current green energy policies are killing poor people.

    Anything that reduces prosperity kills the poor. This is the single biggest reason I speak out on global warming, and why the Cornwall Alliance speaks out against policies which end up hurting the poor much more than they help.

    Radical environmentalism is interested in seeing more people dead than alive. I don’t care what their press releases say. I’ve debated enough of these folks to know that their biggest complaint is that there are too many people in the world.

    It’s a classic argumentum ad consequentium. He claims to be all about the poors. He believes his deity wouldn’t allow any real environmental threats (explicitly including global warming), and he’s convinced (because he’s “debated” enough of them) that “these folks” don’t actually believe in AGW either. Therefore, “green energy policies” can only be a strategy by “radical environmentalism” to see “more people dead than alive”.

    That whole blog post is rife with conspiracist ideation, and with forthright denial. To Hell with the scientific evidence for AGW, he’s gonna believe what he wants to believe and deny what he doesn’t want to believe. Anyone who says he’s wrong is evil.

    Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself, and in that post, Spencer has announced his willingness to fool himself. IMO, he’s forfeited any claim to scientific credibility thereby.

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  18. Dikran provides the 2008 link to Dr Roy at WUWT. Reading it one is simply reminded how far AW (and his website) have fallen. While obviously ill-informed most of the time, there’s little of the radical lunacy one finds there on a daily basis now.

    Like the Republican Party in the USA, there’s been a complete radicalization of deniers over the past decade. Most of the skeptical comments in that 2008 thread would be screamed down by the current commenters at WUWT. They’re just not ideologically pure enough.

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  19. In perhaps only slightly related news, Wikipedia merits notice in the venerable COMP.RISKS newsgroup as follows:
    ______
    Wikipedia and Deepak Chopra: Open-Source Character Assassination
    Lauren Weinstein
    Mon, 2 Nov 2015 18:15:01 -0800
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-castle/wikipedia-deepak-chopra-o_b_8449394.html
    Worth reading this entire article.

    The body of editors who are dominating Deepak Chopra’s biography page are a dozen or so skeptics* who are so extreme in their views that they resort to online activism, many of whom consider the concept of spirituality or a mind-body connection to be a threat to human intelligence. They consider Deepak Chopra to be the embodiment of these concepts and so treat his biography as an opportunity to explain how foolish and dangerous his beliefs are. These editors are no more empowered than any other volunteer editor, but their ideological zeal and willingness to viciously attack any opposing editor has driven off most impartial editors. After all, Wikipedia is 100% volunteer, so why would someone voluntarily spend their time being called a moron and facing endless opposition to every neutral edit? There is no one to report to, as a collaborative platform Wikipedia has no formal management structure, even when collaboration turns into mob mentality.

    [Who to believe? The author of the Huffopo article is clearly biased; has he managed to lay aside those biases? No, for he says Or, as his Wikipedia biography proclaims: Deepak Chopra is despised by all scientists as a dangerous fraud who sells false hope and spouts gibberish. But it is clear that the wiki article doesn’t say that. So “Ryan Castle” is lying. If I was a DC fanboi I wouldn’t like it either The ideas he promotes are criticized by scientists and medical professionals[14] who say that his treatments rely on the placebo effect,[8] that he misuses terms and ideas from quantum physics (quantum mysticism), and that he provides people with false hope which obscures the possibility of effective medical treatment.[15] The medical and scientific communities’ opinion of him ranges from dismissive to damning; criticism includes statements that his approach could lure sick people away from effective treatments.[14] But I’m not. His assertion that “There is no one to report to” is false; what he has written reads very much like what the AW fanboi’s might write about AW being called “denier”.

    I had to scroll quite a bit before I found anything concrete; I got to The most offensive example is that Dr. Chopra’s Select Bibliography, a normally dry chart of data, rants about his books as “blather” and argues that they should be “segregated” if not “burned.” You read that correctly, Wikipedia’s bibliography on Deepak Chopra officially laments that his books cannot be burned. This, too, is dishonest. The word blather appears, but its a quote. The quote does not lament that the books can’t be burned. So, I don’t see evidence of a problem for wiki here. I’ve left a note on the talk page, though.

    Finally, wiki has no editor called Ryan Castle -W]

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  20. >”[I far prefer watching these arguments to joining them -W]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Requests_for_closure#Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons.2FNoticeboard.2FArchive231.23109_BLP_articles_labelled_.22Climate_Change_Deniers.22_all_at_once

    When this is closed it definitely needs to be closed in tandem with [Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2015_October_16#Category:Climate_Change_deniers]. I’ve read through a lot this morning and have no idea what to do; there’s no strong consensus to do anything (i.e. there is zero agreement on what wording to actually use) but there is pretty strong consensus that the current situation is not sufficient for BLP.

    so still rumbling on.

    [Its all jolly amusing in a watching train wrecks kind of way. I’m watching the category discussion, and will update this or write a new one, depending on how funny the result is -W]

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