Deconstructing the "warmist" responses
to skeptics' issues
Polarization has happened: on the
warmist "consensus" science websites, the skeptics'
position is utterly dismissed and skeptics are given at best
a distorted voice, at worst are censored and ridiculed without
being allowed to respond. On the skeptics' blogs like Watts
Up With That and Climate
Audit, both "sides" are allowed to post, and
courtesy is insisted upon, yet despite the best of intentions
to explain, share, and discuss, the readership often seems
sharply divided between
- contributors who are willing to explore, use their intelligence,
ask deep question, understand the nature of Scientific Method,
and quote X whose work looks interesting, intelligent, competent,
and relevant - who are known as SKEPTICS or REALISTS
among themselves, and DENIERS or CONTRARIANS
- contributors who like to quote RealClimate and official
"peer-reviewed" science publications, who do not
grasp the extent to which the establishment have censored
and vilified the skeptics, who trust the IPCC, who produce
stunning-looking dismissals that need good knowledge and/or
close attention to assess, who believe that there is consensus
about AGW among all reasonable scientists and that skeptics
are in denial or worse - the CONSENSUS scientists
Now in addition to RealClimate, several major science bodies,
and a couple of individual websites, have produced "answers
to skeptics' issues". To most people, this amassed
evidence looks pretty clinching and irrefutable. Also there
is a disreputable litany of discredits directed at a small
number of known climate skeptics, collected by "brownshirt"
websites like DeSmogBlog and, sadly, Wikipedia. To many, these
discredits look credible. "Lawrence Solomon is a well-known
oil shill - Prof Michael Mann of RealClimate says so"
but actually this
couldn't be further from the truth [see here].
Sadlly, most climate skeptics who are professional scientists
do not speak up - through shyness, fear, protecting their
family - many reasons. David Bellamy lost his work and reputation
when he spoke up on the BBC. There are many others in similar
I'd like to see a skeptics' FAQ:-
- showing where official science's "answers to skeptics"
are "straw men"*
- showing where the science has been corrupted eg the key
IPCC alterations by Santer
- with FAQ's on the prevalence and provenance of slander
in place of science
- with FAQ's on the suppression of debate and other issues
like the corruption of the peer review system
- set up as a skeptics' wiki so that it can be improved
and the knowledge base expanded
- set up as a wiki so that nobody can say it is just "that
lone eccentric" or "funded by exxxxx" or
RealClimate has discussion threads (but completely censors
or ridicules all skeptics, without leaving a check trail,
thus blocking debate). A fuller list of websites "debunking"
skeptics is here. The classic AGW replies
to skeptics' issues are almost always debunking "straw
men"* and just need clear, sourced science and evidence.
Several AGW science issues I am certain have been disproved,
but either I don't have the proof to hand, or I cannot follow
the details but sense the presence of experts. I don't think
I am alone in such experiences. The Deniers
shows that many top science experts say "in my area of
expertise, AGW / IPCC science is mistaken - but I still believe
in AGW / IPCC generally."
Skeptics' Wiki: I believe we should
have a skeptics' wiki, if we can establish good ground rules.
Here's a small
personal Climate Science wiki that holds excellent quality.
But I am not sure that I can handle a wiki at this point.
*straw man argument: First,
state "this is what xxx say" but state what is out
of date, or only a part of the issue, or a misrepresentation,
"cherry-picking" etc. Then procede to demolish it.
Easy. xxx then look gullible, unscientific, in a tiny minority,
in denial, in the pay of exxxx, and totally untrustworthy.
When, as AGW websites do, multiple arguments "debunking"
skeptics are piled up together, it takes some effort / courage
/ idiocy to actually check the skeptics to see if they have
been fairly represented.
Page updated 5th September 2009