Sticks and Stones

West Bay Wood

The internet has become a great enabler of many fascinating behaviours, one of which is the ability to sling public insults at a rate never previously approached. I must admit that I have contributed to a few very enjoyable online flame wars myself, albeit on forums where all the participants know the drill full well, and the dialogue flows accordingly.

But the internet is not and should not become simply one enormous argument, where tempers flare and insults are hurled unceasingly. As a tool for communication the normal rules of civil society should still apply, where comments are polite and constructive, at least in the first instance. We are all human and things may always go downhill more or less rapidly from there, but I am a great believer in never being the first to get personal or rude.

The question arises about when it becomes acceptable to reply to insults in kind, and in what measure. The answer is individual to each of us and it would take a person of exceptional calmness and self-confidence never to be goaded into such behaviour. I have written previously about my own anguish about being labelled a ‘denier’, but I have yet to be insulted directly on the subject of global warming badly enough to have lost my temper with anyone online about it. So far.

The same is clearly not true about Dr Roy Spencer. Having for many years been on the receiving end of some very harsh invective, in a recent post he has announced his intention to reply in kind, and that he will from now on label his assailants as “global warming Nazis”. It’s an interesting decision, not one I agree with, and I hope he won’t come to regret it.

In any large confrontation where both sides are calling each other names it is futile to attempt to establish which side made the initial insult. The first time I heard the term Nazi used as a generalised moniker to indicate a totalitarian mindset was about twenty years ago when my brother (I’m much the quieter of the two of us) started referring to ‘Safety Nazis’. I’m sure he didn’t invent the phrase but it certainly made me laugh, because (at least for the British) the Nazis are equated not only with being sinister but also somewhat absurd and utterly humourless.

Dr Spencer’s response was provoked by repetition of the specific term ‘denier’. I must admit that I’ve always been somewhat puzzled about what exactly is supposedly being denied. Is it radiative physics, or perhaps the basics of thermodynamics? It is a question that those labelled as deniers frequently ask in online discussions. However, I have yet to read a single clear explanation from the ‘other side’ of exactly what it is in scientific terms that deniers deny. I am left assuming that there is a germ of truth in the assertion that it is a smear by association, connected with the use of the term regarding the idiots and bigots who deny the reality of the Holocaust.

Personally, I find the term ‘anti-science’ to be much more hurtful, but also foolish on the part of those who use it. To accuse people such as Freeman Dyson, David Bellamy, Richard Lindzen, or Judith Curry somehow being anti-science is utterly laughable. Again, attempts to elicit an explanation of exactly what science they are ‘anti’ meet with no response, particularly from Michael Mann.

Another favourite insult is that those who argue against an imminent climate catastrophe are participants in a conspiracy theory, akin to those who argue that the Apollo moon landings were faked. I have never noticed a single sceptic make such a claim about faked moon landings or similar nonsense. I for one do not believe there is or has been any conspiracy regarding global warming, nor do I class it as a hoax. I believe that the work of some rather politicised scientists has been seized upon by scientifically ignorant politicians to further their pre-existing political agenda. Sure, there is some behind the scenes backstabbing and manoeuvring going on but it’s all just basic human nature, there is no grand conspiracy required. The thing I most object to is that bad science is being used to justify political action that is immensely damaging to the wellbeing of billions of people, in particular the poorest living in unimaginable conditions in underdeveloped countries. It is thinking about the victims of the Green cause that is most likely to make my blood boil.

I don’t think anyone would much argue against ‘Nazi’ being a particularly nasty tag (unless used with a touch of wry humour that is almost impossible to express except verbally) and its use instantly renders any rational debate impossible. Godwin’s Law applies but only mentions the likelihood of Nazis being mentioned, not, as some like to claim, that the first person to refer to the Nazis has automatically lost the argument. I fear Dr Spencer has merely descended to the level of the most shrill Greens and will emerge as mud-splattered as the worst of them.

If it comes to it, I think ‘fascist’ is a more exact term to use to describe the totalitarian stance of many Greens, with their  rubbishing of contrary views and the stifling of debate and suppression of opponents views. Here is an excellent example. Readers may have noticed that I tend to use the term ‘Alarmist’ as a useful label. It’s less confrontational than many of the alternatives and I use it to denote those that are already flinging insults and espousing totalitarian views. I don’t mean it to include anyone concerned about ways in which our planet’s climate could change and inflict damage on human progress, and who doesn’t think the answer is to rubbish anyone who disagrees with their particular views on the subject. I very much share those general concerns.

For my part, I don’t mind the actual term ‘denier’ too much, it’s a bit of a badge of honour. I prefer ‘sceptic’ or perhaps even ‘heretic’ although that’s one the ‘other side’ avoid using, as heresy requires an entrenched and dogmatic orthodoxy, which they are keen to deny exists.

This entire topic is quite disheartening really as in an all-out fight it is almost never the moderates that prevail; the extremist zealots of either side tend to rise to the top, with those on the winning side dominating the post-conflict agenda. I do therefore worry quite a lot about what may come about, with the general public just seeing mud slung on all sides, and science in general as the loser.

Post Script

Interestingly, the only person I have ever met who sincerely believed the Apollo landings were faked is someone pretty much fully signed up to the Green agenda. Her claim seems to centre on two main points. Firstly, that as she couldn’t imagine how to go about building a machine capable of landing on the moon nobody else could, and secondly that Apollo was an American programme, and everybody knows how evil the USA is. I found the brief conversation we had on the subject as unnerving as talking to a born-again Christian engineer I once knew. Both of them expressed more certainty on their subject than I have ever heard from an adult human being before or since.

EMBARRASSED EDIT:

Since posting I have discovered that Dr Spencer is some sort of creationist, which greatly diminishes my respect for him as a scientist but doesn’t affect the point of the article.

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22 responses to “Sticks and Stones

  1. (oh, go on then. I’ll bite. FWIW, I’m here via DrRoy’s. And if you want any context then you can have, e.g. http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/03/05/dr-roy-spencer-is-sad-and-lone/)

    > Having for many years been on the receiving end of some very harsh invective

    How true is that? I don’t really want to get into a game of “I’ve been more insulted than you”, so I’m happy to admit that you’ll easily find individual examples of “harsh invective”, but I’d say that, for example, Mann gets more invective in a few days over at WUWT than Spencer gets in a year. Spencer provides no examples; we’re left to guess who he’s talking about. Do you know what prompted this particular outburst? I don’t.

    > Here is an excellent example.

    Agreed; that’s regrettable. But its politics, not science.

    > I don’t mind the actual term ‘denier’ too much…

    Not entirely consistent with “The anguish of being a denier”; but perhaps that was just a headline.

    > As someone who rejects the possibility of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming…

    That puts you close to denialism in my book; had you phrased instead as “As someone who believes that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is unlikely…” I’d have had no problems. You don’t show any sign of appreciating that CAGW is a term used exclusively by the “skeptics”.

    I can’t tell if you disagree with the science, or the politics (the example you provide is politics). So perhaps its worth asking: is there anything significant in the IPCC WG1 SPM that you find unacceptable?

  2. Hi William, and thanks for biting. I’ll do my best to answer your points. I had a quick look at the link you posted (and onwards to one of the subsequent links). Please understand that I am no cheerleader for Dr Spencer, if he is attempting to model the climate mathematically then he’s as bound to fail as everyone else, in my opinion. You may also have noticed that I am extremely wary of his religious beliefs.
    I hope you noticed that in my article I argue in favour of civility on all sides, with the only proviso that if someone outright insults me directly then I’ll give just as good back from that point onwards. If Michael Mann sent me a polite email tomorrow, my reply to him would also be polite. It may be critical, but it would still be civil.
    I think we are all in the dark about what prompted Spencer’s ill-judged outburst.
    I am glad that you at least think the Green Party’s call for a totalitarian purge ‘regrettable’. I’d say it was an outright attempt to undermine democracy and free speech, which is far more than regrettable. You have tried to separate it out as politics and thus somehow totally separate from science, but it’s the politicisation of science, by scientists such as Hansen, that has helped fascists such as the Greens to enter the mainstream. Oh, and I chose the word ‘fascists’ very carefully there. Whether one agrees with their goals or not, such totalitarian actions are unpardonable. You may choose to believe me or not, but if the pendulum swung the other way I would be the first to complain at any attempts to silence ‘warmists’.
    I am surprised because you don’t seem to have understood the article beneath the headline ‘The Anguish of Being a Denier’. It is not about the specific term at all, but how uncomfortable I feel in disagreeing with the publicly mainstream scientific position on anything. It was indeed just a headline, about the feeling not the term. By the way, do you disagree with the concluding point, that as long as the balance of evidence, to me, seems in favour of my current position, it would be a betrayal of the scientific method to ignore it and stick with the mainstream?
    “As someone who rejects the possibility of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming…”: I agree this is poorly worded, that your suggestion is actually a better form and I will try to remember that in future. As a rational person I should not reject any possibility outright. By the way, I do realise that CAGW is a sceptic-term but it is a handy shorthand for what a lot of ‘Alarmists’ believe will happen. May I ask, If you don’t believe that there will be anthropogenic global warming, that will have catastrophic consequences, what exactly do you believe?
    For my part, I disagree strongly with any political stance, either right or left wing, which is based upon denying individuals the right to make their own choices. Most of the political actions to mitigate climate change are based around dramatically increasing the power of the State at the expense of the individual. However, my belief that there will be no CAGW (sorry, handy shorthand) is based solely on the science. The SPM is carefully worded, and I disagree with few of the observations and hard data presented in it. I do however note that ocean data (particularly at greater depths) is extremely sparse, and I have grave concerns about the quality of much surface station temperature data, and the adjustments that have been made to them.
    The part I do not accept centres around the models and predictions/projections. If it were really possible to accurately model multi-decadal trends of the global climate, people would also be similarly modelling the global economy and buying Caribbean islands for fun. I have yet to see any evidence that any climate researchers at all were suggesting, 20 or even 10 years ago, that a 17-year pause (hiatus, plateau, call it what you will) in surface temperatures was possible, or that a mechanism existed to suddenly start sucking the heat into the oceans, or that natural variability could generate such a pause without it also being the most likely cause of the warming of the 80’s and 90’s. It seems obvious that the theories are simply chasing the data, and not driven by any real understanding of what is going on. This is my prime concern.
    As a final point, even if I were convinced about the danger of climate change, I would still want available funds to be spent instead on directly reducing global poverty and pollution, as I have seen first-hand the terrible damage and suffering they cause. Despite thirty-odd years of dire predictions there have been no mass refugee crises caused by climate change, no desertification and no inundation of populated coastal areas. The world has far, far more pressing problems. Those who champion expensive carbon-capture storage and campaign against coal-fired electricity for developing countries are causing appalling hardships.

  3. > I think we are all in the dark about what prompted Spencer’s ill-judged outburst.

    OK, I’m glad we agree we don’t know :-). I might be prepared to cut him some slack if I could be sure that he personally had been deliberately attacked; but anyway, we’re agreed on the “ill-judged” so passing over that…

    > regrettable’. I’d say it was an outright attempt to undermine democracy and free speech

    Well, I don’t want to get too hung up on that, either. Taken absolutely literally, yes; but I think it was more likely ill thought out. But I don’t want to attempt to defend it, so passing over…

    > disagreeing with the publicly mainstream scientific position on anything

    Yes; I do agree here. Anytime that happens, you need to carefully examine your position, because the std position is usually right. Appeals to, say, Wegner on plate tectonics don’t help.

    > do you disagree with the concluding point…

    As supported by “I love science too much. I am curious, and want to know and understand the world around me for myself. And I have looked at the evidence, and I have weighed the arguments”?

    You’ll first need to convince me that you have indeed carefully examined the *science* as opposed to the *politics*.

    > May I ask, If you don’t believe that there will be anthropogenic global warming, that will have catastrophic consequences, what exactly do you believe?

    I think that’s a strange question, though I’ve often seen it asked (most recently at my blog in this comment: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2014/02/21/a-reader-writes-why-are-there-people-who-seem-hell-bent-on-denying-anthropogenic-global-warming/#comment-38957). Clearly, there is a whole continuum of possbilities, all the way from “GW will have small, or even benign, consequences” to “minor negative” to “major negative” to “catastrophic”. Or you might even believe “unknown, but risky to find out”. See-also http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/ written in 2004. Note point 4, in brackets.

    > For my part, I disagree strongly with any political stance…

    Indeed. But that’s politics, not science. Mixing the two up leads to confusion.

    > …I disagree with few of the observations… I have grave concerns about the quality of much surface station temperature data

    This is a bit weaselly. I take it that you accept the basic GHE (unlike the mad “slayer” types) and accept the basic WV feedback stuff. But “grave concerns”? What does that mean. Based on what? I appreciate that answering in a comment thread is somewhat compressed, but if you really think that, I’d expect a carefully documented blog post. After all the Sfc T record is pretty basic and definitely part of the mainstream consensus: if you think your own careful analysis is good enough to overturn all the peer reviewed literature you would (by the criteria you’ve set yourself) have some pretty good reasons. I’ve never yet seen any elsewhere; so would be interested to read yours.

    In a sense, there’s no need or point in going any further: if you’re going to object to the Sfc T record, then talking about the models is a bit pointless (I’m happy to do so if you want, because I think what you say, and your “It seems obvious that the theories are simply chasing the data”, is rather scatter-shotting and indicates you haven’t really looked into this very thoroughly, but I’d rather agree or fail to agree on the Sfc T record first).

    > I would still want available funds to be spent instead on directly reducing global poverty and pollution…

    I agree that much of the way we currently spend our “carbon money” is silly (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/06/06/carbon-tax-now-1/). But this is the science-vs-pol/econ distinction, again. I’d rather we could get rid of nuclear weapons; but that doesn’t mean I challenge the validity of nuclear physics.

  4. Well William it appears that we do agree on a few things, which is a good starting point. Regarding my disagreement with the mainstream view on climate change, I’d say that it’s a topic I’ve looked at closely enough to convince myself, and as you may gather it’s not at all been an easy decision to reach. If I found some way to total up the hours spent looking at various evidence we could probably have a long and pointless discussion about it, but I have done plenty more than just read a few opinion pieces. I’m not a scientist or mathematician but I’m an engineer and understand both well enough to reach an informed viewpoint. As a counterpoint, I can’t imagine I’d ever have a viewpoint on string theory as the intelligence and technical knowledge to understand it are beyond me.

    You still haven’t fully made your own viewpoint clear but I assume you mean that it’s a problem worth taking some action about, but don’t think we should be rounding up deniers or sending the owners of coal fired power stations to jail. If so that’s fair enough, I can understand that. Unfortunately that’s not what’s really on offer from the politicians pushing the Green agenda.

    No, I am not a slayer!

    On the surface temperature record, there are plenty of criticisms out there on the adjustments made downwards of older data, and the quality of station data, such as the study Anthony Watts is working on. His preliminary results had some problems and he is working on a revised version, which will make interesting reading. You may consider him beyond the pale, I don’t know, but it will be interesting to read nevertheless.
    Personally I have some professional dealings with airport-based stations, and there’s just no way I would trust many of them within 0.5°C. The siting and maintenance issues can be horrendous. So, I have my doubts.

    Your post on a carbon tax seems more reasonable than most suggestions, but however it is done would result in an increase in fuel poverty. If I thought the science was correct I would probably agree with your viewpoint on this. But it isn’t what’s on offer: instead we get vast subsidies for Solyndra and wind farms that chew birds and bats to pieces.

  5. > On the surface temperature record, there are plenty of criticisms out there on the adjustments made downwards of older data, and the quality of station data, such as the study Anthony Watts is working on

    Um, but this is pretty thin gruel to overturn a large pile of peer-reviewed literature and accepted science on: unspecified criticisms “out there” – by which I assume you mean “skeptic” blogs, though I’m guessing – and one much trumpeted draft paper that is about one and a half years past its sell-by date. How long are you going to keep hoping before you admit its a deader? Watts has abandoned it, he’s just too embarrassed to admit it.

    Certainly its very thin support for your assertion that “I have looked at the evidence, and I have weighed the arguments”. Why do you believe unspecified crit “out there” above the peer reviewed literature? Have you even read the literature? If you have – whats wrong with it?

  6. William, I am making some very condensed statements about my concerns (despite which my answers are getting pretty long, sorry), which you are taking to mean I haven’t looked at anything in any detail. Not the case. I have no idea whether Watts will release his revised paper, but surely the aim (to examine in detail the quality of the US surface station network) is laudable. If he does publish, and it’s rubbish, so be it. We can’t judge until he does. You seem to think I have some sort of emotional stake involved, which I find very curious.
    My rejection of dire predictions regarding the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 arises from reading scientific articles as they reach the public domain. Anything with a bearing on the topic is endlessly discussed across the internet, and I certainly don’t just read the critics, I also follow up on what supporters and the authors themselves are saying. If possible I will look up the most contentious sections of whatever had been published myself (or even the whole thing) to check what is being said. There have been plenty of times that something has been criticised at places like WUWT, but where I have thought it looked fine. (By the way I do this with all sorts of science, not just with regard to global warming.)
    The two of us could start endlessly rehashing the various arguments about the specifics of surface and ocean temperature data here but we would only be repeating arguments that have long since grown stale elsewhere. I occasionally pop up to comment or ask questions on sites where the science is discussed in detail, as I’m sure you do, and I’d rather keep those discussions in those places. I don’t write this blog about the details of the science.
    In theory, as a rational thinker I should be entirely agnostic on any topic that I have not proved to myself from first principles. But in practice this would leave me stuck in bed every morning, attempting to demonstrate that ‘I think therefore I am’ is valid. We all have to make intellectual shortcuts to get anywhere in life, based largely I suppose around pattern fitting to prior knowledge.
    To be frank, you’re coming across as if you assume that my ‘denial’ is based on some sort of misunderstanding (or wilful neglect) of the basics of science. You appear to be challenging me to get specific because you think I’ll make some stupid or outrageous claim, either forcing me to recant or exposing my hypocrisy. Please correct me if I’m wrong but you’re far from the first person who’s ever taken this tack with me.
    If all you are doing is trying to understand why I am a ‘denier’, here is the broad brush version: a hypothesis may be rejected even without knowing exactly the proposed mechanisms, merely be examining the predictions it makes. The climate models (as per the IPCC) utterly failed to predict the pause/hiatus/whatever. They were also used to make predictions about all sorts of other phenomena that have failed. My take is that the basic physics is sound, and a lot of the known climatic processes, but there are currently too many unknowns (both known and unknown unknowns, to borrow a clunky phrase) for the models to work. It’s analogous to Lord Kelvin trying to calculate the age of the Earth. I have no doubt that one day someone will successfully model our climate and be able to make accurate predictions, but I doubt it will be in my lifetime.
    So far I have pretty much allowed you to set the agenda (you are my guest, after all), but I have a couple of direct questions for you. They’re sort of my equivalents of you asking if I’m a slayer, or accept water vapour feedback (which I do). Firstly, do you think the Mann et al 1998 ‘Hockey Stick’ reconstruction, as originally published, is scientifically valid? Secondly, do you think that the methodology used in the Cook et al 2013 survey of peer reviewed papers is valid?
    I’d also really appreciate it if you could give me your thoughts on why all those dire predictions that started 30-odd years ago have yet to come to pass.

  7. > We can’t judge until he does

    But you see the contradiction in your answers? I asked, why don’t you believe in the sfc record, and you answered (in part) Watts’ paper. I pushed you, and you’re now backing off to “We can’t judge until he does”. So that leaves you with nothing but “there are plenty of criticisms out there” which is utterly non-specific.

    > you’re coming across as if you assume that my ‘denial’ is based on some sort of misunderstanding

    Your “denial” is too non-specific to test. Everything you say is too vague. There are no details at all.

    > My rejection of dire predictions regarding the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2…

    Don’t run before you can walk. If we can’t agree on the temperature record, there’s no point discussing predictions. Except…

    > The climate models (as per the IPCC) utterly failed to predict the pause/hiatus/whatever

    You’re wrong. Sorry, couldn’t resist. But really, unless you’re prepared to put up something substantive as to why you don’t accept the temperature record, why go on? You claim to respect science, blah blah, so if you’re wanting to overturn the weight of published evidence you’ve got to have something pretty good. If so, why keep it secret?

  8. Early on in our discussion you asked me a couple of basic questions, presumably to allow you to determine just how ‘far out there’ (in your opinion) I am . Please do me the courtesy of returning the favour, as I previously requested.

    Do you think the Mann et al 1998 ‘Hockey Stick’ reconstruction, as originally published, is scientifically valid?

    Do you think that the methodology used in the Cook et al 2013 survey of peer reviewed papers is valid?

    I would be most happy to continue the discussion on the other points once you have clarified your position. Otherwise I cannot know where to start.

  9. Thanks you, William.

    Regarding Watts, his surface stations project has raised concerns about siting and other local issues affecting the quality of a number of stations in the US. His paper attempted to quantify this, contained flaws, and was withdrawn. The concerns remain, it is a case of determining what difference (if any) they make to the data that is then used in the various temperature series. Also, I have personally visited a number of surface stations (in a professional capacity) and among those in Asia and the Far East I have seen examples with terrible maintenance and calibration problems. These problems were systemic. So, as I say, I have my doubts. I’m sure a lot of the data is perfectly good, but quite a lot isn’t. Before we go and start setting policies based on the data that affect every living human being, we need to address these problems.

    Regarding the surface temperature series themselves, they have already been discussed to death here here here here here and most recently here. I must admit the Berkeley project appears to go quite a long way towards ironing out some concerns that have been aired about other data series but haven’t looked at it in detail yet myself.
    If you have anything you wish to add that isn’t included in any of these examples or the hundreds of others I could just as easily site, then fire away.

    I don’t want to jump ahead of you here, but your comments seem to indicate you may be arguing towards a point where you state that you don’t think it’s possible for anyone who hasn’t read and understood the published literature to disagree with it purely on scientific grounds. If so, please save us both a lot of time and say so.

    [EDIT: I intended to say, but forgot, that my concerns with surface temperatures can be summarized as some poor raw data (not all, but enough to make a difference), adjustments that are made to the raw data (again not all but some) and some methods used to fill in data for areas with no or poor coverage. Enough in total to give me grave doubts that we should be using the results to set policy that affects us all.]

  10. > So, as I say, I have my doubts.

    Yes, but that’s based on personal anecdotes and postings at WUWT. I’d expect someone concerned with the science to be able to back up their “doubts” with peer-reviewed literature.

    > they have already been discussed to death

    More blog postings. Curry at least refs papers. Note that she doesn’t actually discuss the first one. She doesn’t like the second one – C+W – but her “discussion” is ill-informed and (obviously) not interesting enough to make a submittable comment. The RC piece is also about C+W and is (obviously) fine. But doesn’t really help your viewpoint. Your third link is broken, your fourth is C+W; etc. I’m not really sure what your point is.

    > you state that you don’t think it’s possible for anyone who hasn’t read and understood the published literature to disagree with it purely on scientific grounds.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. If I strip out some double negatives and rewrite it as “you think it’s possible for anyone who has read and understood the published literature to disagree with it purely on scientific grounds” then I would agree, in theory: if you’ve read and understood the literature, then you would have the necessary understanding, and it would be possible for you to disagree with it, on scientific grounds (with the caveat that had your read and understood it, I don’t think you would disagree with it). However, I can see no evidence that *you* have read any of the scientific literature – you never refer to it, only to blog postings. The only “paper” you’ve referred to its Watts’ aborted effort.

  11. You’re beginning to make me wonder, William, whether you are really reading my replies at all. I’ve already told you I read actual papers – not all of them, I don’t have time for that. But enough to understand the issues and the reasoning. The links were examples of discussions regarding surface temperatures, not primary sources of information. I’ve been pointing out that it is a waste of time for the two of us to re-hash the arguments that the links I posted typify. Unless you have anything new – do you?

    If I didn’t know better I’d assume you had never been involved in a discussion on the internet before. It simply isn’t possible for me to prove to you, via this medium, that I understand what I am talking about. I could just as easily be Googling whatever topics you bring up and then regurgitating whatever I find. I may as well ask you to prove to me that you have no political motivation in the stance you take on global warming – it would be pointless of me to do so.

    You also seem to forget that what you dismiss as ‘anecdotal’ evidence may be just that to you, but is direct personal experience to me. I’m not wasting my time trying to convince you what I’m saying is true, I’m just giving one of my reasons for not believing all the failed predictions. You asked my reasons, and that’s one of them. Accept it or not, it makes no difference to me. *shrugs*

    (Sorry about link 3, can’t remember what it was now. Never mind.)

  12. Why hello again. I see your name has come up. You are – like the others there – curious accepting – one might say, unskeptical – of P’s version of reality. Without ever seeing the other side.

    I thought “We finally get the other side of that one sided conversation” was the most remarkable comment – you’ll agree its totally wrong, I hope. Its curious no-one there notices; it almost like they aren’t thinking.

    Anyway, since I’m sure you’ll want to see the other side, its available – both sides are, fully in context – at http://stoat-spam.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/the-age-of-unenlightenment-dont-shout.html

  13. Hello again William. You seem to assume that nobody else knows how to use the internet; I’m sure all interested parties have seen what you’ve posted, and it doesn’t really detract from Pointman’s central point about Bengtsson.
    The most interesting thing for me is that you allowed Pointman to dangle you in the way he did. You seem pretty desperate for attention. I also find it hard to believe you didn’t really know what he wanted from you: an admission that after your fun and games on Wikipedia all but the most committed Alarmists consider you tainted goods.

  14. > central point

    The central point of his most recent post is me. A worthy subject, I agree.

    I notice you’ve carefully avoided commenting on “We finally get the other side of that one sided conversation”. Do you find that comment so embarrassingly, utterly stupid that you can’t bring yourself to agree that its stupid?

    > Wikipedia

    P asserted problems with wiki. But as soon as I asked for specifics, he ran away. That usually happens. You, too, have no specifics.

  15. “The central point of his most recent post is me. A worthy subject, I agree.”
    That’s weak, William. Very weak. I notice however that you’re among the first 3 people to click through to here from Pointman’s, you really are lapping up the attention, aren’t you?

    “I notice you’ve carefully avoided commenting on “We finally get the other side of that one sided conversation”. ”
    This may come as a surprise, William, but neither Pointman nor I am responsible for what others comment on his site.

    “You, too, have no specifics.”
    Oh dearie me, I am struggling to know where to start with this one. I mean, Pointman did provide a link to WUWT, from where it is perfectly possible to follow the links there to the original documents on your adventures on Wikipedia. Plus of course (as I’m sure you know very well), Googling you throws up all the information anyone could ever want of you being uncivil and antagonistic towards other Wikipedia editors, with details of the various times you were banned or had your admin rights revoked.
    Of course you see all that as badge of honour, you probably have framed copies of the Wikipedia arbitration judgements hanging in the hallway, to remind yourself just how uncompromising you are towards all those nasty ‘anti-science’ types.

    Talking of specifics, I think Steven Mosher said it best on Judith Curry’s blog. You said ” Having to suppress the other side is a confession that you’ve lost.” Steve naturally asked “You wanna stand by that? In all cases?”
    Do you?

  16. >> Do you find that comment so embarrassingly, utterly stupid that you can’t bring yourself to agree that its stupid?
    > neither Pointman nor I am responsible for what others comment on his site.

    No-one is talking about “responsible”. I’m asking for your comment. I won’t again, because you’ve answered my question by evasion: you do indeed find the comment too stupid to defend. It would be nice if you were honest enough to say so openly.

    >> “You, too, have no specifics.”
    > Oh dearie me, I am struggling to know where to start with this one

    But still no specifics. Can you find any single edit of mine that was, or is, problematic? Come on, it can’t be that hard.

    > uncivil and antagonistic

    Cry me a river. Read the comments at P and find anything I’ve written even a tenth as bad. By all means be utterly one-sided, if that’s what you want; then I can quietly give up on you.

    > Talking of specifics

    No, that’s not a specific, that’s a generalised fishing expedition. You may, if you like, answer your own question – though from your attitude towards P, I think I already know your answer. SM evidently thought it was a killer, but I’ve no idea what he was on about. Do you? I mean, specifically, not yet more generalities.

    > you were banned

    Nope. You’ve spent too long in the “skeptic” echo chamber.

  17. “…you’ve answered my question by evasion: you do indeed find the comment too stupid to defend.”
    I owe you an apology, William: I had no idea you thought the comment was some sort of silver bullet. Of course it’s incorrect, that’s self-evident and I thought we both realised that. It’s also utterly irrelevant to anything Pointman or I have said.

    “Can you find any single edit of mine that was, or is, problematic?”
    Again I’m sorry William, but I’m going to decline your invitation to spend the rest of my life joining you in nit-picking through everything you ever did on Wikipedia. We all know how to use Google. (For the record, and for any casual readers (if there are any), here’s a link to just one example of William being banned – that’s the word they use.)

    “…then I can quietly give up on you.”
    What a towering ego you have! William Connolley, the great seeker-of-truth, offers to pull both Pointman and Abbott out of the flames of anti-science hell. I take that as seriously as I take offers from evangelicals to pray for me.

    “SM evidently thought it was a killer, but I’ve no idea what he was on about. Do you?”
    Ah, we finally get to the heart of the matter. It leads us back to you pretending you didn’t know what answer you had to give Pointman to be allowed to post at his blog. I’m sure Pointman wasn’t expecting a confession of guilt, just for you to acknowledge that many, many people view you as an untrustworthy, narcissistic control freak who has repeatedly demonstrated a total inability to be objective about anything pertaining to global warming, and all because of what you did on Wikipedia. (On reflection, I think Pointman may have allowed you to paraphrase that a bit.)
    And now here you are, playing exactly the same injured innocent with me. It’s pathetic. You know exactly what Steven Mosher meant. Please answer his question.

  18. >> “Can you find any single edit of mine that was, or is, problematic?”
    > Again I’m sorry William, but I’m going to decline your invitation to spend the rest of my life joining you in nit-picking through everything you ever did on Wikipedia.

    You’re evading the question. I didn’t ask for every single edit you dislike, just a single example. And you failed.

    > We all know how to use Google.

    Embarrassingly, it turns out you don’t…

    > here’s a link to just one example of William being banned

    You’ve misread it. Wiki internal politics is hard for those that don’t pay careful attention. Have another go.

    > many, many people view you as an untrustworthy, narcissistic control freak

    Sure; and they take great pleasure in saying so. But the question is, is their view founded on reality or on illusion? I say the latter. And my assertion is supported by their, and your, inability to back up your “views” with any substance.

  19. “You’re evading the question.”
    You’re evading Steven Mosher’s question. Please answer it.

    “…is their view founded on reality or on illusion?”
    It’s founded on exactly the sort of behaviour you are displaying in this thread. You are a liar. You lied about being banned at Wikipedia – their records show that you have. Oh, I know you slice and dice it any which way you can, but you’re not being clever, you’re just lying. If you had the guts to stand up and admit it, and said you didn’t care, you might actually gain a tiny bit of respect. But your ego is too frail to admit to any wrongdoing or failure, so instead you play stupid word games over what sort of ban you had. You’re like a convicted conman denying ever committing fraud, just false accounting and impersonating a police officer.

    “I didn’t ask for every single edit you dislike, just a single example. And you failed.”
    Abbott: Here is an edit I dislike and here are my reasons.
    Connolley: That edit is fully justified and you have failed.
    Abbott: Here is another edit I dislike and here are my reasons.
    Connolley: That edit is fully justified and you have failed again.
    Etc…

    If I thought there was the slightest chance of us having any sort of actual exchange of ideas I’d be happy to go ahead. But you’re already lied to me and have shown a total lack of any objectivity whatsoever, why should I waste time with you? As I said, the internet is full of specific complaints against you. I have no idea if you’ve given up on me yet, but I’ve sure as hell given up on you.

  20. > Abbott: Here is an edit I dislike and here are my reasons.

    I can’t see you having provided a single edit. Can you point out again the one you’ve provided?

    > You are a liar. You lied about being banned at Wikipedia

    No, I’ve already answered that one. You provided a link to something that you didn’t read. Here’s a hint: the section heading is “Proposed_decision”. Not “Decision”.

    > Mosher

    The question is too general to be answered decisively, in my opinion. But I stnad by the original statement of principle. Do you care to answer Mosher’s question? You were very keen for me to do so, presumably you’re eager to display your own answer. Do you know what Mosher’s answer is, and do you care?

  21. Do you know, William, I was starting to get a bit bored of all this. But your last comment has really cheered me up: it’s a masterpiece of it’s kind. Each time I read it I find more to enjoy.

    Let’s start with this: “I can’t see you having provided a single edit.”
    You see, William, you’re so arrogant that if you don’t understand something it never occurs to you that’s because you’re missing something, you just assume the other person made a mistake. What I was doing there was demonstrating the futility of arguing with someone who lacks objectivity. There were never meant to be any links. Keep up.

    Then we come to this: “Here’s a hint: the section heading is “Proposed_decision”. Not “Decision”.” Again, your arrogance makes you certain that nobody who knows what they are talking about could possibly disagree with you. Here’s a hint for you William: I know which section I was talking about, and it isn’t the one you think it is.

    And finally you saved the best for last: “You were very keen for me to [answer Steve Mosher's question], presumably you’re eager to display your own answer.” Has it not occurred to you yet that my answer is literally staring you in the face? I’m not as kind as Pointman – with me you only get one guess. If you’re so clever, tell me why you already have my answer.

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