Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dear John....

Some of you might remember the great pink helicopter dust up

(Förlåt Magnus, just could not resist posting the Karioke version, my bad)

between Eli and John Fleck, where John kept asking Eli to back up his statement

“[W]hether he realizes it or not Roger is functioning as an enabler for a very sick policy.” No doubt the omission in your post was inadvertent, but you still haven’t explained the evidence in support of the assertion.
So, having some time on his paws, Eli Googled,
Pielke site:http://epw.senate.gov/public
which gets you a bunch of Inhofisms from the US Senate environmental and Public Works Committee.

Here is a nice little list of climate blogs favored by one denialist.
Fred Singer at SEPP,
Roger Pielke Sr. at Climate Science,
The Idso brothers at CO2 Science,
Hans Erren at Global warming Comments,
Dennis Chamberland at Quantum Limit,
The folks at the New Zealand Coalition,
Patrick Michaels and crew at World Climate Report,
Trevor Butterworth at STATS,
Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science,
John Brignell at Number Watch,
Philip Stott at Enviro-spin Watch,
Philip Stott again at A Parliament of Things,
Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit,
Roger Pielke Jr. at Prometheus,
Lubos Motl at The Reference Frame,
Warwick Hughes at Warwick Hughes,
Benny Pieser at Liverpool,
and the Rabett could make the rubble bounce, on the other hand, why bother. Eli would point out that his claim was NOT that RPJ was a denialist, after all if we look at his responses to the four questions (Wherefore is this climate change different from all other climate changes) and only that, he is not. The claim was that his positions were regualarly USED by denialists and that he (RPJ) had to become more concious of that. Actually, it was more that he was charmingly oblivious to the problem.

Of course, one should not visit the sins of the father on the son. Interesting social network tho.


Anonymous said...

Actually, it was more that he was charmingly oblivious to the problem."

Oblivious? Really?

That is certainly not a word that I would ever use to describe Roger Pielke.

He seems to be acutely aware of the impact of what he says and does -- and what others say and do as well. After all, its his business to be aware.

Do you believe he was oblivious to how his words might be misused by some Republicans when he testified before Congress?

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that Roger is consciously eyeing his wikipedia site to ensure that none of this appears in his biography. And there appear to be some "anonymous" editors there who might just be the Pielke himself.

Things that Roger Pielke Jr. doesn't want us to know.

That he was paid a couple thousand dollars to write this article for the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv29n1/v29n1.html

That the Associated Press revealed that it was Republicans who had invited Pielke to come and speak at a House Science Committee hearing.

And that his committee testimony is now found on the Republican's Web site.

Anonymous said...

We the anonymice say, "Don't argue with John Fleck, our resident Genius Journalist."

Anonymous said...

While the anonymice seem to agree on many things, when it comes to John Fleck, just let it be noted that we don't all squeak with one tongue on that one.

Steve Bloom said...

Note the the Idsos are pere et fils.

Magnus said...

The Magnus is starting to wonder when rabetts learned Swedish but still prefers yellow submarines to “rosa helikoptrar”.

John Fleck said...

Eli -

Thanks, this is helpful.

Anonymous said...

You should also do a little google action to see how often Roger Pielke Jr. has been quoted favorably by Tobacco whore Steven J. Milloy of Junkscience.

He's give Roger a number of kudos.

Anonymous said...

"And don't forget that Roger is consciously eyeing his wikipedia site"

I think the originator/operator of Wikipedia should add a "strike-through" tracking mechanism to the site, so that changed information can never be deleted (only stricken through and updated with the latest information. Among other things this would alert you when there was funny business going on.

Anonymous said...

"Wikipedia should add a "strike-through" tracking mechanism to the site, so that changed information can never be deleted...."

Roger Pielke Jr.'s whole wiki entry should be marked as "disputed."

John Fleck said...

Anon 10:25 - Wikipedia has a "history" function, which makes the previous edits easily accessible.

Anon 8:23 - The beauty of Wikipedia is that anyone is free to do what you're asking. If you think it should be marked "disputed", it's your fault it's not. Don't whine about it here, go do it.

Anonymous said...

non 10:25 - Wikipedia has a "history" function, which makes the previous edits easily accessible.

You did not read what I said.

had you done so you would realize that burying something in a "history" is not the same as having it out in the open for everyone to see.

And whence the "Don't whine about it here, go do it."?

Do i sense some sour grapes over what has been posted about you by others here (Don't blame me, dude, I have defended you twice here and criticized you exactly zero times)

Anonymous said...

Why is it any time anyone brings up Roger Pielke, John Fleck shows up?

OK. Now I have criticized you once (twice, if you include the last post, which was a criticism of your criticism and not of you personally)

John Fleck said...

Sadly, my attempt at a comment appears to have disappeared into the ethernets. Let's try again.

Anon 10:09 - As to why I showed up to comment on this post about Roger Pielke, I'm the "John" in the post's title. It would have been rude of me not to join in. :-)

As to my confusion as to which anon I'm talking to, forgive me for confusing you with someone else, but it's kinda hard to tell you guys apart. I always sign my name to my Internet posts for a reason - I think it creates accountability. That's why I'm not particularly fond of Eli's decision to use a BunnyNym. But at least he uses a consistent handle, making it possible to carry on a conversation. And I appreciate that he behaves in a way that suggests he accepts accountability for his words. Simply posting as "anonymous" both creates a sort of "disinhibition" that makes it easy to savage others without any accountability. It also makes it really hard to have a simple conversation.

As to my comments about Wikipedia, they are rooted in my long efforts as a volunteer in the free/open software movement. Wikipedia is, for me, an extension of that. It involves both the freedom to help create the products we use, and to make them to our liking, rather than just taking what a producer hands us. The whole point of Wikipedia is that you can make it better. If you're not willing to make the effort, you've got no right to complain. If you think you can do a better job than William Connolley on the Pielke Jr. entry, dive in!

I personally find the Wikipedia history function quite usable to do what you seem to want to do. I use it all the time, because I'm fascinated by the evolution of Wikipedia entries - who changed what and why. I think one giant document with strikeouts showing all the edits over the life of a document would be absolutely unreadable.

Anonymous said...

"I think it [identifying oneself on a blog] creates accountability."

Accountability for what?

When one is making arguments about a scientific subject, it matters not who one is. In fact, this is true for most things, not just science. An argument should stand on its own merits.

What has accountability got to do with one's argument? Nothing, that's what.

That's the nice thing about science. The person making the argument (their background, education, credentials, etc) is completely irrelevant.

The only case in which I can see that accountability on blogs is relevant is in the case of libel. I'm not talking about insults like "he's an idiot". Those are benign and can (should) simply be ignored. I'm talking about false statements made specifically to damage another person's reputation. But in the latter case, who is even going to take such claims seriously coming as they do from an anonymous poster? Very few.

Hank Roberts said...

I think accountability can be relevant -- if you use a consistent pseudonym, at least, if not a consistent name, then your named 'character' can build some credibility as a reliable source of comments that can be checked, useful pointers, and even wisdom at times.

While the page owner can presumably check the IP addresses to get this sense, the other readers can't.

And the page owner, fortunately, can detect sock puppets and people pretending to be others, but that's a lot to ask.

I find I cherish people I disagree with just as much, maybe more, as those I agree with -- to the extent they're reliable sources and honest about what they claim to have seen.

Fair witnesses are good.

John Fleck said...

Anon 5:39 - Not a whole lot of science in this thread that I can see. Some anonymous ad hominems, some anonymous allegations, some anonymous criticisms of others, and some substantive but anonymous arguments that are completely unscientific in nature. But I can't see any science here.

I think when one criticizes others in public, accuses them of ulterior motives or intellectual dishonesty, one ought to have the courage of one's convictions that comes with signing one's name. I think when one makes an argument one believes in, one should back it up by having the courage of one's convictions that comes with signing one's name. Without that, it is far too easy to say things loosely, knowing that if what one says turns out to be wrong, one can walk away with no consequences.

I read a lot of blogs. There is a notable difference in the quality of the discussion on those that have a culture or policy of signing names.

You obviously disagree.

EliRabett said...

Jein. John, as Eli said elsewhere, we are who we are, and on the INTERNET any dirty old man can be a sweet young thing, or visa versa, there being no accounting for taste.

You also have to differentiate between the anonymouse and anymouse. Many of those that run through the garden here are establishing personalities which make them both identifiable and attackable. A virtue of anonymity is that it protects you from personal attack so you don't feel the need to respond as strongly.

OTOH Rabett Run was not established as the place to go for the 8000 posting reality check.

Anonymous said...


Please continue the analysis of Roger Pielke Jr. It seems to be only the bloggers who can see through his game of pretending to "in the middle" when he so obviously plays to the right-wing.

Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...


No science on this thread* perhaps because the subject is not science (Oh, there I go again), but in general, I'd say the comments on Eli's blog have far more science in them than the vast majority of blogs.
*nice journalistic way to twist my words to your meaning, by the way.

Sure, there are the meaningless, foolish snide criticisms and insults that you find on every blog that does not censor, but there are also comments that required a lot of time, effort and thought (I know because I wrote several of them).

though you keep harping on the anonymous "attack comments" that are essentially devoid of any content (like the one that made you so huffy), there are many anonymous criticisms made here and elsewhere about Pielke and others that have a sound basis in reality. In some regards, I would liken an anonymous critic of the latter legitimate type to a whistle blower. They are saying things that need to be said that might not otherwise even get said.

If you don't like that, I'd say that's just too bad because that's just the say it is ..and some things will never change.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and John, for future identification purposes, I'll put a stray period somewhere in my posts so you can know its me and not some run-of-the-hamster-wheel anonymouse with a box to gnaw.

Anonymous said...

there, fixed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing John about posting anonymously (since you made a big deal of the fact that you were volunteering for certain web- related work)

Posting anonymously is not all positive for the person posting.

For example, when I spend 3 hours putting together an analysis (scientific or otherwise) of some argument that someone else has made and then post it anonymously, I get absolutely no credit for that analysis (monetary or otherwise).

I'm not complaining about it, just pointing it out.

While you may not get paid for your blog, you do get paid for your journalism and your blog is clearly an extension of that journalism job so it is not completely unrelated. Among other things, it increases your name recognition.
Even the "idiot" comment that you yourself helped to boost to the number one spot on google is not irrelevant in that regard, since it may get people to your site who might otherwise not have found it.

Anonymous said...

and by the by the way, John, if you don't believe my claim above about spending a lot of time and thought on anonymous posts, this one was mine.

You may not consider my comment to be science, but I believe Eli thought so, and he's a scientist (at least he argues like the one's I've known and worked with over the years)

Anonymous said...

and John,

Next time someone calls you a name, I'll not say anything in your defense, because I now know how much anonymous comments irk you.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness this has all been cleared up. I hope we don't have another round of someone calling John Fleck an idiot.

Those kinds of comments can be hurtful.

Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...


If I may be presumptuous for a moment, I think all the anonymice are probably agreed on this one (as you can well imagine, its hard for mice to come to consensus on much of anything except perhaps where the best cheese is to be found)

Now, if you will allow me to direct your attention to important matters on the other thread, where (quasi anonymouse) llewelly has implied that anonymice (and others) who concern themselves with Lomborg's evening attire are stupid.

Thems fightin words.

John Fleck said...


Thanks for linking to that Essex post and identifying yourself with it. I admit I hadn't read it earlier. Being a busy cognitive miser, I've just been taking Eli's and Lambert's collective word that Essex and Co. were pants. :-)

Anonymous said...

"I admit I hadn't read it earlier."

... and if I have a peeve about blogs, that's it.

In general, people (even people who should know better) tend to comment without even having read what the blog author or the other contributors have said.

I guess I expect more than I should. Perhaps it is all just a waste of time.

ankh said...


Eli, just as a sanity check, how many different IP numbers were used for postings attributed to "Anonymous" in this thread, so far?

I can't tell if it's a crowd or an echo here.

-- Hank Roberts

EliRabett said...

Seriously, this is not a question that Eli much pays attention to. I guess I could learn how to do it, but I have to get out of town tomorrow. Add it to the to do list.

BTW I REALLY like ankh .

John Fleck said...

Anon -

That's the whole point of the "cognitive miser" meme - that we're constantly being bombarded with a firehose of information, and we have to use shortcuts. One of my shortcuts is to ignore the whole Essex thing completely. Life's short, and Eli seems to have this well covered.

The only reason I've been commenting here at all is that Eli took a discussion started on my blog, brought it over here, and invited me to join in. That shouldn't require me to read everything other comment thread on this blog too.

Anonymous said...

John said: "That shouldn't require me to read everything other comment thread on this blog too."

If you are going to make statements like "No science here" it should.

and no, I don't buy the excuse that your comment was restricted to just this thread (notwithstanding your above words)

And perhaps next time you will define your terms when you use them. To most people (including myself), "Cognitive miser" is so much gibberish.

EliRabett said...

Eli has heard cognitive miser used before and it is pretty accurate if not universally known. Still this is one of the limitations of blogs. In realy life you would ask WTF on the spot. Of course cognitive misers would not, because they don't GAF.