Eli was reading Andrew Dessler's blog over at Gristmill. Andrew, conscientious and fair minded lad that he is, has been looking for a denialist that would come to his class and debate climate change. He thought that Steve Milloy might have a stable of such available for guest appearances, but alas, when he wrote Steve at demanddebate.com Milloy wrote back that there was no one available.
Andrew points out that what we are seeing is a few of the usual quacking heads recycled endlessly. Now this bears on issues that Eli has been thinking about but has not been able to quite verbalize, hence the recent ennui over here.
First, scientists are as bad as journalists about understanding the public and providing needed and useful information for others. The seeds of this are different, but the results the same. As we know journalists would much rather write about the controversy than the issue. Thus someone like Andrew Revkin will take a complex issue like climate change, project the multidimensional problem onto a line, seek the extremes, say Greenpeace and our beloved S. Fred's SEPP, and then find ignorant posers like Newt Gingrich and Bjorn Lomborg in the middle. Michael Tobis nails this, follow the links.
UPDATE: Michael prefers you start at the bottom, Reply to Revkin, not at the top, but Eli did provide instructions to follow the links, he can't help it if no one listens.
Scientists, on the other hand, are pretty much fixed not on what they know, which since they know it for more than ten minutes, is already boring, but what they don't and are excellent in telling people that they don't know everything. The average person hears that everything is up in the air, something that pro denialists are quite happy to chant in chorus. Stoat often provides excellent illustrations of this.
Consider what Andrew has discovered. The Overton window has moved. Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen and the rest of the emeriti might as well move into the old scientists home with Frederick, S. Fred and Co.
Now is NOT the time to bring them back for a nostalgia tour. What Andrew needs to do is find people like, for example, James Annan, Gerald North and others (Eli is prepared to be corrected on the choice of protagonists) who form the more conservative wing of the IPCC consensus, to debate the radical wing, the Hansenites as it were.
Andrew's job is to offer his class real choices based on real science, rather than the delusional drivel offered by the loony .