Monday, January 04, 2010

Getting there first

Since some of the known guilty have taken to putting up Eli's comments as posts, the Bunny was thinking he gotta get there first to grab the hits.

We start with something at our changing climate, where Bart is being instructed by Tom Fuller about deference due denialists:

6. Tom: Say a fond but firm farewell to those who have served you poorly in the struggle to gain public support. Al Gore. Joe Romm. (Not Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt.) Michael Mann. Phil Jones.

Bart: Scapegoating is not the answer.

From which you gather that there are about 9 more points worth reading. Bart's answer was nowhere near strong enough. Eli's take on this nonsense is

You know, it is a common tactic of our friends on the out the window right, to demand that everyone else disown those on our side who are effective. Eli would be a hell of a lot more impressed if they first tossed their friends like, oh, lets say Morano and Inhofe on the political side and just for arguments sake, Gerlich and Chilingar on the science fantasy beat.

Bart, if you even let closeted denialists like Fuller get away with that by being quiet, you are playing right into their tactic because its part of their strategy to get rid of anyone who is effective. Take a look at the push back on Gavin and now Wm. Connolley

Interested mice can go over there and read the entire thing, and also the advice to denialists that Bart points to from James Hrynyshyn which points to more advice to denialists from Daniel Loxton at Skepticblog

For our second little liver bit, we go to a comment, so trenchant that even the mild mannered Michael Tobis gagged on it, arising from a scrum comment section (all the dirty work happens in the scrum which explains why one of Eli's ears have those cute little nibble marks that Ms. Rabett adores) during which much trash was being thrown over the transom and batted back. MT asked
Wow, this Nazis are left-wingers meme has been quite thoroughly spread around in some circles. Talk about revisionism! It certainly goes a long way to explaining the bizarre Obama with Hitler mustache posters we saw during the health care debate.

It's really off topic for this blog, but this amazing piece of propaganda needs to see the light of day somewhere. Has anybody sane remarked on it?
and Eli pointed out that
Oh yeah, the Nazi thing. The point is not to call liberals Nazis, the point is to devalue the use of the analogy when the wingnuts and corporatists get called on their behavior. The Nazis were not socialists in either their economic or social policy, they were definitely corportists economically like the AEI Republicans and nativists socially, like the Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs Republicans.

The point of the Goldberg variation is to take a useful stick away from their opponents.
Language wise, denialist is the term of choice because it is correct, pithy and works. Anytime someone starts whining bout how mean that is of you, tell them how you might discuss it with them if they tossed Morano, Inhofe, Watts and the rest of the crew under the bus. Till then they are denialists.

The bunnies may have noticed the push towards "warmist". If this were the dozens, that would not even rate a pair. Not very effective, still let's push back on it with the correct term to describe our position: realist.

Comments? Be sure to copyright your work or somebunny may grab it.


Anonymous said...

Why do you blog?

It seems so ... pointless.

EliRabett said...

Beats texting

ourchangingclimate said...


I’ve communicated with Tom Fuller quite a lot lately (i.e. the opposite of being quiet), and criticized most of what he said (though perhaps with friendlier words than you would have chosen). Whether it had any effect is an open question of course. We each have our own style, though I know that I’m at risk of being naive sometimes. So far, I’ve chosen to engage with Tom Fuller, and also with Roger Pielke Jr, as people with whom a decent discussion (and disagreements) can be had. I know that many disagree (see eg the Deltoid thread on Fuller).

Still, finding common ground with those who have a different position is a useful and perhaps even necessary strategy. By being overly adversarial, we risk pushing those who are more or less open to reason further away to the ‘dark side’ (perhaps best exemplified by Morano and Inhofe). See also

Citing Greg Craven:
“How about just referring to me and my ilk as a “warmers,” and I’ll stick to calling you “skeptics,”
In any technique of conflict resolution or negotiation, the most useful strategy is always about finding common ground”

It’s a very pragmatic approach. And it may not be the right approach in dealing with a total ostrich, but it may be a good approach for someone who is at risk of becoming an ostrich, but still has a (blurred) vision of reality. We should be careful not to push someone else’s head in the sand ourselves.

Also note that I didn’t agree with his ‘advice’ of dissing some vocal proponents of action:
“I disagree about the people you mention all having been a hindrance to advance public understanding; in some cases quite to the contrary (even if not without faults).”
And Tom wrote on his site (part 5): “I know many skeptics who would be happy to get rid of Viscount Lord Monckton and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”

I am as disgusted as you are with the smear campaigns directed at Gavin, William and climate scientists in general.

carrot eater said...

Why on earth are we talking about Nazis?

The vast majority of the time somebody brings up a Nazi analogy, that person is just intellectually lacking and not worth talking to.

EliRabett said...

Eli's point was that too often people either say yeah Gore is dumb, Romm is Romm and we want nothing to do with them, they make this minor mistake, etc. Wm is an excellent example of this form of climate sepeku. Now that the blade is pointing towards him, Eli wonders if his writing will change.

IEHO whenever this comes up and even when it does not, the response should be so's your morano.

carrot eater said...

Well, I don't care for Romm, so I don't read him, and I won't apologise for that.

That said, because I don't go out of my way to read him, I may not have a full picture of what he produces. But from my sampling, it looks like a high volume of output, but relatively low on scientific content, and high on just trying to score points and high on emotion. Not in the least bit appealing to me; maybe it is to somebody else. I'm not going to spend my time reading advocacy; my interest is in the physics and chemistry, and there are better sources for that.

That Morano is useless doesn't affect my feeling on what I want to spend my time reading.

Truth about denial said...

Fuller is simply a clown trying to smear anyone who publicly stands up against the distortion of science.

“I know many skeptics who would be happy to get rid of Viscount Lord Monckton and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”

Who can name some?

carrot eater said...

I only recently became aware of Tom Fuller's existence, spent some time at his place, and found nothing truly original or nothing of any value. Basically just a layman roughly echoing Lomborg and McIntyre. I don't see why that's interesting to anybody; I don't know why anybody would particularly care about the opinions of a random layman, but to each his own.

Michael Tobis said...

Dang. That used to be my favorite hat.

Seriously, the bad guys steal each others' stuff constantly. They encourage it. I used to feel miffed when Scruffy Dan copied my stuff. Now all I ask for is a brief credit. This is a very useful force multiplier they have.

We are all stuck thinking like scientists while they are thinking like politicians. It seems to me we should be quoting each other with wild abandon.

But when you start messin with my hat, buddy, that's somethin else entarrly.

EliRabett said...

MT follow the last link for your Christmas wish

Tom said...

Tom Fuller

Well, Eli, I guess any critic of you guys is a 'denialist,' proving why your position is bleeding support these days. I counseled Bart (who fights like a gentleman) that your 'side' should lose the people I mentioned, but only because they were not getting the job done. But I guess it would take too much space to include that in your post, as I'm certain you would never intentionally leave out elements germane to a discussion.

I don't think Bart has agreed with me on much, but he has too much class to call me a 'denier,' closeted or otherwise.

Carrot Eater, you're fairly close to the mark in your description of me, although I do try and bring something to the table--sorry you don't drop by any more. De gustibus non disputandum est.

Michael Tobis... bad guys. You are in the situation you're in because you are playing cowboys and Indians.

Hank Roberts said...

Just saw this recommended by someone over at RC, as a basic summary that would improve the low end questioners; Eli, had a look?

carrot eater said...

Hank, I'm surprised anybody on RC would recommend that page. Looking over it, it's an odd sort of thing. It's dismissive of some of the stupider sceptic arguments, yet suffers from its own idiosyncrasies, such as distrusting quantitative models pretty much on the face of it. This leads them to have disproportionate trouble with attribution and projection. Probably a matter of observer bias; the author is maybe well placed to discuss the quantum mechanics of infrared spectroscopy, but not well suited for mathematical descriptions of the whole ball of wax.

EliRabett said...

You're a victim bully Tom. It's real simple.

EliRabett said...

carrott eater has it right. Jack Barrett is a denialist with a history. Search sci.environment. I'll give him this, it is not the same nonsense he published in Spectrochemica Acta twenty years ago.

One of the hidden things here is that he completely neglects water vapor feedback. Read the section on models to get a feel of what is going on. This one is subtle.

carrot eater said...

It isn't the least bit subtle. The author makes a hash of a lot of things - the myth of "these same guys predicted cooling in the 70s", an entirely uncritical look at the cosmic ray idea, generally butchering attempts to compare models to reality (including a butchered plot), saying that warming over the oceans of the SH is less pronounced because CO2 isn't well mixed, a reliance on Douglass and Christy, the assertion that positive feedbacks would lead to boiled off oceans..

but I give them backhanded credit for possible crank originality in one area. They propose as their negative feedback, evaporative cooling at the surface. I'd not seen a sceptic rely on that one before for their negative feedback which will supposedly cancel everything out.

Anonymous said...

Doug Hoyt was pushing the evaporation cooling feedback for a long time. He always included the latent heat of evaporation, but never seemed to consider that what goes up must come down....

carrot eater said...

Hadn't heard of Doug Hoyt before, but looking him up, it looks as if his objection is in the change in gravitational potential energy in getting an evaporated water molecule up into the atmosphere.

I wonder why he stopped at water. He could have swung for the fences and said it was impossible for CO2 to fight gravity and end up in the atmosphere, as well.

Arthur said...

I seem to recall hearing Roy Spencer touting the evaporative cooling business way back. Haven't heard it recently so perhaps he's educable (or maybe I attributed the claim to the wrong person).

Dano said...

Funny, Tom Fuller went so far as to kick me off and erase all my comments on his site. My efforts there were to point out his weak reasoning, blatantly and easily provable false assertions, and to point out stories he should be covering but weren't.

IOW: Tom Fuller acts exactly like a fraud.

Combine that with his audience of low-wattage denialists who cannot cogitate their way out of a paper bag, and one has to wonder why waste time "engaging" with someone in the small minority who cannot effect policy.

That is: Big Money sets policy, not dumb bunnies.



(Word verif asserts: louthom)

Michael Tobis said...

Tom Fuller; I need a name other than "skeptic". This isn't about attitude or about opinion, it's about irresponsible speech.

You are becoming a bad guy yourself, because despite Bart's best efforts you are not acknowledging that you are either not equipped to judge the science or else you are not doing so with sufficient seriousness. By doing so anyway, you act irresponsibly, whatever your intent.

Free speech means you can speak irresponsibly, yes, but it doesn't mean you should. So Eli's hideous black hat doesn't belong on my head.

ourchangingclimate said...

I’m not all that sure that me engaging with Tom Fuller has any use; I can’t actually give an example where he adapted his opinion based on a conversation I’ve had with him. Still, I don’t see how or why ignoring him would be any better. He does have a bigger following than me, so it’s not that he gains a lot more exposure by me engaging with him. OTOH, his readers do get to see another viewpoint by me engaging over there (and there are other sane voices doing the same, eg CBDunkerson). I think/hope that it’s doing more good than bad.

Talking amongst ourselves is interesting, but often amounts to preaching to the choir. We do have to reach out to others as well, if we want to increase public understanding of (climate) science. However, talking too much to someone who is not listening is also a waste of time. It’s striking a balance between these two that’s the challenge.


Tom said...

Dano, greetings, and I hope this finds you well. Bart, I find our discussions most useful, and I hope you continue them. Mr. Tobis, I hope I acknowledge my scientific shortcomings frequently enough on my site--I have no problem admitting I am not a scientist, although my education included quite a bit of science. I do believe I am well-equipped to discuss policy, politics, communications strategies, and typically confine my opinions to those fields. As a progressive liberal, I am distressed at seeing the current crop of communicators and policy advisers making every mistake in the book, and will continue to be very vocal about it.
Rabett, I am neither a victim nor a bully, and you seem very much like the type of cheap snark artist that has done so much to put your 'side' where it is--the losing end of policy discussions. Just keep snarking away, though. Maybe the next generation of people concerned with climate change will learn from your example.

Truth about denial said...

...and a concern troll, too

carrot eater said...

I'd like to take Tom Fuller at his word, so I don't consider him a concern troll. If nothing else he's exceedingly polite, so I'll give him that benefit of the doubt.

To me, I'm guessing he got to a certain spot opinion-wise, decided it was an underpopulated niche, marketed himself that way (liberal skeptic), and by golly, he's going to stay there because that's what sets him apart. Even if it requires uncritical readings of McIntyre et al to stay there.

He can comment on how far off the mark my amateur psychoanalysis is.

Anyway, to Fuller's point on why public acceptance of the scientific theory is so low: I think he's just wrong. It has nothing to do with Romm or Hansen or Mann or whoever he doesn't like. You see the same thing with evolution; you saw the same thing with the ozone layer. It is apparently just human nature to disregard a scientific theory if it is somehow uncomfortable. Add some extremely effective astroturf action and the crank playgrounds found online, and you get to where we are.

ourchangingclimate said...


You have heavily critized RealClimate for censoring "other voices", yet Dano sais you did the same to him. That seems inconsistent at first sight. Could you clarify your position in that matter?


Dano said...

Bart, IMO Tom is merely a message dissemination channel for the industry vested interests. He claimed to be writing a quick and dirty e-book with an amateur on his fetish, ClimateGate fer chrissake. But if you look at the sheer number of his readers vs yours, that is inadequate; his readers' aggregate IQ is lower than your readers', surely, even if he has 4x the number of readers you do.

BTW, I went back and took key screen prints if Tom tries to claim something other than what happened, as I don't trust him as far as I can throw him (and I still play sports despite being...erm...ahem...middle-aged.).



Anna said...

re the barretbellamy site, if your memory needs refreshing, googling
bellamy glaciers 555
...should do it.

Nice hat, MT.

dhogaza said...

"To me, I'm guessing he got to a certain spot opinion-wise, decided it was an underpopulated niche, marketed himself that way (liberal skeptic), and by golly, he's going to stay there because that's what sets him apart. Even if it requires uncritical readings of McIntyre et al to stay there."

At a penny a page view, you need some sort of angle to make it worthwhile ...

"...and a concern troll, too"

Oh, yes, he made that clear from the very beginning, his earliest posts at and his earliest posts at other sites trying to drum up business.

"You have heavily critized RealClimate for censoring "other voices", yet Dano sais you did the same to him."

When he first started up, I left posts over there that never saw the light of day, too.

Douglas Watts said...

Denialist is the most correct word.

If I ever heard a single denialist ever embrace the precautionary principle, then I would grant them an exemption.

But no.

Douglas Watts said...

The argument against the precautionary principle is:

In the face of even the slightest amount of conjured and ginned up scientific uncertainty, one should assume that the most damaging, untested, unpublished and most speculative aberrant is assumed true, except for the next one.

Tom said...

dhogaza, you were never censored on my site. I have long suspected you were less than honest. It is nice to receive confirmation. You lie.

Dano, I banned you after multiple warnings about the nature of your postings. I urged you to start your own website and wished you well. I still wish you well. dhosegaza, not so much.

Dano said...

Yes, Tom, I can see how pointing out hypocrisy, selection bias and fallacious reasoning might cause the pointee to worry about "the nature" of my postings. And to take the rather rare step of eliminating all evidence in the comment threads.

After all, one wouldn't want the hyperventilating loser position of trying to keep the Cl-ay-ay-aymate Gaaaate!!!!!!!!!!! titillation campaign going for the readers, dontcha know.



Steve Bloom said...

Tom: "I counseled Bart (who fights like a gentleman) that your 'side' should lose the people I mentioned, but only because they were not getting the job done."

All victim bullyhood aside, and to disagree with carrot eater, the above very much is "concern trolling." It has a long history on the 'toobs and is a device to establish undeserved credibility. It's dishonest as hell, and is stock-in-trade for Lomborg and McIntyre as well.

Something you've chosen to not understand, Tom, is that my side (broadly speaking) certainly do think we're right, but (key point) would much prefer to be wrong. The other side (however characterized), not so much. Now, on the face of it, which of those is more likely to be reality-based?

(wv postulates a "dension." That explain a lot.)