Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thoughts on blocking evolution denial comments?

I've been away spreading CO2 emissions, and comments to my last post went down the rabbit hole dealing with creationist nonsense.

This blog tackles climate denialism, so I'm not too bothered with climate denialist comments that come up and get shot down in the comments, (altho I'd prefer the silly arguments and responding to them take up less bandwidth than is the case).  We haven't the same role on fighting the good fight for the science of biology.

I'm actually interested in the creation wars but as an observer, rather than trying to wade in against arguments that are even worse than the ones made up for climate denial.

Soooo, I'm pondering a policy to delete evolution denial.  Thoughts?  

Note that follow-up commenters might post a response before I woke up from being distracted, reference a comment that's since been deleted, and look a bit strange.

For now, no policy unless I say something in a particular blog post.  And this is just Brian talking - Eli and John manage their own threads.

UPDATE:  no outpouring of demands to block the evolution denial comments, so I'm going to let them stay.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, my own opinion :

in the end, this is YOUR blog, aka YOUR private space you chose to share at YOUR own conditions. If you wish to ban evolutionnary comments because you don't want the hassle, then do it - you have lots of other things to do. If you want to ban Belgians just because (as M00t did), then do yourself this pleasure :]

But if you are kind/foolish enough to share the decision on evolutionary comments, I would say that it will dilute the goal of this blog, even though climate and evolution "skepticism" are sometimes linked. Even worse, during a short moment you will attract wackos and thus be flooded (:wink wink:) by comments.

My own opinion.


Antiquated Tory said...

That particular thread was completely derailed by the arguments with the nutbar (btw I don't think he's a creationist, he's a "know-nothing"; the species of crank who claims that science can only comment on direct observations and can never use inference or statistics. I've met others.). Arguing with climate deniers is distracting enough; I agree that you'd be better off without evolution denial on top of it.
Btw, I would have posted the following exchange in the Derbyshire thread except that no one remembers who Derbyshire is by the end of the comments. From the "Some of my best friends are Randroid trolls" department:
Me: XXXX, have you considered applying for John Derbyshire's old job at National Review?
April 14 at 1:09pm

XXXX: John Derbyshire's? Why his? As far as I remember he's a staunch liberal compared to me :)) His columns were rather amusing and he knows how to write, so I could live with some of his rather "unconservative" or "unlibertarian" attitudes, but what I really couldn't stomach was his support of the welfare state evil, because it is, along with bureaucracy and, one of the major evils that we have to get rid of if this civilisation is to survive, and, in my system, tolerance of that is simply inexcusable

EliRabett said...

Ban Belgians??? Then what the hell would Eli do for beer and frit, his two favorite food groups. The country (and there is some doubt on that part) is worth it for Leonidis alone:)

EliRabett said...

On another note, Eli's SOP is to simply let the blowhards blow themselves out, although there is a Rabett Hole for the Grm's of the world.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

I am of the opinion that science denial is science denial. We have to remember that in terms of intellectual efforts, science is still the new kid on the block. Empirical inquiry prior to ~1600 was not truly science. Four hundred years may be a bit too quick for the majority of humans to realize the power of the method. Doc Choc's comments are pretty much harmless in themselves. He's so stupid that he refutes whatever side he takes.

Anonymous said...

Several Bible college professors who are Certified Meteorologists testify radiative forcing is just a byproduct of Intelligent design.

The ontological depth of irreducible complexity can lead to depopulation inversion wherever scientists fail to exercise dominion over their data bases and shun metaphysics envy like the good book says.

I suspect the Rev. Spencer and the author of this screed


collect each others sermons.

EliRabett said...

Pray for rain

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

I would say that endorsing the bogus 400% positive feedback is anti-science.

I would also say quoting Darwin and Gould is not denying evolution. I'm sorry the fossil record is incomplete, clearly I'm a jerk for pointing that out.

Additionally, Walter Cunningham says that people who believe in global warming are evolution deniers so I think Brian made a bad point anway.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

@antiquated Tory

you're absolutely right, I do demand direct observation, thank you for at least describing my viewpoint accurately.

Although I do have a theory that the earth was created and destroyed multiple times, and if this were true, it cannot be directly observed.

Russell said...

A regular Walloon, that Cadbury chappy.

Anonymous said...

I for one find the nutbar's thoughts too muddled to be worth responding to. What does this mean: "endorsing the bogus 400% positive feedback is anti-science"? He's far too voluminous, he's outworn his welcome and he degrades the quality of the board. You can't win an argue with someone who does not use elementary logic. Amazing that a poor quality of mind can still get a PhD in English.

People who go off-topic incessantly either have an hugely distractible mind OR they are deliberately destroying the topic.

Snow Bunny, dyspeptically

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

"I for one find the nutbar's thoughts too muddled to be worth responding to. What does this mean: "endorsing the bogus 400% positive feedback is anti-science?"

the people you support claim that positive feedbacks in the climate system such as water vapor will amplify co2's warming effect by 400%, and I think that's unreasonable.

Please see


relavent quote:

"The number of assertions by the reviewer would require another paper to respond to. His or her use of undefined terms like ‘enormous’ and ‘revolutionary’ are relatively meaningless. Since when is a negative feedback that reduces the response by 40% considered enormous, but a positive feedback that is purported to increase the response by 300% is considered plausible? However, it should be clear from the revised paper that there is no ambiguity in our choice of segments. Moreover, our methodology is tested rigorously by a simple model (see Figures 7 and 8). We are confident that all our reported results are reproducible by anyone who wishes to do so."

-so I was incorrect with the 400% number, it is a mere 300%.

I eagerly await Eli's reply that I used the statement out of context by not posting what the reviewer's criticisms were.

The reviewer characterized a 40% negative feedback as "extremely strongly negative"

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Jaybird: "I would also say quoting Darwin and Gould is not denying evolution."

No. Taking selected quotes out of context is called lying.

On feedback: OK, Jaybird, how do you get glacial/interglacial cycles from the tiny changes in insolation due to Milankovitch Cycles? How do you get 33 degrees of warming due to the natural greenhouse effect without positive feedback?

EliRabett said...

Eli prefers amplifying feedback because it limits the idiocy about runaways.

ligne said...

"I don't think he's a creationist, he's a "know-nothing"; the species of crank who claims that science can only comment on direct observations and can never use inference or statistics."

i generally get the impression he decides the validity of a given scientific theory purely on the (perceived) affiliations of its supporters. see his angry cries of "atheist" directed at anyone who disagreed with him in that thread.

Robert Grumbine said...

My vote is to let them through on the same basis as other comments. To the extent that you bounce comments for bad language, personal attacks, or being off-topic, do so to evolution denial comments as well. But no more than that.

Insofar as Derbyshire was the last person at NR who was not in denial about evolution, or at least the last one who would admit to the science in public, it's on topic to talk about such things. Clearly the evolution denier in that thread is in accord with the main line of National Review, so, again some relevance.

It's also useful to let it through on the grounds of anti-science is anti-science, regardless of which science is being attacked. With bonus points then as some of the people in denial about climate science whinge about comparison of their argument structure/style to young earth creationists. When it's often the same people, hard not to draw the parallel, and relevant to do so.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

don't know, how do you get ice ages in the Ordovician period when atmospheric co2 is 4400ppm?

dhogaza said...

"I would also say quoting Darwin and Gould is not denying evolution."

Quote-mining is a sin. Banning people who sin seems reasonable enough to me.

To kinda put a proper jebus-style morality spin to the question ...

Besides, I think he's a Poe, trolling for personal entertainment ... no one can be so consistently and stupidly wrong without trying intentionally, can they?

Anonymous said...

Cadbury lays an egg, when asked about how you get large climate changes without feedbacks 'responds':"don't know, how do you get ice ages in the Ordovician period when atmospheric co2 is 4400ppm?"

A recent paper has the answer:"Elevated pCO2 (8× PAL) for the early Late Ordovician appears
to have balanced the reduced solar flux from a fainter Sun,
resulting in mean global surface temperatures that approach
those of the present day."

"The onset
of Hirnantian glaciation was likely controlled by mechanisms and
feedbacks that lead to falling pCO2."

PNAS August 24, 2010 vol. 107 no. 34 14983-14986

In other words, the Ordovician is yet another example where feedbacks explain large climate changes.

Rib smokin' bunny

Anonymous said...

In addition, see the various papers by Saltzman and coworkers (from about 2005 onwards) on the Ordovician, CO2 levels and Hirnantian ice age, among which is this one

Cymraeg llygoden

David B. Benson said...

Up to you.

owlbrudder said...

I think creationist and intelligent design comments help to sort the sheep from the lambs. If nothing else, they add to the entertainment value of the site.

In the same way, I find comments from the Chocolate Blockhead hugely entertaining, like being a kid again and watching a circus clown throw a pie at his own face. Difference is, in the clown's case the audience is laughing with him, not at him. At least Blocky's existence disproves any theory of intelligent design.

Hank Roberts said...

I'm curious how much overlap there is between the evolution and the physics deniers. Do you compare IP numbers? Of course some will be hiding theirs.