Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to Widen the Overton Window After the Dragons Have Left

Willard asks. and indeed the whole saga has taken some interesting twists and turns.  To see exactly how weird read the comments, Eli recommends that you always read the comments at Rabett Run.  Well at least some of them, not Dr. Jay's.  It may be that playing with the crazy to win hearts and minds has some, well, odd down sides.

Eli had some thoughts on this over at Bart's.   Bart is back, with joyous news, go over there and congratulate him and his expanded family.  Still to the matter at hand, Bart commented that he really want to  figure out how to get the disinterested public and the fence sitters to trust science over non-science/anti-science/nonsense.  This is a base question, but you have to realize that the ones denigrating science and scientists have been effectively playing the refs unopposed for years.
The refs realize a cost to being honest (listening to you dippsy uncle at dinner dumping on his flavor of the week) and therefore avoid confrontation, and uncle goes on an on and on (any examples here?).

Know what, after a number of years that nonsense gets absorbed at a deep level. The only way of fighting it is to be confrontational, politely or not. Yes folks, there is a fight going on in front of you and its outcome will determine much of the world’s future and the future of the people in it.

If you wish a more political example, consider Obama’s three years of trying to work with an opposition party that as a matter of principle refuses to cooperate. It does not work.

The Idiot Tracker spotted this in talking about what he calls the lukewarmers and what Eli calls the Pielkesphere, the wanna be "Honest Brokers", whose utmost desire is to control the conversation

 The real contrast here is not between “activists” and “skeptics” but between deniers and everybody else – between the science and the right-wing lunacy.

But lukewarmers are exploiting the shift in the Overton window brought about by voluble climate deniers to position their radical views as a sane middle ground.
So what is the lukewarmer's mission.  Oh the surface, very obvious, to establish themselves as the voice of the middle, but if you look carefully at their position, to be in the middle they have to help shift the Overton window so that the real middle, the Barts and the MTs are on one fringe and the Sky Dragons on the other.  As Richard Alley said to the US Congress
You have now had a discussion or a debate here between people who are giving you the blue one and people giving you the green one. This is certainly not both sides. If you want both sides, we would have to have somebody in here screaming a conniption fit on the red end, because you are hearing a very optimistic side
and shifting the Overton window back towards reality is what Eli is trying to do. If you have a world only with the Sky Dragons, the Lucias and the Barts out there, make no mistake about it, in spite of the pretty words, the middle of the window is denial and the lukewarmers know that their first goal has to be to destroy any opposing shift of the argument back to reality, which explains the unrelenting attacks against Joe Romm, Mann, and Hansen.  A good example of this is RP Jr.'s current jihad against Justin Gillis.  Roger is sending a clear message. 

Bart and James and Eli and whoever else is the flavor of the day (Stoat appears to be having a run) have different POV about how to deal with the day to day denialist pettifoggery.  Of the climate scientists, only Mann, and Ben Santer have fully engaged, but that is because they have suffered the most under direct, deceitful and unrelenting attack.

While Eli is not a climate scientist, he has worked with many and in fields that are closely related. If Rabett Run has a message it is to point out that keeping your head down has not really been an option for climate scientists for a decade or more. They are coming for you in the Niemoeller sense, sooner or later.  The Sky Dragons may have given Judy Curry a taste.


Anonymous said...

So what is the lukewarmer's mission. Oh the surface, very obvious, to establish themselves as the voice of the middle, but if you look carefully at their position, to be in the middle they have to help shift the Overton window so that the real middle, the Barts and the MTs are on one fringe and the Sky Dragons on the other.

The middle is IPCC AR4 until such a time as IPCC AR5 arrives. The lukewarmers position themselves just on the cool side of IPCC AR4 and will benefit if observations or new modeling run a little cool of IPCC AR4.

Had the 'establishment' been successful in joining forces with them, together they could have squashed the 'AGW is a hoax' meme. But ultimately, that isn't/wasn't in the cards because 1) the lukewarmers share the same goal as denialists (kill carbon taxes) and 2) there is little glory in defending orthodoxy (much more satisfying being a part of the ragtag rebel forces when there is no actual blood in the game).

From my perspective, the 'establishment' had little desire to coopt the lukewarmers (pitiful, ignorant (dangerous?) amateurs) and any effort would have been made more difficult due to divergent political goals.


Anonymous said...

To compound the weirdness , there are two John O'Sullivans, one of whom, the Sky Dragons hack, has stolen the identity of two other John O'Sullivans:

1. National Review Editor at large and tory editorialist John O'Sullivan OBE whose Forbes and NR articles the pseud-O'Sullivan has claimed to author, and

2. The John O'Sullivan who graduated in Law from the University of Cork.

The bizarre story is for some reason news in New Zealand:

willard said...

According to WUWT (and perhaps its team), John Nielsen-Gammon is a lukewarmer:

1. Go at Team WUWT's main page.

2. Look at the blogroll.

3. Notice where ng's website is categorized.

Asked about it, NG replied that he could not fit the Pro-AGW category:

> I’m opposed to AGW. (Think about it.)


Anonymous said...

"Use the Farce, Luke"

-- by Horatio Algeranon

Luke Skywarmer and the Deadeye Knights
Asserted climate bragging rights
Claiming to be the "Reasoned Middle"
While playing tunes on Nero's fiddle.

Anonymous said...

Willard, I guess they have not yet seen Nielsen-Gammon's latest post on climateabyss.

Seems he has some nice words about Foster and Rahmstorff, including his own analysis showing the same, which might make the Wattsians a bit uncomfortable. It even made Pielke Sr react, despite his busy schedule moving the goalposts regarding his comments on sea ice.


David B. Benson said...

This is a contentless comment.