To whom it may cheer up

Fellow skeptical blogonaut,

Feeling a bit demoralized? A bit Sisyphean—perpetually cursed to schlepp the rock of science against the gravity of popular delusion? Like a prophet without honor in his own village? A kind of anti-Cassandra, a boy who howls in the wind about the lack of wolf, only to watch supposed grownups busily booking their flights to the next Parisian wolf-mitigation junket?

It happens to the best of us, especially of a Sunday. Heck, it’s happening to me now (which is weird,  because I felt fine a couple of paragraphs ago).

Yes, we are a tiny community, at least online. But we matter. For every one of us—you might call us the high-information, engaged, opinion-leading skeptics—there are a thousand lower-information, less-engaged opinion followers who wouldn’t even know it was permissible to question The Science out loud if we didn’t do so first.

You probably thought it was a pointless waste of energy and friends every time you dared express skepticism at a party or social gathering. But someone heard you, and the seed of denial was planted (and lo, it was fertile soil, for the claims of The Science were so hard to take seriously to begin with). They didn’t say anything to you or anyone else in the room, but that’s because they’re low-information, disengaged opinion followers. Rest assured, their dissensus did become manifest one day. And I can tell you exactly where they were when it happened: they were at their nearest polling place.

Perhaps they even abandoned Labor, Labour, the Democratic Party or local equivalent out of disgust at The Left’s embrace of pseudoscience. I know I did.

Back in Game of Thrones times, when Latin was the lingua franca of the educated class everywhere (except, ironically, Latin America), I’d probably have told you: Nolite te carbonistas carborundum! Don’t let the capnophobic junketeers and scientific junkophiles grind you down.

But today there is no educated class, so I’ll just have to quote the handsome words of our favorite climate-change-based historical drama:

Less demoralized now?

You’re welcome. It was nothing, really. I guess moralizing has always come naturally to me.

34 thoughts on “To whom it may cheer up

  1. Off topic, but still worth sharing. I was just thinking that real science involves the embrace of new and different idea for discussion with the ruthless requirement that the evidence determines which are held to be valid.

    But modern “science” is the other way around. It is now the ruthless dismissal of all ideas except those already part of the orthodoxy and the rejection of evidence as the arbiter of truth. Indeed, these days, if anyone (else) asks that they prove their theories, they just manufacture the “evidence” to fit the orthodoxy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Short of readers, Scottish? Trying drum up a few?

    I seem to remember you are keen with the “censor’s” pen when it comes to non-skeptic voices. Brad didn’t answer my question on another thread: if you think blocking people is a no-no, why do you think many skeptic blogs block critical comments so enthusiastically? Commenting at Scottish’ blog is a waste of time. At Homewood’s blog one gets just one shot and no comeback. Mearns blocks people who disagree with him too much. Manic blocks ATTP. Roy Spencer has turned off comments altogether after getting hacked-off with one “skeptical” commenter. Was that censorship? If Hayhoe not wanting to deal with jerks on her feed is condemned as censorship, surely turning off comment completely demands outrage by the likes of you! Where’s your consistency?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Raff, where is this unanswered question you speak of?

    “why do you think many skeptic blogs block critical comments so enthusiastically?”

    I’d have to speculate that they get the chop because they’re also ill-informed, antisocial and trollish (whatever that means)—but that’s just experience (with my fellow skeptics) speaking. We don’t fear opposing voices just for being opposing voices. Why would we, when we can refute our opponent’s arguments without breaking a sweat?

    But I’d have to know the specifics of each case to comment with any confidence.

    Why do you think they do it “enthusiastically”?

    Why do you think Hayhoe’s offenders are “jerks”? I wasn’t a jerk to her, just an inconvenience, and I’m blocked.

    Is it too much to ask you to write objectively and without weaselry?

    “surely turning off comment completely demands outrage by the likes of you!”

    No, what demands condemnation is the distortion of the record by suppressing one side of the discussion. Choosing not to host any discussion at all is far preferable. Hosting a fair and open debate is the ideal.

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  4. It was on the Hayhoe thread, but never mind.

    I’d have to speculate that they get the chop because they’re also ill-informed, antisocial and trollish (whatever that means)—but that’s just experience (with my fellow skeptics) speaking.

    Don’t you think that is the same reason that skeptic comments are deleted by bogs?

    Why do you think Hayhoe’s offenders are “jerks”?

    I thought that is what she said. Having been on the receiving end of some of your comments, I can well imagine that.

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  5. “Don’t you think that is the same reason that skeptic comments are deleted by bogs?”

    No—as I’ve consistently said, I don’t think that is the main reason at all.

    Sure, IF a commenter IS ill-informed, antisocial and trollish (whatever that means), that’s generally accepted as sufficient grounds for exile no matter which “side” the blog or the commenter identify with.

    However, that’s far from *necessary* when you’re a skeptic.

    Far more often, skeptics are blocked for the simple crime of embarrassing the host by winning an argument against them.

    I defy anyone to say what’s “ill-informed, antisocial and trollish” about the comment that single-handedly got me blocked at Andy Skuce’s blog.

    Am I missing something? (Seriously, is there something heinous about my comment that I’m overlooking?)

    Or did Andy just not like it up ‘im?

    I asked:

    “Why do you think Hayhoe’s offenders are “jerks”?”

    You answered:

    “I thought that is what she said.”

    I ask again:

    Why do you think Hayhoe’s offenders are “jerks”?

    The fact that she said so doesn’t prove a thing. To take her side of the story simply begs the question. You don’t believe everything you’re told, I hope, Raff?

    “Having been on the receiving end of some of your comments, I can well imagine that.”

    You mean, having received some of my comments? When was I ever a jerk to you?

    If so, I apologize. Please note that I don’t have to apologize—I could easily tell you to stop playing the ref (or some other appeal to rank). But I’m a good person, so I can’t rest easy with the thought that I was a jerk to someone. Unless they were being a prior jerk…? Is that what you were doing? Refresh my memory.

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  6. I would have thought that if the majority of sceptics blocked at AGW consensus blogs were “ill-informed, antisocial and trollish” that would surely be a good reason NOT to block them. The likes of Cook, Lewandowsky and Oreskes go to great pains to ‘prove’ that sceptics are ill informed. What better way to demonstrate this than to trawl through the mass of ridiculously ill-informed and antisocial comments posted by the creme de la creme of the “sceptic” community at ‘real science’ blogs, desperately trying to make headway, but failing miserably?

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  7. raff, I have been blocked for posting links to peer-reviewed research which backed my contentions, and asking hard questions in relation to those. I suspect that is THE main reason many educated skeptics get blocked.

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  8. Brad, there was a time when I was quite certain that humans were causing the climate to spin out of control. I was fresh out of college and didn’t have one Freaking clue. I had a degree in geology but that hadn’t helped my POV much.

    And then one year in the mid-80s I read two newspaper articles about a week apart. One had to do with a major weather-causing phenomenon which they were finally nailing down: the El-Nino. The other was an article about hurricanes- they couldn’t figure out what was causing them to be shredded.

    I haven’t got a clue why it made sense to ME to connect the two, but I did. And that was exactly when I became a skeptic.
    I didn’t do much with that for a long time but after 2000 I began to read more about the science. Around 2006 I stumbled across a newly-formed blog called WattsUpWithThat.
    I’ve been educating myself more and more ever since.

    Having said all that, it is a bit demoralizing to lay out one’s arguments, backed with peer-reviewed research and facts straight off of government-run websites (among many other sites), and then be accused of being ‘anti-science,’ ‘ignorant’ and so forth.
    Until the opposition makes claims that show me Exactly where they stand. Claims like these: ‘We are seeing 8 inches of sea-level rise a year.’ ‘The Earth’s average temperature has gone up 2C since 2000.’
    ‘I have never heard of gavin Schmidt.’ And many more.

    I consider myself somewhere between a layman and a scientist, by dint of making the effort to learn on a daily basis. And when people opposing me make ignorant statements I find myself learning even more, often in areas I didn’t think to look, precisely because I felt the need to verify if there was ANY validity to a lot of the idiocy I have been hearing over the past decade.

    So if there is anything seriously demoralizing about being in the Skeptic position, I’d have to say it is to keep seeing the upcoming generations (including and especially SJWs) going further and further down the road of Extreme Ignorance which they are being taught by the like of raff.
    But I’ll keep plugging.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Generally, people don’t like to hear from those they disagree with, which is probably why Miriam O’Brien deleted my comments at her blog. Skeptics do the same thing, though, and both sides have their excuses for doing it, but they do both do it. Personally, I would like it if both sides were more open to other people’s opinions, and also to what the scientific literature says.

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  10. Brad, are you really blocked? I don’t run any blogs or do twitter, but I’m sure moderation etc is a chore that eats a lot of time. It has to be a personal decision what to allow and what not – as is the judgement of who is worth engaging and who is not. I’ve not seen you commenting on scientific issues. Maybe you do, but if you don’t, the relevance of your comments on a scientific blog is probably limited.

    Jaime, if you doubt that there are plenty of ignorant and disruptive skeptic comments on science blogs, you haven’t read many. Spencer blocked comments on his blog completely because a “Doug Cotton” continuously posted skeptic nonsense despite being asked to stop.

    Climateotter,

    I have been blocked for posting links to peer-reviewed research which backed my contentions, and asking hard questions in relation to those

    That sounds terrible. On the other hand it depends what you posted, where and how. And how often.

    If skeptics are so censored, why when I visit SKS (for example) do I always find so many people arguing against the articles. Look up any article and there are always such comments. If SKS was as bad as people pretend, they would have edited out the critical comments to leave the right message. But it doesn’t happen.

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  11. Brad, having said that, your Skuce comment is lame but harmless. Maybe you have worn out your welcome – he seems to know you.

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  12. ATTP,

    yes.

    Raff,

    if my rebuttal was “lame,” you surely won’t mind affirming—with a straight face—the thesis I “harmlessly” attempted to explode:

    That no sane person wants man-made climate change to be true.

    Go on, say it. Andy did, and you seem to think he got away with it.

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  13. Raff,

    “I’ve not seen you commenting on scientific issues.”

    I’ve not commented on scientific posts.

    If you think “scientific [sic] blogs” only post “scientific stories,” look closer.

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  14. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones because with all the violence and political plot lines it’s like real history but without real history. If I’m going to take the time to understand something I’d prefer it to be in a situation where it will genuinely affect me. Thus I have no interest in Henry VIII or Jon Snow but from watching Southpark I guess that people spent a lot of time waiting for the dragons to arrive. A bit like The super El Nino we saw this year. Hansen had been predicting it every year since 2005. Like a bad psychic ‘Now…. Now…. N… Now. N…now. Now. NOW! Eventually he had to be right and as expected the global temperature has jumped. The question is – will it stay up, continue to rise or drop back? It’s the cliffhanger at the end of a series. Both sides need to know to continue the fight. New research means nothing without more data. So we wait and get a bit cranky and bored in the interim.

    When it comes to renewables the future is a little more clear. Denmark has started to remove some of the first offshore turbines at merely 15 years old. Our oldest were put in during 2003, so the next 5 years will be an eye opener.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brad, despite your quotes, I very much doubt anyone ‘wants’ climate change to be true. Just like although I’d have been delighted to have correctly forecast one of the recent large earthquakes, that doesn’t mean I wanted them to happen. That is just one of the silly arguments that skeptics seem to delight in (like the meaning of ‘evidence’, the ‘lies’ that aren’t or the ocean acidification that can’t be called that, etc) but which leave others thinking “what a jerk”.

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  16. “I very much doubt anyone ‘wants’ climate change to be true.”

    Haha. Oh, I see, you very much doubt it. That’s interesting, though perhaps not in the way you intended.

    So in the face of multiple explicit, unmistakeable, written confessions of a desire for MMGW, in black and white as it were, you’re sticking with the argument from very-much-incredulity?

    That’s not skepticism, Raff, that’s denial.

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  17. No sane person wants [dangerous] man-made climate change to be true – that would be a truism.

    No ‘dangerous’ AGW convinced person would want man-made climate change to be true – that is likely false (from which we can draw the obvious conclusion that those few who prove the conjecture false are not sane).

    The majority of climate scientists and other people who have built their careers and reputations upon consensus climate change science (and who may also have substantial sums of money invested in carbon reduction schemes) don’t WANT man-made climate change to be true – they NEED it to be true, just like they need to suck oxygen. If ‘dangerous’ man-made climate change theory proves to be false, they will asphyxiate – economically, vocationally, morally, ideologically and psychologically.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jaime,

    bu-bu-but Raff… very much doubts it. Very much.

    Which is a form of evidence, apparently.

    So I’m torn. I’m truly torn.

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  19. Like I say, there is a difference between wanting to be proven right and wanting the underlying event. That is probably too subtle an argument for this forum though.

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  20. Apparently it was “too subtle” for Phil Jones too, who said he wanted MMGW *in order* to be proven right.

    You can’t want one without the other, Raff.

    Not to mention that the early MMGW-seekers wanted it to be true even without having staked their reputations on it (yet), so they obviously wanted MMGW *for its own sake.* Or perhaps, as Jaime suggests, for the career opportunities it would open up.

    By their own admission.

    Which you continue to hairsplit in an amusing attempt to avoid admitting you (and Skuce) are wrong.

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  21. You are right, we are all mentally salivating at the idea of a WAIS collapse and major flooding or a disruption to the north Atlantic currents and freezing weather in Europe. Bring it on! I’ll show those damn skeptics how wrong they were with my house knee deep in ice…

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  22. Raff, I didn’t say you were *all* jonesing for the apocalypse. Just Jones. Et al.

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  23. Believing in ultimate catastrophe is inbuilt into the human psyche – look at religion. Hand in hand is the idea that ardent belief excuses the sin. It’s the sins of others, especially non believers that are beyond the pale. Skeptics are essentially the Devil, whispering words to lead the faithful astray. If there was any logic to warmism the faithful would spend their time encouraging the faithful but it’s a lot more fun arguing with Satan.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Most people like to indulge in catastrophism every now and then; speculating upon the demise of civilisation and all human life on earth. It seems to be a vital part of the human psyche, as Tiny says. But it’s a bit much when people make a lucrative career out of it and/or use it as an excuse to modify capitalism for personal and political gain.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Word for the day: chiliast (n)
    millenarian; one who joneses for a bit o’ the ol’ Jonestown action every thousand years

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  26. Actually, I think you are probably right there Brad. I imagine many people who argue with skeptics and have endured the years of the faux ‘pause’ were hoping that the recent El Niño would be a stonker and are quite pleased that it was. That is not to say that I or anyone else wants any harm to come to anyone else, but if the WAIS did collapse this decade, there’d probably be some silent satisfaction amongst the hand wringing and distress at the flooding in coastal lands and cities worldwide. Does that make us insane?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. So you’d feel silent satisfaction at flooding when all you’ve done to ‘stop’ it is stick up a few lucratively subsidised solar panels and whinge at sceptics? Does that make you insane? No, it makes you a git.

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  28. And in Those Days did the Chiliasts do battle with the hordes of Lucifer, chief among them the Climate Deniers, those Generals of His Dark Angelic Host, whose false utterances threatened to derail COP XXXIV, thereafter deemed the Coming of the Holy One, the Christ figure. Thus did the Satanic Denialists maketh the Rising of the Waters more likely, hindering the Divine earthly manifestation of the Holy One (who by then had forgotten the trick of walking on water). But Lo, the Dark Denialist Hordes were defeated by the Shining Light of Censorship and Censure and were consigned to bickering fruitlessly among themselves on Internet Blogs. Thus did it come to pass that One Thousand years of peace and prosperity reigned upon Earth in a Climate made perfect by Windmills, and the Chiliast did lie down with the Lion, which the Lamb thought rather odd because that was his job. Amen.

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  29. And the prophets of Chiliast went forth unto the people of Earth and said “we have defeated the forces of darkness and our sign shall be the waning of your power supply and the rising of your bills’. At that the people were most vexed and threw rocks at the heralds of green. “Are you still going on about climate change. That is like so 2006” sayeth mankind. “But we have saved you.” protesteth the agents of light (during the day). “Nutters.” replied mankind and built temples to the gods of fossil fuels and gave generously to the collection kiosk for the evil libation dispensed from pump number 4.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Jaime & TinyCO2,

    + 1 (x 2)

    Now stop writing funnier stuff below the line than I wrote above it. It’s just rude, guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Jaime, I hadn’t thought of it this way before:

    “I would have thought that if the majority of sceptics blocked at AGW consensus blogs were “ill-informed, antisocial and trollish” that would surely be a good reason NOT to block them.”

    The same insight, I think, works for other examples of speech-suppression too.

    “I would have thought that if the majority of Monckton’s arguments were “ill-informed, antiscientific and amateurish” that would surely be a good reason NOT to prevent him speaking on campus.”

    Liked by 1 person

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