"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Over the Top at Watts Up

I have long been amazed and impressed at how sites like the Blackboard and Climate Audit allow mainstream opinion in comments section. Of course, one is immediately subject to such a barrage of antagonism at various levels of bakedness that it's difficult to maintain a presence. But in my experience Lucia Liljegren and Steve McIntyre have at least been scrupulously fair in letting posts through.

I've been slumming a bit at Watts', though. I had thought I was getting a similar treatment (fair from the moderator, but negatively reinforced by a variety of expressions of contempt from the mob) but now I have a posting that for some reason isn't making it through moderation. Here it is, in response to this comment:
"If Tobis took the time to notice, he would see that the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2 has been stagnant since the beginning of the year."

OK. I just looked. That is wrong. ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_weekly_mlo.txt

You guys are being fed a lot of made up stuff. If you applied a tenth of the skepticism to the stuff you like or wish were true as to the stuff you don't like or hope is false, you might make more progress in understanding what's going on.
Oh, well. Just documenting for the ages. For what its worth, this year's CO2 cycle is about 2 ppmv higher than last year's. But I suspect it was the skepticism thing that got me purged.


Pangolin said...

Objective "reality" is a liberal conspiracy. The notion that there are "facts" that exist entirely independent of the political or religious views of the observer is inconsistant with the concept that the world was created by an anthropomorphic entity known as "God."

God can change (his) mind any time he want's too. Therefore your claim that atmospheric CO2 levels are heating the biosphere are moot.

Ow, channeling conservative thinking gives me a headache. The expectation that Anthony Watts is open to a fair conversation about facts is laughable. If he was interested in such he wouldn't be running WUWT would he.

Deech56 said...

Oh, I'll have to read that thread. That particular WUWT commenter is a font of misinformation. I've had a few exchanges with him and have gotten more productive responses from brick walls.

FOr the record, izen did set the record straight and smokey admitted his error.

Michael Tobis said...

I just submitted another comment they'll have trouble with:

“Michael Tobis finds a presumption of innocence to be a “peculiar” notion. No wonder he trusts the conclusions of an irresponsible and corrupt UN organization.”

The more I think about that one the more peculiar it gets. To make it explicit for those who don’t see the irony, why not presume IPCC innocent, along with the Royal Academy, the NAS, the AAAS, the AGU, the EGU, etc. etc.?

Anna Haynes said...

> have at least been scrupulously fair in letting posts through.

This has not been my experience with one of those websites; the host imposed a deadline on comments, and even though the post in question was directed *at* me, in a personal way, the host was not willing to re-open the comments when I asked to be able to respond there to a comment a third party had left earlier.

(sorry for all the verbiage, but the last thing I want to do is link to it...)

Michael Tobis said...


This site might be useful if someone competent were designated to flag consensus-challenging items on a scale of a) genuine challenge to mainstream science - b) nitpicking or cherry-picking - c) misinformed - d) confused - e) crackpot.

I haven't seen any examples in the first category but I'm not a regular reader. I suppose they are not impossible in principle. I see plenty of examples in the other categories. Usually nobody bothers to challenge them, since the name of the game is to challenge mainstream science. But the consequence is that most of the challenges are worthless. You need some mechanism to challenge the lousy ones and promote the good ones if you expect the scientific community to bother to engage in some manner other than didactic.

That said I support izen's didactic effort to explain the factor of 4 in the astronomical vs earth science measures of the solar constant.. I have seen places you'd really expect to know better get confused about this. The solar constant referred to a square meter of space at the earth's orbit is exactly one quarter of the solar constant referred to a square meter at the top of the atmosphere. This is because the cross section of a sphere has exactly a quarter of the area of the surface of the same sphere.

Greenhouse forcing only makes sense in the latter context, so to compare them you have to use the smaller value of solar constant. When somebody has put some effort into explaining it, you should do comparable work trying to understand it. Ignoring it or dismissing it contemptuously doesn't bode well for actually making progress on understanding what is going on.

Jim Bouldin said...

"If Tobis took the time to notice, he would see that the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2 has been stagnant since the beginning of the year."

Ah yes, the old, ever-important, "stagnant rise" phenomenon, by which all things are negated. Well, things that need to be negated anyway.

EliRabett said...

Ah yes, the ever nice Michael. FYI Watts and Co do edit, so does McIntyre, tho not quite as much. Kloor, of course, always for scum like us.

Anonymous said...

When I first randomly found Watts Up I tried to comment, but found rampant interference with my "mainstream" comments.

Comments were "snipped" with editorial remarks falsely suggesting the removal of obscenities or defamation. Comments were delayed so as to appear too far back to be noticed, etc. And of course some comments just dropped into a deep hole.

All while Anthony sanctimoniously proclaimed his even-handed approach. There was definitely no interference with the rampant conspiracists he cultivates though.

That, and the fire-hose of denialist shouting in the comments, is what prompted me to start my intermittent Wott's Up? website and, I think, why Watts Up no longer uses WordPress' automated "related posts" feature.

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks, Eli. I don't know as niceness is my most salient feature. I am just trying to find mechanisms to ensure that the truth will out. It seems we are up against people who want to build alternative realities to protect confusion and misinformation. The question is what to do about that.

Wotts, yes, indeed. This is also the conclusion I reach. But as a blogger with a modest following, I am somewhat protected from such purges because I can save my comments here first.

The whole "yes but RC moderation" thing can cut both ways, and should.

I don't know of any blog besides Eli's and mine that strives for a coherent policy; Eli's just being the pure spam boundary. Mine is subjective: it is whether you are contributing to the conversation or not.

In short, mine is "question authority but listen to the answer". People who don;t listen to counterarguments or appear unwilling to try to understand them are not welcome here. In general, climate "skeptics" seem to be very bad listeners. See Eli's recent Dilbert reprint for why. But if any exceptional cases are out there, they are more than welcome here.

Jim Bouldin said...

"I don't know of any blog besides Eli's and mine that strives for a coherent policy"

Well, that's a fair bit over the top. It's a lot easier when you have one decision maker than when you have 7.

Michael Tobis said...

Maybe. But the fact is that RC does have multiple personalities, which does leave it open for criticism on this front.

It's not intended as a critique of RC, which is sort of stuck being what it is, which is immensely useful but hard to modify.

But there are reasons to look for a more elaborate filtering policy for comments.

dana1981 said...

I'm guessing Watts didn't appreciate you saying: "You guys are being fed a lot of made up stuff." Though it's very true.

By the way, Skeptical Science has a consistent commenting policy, and several moderators who do an excellent job implementing it.

Paul Daniel Ash said...

There can be no presumption of innocence when these organizations have so much to hide. The correct presumption is that they have been hijacked by groups with a CAGW agenda.

It's easy to dismiss an ideologue like "Smokey," but this is a fair summation of the witch-hunting mentality one sees throughout the pseudoskeptic community.

Science is corrupt, which can be proven by the fact that scientists see climate change as a problem. If she floats, she's a witch, and if she sinks, she's innocent.

susan said...

Glad you're getting the picture. I refuse to donate "clicks" to the likes of WUWT, nor do I like the rise in blood pressure when rampant obstinate anti-information reigns. However, Michael Tobis, bless your generous heart (with prickly bits, no doubt) always has something of value to contribute to the conversation, and is one of the best places I've found to provoke thought and demand thought. The boundaries are so well defined, and you cross them. Thanks!