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How you can support Skeptical Science

Posted on 26 March 2010 by John Cook

Please note: this article was published in 2010, so the information and many of the links are outdated by now.

Keeping track of the ebbs and flows of the climate debate is more than one person can handle. Consequently, I've tried to set up Skeptical Science in such a way that anyone can contribute to the content. So here are some ways you can help make Skeptical Science a comprehensive resource on climate science:

  • Submit links: At Global Warming Links, I'm attempting to build a comprehensive directory of online resources, both skeptic and pro-AGW (yes, I know there are problems with those labels but let it pass for now). Whenever I encounter a webpage relevant to a particular skeptic argument, I immediately add it to the directory. Whenever someone posts a comment that includes a URL, I often add the more interesting webpages to the directory. So what I'm asking now is if you encounter a webpage, resource or blog post relevant to a particular skeptic argument, whether they be for or against man-made global warming, please add the URL to the directory. If you read a new skeptic argument, submit it to our list of arguments. I already find the directory an immensely helpful resource when looking for webpages on a specific topic. I've noticed new arguments recently added on topics I hope to cover one day (eg - renewables can't provide baseload power). I'm hoping as the directory fills out, it'll become a useful resource for others too.
  • Submit peer-reviewed papers: Each link listed in Global Warming Links also contains information on whether the link is peer-reviewed. This way, we can display all peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Of course, the list isn't comprehensive so please do submit any peer-reviewed papers that aren't yet listed.
  • Responses to skeptic arguments: There are now 103 responses to skeptic arguments. While this sounds like a lot, it's barely the tip of the iceberg. I've programmed a webpage listing all the skeptic arguments yet to have a response (one doozy of a to-do list). There are 162 arguments and obviously, I'm never going to find the time to write responses to all of them (by this time next week, there'll probably be another dozen arguments). However, if you're a climate blogger, have already written a response to one of these arguments and are happy to have your content reproduced on the Skeptical Science website, please contact me. Of course, your website gets credit and linked - the credit and link also go into the iPhone app (and soon to be released Android app).
  • Translation: Skeptical Science arguments have now been translated into Danish, FinnishGerman, Icelandic, JapanesePolishPortugese, Spanish. The sharper eyed among you should have noticed that blog posts are also being translated now - look for the flags at the top of new blog posts. If you'd like to be help with translations, please contact me. Note - this applies both to languages not yet covered and joining the translators currently working on existing languages.
  • Proofreading: A few people have contacted me over the years, pointing out all the typos, glitches and poorly worded explanations throughout the Skeptical Science arguments. I'm sure they meant well. In truth, I agree that my content could always be improved - especially the older stuff. Over the years, I've worked harder to explain the science in easier-to-understand terms as well as be more disciplined in quoting my peer-reviewed sources and captioning all figures. But the older material is less referenced, less captioned, tends to lack nuance and the language is more jargony/less user-friendly. My usual response to these criticisms is that I'm always open to specific suggestions to improve the text. A few people with experience in proofreading have even offered to proofread select pages but such efforts have never come to fruition. So I'm just laying the offer on the table for anyone interested in proofreading any skeptic arguments to contact me. This can vary from something as simple as pointing out typos to suggesting ways that the science could be explained more clearly or even point out where I get the science wrong. Ironically, the most thorough proofreading of Skeptical Science has been provided by Lubos Motl who posted a critique of 60 104 skeptic arguments. He makes some good points (as well as some irrelevant ones) - I'm systematically going through his list (slowly, over time), taking note of the valid comments and updating the content accordingly.
  • Contradictions: Many thanks to everyone who submitted skeptic arguments that contradict each other. I'm currently developing the next stage of this section and will be posting something new within the next few days (probably after the weekend). However, the system will be that more powerful and effective if there are more contradictions listed. So please submit more contradictions if you can think of any not yet listed. A potentially rich source of contradictions is two mutually exclusive causes of global warming (eg - It's El Nino vs It's the sun). Just to give a clue on where I'm going with this whole idea, what will also make this system effective is a larger database of skeptic URLs. So please continue adding skeptic links.
  • Donations: As the time demands of Skeptical Science have grown into a full-time job (and some) over the last few months, I now rely on donations to keep the situation sustainable. Any amount is appreciated - just click the Support link in the menu above. Thanks for your support :-)

I would be remiss if I didn't thank a few who have helped Skeptical Science (as they always say at awards nights, forgive me if I've missed anyone).

  • Thanks to Doug Bostrom who has provided much advice, particularly technical advice when the website was hacked.
  • I'm deeply indebted to all the translators who have put a phenomenal amount of work into creating all the translations.
  • Thanks to the small group who help moderate the comments and to Trevor Murdock who helped set up the Skeptical Science Facebook page.
  • I should mention those who have already contributed guest blogs and rebuttals to skeptic arguments: Doug Mackie, Peter Hogarth, Brian Angliss and Jacob Bock Axelson.
  • A big thanks to everyone who generously donated to help maintain Skeptical Science.
  • John Cross has shown much patience and graciousness over the years with my many requests for help tracking down papers for which I'm deeply appreciative.
  • Thanks to Helen Brandt who provided very handy proofreading advice, pinpointing typos and glitches throughout the skeptic arguments
  • A slightly different form of proofreading comes from James Wight who has been regularly checking the complete list of skeptic arguments and posting very useful feedback on how the arguments should be organised. His eagle eyed efforts are much appreciated.
  • Lastly, a special mention to Shine Technologies who conceived and created the iPhone app, are currently working on the Android app and also another piece of technical wizardry which almost blew my mind when they first suggested the idea to me.

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Comments 1 to 12:

  1. I just read Lubos Motl's critique. If that's the best proofreading of the arguments out there, then I say you've done very well indeed. Although, it is obvious he didn't even bother with the expanded links for quite a number of them. "He apparently thinks that the more convoluted chain of arguments he constructs, the more likely it will become." This applies to LM perfectly.
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  2. I got this message via email and I want to comment that just copying and pasting content from a website to an email message does not work properly. For example the Donate button is not visible, there is no left margin, and lots of characters (Â) are inserted which make it hard to read.
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  3. John, you are doing a great job. I have started a chain letter to get readers for you in the USA. To readers: I have invented a new way to fight bushfires. Please help me get some attention from the Australian authorities.
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  4. Go John! So, you are sliding in the good bits of Wiki while keeping overall editorial control. Brilliant! I will contribute where i can (links probably - i love to pull things together).
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  5. It didn't work when I tried to make a donation earlier for some reason. Just got it to go through this time. I don't have a huge amount to donate, but every little bit helps, right? Keep up the good work. It's appreciated by many.
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  6. Like Zero132132 in the above comment, I also stumbled a bit over the donation process. What sunk my first attempt was that you have to pick an amount (in that funny plastic Ozzie money ;) before the rest of the page will allow you to shift to country specific fields, like U.S. info. (And hey, other then what your bank card might charge for the conversion, it's a deal! An Ozzie $ only costs 0.90 cents U.S.) Thanks for this site, and your hard work, John.
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  7. Congratulations for your fantastic effort. I rate your site as the best climate-related in known Internet. There are some problems with some arguments in Polish - the short explanation is fine, but then the link leads into some non-existent page. It would look much better if the dummy page with "Not translated yet" or something similar would be present instead. Thank you for this site.
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    Response: Thanks for pointing this out, the error has been fixed. Those pages had been translated, it was just a glitch with the URL addressing.
  8. thank you thank you thank you for existing! This site is fantastic. I have enough sense to know that global warming is occurring, but not the technical knowledge to often back up a discussion with a climate change denier. Thanks to this site i'm now armed with a bit more techy detail and will refer my family and friends who are unsure about GW to this site. thank you! heather Assessing the Risk from Sea Level Rise - Climate Change Impact Assessments
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  9. I just wanted to thank you for your effort and point out a tool that might help you finance your website. It is called flattr (at ) and is a way to implement a donation system into your website. It is already quite popular in the blogging scene in Germany with blogs making up to 500.- € out of it a month (these are the top blogs, however). Users pay a monthly amount to flattr and they redistribute it to the sites the users "flattred". Maybe this is something to help you with some cash flow.
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  10. Re: John Cook
    "So I'm just laying the offer on the table for anyone interested in proofreading any skeptic arguments to contact me."
    I have experience in proofreading and quality control. If you still have a need of this service, let me know. The Yooper
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  11. Thank you so much for your wonderful site! It is informative, accessible, and a great source of information (which in turn makes it the ultimate weapon against disinformation).
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  12. John, it's now 2012, and your web site (which I've just discovered) is clearly doing very well. I intend to study it thoroughly when opportunity permits over the next several months (I have lots of other stuff on my agenda). But I'm so impressed by my initial explorations of your web site that I'm about to send you a donation via PayPal. Please update your March 26, 2010, message to let us viewers know how we can help you improve the web site in 2012. Surely some of the agenda that you laid out in 2010 has already been accomplished, and probably there are now new needs not previously anticipated.
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