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Why SkS withdrew from the Bloggies

Posted on 1 March 2013 by John Cook

The Weblog Awards, aka the Bloggies, is an annual competition honoring blogs in various categories. Finalists are chosen by online nomination and winners are chosen by online voting. This year, Skeptical Science made the finalists of the Science and Technology category. Yesterday, I requested that SkS be withdrawn from the competition, as reported in the Guardian. Why? Because the Bloggies have become inextricably associated with anti-science blogs.

In an inversion of reality, the Science and Technology category is dominated by anti-science blogs that post conspiracy theories about the scientific community, deny the full body of evidence and reject the scientific consensus. The fact that 4 out of 5 science finalists are anti-science demonstrates that the integrity of the Bloggies Award has been compromised. I, like any pro-science blogger, am not comfortable with the notion of competing for an award that has previously been won by anti-science blogs.

It's worth considering why there is such an asymmetry with the award swarmed by readers of anti-climate science blogs but ignored by legitimate science and technology blogs. Quite simply, this is all they've got. Anti-science blogs reject the consensus of evidence in the peer-reviewed literature. They reject the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community. They value the opinion of anonymous internet users over climate scientists actively publishing climate research in the peer-reviewed literature.  They clutch at any life preserver to ward off the rising tide of evidence for dangerous man-made global warming, as demonstrated by the zeal that led to 9 anti-science blogs appearing in the finalists of various categories.

Can the Bloggies free themselves from the association with anti-science and attract back the interest of the science blogging community? It's a tough ask but I see only one way to achieve this. Anti-science blogs should not be allocated to a science category. An expert panel could take an active role in filtering the nominees, to ascertain that they properly qualify in the category for which they have been nominated. Perhaps instituting such a policy may attract science and technology blogs back to the Bloggies Awards in the future, although it may take time for the association with anti-science to wear off.

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 116:

  1. Well, I can agree with a good part of your discourse (DSL #47). But I read often people like Roy Spencer, Judith Curry, Roger Pielke Sr. and is difficult to me accept that they are "denialist" or that  their blogs are pseudoscience. I can accept they are wrong just in the same way that you can find mistakes here in Skeptical Science, but cross that line seems to me at least an exaggerated position.

    Yeah, I am aware that Climatology can be everything but "soft", my impresion is that some of the essential mechanisms have been well explained, and there is a good consensus in some directions. But everyone knows there is many other issues that remain unexplained, and the scientific dispute is perfectly legitimate. SkS (and many others at several levels) spreads the offitial position coming from IPCC, and others (also in an heterogeneal mixture) broadcasts other views... Can anything be more healthy? Mi answer to this question is that "no way".

    Said this, coming back to the Bloggies, I think that SkS should not have resigned, they/you have nothing to loose, and at least one thing to win: place a pro-IPCC blog between "the best" Science Blogs. People arriving to that list could compare, and ultimately change their vote for successive years. Now they will see only one side of the discussion, and this is always a bad thing. IMHO.

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  2. Cheers Eclectikus I have been wanting to find an authoritive figure to reference regarding economics being pseudo-science.

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Fixed link.
  3. Hi Paul D. Do you mean more authoritive that Richard Feynman? That is a hard task ;-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science#Economics

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  4. Magma attributes this to the founder of the Bloggies:

    "But it seems that science blogs would rather complain about the results than try to submit nominations themselves"

    To me, this is analagous to putting up a bird feeder to attract pretty birds, having nothing but squirrels show up to eat the feed, and then saying it's the the fault of the birds. I suppose it's an easy out when one doesn't want to make any effort to design a bird feeder that is more attractive to birds and doesn't let the squirrels in.

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  5. Climate4All gives a quote (s)he attributes to Truzzi that says:

    "Evidence in science  is always a matter of degree and is seldom if ever absolutely conclusive. Some proponents  of anomaly claims, like some critics, seen unwilling to consider evidence in probabilistic  terms, clinging to any slim loose end as though the critic must disprove all evidence  ever put forward for a particular claim."

    ...and then immediately follows it with a sentence that says

    "If we allow ourselves to diminish doubts,by black balling, name calling and unwilling to consider that science is unsettled,"

    ...in which "unsettled" is used as an absolute, without regard to the probablistic nature of "unsettled". Apparently, in Climate4All's view of science, the failure to provide absolute conclusions means things are "unsettled". This is a spectacularly useless definition of "unsettled", and is part of the "Merchants of Doubt" playbook that tries to pretend that little is known about [climate] science. Noone that has seriously read the IPCC reports or the climate science literature can pretend that real scientists ignore the uncertainty in the science. The claims of certainty and unwillingness for self-criticism and true skepticism are far more common on the "it's not happening, and we're not causing it anyway" side.

    AFAIK, physicists haven't come up with a Unified Theory yet, and an explanation of what causes gravity, but I sure as heck advise against jumping off a tall building without a parachute as a means of demonstrating that the science of gravity is "unsettled".


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  6. DSL @50 and Bob Loblaw @54, there is a link to the Guardian article quoting the founder of the Bloggies in the first paragraph of the lead post.

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  7. tmac57 @49, the Bloggies already have a mechanism to avoid multiple voting by a single person.  From their site, there mechanism for doing so is to restrict voting to one vote per email account, which is easy to game.  Never-the-less, finding a more effective method would be difficult.

    The problem with the Bloggies science award is that best is not the same as most popular.  WUWT is more popular than Skeptical Science because it tells a lot of people exactly what they want to hear, while Skeptical Science requires that you think (an ever unpopular activity).  That means Skeptical Science has far better content than WUWT in terms of scientific accuracy, so it is a better science blog.  That can be seen in the fact that it has recieved an award judged by scientists, and is used as source material in several university level courses.  Yet on any strictly popularity based contest, WUWT will beat Skeptical Science.

    What is worse, however, is that there are general science or technical blogs that are far more popular than WUWT that still do not win because, as it turns out, their readers are not motivated enough, or their writers do not respect the bloggies enough to ask them to, vote for that blog on the bloggies.  The Bloggies uses an unscientific polling method to determine the winner of each category, and unsurprisingly, as a result gets nonsense results for its "Best Science" category (and probably in other categories as well).

    As the owner seems uninterested in correcting the problem, he has confined his award to irrelevance.

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  8. Magma:

    I didn't intend by my wording to imply that I didn't believe you as to the source of the quote. Exactly who said it wasn't relevent to my criticism of the statement, so I just didn't bother trying to verify it.

    If I were writing a scientific paper, the correct way to reference the quote would be something like "the founder of the bloggies posted ...(as quoted by Magma, in comment X)". I don't have direct knowledge of the quote myself, so I didn't want to say "the founder said..." without qualification - so I chose the wording I used to indicate that my knowledge was based on your statement, rather than me seeing the post myself.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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  9. Tom Curtis- Thanks for the info, I was under the mistaken impression that The Weblog voting allowed an individual to vote once per day for the open period of voting,which could allow for a zealous group to bombard the poll way beyond the relative popularity of their choice. Maybe I was confusing their poll with another blogs poll,or maybe they changed their methods at some point. Thanks again.

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  10. So John, you are a Marxist

     

    Groucho type.

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Extraneous empty lines snipped.
  11. 'Best anti-science blog' does have a certain ring to it. Isn't it just so... quaint that the typical Watts sycophant thinks they're doing 'real science', and that all the actual climate scientists are corrupt losers who can't even manage to walk and chew gum at the same time? Dunning-Kruger writ large, with a generous helping of right wing authoritarianism on the side (cyber bullies is what they actually are).


    What I like best is that a lot of their armchair theories contradict each other, but they rarely call each other out. As long as it goes against established scientific findings regarding AGW, it's OK by Anthony. He's becoming more strident by the week, and it's long past the point of descending into farce/jumping the shark.

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  12. The principle for SkS has nothing to do with the awards criteria. Withdrawing misses the point in favour of declaring a preferred context (quality, not quantity). The woeful 'skeptic' blogs are ideological in nature and political in motivation. Pulling out is also political. It's a protest, isn't it?

    It would have been enough to post here making the point that the Bloggies' science awards are popularity and/or fanaticism, and eschewing the nomination without actually withdrawing. (Had SkS won and thereafter publicly reiterated this position, which would have been a much stronger, as well as good-natured, stand) I don't think any use is served by withdrawing. It won't change anyone's mind in the denialist camp, or fence-sitters. Indeed, it will more likely reinforce the 'skeptics' and look like sour grapes to more neutral types. The defense of science by protesting a popularity contest? I don't think it's a good decision.

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  13. (Sorry about the poor grammar. Hopefully it's not too difficult to amend my syntax on on the fly)

    "It would have been enough to post here making the point that the Bloggies' science awards are about popularity and/or fanaticism, and eschewing the nomination without actually withdrawing. (Had SkS won and thereafter publicly reiterated this position, that would have been a stronger, as well as good-natured, stand)"

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  14. Ecklecktius,

    I notice deniers fall over themselves trying to claim trying to claim Richard Feynmann as a talisman. Feynmann was a sardonic, intellectually tough individual who could flirt with Californian wackiness and keep his science straight. Somehow, I do not see him falling for Tallbloke's espousal of the luminiferous aether or Dr Roy Spencer's Creationism and membership of the Cornwall Alliance. Nor do I see him buying into the conspiracy theories purveyed on WUWT or Jo Nova.

    Feynmann was rather conservative and elitest when it came to science. "Post-Normal science" would have been alient to him. He believed in following observations rigorously, inter-scientist discussion and peer-review. I think he would have joined his friend, fellow-Nobelist, colleague and rival Professor Murray Gell-Mann in speaking up for the traducing and betrayal of science by both fringe figures and Establishment politicians.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyPs5ou0DcE

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  15. Apologies mispelling Feynman as Feynmann - mixup with Gell-Mann. They are no relation!

    One story about Feynman illustrates his approach to science. After his Nobel Prize was announced, a taxi-driver recognised him.

    "Hey, what did you get the Prize for?" ask the driver

    "Bud, if I could explain it to you before the end of the journey, then it would not have been worth a Nobel Prize" answered Feynman.

    It seems a strange attitude for someone who was (arguably) the greatest public lecturer on science ever. But he did not believe in Idiot Guides, and it is a questionable assumption that he would have taken to the world of science blogging and "Post-Normal" science that deniers try to push.

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  16. Hi shoyemore.

    I'm reasonably sure that Feynman would not support creationism, aether... Also reasonably (judging by his pragmatism, his taste for empirical verification of theories, and their detachment from the powers that be) I think that would be pretty critical of the IPCC, and specifically with the climate projections to, say, one hundred years from now... is this that bad?. But we have no idea, and we never will. Anyway, I brought Feynmann only to ilustrate the "no pejorative" meaning of the word pseudoscience in that context, that's all.

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  17. shoyemore @65

    That story from Feynman, which I hadn't heard before, is a nice counterpoint to Ernest Rutherford's popular quote that a scientific discovery has no merit unless you can explain it to a barmaid.

    Since Eli brought up Groucho, my favourite quip is: "Why, this is so simple a five-year-old child could understand it! [aside] Go find me a five-year-old child; I can't make heads or tails of it.".

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  18. Eklectikis,

    You don't appear to understand the science well enough to make the statements that you are making.  I'd suggest you invest a lot more time in studying the actual science, and a lot less time reading WUWT, Curry, Spencer and Pielke, who don't actually communicate the science, but instead spend all of their time commenting on the politics and the 'debate' and sowing doubt in the science.  You don't need opinions, you need facts.

    I would also point out that Skeptical Science does not spread the official position coming from the IPCC.  It merely communicates the science itself.  Occassionaly, the site quotes the IPCC Assessment Reports, but more often than not, SkS directly presents and references actual scientific studies (which are also the basis of the IPCC reports).

    Or are you simply trying to say that SkS and the IPCC reports are based on the actual science, while sites like WUWT clearly are not?

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  19. The thing about Eklectikis' 'argument' is that Homeopaths could use it to support themselves in their brave struggle against the overwhelming might of the narrow-minded and hide-bound Scientific Establishment, Man!

    Personally I think Feynman is seriously over-rated, as is Popper, that other most-likely candidate to be adduced as an authority by the 'see, a consensus is automatically wrong, so an overwhelming consensus must be overwhelmingly wrong!' brigade.

    Occam's Razor remains a far more important principle than the hypothesized opinions of intellectual 'rock stars'.

    This 'Feynman Process' also reminds me of the Neocon Right's continual revisionist attempts to make Orwell one of their own...

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  20. The biggist thing wrong with Eklectikis argument is that the statemment "they are no susceptiuble of falsability, and fail to fulfill the Scientific Method. " is simply wrong. I think itt stems from misunderstanding the nature of models and predictions within climate science.

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  21. Nope, thanks Sphoerica, but I don't need any guidance to sift out what should I or should not I read, 17 years as geophysicist help me to form my own opinion based on what I read, here and there.

    And yes, I think that SkS and the IPCC reports are based on the actual/mainstream science, while sites like WUWT clearly are not. Besides, I'm sure that that is healthy, indispensable, and good for everyone interested in Science in general, and in Climatology in particular. Is my opinion.

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  22. Bill, Feynman and Popper might be (and they are, indeed) two of the greater thinkers or twenty century. There is consensus.

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  23. Eclectikus, the most concise explanation of the problems with Popper was written by Martin Gardner.  But if you want longer explanations, there are plenty out there.

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  24. Eclectikus...  I think rejecting the nomination is more of a way of pointing out the fact that the system for selecting the winner is deeply flawed and being gamed.  It actually gives the bloggies some assemblence of credibility to have SkS as a nominee in the category.  

    By requesting to be removed SkS clearly wins by pointing out that nearly every other nominee is there because Anthony Watts requested his readers go nominate WUWT and other similar blogs.  It makes the category completely absurd when a very broad category like "science and technology" is dominated by the very narrow category of climate science denial.

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  25. Tom Dayton @73, Martin Gardner's explanation of the problem with Popper is simply wrong.  Specifically, Popper asserted that a certain type empirical statement haveing the logical structure (x)Px ("For all things, x, x has the property P") are not emperically verifiable, but are falifiable.  He further pointed out that scientific laws have that logical structure.  It is essential to Popper's epistemology that statemenst have the logical form ∃(x)Px (There exists at least on x, such that x has the property P) are verifiable (but not falsifiable).  It is by verifying logically particular statements that we falsify logically universal statements.   Clearly Dayton's counter example to the claim that scientists seek to falsify logically universal statements (scientific laws) is a logically particular statement (∃(x)(Wx & Mx) where Wx means (x is water) and Mx means (x is on the surface of Mars); ie, a statement of exactly the form that Popper asserts is verifiable, and that must be verifiable for Popper's theory to be valid.

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  26. Eclecktikus @72, first year philosophy students are taught the sobering lesson of Gettier.  The one thing, we are told, that all philosopher's agreed on, was that Knowledge was justified, true belief.  Then one day, the Dean looked at the publication record of Edmund Gettier, an apparently undistinguished philosopher, and told him he needed to publish or perish.  Gettier responded by publishing a short article that shattered the one consensus in philosophy that had lasted since Plato.  He was not asked to publish again.

    The point is, there is no consensus in philosophy, and there is certainly no concensus in philosophy of science.  Picking out two people whose opinion you find agreeable and asserting "concensus" without bothering to demonstrate that there is almost universal agreement among philosophers and/or scientists about that opinion is using false authority as a substitute for thought.  This is particularly the case as it is not even evident that your two authorities even agree with each other.

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  27. Eclectikus, I draw your attention to the recent post of an article by John Coleman on WUWT.  It begins by calling the attention drawn to the fact that July 2012, and the twelve months ending in July 2012 were the hottest ever.  To rebut that, he draws attention to "skeptical" studies purportedly showing a recent cooling trend in US temperatures.  The problem is, in order to show the cooling trend, Coleman has to cherry pick the start year, and exclude 2012 from the analysis.  If you include 2012, the trend is 0.824 C per century, ie, greater than the trend from the start of the data (0.713 C per century) which even Coleman acknowledges as showing warming.

    Now, even by Feynman's inadequate definition, if you want to practise science rather than pseudo-science, you have to keep proper score of the successes and failures of your theory.  Cherry picking data to avoid unpleasant consequences is not keeping proper score.  Ergo, Coleman's article is an example fo pseudo-science.

    My chief concern with Coleman's article if found later, where he says:

    "I don’t doubt that there has been a general slow increase in atmosphere temperatures. You must understand this is a natural warming trend, a natural result of the continuing interglacial period that began with the melting of the great ice sheets 12,000 years ago. This warming trend has nothing to do with mankind’s use of fossil fuels."

    and again:

    "For now, however, forty years is too short-term to be hugely significant. What is does show, for now, the satellite data shows a rather steady, gradual increase in global temperatures in line with the long-term increase over the last 12,000 years. It does not support the dramatic increases predicted by the global warming advocates models." 

    Prior to this, he had spent some time ridiculing our knowledge of the temperature record (based on false claims), so you have to wonder how he knows what "... the long-term increase over the last 12,000 years" is.  Leave that aside, however. 

    The key point is that the centenial trend in CONtiguous United States (CONUS) temperatures was 0.713 C per century; or 85.56 C per 12 thousand years.  If that is "in line with the long-term increase over the last 12,000 years", then the means surface temperature of  the CONUS 12 thousand years ago was around -74 C.

    The trend from UAH over the lifetime of the satellite record is 1.39 +/- 0.73 C per century, or 166.8 +/- 87.6 C per 12 thousand years.  So, if that trend is in line with the warming over the last 12,000 years, then 12,000 years ago the GMST was somewhere between -64 and -239 C.

    Clearly claims that these trends are "inline" with the warming over the last 12,000 years are absurdly false.  Most importantly, however, to make them (and to publish them) Coleman (Watts) must not even have bothered checking.  It is crucial to science and neglected by pseudoscience, that you draw out the empirical consequences of your theories.  Doing so is the sin qua non of science.

    Clearly then, by any reasonable measure, Coleman's article is pseudo-science.  As it is not unusually bad for the diet served up at WUWT, it is reasonable to classify WUWT as a pseudo-science site.

    Given the OP, so much is on topic, but you wish to switch the discussion to Pielke Snr, Judith Curry and Roy Spencer.  The problem is that all three have endorsed Watts 's site in various ways.  If they are endorsing pseudo-science, what they are doing in their blogs in not science.  Indeed, Judith Curry as explicitly argued in favour of cherry picking, and all three have cherry picked in the past.  

    Curry, in particular, has been so divorced from science as to argue:

    "Is the first decade+ of the 21st century the warmest in the past 100 years (as per Peter Gleick’s argument)?  Yes, but the very small positive trend is not consistent with the expectation of 0.2C/decade provided by the IPCC AR4.  In terms of anticipating temperature change in the coming decades, the AGW dominated prediction of 0.2C/decade does not seem like a good bet, particularly with the prospect of reduced solar radiation."

    (My emphasis)

    Of course, the small twenty first century trend of 0.69 +/- 0.171 C/decade (Gistemp, from Jan 2000) is precisely consistent with a trend of 0.2 C/decade because it is included in the error bars.  Even if the expected trend was outside the error bars, the data would be consistent with the trend provided only that it was outside the error bars no more than 1 in 20 years on average.  That is the meaning of statistical significance.

    Curry has joined a long line of falsely self named "skeptics" who argue that:

    1)  The temperature trend is statistically indistinguishable from zero {if you cherry pick a short enough time period}

    2)  {The temperature trend is statistically indistinguishable from the IPCC prediction}; Therefore

    3)  The temperature trend falsifies (or is inconsistent with) the IPCC prediction.

    Of course, the truths in curly brackets are passed over without mention when the argument is made.

    Being polite, this is not keeping track of successes and failures of their theories.  That brings us back to Feynman's comments again, and it follows that from Feynman's definition, Curry and Pielke Snr, and often Roy Spencer do not practise science on their blogs, but pseudo-science.

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  28. Wow, a lot of info, I will read it with interest. Thank you all!

    Some quick impressions:

    Tom Dayton (#73) and Tom Curtis (#75, 76): It is important to realize that I was referring to the consensus that Popper is one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, not about all his disquisitions. As stated Tom Curtis (#76) there is no consensus in philosophy. However, the philosophy (and science in general) advances thanks to there are people who are out of the consensus, thanks to the discussions that take place inside and outside of this consensus, and from my point of view it makes fascinating the history of thought: the not remain standing with a theory however much it may seem correct at first glance.

    Rob Honeycutt (#74), even accepting the motivations that you point out, I think withdrawing would have been more effective after winning the contest. I do not  think that a powerful site like SkS is not able to mobilize its readers and overcome the awards, I think mobilizing it's totally legitimate and works exactly as Western democracy: advertising and mobilizing supporters. I myself am a finalist in another category (Best Education Blog / Science is Beauty) and ask my readers vote without any shame... Should I be ashamed?

    Tom Curtis (#77): Interesting, thanks. But I have to leave now, let me think about before to say anything.

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  29. Eclectikus@43 wrote: "To say that blogs as WUWT, and many other in the same wave are pseudoscience crap, says nothing about these blogs and a lot about the people claiming that."

    With this thread in mind, I had a quick look at WUWT, and immediately met the article Tom Curtis address @77. Thanks Tom pointing out some of the many errors in Coleman's article. I know you were spoiled for choice. It was a shoddy article from start to finish.

    Eclectikus, may I suggest you have it backwards. To not notice that WUWT is full of pseudoscience crap takes a particular cognitive bias, or a surprising amount of scientific illiteracy, such that if someone told me they were impressed with WUWT it would immediately tell me a lot about that person - and nothing much about WUWT.

    For scientists like Curry to allow themselves to be associated with WUWT, or to speak favourably of WUWT - to not run a mile from WUWT - tells me they are possibly more interested in propaganda than science, or perhaps more interested in the fame that comes from being a dissenter.

    In these discussions, I often see traces of the romantic idea that the scientific consensus is wrong and a few brave voices resist the peer pressure... The history of science is full of examples of the consensus being wrong, and a genius bringing in the new paradigm, so it is a tempting notion. Especially because denialism is a soothing idea, telling us all is well, allowing us not to make any sacrifices. Unfortunately, a quick read of the WUWT site punctures the romantic idea of brave dissent immediately. The Coleman article is inconsistent, illogical, filled with half-truths, straw men and cherry picking. Worse, those faults are so obvious that the WUWT editors must know they are publishing rubbish. Note that WUWT is not wrong because it is a dissenting voice; it is wrong because it is transparently riddled with errors.

    To award WUWT a science blog award when it promotes the antithesis of scientific thinking is farcical.

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  30. To further what Leto said, which I completely agree with, it should also be recognized that many of the people who lurk at WUWT and its analogues do not have the training to tell the difference between results that have been produced with shoddy (Eschenbach, Watts) or fraudulent (Coleman) methodology and those that have been produced by rigorous scientific method (inc. peer review).  There are undoubtedly a handful who have, through constant contact, learned enough to sort of tell the difference, but they're now so invested in Tony's message that it's all but impossible to use reason and evidence to pry open the door to the mind.

    And Eclectikus, you may call my earlier chain of reasoning ridiculous, but I didn't post it with the expectation that you would accept the responsibility.  I posted it because I wanted to see the basis of your doubt.  My hypothesis is that your doubt is politically motivated and has nothing to do with the science.  Nothing you've said to this point has falsified that hypothesis.  Your 17 years as a "geophysicist" (a rather broad category) is apparently not relevant.

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  31. More:

    After reading the Popper's criticism by Martin Gardner, a very good reading by the way, I was thinking that one thinker is so great as great are their critics. Internet let us to find out many thoughtful criticisms of each and every one philosopher across the history. Again, is this bad? Quite the contrary, it is the essence of knowledge, and I don't see that you may convince me otherwise in something as clearly self-evident.

    Tom Curtis #77.  I can´t say that Coleman's article is pseudoscience, I might say it is biased, absolutely wrong, even that is more an opinion article. But to tag WUWT as psudoscience for a single article seems at least inflated. In Feynman's sense, theories that are unable to explain empirical values, and in this sense (and only in this sense) Climatology could be tagged as pseudoscientific. Coleman's article is nothing, not even pseudoscience, is just a critics to a particular data interpretation.

    I'm aware of many achievements of Climatology lately, but that does not stop me from seeing their weaknesses and the long way still remaining to talk face to face to other areas as meteorology, geophysics, astrophysics. In the mean time, in all honesty I think all contributions by outlandish they may seem, should be welcomed: Science itself (the scientific method) be responsible for filtering waste. Always has been so.

    I have a great respect for Curry. Doing what she does is not easy, it would have been really easy for her consorting  with the IPCC while keeping the criticism in silence. I think that you'll have to recognize, that the easy posture, which has support (and therefore money) is that oscillating in phase with the IPCC, not in the absolutely opposite phase.

    Needless to say that I also respect John Cook and his work, and am a regular reader of SkS, The Science of Doom... Am I schizophrenic? I don't think so, just I like comparison the one vision with others, to access all views and the underlying sources. I would think that my position is not uncommon and that many people do the same. 

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  32. No, DSL (#80), please don't mix things, the reference to my experience was answer to Sphoerica (#68) trying to teach me what I have to read to have a vison of the "actual" science. Also, my experience is irrelevant in this context (in this thread), I guess you'll agree with me on that.

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  33. Eclectikus,

    ...to tag WUWT as psudoscience for a single article seems at least inflated

    Tom explicitly said (emphasis mine):

    Clearly then, by any reasonable measure, Coleman's article is pseudo-science.  As it is not unusually bad for the diet served up at WUWT, it is reasonable to classify WUWT as a pseudo-science site.

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  34. Eclectikus,

    ...consorting  with the IPCC...

    This phrasing says it all.  You start from the position that the IPCC is a corrupt body with an agenda.  Once you do that, you are no longer an unbiased judge.  Everything you consider is tainted with this emotional (and unfounded) accusation.

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  35. Yes Sphaerica, IPCC belongs to ONU, I haven't any respect for ONU. At least scientific respect.

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  36. #83 Sphaerica, sorry, but I've also read good articles at WUWT, and many people thinks in a similar way.

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  37. #85 Eclectikus,

    But all the IPCC does is to quote the science.  If you don't trust the AR reports, fine, then look at the body of the published, peer-reviewed science itself.  And what do you see?

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  38. #86 Eclectikus,

    So if a site publishes half of its articles puporting that the CIA was behind the Kennedy and King assassinations, and that Israel was behind 9/11, and that there is a Star Chamber in charge of the entire world... but also publishes half of its articles by reposting reputable material... then that site is all fine and dandy?

    WUWT is crawling with complete crap.  The fact that it has a very, very rare article worth reading — usually a cut-and-paste repost of some non-climate related scientific study — does not save it from the ravages of blind stupidity.

    The fact that there are a lot of people who like WUWT says nothing about its validity.  A lot of people love the Kardashians, too.  A lot of people are alcoholics.  Popularity is not a gauge of value, validity or clarity.

    Anyone, regardless of their position on the subject, should be ashamed and embarrassed by WUWT.

    The fact that you are not speaks volumes.

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  39. Eclectikus,

    Could you please try and stay on topic? You seem to have forgotten the topic of this thread. Just one comment on something that you said, that is relevant to the OP.

    "I have a great respect for Curry."

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, no matter how misguided. The fact is that several of her eminent colleagues and peers, you know people who are qualified to speak to the scientific integrity of her musings, no longer respect Curry. They are embarressed for her, and that inlcudes me, another of her peers.  Our response to Curry's behaviour is not becasue she is painting herself as a heretic (an easy card to play), or a contrarian, it has very much to do with the fact that Curry is taking a machete to the science.

    Have you already forgotten her saying "Wow" in repsonse to the pseudo science of Salby on the CO2 cycle?  Or Curry saying "If Salby’s analysis holds up, this could revolutionize AGW science".  The egregious problems with Salby's analysis are also addressed in Cawley's (2012) response to some similar musings by Essenhigh.  That is but one of several examples of "skeptics" and contrarians endorsing and promoting pseudo science, while also attacking scientists.

    It is for this, and other reasons, that owners of respected science sites, who take science seriously and who do their very best to get the science right are distancing themselves from the Bloggies. It does not help that charlatans like Delingpole are asking their readers to "Vote Delingpole! Vote often!"  The Bloggies system has been gamed by none other than the "Interpreter of interpretations" . So someone who admits to not even bothering to read the science is in the running for "best" science blog!

    End of story.

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  40. #87 Sphaerica says "...And what do you see?"

    I tell you what I see: thousands of papers saying very little, and one big truth: we're far to have a working model of the earth climate. There are some mechanisms still not well understood (clouds, aerosols, ocean variability...) something pretty normal in a multidisciplinary science, new, highly complex, and therefore immature. And to make matters worse, politicized as hell.

    And that is the point Sphaerica, in this state of the things, for people not directly involved in the guts of Climatology, is better (for all of us) see the full picture: the mainstream (SkS for example) and also a good sample of the critics. I really do not understand why it is so hard to accept this position... is there any other coherent position?

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  41. Albatross #89. Sorry if I jumped off topic, but I'm talking here in several sub-thread at the same time.

    And, yeah, of course, anyone can fall in a mistake, or in a chain of them, but that is not enough to bury people in the desert of Las Vegas. I can say that I learned a bunch of thing reading her blog, and even more in some of its threads.

    Coming back the thread, yeah, withdrawing now is an option, a legitimate option. I gave you mi opinion, and still I think that the better option was withdrawing after winning the award, think in the impact of the message. But, well, you know, opinion is free.

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  42. Eclectikus:

    What I think people have been trying to emphasize to you in this thread (to say nothing of trying to emphasize to other people, over and over and over and over, elsewhere on Skeptical Science or other fora) is that claims such as

    In Feynman's sense, theories that are unable to explain empirical values, and in this sense (and only in this sense) Climatology could be tagged as pseudoscientific. [Emphasis mine.]

    are plainly and unambiguously false. They are also usually made (as in your case here) with nothing approaching reasonable evidentiary support. If I recall correctly, your sole line of support on this thread has been snide comments made about climate modelling (with no specific criticisms of methodology, data, etc. that could actually support your position).

    Your claims following (in the same comment or later) such as

    I'm aware of many achievements of Climatology lately, but that does not stop me from seeing their weaknesses and the long way still remaining to talk face to face to other areas as meteorology, geophysics, astrophysics. [Emphasis mine.]

    or

    I tell you what I see: thousands of papers saying very little, and one big truth: we're far to have a working model of the earth climate.

    all appear to suffer from the same problems: being incorrect (particularly if applied generally to climatology as a whole rather to specific areas of active reasearch) and being made without any sort of substantiation.

    Contrary to such sets of claims as those that you make, we have the summaries of the science made in the IPCC assessment reports, or on websites such as Skeptical Science, Science of Doom, Real Climate, and the like, we have the formal opinions of large scientific bodies (such as the US National Academy of Sciences) or of agencies with a vested interest in ensuring their policies & procedures match with reality (such as the US armed forces).

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  43. Eclectikus: ...I've also read good articles at WUWT...

    As an exercise, Eclecitkus and in order to make this conversation somewhat more specific as to cases, would you mind saying quickly saying whether each of the WUWT's last twenty articles related to climate science strike you as good?

    To make this easier, here's a list of the most recent twenty climate science related WUWT articles:

    • Irony Hypocrisy on steroids–UVa plugs new “Open Science Center” while simultaneously keeping Michael Mann’s science notes away from the public
    • Categorical Thinking and The Climate Debate
    • Keystone Pipeline: Housecats Have More Emissions Impact
    • Big drop in global surface temperature in February, ocean temps flat
    • Global Warming causing biblical plagues – like locusts
    • A Conspiracy of One
    • Blog Memo to Lead Authors of NCADAC Climate Assessment Report
    • The Coldest Journey Gets Colder
    • Impractical Proposal: Dry Ice Sequestration on Antarctic Ice Sheets
    • A note about temperatures
    • Michael Mann’s new ‘trick’, pulled off at the American Geophysical Union Convention – exposed by McIntyre
    • Aerosols from Moderate Volcanos Now Blamed for Global Warming Hiatus
    • Keystone pipeline passes environmental review – ‘little impact on climate’ – ecos outraged
    • The 1970′s Global Cooling Compilation – looks much like today
    • February 2013 global surface temperature – at normal
    • Study suggests ‘snowball Earth’ was real and was reversed by ‘An ultra-high carbon dioxide atmosphere’
    • Al Gore’s Reality Drop – Climate Change to Destroy Music?
    • CMIP5 Model-Data Comparison: Satellite-Era Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
    • Blockheaded thinking on well known weather patterns and ‘extreme weather’
    • Germany Weathers Darkest Winter in 43 Years

    For those articles that strike you as "good" can you briefly say why?

    What's the proportion of good articles to those that are not good, in your estimation?

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    Moderator Response: [RH] Unsuccessfully tried removing the span span span span span, span! the glorious span! Only to end up with more span span span span span eggs bacon and span.
    Fixed garbage... I think I have to fix the copy/paste mechanism that's mucking stuff up.
  44. Eklektikus, a few points that came to my mind while reading your post:

    Quantum theory is about the same age as climate science, does that make it any weaker?

    Any area of science, even the very well established or "older" ones have thousands of papers that say very little. These papers have their usefulness too. Medical science has innumerable papers saying very little, is also very complex and full of poorly understood mechanisms. Try to open a pharmacology guide and see what proportion of these molecules come with "mechanism of action unknown."

    Everything is a matter of degree. We're far from having a working model of the Human body. That doesn't prevent us from achieving some remarkable success. Yet I don't see "skepticism" about this science akin to what is seen with  climate science. When it does happen, it is marginal BS like the anti vaccine nonsense or the occasional fruitcake denying the link between HIV and AIDS. That is not to say that nobody has a skeptical attitude in medicine. People still question and re-examine knowledge all the time, but they do it with sincerity, research and hard work, not blanket ad-homs like we hear against climate scientists. 

    In fact, most everybody I work with has a healthy dose of skepticism, which, for instance, prevents them from using expensive new drugs instead of the older ones that work just as good.

    The politicization of climate science is exclusively a production of fake skeptics. Sure, there are activists pushing for CO2 regulations. These people have not politicized the science. They are elaborating what they see as political solutions to the problems that the science reveals. They may be sometimes, misguided, mistaken, have a distorted view, whatever. But they don't attack the science and scientists like fake skeptics do.

    The fake skeptics of climate science have a different take. They try to make the problem to sop being a problem by pretending it does not exist, it's not so bad, it's not something we can do anything about, it's fake because the evil scientists showing it's there are all in a cabal to extract money from us, etc, etc. If you really read "skeptic" blogs, you'll see endless ramblings that amount to just that. When one is truly skeptical about the science, you get a Mueller/BEST type of situation.

    I find it ironic that you ask about a coherent position. From fake skeptics we've seen everything and anything on the spectrum: "it's not happening", "it's happening but just a little" "it's not really happening, plus it has happened before anyway" "it's happening but it's not us" "it's happening and it's us but it's a good thing" and innumerable variations. For more specialized  incoherence, check out our home grown comedians on the 2nd law thread, Damorbel is the master. 

    You've seen the ridicule and incoherent nonsense that gets out of Watt's blog on a daily basis right? Thermodynamics confusion beyond belief, carbonic snow, averaging ratios without weighing, complete incomprehension of scientific papers to the point that the authors have to step in to clarify. Where is the value there ?How am I to take seriously someone who endorses this pile of manure as having high standards of "scientific robustness" like Pielke Sr. has done on SkS?

    The true critics of the science are not the ones whose names are all over the blogs. They are the people doing research and producing results. When was the last time Curry published something of interest? She finds it acceptable to let appear on her blog a post advocating the summary execution of climate scientists, because it's all in good fun. That's conributing to a debate, really? Roy Spencer had to have major errors in his program pointed to him by others, then still let some politically motivated commenters use the erroneous data to try to score points in the press. Talk about politicizing the science. He has produced some of the most grotesque ideas about the carbon cycle that have ever been uttered. Stuff so bad it's not even wrong. Where is the skepticism toward the so-called "critics" ? These people are not critics, they are fake skeptics. They do not provide any balance in a debate. Their contribution is not valuable, it is in fact adverse to true progress.

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  45. Eclectikus, do you note how people keep asking you for the evidence that forms the basis of your position?  What posted at WUWT do you consider high-quality?  Or is it that WUWT allows you an opinion without demanding a basis in evidence (i.e. the opposite of skepticism)?  What did you learn at Curry's?  Why do you assume that WUWT is even a piece in the same puzzle that forms "the big picture"?  (I think of WUWT as taking pieces of the the "big picture" and trying to paint in their view of, not the rest of the puzzle--I've never seen a comprehensive alternative theory offered by blog science or published science--, but of just the context surrounding that piece.)  Why have you made the blanket statement about the ONU, a large and complex organization?  You dismiss the entire organization in a sentence.  That does not recommend your critical thinking skill.  It strongly suggests that you test every porposition against rigid ideology.  

    Note that no one here is dismissing you; they simply want to know why you believe what you believe.  What a great opportunity to shape opinions.

    By the way, your experience is highly relevant in this thread.  This is a public forum.  When you point to your scientific credentials, you gain authority in the eyes of (some) readers, readers who don't have enough of a basis in scientific training and/or the existing literature to "do the math" and/or put things in context, respectively, and who are thus forced to use other means to assign validity to a proposition.  As long as you refrain from actually revealing your understanding of climate science, you get to ride the fence and enjoy your assumed authority.  As soon as you start engaging the science and providing the basis of your stated positions, you start to come down off the fence--on one side or the other.  

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  46. The competence displayed at Watts' site leadsme to believe that good articles on WUWT are akin to these Gettier JTBs that are entirely owed to randomness.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/25/fact-check-for-andrew-glickson-ocean-heat-has-paused-too/

    Just use your eyecrometer to draw a yellow line across the data, et voila. Even at that, one needs a eyecrometer calibrated by Smokey. My eyecrometer sees the upward trend in these data even without analysis. Of course, real analysis is the only way to go:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/fact-checking-the-cherry-pickers-anthony-watts-edition/

    I'm sure Dana will follow up soon. This was used as an illustration of why anti science blogs are not sources to be considered. If it is deemed off-topic by mods, feel free to move it to a better thread.

     

     

     

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  47. Compare99 I commented here in order to note that the word pseudoscience does not necessarily have negative connotations, and I put the example of Feynman talking about respectables Sciences as sociology, economics and Psychology as pseudoscience. Also I explained my position about the awards. Everything else has been a bonus.

    Purposely I have not entered into a war of links about who is closer to orthodoxy (absolutely you are), and by principle I do not like to treat Science as a Bible (it's not), or a contest to see who has a longer "penis" (surely you have prepared all the "official science" in the breech). So, sorry, but I will not do it now. Not worth it, you can save your links, a lot of them probably I already have read them.

    But briefly (I am alone "against" many people), some notes.

    93.- doug_bostrom, some of them only support a reading diagonal, maybe, but "WUWT" is not specifically a divulgative blog like this, and this has to be in the reader's mind.

    94.- Philippe Chantreau. Please, do not compare Quantum Mechanics with Climatology, no from a epistemology point of view, and still less speaking of precision in results. Since we talked about Feynman, please just take a look at this link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_tests_of_QED

    Philippe says "From fake skeptics we've seen everything and anything on the spectrum: "it's not happening", "it's happening but just a little" "it's not really happening, plus it has happened before anyway" "it's happening but it's not us" "it's happening and it's us but it's a good thing" and innumerable variations."

    Well, that could be an endemic problem, we have also seen passing "global warming" to "climate change" and hence to "climate disruption", also we heard "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past", and innumerable variations.... the relevance of this is purely rhetoric and point us more a problem of comunication that anything else.

    In short I think it is an endless debate. Suppose that I throw away Mr Watss, Curry, Roy Spencer, etc ... Could someone be so kind to tell me where could have a more or less continuous view of the debate? (from a critical position I mean)... or simply it does not exist, everything is closed, and I should read SKS and SoD only.

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  48. Eclectikus @ 78...   If SkS tried to rally it's readers to vote, then it would be contributing to the very problem the award has.  That it can be gamed.  That means if SkS won the award it would not be a measure of the quality of posts or information on SkS, it would just be a measure of SkS's ability to get it's readers to vote.  

    What's the merit in that?  None, as far as I can see.  It's certainly not any kind of badge of honor.

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  49. DSL #95 says: "When you point to your scientific credentials, you gain authority in the eyes of (some) readers, readers who don't have enough of a basis in scientific training and/or the existing literature to "do the math" and/or put things in context, respectively, and who are thus forced to use other means to assign validity to a proposition."

    While I understand your position and I think you're right, it is something that can not be fixed and now could say I'm an astronaut. Simply, believe or not, I have experience enough in hydrography, marine geophysics, bathymetry, GPS positioning, GIS, DTM, data acquisition and processing... Well, experience enough to leave out of the room all the emotional aspects or at least minimize its influence.

    98# Rob Honeycutt.- Okay, is your view, but that is exactly the method used on all west democracies including (or even starting by) USA. Is not a scientific prize, but is a prize given directly for the readers. I for one am delighted to have reached finalist and humbly ask my readers vote.

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  50. Eclectikus:

    If you're going to characterize an appeal to the actual evidence (you know, the atmospheric physics & chemistry, ocean chemistry, radiative physics, empirical observations, and so on) and to the pros who work with such evidence regularly as "who is closer to orthodoxy" then I submit that, contra your assertion, I'm not the one here who is arguing in bad faith.

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