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Skeptical Science housekeeping: Contradictions, URLs and getting hacked

Posted on 19 March 2010 by John Cook

Probably the most significant thing to happen to Skeptical Science over the last few weeks was the website got hacked! The first time it happened, content was changed in the skeptic arguments and one comment was overwritten (sorry, Peter Hogarth, you were the unlucky victim). A week later, they managed to remove most of the blog posts off the homepage. I am deeply indebted to Doug Bostrom who was able to figure out how the hacker got in, where they came from and offer a mountain of very wise and helpful advice on how to secure the website. Doug also advised there is a possibility the hacker got hold of users' login details. So I strongly recommend to all Skeptical Science users that you update your login password.

To sweeten the deal (as if your account security wasn't incentive enough), I've added another feature to the Update Profile form. You can now add a URL to your profile. Then whenever you post a comment, your username will link back to your website. This is a good way to get a bit of traffic to your website (and sate other users' curiosity about you). Note - if you ever want to update your profile in the future, you don't have to come back to this blog post. Just click on your username in the left margin (look for "You are logged in as Username").

Lastly, to prove once and for all that I'm a tragic data junkie (as if the resources taxonomy page wasn't enough evidence), I've added a new page called Global Warming Skeptic Contradictions. The idea for this page originated when I was discussing with a few other bloggers the notion that many global warming skeptic arguments flatly contradict each other. Someone pointed out a few webpages that already list arguments that contradict each other. For example, Climate WTF, Frank O'Dwyer and Mind of Dan have all posted on the subject.

Then it dawned on me that as Skeptical Science has possibly the largest database of skeptic arguments (feel free to submit any new arguments if they're not listed yet), it would be a simple matter to create a database of "contradiction pairs" - pairs of skeptic arguments that contradict each other. So I set up a List of Contradicting Arguments and added a few examples. But it's set up so anyone can add new contradiction pairs. You can also include a comment if you feel the contradiction needs explaining (but please keep it brief).

Of course, I know what some are going to say in objection to the whole concept of a contradiction page. Not all skeptics think exactly the same - they're not all one homogenous, identically thinking block. This is a fair comment and the fact that some skeptic arguments contradict each other doesn't necessarily invalidate global warming skepticism (there's plenty of empirical evidence to do that). That's not the ultimate point of the contradictions page. The ultimate point is coming later - I have a few other bells and whistles to add to this page once the list of contradiction pairs gets long enough. So please do add some contradiction pairs (browse those other blogs listed above for ideas). The more others contribute, the more it frees me up for other work such as a "Preview Comment" feature that many have been hankering for.

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Comments 51 to 63 out of 63:

  1. Dr. Svalgaard usually only corrects things he knows that are incorrect. He does not seem to take any side in the global warming debate (you will sometimes see him refuting solar variability theories and the influence on climate if based on bullsh*t though.) He does however try to lecture people about solar physics at the solarcycle24 blog, which are often interesting comments. I respect him for that. He also has a lot of information on his website:
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  2. Dhozzer - actually Dr. Svalgaard is a highly respected solar scientist. He was the one on the NASA committee that predicted the low of cycle 24, which all the others on same committee had wrong. And yes, I know that Williss is an amuater, but still, he did go after Goddard quite hard in said post. Actually, there are quite a few scientists such as Paul Dennis (who took to task the assumption that a post on clam shell dating was accurate), Jeff L, a geologist, who right now is trying to educate some on plate tectonics, etc. who post on skeptic blogs. As for Dr. Svalgaard, he just doesn't think that CO2 is going to cause all of those positive feedbacks. Not everyone who posts against AGW is a denier. Most of us agree on the warming, just not the consequences/pro forcings/calamities etc. I do my part by installing high efficiency heating boilers/systems for my customers. I just haven't been convinced yet that the world is going to hell in a handbasket from CO2. But I do keep a very open mind, and always read here, RC, OM and other pro sites, because in the end, I do understand that opinion does not matter, just the data and the facts. Now if I had the education to actually be able to analyze the data, then maybe I would be completely off the fence, and taking a trip down under to buy John a beer or two. :)
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  3. Leo G at 06:22 AM on 23 March, 2010 I do my part by installing high efficiency heating boilers/systems for my customers. I don't know the application space of your customers and I have about 30 seconds available so I'll just put in a blind plug for solar DHW systems. I hope they're on your menu, check 'em out! 10x efficiency dollar/watt over PV, low hanging fruit.
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  4. actually Dr. Svalgaard is a highly respected solar scientist.
    Saying "he's not one of the world's leading scientists" isn't the same as saying "he's not respected", OK?
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  5. Dhozzer - K, will try to be more accurate - "world leading scientists in their disciplines" This too me of course includes Gavin, Jim, Ray L. Tammy, etc. Yes Doug, solar is one of the things we offer, but just being over the border a bit from you, we find the sale hard. For a lot of people, to long of a RFI. But at least in Vancouver propoer now, any new construction must rough-in for solar panels, so things are getting there.
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  6. Svalgaard seems like a perfectly good solar scientist. I was reading many of his posting on CA yesterday because I was going over the ACRIM gap debate again. He seems fairly independently minded, dry, witty and intelligent. I'd agree with 51.Arjan description of the guy. I was wondering whether he is generally seen as a denier because I find him hard to label.
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  7. Sorry WUWT not CA
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  8. HR writes: Svalgaard seems like a perfectly good solar scientist. I was reading many of his posting on [WUWT] yesterday because I was going over the ACRIM gap debate again. He seems fairly independently minded, dry, witty and intelligent. I'd agree with 51.Arjan description of the guy. I was wondering whether he is generally seen as a denier because I find him hard to label. I agree with that assessment. Svalgaard is definitely hard to label. He will also probably be the first to admit that his views are not representative of others in the field. I wouldn't call him a "denialist" at all. His off-and-on forays into Watts's site show that he has more patience than I do.
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  9. HR and Ned, here is Dr. Svalgaard's own words about his position; "John L (15:38:59) : Can someone, perhaps Leif Svalgaard himself, point me to a single argument, debate, website, presentation, speech, paper, etc. where Leif explains why exactly he considers himself a skeptic, or lukewarmer, or a…whatever? For the record: 1) Temperatures are higher now than 100 years ago. Exactly how much can be discussed [fakings, UHI, etc]. 2) Solar activity has been ‘flat’ since 1700 with a ~100-yr ‘cycle’ on top. It is not clear if this ‘cycle’ is a real cycle or just a random fluctuation. 3) Solar activity and cosmic ray modulation do not go away during Grand Minima [although sunspots are less visible] 4) There is a 0.1% change of TSI between solar min and solar max, resulting ~0.1C temperature variation 5) No long-term variation of TSI has been demonstrated 6) No convincing evidence for a sizable solar modulation of climate has been demonstrated 7) No convincing evidence for CO2 being the cause of the warming [see point 1] 8) In the deep past [billions of years] CO2 was a significant greenhouse gas, because of its much higher partial pressure than today 9) Solar models are not good enough for detailed prediction, but our understanding of the solar interior and explanation of energy production are on firm footing 10) Solar polar fields seem to be a useful predictor [and it is semi-understood why] 11) Climate models have not been very successful, but should work in principle 12) Both the Sun and the Earth can exhibit ‘internal’ cycles. E.g. some stars pulsate and change luminosity on a large scale [50-100%] 13) Various ‘external’ influences [planets, galactic 'positions', interstellar clouds, electric currents from the galaxy, etc] are either not operating or their effects are negligible 14) The cosmic rays vary too little to have any effect and the mechanism proposed does not seem to work [you can always extend your belief a bit by claiming that more data is needed] Considering the above, I don’t know what you would call me. And I don’t care"
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  10. Svalgaard is by no means a denialist. I don't know how active he has been regarding publications lately but I am pretty sure that he would not submit low quality stuff and I'm quite sure you won't see his work in E&E. I don't think he's even that interested in climate science itself.
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  11. Thanks Leo That seems to nail that particular discussion. More evidnce that the simplistic denier/warmer split is of limited use.
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  12. Tank you, HumanityRules. Post #14 refers to "they" 9 times out of the 11 'arguments/counter-arguments', but I don't consider myself to be one of "they", or making the same arguments. I have my own questions, and this site is the best one (yet) that I have found where they might be answered.
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  13. Dohhhh... "Thank you", not "Tank You".
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