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Climate Hustle

Next self-paced run of Denial101x starts on March 5

Posted on 4 March 2019 by BaerbelW

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 5 and it will be the 12th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 40,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run will be our longest self-paced run thus far and will stay open until December 17 2019, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

Our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland and takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation. With all the misinformation and outright lies coming out of Washington regarding climate science - not to mention many other topics in this age of fake news - our MOOC will give you the knowledge to spot and the tools to effectively counter them.

A poster about Denial101x has been presented at various conferences and you can glean at least a rough idea about our MOOC's content from it (click the image for a larger version or download the poster as a PDF-file, but with 26MB it's fairly large):

Denial101xPosterSmall

We've received some wonderful feedback from students who've taken the course, particularly teachers who are using our course videos in their classes. Pat Bowden wrote a neat review about Denial101x for her blog in November 2017 and Corinne Esteryn spent a lot of time and effort to create very detailed course notes. Corinne also shared this feedback about Denial101x with us when she took it:

"This was the 1st MOOC I ever took and though I took many since, it remains my favorite. So many valuable information, from so many field experts, from all around the world, so much editing work in the videos, to make them as short as possible, yet packed with all the essential & accessible information. So many references. Such an outstanding amount of work, dedication, and all quite methodic and serious. Thank you to all the team for this great experience and all the knowledge shared!"

Here is a video compilation of some feedback from students:

You can sign up for free via the edX website.

Hope to see you there!

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Comments

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 59:

  1. Most of the logical fallacies typically used by science deniers look like sophisticated forms of lying. Strawmen, cherrypicking, out of context statements, fake experts...

    Aspiring politicians should be made to study these logical fallacies before they are allowed to enter politics. 

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  2. I keep up with arguements between many skeptics and this site (including the many harsh words that have been thrown at them for giving an well educated oppinion), and I find that there are a number of relavent arguements made by the skeptics that has changed the perspective of climate change science and advocates alike. 

    The point of this post is to promote the idea that rather than listening to a skeptic, point your finger at anyone other out there skeptical oppinion and tell them they have a psychological 'denial' issue, which not what any persons who supports freedoms of thought should do. Einstein, and many like him, would of rejected these posts, as tactics like these have been used agains him by the German scientists ('Denial' of then scientific truths of that day that he challenged).

    I think SkepticalScience would be better off staying objective rather than get involved with politics, which is, in my oppinion, the very purpose of this post and any post that labels the intentions of skeptics as liers and decievers.

    When I started trying to understand AGP and Climate Change, this site was extremely helpful in getting me started. But as I looked deeper into comments from skeptics and what they had to say (including their websites), I'm seeing clearly that this site is very adversarial. I've finding myself less and less supportive of SkepticalScience as I come across these things.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Your concerns are duly noted.

  3. Prometheus @2

    Can you please explain to people how strawmen, cherrypicking, out of context statements, and fake experts are not some form of intellectual dishonesty? Because I mean they just obviously are intellectual dishonesty. They all obscure the truth in different ways. Nobody says all sceptics use these, but they do feature quite frequently.

    And what about Trumps blatant exaggerations and mistakes about the climate issues? You ok with that?

    Nobody has said anyone has a psychological denial issue. Its shorthand for being in significant disagreement with  the IPCC findings. And some sceptics make useful points but they get obscured by a huge volume of noise and obvious nonsense.

    I agree ideally keep politics out of it. But the Republicans keep bringing it into things. For example they label the GND as socialist etcetera rather than tackling it on its specifics.

    You think this website is adverserial?  What about the death threats climate scientists like M Mann have received? Theres some real adversity for you.

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  4. Prometheus, can you cite an example of "relavent arguements made by the skeptics that has changed the perspective of climate change science and advocates alike"? 

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  5. Prometheus @2

    How about enroling in our MOOC and working through the material to find out what it is about and how much merit the comments made by „skeptics“ actually have?

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  6. "Now, it appears to be more likely that it is a hoax to get more money from civillians . . . "

    “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others. Click on the names for links to their climate-related sites. There are also climate research organizations associated with universities. These are all legitimate scientific sources.

    If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science. If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy to defraud the people, then you are, again, a denier by definition.

    So if you deny all the above scientific organizations there are a lot of un-scientific web sites out there that pretend to be science. Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”
    https://thedakepage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-to-assess-climate-change.html

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  7. There are a lot of responses, and I'll try to capture all of them the best I can.

    Can you please explain to people how strawmen, cherrypicking, out of context statements, and fake experts are not some form of intellectual dishonesty? .. Nobody says all sceptics use these, but they do feature quite frequently.

    I don't need too, it should be obvious. I'm speaking only to skeptics that don't get caught up in intellectual dishonesty. There are two different modes of rhetoric in the context of Climate Science - Science and politics. It’s easy to see the dishonesty in politics, and I personally don't care to speak to those, but these people are driven by a fight over a fear of what they see as government oppression. I'm speaking to the pursuit of science and science alone, which is a subject of learning and understanding. Yes, there are a number of skeptics that are clearly in pursuit of this. Frequency of good skeptics doesn’t matter. It only took one Einstein to change the whole perspective of physics.
    You think this website is adverserial? What about the death threats climatescientists like M Mann have received? Theres some real adversity for you.
    Does this insinuates that you agree that the site is indeed adversarial? It’s just not the worst.

    And what about Trumps blatant exaggerations and mistakes about the climate issues? You ok with that?

    I am not interested in political discussions. I think subjects of science need to be outside of the politics. Politics, by nature, lacks critical thinking and only reacts to a motive. The weakness in mistakes, exaggerations and the like are a weakness of both sides of the political spectrum

    Nobody has said anyone has a psychological denial issue.

    The above article has the text "We explain the psychological drivers of denial," So while this statement speaks to drivers, its clearly putting it in context of an issue, and further explains how to use mythbusters to counteract the denial.

    Prometheus, can you cite an example of "relavent arguements made by the skeptics that has changed the perspective of climate change science and advocates alike"?

    I would like too, but this commentary is about the post of denial, and I could see this turning into a massive argument over the arguments. I’d be happy to go over these either privately or in another discussion setting. I love exploring these arguments.

    How about enroling in our MOOC and working through the material to find out what it is about and how much merit the comments made by „skeptics“ actually have?
    I've never heard of the MOOC, but I am interested and would love to join.

    “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others.
    One of the main weaknesses in climate science is the far too close coupling between government and the science. People have a natural (and well deserved) propensity to not trust the government. All of these organizations you listed are government organizations. Science is not an authority unless people trust it.

    If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science.

    Incorrect. This is exactly my problem. This is a political statement. Denying a science does not have anything to do with denying any organization. Science is about learning, and people are denying learning because the science is too political. The information in the science is only as good as its authority. People do not consider these organizations as authorities because they are government organizations.

    Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”

    If it were my world, which it isn't, then all skeptics would be funded by groups without any bias. However, we are not in that world. If a skeptic wants to be funded for research that challenges climate change hypothesis, how do you think they should get funded in this world? Do you think the government organizations you listed would fund them? They can only be funded by those who are interested in it. I believe that the government organizations have a massive bias, yet they are the source of funding for much of the climate science research.

    I don’t trust the government. Do you think it would be fair for me to state “Most climate science is run by the government who are actually paid to intentionally misrepresent the science in order to support policy”? Being an intellectual, I don’t, and I do read the IPCC reports anyways and try to learn about what they are trying to say. I hold my criticism in pure objectivity and cross a number of information sources (including my in-depth knowledge of physics) to form my understanding. For me, it isn’t difficult to weed out the dishonesty using this strategy. And if I see it, the authority is gone, and I will seek other sources. This is no different with the organizations you listed above.

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  8. I apologize for the non-italalized post. I wrote this in word, and when I copied and pasted, I didn't notice them being removed.

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  9. ". . .  If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy . . . "

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  10. Your post is full of ideology and every bit as biased as you suggest others are. I personally trust the government for protecting the public's interest far more than I trust corporations, or any other organization, except those specifically created to protect the public's interest. Not only because it is the logical thing to do considering where their interest truly is, but because of their respective records. I hear all this distrust about the government, and very little to back it up. In fact, most of the stuff that would back it up is what happens when the government is corrupted by private interests for the furtherance of their profits. It's funny how the government gets so much scrutiny and so much bad press every time one little thing goes wrong, but the private sector gets a passs by default even when they commit the most massive screw ups.

    Private banks came close to tanking the World economy in 2008, because the entire financial system had become fraudulent. Hardly anyone went to jail. A few years later they're already complaining against regulations put in place to prevent them from doing it again. Last December, Century Link had a giant screw-up that rendered 911 inoperative in hundreds of counties throughout the nation, and it was barely even mentioned; I don't want to even imagine the uproar if it was a government service. In 2017, Equifax essentially opened the doors and let their commercial base free for the taking, namely the private information of 143 million Americans, and everyone just shrugged their shoulders. No consequence whatsoever. I never hear anything from the "government is bad" types about these problems, which reveals a double standard large enough to invalidate anything they say that includes the word bias.

    Even you Prometheus trust the government far more than you think: I bet that you have no problem taking an airplane to cross the country without doubting that Air Traffic Control will do its job. Think about this: if ATC had a 99.99% success rate in their handling of flights all over the nation, you would see about 50 ATC-caused crashes per day. Instead, you see exactly zero, because the FAA achieves 100% success rate every day and has done so for years. As for the airlines, they achieve their success largely by complying with all these pesky regulations fort maintenance and operation that are there so our butts get from A to B safely every time. That's government work right there, so much a part of the landscape that people don't even realize it's serving them. This lack of perception and of recognition applies to pretty much everything that the government does right, which is vastly more than anyone in the US realizes.

    You're talking about NASA and NOAA as if they were shady organizations bent on deceiving the public. That is total nonsense. Not only they are open to scrutiny and far more transparent than many private organizations, but their existence and their funding depends on them doing their job right. These administrations are full of highly educated, dedicated scientific experts, who often could make far more money in the private sector but they want to serve the public. Over the years, NOAA has refined their understanding of hurricanes and can now give 72 hours of notice within a very well defined geographical area so that evacuations can take place before a storm strikes. They save lives that way, and businesses too. Of course, some work at NASA has very strong implications with national defense and military applications, so the apropriate secrecy applies; usually the military is the darling of the "bad governement" types of ideologues so perhaps you don't mind that part.

    So-called skeptics, led by the Fossil Fuel funded McIntyre, started whining about NASA Goddard not releasing the code for their climate models some years back (a number of years, I've followed this for a while). The argument from Gavin Schmidt at the time for not giving the code was perfectly reasonable because the algorithm had been released, but McIntyre went on a full blown mind manipulation campaign that was quite successful with his gullible followers. So NASA released the code, and of course, nothing happened. Zip. Why? Because none of these self professed skeptics had the expertise or were willing to put in the effort to examine the code. The demands to release information were nothing but a campaign to spread doubt in the integrity of NASA. Once the code was released, the pseudo-skeptics moved on to other things. 

    Another governement disliker and skeptic was Richard Muller. He did not believe NASA and NOAA either, so decided to examine global temperatures on his own by forming an independent team at Berkeley. He was hailed as a hero at the time by Anthony Watts. After quite a bit of painstaking dedicated work, they came to pretty much the same conclusion as NASA and NOAA. Anthony Watts didn't like him any more. You can find the BEST stuff along with the other sources regularly updated on the Real Climate site: NOAA, HADCRUT etc...

    I've had conversations on this site before with skeptics strongly animated by anti-governement ideology, sometimes on the subject of MODTRAN, the line by line atmospheric radiative transfer model. They argue that it's just a model and it's a government thing, whatever. Yes, it's a model, developed by the Air Force for infrared weapon guidance, you really think it's inaccurate? 

    After years of following this pseudo-debate, it turns out to be really simple. Science aims at understanding the world. The quality, sincere science in the case of climate change overhwelmingly points in a certain direction. Fossil fuel interests have billions of dollars of profit per quarter at stake. Who do I trust? Seriously? What a joke.

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  11. This new article from The Logic of Science seems to be very relevant to this discussion:

    How not to science: Lessons from flat earthers and climate change deniers

    Enjoy!

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  12. Prometheus @7

    "I'm speaking only to skeptics that don't get caught up in intellectual dishonesty. "

    So where are your good sceptics that have had some substantial impact on climate science? I can't see any. Their work has not stood up to the scrutiny of their peers. 

    "Does this insinuates that you agree that the site is indeed adversarial? It’s just not the worst."

    This website is set up to counter common sceptical myths so is adversarial in that regard. Nothing wrong with that. It  is facts based and has a strict moderation policy.

    Climate sceptics websites are by definition adversarial.  If they understood the science better there would be less adversity! You are being adversarial towards government.

    "The weakness in mistakes, exaggerations and the like are a weakness of both sides of the political spectrum"

    Yes at times, but right now global opinion looks very like it is saying Trump is the worst offender.

    "I would like too, but this commentary is about the post of denial, and I could see this turning into a massive argument over the arguments."

    Stop dodging the issue. It would take you just a couple of examples, a five second job.

    "One of the main weaknesses in climate science is the far too close coupling between government and the science. People have a natural (and well deserved) propensity to not trust the government. All of these organizations you listed are government organizations. Science is not an authority unless people trust it."

    The coupling between government and science is inevitable , dates back centuries, and there are more than enough checks and balances to ensure things are properly done. The reason for the coupling is this.  The private sector has a poor record of research in the more explorative hard science and in problems that confront humanity because this does not generate profitability. Its a basic market failure. Economics 101. So governments fill the gap and protect the public interest by ensuring issues like climate change get adequate research funding. The research is not all done by government agencies, only some is. 

    And look at the almost endless list of useful science that has come from government funding and / or government agencies. The internet itself was created by the military and non for profit universities.

    And what are the alternatives? I dont think we should trust the fossil fuel companies to do the research. Care to discuss why? Should be obvious to you.

    Apple computers? But why would someone like that be even interested?

    Even if you had a separate commercial umbrella organisation, it would still have to be set up by government and funded by public money. Its not going to spring up out of nothing.

    With respect I think some peoples suspicion of government is verging on paranoia. And this is coming from someone who is suspicious of governments at times.

    Plus what Philip Chantreau said.

    "If it were my world, which it isn't, then all skeptics would be funded by groups without any bias. However, we are not in that world......I believe that the government organizations have a massive bias, yet they are the source of funding for much of the climate science research."

    I'm not really sure what you are saying. It's not like there are warmist researchers and sceptics in some precise division of labour. Some researchers come up with sceptical looking results, and they get funding from various sources including government grants sometimes and other organisations who have literally billions of dollars, so there is no shortage of funds. There is not a huge volume of research that finds sceptical results not because of a lack of funding, but because not many scientists are able to find any problems with the mainstream agw view, and when they think they have, their results don't stand much scrutiny.

    Can you please provide some hard evidence of so called government bias? I would suggest governments have no interest in global warming problems and exaggerating them, because they have enough other problems to deal with. Think man: if you were in politics would you be saying "we need research to exaggerate this climate problem, so that we have more problems to deal with that can go wrong, and make us all look stupid?"

     

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  13. I think it would be truer to say that this site is extremely adversarial to those promoting misinformation and downright medacious misrepresentation of science, especially for ideological purposes.  Science is the best means we have to investigate the nature of reality and policy should be guided by available science understanding at the time.

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  14. "far too close coupling between government and the science" Between every government or just the US? In US, government funding is channelled through NSF. Perhaps you could explain how a government is going promote nonsense through this channel? On the otherhand, we do see governments (Australia, US) trying to muzzle scientist or defund science where the dont like what it is saying - "killing the messenger". That is certainly an uncomfortable relationship if happening in any sphere of science, not just climate research.

    I also dont really get the narrative climate science being a means for government oppression. Can you express this is any way that doesnt sound like a whacked-out conspiracy theory? I get that people dont like the facts, and so we naturally question the facts (scientists are really good at this). But deciding that the facts must be manufactured because they are generated by a government-funded organization?

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  15. @Philippe

    You're heading us into a lot of side arguements that I'll try to avoid. I need to straight somethings out first.

    "Your post is full of ideology and every bit as biased as you suggest others are."

    Proving my point that this site gets adversarial really quick.

    The only time I mentioned bias was in this statements:

    "If it were my world, which it isn't, then all skeptics would be funded by groups without any bias."

    "I believe that the government organizations have a massive bias, yet they are the source of funding for much of the climate science research"

    How did these statements marit your attack? The attempt was to point out that you think bias is from corperations, and I was pointing out that it can be from government too. Bias isn't the issue. If it were a perfect world, science would be funded by organizations with no bias, but those organizations don't exist. Skeptics need to get money from somewhere, and they are not going to get it from the government.

    The point of me saying that "I don't trust the government" was completely missed. Let me repeate this statment without that sentence. Maybe it'll make more sense to you:

    "Do you think it would be fair for me to state “Most climate science is run by the government who are actually paid to intentionally misrepresent the science in order to support policy”? Being an intellectual, I don’t, and I do read the IPCC reports anyways and try to learn about what they are trying to say. I hold my criticism in pure objectivity and cross a number of information sources (including my in-depth knowledge of physics) to form my understanding. For me, it isn’t difficult to weed out the dishonesty using this strategy. And if I see it, the authority is gone, and I will seek other sources. This is no different with the organizations you listed above."

    The point was that it isn't fair, nor is it fair for anyone to discount any skeptic funded by a company in as much as government. In fact, such argements are fallacious, because you are trying to say the research is bad by association. If you don't know about this fallacy, here is a link:

    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/10/Ad-Hominem-Guilt-by-Association

    If you're arguement is that the population needs to ONLY trust government funded research because government is out for the good of the population, than I totally disagree. No matter what the source of the funding is, government or private, what matters is the research, and if its good research, its funding source is irrelavent. Good research can be determined by objectivity and critical thinking. 

    "You're talking about NASA and NOAA as if they were shady organizations bent on deceiving the public."

    I never said no such thing. Please don't take my words out of context. I do not believe they are shady organizations. I learn from them as much as I learn from other sources. In fact, I have worked for NASA, so I'm very familiar with that organization.

    "Fossil fuel interests have billions of dollars of profit per quarter at stake. Who do I trust? Seriously? What a joke."

    Lets have a scientific objective discussion here. Government also has interests with trillions of dollars at the mercy of public oppinion and elected officials. It doesn't matter. 

    I want to give you something to think about with this question. This is a question purely related to science. If the federal government was to oversee ALL of the scientific research, do you think it can maintain its objectivity? In other words, instead of universities and colleges funding their own research, there is a gigantic organization under the federal government the maintains all the research. Do you think objectivity would be maintianed?


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  16. Your assertion:

    "I believe that the government organizations have a massive bias"

    and the statement

    "I dont trust government"

    basically read to people here as "another ideological denier if you scratch deep another".

    On what basis do you think goverment has a bias? Show me a statement in the NSF which backs that up. What agenda is a government operating on that is trying to fox taxpayers by funding climate science? And this is the same in all the goverments across the world?  I would claim that your beliefs are not founded in reality but rather in an ideological position. Tell us the process by which you came to your belief that government has bias.

    If climate science is wrong, then you would think oil companies have the means to fund contrary science. I work with oil company scientists and havent met many deniers. They know it is more effective to spend money on PR rather than disputing the science.

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  17. Have to second Baerbals Logic of Science article. It is excellent. People have very wierd ideas about how scientists think and work. I wish we could demonstrate the reality.

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  18. Sorry for spamming, but in attempt to get clarity - Prometheus. Suppose an overseas uni found an alternative explanation for global warming with simple cure that quickly get wide acceptance in science community (we can hope). How would that discovery damage the US government agenda? ( I am trying to understand your assertion of bias).

    I would encourage you put "relavent arguements made by the skeptics that has changed the perspective of climate change science and advocates alike" on the appropriate topic here, or post them in the weekly roundup post if there is no match to an existing topic. I am curious as to who these honest skeptics are and what the convincing arguments are. I  monitor a no. of "skeptic" sites so I dont live in a bubble but havent encountered any interesting science.

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  19. Look, I'm really trying to keep this discussion in the context of the post. We are all over the place here. You really want me to defend my views on the government, bias, and appropriate research in this post? They are techically off-topic. I may have been part of the problem, because in my second post, I only intended to answer questions. Now there is just too much to talk about. So I apologize. I never intend to dodge an issue or purposefully mislead. 

    My main point is to stop with the politics unless you want to be in the politics. Science is about understanding and learning. I liked this site because it was engaging with skeptics on a scientific level and that I can learn about the scientific arguments.

    There are many people out there that have a clear head and dig deep into the science and become skeptical of certain things they see. If you think that every skeptic deserves this, then I will become even less supportive of this site.

    There are also, as many you point out, people of political discourse. I believe that this post unfairly puts good skeptics and political discourse all in the same boat. This post wants to go further puts them in the context of psychological denial, and encourages people not to listen to them, but just to argue with them. Its demeaning to do this. This is wrong. This site shouldn't promote it.

    It should continue to promote dialogue between scientifically knowleged skeptics and non-skeptics. Unless this site intends to be a political site, then maybe I'm wrong about this site.

    If you want some some examples of good argements I've seen. Heres a list:


    Escalator vs peicwise regression
    Warming on northern latitudes vs median.
    The real causes of correl reef reduction (El Nino and climate influence)
    Circular resoning in radiative forcing
    Mistakes in satellite data processing

    and many more. I'm sure there is a "Myth" post dedicated to these discussions, but they are indeed good scientific discussions.

    A personal experience. I wanted to understand the physics behind forcing, read the IPCC papers, read papers from the 1980's, read about radiative scattering models in the atmosphere and the like. I found the equations for radiative forcing. Learned how radiative forcing is used to study climate balance. I'm thinking, that's neat, so I go further. I noticed that the forcing was of the form F=a*ln(C/C0) and deltaT=alpha*DeltaF where zero forcing was defined to be in the 1970 (or 1998). A red flag goes up and I ask myself, why would they do that? It doesn't make sense. There is nothing special about 1970 (other than its considered to be the "Pre-industrial period"), and the story goes on from there. Please don't ask me to go on about this because its just an anicodotal story of a skeptical inclination from a knowleged person. But I study more. Maybe the skepticism goes away, maybe it doesn't. This is what science is about. If someone has studied it and gives a good critical thinking arguement on the issue, then I want to hear it. I don't want some person out there saying "Oh, you are not a climate scientist, you just wouldn't understand" or "stop spreading your denial of the science because of your issue with this equation". I want to have a discussion or even an arguement about the science. 

    The point of my comments to promote the idea to listen to a skeptic (not a political skeptic, a real scientifically knowleged one). Not point your finger at anyone other out there skeptical oppinion and tell them they have a psychological 'denial' issues. I think  this site is doing itself a disservice by being unwelcoming to skeptics. This post is another good example. This is my first post ever on this site, and I'm already been called a bias ideologue. This is not good.

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  20. Prometheus @15

    "How did these statements marit your attack? The attempt was to point out that you think bias is from corperations, and I was pointing out that it (bias) can be from government too."

    Prometheus, any organisation can in theory have some form of bias. You are not 1) providing hard evidence of significant bias in government and 2) ignoring the checks and balances they have and 3) you are not providing a workable alternative and one that is better.

    We either do the best we can with established research systems or we are in big trouble. We cannot afford to await for your perfect world free of human or organisational failings.

    If government has a bias on the climate issue, I would think the evidence suggests it would be a bias to downplaying the climate problem! The last thing government wants is to create problems for itself like policies to push rebuilding electricity grids.

    "The point was that it isn't fair, nor is it fair for anyone to discount any skeptic funded by a company in as much as government."

    Yes research should be judged on its merits regardless of funder. But given fossil fuel companies etc have an obvious vested interest, you need to scrutinie their research particularly carefully. This is plain commonsense. Its arguably a much greater bias than anything governments have.

    "I want to give you something to think about with this question. This is a question purely related to science. If the federal government was to oversee ALL of the scientific research"

    Hypothetical and a strawman.

     

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  21. Prometheus @19

    "There are also, as many you point out, people of political discourse. I believe that this post unfairly puts good skeptics and political discourse all in the same boat. "

    No it doesn't . The article raised some issues we see with some climate sceptics (denialists whatever). It never said all denialists were like that. You are jumping to conclusions.

    The issues raised are not poitical issues or issues of bias, they are misleading styles of argument. You raised the issue of politics and bias, but thanks for admitting that.

    "A personal experience."

    The problem you have is you have made your own politics clear: some libertarian leaning high level of distrust about government. Thus people wonder about your motives for being criticial of the science, and wonder if you are fully objective.

    But look. Many articles on this website talk purely about the science and its open to anyone posting comments, provided they follow moderation policy. Dont judge this website on one or two articles that explore political or psychological issues. It's done in a fact based calm sort of way and they are real issues so cannot be ignored.

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  22. "Massive bias"

    Where is the evidence to back up such an assertion? A massive bias has to be detectable. I mentioned BEST, which reached the same conclusion as the research that Muller initially believed to be biased. Where is you evidence that a massive bias exist?

    As for your question to me, such organizations exist through the World. In France, it's called the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. They produce  "objective" science. The results are published so if they're not replicable, they don't stand. That's how it works. 

    You are the one accusing a whole lot of people to be either dishonest or incompetent. Scientists who work for government agencies are supposed to do good work. If there is a massive bias, they're failing. What is there showing that it's the case?

    I'll add that I need no schooling on logical fallacies. Nowhere do I suggest that McIntyre's nonsense is BS because he has ties to FF. It's BS because it has no value, especially the "release the code" crap. The nonsense stands on its own for what it is, but McIntyre does have ties to FF nonetheless.

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  23. You expose your beef with with the radiative forcing thing, but then you say you don't want to discuss it. It can't really be taken seriously without more specific references and the full context. As you wrote it, it is impossible to tell what exactly is the problem, regardless of how "knowledged" one is. If you don't want to discuss it then why mention it?

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  24. I always find it interesting when a denier claims that the government is adjusting the data to make it falsely appear to be AGW when the government is currently run by rabid deniers.  Why would the deniers who run the government falsely make it appear to be warming?????

    This is a direct contradiction in terms.  Only someone who is a confirmed conspiricy theorist coulde make such an absurd suggestion.

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  25. Many of you are demanding proof of bias from the government when this was not the point of my comment! Read my comment from earlier carefully:

    "I don’t trust the government. Do you think it would be fair for me to state “Most climate science is run by the government who are actually paid to intentionally misrepresent the science in order to support policy”? Being an intellectual, I don’t, and I do read the IPCC reports anyways and try to learn about what they are trying to say. I hold my criticism in pure objectivity and cross a number of information sources (including my in-depth knowledge of physics) to form my understanding. For me, it isn’t difficult to weed out the dishonesty using this strategy. And if I see it, the authority is gone, and I will seek other sources. This is no different with the organizations you listed above."

    The point was to say is that I do not discount government funded research, and you shouldn't discount company funded research. Government bias was not the focus of that statement. I was challenging the claim that skeptic organizations cannot be trusted simply because of association with their financial supporters. All funding sources are usually tied with a bias. The determination of good or bad research should be purely by using critical thinking and objectivity. The goodness of the research should always be based on objectivity and critical thinking, not association. And the motive of reading research is to learn and understand. 

    As for "Massive bias" part, I did not expect this to turn into a massive soul sucking black hole of an argument, so let me explain what I mean. The bias in that government is simply because the government is not in the business of science, its in the business of policy and governance (and thats not bad). The government is not interested in scientific investigation and exploration (with the exception of NASA back in the day when it explored space and the moon, but it still was political fueled by the space race). Therefore, they are not interested in science, except if it supports a policy. If you don't believe me, read material from Faynmann about the topic and how he exposes the issues with government bias in his investigation of the columbia accident. Read the historical account of MIT and how their funding in fusion was pulled in order to support a forign multigovernment research project for the purpose of intergovernment handholding. Read about Einsteins issue with governments propensity to block freedoms of thought when politicians and government get out of control. There are a number of very promenant scientists who speak on this topic of government bias. My view is that while government have an important role in this world, they cannot overstep their bounds like they have historically done in the limitation of the freedom of thought in scientific investigation. This includes Climate Science studies.

    There, you squeezed it out of me. I hope this was constructive.

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  26. Prometheus @25

    I think it's incorrect to claim government is not involved in science unless it supports policy. In my country the government funds science and its judged on the technical merits of the science and nothing to do with government policies of the day (other than to further human understanding of the world). I have explained why governments fund the pure sciences above @12 and have not seen a refutation of this. The following article is relevant:

    mic.com/articles/3165/government-should-continue-to-fund-scientific-research#.lD7FjSYVk

    Your examples of alleged bias are not in the field of climate research or assessment, or any form of research. Your example of the columbia accident is an operational matter, so nothing to do with research as such.
    In addition your example of changing how fusion was funded doesn't sound like bias to me. It just sounds like you resented their decision. But regardless of this, even if it is bias, it has no conceivable relationship to the integrity of research and the climate issue.

    You are also not showing a systemic bias, and have gone from a few examples to wild claims of massive bias, which is a form of "logical fallacy". Refer below:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faulty_generalization

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  27. Promethius @25

    Of course its possible that if governments play some role in climate mitigation or adaptation they might comission related research if none is already available. It's hard for me to see a problem with this. Be careful you don't start wearing a tin foil hat :)

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  28. Prometheus - I'll repeat my suggestion from upthread: if you haven't already, please enrol in our MOOC and check it out from the inside and not making a judgement about it based on a blog post we regularly "recycle" to announce the next run of this online course we co-produced with the University of Queensland. Here is the link: http://sks.to/Denial101x

    You may just learn some interesting stuff not only about the science but also about how and why said science regularly gets distorted by make-belief skeptics (not to mention how and why each of us is susceptible to fall for this due to our very own biases in this or other fields).

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  29. Nigelj,

    I'm pointing out, and supporting with a few examples, that the goals of government do not align with science. Science is the pursuit of knowlege and understanding. Government is the pursuit of policy and governance. 

    I disgree that the government does a good job of "furthering the human understanding of the world". We are constantly in a battle with political facts checking issues of government officials making false claims. Do you think that both republicans and democrats do a good job of this? How can you possibly believe that? I don't know how your government works, maybe it does a better job of this, I don't know.

    I will admit to a mistake that the word "Massive Bias" was ill chosen. I hope you get my point.

    Richard Feynmann:
    "I believe, therefore, that although it is not the case today, that there may some day come a time, I should hope, when it will fully appreciated that the power of governments should be limited; that governments ought not to be empowered to decide the validity of scientific theories, that this is a ridiculous thing for them to try to do; that they are not to decide the description of history or of economic theory or of philosophy.”

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  30. Prometheus @29

    Well thank's for the comment, but you seem confused about some things and have an ideological axe to grind. Thats the picture you paint whether intended or not. 

    "I'm pointing out, and supporting with a few examples, that the goals of government do not align with science. Science is the pursuit of knowlege and understanding. Government is the pursuit of policy and governance. "

    You have pointed out nothing of the kind. You have pointed out some examples of bad process by governments. Obviously governments are about implimenting policies. One of those policies is to commission science in areas where the private sector doesn't do a great job. You still havent refuted this. There is no conflict of interest in doing this.

    "I disgree that the government does a good job of "furthering the human understanding of the world".

    You are putting words in my mouth. I simply said they commissioned some science which helps us gain an understanding of the world.

    "We are constantly in a battle with political facts checking issues of government officials making false claims. Do you think that both republicans and democrats do a good job of this? How can you possibly believe that? "

    This is nothing to do with climate science research. This might occasionally be a problem with government officials but that is a political issue, and you were moaning about this website politicising things, and here you are doing it yourself. It's certainly a problem with the Trump administration, but I don't hear you refer to this, instead you demonise officials. Such unbalanced, biased commentary.

    Feynmann is not god, but he is right about this "that governments ought not to be empowered to decide the validity of scientific theories, " and this is what Donald Trump is doing, and not one word of complaint about this from you :)

    By taking such a stand against governments you are also being very adversarial.

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  31. Promethius @29

    Just another response to add to the above @30, yes of course I dont like it when officials get facts wrong. It does seem to me Trump and his crew is the worst offender in recent times. But its peripheral to what research they commission. In any event Corporations get their facts wrong as well.

    A lot of this is also about public relations spin which has infested both corporations and governments.

    But I'm a pragmatist. Theres no use just complaining. We need governments and they have to be flexible enough to deal with a wide range of issues. Of course we have to ensure they don't abuse their power but fortunately by having elections this puts a break on them. 

    Ideas about limiting government have to be carefully done, because you don't want to make them powerless or limit their flexibility. It's impossible to define an ideal size. Of course any organisation including corporations can become over sized and a law unto themselves, anyone can recognise this.

    One of the main problems is deficits and debt. In New Zealand we have a fiscal responsibility act in about 1995 that makes governments keep debt under certain limits and only run deficts during recessions or other catastrophic emergencies like a war. All governments have stuck to this and we have low debt. Your constitution seems incapable of constraining government abuses of power and ever escalating debt. 

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  32. Nigelj,

    So I would of never said what you said:

    "Well thank's for the comment, but you seem confused about some things and have an ideological axe to grind. "

    "The problem you have is you have made your own politics clear: some libertarian leaning high level of distrust about government. Thus people wonder about your motives for being criticial of the science, and wonder if you are fully objective.The problem you have is you have made your own politics clear: some libertarian leaning high level of distrust about government. Thus people wonder about your motives for being criticial of the science, and wonder if you are fully objective."

    "You think this website is adverserial? What about the death threats climate scientists like M Mann have received? Theres some real adversity for you."

    "By taking such a stand against governments you are also being very adversarial."

    I personally believe I have been the least adversarial here. You want constructive diologue, then act like it. I think its pretty clear that the axe  to grind is yours, not mine. I have yet to question your objectivity and world view. Yet you clearly are questioning mine.

    The only thing you know about me so far is some oppinions I have about government and scientific endevours, which is very little. I'm not taking a stand for anything other than constructive dialogue and learning. This is what science is about. I suggest you try to explore someones world view more before you make your judgements. I have yet to see evidence of your curiosity in my views, just ample denunciation of my comments.

    I stand beside the statement on my original post which is the message I want to convay here. This site should be about "Learning". If someone is confused about climate science, they should be able to get to this site and learn, have a constructive arguement, and walk away. Not some adversarial myth busting character demeaning place that calls peoples skepticism as a psychological denial problem (although I don't like the use of the word "Myth", I like the content of subject matter, because it contains an arguement and references, which helps me learn). Science is about learning. If you knew me, you would realize that I'm only about learning. 

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  33. @BaerbelW Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out.

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  34. Prometheus,

    On the contrary, my perception of your posts is that you have been completely adversarial and hostile from the very start.  Meanwhile the responders have tried to reason with you.

    You have been asked many times from the start to provide links to arguments where you find skeptics contributed.  Reviewing your posts I see that you have never cited a single argument you find valuable or detailed any advance that skeptics assisted.  You have made a couple of vague descriptions without providing details or citations so they could be checked.  In science if you do not provide detaiols to support wild claims that is hostile behaviour.  

    You claim that scientists are biased or manipulate data (lie).  No examples of scientific misconduct have been provided, just your completely unsupported claim that they exist.  Unsupported accusations of misconduct are extraordinarily hostile.

    This is a scientific site.  In order to make a valid cliam you must provide data or peer reviewed papers to support your claims.  You have been completely hostile to providing data or citations.  The problem is you.

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  35. Prometheus @32

    "I personally believe I have been the least adversarial here."

    I agree with M Sweet. think you are the most adversarial here. Remember adversarial is defined as" being in conflict or opposition" and you have demonstrated this repeatedly in you attacks on the work of unnamed scientists and politicians, claiming they are scientifically wrong and / or biased and providing no actual evidence of this. Your examples have little or no relationship to scientific research.

    You have repeatedly ignored points people have raised. This is adversarial because its disrespectful. Constructive dialogue meams being clear about what points you agree / disagree with and why.

    Clearly you just cant see any of this so you probably have some sort of cognitive bias yourself ( we are all at risk of this, not saying I'm perfect). Its the only explanation that makes sense. I did psychology at university amongst other things.

    "This site should be about "Learning". If someone is confused about climate science, they should be able to get to this site and learn, have a constructive arguement, and walk away. "

    That's what we are doing so what is your real complaint? Nobody has been impolite to you, and to your credit you are polite.  I think its probably that you just dont like the points I and others make, but have no easy answers, so you sidestep those and falsely claim I'm not being constructive. 

    "Not some adversarial myth busting character demeaning place that calls peoples skepticism as a psychological denial problem "

    Well unfortunately some sceptics indulge in logical fallacies. As a scientist you would understand we cant ignore the truth. Such  things have to be examined.

    " If you knew me, you would realize that I'm only about learning. "

    I accept you clearly have an interest  in the science and are not making any obviously ridiculous claims about the science, however your rhetoric is very political given your constant accusations about biased politicians and size of government. I can only say this is what I observe. Its you who are in denial about this.

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  36. "We are constantly in a battle with political facts checking issues of government officials making false claims".

    Hmm. I think there is a world of difference in trust between "politician and political appointee" and salaried officer of government. A government employee making a false claim would be fired here. The fact checking I see going on is mostly about politicians even the US.

    "Therefore, they are not interested in science, except if it supports a policy." I agree that the science funding mechanism in the USA assumes government disinterest in the best possible way. Government allocations of money to science is based on broad perceptions of priority. Politicians lack a mechanism for being able to directly influence what a scientist researches and specifically there is no way even in the broken US system for politicians to demand a particular outcome from a science investigation. (public inquiries like Challenger are not remotely like any NSF funded research programme). There is different from a company which fund work to support a predetermined outcome as opposed to open-ended one.

    You are continuing to duck the question on what possible government bias could be supported by a particular outcome on climate science. If it were true, then how come science has continued to produce the same general thrust of outcomes (ie what reality is actually like) in regimes that were sympathetic to climate science researcha and in those that were actively hostile to point of trying to muzzle scientists?

    In my opinion, your perception is not reality.

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  37. These are the requests summarized:

    "Prometheus, can you cite an example of "relavent arguements made by the skeptics that has changed the perspective of climate change science and advocates alike"?"

    "On what basis do you think goverment has a bias? Show me a statement in the NSF which backs that up. What agenda is a government operating on that is trying to fox taxpayers by funding climate science? And this is the same in all the goverments across the world?"

    "Prometheus, any organisation can in theory have some form of bias. You are not 1) providing hard evidence of significant bias in government and 2) ignoring the checks and balances they have and 3) you are not providing a workable alternative and one that is better."

    "You are the one accusing a whole lot of people to be either dishonest or incompetent. Scientists who work for government agencies are supposed to do good work. If there is a massive bias, they're failing. What is there showing that it's the case?"

    "Can you please provide some hard evidence of so called government bias?"

    I purposefullly ignored these quesitons because they are all off topic and all over the place. Your more interested in me talking about these statements:

    1) "I don't trust the government"

    2) "I believe that the government organizations have a massive bias"

    I'd love to have a conversation about these in a different platform. Comments can be easily misinterpreted and misunderstood and I wish I could get into it here. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have nothing to say about this. These topics are interesting and I could spend hours on them. However, I really didn't want to talk about them in this post. Sorry.

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  38. Scaddenp @36 ,

    you make a good point on the not-so-fine distinction between a political official and a government official.

    Prometheus @many ,

    you are forgetting that the human brain is strongly tuned (sometimes over-tuned) towards pattern recognition.   Most of the habitues here at SkS did not come down in the last shower.   Experience has taught them to recognise an elephant when they see one ~ and even if they see only a small part of the elephant.

    The elephant may think it is largely hidden behind a tree and has not exposed itself fully or significantly . . . but the elephant lacks insight into into its elephantine nature (in more ways than one).

    [Excuse the semi-humorous metaphor ~ and I thought you would be especially amused at its species-specific political association here.]

    _______

    There are many facets to the denial of basic science.  All interesting, psychologically.   Some skeptics or would-be deniers will benefit from undertaking the MOOC mentioned above.   Some won't and never will.

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  39. Photo of elephant in the room, with useful annotations of parts.

    I also mentioned the distinction between government officials and politicians. The later seem more guilty of factual errors, but its currently fashionable to blame officials. The so called deep state conspiracy of officials (yawn, sarc). Just another convenient scapegoat for failings of politicians.

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  40. The interactions with Prometheus have been educational. I offer the following comment in an attempt to reset/reframe the discussion in a way that may be helpful.

    1. Politics is the actions that determine what actions will be taken by leaders. And political decisions determine what is to be encouraged and rewarded and what is to be discourage and penalize.
    2. The essential guiding objective of politics has to be: Improving awareness and understanding and applying that improving knowledge to help develop sustainable improvements for the future of humanity. A diversity of political perspectives can operate under the guidance of that objective. And that objective can be understood to be the fundamental guiding ethical and moral objective of any person's thoughts and actions.
    3. Improving awareness and understanding in the general population regarding climate science related matters is the important objective of SkS and many other websites and organizations.
    4. Political people and groups (often masquerading as Scientific people or Groups), have developed to deliberately oppose the improvement of awareness and understanding of climate science and matters related to climate science. Their objective is not improving awareness and understanding. Their objective is contrary to the essential guiding principle. They oppose/resist improving the awareness and understanding of climate science because the improved understanding leads to the knowledge that developed popular and profitable pursuits of perceptions of personal or tribal superiority relative to Others are Incorrect, Harmful and ultimately unsustainable. And those climate science correction resistant political people/groups have been Uniting with other correction resistant groups all of which are on the political Right (which means they fundamentally resist change - back to the origin of Political Left and Right in France with those wanting change from Royal Rule sitting to the Left of the King, and those Loyal to the King, resisting that change, sitting to his Right - which they incorrectly extend to include resisting correction). The correction resistant Unite in the hopes that collectively they can delay correction of their understandably harmful incorrect beliefs, desires and interests. They can be seen to oppose many improvements of awareness and understanding that lead helpful moral ethical leaders to strive to correct what has developed.
    5. The United politically incorrect correction resistant Right groups promote and defend harmful unsustainable attitudes and actions, including attempting to delay the general population's improvement of awareness and understanding of climate science and the required corrections of developed popular and profitable activity, and the related corrections of perceptions of status that incorrectly developed due to the pursuit of benefit from the harmful unsustainable activity (burning fossil fuels).

    Therefore, scientists (and anyone else), interested in improving the awareness and understanding of climate science, and the related required corrections of what humans have developed, must confront and challenge the politically incorrect opposition to correction that has developed in response to that improving awareness and understanding.

    I am open to changing/correcting any part of that awareness and understanding if Good Reason is provided for doing so.

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  41. It's been educational allright. Let's get back on topic, namely the OP, which I feel that  should copy and paste to encourage everyone to read it attentively again:

    "The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 5 and it will be the 12th run since the very first one in April 2015. Since then, more than 40,000 students from over 180 countries have registered for our MOOC which has been running either as a 7 weeks long paced or a longer running self-paced version like the upcoming one. The next run will be our longest self-paced run thus far and will stay open until December 17 2019, giving you ample time to work through the material at your own pace.

    Our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland and takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation. With all the misinformation and outright lies coming out of Washington regarding climate science - not to mention many other topics in this age of fake news - our MOOC will give you the knowledge to spot and the tools to effectively counter them."

    It is very evident that there is a lot of outright denial, myths and lies. We've seen them countless times, many examples are cited and analyzed on this site. Instances of misleading, misrepresentation, cherry picking, taking out of context, using logical fallacies are in fact quoted or otherwise imported in multiple SkS posts, then debunked. So, now let's look at how one poster chose to interpret these word:

    "The point of this post is to promote the idea that rather than listening to a skeptic, point your finger at anyone other out there skeptical oppinion and tell them they have a psychological 'denial' issue, which not what any persons who supports freedoms of thought should do."

    This is the most grotesque possible misrepresentation of the OP. There is absolutely nothing in the words I initially quoted that could even remotely be construed in that way. It is so far off that it's not even funny. It sets the tone from the get go as highly adversarial, it is a direct accusation of dishonesty, since it makes the assumption that the entire SkS MOOC team's intent is to shoot down by rethorical means any possible dissenting opinion, regarless of its intrinsic value. It is by all means an outrageous statement with no grounding in reality, and nothing is produced to back it up. Later, Prometheus whines about adversarial tone. My take is if you can't take the heat, don't light the fire. Moderators are nonetheless generous enough to let this pass without the customary warning, ironically demonstrating that even a completely dishonest attack can be let through for the sake of debate and openness, the exact opposite of Prometheus' claim. White is black, up is down, well in line with the times...

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  42. Since we have seen very few of these high quality skeptics that Pormetheus claims to defend, I asked for some examples, a reasonable request and also very much on topic. Why is that? The OP presents a course aims at identifying all the non quality hallmarks of fake skepticism, of those how are not sincere, who are not bringing valid questions based on well informed opinions and logical reasoning. Bringing examples of what the MOOC is not aimed at would be as on topic as it gets in this thread. But we don't get that, just excuses and more rhetoric.

    At this point, a definition of rhetoric should be introduced:

    "a. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject: fiery political rhetoric. b. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric."

    There is another shining example of that later. I spent a paragraph outlining a typical example of bad skepticism and dishonest method with the MCIntyre "release the code" BS. It is abundantly clear from my words that the so-called skeptics who participated in that were not of the good kind, as it is patent from the sequence of events. Yet, because I mentioned that McIntyre has FF ties, a fact relevant because it can cause bias or conflict of interest, I am accused of ad-hom and guilt by association. Prometheus owes me an apology on this one, because it is obvious that at no point I try to establigh McIntyre's ties to FF as the cause of the code-releas BS being BS. There is no ad-hom argument in my post but Prometheus  manages to squeeze that in there in the middle all his rhteoric and make himself appear virtuous, despite that he just accused again without any substance.

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  43. In his many words, Promoetheus manages to cloak himself in the virtuous following of such great scientists as Feynman and Einstein. There would be quite a bit to explore in this abusive rhetoric but that really is off topic, for a change.

    I have to disagree with Nigelj when he says that Prometheus is polite, unless it is in the very limited scope of not using profanity, which would not make it through moderation. Prometheus has accused the entire MOOC team, without any substantiation. He has made multiple claims that he could not or would not substantiate, including some that were very much on topic. Normally, that's skating very thin on the edge of being moderated. 

    The funniest part of this exchange is Prometheus' last post, where he summarizes request that were made above in the thread and basically says that he won't respond to any of them. I'm not impressed.

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  44. Phillipe Chantreau @42 &43

    I'm not impressed with Prometheus statements either, as is probably apparent. However I tried to be reasonably non combative, and give him a few points, bearing in mind brutal rhetoric makes us look adversarial.

    It probably comes down to what he means by "psychological denial". I have to assume he just didn't like the examples of logical fallacies and felt they didn't apply to his scientific scepticism. However his rhetoric on bias and politics is full of the same logical fallacies! Did you notice this?

    Prometheus was one of the Greek Gods. A trickster. 

    However its really important people understand at no point did the article suggest all scientific scepticism was based on logical fallacies, just that they are common in the climate scepticism issue. I think more attention should have been placed on these fallacies much earlier in all mass media discussions on the climate issue.

    He suggests this website stay away from politics and fills his own comments with politics. He is trying to have things both ways.

    Anyway you don't need to defend yourself to me. Prometheus raised the issue of alleged relevant sceptical arguments, so its reasonable to ask for a few examples. He raised the claim of bias and has now tried to claim its off topic and all our fault for concentrating on it. I think he's just running away from the issue because he has no real case.

    He would need to show systemic bias in the way government agencies do science. So far all he is come up with are a couple of unrelated operational matters and some 50 year old quote by Einstein that has no real relevance to the issue at hand. And contrary to Prometheus assertions Einstein would have understood logical fallacies perfectly well. They are nothing to do with free speech issues as such.

    However if Prometheus is out there he can make some comments on the open threads like the weekly digest but he must expect to be challenged and not see this as adversity (in the negative sense).

    An easy case can be made that corporate sponsered scientific research is likely to have more bias than any government funding mechanism and / or agency. I think Prometheus sounds like he  / she has libertarian views suspicious of government, and this can easily move from healthy suspicion to tin foil hat material. If Prometheus disagrees explain in detail, and stop dodging the issue with silly claims people are not being constructive.

    There's no evidene of systemic bias in government sponsered research and here is a list of some of the astonishing scientific achievements and technology spinoffs just from the NASA programme alone.

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  45. Fair enough, PhilippeC .

    As far as pattern recognition :-  one of my favorite signs of denialism is the rhetorical mention of Galileo or Einstein or Feynman or Popper [Popper, in reference to "falsifiability"].   That's almost an infallible sign of failure of logic (either as Dunning-Krugerism, and/or insincerity).

    I'd be grateful if you Philippe, Nigelj, or anyone else, could suggest some other prominent names to add to the list.

    Over the years, despite hundreds of cases of faux-skeptics claiming that they have valid evidence or valid references supporting their "position", I have never encountered even a single one who could bring forward any valid evidence.   Typically all they have is deluded, pseudo-scientific ideas and/or tinfoil-hat conspiracy ideation.   Crackpot , Shill , or Conspiracist . . . or a combination thereof.

    So I am not holding my breath in waiting for Prometheus's revelations (if they come at all).

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  46. Can someone please comment on the flaws in this "Fatal flaw in climate change science" video on youtube for me ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYoOcaqCzxo

    He seems to almost totally ignore discussing CO2 and thousands of years of data that does not fit his agenda. Is this person speaking Ben Davidson, and whoever it is, what are his credentials?

    Thanks in advance for any help any of you are willing to porovide to me, and I understand if everyone is too busy. I will work on this on my own as well.

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  47. Alonerock

    Regarding the Ben Davidson video. I've read somewhere that the guy is a lawyer, a science sceptic, and a conspiracy theorest,  and it all goes beyond climate change.

    I didn't watch his video in full. I gave it 15 minutes, and  he is obviously not a scientist. His main argument appears to be scientists only consider impacts on earths  climate of total solar irradiance and ignore other emissions from the sun including he claims xrays, solar winds, magnetic fluxes and high energy protons and their possible effects on warming. I'm not a physicist, but I would hazard a fairly confident guess that scientists ignore this material because these things have no bearing on earths climate, or are insignificant.

    Physicists know what impact different forms of particles and radiation have, because it's in their training, and so they don't waste time with non starters. In addition there would have to be some proof that these fluxes have changed substantially since the 1980s when warming really started in earnest, and davidson provides none. Instead he just goes on about 11 year cycles and yearly cycles which can't explain a change over a sustained 50 year period of warming. His theories are all just crazy stuff.

    I mean I'm not going to waste my time watching his numerous long videos on all sorts of scientific issues. The guy is a lawyer so is hardly likely to have anything credible to say on particle physics, and has proven he is not a logical thinker and is captured by motivated reasoning as below: 

    realitychallenged.blog/category/motivated-reasoning/

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  48. Alonerock

    Correction. Ben Davidson appears to be claiming climate scientists only consider the UV component of solar irradiance, and ignore the rest so radio waves, xrays, gamma rays, cosmic rays and that they also ignore the solar wind and high energy protons (I confess dont know what high energy protons are about). But as I said scientists obviously don't see these as significant in warming, and they are the experts. 

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  49. Alonerock @46,

    As nigelj @47/48, I too have not seen the need to watch the whole video (or actually listen - I was multi-tasking). I managed 9 minutes of the forty.

    The speaker sets out that Total Slar Irradiance dips by up to 0.3% during a solar storm and also that this is not a good measure of the Climate Forcing for such an event. Indeed, it is argued the dip is likely the opposite - an increase in Climate Forcing. Further, this 0.3% dip in TSI is of the same magnitude as AGW and the only way we can assess AGW is by subtracting the natural Climate Forcings. Thus we have a problem if the natural Climate Forcing is so poorly accounted.

    The speaker seems to be on the path of attributing recent global warming, not to AGW, but to the 0.3% dips in TSI which are not dips at all.

    And the problems with such a proposal are:-

    (1) The 0.3% occurs for just a day or two every few years (that is the major ones - the biggest by far was 0.3% or 4Wm^-2 and occurred once for three days back in 2003) while the assumption (which would make the 0.3% significant) is that such events are working 24/7/365, as is AGW.

    (2) If such events were being mis-accounted by climatology (as claimed) and they were significant (as claimed), it would have to be demonstrated that such events are coincidental with the global warming. Thus these storms must be absent prior to 1970. And the warming must appear in the weeks months following these occasional events. The pre-satellite era has no such data but satellite data shows no indication of a post-1970 phenomenon having just started in 1976. And the best of luck matching the magnitude and timing of these big solar flares with climate warming. (The 2003 flare was followed by nothing of note bar several 2004 months that were rather cooler than previous.)

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  50. Alonerock,

    Ben Davidson's claim that climate scientists ignore substantial incident energy fluxes is simply false: see this Oregon State University tutorial.

    In any case, attribution of the recent, accelerating rise of global mean surface temperature to enhanced 'greenhouse' forcing is based on the radiative properties of the oceans, land and atmosphere. During the last 60 years, GMST has risen by more 0.9 degrees C (Berkeley Earth dataset), while atmospheric CO2 has increased from 315 ppm to 410 ppm (the Keeling curve). No significant trend in incident energy can be shown in that interval, however: thus the proportional contributions of the regions of the incident EM spectrum, along with high energy particle fluxes, are not relevant.

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