Top 10 most viewed rebuttals in September and October 2019

We recently posted about the Top 5 most viewed rebuttals during the month of October on social media and were surprised that the Facebook post garnered quite some reactions and managed to reach many people. So, here is a more detailed blog post also looking at September data which - most likely due to the "Greta effect" saw some interesting spikes and activities.

Let's start with the ten most popular Skeptical Science rebuttals during October 2019:


Note: this is based on views across rebutal versions where there can be up to three. You can access the rebuttals via these links consensus, impacts, past, meatco2, sun, model, greenhouse, antarctica, and 1970s

What does this tell us?

Although Skeptical Science runs a semi-daily blog on matters of the science of anthropogenic climate change with a particular eye to impediments to climate progress, the site was invented and exists for the primary purpose of combating misinformation and disinformation about anthropogenic climate change.

Given our mission, Skeptical Science's main stock in trade consists of a few hundred articles written and maintained by Skeptical Science volunteers, examining various misconceptions about anthropogenic climate change and derived from peer-reviewed scientific research. These are usually presented in several levels of detail and complexity, allowing readers to get a quick synopsis and then seek deeper understanding if desired. Reflecting the site's reason for being, these standing items are viewed far more frequently than our blog posts.

Many of our articles examine what can be classified as normal and expected misconceptions about climate change. It's a sad fact however that these fallacies are often so amplified via public relations campaigns or other channels that they are pushed across the border between misinformation and disinformation. There are also various objections to the concept of human-caused climate change that are pure invention, divorced from facts and (sadly) likely created solely for the purpose of paralyzing public policy responses to the climate problem we have created for ourselves.

Skeptical Science is visited by several hundred thousand people per month, the vast majority arriving as the result of Google or other search engine queries leading them to our various rebuttal/debunking articles.

Hence the site's statistics serve as a kind of barometer of where public confusion about climate change may lie. The prominence of an article may change over time, an interesting thing to consider in terms of what that might say about the varying winds of public interest and understanding.

September 2019

At first sight, views for September don't look to be very different from October - until you check the Y-axis and realise that the "consensus rebuttal" was accessed over 75,000 times (compared to not quite 56,000 in October):


So, what happened during September which caused the view numbers to be considerably higher than usual? Your guess is as good as ours but if we had to bet, we'd place our money on the "global week of climate action" kicking off on September 20 with a huge global climate strike and followed by Greta Thunberg's "How dare you?" speech to world leaders on Sept. 23. This educated guess is corroborated if we look at the daily views across all rebuttals since January 1, 2019 (click for larger version):


And before you ask: we don't know what caused the distinct negative spike shortly afterwards!

One of the - obvious - drivers for the positive spike was the consensus rebuttal which was accessed more than 4,000 times for both the basic and the intermediate version - even the advanced one saw a "mini spike" (clickfor larger version):

Consensus spike

We'll leave it at that for now but would like to hear from you in the comments, if you'd like to see posts of this type regularly, perhaps once per month?

Posted by BaerbelW on Monday, 11 November, 2019

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