Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Matt Ridley let's debate your "What the climate wars did to science"

{edited for typos and some minor additions 19:30 MDT }

Matt Ridley I've been reading your "What the climate wars did to science" and I'll give it to you, it's one piece of work.  From the bizarre comparison of "Lysenkoism" with two centuries worth of climate science; to your championing that artful misinformer JimSteele (a person who regularly attacks scientists based on misrepresenting the facts, while hiding from debating the merits of his storyline.); then you pile on the malicious Dr. Parmesan slander campaign (while lying about what her paper actually says); etc.; finishing with that lofty plea to 'keep the debate alive'.  It really is too much, still I'm thinking you want a debate, Okay, let's have a debate!  

I believe I can explain why your words are such deceptive theater while outlining the difference between your brand of 'playing games for short term political gain' and scientists commitment to learning in order to understand reality as it is, rather than how we wish it could be.

I challenge you, Matt Ridley, to participate in this public "debate" by rationally explaining why you might disagree with my assessment.  I will post your comments unaltered - I'll even consider a "guest post" from you, if it contains a substantive rational response.

We'll see how it goes.  Since your blog post was six thousand words long and I have very limited free time these days, and people have limited patience, I'll be doing this is smaller segments.  Here I review your first 450 words.


What the climate wars did to science
Published on Sunday, July 05, 2015, updated Sunday, July 05, 2015 
by Matt Ridley - at the so-called  -  5950 words

Policy-based evidence making is all too frequent in climate science

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere

Looks like a double-header considering the noteworthy article by Dana Nuccitelli that SkS shared this morning.  The reason is that I know all too well that implying a grand conspiracy, denigrating scientists and the reactionary dismissal of the significance of a "97% consensus" among actual experts regarding the causes and dangers of society's relentless injection of atmospheric insulation (read greenhouse gases) are about all we can get out of climate science contrarians these days, so I thought this was a must article to add to this collection.

It's about a new study:  "Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial"
By Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer, Scott Brophy, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Michael Marriott

Climate denial linked to conspiratorial thinking in new study

Posted on 8 July 2015 by dana1981

A new study has examined the comments on climate science-denying blogs and found strong evidence of widespread conspiratorial thinking. The study looks at the comments made in response to a previous paper linking science denial and conspiracy theories.

Motivated rejection of science

Three years ago, social scientists Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac published a paper in the journal Psychological Science titled NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

The paper detailed the evidence the scientists found that, using survey data provided by visitors to climate blogs, those exhibiting conspiratorial thinking are more likely to be skeptical of scientists’ conclusions about vaccinations, genetically modified foods, and climate change. This result was replicated in a follow-up study using a representative U.S. sample that obtained the same resultlinking conspiratorial thinking to climate denial.

Of course science denial and conspiracies go hand in hand

This shouldn’t be a terribly shocking result. When confronted with inconvenient science, those in denial often reject the evidence by accusing the experts of fraud or conspiracies. We saw a perfect example of this behavior just a few weeks ago. When scientists at NOAA published a paper finding that there was no ‘pause’ in global warming, one of the most common responses from those in denial involved the conspiratorial accusation that the scientists had somehow fudged the data at the behest of the Obama administration.

Nevertheless, nobody likes being characterized as a conspiracy theorist, and so those in the denial blogosphere reacted negatively to the research of Lewandowsky and colleagues. Ironically, many of the attacks on the study involved conspiratorial accusations, which simply provided more data for the social scientists to analyze. For example, the authors were accused of everything from faked data to collusion between Lewandowsky and the Australian government.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Adam Corner, Announcing the "Uncertainty Handbook"

Adam Corner has written a helpful overview of a new handbook for folks who want to try their hand at communicating climate science to a broader audience.  I downloaded the "Uncertainty Handbook" this evening and found it concise, easy to read and filled with simple logical advice for anyone who want's to engage this important issue. 

I feel it belongs in this collection and thanks to's Creative Commons license I'm able to reprint it over here:


Announcing the Uncertainty Handbook

Posted on 6 July 2015 by Guest Author at

by Adam Corner
Have you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty - inherent in any area of complex science - as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then the new ‘Uncertainty Handbook’ - a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the Climate Outreach & Information Network (COIN) - is for you. The handbook was authored by Dr. Adam Corner (COIN), Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol), Dr Mary Phillips (University of Bristol) and Olga Roberts (COIN). All are experts in their fields and have expertise relating to the role of uncertainty in climate change or how best to communicate it.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on communicating uncertainty into a few pages of practical, easy-to-apply techniques, providing scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate changeDownload the report here, and check out our 12 principles for more effectively communicating climate change uncertainty