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Opengate - Josh 158

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It looks like John Cook and co at Skeptical Science are in a bit of a tizzy because their secret forum has been exposed to public view. Their complaint is that they have been hacked though John Cook admits that their security is almost non-existent.

What is interesting, in reading some of the excerpts from the forum posted here, is the similarities between the SkS secret forum and the Climategate emails - i.e. we know the facts don't support what we say but don't tell anyone!

That's ok, guys, your secrets are safe with us ;-)

Cartoons by Josh


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Reader Comments (163)

I think I get it now. The Green Father Christmas is nasty, aggressive and has bad breath. As with Splattergate, there’s an element of self-parody (all the green messengers in the 10:10 film were unlikeable). The underlying message seems to be: if you’re willing to make fun of yourself, you can do anything you like - blow people up or hit them, for example.
The warmist message implies total helplessness; the saner ones realise how ridiculous this message is and parody themselves, (savagely, in this case) thus giving themselves a sense of empowerment.
I’m given to self-parody myself, but I don’t find this funny. Tom Curtis does, and he’s certainly one of the saner voices at Skeptical Science.

Mar 27, 2012 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

John Cook has a whole thread of warmist cartoons at

Mar 27, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Jiminy Cricket (Mar 27 @7:18 AM) shows that he has no understanding of science. No scientist (or social scientist, as TCP is social science) commences an experiment with no idea as to what they will find. On the contrary, either they or some respected theorist will have a strong idea of what will be found. The trick is to have the integrity to:

1) Ensure that expectation does not bias the study so that if finds what you expect regardless of the data; and

2) Publish your results regardless of whether or not they find what you expected to find.

With regard to TCP I have a doubt about (1) in that in an over conscientious attempt to ensure the methodology is not biased towards finding what they expect to find, the methodology has become biased against finding what they expect to find.

I have no doubts about the integrity of John Cook with respect to (2). Indeed, I believe opinions where expressed in the forums that the result should be published regardless. Certainly if the results had not been submitted to publication because it found no consensus, I would have objected and myself published the results. What is more, regardless of what you think of my or John Cook's integrity, the public exposure of TCP now means Cook will have to publish the results when they are finally obtained.

Mar 27, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Re green humour, Marc Roberts himself admitted last August that it hasn't really been working all that well.

Preaching to the choir is all very well, in a narcissistic kind of way, but it doesn't seem to spread anything positive, which is what is so desperately needed in a culture obsessed with happy-ever-afters and consumable frivolity.

I find the cartoons on the throbgoblins site not particularly funny, but then I'm probably just one of those shallow people obsessed with happy-ever-afters and consumable frivolity. The curious lack of comments, over the years (even the choir seems rather mute), does seem to support the case that greenery/warmism and humour are not the happiest of bedfellows.

Mar 27, 2012 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

GeoffChambers uses a common phrase used to express frustration or annoyance without any literal intent as though it was intended as such. If it where so intended, there would have been a frame showing Frank hitting Ern.

Once again Geoff shows his intent to quote out of context and misrepresent at very opportunity, and at the same time his lack of a sense of humour.

Mar 27, 2012 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis


"there would have been a frame showing Frank hitting Ern"

Not necessary, as the image has already been planted in the, er, punchline.

Anyway, I don’t think you’ll find many morbidly obese, binge-drinking, Armani-clad Humvee drivers here, although I’m sure it’s an image that SkS would like to project.

Mar 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Tom Curtis (Mar 27, 2012 at 8:01 AM) shows that he has no understanding of science - or social science, as the Consensus Project is social science. (I don’t usually express myself so brutally - the words are Tom’s addressed to Jiminy Cricket).
Social scientists frequently have to use subjective classification procedures of the kind used in the Consensus Project. But the classification should never be done by those running the project. Isn’t that obvious? Published in Nature? This wouldn’t make the school magazine.

Tom tells me I shouldn’t quote the material from Skeptical Science Tree Hut threads out of context. He even says I shouldn’t quote the punchline of a joke out of context.
My take on the Global Warming Fantasy is that the whole thing is one giant Quote out of Context - the context being the Creator’s Greater Scheme of Things. What’s 30 years of satellite pictures of disappearing Arctic sea ice in the context of the history of the planet? (Unless of course you believe the Creator deliberately gave us satellites just in time for us to spot the coming catastrophe).

Who are the real Creationists in this story?

Mar 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Tom, Wikipedia tells us SkS has been around since June 2007, so it's been active for nearly 5 years.

Active for 5 years, and 1 month after JC realised the whole site was open to the public it then gets 'hacked' - or whatever people choose to call it.

It's highly probable the 2 incidents are connected and have everything to do with the lax approach to site security that was long known before the hack.

As one of your own put it:

I'll say it again for the third time.

Move the forum away from the public site.

So in terms of how much SkS needs to take responsibility for the breach by my reckoning quite a lot.

Mar 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid


"that greenery/warmism and humour are not the happiest of bedfellows"

I think it's because, by and large, they take themselves too seriously. Some of the most miserable-looking people I've seen have been the evangelists in our local town square proclaiming the joy of the afterlife. Like the AGW catastrophists, the wait seemed to be getting to them!

Mar 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

In the mean time, if you don't want to be called "deniers",...""

Heh. You think calling people 'deniers' harms them, or those who use such terminology?

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"in that in an over conscientious attempt to ensure the methodology is not biased towards finding what they expect to find"

Some advice. The paper classification system, though carried out by humans as it is, should not depend on conscientousness. Bias should be eliminated by design, not by intent.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Here's a juicy one.

JC reports receiving an "excellent" email from a one Greg Craven, who Wikipedia describes as "an American high school science teacher and climate change author." (must be that one)

The thread and email topic is "Advice on engaging the public".

Well who mentioned "treat them like mushrooms"?

(email contains bold, not transferred)

Here's my two cents on engaging the public:

The biggest obstacles you need to understand are that the public doesn't understand the nature of science, they are unwitting victims of serious confirmation bias, they aren't rational decision-makers, and there is a great deal of anti-intellectual feeling out there. (DO NOT tell them any of this. They'll label you as an arrogant, patronizing intellectual who thinks you're better than them, and stop listening.)

Avoid citing more than one statistic. Statistics almost never change opinions, especially when the other side is skilled in coming up with countering statistics, with the result that the lay person concludes "Well, obviously they don't know yet what's going to happen." Instead use stories, analogies, short and clear chains of reasoning. Evidence does not convince. Recent research (sorry, lost the reference-it's in a recent Science News) actually indicates what I describe in my book as a result of confirmation bias: once an opinion is formed, examination of the evidence simply serves to reinforce the original belief!

Be aware that the press is very defensive about being called "liberal" by the heartland. So they will always give a denier equal weight under the guise of "We just report and let the reader make their own decision." The hell they do. Ask "When the press does a story on the Holocaust, do they give equal time to the revisionists? When they do a story on spacecraft or astronomy, do they give equal time to the flat-earthers? When they do a story on the extinction of the dinosaurs, do they give equal time to the Nessie fans?" Call them on it. In your interviews--trying to avoid making your interviewer defensive and thus not publish your point--point out that it's their job to evaluate what is credible and what's not, and only give a small acknowledgement to the less credible stuff.

Be willing to sacrifice precision in the interest of brevity. The assumption that the press is looking for the truth is completely incorrect. What the press is looking for is a story they can tell, with a hook--and, if they can get it--something provocative (like a manufactured controversy). I know it grates, but give sound bites:
"This level of agreement in science is unprecedented." As you can see from the effectiveness of the denial machine, a striking statement-- even a wrong one--becomes truth to the public, even if carefully taken apart later. The unengaged majority only hears sound bites and headlines. They NEVER read the careful and thorough rebuttal. They're simply too busy with life to do any research. Especially since they've heard environmental doomsday stories their whole life, and we're still here, right? So start taking a page from the opposition--not in their dishonesty, but in their mode of communicating.

Some specific talking points:
[much cut out, find the file for the rest ]
Public opinion has nothing to do with rationality or reality. Like it or not, it's determined by emotion and perception. We need to stop thrashing against the tide, and instead start riding it. We are losing the great unengaged majority more and more each day. That is where the war will be one or lost.

(2010-11-15-Advice on engaging the public.html)

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

This Greg Cretin is basically saying - we're losing the war and here's how to keep losing it. Climate change author indeed.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Tom Curtis,

Does it hurt?

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterIbrahim

@JamesP, the thing is, they could be much more effective (and funnier, too!) if they didn't come across as being so bitter. The Santa cartoon reminded me of the Grinch (who stole Christmas), and the way that Dr Seuss created a hugely entertaining and popular story that was not so much anti-materialistic as it was showing (amongst other things) that there was more to life than materialism. I think that the "more than materialism" message might win hearts and minds for the greens if it was put across in a funny and also life-affirming way, but by tending towards being urgent and angry and bitter-sounding, they defeat their own purpose.

Mar 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Re. Greg Craven

"They'll label you as an arrogant, patronizing intellectual who thinks you're better than them"

I'm sure they do.

Mar 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@Tom, you see what you want to see...

Just like you label me an unscientific denier. I cannot be anything else can I?

Mar 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

More from the Tree Hut:
This is Glenn Tamblyn’s reaction to the outing of Gleick:

And this isn't about science or personal careers and reputations any more. This is a fight for survival. Our civilisations survival. .. We need our own anonymous (or not so anonymous) donors, our own think tanks.... Our Monckton's ... Our assassins.
Anyone got Bill Gates' private number, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson? Our 'side' has got to get professional, ASAP. We don't need to blog. We need to network. Every single blog, organisation, movement is like a platoon in an army. ..This has a lot of similarities to the Vietnam War....And the skeptics are the Viet Cong... Not fighting like 'Gentlemen' at all. And the mainstream guys like Gleick don't know how to deal with this. Queensberry Rules rather than biting and gouging.
..So, either Mother Nature deigns to give the world a terrifying wake up call. Or people like us have to build the greatest guerilla force in human history. Now. Because time is up...Someone needs to convene a council of war of the major environmental movements, blogs, institutes etc. In a smoke filled room (OK, an incense filled room) we need a conspiracy to save humanity.

Mar 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

So Gleick was following "Queensberry Rules" when he used fraudulent impersonation when contacting Heartland? I had no idea.

Mar 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

Thanks, geoffchambers.

Sir, I'd like to withdraw my earlier (March 26, 3:30PM) comment that Glenn Tamblyn possesses a "good mind". It seems I only observed a glimpse of occasional sanity, and I now realise my observation cannot be sustained, generalised or exaggerated whatsoever. Glenn Tamblyn is a mad hatter like everyone else there.

Mar 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM | Registered CommentersHx

I can just picture this quote coming from one of those tree sitters in Josh's toon...

“Michael Mann had a look at my decline rebuttal and told me it could be "more solid". So with the master's red ink over my work, I'm going back and having another look at it.”

Whoops, you shouldn’t have said that, John. Now if someone hacks into the SkS forum, they’ll know we’re all corrupt stooges and our “master” is Michael Mann.

*sarcasm alert*

Saving the world, one wise crack at a time.

Mar 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

There’s a lot of unintentional humour in the Tree Hut Papers.
One of my favourite characters in the SkS inner circle is John Mason, Earth Scientist. He’s had an article at the Guardian, and comments there under at least two names, John Mason and JohntheRock. In neither case does he identify himself as a Guardian contributor.
He’s a neighbour and collaborator of George Monbiot, and seems to have appointed himself Boswell to Monbiot’s Johnson (note to American readers: that’s not rude). He’s always letting us in on tittle tattle from the Welsh Hills, e.g.

I remember a couple of years back after a piece we had collaborated on led to a denier shitstorm, George Monbiot and I were discussing ... this whilst drowning sorrows - it gets to you sometimes, working hard to explain really interesting science then getting carpet-bombed by idiots - nobody's immune to that kind of despondency. One of several possible scenarios we discussed is the one where it gets very bad indeed and the public wake up all at once, but by then we are verging on a triage situation. I'd hate to be a well-known denier at that point.

Mar 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

David (Mar 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM)
If Doctor Mann had been having a look at my decline rebuttal, I’m not sure that I’d want to boast about it in public.
The SkS lurkers are never going to believe that you and I aren’t secretly conspiring...

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

More from the kids' treehut:


I'm sure it's [SkS] having an impact. Keep in mind, the WHOLE GAME is perception: If the skeptics get you to thinking that the case is hopeless, THEN the case really is hopeless.

To take another angle at it, for Tolkien fans: If you look at the strength of Sauron, although he had monsters and powers, his main real weapon, when you boiled it down, was his ability to discourage the other side: individually or by group, by fear or by corruption.

On a more prosaic point, the ultimate defense of a good SkS article is the point that the assertions therein are backed up by cited scientifically accepted papers. So don't argue with us: Go argue with the experts.

UPDATE: I've made a posting at the Benny Hill site on the last point (not about Sauron).


Firstly, being criticized by Montford is a compliment. He's as biased and inaccurate as they come, so if he says you're inaccurate, odds are that means you're actually accurate! Secondly, it's great to read that we're actually convincing some skeptics about the science. Thirdly, the Bishop Hill comments are quite entertaining. The first calls John a cartoonist, which is funny because he and I were just discussing a new cartoon he drew. Another says SkS is as biased as the IPCC, which I find a great compliment!

John Hartz:

After reading some of the comments on Judith Curry's blog, it suddenly dawned on me that climate deniers have transformed what used to be a "debate" about scince into virtual warfare. They are operating in a "take no prisoners" mode while we operate in a "reason will prevail" mode. Their pithy statements resonnate more with the average person than do our scholarly tomes. Perhaps we should go on a vitrual retreat and redefine our strategy and tactics?


The good thing about all this free PR is that more and more people will be coming to check out SkS.

(2011-06-19-Bishop Hill impugns SkS reliability.html)

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Registered CommentersHx

We must mention the Rapid Response Team, apologies if already has been...

I've been waiting for a quieter moment to bring up the Rapid Response Network but now that I think about it, we probably never will have a quieter time. So I'm going to get the ball rolling on this and keep the development percolating away as we furiously pound away on other projects. At the start of the year, I considered this the most significant SkS project of 2011 and if it grows as I hope, it may still be (although so many things are in motion now, who knows where we'll be in a few weeks time, let alone the end of the year).

The point of the Rapid Response Network is fairly simple - monitor skeptic articles in mainstream media and keep track of what responses have been made. So the system will list the latest mainstream articles (and other media, blogs, etc but the emphasis will be on mainstream). Users can log what responses they've made - letters to the editor, post an online comment, call the reporter, submit an opinion piece, etc. So we'll keep track of what's going on, support each other as we attempt responses and by seeing what everyone is doing, will give us ideas of what is possible and how to do it.

Here's a basic flowchart of the system as it will be in its simplest starting out form:

[ext. link]

And then there's the Crusher Crew for which I'm picturing SWAT style commandos who come crashing through your windows when you fail to heed the consensus...

Badgersouth [code name] and I were just discussing the potential of setting up a coordinated "Crusher Crew" where we could pull our collective time and knowledge together in order to pounce on overly vocal deniers on various comments sections of blogs and news articles.

I've had quite a lot of success (I believe) hammering on these people over the past couple of years. I have a few guidelines that I lay out for myself. I'll post them here and we can discuss them...

Those familiar with the film Brazil will have a fair idea of how they operate.

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

In the same thread, there is a John Cook comment that needs to be read in full. Not only does he win over Darth Vader, but he makes Mr Vader richer as well. It also gives a few clues about his brief career as cartoonist and how he ended up cooking the books:

A lot of weird fictional stuff seems to come up related to Dana. He makes WMDs. He's female. Other people make his graphs :-)

I don't think Dana should do a post about the nuclear thing though. It's a marginalised obscure comment in a discussion thread somewhere, doesn't deserve elevation. Remember George Lakoff's "Don't think of an elephant" - as soon as Richard Nixon said "I'm not a crook", all everyone could think of is he's a crook and that's how history remembers him now. By attracting attention to a myth, you strengthen it.

Re converting fathers, my dad also came over from the dark side. We'd had several discussions where he was skeptical about AGW. That he commented that he thought humans were causing global warming at my book launch. I nearly dropped off my chair. Later, first chance I had to have a private discussion with him, I asked what changed his mind. He replied "changed my mind? I've always thought this!" In denial about his own denial!

So I've mused on why he changed his mind. At first, I thought it was the fact that his son got a book published that may have swayed his mind. But the other day, I came up with another theory. He worked out that he would make more money putting solar panels on his roof than investing the money in a term deposit. So he's been calling me regularly giving me updates on the panels - got a quote... ordered... installed... first readings. Cognitive dissonance occurs when our beliefs conflict with our behaviour. But now, suddenly, in his head, climate action was a good thing - he ended up with more money in his pocket. The cognitive dissonance was removed and he stopped being skeptical. It's a theory anyway.

Nik from NYC's comments about me being boilerplate Marxist come from quotes from Climate Change Denial - they're actually from Haydn's portion of the book. My political views are not as well-formed as Haydn (who has been an environmentalist for decades) but I can expect people to take his quotes and apply them to me - that's fair game as my name is on the book.

The cartoonist slur comes because over the last few decades since I did my physics degree, I've dabbled in a number of things - graphic design, cartoons, web programming. I even drew a few cartoons for SkS:

I've thought long and hard about whether to get more active about cartooning, use it in climate messaging, worried it would lead to more "SkS is run by a cartoonist" slurs (and also the extra workload). I'm now thinking I *should* use cartoons more in messaging. We need to use anything and everything to get the message across and not shy from trying things because it might attract criticism. Deniers will throw any mud at us anyway and if they can't find anything, will make stuff up (nuclear weapon, anyone?). So now just the tiny problem - finding more time in the day...

I'm a strong advocate for revising old SkS rebuttals. Not the blog posts - just the rebuttals which are our encyclopedic reference. Peter Gleick has told me they need revising and updating and I agree. Problem is I don't have time to add this to my workload at the moment. So the only way it could happen is if others take this on. I would suggest the following approach, if and only if there is interest from a number of parties in tackling this:

Start a new "Revising rebuttals" forum
If someone sees a rebuttal that needs revision or updating, start a new thread and post suggested text
Others can comment on it, the usual peer review process
Once there's consensus on the update, one of our Admins update the rebuttal with the revision

So this can be an ongoing process of improvement and updating - not an all-out single effort but just adding things as we notice them or as new research emerges. Anyone can contribute to this just by starting a thread on the forum.

Also, I'm about to start posting info on how we can improve our messaging - we can most likely apply these to old rebuttals - particularly the Basic versions. In fact, if we do major revisions of old rebuttals, it would also be worthwhile posting them as blog posts to get the information back out there in the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with repetition - in fact, it's essential to get the message across.

(2011-06-19-Bishop Hill impugns SkS reliability.html)

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM | Registered CommentersHx

Well waddya know?

SkS want to stick to the science and make sure they cite peer reviewed papers for everything. Nothing wrong with that.

In private they are a bit more scathing about some contrarians than they are in public. What a surprise!

They are concerned about public perception of the politics of climate change and that simplistic and scientifically naive arguments by contrarians can be more effective than attempts to explain the real science to ordinary non scientific people. Sometimes they disagree among themselves about how best to approach that issue.

Doesn't it strike anybody here as interesting that you've got access to all SkS's private emails, or something, and can find nothing remotely indicative of any kind of dishonest practice.

Well, I suppose they do try to snip snark out of their threads, an approach from which this thread could well benefit !



Mar 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler


"Boswell to Monbiot’s Johnson (note to American readers: that’s not rude)"

It sounds pretty damning to me! :-)

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Paul Butler, doesn't it strike you as interesting that these people have a private forum where they spend much time discussing what message to present publicly?

They have a 110KB thread discussing the issue of Gleick being the Heartland leaker. Much fan fare was made of the Heartland leak when it occurred and the thread was updated a few times as events unfolded.

This is the name of the thread I'm referring to above: "WOW! Peter Gleick was 'Heartland Insider'!!!.html"

Privately they went nuts over the revelation that it was Gleick, as did the rest of us.


...publicly the thread was never updated. Gleick's name doesn't even appear on it. Comments making reference to Gleick appended to the thread were deleted as "trolls".

Say what you want about peer reviewed papers Peter, but these are not people interested in an honest open discussion about climate change.

Mar 27, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

John cook on "Using the term denier":

For years, I avoided the term denier because it's so alienating. When Haydn suggested writing a book "Climate Change Denial", I suggested calling it "Climate Change Skepticism" instead. But he firmly insisted on denial because the book is about the phenomena of denial, and fair enough.

I've written a few articles on the ABC website since then, referencing the term denier and outlining scientific evidence, and my observation has been just using the "d-word" so alienates many readers that they can't even process the scientific evidence - it's like it's not even there. So I'm starting to test the idea of softening the language, engaging values that you share in common with your audience, in order to "give the facts a fighting chance".

So I'm writing an article for a Christian magazine - in that one, I start by referencing scripture about how truth is established by two or more witnesses and showing how science runs on the same principle. I've also drafted something I'll send to the ABC where I start by quoting some skeptics demanding evidence, complimenting that attitude.

(2011-06-25-MADE TO STICK Part 4_ Credibility.html)

Trawling through the Tree Hut documents, I earlier noticed how they would occasionally talk about the number of people they "converted" (six is the highest number I've come across), and I was struck by the similarity to a proselytising Christian cult, e.g. how many souls have been saved.

In that thread, one can find that the SkS is a 'broad church' and John Cook a swinging Christian voter:

As a Christian, my faith often dictates how I vote but it really depends on what issues are at stake and I don't consider any one single issue as the magic bullet that decides which way I go. I've actually voted for three different parties in our last three federal elections, with my vote decided by different issues each time (just to demonstrate I'm not an ideologue).

The Quote of the Thread comes from Daniel Bailey:

As much as I would like to consider climate change my primary voting delineation, it must be subborned by my need to stay true to my faith and my race.

(2011-06-25-MADE TO STICK Part 4_ Credibility.html)

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommentersHx

Mar 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Someone needs to convene a council of war...

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

The Mice summoned a council to decide how they might best devise means for obtaining notice of the approach of their great enemy the Cat. Among the many plans devised, the one that found most favor was the proposal to tie a bell to the neck of the Cat, that the Mice, being warned by the sound of the tinkling, might run away and hide themselves in their holes at his approach. But when the Mice further debated who among them should thus "bell the Cat," there was no one found to do it.

Let those who propose be willing to perform.

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought


"a swinging Christian voter"

I think you mean a 'Christian swinging voter'.. :-)

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


Paul Butler, doesn't it strike you as interesting that these people have a private forum where they spend much time discussing what message to present publicly?

No, not really.

They have a 110KB thread discussing the issue of Gleick being the Heartland leaker. Much fan fare was made of the Heartland leak when it occurred and the thread was updated a few times as events unfolded.

etc etc

This is the problem, though David. As far as SkS is concerned the Heartland leak was a side issue and Gleik turned out to be an embarrassment. These things happen.

By then making this argument:

Say what you want about peer reviewed papers Peter, but these are not people interested in an honest open discussion about climate change.

you draw attention to the fact that the alleged 'dishonesty' had nothing to do climate change itself but was just about a detective trail about who has been funding whom and who leaked or stole or invented what. Completely irrelevant to the science of climate change and in fact a distraction. Admit it, if you had found somewhere where they were distorting the actual science this site and others would have been all over it like a rash.


Paul (and not Peter, Gleik or otherwise!)

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

@James P

OK. I got that wrong. :D

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM | Registered CommentersHx

All from "2011-03-08-Call to action - help collect quotes on skeptics.html".

John Cook:

Okay, it's time to get the ball rolling on our Skeptics Resource - short URL - the concept of this resource is to first identify the top 8 or 12 climate deniers - the most famous or most effective ones. Next, pick out 3 to 5 of each skeptic's most famous/egregious quotes then get a climate expert to write a fairly short, hopefully paragraph length definitive answer.
Note, I omitted Monckton as we have some responses in the "Climate Scientists Respond" document which I hope to use. So skeptics that I suggest we focus on, assuming we launch with 12 skeptics (welcome changes):

Pat Michaels
Fred Singer
Steve McIntyre
Roger Pielke Sr
Freeman Dyson
Chris de Freitas
Unless you think others are more deserving of being on the list.

Robert Way:

McIntyre will be hard to pin down. Many before us have tried and not proven to be terribly successful. He is of the weasely type.

Ari Jokimäki:

McIntyre does have less these one-liners (I expect at least some to be found from the Briffa/Yamal incident), but he has rather ugly history of quote-mining (among other things).


That's too bad, but maybe we can have a full list of quotes ready for when they have time to work on it. I think we've got these guys left:

Pat Michaels
Steve McIntyre
Roger Pielke Sr
Chris de Freitas
I bet Gareth could get us some good de Freitas quotes. Michaels should be easy. The tough one is McIntyre.

So why even go after Steve McIntyre if it's so hard to find dirt on him? Isn't that a good indication that he doesn't deserve to be on some hit list? (not that the rest do)

Imagine how easy it would be to pull together some erroneous quotes of Mike Mann, but they go after McIntyre because he's on the "dark side".

The fact they've labeled Steve as a climate denier pretty much proves they aren't even familiar with this stuff.

[Snip. Manners. BH].

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

OK Paul, I'll get back to you on that one after me and the other fellas have formulated a group response in the Tree House, where you aren't invited *nayah nayah*. As you say, ain't nothing wrong with that is there, entirely normal way to go about forum discussions.

Calling Heartland a side-issue to SkS just shows how far your willing to bend the truth to fit your narrative. Go look at the thread they made on their "side-issue".

No one has claimed they have lied about the science, that's your strawman. They certainly do give a one-sided view of it though. In fact you might say that is their raison d'être.

Mar 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The mystery of how it was that Gleick articles in Forbes had so many readers issolved. It is all about SkS astroturfing, research shows.

John Hartz:

Taylor's Jan 12 op-ed, "Please, Global Warming Alarmists, Stop Denying Climate Change - And Science," is a scathing attack on Peter Gleik and his Jan 5 op-ed posted on Forbes.

Gleick responeded to Taylor in the comment thread to Taylor's op-ed. Taylor then responded to Glieck with another scathing attack.

Needless to say, the comment thread is getting heated.

I've posted one comment as "badgersouth1" and will post more.

It would be great if more SkS authors would join the fray and set the record staright.

Taylor and his ilk need to know that Forbes is no longer their exclusive soap-box.

(2012-01-14-Peter Gleick and James Taylor square off on Forbes.html)


Gleick continues to post in hostile territory.

Please help reinforce his message and debunk denier drones by posting on the comment thread to this article.

(2012-01-17-Climate Change, Disbelief, and the Collision between Human and Geologic Time - Peter Gleick - Forbes.html)

Pity Gleick had a meltdown.

Mar 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Registered CommentersHx

Robert Way, quoted above at 5:44 by David, said this about Steve McIntyre:

McIntyre will be hard to pin down. Many before us have tried and not proven to be terribly successful. He is of the weasely type.

"Weasely"? Steve McIntyre is straightforwardness itself - - oh, I get it. Because he doesn't say "what he really thinks" so as to hide the full extent of his denialism. It's so easy when you just know what others think even when they don't say it.

Mar 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

The Shock and Wow: SkS react to Gleick confession.

John Cook:

I am gobsmacked! Did not see this coming at all. It just seems so out of character for Peter, distinguished scientist and head of a scientific institute, to use subterfuge to obtain the documents. It seems unbelievable:

Alex C:

And yeah, wow.

Robert Way:


Andy S:

Groan. An own goal.

The deniers win another PR battle.

John Cook:

Mosher will be positively exploding with glee right now. Of course he's wrong in saying the text of the strategy document matched Gleick's style. But those distinctions will be forgotten.

I feel gutted for Peter. A lapse in judgement that may be devastating for his career.


While this is bad for Gleick, and its bad, if what he said is the truth, and can confirm when he recieved the doc (it sounds like snail mail), it means that someone with insider info wrote that strategy document. But Andy is right about wherer the focus will be.

Oh yeah, wow


Dang. I'm not really sure how to respond to that. John would probably be the guy to do it, knowing Gleick pretty well.

Alex C:

It's all about WattsWattsWatts, isn't it? What does he actually have to hold against Gleick, hm? He'll see him in court my ass.

Robert Way:

This is pretty bad. Gleick should have had better sense than this. Get someone else to do it...



Rob Honeycutt:

This is interesting. But it also confirms that there is an actualy whistleblower inside Heartland who has been trying to get documents out.

"I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name.'

Arg. I missed this on first reading.


Well, we can take reassurance in the fact that the ice will still melt, regardless.

At least we can count on the ice. Sigh.

Rob Honeycutt:

Batten down the hatches. Incoming.

John Hartz:

What if Gleick was "set up" with the strategy document? The "Forces of Evil" are more than capable of pulling off this sort of sting operation.

Brian Purdue:

Desperate times require desperate measures! – when the shock is over Peter will be seen as a martyr to the cause – or we must make him one.

John Cook:

I really doubt Heartland intentionally leaked the strategy document to bait Gleick into this brain explosion. I simply wouldn't have believed he was capable of it except it came directly from himself. Who could anticipate such an action? Noone. Well, maybe Mosher.

To me, this situation echoes the discussions we've been having about moderation. The deniers operate on a whole other level of amorality. They can steal the Climategate emails, noone talks about the theft whatsoever and all the focus is on the scientists... who did nothing wrong. But Denialgate will soon be Gleickgate and all it will be about is the fall of a great scientist. That is a heart breaking tragedy. It's also a reminder that despite what the other side is willing to do, our conduct must be impeachable. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Not just because it's the right thing to do but to do otherwise will eventually play into the denier's hands by becoming a distraction. Climate denial is all about distraction from the scientific evidence and Peter has unfortunately handed them one helluva distraction

(2012-02-21-WOW! Peter Gleick was 'Heartland Insider'!!!.html)

It is a long thread. It is amazing how honest they are when secretly communicating with each other.

I am over with the tree-hutters for the day. Need to have a shower after that exercise.

Mar 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommentersHx

Just to say that the Alex C on that thread is a different Alex C to me. :o)

Mar 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

"... a crescendo of Delingpole-level stupidity and scientific illiteracy .. "

Sounds accurate, and nothing anyone wouldn't say in public about the saddo interpreter of interpretations.

"Consensus, consensus, consensus. Consesus up, consensus down. Good consensus, better consensus, strengthening consensus. Drum, drum, consensus."

Consensus is why Einstein's opponents, in the form of the anti-relativity movement, were deemed a bunch of politically motivated cranks in the end. History repeats itself.

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJ Bowers

You’re just saying that to cover your role as a triple agent. Well done. (My blowing your cover is of course a subtle smokescreen. They still haven’t worked out which one of their inner circle is the agent I’m running).
Thanks David and sHx. It’s one thing to have information in the public sphere; it’s something else to see it laid out in a readable form. When I read rustneversleeps:

Well, we can take reassurance in the fact that the ice will still melt, regardless. At least we can count on the ice. Sigh.
I hear Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”: “We’ll always have Paris.”

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

"At least we can count on the ice"... So they want the ice to melt to win an argument? How bizarre, yet probably, again, not surprising.

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

David, I only just read 'Crusher Crew', very funny! You could not make it up could you? Well, I might try but I don't think I could top that.

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

"At least we can count on the ice"... So they want the ice to melt to win an argument?

Well, apart from the 'global weirding' (see Horizon on the BBC tonight)

But the decline in arctic sea ice is the first clear effect of CO2-induced warming so, yes, for those parts of the general public who are wondering (through political pressure from contrarians) whether what the scientists say is correct, it will be a significant part of the argument



Mar 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

They’re not necessarily going to wait for the ice to melt. Monbiot and his personal sock puppet John Mason sat around musing about when things would get so bad they’d have to practise triage on the deniers.
As Paul Butler points out, it’s not illegal - just very very weird - umpteen variations on the 10:10 fantasy.

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Paul Butler:

the decline in arctic sea ice is the first clear effect of CO2-induced warming so, yes, ... it will be a significant part of theargument
Argument for what? That ice melt when it gets warmer?
Yes, I think the public might buy that. And the next part of your argument is what? Or do we skip directly to “..So let’s build more windmills” ?

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Argument for what? That ice melt when it gets warmer?
Yes, I think the public might buy that. And the next part of your argument is what? Or do we skip directly to “..So let’s build more windmills”

Well Geoff, the physics tells us the increased warmth is down to rising CO2. There's no other convincing explanation. So the first unambiguous symptom of such warmth is what will change the attitudes of the slightly contrarian part of the public.

As for building more windmills. Well, among other things, yes. And no, I don't think windmills will solve our energy challenge by themselves. But apparently Denmark plans to source 50% of its electricity (35% of its energy) from wind



Mar 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

Ice melting...

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Re: J Bowers

Consensus is why Einstein's opponents, in the form of the anti-relativity movement, were deemed a bunch of politically motivated cranks in the end. History repeats itself.

And wasn't it Einstein who said something along the lines of "It does not matter how many agree with me it only takes one to prove me wrong.". Einstein was no fan of science by consensus

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

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