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Discussion > Is the climate skeptic community too fragmented to be effective?

Shub: Does this reduce the community by one? Not if I remember what Paul said to me once: that there was another PaulM who wasn't him. But which Paul was that? Was there more than one? How could the Paul telling me know how many?

I doubt the community posited in the title. For instance, at the top of the last page Dung and Chris M are finding an outburst by Anthony Watts against Doug Cotton funny. There are two views of community possible here: those who view 'Tony n Doug' as equals in the community and those who would put far greater value on Watts. Anybody who didn't feel the same as I do on this I wouldn't really want to associate with in any meaningful way. There are many similar issues.

UKIP I would see as an effective community. A certain subset of climate skeptics in the UK may be becoming so too - in fact I think there are hopeful signs of this, including the guy at 11 Downing Street. But I think like Richard Bacon on This Week on Thursday we have to dial back on the idea of online community. (Same with the front story of 'The Week', the weekly review of the news from Dennis Publishing, funnily enough, based on one I just saw on the Tube in London.) There is less than meets the eye here and it's best to be real about that.

Nov 25, 2012 at 6:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


You are taking overanalysis way way too far and you clearly do not understand what other people find funny or why.
What I find funny about the outburst by Anthony Watts was not at all connected to the object of his frustration, it was totally about the manic state Anthony had got himself into.
Perhaps you never watched Faulty Towers?
Anthony had unknowingly got himself perfectly into Basil Faulty mode. You probaly would not understand even if you watched it since you have at least one thing in common with dear Basil.#
Basil was a man who knew exactly how he wanted the world to work, unfortunately he could not cope at all when it didnt happen that way.
In episode 1 Basil needs to get to an appointement but his car breaks down, in Basil's mind the car is not supposed to do this and if it DOES then it must be doing it on purpose just to annoy him. Basil gets out of the car, picks up a large fallen branch from a tree and attacks the car. Almost all the humour in the series is about the fact that Basil becomes manic when the world stops behaving in the way (he thinks) it should.
Anthony was a bit manic, that was funny, it would have been funny whether he was angry with me or with a car or with Doug.

I have explained why I found it funny, other people may have found it funny for different reasons yet you appear to lump together all people who found it funny.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterDung

No, you're over-analysing Dung. Give it a rest, there's a good chap.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I am quite happy to give it a rest, but you keep popping up with your ideas on what is wrong with the world and how (you think) it should work.
BTW I was analysing Basil faulty and not you and I was analysing my humour not AWs or anyone else. I have not analysed you and would not wish to do so.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:58 PM | Registered CommenterDung

And nobody else does that on Bishop Hill? You're a bit obsessed with me, poor chap.

Nov 25, 2012 at 7:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Nobody else does what you do Richard, nobody else makes a statement about how things should work and then"suggests" that everyone who thinks differently has a big problem.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Registered CommenterDung

To atone for being involved in the above frank exchange of views ^.^ I will get back on topic.
There IS indeed a community exactly "as posited in the title". However as Rhoda has pointed out the community is diverse and the links tenuous; the only thing that makes us a community is the belief that CAGW is a lie/a mistake/a scam/a fraud. Were we to argue about another topic we may well be at each other's throats (although I doubt it). Everybody appears to be intelligent and literate and most people are objective so I suppose those qualities should be added to what we share.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Richard Drake,

I would appreciate it if you would get out of my thread and stay out. Thanks.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M


Nobody else does what you do Richard, nobody else makes a statement about how things should work and then"suggests" that everyone who thinks differently has a big problem.

Two problems there:

a) Richard Drake doesn't think that everyone who thinks differently to him has a big problem. I just don't, it's not in my nature.

b) But even if I did, on one occasion, in one particular case of a person blatantly defaming me, say, are you really saying that nobody else on Bishop Hill does this? Not BBD? Not Zed? The one person you have become obsessed with is, alone, doing this?

Dungo, your obsession seems to be blinding you, preventing you now from even reading what I am saying. And I have to admit that this has started to make me laugh.

One of the key elements in community is laughter - and separate communities laugh at very different things. This is well illustrated in the reaction to the Watts diatribe against Cotton. You have explained that you and Chris M find it funny in the same way as watching the mad Basil Fawlty beating an inanimate object is funny - in other words Watts has become a figure of ridicule for you.

But it is you and Chris M I find funny - because you seem to want to put Doug Cotton on an equal footing with Anthony Watts, or even place him above Watts. This I find hilarious and ridiculous - a bit like when mydog claimed to have more knowledge of radiative physics than some experts known to Richard Betts and Richard fell off his chair laughing. I was laughing with Richard then and I am both laughing and crying with Anthony Watts (in his obvious frustration and anger) as I read this outburst.

The fact that we laugh at such different things tells me that we are nothing like part of the same community. As I say, there is less here than seems to meet the eye.

And I don't appreciate your attempt to censor this point of view, Dung and Chris M. Community by exclusion of unpalatable feedback? Don't you hate the way the climate consensus does that? I suggest you don't become like them.

Nov 25, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Dung, Drake, Chris
This is beginning to sound like a meeting of the Judaean Liberation Front.
Is that a sign that we’ve come of age, and that sceptics are ready to act like a proper political party?

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers


Only the Bish can "censure" your point of view Richard, However if Chris M creates a discussion and you disrupt that discussion he is entitled at least to ask you to leave, how you respond to that is of course up to you :)


All any of us can do is say what we think and I think Richard has been spreading poison in Bishop Hill for a number of weeks. When he chooses to spread a little more poison then all I can do is try and speak the truth.

I am heartlily sick of Richard to be honest.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Geoff: and you're a very naughty boy.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Meanwhile, can I draw the attention of latecomers to this bunfight to the final paragraph of my original observation, which caused such trauma to the People's Front for the Liberation of Judaea:

UKIP I would see as an effective community. A certain subset of climate skeptics in the UK may be becoming so too - in fact I think there are hopeful signs of this, including the guy at 11 Downing Street. But I think like Richard Bacon on This Week on Thursday we have to dial back on the idea of online community. (Same with the front story of 'The Week', the weekly review of the news from Dennis Publishing, funnily enough, based on one I just saw on the Tube in London.) There is less than meets the eye here and it's best to be real about that.

I wanted to ground this discussion in what I feel is really going on in the UK as far as community is concerned (and I only feel competent to judge the UK). I think the growth of UKIP is very relevant to the skeptic community but there is more than that. Geoff Chambers himself comes from a different place from UKIP politically, I believe, and there are many on all parts of the political spectrum waking up to fuel poverty and much else that has flowed from climate chicanery.

My point being that the climate sceptic community in the UK is in fact in increasingly good shape but online attempts can mislead in various ways. And realism is vital, at every level, when dealing with an ideology based on so much illusion.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard was an early adopter of the discussion thread on "Real names or pseudonyms?" because Richard has some real issues with pseudonyms. That was a very good and well supported thread but there came a point when everyone who was interested had given their point of view and the thread became quiet. Richard was not content so he began making snide remarks about pseudonyms in main blog threads and I responded by asking him to return to the discussion thread. At one point the Bish asked for people to stop discussing anonymity in one of his threads, the next time Richard made a snide comment I replied in the discussion thread and a long and bitter argument ensued after which Richard twice agreed to let it drop and he started a new discussion "Unpalatable feedback" The only people who joined him in that were Shub and myself but it was basically about "the kind of people Richard does not approve of". In the last couple of days Shub and I got tired of it so now Richard is dripping his poison into this discussion thread. NONE OF THIS has anything to do with climate change or politics and is simply Richard venting about people and things that he does not like. Bring back ZDB and get rid of Richard would be my suggestion.

Nov 25, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, you've become obsessed about this and you are the one now derailing this thread, like a few before it. A quick point made on 9th November assumed any honest differences, which I welcomed, would be over within 24 hours. Instead you are still going on about the stuff sixteen days later. Get over it. There are different opinions here about many things. Isn't that precisely one of the points of this thread?

I also sense that for some reason you don't want this debate to be placed in the wider context of the sceptic community in the UK. We see a lot coming together at the moment but you don't want to go there. Issues slayers harp on about online, about which Watts is for me rightly exercised, are by no means central to what is happening in the UK. In fact, I'm convinced that they are a completely separate community in practice, doing damage to the effective coming together of others in the real world. In recent public appearances I think our host has made quite clear that he is mindful of this.

I'm arguing that the UK sceptic community is not too fragmented to be effective but that some online versions may be. I do not see why this should be called poison unless you and the originator of this thread want to give any opinion not meeting your approval - or from the wrong kind of person - that crude epithet.

Nov 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I give you joy Richard, hound people with your views and if you keep them on a discussion thread then well and good. However it would be polite to leave this one since the instigator of this discussion has asked you to do so. I wish you many happy discussions with yourself :)

Nov 25, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Hey, I come here for a good argument, not to be a bystander in a lovers' tiff. This saga of the Space Kadett and Dicky Dick is getting pretty tedious...

Nov 25, 2012 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Thanks for the lesson on politeness, 'poison' pal. I notice that when such insults have ceased you have failed to address a single substantive point I've made. I doubt you have it in you to do that with Richard Drake. But I don't see why your obsessive, fantasy-filled view of me as the ultimate demon of Bishop Hill posters should stop me keeping calm and carrying on. Someone else will eventually come along. And I remain interested in the right shape of future web-based support for many and varied real-world communities protesting against the climate con. The UK, with its history of non-conformity and technical innovation, could still be a great base for that.

Nov 25, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


You are a welcome relief from wall to wall RD hehe.


I did try to educate you about the fact that however wonderful your thoughts are; if nobody agrees with you then your ideas are worth diddly squat and as it happens that is exactly my valuation of your ideas. Let us put this to a fair and logical test shall we sir?
Start a new Discussion thread and hold forth with your ideas, let us see how many people agree with you. Should it be the case that you do end up talking to yourself then could you please put a sock in it?

Nov 25, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Please please tell me where one signs up for the Judaean Liberation Front. If I was able to arrange for a large man shaped and struggling parcel to be shipped to them, could they take it away?

Nov 25, 2012 at 11:19 PM | Registered CommenterDung

A few points:

1. No one was having a go at Anthony Watts, who is one of the good guys. What he said was funny in itself, irrespective of who said it, and even funnier in the context of the slayers vs. lukewarmers history, a sort of climate skeptic insider joke.

2. Shared humour is a good way of establishing and affirming a sense of community, which I am confident I am part of and try to contribute to positively. No one has seriously disputed that we are a community, even if "only" online for many.

3. I for one have welcomed the many and varied contributions to this thread, even and perhaps moreso than average from our resident warmist friend Bitbucket. At least he is prepared to engage, generally without rancour albeit sometimes not entirely on topic.

4. An amicable free-ranging discussion is good from my point of view. Thanks for your contribution Geoff, as perceptive as always. If anyone has anything to add to this topic, the more the merrier. If on the other hand it has run its course, let's let it rest.

Nov 26, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Thanks for that Chris, very helpful. I agree of course that Anthony is one of the good guys - that was my point throughout. I had the impression that you and Dung thought Doug Cotton was one of the good guys too, despite his continued misuse of the rules and social norms of WUWT and other places, that has exasperated Anthony so much. I take it that you're saying that was a false impression of mine? Because of course that fellow-feeling for Watts changes the nature of any laughter big-time.

Nov 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

[deleted - it looks peevish to poke fun at Chris M]

Nov 26, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

ChrisM’s question is an excellent one. I’m sorry I wasn’t in it the beginning, before it got sidetracked by a couple of trolls and a (to my mind) irrelevant dispute.
The result is that Chris’s original question remains unanswered, and some excellent comments (by Laurie Childs, MartinA, Dung, TinyCO2, SandyS, PaulMatthews, and apologies to others I’ve missed) have gone unnoticed.
I’d like to see it start up again.
It would be nice, for a start, to see some comments from two opposing points of view which are frequently expressed on sceptic blogs. One is that there’s no need to organise, because we’re on the point of winning, since the scientific case for CAGW has been routed, and people won’t stand for higher energy bills. This frequently comes from scientists and engineers, who believe that everyone is as rational as them, but you also see it expressed by the likes of Delingpole (possibly tongue on cheek, of course - you never can tell).
The second is the “oriental” point of view, that we’re in for the long haul, and there’s no point in trying to precipitate events.
The former I consider naive, since it doesn’t take into account the complexity of social change. The latter is questionable at least on tactical grounds. The internet has proved itself asa tool of propaganda and contact. Why not test it as an instrument of organisation?
As Richard Drake hinted, I’ve some experience on the Judean Liberation Front front, and I’ve no illusions about the problems of organising anything more complicated than a wine tasting in a cave cooperative. But it’s an idea that needs discussing.
Here’s why.
There are journalists, in the BBC and elsewhere, who don’t buy the official line on “false balance”. Getting both sides of the story is in the genes of any decent journalist. The next time Climate Change is in the news, be it on the publication of IPCC AR5, or for some other reason, they’ll be searching around for someone to interview; for someone whom they can legitimately interview.
For the moment, they have the choice between Lawson or Peiser, because they belong to an organisation with parliamentary support, or Montford, because he’s written a book.
On the other side, there are all those “proper” scientists, but almost any spokesperson of an NGO with “climate” in the title will do. The mere existence of an organisation with “sceptic” in the title might help to tip the balance. It wouldn’t even have to do anything; (what do the majority of Green NGOs “do”?) All we’d have to do is have spokespeople on hand to answer questions, be interviewed, represent an opposing point of view, and be ready to face down the Bob Wards of this world.
It doesn’t sound impossibly difficult.

Which is why I’d like to see the debate on this thread take off again.

Nov 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Welcome geoff :)

I would like to take up your "to organise or not to organise that is the question" question hehe.
I am not saying it could not be done but I think the fact that we all have different beliefs about climate apart from the central one that CAGW is not happening/probably not happening/is not proven to be happening; makes putting out a joint message very hard.

I believe CAGW is not happening because of facts A & B, someone else thinks facts A & B are not relevant but that facts C, X & Z are the key. How would we present a united front?

It is also possible that simply being disorganised lends credibility to our views and our motives.

Nov 26, 2012 at 8:46 PM | Registered CommenterDung