Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > Does Bishop Hill just talk to the converted?

I have follwed BH for a good while and what I see is the converted talking to the converted. I guess BH wants to try and convert those who believe in AGW but it is failing to do that, as we are just talking amongst ourselves?? It merely makes us feel better, as we are surrounded by people who think like us (in general)!

Aug 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

People here regularly do outreach ;-) It helps to have ideas to ponder and/or borrow when talking to others. However, since most climate sites on both sides of the debate count as speciallist, there isn't much passing trade. The odd warmist appears from time to time to do battle but there's little convincing to be done on either side.

Aug 29, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"odd warmist"

That would be Entropic, presumably? :-)

(I exclude Zed, as he appears to be a collective pseudonym, as well as more than odd.)

I don't think you can include Bish, as he publishes in the outside (dead-tree) world. But blogs and Twitter do have an effect, as I'm sure Guido will tell you. And I'm all for feeling better, too..!

Aug 29, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I think it very unlikely that this blog is read regularly only by 'the converted', but even if that were the case, why would that be a bad thing? It is clear that many regulars are engaged in political or scientific work in the wider world, and I suspect that they, like me, appreciate this blog for its liveliness, topicality, and very informative posts and discussions. Here is where one can get a morale boost by noting how decent, genuine, well-informed people are grappling with the issues involved, and getting a sense of the strength, width, and depth of the case against the headstrong alarmism which has so coarsened both political and scientific affairs in recent decades. This helps equip readers, if they so wish, to go out and seek to make an impact on others.

Aug 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I suspect most warmist blogs are read mainly by warmists - eg Neven's hilariously miserabilist take on Arctic sea-ice, or the bizarre blogs run by Tamino and Eli Rabbett (seriously, a guy who personifies himself as a rabbit and habitually writes in the 3rd person). I occasionally visit those sites and read through the comments and the hearty back-slapping and congratulatory tone - just how supremely intelligent they all are - makes me feel ill after a few moments. This blog probably reads just as badly to a devoted warmist. It is a place to take comfort in the fact that not everyone on the planet is as deluded as the warmists. And the approach to warmists - bitbucket, BBD, entropic man - are by no means as hostile as the attacks on realists at the warmista sites. The warmistas rejoice in banning dissent of any kind eg this comment by "neven".

That is not to say that there are no debates, arguments, attacks on this site - as BigYinJames would probably attest. However, I would say that most people are either genuinely sceptical of the truths uttered by climate scientists - which automatically gets them labelled as "fake sceptics" by such as Tamino and Neven - or are frankly disbelieving. This blog is a chamber where similarly-minded people can gather to ensure themselves that they ae not alone in thinking that energy policy is deranged and that climate science is a bag of spanners.

Aug 29, 2013 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I think that true believing warmists are very unlikely to change their views on anything after dropping in on BH. Perhaps even the opposite - they may leave with their beliefs reinforced.

But people such as I was a few years back, who have previously taken little or no interest in 'global warming' 'climate change' etc, but who have started to think there are some things that don't add up and want to look into things must find lots to interest them here.

Aug 29, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

As someone who has never been convinced about CO2 and climate I would regard myself as being unconverted in terms of the Discussion Topic. Be that as it may I have links to Sinclair's Musings (last posting 2008) Ecology: Myths & Frauds (last updated 2011) amongst other sceptical sources. On the other hand I read George at the Guardian and Lean at the Telegraph on a regular basis. I like Steve Goddard's links to old scare stories from the press. In the past I read Real Climate and Open Mind in the end I gave up because of the lack of reality and openness. I find Greenie Watch and good source of articles written by Warmists or from an AGW perspective, I'm always expecting to find something convincing in science but haven't yet.

I suspect there may be a large number of warmist lurkers here. Like Martin A I think they are unlikely to change their minds by contributing here just as I am unlikely to be convinced by either Monbiot or Lean. It seems to me that most of the people who post here regularly have a technical background and deep and wide general knowledge, I not sure that many of the warmists posting elsewhere have a similar wide ranging knowledge base. Perhaps lurkers don't become contributors here because they think the same.

In my teens and twenties I was an avid listener to BBC Radio Home Service then Radio 4, (one programme that sticks in my mind above all others was about Pellagra and its eventual cure). I was also an avid reader of science (fact and fiction), history and geography so was aware of the fact that CO2 and global temperature have little correlation and that the current inter-glacial has been warmer and colder than it is today.

Aug 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

"I guess BH wants to try and convert those who believe in AGW".
That is, as you say, a guess. It may not be true. For CA it is not true.

Aug 29, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I found two words in the initial post unconvincing: 'we' and 'John'. 'John' feels part of 'we'. I assume Entropic Man and 1001 don't. Is every person who has 'followed BH for a good while' part of 'we'? What can it possibly mean to convert someone?

I've just come across Charles Krauthammer's Obama's war on global warming is economic suicide from June. I think that's more the kind of thing. People convert themselves.

Aug 30, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I don't have much to add to, or disagree with, in the comments so far. So I'll quote Professor Phil Jones of UEA and IPCC fame. In the 'climate-gate' email #2621 he opined:

"I recall giving lectures in the past when there would be one person who would disagree with something or all I said in an invited talk. The internet has allowed all these people to find one another unfortunately."

Aug 30, 2013 at 2:41 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I don’t think any of the blogs on either side set out to convert anybody. Essentially, they are just meeting places for discussion between groups of people with similar views. There are exceptions of course. Climate Depot and SkS really only exist to convert people to their way of thinking. I suppose, bearing in mind the reason the site was brought into existence, the same could be said of Real Climate. My impression of the Bish is that his aim is simply to get people to question dogma, to question their own beliefs and to question the beliefs of others, though I stand to be corrected on that of course. For me, that sums up the sceptic position pretty well. As a sceptic, I constantly examine my own views. I wrestle with whether I’m right or wrong all the time. So, it’s not a simple case of persuading people to replace one set of beliefs with another, but rather persuading them to take an honest look at their existing beliefs and countenance the fact that they might just be wrong. I think that’s a worthy aim for any blog no matter which side they bang the drum for.

Where there is an unquestionable effect however, is the role played by the blogs in helping the great mass of undecided lurkers. The people that read the blogs but never comment. Many of those are people who know that they don’t belong with either of the two extremes but are unsure of whereabouts on the spectrum they actually fit in. They may not be particularly scientifically literate (or politically, for that matter) and they may not have the technical chops of such as the engineers. Often for them, therefore, it can be the general tone and diversity of the blog that will be the deciding factor in where they will spend their time until they are able to improve their knowledge well enough to decide which side of the fence they are on. In these cases, blogs like this one win hands down. Apart from Gwen Steffani’s fan page, where else on the net would be a nicer place to be than this blog?

So, in short John, I think you’ve both misread the Bish’s aims for his blog and underestimated what it actually does achieve.

Aug 30, 2013 at 3:42 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

michael hart: Phil Jones has the last word. Thanks for the reminder!

Aug 30, 2013 at 7:24 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Worth remembering Steve Mc's great line late last month:

My attention was drawn to Callendar 1938 by occasional CA reader Phil Jones

as we wonder who the 'we' is and what purpose the set of writers and lurkers may serve.

Aug 30, 2013 at 7:48 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

If there were no blogs like this John then all we would have for information on the GGWS (Great Global Warming Scare) is the distorted reporting of the MSM. As it happens I didn't believe in the GGWS from the get go, because I read that 2500 scientists had said it was true in The South China Morning Post. This immediately set off my BS detector, especially as they were claiming to foresee the future - there have been many such people since ancient times and they've always been wrong. I believe that this, and other sites, serve the purpose of giving the other side of an argument the alarmists don't want to have, that like minded people comment on it isn't surprising. If I was gullible enough to believe in the GGWS it would be a site like this I'd come to populated as it is by elderly curmudgeons (one of whom sent a rather threatening letter to poor Rob Wilson telling him his funding came from the taxpayer not the EU, resulting in Rob fearing for his life and going into witness protection), who nevertheless try to be polite to anyone who comes to give the other side of the argument.

I don't believe we're trying to convert anyone, just to encourage them not to take what's said in the MSM and IPCC's Summary for Policy Makers at face value. Judy Curry was a regular at CA but didn't move her position until she saw the Climategate emails, even though Steve McIntyre's remorseless questioning of the statistics of MBH1998 and Mann et al 2003 was patently true.

Aug 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

As I once said to BitBucket, read the Bish's book. If you are still convinced everything is well in the court of Climate Science then so be it, this blog is not for you.

Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Good point about Judy and CA. Climategate was a gamechanger but it needed climate blogs to give it legs - giving the emails the context that the consensus police were saying they were being taken out of! And our host's brilliant Hockey Stick Illusion came out in the wake of that. How did he know? :)

I became a sceptic around 1992 after hearing an exploration geologist sound off about the issue in a cafe in Bristol. His BS detector set off mine. But such is the complexity of the science and sociology of climate and the related energy debates that I still have a ton to learn. Places like this help.

Aug 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Have to agree with those who think that you are asking the wrong question. I have never had the impression that BH or blogs generally are primarily evangelical in purpose (although it would be interesting if the Bish could chime in at some stage).

For me, blogs like this one, Judy Curry's, CA etc are primarily educational. I have learned an enormous amount about all kinds of things - not just climate science - in an enjoyable and accessible way. Well, maybe not everything at CA is accessible to a non-scientist or non-statistician, but even so some of it is able to be grasped by the general reader.

It is also a 'virtual community' in a real sense, and just like communities IRL we don't all agree about everything, and I'm not just referring to outlier contributors here. There have been plenty of vigorous debates about all sorts of issues even though most of us are sceptical about CAGW. So, it's far from being an echo chamber.

Finally, there are some very good writers and some very witty writers among the regulars. It is a rare day when I don't get a chuckle or three from the head posts, cartoons and comments here. And when people like John Shade are in mid-season form, reading the prose can be pure pleasure.

Aug 31, 2013 at 12:50 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

I think the "we" John uses means he is saying he is one of us (beliefs wise) but he thinks we are not achieving anything, hopefully all the comments will reassure him ^.^

Aug 31, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Registered CommenterDung


The null hypothesis makes them, not us, the converted.

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

I have to agree with johnanna (Aug 31, 12:50 AM) - the writing here is often really good, with wit and wisdom sprinkled throughout posts and comments, and that is a real bonus for the frequent visitor like me.
(I am also very chuffed that she gives me a mention - I don't know to what she refers, but whatever it is I sure hope I can manage some more sometime!)

Sep 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Remember that the ratio of lurkers to posters on internet forums is high. Information and opinions posted here are read by a surprising number of people. Some of them will take it on board.

Sep 1, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

I think the "we" John uses means he is saying he is one of us (beliefs wise)

Martin A just drew attention to the belief of 'john in cheshire' that Richard Dawkins should be executed. Was this belief also part of the 'we'? Such profound differences are almost always glossed over as we pat ourselves on the back for our own greatness but they shouldn't be. With the freedoms of nymity come a lot of things most of us hate. There would be less of them if there was more use of real names - and just for saying something as obvious as this greater numbers of us can also become hated. Divisions. Honesty. Hatred. Dontcha just love 'em.

Sep 2, 2013 at 7:40 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

There is a post from a WWF drone today on the Standing up for Nature blog which could do with some attention. Most habitual commenters including the blog host are uncritical warmists who have completely swallowed the CAGW story and who think Caroline Lucas is a goddess.

Sep 2, 2013 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

I guess it is nice to be reassured by like minded people when reading this sceptical blog. However, it is not necessarily sceptically biased. I do feel that there are some good debates, and as far as I can tell, we respect what we perceive to be the truth. I don't believe that the regulars here would put up with sceptical BS unless intended as a non-serious comment.

So it is a sort of objective scepticism. I guess that Judy Curry's site is the mirror image, where she is an objective warmist. Of course, she is much more technical, whereas this site keeps its finger on the political pulse.

Leaving some of the comments aside, WUWT is also objective and I think it is why these sites are very popular with people seeking some guidance in who and what to believe.

Much of my experience in reading about climate is that I rarely find objectivity. This is a particular problem with the BBC, MSM in general, any site with green connections, NGOs, Government, learned institutions, in fact, it seems to me that the rest of the world is sold on a scientific consensus that is probably a lie. It is rather worrying that the last sentence sounds pretty paranoid, yet people here will recognise the problem. This is where finding like minded people is good therapy!

Sep 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger's Cat: Very nice summary. I think the last paragraph in particular is extremely important. How do we avoid paranoia? For one thing we need to call extremists out (those ostensibly 'on our side', I mean) when they overdraw the intentionality involved or their knowledge of it. I know that I try to do this. On the other hand we need encouragement as we seek to think and express the unthinkable. Geoff Chambers did this for me on 18th August and I was very grateful. Geoff as one of our resident lefties I'm sure reserves the right to deeply disagree with me on many other things. That 'iron sharpening iron' is also a vital feature of Bishop Hill - and a reason I have tried to counter what I would call false consensus here. A complex picture but a worthwhile exercise!

Sep 3, 2013 at 7:48 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake