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Why SkS withdrew from the Bloggies

Posted on 1 March 2013 by John Cook

The Weblog Awards, aka the Bloggies, is an annual competition honoring blogs in various categories. Finalists are chosen by online nomination and winners are chosen by online voting. This year, Skeptical Science made the finalists of the Science and Technology category. Yesterday, I requested that SkS be withdrawn from the competition, as reported in the Guardian. Why? Because the Bloggies have become inextricably associated with anti-science blogs.

In an inversion of reality, the Science and Technology category is dominated by anti-science blogs that post conspiracy theories about the scientific community, deny the full body of evidence and reject the scientific consensus. The fact that 4 out of 5 science finalists are anti-science demonstrates that the integrity of the Bloggies Award has been compromised. I, like any pro-science blogger, am not comfortable with the notion of competing for an award that has previously been won by anti-science blogs.

It's worth considering why there is such an asymmetry with the award swarmed by readers of anti-climate science blogs but ignored by legitimate science and technology blogs. Quite simply, this is all they've got. Anti-science blogs reject the consensus of evidence in the peer-reviewed literature. They reject the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community. They value the opinion of anonymous internet users over climate scientists actively publishing climate research in the peer-reviewed literature.  They clutch at any life preserver to ward off the rising tide of evidence for dangerous man-made global warming, as demonstrated by the zeal that led to 9 anti-science blogs appearing in the finalists of various categories.

Can the Bloggies free themselves from the association with anti-science and attract back the interest of the science blogging community? It's a tough ask but I see only one way to achieve this. Anti-science blogs should not be allocated to a science category. An expert panel could take an active role in filtering the nominees, to ascertain that they properly qualify in the category for which they have been nominated. Perhaps instituting such a policy may attract science and technology blogs back to the Bloggies Awards in the future, although it may take time for the association with anti-science to wear off.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 116:

  1. Completely agree. When you have the likes of Jo Nova or 'Friend of the Ether' Tallbloke nominated in the 'Science' category we have tuly attained a World Beyond Parody.

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  2. Nothing to do with other websites - these BLOGGIES are a joke.

    Why do you continue to pander to skeptics? They are not important.

    Your original ABOUT page opening line states:

    The goal of Skeptical Science is to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming.

    Stick to this goal only - forget all the competition - just stick to your original motives Mr. Cook. Don't enter ever into a war against these other sites.

     

    Start again explaining the peer reviewed science only - forget these rejects and BLOGGIE people.

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  3. Well done! n/t
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  4. Something I only found out recently: "Tallbloke" posts extensively about the "refutation" of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and the experimental evidence that there is a luminiferous aether (no kidding!).

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/tag/speed-of-light/

    It puts the Bloggies into perspective that his website has been nominated for an award.

    Correct decision, SkS. No point in pretending these are real science sites.

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  5. As inconsequential as the Bloggies are, there's a simple change which could be applied to all of the categories to make the results come closer to the reality of this type of vote: don't call them "Best" (which is an inherent but unverified quality statement) but "Most Popular".

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  6. Is climate science the only science anyone blogs about?

    It is quite crazy to not only have just climate change sites being the only subject, but all but one being climate change skeptic sites.

    The people that have done this are tactically a bunch of drongos.

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  7. I am pleased to see that Skeptical Science put no effort into propping up the Bloggies.    Science communication is important, but that is not a worthy task.  

    Their job is to discover you, if they miss out, then it is their failure, not yours. 

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  8. Well done, John.

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  9. It is to be expected that the other four will spin your withdrawal in a completely different direction.  That's acceptable; no matter what they call the category, this site does not belong in the same category as Nova and whomever.  It's easy to be popular when you are telling people what they want to hear.

    It's nice to be liked, but not worth a breach of integrity.  Good decision.

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  10. I wonder what David Archer would do if he found that he had been put in the same category as Michael Crichton, the difference being that Archer has published good science books, and Crichton has published good science fiction books.  I would not try to change whoever runs the bloggies; it's clear they do not understand the difference.

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  11. When someone gives you an award, they are saying something about you, not the other way around.  In this case, its about the effectiveness of your communication tool, NOT what it is saying.  I would accept the nomination.

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  12. Clearly the right decision.  Mere numbers of enthusiastically supportive fools and knaves obviously fail as a measure of scientific quality.  But more importantly, associating a high quality blog with a discredited awards process only contributes to its undeserved credibility.

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  13. ubrew12: "its about the effectiveness of your communication tool"

    Just exactly what tool is that? The Bloggies seem to be dominated by which blogs can motivate their followers to nominate and vote for them. It's not even about popularity - it's about devotion. SkS simply isn't interested in motivating readers to spend their time doing that, and isn't interested in competing with blogs that do.

    Should Canadian politican Stockwell Day have been forced to change his name to Doris Day, just because over 1 million people thought he should???

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2000/11/16/bc_dorisday001116.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Hour_Has_22_Minutes#Stockwell.2FDoris_petition

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  14. Clearly a Weblog Award is not worth winning.   You can't vote global warming out of existence, any more than you can vote evolution or the germ theory of disease spread out of existence. Why is SkS even wasting time discussing this nonsense?

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  15. At the risk of being called a conspirarcy theorist I recommend checking out an old blog from George monbiot on the lenghts powerful lobbying groups are liable to go to, using the internet, in order to impose their bias www.monbiot.com/2011/02/23/robot-wars/.

    I am aware of the recent posting here on the conspiratorial dispositions of some climate change deniers. However not all conspiracies are equal. The one concerning the funding of climate denial groups are supported by evidence www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network. Also there is plenty of historical precedence whereby corporations have sought to purposefully distort the truth in order to protect their profit interests - e.g., the tobacco companies; the petro-chemical plants in response to Carson's silent spring; the Thalidiomide manufacturers. These come with historical precedence unlike the ridiculous notion of commie environmentalists or climate scientists seeking to boost funding (probabably would've made more working for the private sector). Thus is it beyond reason to percieve these nominations of at least being a potentially dubious quality. I would recommend however not pursuing this suggestion further here without genuine evidence as it is best to pursue proper scientific methods rather than engage in anti-scientific speculation. As it is only right to stick to the integrity of this website and anyway accusations of hypocracy would be inevitable.  

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  16. In the words of one of my favourite performers, Tim Minchin... "Just becuase your ideas are tenacious, doesn't mean that they're worthy." He was referring to religion in general but it could easily applied to climate change denial and to the nomination process of these awards..."Just because you received lots of votes from morons, does not mean you're the best."

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  17. We are talking about blogging right?

    Blogs are a disccusional or informational site published on the WWW.

    The Bloggies is an award system for the most popular blogs, divided in many categories.

    Weblogs win on how popular they are. Readers vote and the blog with the most votes win.

    Lifehacker won the award for most popular science or technology weblog 3 times. Lifehacker didn't win it because it was the most scientifically thorough or truthful. Lifehacker won it because it was the most popular at the time.

    There is even a category for the most popular gay weblog. If the criteria for winning of that award was based solely on its gayness, and not it popularity, we would arrive at a different winner.

    The Bloggies is all about whats trendy and most engaging by its readers.

    So it purely comes down to traffic. You know that John.

    So you want to withdraw you nomination? Thats your right.

    But what about the ones that nominated you. They think you are popular.

    SkS even made the finalists list. That is an achievement in itself.

    (-snip-).

    These 'anti-science' blogs are only popular because their readers enjoy them, and these readers amount to hundreds of thousands if not millions.

    You should thank your readers for voting for you and not making it about the science. You do them a disservice.

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Sloganeering/inflammatory tone snipped.
  18. Political material in general is more popular than science material.  The blogosphere in general is highly-political, and denier blogs are certainly so.  A high chunk of those with political persuasions aligning with views against climate change mitigation will add a few denier blogs to their regular reading.  Pro-science blogs attract mainly those who are interested in science, which is inevitably a smaller subset of the political crowd.  Politics inevitably has a much wider audience than science, so it should be no surprise to see all those GW denier blogs up there in the science category and few other topics.

    Deniers also tend to be more zealous and motivated to influence public perception.  They don't have science or qualified scientists on their side so they go with alternative routes of gaining broader acceptance, and they see Bloggies as one such route.

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  19. Climate4All @17

    There are good science weblogs, other than this one, that devote themselves to explaining peer-reviewed science and discussing the implications. Good examples are Science of Doom, Open Mind, Real Climate and ScienceBlogs. To lump these in with sites who invite and encourage pseudoscience for propaganda purposes makes a mockery of the word "science". Do the Bloggies recognise sites that discuss Intelligent Design, Dowsing, Parapsychology and Homeopathy? If such sites were "popular" should they be promoted to the "scientific" category?

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  20. Climate4All post a long-winded rationalization typical of those who somehow believe you can vote for the laws of physics!

    If it's all just some lumpen popularity contest based around who the fans think is the dreamiest then The Bloggies should simply renounce any category such as 'Best', or 'Science', for that matter. This is the kind of thinking that has McDonalds as the world's best restaurant, One Direction as our greatest musicians, and the Twilight Saga as the greatest set of movies in history. Sad.

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  21. Actually, it's not a measure of popularity at all.  It's a matter of how fanatical your audience is.  

    Remember, this is the "Best Science and Technology Blog" category.  That means it includes some of the 100 highest traffic websites in the world.  Engadget, Mashable, etc.  These are huge sites with millions of visitors a month.

    That WUWT has won this category repeatedly tells you zero about the quality or popularity of the blog.  The only thing it tells you is that Anthony Watts is telling his readers to go nominate him and other websites like his, and they all dutifully follow his command.  

    That's not popularity.  That's a fanatical following.

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  22. BarbelW @5, not the most popular blog.  If that is what it was rewarding, the award would go to the blog with the highest Alexa rank immediately after nominations closed.  Rather, the prize is for the blog with the most vocal supporters.  There are many popular science blogs whose supporters would be disinterested in a campaign for the blog they enjoy to win an unscientifically polled popularity contest.  Indeed, my respect for John Cook and SkS would have decreased had the blog above campaigned for votes rather than withdrawing from this idiotic excercise in finding out which rabble shouts loudest.

    Climate4All @17, as SkS has been previously nominated in the best religious, and best humour awards, it is safe to say that some deniers are prepared to nominate SkS simply for the sake of causing embarassment.  Indeed, I believe just such tactics have been openly canvassed at WUWT, where of course, Anthony Watts annually pleads for votes from his readership.  This makes a mockery of the awards, and the runner of the award should be ashamed that he regularly grants the award for "Best science" to a blog dedicated to pseudo-science.

    Shoyemore @19, don't forget the many non-climate related science blogs out there, eg, the Panda's Thumb, or Pharyngula and of course, many others I am not aware of due to my narrow interests.

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  23. And it wasn't just the finalists that were heavily skewed toward a single science topic. Leo Hickman of the Guardian reckoned yesterday that 13 of the 17 semifinalists were climate contrarian blogs: "Climate sceptics 'capture' the Bloggies' science category".

    Even though the bias of the current voting system toward a single science topic is clear and increasing, Bloggies founder Nikolai Nolan worries that restricting voting to qualified experts would still bias the results in some way. Mr. Nolan, don't let perfect be the enemy of good. If expert voting results in less bias than the current system, it's a good thing.

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  24. Matt Fitzpatrick @23, if his concern is that a more restrictive voting system will introduce a bias, he can adopt the simple expedient of renaming the award "the most popular" blog in each category, and using the Alexa rank (or some other similar ranking system) to determine the winners.  To see the level of distortion in his current system, consider the relative rankings of the five semifinalists in 2012 for best science blog:

    Mashable 325

    engadget 414

    Tech Crunch 525

    gizmodo 14,206

    WattsUpWithThat 26,302

    His system was thoroughly biblical for it made the first last and the last first.  He would have us believe that a pseudoscience site is better than four other genuine science and tech sites, all of which are more popular than the pseudoscience site based on Alexa rating.

    I suspect that his problem is not concerns about biasing the results, but that a different method will significantly reduce traffic to his own site, which must be massively boosted by attempts to stack the vote.

    Regardless of his real concerns, however, if he does not fix his clearly broken system, winning a bloggy will become a mark of shame rather than of distinction.

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  25. Tom Curtis @23 I think that sites like Mashable, and others like it, shouldn't be included in the Bloggies. Sites like that are more of a webzine than a blog. I've always considered blogs to be more interactive. Also, Mashable is more than about science. Its a diverse multi topic webzine. If it was just science, I doubt it would be ranked that high. Blogs encourage reblogging and comments. Just things to keep in mind.

    Shoyemore @19 I really don't know what to make of the types of commentary that use words like anti-science and pseudoscience. I'm sure words of that sort was heard often by Copernicus,Galileo,Newton, etc. We would still think the world was flat with that kind of mentality. Science is about a re-evaluation of the norm. Skepticism should be encouraged, not shunned.

    NewYorkJ@18 You said,"Deniers also tend to be more zealous and motivated to influence public perception"

    (-snip-)

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Sloganeering snipped.
  26. Climate4All...  But the bloggies do not distinguish between those focuses (zines, etc).  In fact, as Tom points out, those blogs where actually nominated in 2012.  But despite having traffic levels that are 100's to 1000's of times larger, they still lost out to WUWT.  

    I mean, if you want you can continue to rationalize aspects of the category until you get down to a description of exactly what WUWT is, then voila!, WUWT is the defacto winner.

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  27. Climaate4All, you're not serious.  Science is essentially skeptical.  What Willis Eschenbach does regularly at WUWT is not skeptical.  The response to Steve Goddard's odd musings is not skeptical.  The WUWT comments policy (or, rather, its enforcement) does not encourage skepticism.  Note that Watts performed his first study on surface stations and didn't get the answer he wanted, so he tried it again (and had a rather embarassing fail, despite having trumpeted it as a back-breaker before it had even been peer-reviewed. What a showcase of skepticism!).  Skepticism is not simply doubt.  Consider the recent Luedecke fiasco.  Would you call editor Zorita's decision to publish Luedecke properly skeptical?  Would you call the Washington Times decision to publish this properly skeptical? 

    What would you call a properly skeptical blog?

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  28. Personally, I prefer the initials B.S. to long words like pseudo-science. That is the best way to refer to the ideas of those who try to convince people that the World is flat or that CO2 snows in Antarctica and phase diagrams are a ploy from conspiracists. Climate4all's conflation of this kind of nonsense with true scientific debate is laughable.  There are such things as anti-science and pseudoscience, they consist of giving something the appearance of science when in fact it is a bunch of BS. Some sites mentioned above are prime sources for this kind of junk. Everybody can have an opinion, some opinions are completely worthless, they're not granted value by virtue of their exsitence. 

    There are some objective criteria in science. Questioning the norm for the sake of doing so when the norm is so well established that everybody who has a clue has moved on, that's pseudo-science. Being skeptical is part of doing science and it is not shunned, except when one is skeptical of things so obvious that they simply demonstrate ignorance or incomprehension of the subject.

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  29. Q: What would you call a properly skeptical blog?

    A: Warmist.

    ;)

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  30. Good choice, John. The Eureka award says all that needs to be said.

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  31. Philippe Chantreau @28 Definition of conflation : blend, fusion; especially : a composite reading or text. I didn't conflate, the voters did. If there were more voters from sites like SkS, Real Climate, Open Mind, etc, this discussion would be mute. So ask yourself, 'why are there more voters from those 'other' sites?'

    Ill rephrase my response to NewYorkJ @18 You said,"Deniers also tend to be more zealous and motivated to influence public perception" My response to this would be to lookup articles with those exact terms you used, and find that it isn't the skeptics chaining themselves to the gates of the whitehouse or demonstrating their rights to demand change.

    DSL @ 27 If we were to judge this post as an assumption of the overall content for SkS, one could say that it has nothing to do with science. But this is just one post. Just as it is at other websites, there are many different articles that have no bearing on climate science.

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    Moderator Response: [DB] All-caps converted to l/c bold per the Comments Policy.
  32. Climate4All @25, regardless of your thoughts on the matter, those blogs where nominated, and by an objective measure were far more popular than WUWT.  WUWT won based on the fanaticism of its followers, not their number and certainly not on the quality of the blog.  It may be inconvenient for you to recognize these facts, but if the Bloggies do not recognize them, and so something quickly to restore credibility, the bloggies will be a mark of poor quality rather than high quality.

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  33. Climate4All @25, Phillippe Chantreau @28, the term "pseudo-science" was invented by philosophers of science as they attempted to determine the distinction between theories like astrology (which is pseudo-scientific) and astronomy (which is scientific).  It was only later that it was discovered that theories like Young Earth Creationism, Scientific[sic] creationism, Intelligent Design Theory, and the vast majority of what purports to be skepticism about AGW also bear the hallmarks of pseudo-science.  IMO, Imre Lakatos's discussion is the best on the subject.

    I must say that Climate4All's response to shoyemore is on a par with an inveterate liar objecting to his lies being called such because recognizing the lies for what they are is an attempt to close down debate.  I'm sorry, C4A, but the deniers excluded themselves voluntarilly from the scientific debate when they decided to resort to pseudo-science.  I am not going to pretend that what they typically do is actual science just for their rhetorical convenience.

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  34. C4A @31, here is an example of the typical disspassionate debate we have come to expect from AGW deniers:

    Of course, you must not have heard of any such demonstrations, or that little thing in the US called the Tea Party to make so fatuous a comment as your response NewYorkJ.

    (And just a little cameo for John Cook, check out the conspiracy theory on a placard in the center rear of the picture.)

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  35. Climate4all, your lecture on conflation is even more laughable than the thing itself, which you perpetrated, not the bloggies. I did not make any mention of the voters. The voters are irrelevant to your argument and my analysis of it.

    I talked only about your conflation. You, not the bloggies, were the one trying to conflate the idiotic ramblings seen on blogs like WUWT to real scientific debate. You, not the bloggies, suggested that calling this BS pseudosience was a bad "mentality" that shuts down scientific debate. That's nonsense. There is no other way to describe it. And now please do not start screaming ad-hom, another concept of which I am quite cogniscent. Saying that BS is BS does not constitute an ad-hom. I analyzed your argument as being a load of it. You can try to demonstrate that it's not, by all means go ahead. However, you will fail, because it truly is BS, that's an objective reality. Not everything is a matter of opinion. When talking about reality, there is a right answer.

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  36. Tom Curtis @34 | I think the thing I most disagree with is the aggravated use of negative discriptives to label others. I undestand the need to label, but it's regurgitation begins to sound like cries.

    Let me put it another way. Marcello Truzzi wrote about this exact thing in an article called, 'On Skepticism'. Here is a exerpt of that article:

    "Evidence in science  is always a matter of degree and is seldom if ever absolutely conclusive. Some proponents  of anomaly claims, like some critics, seen unwilling to consider evidence in probabilistic  terms, clinging to any slim loose end as though the critic must disprove all evidence  ever put forward for a particular claim."

    If we allow ourselves to diminish doubts,by black balling, name calling and unwilling to consider that science is unsettled, we no longer become scientific skeptics, but pseudo-skeptics. Truzzi even went as far as to describe the difference between the two. Review his work and test yourself on where you might lie on skepticism. Not Climate Change or Anti-Science, but your own approach to science. You might be surprised at the results.

    Personally, I don't support slander. I was a big WUWT reader and commentor there. I even started my own blog. I even practiced the art of getting censored at this site and RC and Tamino. may have even got banned at one of them. Then it occured to me that none of this was about science. But about propaganda. So I quit. I think it has been well over a year since I've commented on any post, anywhere.

    I've been writing a book and doing research on climate forcings. But when I saw John admit to withdrawing from the bloggies and his reasonings, I couldn't resist.

    For Gods sake people, engage one another. 

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  37. Climate4All, in your response to DSL in 27,

    "If we were to judge this post as an assumption of the overall content..."

    At first I thought this was an indication of generaly naiveity about wuwt, but in your latest comment

    "I was a big WUWT reader..."

    Now it's more likely an exercise in obtusity.  DSL'e examples are pretty representative of the kind of material wuwt has (as you should be well aware of) - the regular and blatant misrepresentations it engages in.  There are fundamental differences between this type of site and that of wuwt.  This site is careful to represent the peer-reviewed science accurately, to take a good faith look at the evidence.  It's not perfect, and occasional mistakes are made, but what wuwt does is nothing more than political propaganda.  That is not a pre-determined conclusion, as you are implying here.  It's a conclusion formed from plenty of observations, and these observations are very well-documented here. 

    I'm more sympathetic to your argument on labels.  After using "warmista" and "alarmist" on your blog, maybe you have had a change of heart.  I don't care what labels people use, as long as someone doesn't cry foul about it then proceed to cast similar labels.

     

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  38. I don't read all of those "bloggies" competeing for some abstract "award" so I'm not even qualified to comment here. All I read is useful articles and comments that can enhance my knowledge about the world. with respect to climate science, SkS and RC, and ocasionally other sites referred therein, are such sites.

    I appreciate the quality of moderation making such sites as SkS & RC so clean of rubish that internet is otherwise full of. Thanks guys for your good work! BTW, a post by Tristan at 14:37 PM on 3 March, 2013 falls into the category of nonsense sloganeering that should be deleted. Thanks!

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  39. The 'bloggies' are fine for awards on social topics. They would probably even be fine for factual topics if there weren't large anti-fact communities. However, since that isn't the case I'd agree that boycotting makes sense.

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  40. A climate change contrarian would call a properly skeptical blog 'warmist'. It was a joke.

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  41. Climate4All @36:

    "I think the thing I most disagree with is the aggravated use of negative discriptives to label others."

    Climate4All on his blog:

    "Men of science that support ‘climate change’ use unethical and deceitful rhetoric in order to maintain the control and flow of money to support the biggest scam in the history of Western Civilization."

    The phrase "stunning hypocrissy" comes to mind.  Clearly he does not want to practise what he preaches, but rather simply objects to accurate descriptions being applied to AGW deniers.

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  42. Climate4All

    Words like pseudoscience or anti-science were never used about Copernicus, Gallileo or Newton becasue the term "scientist" was not even coined until the 19th century.

    "Skepticism" is the Apple-pie of denialism. Who could possibly be against "scepticism"? But I think true scepticism is the recognition of the provisional nature of scientific knowledge, and that it will change is response to observations. What do you say to someone who refuses to assimilate and understand evidence, who continually shifts the goalposts and who regurgitates arguments already refuted?

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  43. Hi all!
     
    Just a note about pseudoscience. The term itself is a modern term who started on XX century. The pejorative connotation is still more modern, coming from probably when it was linked with homeopathy, astrology and so on...
     
    For example, Feynman includes Social Science and Economy on pseudosciences (but without the pejorative tone): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtMX_0jDsrw
     
    I am almost sure that Feynman would do the same with Climate Alarmism today (again without the pejorative tone), because in many senses, suffers of identical failures than Economy, Sociology... they are no susceptiuble of falsability, and fail to fulfill the Scientific Method. 
     
    To say that blogs as WUWT, and many other in the same wave are pseudoscience crap, says nothing about these blogs and a lot about the people claiming that. IMHO you better should ask yourself why people read skeptics blogs more than others, and where are the differences.  
     
    Best Regards.
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  44. Climate4All: "For Gods sake people, engage one another."


    I thought you said you weren't interested in discussing the science.

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  45. Ecletikus, you say: "they are no susceptiuble of falsability, and fail to fulfill the Scientific Method."  Precisely what are you talking about?  The fundamental theory has been tested in lab, inferred from satellite (MODIS), and directly measured from surface (e.g. Puckrin et al. 2004).  Are you on just about modeling?  If so, say so.  Blanket coverage usually gets a body into trouble.  If it iss about modeling, perhaps you could list your specific complaints on the appropriate thread.

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  46. Okay, thank you DSL #45. Yes basically I had the computer models in mind. Anyway I'm talking about Climate alarmism as pseudoscience, not about Climate Change, and Climatology as a whole. Please, note these are very different things, isn't it?.

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  47. Not necessarily different, no.  As with the widespread "if by whiskey" arguments using "catastrophic," the term "alarmism" can mean many things to many people.  To me, the current rate of drop in ocean pH is alarming, because acidification events damage sealife, disrupt ecology, and threaten the food supply, and the current rate of drop is likely unprecedented (Honisch et al. 2012).  It wouldn't be so alarming if I knew that the world was preparing to do something about it.  Instead, the world is being successfully influenced by fake skeptic blogs that claim it's no big deal.

    If you look carefully (actually a brief glance will do) at the history of CA, WUWT, Jo Nova, et al., you'll see that advancement of the science is not at all a concern.  These sites attack climate science. They do not work with scientists to advance the science, and they never have.  The rhetoric on these sites screams, "climate science is a hoax! Doubt! Doubt! Doubt!"  I would not characterize them as "pseudoscience."  I understand what Feynman is saying re sociology and psychology.  They are necessarily "soft" because humans are extraordinarily complex, and we have to read ourselves from within our current historical moment, the bias toward which is quite difficult to overcome.  Feynman doesn't account for the more recent advances in cognitive science and the converging sciences of psychology and biochemistry.  

    Climate science is, in general, not "soft" in that way.  The physical processes involved are studied in the usual scientific way, and that study is thoroughly grounded in physics, chemistry, and biology.  Climate modeling has a "soft" aspect simply because the human response is involved.  The variable with the greatest range of movement in all climate modeling regimes is the human response.

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  48. Some 'awards' are not worth the effort. As The Guardian quotes the Bloggies founder:

    But it seems that science blogs would rather complain about the results than try to submit nominations themselves, so I'm not very motivated. No point in eliminating sceptic blogs from the category when there's not much down the list to replace it with.

    Why play in a rigged game when the prize is worth so little?

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  49. Since part of the problem,as pointed out by several commenters,is that the voting is more a sign of zealousness,as opposed to popularity,maybe the Weblog Awards could get around that by restricting the voting to only one vote per person.Not a cure,but that would prevent 'ballot stuffing' so to speak.

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  50. Magma, can the lazy get a live link for that quote?

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