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YouTube's Climate Denial Problem

Posted on 3 April 2020 by Guest Author

This video was made by zentouro

In January of 2020, AVAAZ released a report investigating YouTube and Climate Misinformation. Let's talk about it.

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Comments 1 to 42:

  1. You tube's tendency to publish blatant and serious climate 'misinformation' is very frustrating, but you tube like facebook is a profit driven enterprise, and to maximise this means having as many users and as much content as possible. Imho Asking them to self regulate and not publish misinformation is asking them to reduce their profits (although probably only slightly) and they just aren't going to want to do this because it goes against their duty to maximise shareholder value. Or they will make token gestures.

    And these guys are also strong freedom of speech advocates and so are a bit hard to time

    We can and should put pressure on them and shame them, but I fear it will only go so far. Zuckerberg has basically thrown up his hands and said its too hard, the government need to set some content rules. And he's right. Only when you tube and facebook feels some pressure from rules and penalties will they sharpen up their act.

    These platorms are no longer play things just for cat videos and sharing photos. They have the reach, influence and impact of news media organisations, so need to be accountable and subject to a regulatory framework like news organisations mostly are, that demands honesty, accuracy and accountability at the very least.

    Right now they spew a lot of poison hiding behind freedom of speech principles and claiming they are just a provider and not responsible for conent, the same weak excuse the music file sharing websites made. Governments need to get tough while still allowing them room to breathe and not punishing everyday people for minor infringements. There's a balance to be had, but right now its tilted to far in favour of self regulation.

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  2. A few weeks ago I logged back into Facebook after many months' absence (I know; don't judge me).  I started getting "recommended for you" notifications and the bulk of them were denialsts.  Now, as I have never visited such posters on FB before, or anywhere else except very, very occasionaly to do a lot of teeth-sucking, why was that?

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  3. YouTube in-platform corrections are not really a solution. Effective external correction of what is incorrect needs to be happening. YouTube could help by forcing someone who clicks on a misinformation  containing message to first watch an ad with corrrect information. But even that will not effectively address all the nonsense.

    Leadership legitimacy should depend on consistent actions to correct incorrect claim-making.

    Sustainable helpful changes to the ways that Leaders are selected and rejected would be most helpful.

    Everyone's actions add up to become the future. Everyone needs to constantly have expanded awareness and improved understanding with the learning applied to help achieve lasting improvements for Others, especially for the future of humanity.

    A diversity of perspectives would be beneficial. But interests that are contrary to, or distracting from, achieving and improving on important objectives like the Sustainable Development Goals would need to be excluded from consideration by Leadership. Leadership would be expected to be the most aware and understand the need to dismiss disinformation and misinformation and publicly present the correct awareness and understanding.

    Helpful Leadership pursuit of those helpful objectives should not be compromised by Any Other Interests. That would be helped by having "Leadership Representative Recall Rules" based on the actions of the leaders having to be consistent with what is required of Helpful Leadership. The mechanisms would be designed to remove an undeserving Leader based on evidence of their incorrect lack of Helpfulness, no need to wait for the next election.

    Of course, there are now some developed political groups that would be expected to oppose that type of helpful corrective actions because they have developed their parties to be full of people who would be unable to maintain a Leadership position unless they reversed almost every political position they currently espouse in pursuit of popular support.

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  4. You talk a bit too fast....
    "Climate denial" to me is a negative and counter-productive label: To me, Science, by definition, implies arguments on both sides of an issue, and it is somewhat naive to assume that either side is right or wrong.
    In so far as climate change / global warming is concerned, to me there is insufficient knowledge and understanding of the sciences behind either one, as well as insufficient reliable/accurate data. Also, it appears to me that the models used to prognosticate the future of the biosphere's thermal balance/imbalance utilize statistical methodologies to manipulate data, and as such the results are nothing more than a prognostication, albeit an opinion, and do not represent a solution to a problem.
    Take, for instance, atmospheric H2O content: it is pretty much a fact that it varies over a relatively wide range (say from <<1% to about 3 to 4%) just about anywhere on earth over a period of 24 consecutive hours (no wonder why do temperatures can vary for up to and over 50 C during a 24 hr time span anywhere on earth) . It is also a fact that atmospheric H2O content contributes to over about 65% of the greenhouse effect (GHE). Thus, if in fact the temperature is rising, then more H2O must be being added into the atmosphere: the question is then, what is the net effect of this additional H2O on the thermal balance of the biosphere? Note that while H2O has a warming effect both because of its GHE as a gas and cloud droplets, it also has a cooling effect by the clouds reflecting the incoming solar radiation. As far as I know, this question has not been answered.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Offtopic. Also science is by definition the investigation of the natural world by logic, experiment and observation.  Pseudo-skepticism relies on selectively ignoring observations that don't fit a value-based point of view. True scientific debate is about either interpretation of observations or the merits of alternative models which equally agree with observation. 

    "to me there is insufficient knowledge and understanding of the sciences behind either one, as well as insufficient reliable/accurate data." is argument from personal incredulity ignoring the vast amount of observation and study which constrain the models. Put up data or papers to back your position in an appropriate thread otherwise your comment is sloganeering and in violation of comments policy. 

  5. dudo39 @4:
    Much of the science (on water vapor net warming contribution & cloud cooling/warming net contribution) has been long largely hammered out and is settled science (in fact, everything about AGW is pretty much fully settle science). In order to get an inside track on the depth of the science, I would suggest you contact someone at NASA (you could "like" their FB page NASA Climte Change, and start to inquire with them on how to seek extremely indepth help on this or any climate subject).

    I have seen posts on the NASA Climate Change FB page where NASA moderators provide posts that often contains massive lists of links to scores of reports. And, they seem to be able to do this on about any climate topic and at a drop of the hat. So, if you can garner someone's attention there, they should be able to supply you with tons of reports to more than satisfy your quest to know the truth on any part of climate science.

    For starters, I'm sure you've already thoroughly read the SkS Intermediate article on water vapor (HERE). If not, then please read it carefully (it isn't too long) b/c it pretty much touches upon the points / questions that you have. Next, you could go to the much longer CSSR2017 report. It touches on water vapor and cloud influence quite a bit thru-out that long report (note that high clouds cause warming, and low clouds cause cooling ... not all clouds cause cooling).

    Again, there will be realms of other science and reports on the subject of water vapor (and its net warming and positive feedback effect), and on clouds (and its net effect). Again, the above two articles are helpful, but best of all if somehow you could sit down with or talk to a scientist for just a few mins (or via email), then I am sure that they will quickly answer all of your questions. I would think someone at NASA might help, or else a good climate scientist or grad student at any university might be happy to help, especially if you had all of your questions lined up and sent to them in advance. They want the public to really understand the science, so any decent scientist should be more than happy to help you.

    Hopefully, some of the more science repot savvy follks who read this blog will also help supply you here with even more reports to satisfy you on this water vapor subject. Maybe that person would also be kind enough to answer any other questions you have on a separate emails or two (as other questions of yours might get off topic).

    Bottom-line: The totality of AGW science is extremely well settled at this date (in every which way). All you need to do is ask the right person, and you will get more stuff to read than you will ever have time to read to answer your questions in every possible way. It's all out there, it's just a matter, for the general public, to find a good source for getting help on getting answers explained answers both very well and very quickly. This SkS blog site is good, but there are also many, many others (such as NASA people). Just keep looking, the answers are all out there.

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  6. Dudo39 , the scientists are well aware of the actions of the various cloud types & differing latitude effects.  Atmospheric humidity changes (in time and place) are patchy, but nevertheless have a long-term averaging which is well known.  Likewise the cloud alterations have a long-term averaging ~ which has such a small marginal effect of change on climate, that the scientists are quite correct in pointing to the far greater importance of the rising levels of GreenHouse Gasses for AGW outcome (and so their prognostications of future change are largely correct).

    If you wish to discuss this further, then you should post in a more appropriate thread  i.e. not this thread, which is about "denial" specifically.

    More on topic here :-  As far as science denial goes, you seem to be assuming that if you  don't understand the climate science, then the science must be wrong.   That is the mark of a denier, not a skeptic.

    Sauerj points out how easy it is to educate yourself on AGW / climate matters.   It takes some time (more than just reading a few "denier" crackpot blogs on the internet ~ where some blogs misinform  you, and others deliberately give disinformation ).  You will also need to achieve a truly skeptical state of mind (something apparently difficult for those who start with pre-conceived ideas of the denier sort).

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Indeed. All further comments about cloud feedback to this thread please. Further offtopic comments will be deleted.

  7. Dudo39,

    "As far as I know"...

    How far is that? How much exploring have you done?

    Judging by the content of your post, nowhere near enough. Climate models are not statistical models, they are physical model. Plenty of info on that on the appropriate thread, and from NASA. Water vapor and cloud feedbacks have been extensively studied and figure in models. There are nunerous papers published by NASA and NOAA on their methods to adjust data, the reasons to do so and the benefits that it yields. Hint: it does not make temperatures look warmer. Appropriate threads for that also, not difficult to find, use the search function.

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  8. dudo39 @8

    Your comments are mostly misguided. Sorry about that, you will get over it.

    We already know and accept water vapour is a greenhouse gas, but you have to be able to explain why its increased in the atmosphere in recent decades, and the IPCC has determined this is because of the CO2 forcing causing evaporation. The proven underlying thing driving the warming is CO2, with water vapour as a feedback. We know the spectral properties of the water molecule so know how much warming this water vapour causes in comparison to the C02 molecule.

    The one area of doubt is the effect of clouds, but most published research finds they have a slightly positive warming effect overall or are neutral. They cannot be sharply negative or there would be no warming.

    You do not need one million argo floats to sufficiently sample ocean temperatures. And ocean temperature trends are broadly similar to atmospheric and land based trends which you would expect so this provides evidence there are more than enough argo floats, and that 'drift' is not a significant issue.

    The issue with weather stations in northern Russia obviously has little significance for global temperatures, and you provide no link to back up your assertions about Russia. The urban heat island effect is taken into consideration and temperatures are adjusted downwards where its an issue. And research has determined its not a huge issue anyway.Regarding temperature adjustments, Read this article.

    Since you are so conerned about facts, the global temperature dataset as a whole has been adjusted down because of a known issue with ships buoy issues. This is the reality, and is the complete opposite of the false denialist claims that global tempertaures have been adjusted upwards. Read this article.

    Now go away and spread your useless, badly informed doubt somewhere else preferably in a hole in the ground.

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    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Enough. No more dog-piling please.

  9. Moderator,

    rn

    Thanks but no thanks for not posting my previous message, and for all the ridiculous comments.

    rn

    So much for "scientific discourse".

    rn

    Bye

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Your comment was deleted because it was offtopic. Scientific discussion is welcome on the appropriate thread. Scientific discussion contains links to evidence and arguments derived from them. Unsupported opinion is just sloganeering.

    Moderation complaints are always deleted.

  10. I may have sent this before, but I am moved to send it again:

    http://dnusbaum.com/AGWdeniers.html.   I suppose that it is possible that giving evidence that AGW deniers can not do logic (thus are dumb/stupid) is an ad-hominem attack.   I consider it to be descriptive.

    However, you may feel free to take the article and edit it as you see fit.   I grant you complete freedom to do that.

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  11. factotum @10,

    I had a read of your "AGW Deniers are Dumber than Plants" article and can't say I agree with it. Okay, I won't begin by asserting that the first three sentences are flat wrong, but beyond the pedantry of say, subjectivist epistemology, the overall thesis that "deniers are dumb" is simply incorrect. Similarly, the OP's YouTube video isn't correct in describing denialism as simply presenting a never-ending pack of lies. It is more complex than that.

    I did have in mind linking to a particular OP I read some time ago but in trying to track it down I found this one instead which I'll share here as I rather liked the way it begins by saying that a google search on "Why are climate change deniers..." found the 'number one hit' was "Why are climate change deniers so stupid?" I ran the same search myself and found the following ten top of the search results:-

    ♣ Why are climate change deniers using the same twisted strategies as Big Tobacco to instill doubt?
    ♣ Why are Climate Change Deniers Bullying a 16-Year-Old Girl?
    ♣ Why are climate change deniers more likely to be racist?
    ♣ Why are climate change deniers still so prevalent?
    ♣ why are climate change deniers almost always awful people?
    ♣ why are climate change deniers so stupid?
    ♣ Why are climate change deniers like Stephens [Bret Stephens, a columnist for the New York Times] more interested in possible but unlikely scenarios like nuclear attacks by rogue states rather than the real and ongoing threat to national security and global stability posed by climate change?
    ♣ why are climate change deniers so dismissive of science and so ready to embrace continued subsidization, aka corporate welfare, for big oil billionaires?
    ♣ Why are climate change deniers like the Roman emperor Nero?
    ♣ Why are climate change deniers unjustified in their high standards of "skepticism"?

    This OP I link-to sets out the question "Are they just a bunch of idiots who are ignorant of science and incapable of understanding it?" and answers it saying For the most part “No.”   Its a usefully brief account although I feel it fudges one point when it says:-

    "Research has proven that humans are distinctly uncomfortable with events or phenomena without clear causes, and when we don’t know something, we tend to fill in the gaps ourselves."

    Myself, I would take out the bit about "without clear causes". I see denialism as being powerful enough so as not to be restricted to issues "without clear causes," especially in this age of the interweb.

    Of course the interweb isn't that powerful a tool as I failed to locate that article I had in mind about denialism.

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  12. factotum @10, interesting article. Of course it depends how you define "dumb". Clearly many deniers are quite intelligent as MAR points out. But perhaps we can say the denialists are deliberately dumb in the way they reject science and even reality. Then its a question of why do they do this? I would say its because they feel threatened by the effects of climate mitigation in case it restricts their freedoms and short term profit making, just read their comments and its kind of obvious.

    And its fair to say making money is a survivalist thing, but its a near term survivalism focused on immediate profits and freedoms that risks longer term obliteration even of their lives. It's akin to the smoker needing their tobacco hit, furious about big governmnet taxing tobacco, very concerned about personal freedoms,and suspicious of the science even although the habit could kill them. So are they dumb in an evolutionary sense? Sure looks like it. Yet one can also see some level of sense in their concerns and suspicions.

    The question is then why dont the denialists take a wider view of what climate change might do to them further down the road, and why don't they seem to care very much about the effects of climate change on "others"? Perhaps its because thats the way people are, in that evolution has lead to groups of people with different brain structures some very focused on the here and now, some of whom take a longer view. There is in fact published research suggesting this easily enough googled.

    Both long term and short term views are self evidently useful in a survivalist sense, but too much focus just on the immediate here and now can be suicidal, so we have to try to persauade people to look more broadly and longer term, even although changing their innate mode of thinking is hard work. We really have no alternative.

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  13. Nigelj ,

    a large part of that "short-term" thinking is just plain selfishness.

    In my travels in the land of WattsUpWithThat  website, I see many commenters who are thick as two short planks ~ and who are still today in full denial of any planetary warming, and are in full denial of the GreenHouse Effect and especially the role of CO2.   But also a smaller number of reasonably intelligent commenters too (of whom only some are in denial about CO2).

    But once you get past the "total denial of AGW" crowd, you also find the partial deniers  : the lukewarmers who assert the minimal & severely-restricted amount of current Global Warming.  Or others who flip over entirely and assert that the present & future warming can only be a blessing for humanity (as in the allegedly halcyon days of the Roman Warm Period and the MWP).  #More CO2 and CO2 plant food please!

    Now, what is behind these unsupported, unscientific views?   Some of it is sheer "tribal thinking" ~ people who are angry with our changing social world, and who wish to revert to an earlier golden age (in their eyes) of perhaps half a century ago.   And the more intelligent, do indulge in all sorts of convoluted Motivated Reasoning to negate the scientific evidence & scientific assessments.

    And then there are the paranoid ~ the Conspiracy Theorists holding various insane views about all the scientists worldwide being in a century long plot to overthrow Sacred Free-Market Capitalism and install World Communism & an oppressive freedom-destroying undemocratic oligarchy.  The scientists all being "useful idiots" or willing tools of Mr Soros et alia.

    Scratch deeper ~ and you find Money & Selfishness.  Bigger government must surely mean bigger taxing of my money . . . and a World (Socialist) Government will surely mean redistribution  of my money to the undeserving poor of (my) America, and even worse, the redistribution of my money to Third World countries (or any country which isn't the USA).

    So in that way, it comes back to : money & selfishness.  Which are just two sides of the one coin.

    Nature or Nurture as the cause of selfishness?   The larger proportion of such selfishness (expressed as climate denialism) in Americans, is unlikely to be simply genetic traits of personality.   Surely culture & upbringing must be a component : possibly aided (at the local national level)  by much much more Oil Industry propaganda along with the ever-present modern enhanced Tribalism.

    From what I can see in the WUWT  comments sections, with all their anger & resentments about climate science  [presumably just the visible tip of some larger unknowable iceberg]  . . . it is especially the redistribution  threat which is  getting up the nose of the middle class right-wing in the USA.   A selfish group, comprising (at an educated guess) about 15% of the population ~ plus some hangers-on who are just going along with the Tribal slogans.

    And yet, against that  [and as we see in today's Coronavirus emergency] there are many others who are acting nobly & charitably & unselfishly to help their fellow citizens & the community generally.  Three cheers for them!

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  14. Eclectic @13, you are definitely not wrong. I see the same parade of denialist charcters in our media and comments pages and on our own climate denial website here, although I rarely visit it these days. Same old same old.

    And talking about conspiracy theories and thick as two short planks this article on covid 19 is a perfect example. But I still maintain much of the climate denialism is in the deliberate stupidity department and lack of wisdom and objectivity, rather than a low IQ or bad education as such.

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  15. Eclectic @13,

    Your mention of that rogue planetoid Wattsupia prompted me to give the place a quick fly-by. Strangely for a place that brands itself as being "The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change," there aren't many of their grand proclamations nailed up there at the moment that are actually "on global warming and climate change." The flavour of the place is far more Covid-19 with actual AGW coverage presently reduced to a single posting (about modelling black carbon which apparently, with the publication of Fierce et al (2020), can be seen on Wattsupia as showing "Once again, “climate science” fails the tenets of basic science").

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  16. MA Rodger , the marvellous WUWT  that you call rogue planetoid, is not a planet nor a planetoid.  It is more of a moon or lunar body, orbiting the real universe yet not truly part of it.   Yet it draws sustenance from the real universe, just as a tick draws sustenance from its unwilling host.  (You can see that I am laboring to get lunar & tick into the same sentence, to describe WUWT . . . but sadly the intended pun is an uphill labor, and I had better retract it, and move on.)

    For my sins (and for the pleasure of Schadenfreude ) and for my education in the field of psychopathology I am often reading parts of the comments columns at WUWT.    (Of the lead articles there, I would say that 80% of them are not worth reading or maybe just worth a very high-speed skim.)   But the comments columns are a goldmine of mental pathology.

    Not every commenter there is intellectually and/or morally insane.  There are a few notable exceptions ~ pre-eminent is Nick Stokes, who is always worth reading.   Nick is a very well-informed scientific thinker who is regularly (and blandly) correcting the the usual errors & inanities of the run-of-the-mill commenters at WUWT.   He is balanced and scientifically accurate . . . in short, he is the complete opposite of the typical on-line Denialist.   And they hate him for it, and bay for his blood.   Most  non-denialists are quickly booted out by the website proprietor (Mr Anthony Watts) and his Moderators.   Yet Nick Stokes endures, year after year (and AFAICT he is unfailing correct in his observations).   I am sure Anthony Watts keeps tolerating Nick Stokes ~ partly as a demonstration of the [cough] civilized & open-minded nature of the WUWT website . . . as a token "contrarian" [i.e. mainstream scientist] . . . and possibly also as a piece of raw meat to keep inflaming the rabid dogs who frequent the WUWT  columns (and who keep the website hit-rate high, for the benefit of the routine on-line advertisers).

    And yes, just recently WUWT  has been serving up quite a bit of Covid-19 headlines ~ that's out of the ordinary for the site, but surely no worse than all other media outlets at present.   The usual WUWT  articles are sourly scoffing or sneering [e.g. anti-Thunberg] or generally anti-renewables . . . spiced up with the occasional mathematical clangers from Christopher Monckton as he comes up with his bi-annual mathturbational "proofs" that the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is only 1.1 degrees or 0.5 degrees or whatever (or that the scientific Consensus was not 97% but actually 33% or 4% or whatever).   And sometimes other scientific Mc Experts demonstrate (in completely different & incompatible ways) how the mainstream scientists are all wrong about climate.

    WUWT  puts up several new headlines each day.   It's important to keep the flock supplied with fresh clickbait.  And I must admit they occasionally have a brief but interesting article of general interest, including astronomy news.   After all, this is a serious science-based website !

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  17. Eclectic @16, the other reason WUWT keep N Stokes on is probably so they can't be accused of censorship and being anti free speech. As long as they have one regular warmist they can maintain their charade of free speech.

    Psychopaths are self centred and dont like rules, so they are going to be annoyed with the whole climate change mitigation thing, so they will be attracted to the other side. Psychopaths are intensely dishonest so this explains their ridiculous and contradictory denialist rhetoric. They just don't care, as long as they think they can fool people, and they have a captive audience that is easily fooled.

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  18. I commented on the recent "A History of FLICC:..." post with what I think accurately describes Deniers (of any improved awareness or better understanding):

    • People who are less aware, with a related lack of understanding, who are unwilling to learn - including people who have a lack of interest in learning - especially people who sense that learning would require them to change their mind about something they have developed a liking for.

    Everyone else, including the most knowledgeable of experts, are:

    • People who are less aware, with a related lack of understanding, who are interested and willing to learn.

    Deniers are not Dumb or Incapable of learning. They lack an interest in learning, maybe because there is so much they learned that would have to be corrected that they are happier to carry on believing what they developed a liking for - no amount of effort to increase awareness or improve understanding will make much of a dent in those types of made-up minds.

    Tragically for the future of humanity there is a lot of developed Liking that needs to be corrected but resists being corrected because the corrections would be detrimental to many developed Impressions of Superiority Relative to Others. Massive denial resistance easily Drummed up by misleading marketing appeals to people willing to be easily impressed by it is to be expected.

    Sites like WUWT and Dr. Roy Spencer's are like Pied Pipers for people desiring to be misled, not wanting to learn how to be helpful, liking excuses for being harmful. As are all the misleading YouTube bits that this OP is concerned about.

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  19. Came across this litle gem on debating tactics: The Argument Pyramid.

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  20. Since the SkS  scene is a bit quiet at the moment (a covid-19 effect?) , I take the liberty of doing some more waffling about the notorious WUWT  website.   So my apologies for this long post.

    WUWT  claims to be the world's "most viewed site" for global warming and climate change ~ and I have seen no evidence disproving WUWT 's possession of the crown for most popular Climate Denial echo-chamber website status.

    As mentioned above, WUWT  has a rapid churn of headlines to keep its fans interested & clicking-on frequently.   Proprietor Anthony Watts claims WUWT  receives no subsidy from the fossil fuel industries ~ I don't know if this was so in its early days, but it could well be so nowadays.   (There are of course many ways in which secret sponsors can covertly channel funds indirectly to WUWT  or associated entities . . . but that's not immediately relevant to the site's anti-science activities.)   Judging by the large range of of on-line advertising at the WUWT  site, it seems there is no shortage of dollar income ~ and it also suggests that the on-line advertising agencies have examined  & confirmed a high rate of traffic going to the website.

    Nigelj and OPOF ~ my earlier wording that many of the regular WUWT  commenters "are thick as two short planks" . . . was a colloquialism, and was not meaning that Denialists are of lower IQ than the general population.   AFAIK, there is no evidence that Denialists have an average IQ lower than logical thinkers have.   Yes, most of the WUWT  commenters are "pretty average" [another colloquialism!].   But as always ~ it is not whether you are intelligent but whether you actually use the intelligence you have.

    And there are indeed [a few] highly intelligent commenters at WUWT.   My favorite is Willis Eschenbach.  Very intelligent, and he has a sense of humor I like . . . but despite his analytical skills, he nevertheless has a "Dark Side" twist in his psyche ~ such that he always fails in the end to reach the destination of logical synthesis of the full context of the climate issue.   I reckon he has a combination of Motivated Reasoning and Doublethink.   Like so many (all?) Denialists, he somehow manages ultimately to suppress seeing the Bleeding Obvious.

    # There are certain neurological conditions [often, from stroke] where the brain fails to identify the human face, or other objects.   Climate Denialists achieve that status, sometimes wilfully perhaps . . . but eventually it becomes an automatic mental habit to "not see" what their emotions don't want to see.

    Nigelj , as I mentioned earlier, it surely must be that the WUWT  Moderators allow Nick Stokes as a token example of their "non-discrimination" policy.   But there is yet another example ~ Steven Mosher.   Mosher does not come from the strong scientific background of Stokes . . . but over the years he has gained his stripes as a scientist (in a de-facto manner).   IIRC, Mosher was at first rather climate-skeptical, and joined the original BEST project in a sort of literary capacity.   And when the BEST project eventually confirmed the mainstream climate science data, he accordingly "converted" to become a mainstreamer.

    As a convert from "skepticism" , Mosher is loathed and hated by the bulk of WUWT  commenters.   Mosher's style is usually not to go into details on how the OP or fellow commenters have messed up or been stupid . . . but he more often issues a one-liner to point out an error, or he merely says [in effect] : "Sigh. You've gotten it wrong again."   Unsurprisingly, this enrages many of the Denialists.

    Stokes is hated too, and is hated also because he is unfailingly correct , and the Denialists can find no chinks in his scientific armor ~ not that the Denialists at WUWT  would ever change their viewpoint merely because someone publicly proves them wrong !

    In the past, WUWT  had a system where registered commenters could vote a Like  or a Dislike  to any post in the Comments column.   Run-of-the -mill Deniaist comments sometimes garnered one or two or a handful of Likes.   But I always found it amusing to see how every comment by Stokes or Mosher was immediately garnering 20 - 50 Dislikes !   (In a way, it's pity this Like/Dislike barometer got scrubbed.)

    # Over my years of observation, there have not really been any other "anti-Denialists" to stay the course in the hostile environment at the WUWT  comments columns.   Some appear for a little while, then disappear ~ mostly by being censored I think (but doubtless, a few have become tired & disgusted).   Yet I also detect a few who (after banning) resurrect themselves under a new pseudonym.   However, in recent months WUWT  has introduced a new stricter regime of registration to make resurrection far more difficult.   ( It also raises your risk of being doxxed.)

    And no, I myself don't post at WUWT.   The denizens there are largely  rabid political ultra-extremists, quite uncharitable to humanity as a whole.   There are also some (apolitical or non-partisan) scientific crackpots.   But all are hard-core deniers of climate science, and they show zero inclination to become sane.

    #  If you examine the bulk of WUWT  posted articles, you see a strong undercurrent of petulant and childish propaganda slant.   Clearly WUWT  is essentially aiming at the Lowest Common Denominator of everyday Denialists.   (Some Denialist websites exist, which are slightly more high-brow  e.g. Judith Curry's and Roy Spencer's .)   But for rampant psychopathology, my "vote" goes to WUWT.

    My apologies once again for the long post.   I hope readers have found elements informative and/or entertaining.

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  21. Eclectic @20, well I'm stuck at home in covid 19 lock down of severe proportions, so I have a bit of time to read long screeds and respond. You say denialists dont use their intelligence I say its deliberate stupidity, perhaps these are different sides of the same coin. And thanks for your screed its definitely of interest.

    I've only visted WUWT about 5 times, and it was an awful experience so that was enough. I do still like to see both sides of the climate issue, but I tend do do it on our local denialist website that I linked above.

    Several posts in the comments section of WUWT comments section were similar, in that were very technical and definitely from people with a good science education, and quite correct looking at the start, although not terribly germane, then you got to the last paragraph which was usually the "punch line" and it invariably had a huge blunder that a secondary school student should be able to see, and it null and voided all their previous points. Its mystifying how someone can be so technically well versed and then make such a huge obvious blunder. Perhaps this is them doing your "suppressing seeing the bleeding obvious", and just why they do this is not clear but its certainly a notable phenomenon.

    The denialists so often have extreme political views that one suspects this is the underlying reason they "just dont see" plus perhaps some people are psychologically hard wired not to see. Political tribalism and ideologies can become fervent and extreme and could switch off part of the brains logical centre without the person even knowing. As a result they spout rubbish absolutely convinced they are right.

    My politics is a bit tepid and centrist so probably doesn't strongly influence my evaluation of science in that way, at a guess. But those on the right seem "just not to see" with alarming frequency.

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  22. Nigelj , thanks for the link (climatescience.org.nz ~ a marvellous example of unintended irony in title, as is often the case for science-denier websites).

    Although we don't live in Venice, this 2020 is a sort of Year of the Cholera . . . so I shall certainly take time to look through some of that website, for entertainment.

    A quick glance at its First Page listed articles does appear depressingly banal for denialism.   I see that the very-emeritus  Professor Happer gets a mention.   And kind of disappointing there's no prominent mention of Feynman or Galileo  (those names are usually a nice marker for the presence of scientific-pretentiousness in denialism sites).

    Here's hoping there are some unusual gems of madness to be found there.   Sadly, all too many such science-denier sites are filled with nothing but ordinary "cut glass" madness . . . so, rather boring for the gem fossicker.

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  23. Eclectic @22, for gems of imaginative denialist madness try the crank case and bore hole at realclimate.org. Or even their main pages comments section, for example comments by Victor and Ken Maynard.

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  24. Thanks Nigelj , yes I do read Realclimate  from time to time (and note your presence there too ).

    Now I am reporting back after reading the first article listed on Page One of climatescience.org.nz

    # It is a fine example of one style of Denialist propaganda.

    The article is titled, in very large blue letters in upper case :-  [ * Moderators please excuse my use of upper case for this exact quote] :-

    " DROP IN NUMBER OF SUNSPOTS SIGNALS IMMINENCE OF A COOLER WORLD "

    ~ this is followed by a single paragraph in small font, commencing:

    " An important new paper by Dr David Whitehouse for the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals that 2019 was mostly without sunspots.   ... [and finishing:]  This paper discusses some of these issues."     With LINK to the GWPF important new paper .

    Note the typical Denialist technique:

    (A)  The huge headline indicating Imminence of a Cooler World  ( i.e. that the mainstream scientists are wrong about ongoing global warming)

    (B)  An entirely unrigorous newspaper-supplement-like  report (by Dr Whitehouse) is implied to be a respectable scientific paper.   It is no such thing.

    # The editor of this website knows that many of his Denialist clientele will not bother to read past the headline, and they will proceed elsewhere holding the comforting knowledge that the planet is about to enter a cooling phase.

    And that those who do actually read the single paragraph, also will proceed elsewhere, holding that same "Cooling" impression.

    (C)  Those who do follow the link, are met with a multi-page essay headed by beautiful huge photos & artistic illustrations of close-up views of the sun (all looking a bit National Geographic  sciencey).   Followed by 8 pages (plus sciencey reference list) of Whitehouse's text ~ discursively discussing cherry-picked famine in 17th Century France; horrible child mortality in Europe during the Little Ice Age; dire comments from a sermon by a contemporary English preacher . . . and various other irrelevancies including historical aspects of sunspot observations.

    In the end, Whitehouse has given no quantification of the implied  Grand Solar Minimum which is "imminently" about to strike us.   Indeed, regarding future climate, he hasn't really said anything at all.   His "important new paper" is lurid but vacuous commentary.

    As such, it all comes as no surprise to regular readers of SkS.

    Nigelj , I fear that the rest of the NZ website's headlines probably have a similar modus operandi.   Is that correct?  (And does that website have comments columns?)

    I am very much reminded of that propagandist, the marvellous Lord Monckton who boasted that 400 scientific papers demonstrated the worldwide nature and much-higher-than-today warmth of the Medieval Warm Period.   When science-journalist Peter Hadfield (Potholer54) challenged him for the list, Monckton blandly supplied the references [actually a list by Dr Idso].   Hadfield said that he carefully studied the first 6 papers on the list, and found none of them supported Monckton's MWP claims.   So no point reading further down the list.   (Monckton is well known for his bold mendacities/errors.)

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  25. Eclectic @20, thanks for your observations of WUWT. Like nigelj, I made a couple of visits way back when, and have avoided it ever since. Most of my non-blog engagement with deniers is in comments to climate-related articles at NYTimes.com. Lately, to be sure, there's been little enough climate-related content or comment on nytimes.com, with the overwhelming focus on the pandemic. 

    For whatever reason, in the last few years I've noticed fewer of the stubborn, cocky denialists that plagued NYT comment threads earlier this century, and perhaps fewer random drivebys. Editorially, too, the Gray Lady has abandoned false balance. Aside from climate-realist blogs, I'm innocent of social media however, so presumably much public climate-science denial passes me by. And there's no doubt that skilled professional disinformers are still flooding the public sphere, if not the NYT, with pernicious nonsense paid for by fossil-fuel capitalists.

    Sigh. Under the Governor's stay-home order in my vote-by-mail state, I await this year's presidential election with mixed hope and apprehension. I wish good health to you all.

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  26. l Adapted,

    I tried to post on WUWT a few times but it was immediately clear that no-one there cared what the peer reviewed literature said.  I was surprised when someone posted that I was a regular poster at SkS (of course that was true but I didn't think they read here).

    I taught upper level High School chemistry students for 15 years (I retired two years ago).  When I started around 2005, every class had at least three rabid deniers in it.  By 2015 there were virtually no rabid deniers (students often do not like to argue with a teacher so some deniers might have been present and chose not to engage).  There were still a few students who would question the science but not many, and they did not accuse scientists of lying.  The number of students who were concerned increased strongly.

    I would have the students write a report on the NSIDC yearly summary.  Many expressed surprise at how much temperature had changed.  Occasionally I would have a student twice and they would express  surprise the second time they wrote their summary.

    I think a lot of the deniers on Youtube are paid.  Unfortunately, since they post so much it influences some people.

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  27. Eclectic @24, yes I also noticed the tricks the denialists use with the big bold headlines and the paper that sounds like a research paper, but is just an article on a website and so on. Its so much trickery its hard not to conclude its utterly premeditated and deliberate. It has the fingerprint of a Public Relations agency all over it as well, with their spin.

    Some quick cursory reading about the low sunspot numbers during the little ice age shows temperatures only dropped 0.5 degree c and over a long period, to this sort of event won't change modern AGW global warming significantly, if a low sunspot period  was to happen. But the denialists will never mention that of course because they only tell people what they want them to hear.

    Even the name of the "global warming policy foundation" think tank is ironic because they seem to have no policy, except to do nothing about climate change if you count that as policy. But the name makes them sound non partisan and important and neutral, which of course they are not. Its like the Heartland Foundation has this warm harmless sounding title when they are really a nest of snakes promting a hard right economic agenda and climate denial, and talking more out of their posterior than their heart.

    The NZ climate science coalition doesn't allow posting of comments, last time I visited a few months ago.

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  28. Nigelj , please pardon me if I have given you the impression my comments (above) were a sort of "lecture" introducing novel information to naive students.   I know that you and all regular commenters here at SkS  are very much aware of the common propaganda tricks used by Denialists.   Rather, I was aiming to compose my thoughts into semi-formal order.

    Yes, the GWPF  ["sounds important"] is a sort of Heartland  propaganda organization, but more of a one-man-band deriving from a wealthy Englishman (but of course gathering up a team of less-wealthy cronies ~ and some freelance denialist journos plus some "faded scientists" receiving stipend payments).   When its prime funder Lord Lawson (age 88) dies, who will provide all the financing of GWPF ?   Will it then fall apart gradually?   In comparison, Heartland  is somewhat more secure, as it has a multi-decade history of hustling from multiple American sources.

    #  More on your denialist climatescience.org.nz [also "sounds important & sciencey"]  : I am sorry to hear that the website no longer has Comments columns.   Was hoping to experience the flavor of Kiwi Denialists ~ and whether they brought a "regional" tang of madness to the standard international smorgasbord.

    BTW , I did read one further article ~ the one by 80-year-old Professor Happer (co-written with his son).    A very lengthy article, a huge cauldron of soup, swimming with formulae and graphs plus many irrelevancies ["plant food" . . . despotic world socialism threat, etc  . . . the usual suspects . . . almost the full Gish Gallop].    SkS regulars would immediately see all the holes & errors & false logic.   But a naive reader might well think : Wow this is all very impressive, here's a famous scientist who obviously knows his stuff, all this science & mathematics, and he's really intensely skeptical about all that Global Warming palaver.

    Happer's "tour de force" commentary will re-confirm and re-convince the dyed-in-the-wool Denialists in New Zealand ~ but as they are the only ones likely to frequent the climatescience.org.nz  website . . . then probably little harm is done to the general population.

    #  Nigelj , I don't intend to read the public comments attached to NZ newspapers etc.    Worldwide, IMO, such publications attract vast numbers of bots & paid trolls, who flood the comments sections.    No, I reckon the real essence of Denialist insane thinking is best found on Denialist websites : where they believe they are talking to "their own".

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  29. Nigelj , an addendum :-  Yes, the climatescience.org.nz  does have that fingerprint ~ a professional slickness.   Now I am wondering if the scrubbing of all comments sections [rather unusual for a propaganda website] is a sign that they don't wish to deal with presumably-local people.

    Drawing a long bow perhaps ~ but could this mean that the website has been outsourced to international management (Heartland, for example) ??    

    Once you remove local input/interaction, it would take very little effort & expense for an international player to just paste in some samples of their standard propaganda material.

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  30. Eclectic @28 &29, yes I thought you were talking aloud to anyone and everyone, not just me and the regulars. I do this myself at times.

    And the New Zealand climate science coalition has been outsourced, after shooting themselves in their own feet. You can get the history on both on their wikipedia entry, and in more detail below. And this bit of history is an absolute gem:

    theconversation.com/an-insiders-story-of-the-global-attack-on-climate-science-21972

    www.stuff.co.nz/national/7634556/Climate-sceptics-fail-in-Niwa-case

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  31. I guess here is  where i should mention this, beware this morally deficient blog site. See what Wiki says-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Public_Affairs

    It appeared as a popup on Youtube-I get angry now when I read these falsehoods, how many believe this stuff? Except for a different countries name added at end of the title, there seemed many more..

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  32. Sorry to butt in, but since Youtube is Google, after just watching this, should I be more concerned about bias on the internet?  " Google and Amazon are now in the oil business"

    https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/3/21030688/google-amazon-ai-oil-gas

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Hyperlinked URL.

  33. Prove (may I call you "Prove"?:

    To paraphrase something first seen in a comment over at Real Climate: the difference between Google and your local library is that one of the two is trying to make you smarter, while the other is trying to sell you $#!^. Choose carefully.

    For all the amaziing information available on the Internet, you have to remember that much of it is wrong. Critical thinking is more of a need than ever before.

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  34. I am sure I am on topic here and would like to share my opinion.At this point in time the AGW debate is occupying a lot of my thoughts and I am still on the fence.I watch a lot of youtube on both sides of the debate and at this point I believe that there is some merit in the CO2 warming effect however it is being blown out of proportion to reality as most of the predicted events are not happening.I will live for another 20 years and if nothing is happening still where do we go.

    .Sea level due to ice melting and warming expansion

    some claim it is happening and provide data

    some claim there is more ice and provide data

    The sea level is the biggest deal to me all the other claims of ocean acid bushfires drought etc??

    I visit a lot of forums and this one is unique in the only one I feel I have been offended when a comment was posted that anyone who does not believe we are all doomed wholeheartedly is an idiot.

    If this forum is for believers only I will not weigh in again.Regards Duncan

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Fake cries of ad hominem and egregious strawman claims snipped.

  35. duncan61 @34, you claim some data supports sea level rise and some data says there is more ice, so presumably no sea level rise. You give no details or examples or sources.

    Sea level rise is measured by both tidal gauges and satellite and they both unequivocally show sea leve rise. Satellites are also able to monitor the mass balance of ice sheets and show Greenland is losing ice dramatically and Antarctica is losing ice slightly. Glaciers are also monitored and most are losing ice. If you just bothered to read the appropriate information under secptical myths on the left side of this page you can get some details.

    Now the denialist side of the debate typically make claims that glaciers are advancing, but if you read carefully they refer to just a small subset of glaciers, or they say sea ice is increasing somewhere when this doesn't actually affect sea level rise so its not relevant. Or they say Antarctica is not losing ice or much ice, while not mentioning that plenty of other places are. Or sometimes the denialists data is just made up.

    None of this is new, in fact its now almost ancient history. I have several times explained these sorts of climate things diplomatically but you dont seem to get it. I cannot make you understand if you can't or won't, and I can't teach you critical thinking skills if you cant or wont.

    We have tidal gauges and satellites and historical photos and god knows what all pointing to melting ice and sea level rise and its very hard for me to believe these systems of measurement and observation would all be 100% wrong because so many differerent monitoring systems show the same thing. I equally find it hard to believe its all some conspiracy. But perhaps you are built differently.

    Personally I think you are just trolling for attention,  and that you will come back with a whole lot of silly data. 

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  36. Duncan @ 34 , you seem to be getting nowhere fast.

    #  Your problem is that you are swallowing a great bunch of bullshit and only a tiny bunch of scientific facts & analysis.

    What's worse, you don't seem to be trying to recognize the difference between bullshit and fact.

    If you wish to really understand the situation, then educate yourself.  If you are not a keen reader ~ then use Youtube.   Sure, there's a lot more rubbish than reality published on Youtube, and the Youtube organization won't give you any guidance in distinguishing what's what.   So, you yourself will need to choose . . . wisely.

    Duncan, the more you educate yourself, the easier it gets to recognize the bullshit propaganda.   A good start is the Youtube video series by science-journalist Potholer54.   His first video is titled: "Climate Change - the scientific debate" . . . and there are 50 more in the series (most are 5 - 15 minutes long).

    Potholer54 is informative & entertaining (and often amusing, too !)

    He doesn't cover everything . . . but he is very good at pointing out a lot of the bullshit coming from the usual (mostly American) propagandists.   Potholer54 doesn't have an Aussie accent, but he's lived long enough in Australia to get very well acquainted with that good old Aussie word "bullshit".   (Yeah, well, maybe the word wasn't invented in Oz, but most Aussies fancy they have a well-developed Bullshit Detector.   Except you, Duncan ~ your BS Detector seems to be faulty or non-existent . . . or maybe you just choose not to use it on Climate stuff.)

    Get with the strength, Duncan.   Use Youtube & Potholer54.   Then you can come to SkepticalScience for lots of finer details.

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  37. Bob Loblaw@33,yes choose carefully, this climate blog site S S, I use and recommend on my other forums. But what I wondered at 32 is because Google now has increasingly more involvement with the fossel fuel moguls-should the status quo change?

    https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/3/21030688/google-amazon-ai-oil-gas

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Hot-linked URL.

  38. Duncan61 @34,

    You ask about "Sea level due to ice melting and warming expansion" adding "some claim it is happening and provide data, some claim there is more ice and provide data."

    The increase in sea level due to melting ice and warming oceans is easy to demonstrate.

    So I would suggest that the "claim there is more ice" is the point needing examination. You say these "some ... provide data." While I could find some contrarian website with articles attempting to set out such claims (eg here), these may not be what you are looking at. So could you provide a link or two containing the claims you're talking about?

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  39. prove we are smart @37,

    Your contention @32 was that "Google and Amazon are now in the oil business," (this being the title of a webpage @vox.com) and that would bring into question Google's stance on climate denialism with Google being the owners of YouTube. That webpage you link-to actually says very little but more informative are some of its links (eg here) which describe Google, Amazon and others providing services for the oil industry. That isn't quite the same as being 'in' the oil industry.

    Having the oil industry as a client is a relationship many many companies have. The novel point to the the services being offered by Google etc is that it is about using high tech (eg AI) to improve the efficiency of oil extraction, indeed of oil exploration. You may argue the ethics of providing such services, as Michael Mann does in the webpage I linked above which also describes the creation of Google's Oil, Gas & Energy Division. To suggest such moves by Google would cause it to support climate denialism (or cause it not not shut down denialist YouTube content) is surely a bit of a leap.

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  40. Thanks M A Rodger, I feel a little better.. I wonder how well known this is? Capitalism rules..

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  41. prove @37:

    My point, in comment 33, is more along the lines of "you should always have been carefull accepting what you get out of Google, or Youtube, or any other source on the Internet".

    Recent changes do not affect this.

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  42. Although duncan61's time here appears to be over, a few hints to anyone else that wishes to follow a similar path of reasoning:

    1. Scientific disussions don't have "two sides", so you need to look at a lot more than "both of them". Scientific discussions of complex issues (which is pretty much all of them) have a wide range of opinions, hyptheses, theories, and evidence to support them. Some are extremly strongly supported - as a former colleague used to say whenever she dropped something: "gravity still works".
    2. Scientific discussions are not simply a repeated statement of an opnion ("some people say X, some people say Y") - scientific discussions involve presenting and discussing evidence, its strengths and weaknesses, alternate explanations (and how they differ, and what evidence would show that difference and elminate more or more competing explanations).
    3. Scientific discussions provde more details than vague statements such as "some data" or "some people". Be specific, provide sources, and provide details on why a particular source seems convincing or not.
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