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Published on December 19th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor

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Climate Change Deniers Banned From Reddit’s Science Forum

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December 19th, 2013 by  

Originally published on ThinkProgress.
By Emily Atkin.

shutterstock_161634668

One of Reddit’s most popular sections is /r/science, a forum where even the most curious and uninformed nerd can bulk up on recent, peer-reviewed scientific research. This is possible on /r/science because of its community — more than 4 million people, scientists included, who are more or less genuinely interested in engaging, empirical, and accurate scientific discussion on that material.

But for a long time, that type of discussion — at least surrounding climate change — has been hindered by trolling of the most “rude and uninformed” kind, according to Nathan Allen, a a PhD chemist and /r/science moderator. Which is why the subreddit has since prohibited posts and comments by people who deny the realities of man-made climate change.

“There is a de facto ban of climate denial in /r/science, yes,” Allen told ThinkProgress on Tuesday. “We require submissions to /r/science to be related to recent publications in reputable peer-reviewed journals which effectively excludes any climate denial.”

The news broke on Monday that Reddit’s popular science forum had been enacting the ban when Allen published a post on the popular environmental news site Grist. The announcement sparked outrage on Reddit, which is a website with pages about every topic under the sun. Users post links and text on these pages, which other users vote positively (upvote) or negatively (downvote), so that the most popular posts are at the top of the page.

Allen’s announcement quickly rose to the top of /r/science’s front page. “Candy coated censorship!” one said. “Insecure dictators,” said another.

“Since when is science so concrete that differing opinions are not allowed?” another user complained. “Its actually this sort of behavior that FUELS ‘deniers.’ If man made global warming is so real, why are so many of you NOT willing to discuss it?”

The answer, Allen said, is that the conversation surrounding global warming constantly tends to wade off into a non-scientific, personal debate that is inappropriate for a science discussion forum. “Statements on /r/science must be supported by meaningfully peer-reviewed science,” Allen said.

Where there is no consensus we ask users to support their comments with links to studies and publications. However, the consensus is so overwhelming in the case of climate change that it would effectively be like allowing people to come into a submission on vaccinations and throw around the claim that vaccines cause autism. Our policy limits both deniers and skeptics to the extent that /r/science is for the discussion of current, peer-reviewed research and climate skepticism doesn’t have much to show in that regard.

In his piece on Grist, Allen also noted that, while evolution and vaccines do have their disparagers, “no topic consistently evokes such rude, uninformed, and outspoken opinions as climate change.”

Instead of the reasoned and civil conversations that arise in most threads, when it came to climate change the comment sections became a battleground. Rather than making thoughtful arguments based on peer-reviewed science to refute man-made climate change, contrarians immediately resorted to aggressive behaviors. … After some time interacting with the regular denier posters, it became clear that they could not or would not improve their demeanor. These problematic users were not the common “internet trolls” looking to have a little fun upsetting people. Such users are practically the norm on reddit. These people were true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments were hopelessly flawed, the result of cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking. They had no idea that the smart-sounding talking points from their preferred climate blog were, even to a casual climate science observer, plainly wrong. They were completely enamored by the emotionally charged and rhetoric-based arguments of pundits on talk radio and Fox News.

Allen also noted that the ban on climate deniers on the forum has actually been in effect for the last two to three years, and that before his post on Grist, not very many people seemed to have a problem with it. Most of the readers on /r/science will downvote a submission based on faulty science, he said, so it’s rare to even see one coming up in the subreddit. Indeed, Allen noted, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that man is responsible for our changing climate, which he said should be reflected in scientific discussions.

“As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral,” he said. “So if a half-dozen volunteers can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the anti-scientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?”

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

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  • geraldine

    The moral values that have allowed the practice of science to flourish are things like independence of thought, respect for the truth, openness to new ideas, rejection of authority, tolerance of dissent. Respect for the truth entails *taking prevailing scientific ideas seriously*, not treating particular organisations as legitimate and others as illegitimate. Deal with wrong ideas by contradicting them, or, if they are dishonourably put forward, by ignoring or downvoting them. No censorship! I’m banning censorship!

    • A Real Libertarian

      “respect for the truth”

      And that is consistent with pretending all points of view are equal how?

      • geraldine

        It isn’t. In any controversy, there’s only one correct point of view, but it’s never obvious which one this is. If it were obvious, there’d be no need for the scientific method or rational debate. Meanwhile, if we hope to discover the correct view, we must deal rationally with views that are put forward.

        • A Real Libertarian

          “It isn’t. In any controversy, there’s only one correct point of view, but it’s never obvious which one this is.”

          Yes it is.

          Creationism is bullshit, smoking causes cancer and climate change is caused by CO2 emissions.

          Science can only progress by purging those who want to make it subservient to their ideology and those who want to let them.

          • geraldine

            I agree with you on all those.

            However, step back and ask yourself: why did you choose to cite *those* ideas and not others? Was it not because you briefly tried to imagine how they could possibly be wrong, and failed?

            Next, imagine that you’d never *heard* of them. (Because of censorship, or otherwise.)

          • A Real Libertarian

            “why did you choose to cite *those* ideas and not others?”

            Because they’re the most infamous of various campaigns to subvert science in service of vested interests?

            “Next, imagine that you’d never *heard* of them. (Because of censorship, or otherwise.)”

            I’d think “Jesus. Good think scientists didn’t pretend they had a point. Can you imagine how many people would die if Big Tobacco wasn’t cracked down on back in the Sixties?”

          • geraldine

            The growth of knowledge is inherently unpredictable, and in order to evaluate competing ideas, you have to at least know what they are. Thus, in our thought experiment, in order to have correctly explained the additional deaths, you yourself would have had to have conjectured that smoking causes lung cancer, since by hypothesis the idea was censored. So, unless you are a medical expert, your statement is basically a re-iteration of the idea that the truth is obvious. Yet this is not so. If it were, there would be no controversies.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “your statement is basically a re-iteration of the idea that the truth is
            obvious. Yet this is not so. If it were, there would be no
            controversies.”

            That is bullshit, the truth is obvious, but it’s being covered-up by fake “controversy” from those that will lose their fortunes if it comes out.

            Your world would have cigarettes advertised as “scientifically proven to not cause health problems”, criminals running rampant in the streets, people being burnt as witches, and NASA being shut down for “wasting taxpayer money trying to breach the ice wall at the edge of the world”.

            All because you are incapable of understanding that just because somebody contests something doesn’t, it make that something in dispute.

          • geraldine

            > just because somebody contests something doesn’t, it make that something in dispute.

            I think what you mean is that if a vested interest keeps making claims in a public forum then this doesn’t mean that they are correct, or that we have to keep listening to them, and I agree with that.

            However, even where there is *no* dispute, we never have certain knowledge of the truth. Scientific theories are never “confirmed” or “settled”. Hence we must remain open to new ideas, and to finding flaws in our best existing ideas, which is one reason why we shouldn’t censor (another is the ‘Streisand Effect’).

            None of this means that we can’t act on our best available scientific knowledge.

            We are also free to continue to make laws regulating the activities of vested interests.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “None of this means that we can’t act on our best available scientific knowledge.”

            Yes it does.

            You can’t progress knowledge if you treat established facts (CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the earth has warmed a lot in the past 15 odd years) as if they are up for debate.

          • geraldine

            On the contrary, by doubting an idea, by conceiving that it *might* be false and exposing it to the widest possible criticism (from all sources)– only then can one understand it at all.

            If it’s true then your criticisms will fail and you will see *why* it’s true. If and when the known rivals fail to survive criticism and testing then you may tentatively accept the survivor — unless and until some new and better explanation crops up.

            Thus one can see that censoring critics may well have the effect of spoiling one’s understanding of the truth, even when the rival theories are completely wrong.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Look, you don’t understand science at all.

            The first rule of rationality is Thou shall not ignore evidence not matter how damaging to your beliefs.

            Claim whatever you like, but don’t call it science.

          • geraldine

            I don’t understand — where have I advocated ignoring evidence?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “CO2 is a greenhouse as proven by experiments going back over a century.”

            “Those are all fake!”

            “That’s bullshit and you know it, you are out of here.”

            You advocate pretending Climate Change deniers have a point, you advocate pretending there is a “Controversy” when there is science, truth and logic on one side and a bunch of companies and ideological hacks on the other.

            Science doesn’t work on “Fair and Balanced” everybody’s right BS. It works on the premise if you are wrong, you have to admit it and change your viewpoint.

            And that’s really, really unpopular amongst Big Business whose model is based around selling a dangerous product.

            A large part of the worlds problems can be traced back to an immature belief that black and white views of the world are “childish”. No, the world is round and all the blather of “Grey! Grey! Grey!” in it will not make it flat.

          • geraldine

            None of the three quotes you give are from our exchange; nowhere have I claimed that climate change deniers have a point; nowhere have I claimed that science works on the principle that “everybody’s right” (in fact I assert that there’s only one fact of the matter in any controversy)

            Have you got your threads mixed up? Please clarify!

          • A Real Libertarian

            “It isn’t. In any controversy, there’s only one correct point of view, but it’s never obvious which one this is.”

            Climate Change is true, this is obvious.

            You are declaring we cannot treat deniers like their ilk in the Flat Earth Society. Why?

          • geraldine

            >Climate Change is true, this is obvious

            The main point I wished and wish to make is that censorship is wrong and antithetical to the spirit and practice of science. If you are convinced that truth is obvious, or manifest, where is the need for censorship?

            Why are you apologising for censorship?

            As I have stated, the truth is never obvious. If the truth were obvious, for example, there would be no need to perform scientific experiments. For any two theories A, B (e.g. Newton’s Law of Gravity vs. Einstein’s General Relativity) we could simply choose the “obviously” correct one. There would be no need to build the apparatus.

            Perhaps you think that *after* such an experiment is performed, we can declare that the winner is now ‘obvious’. But, of course, Newton was ‘obvious’ for centuries, and nobody predicted or could have predicted that a replacement theory was set to come along, without already knowing that replacement theory.

            I have gone further by asserting that where a course of action is being considered, it is rational to *act* on the surviving scientific theory, where the rivals have been refuted. I know of no plausible rival theories to the idea that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that it is increasing, and that climate change is real.

            >You are declaring we cannot treat deniers like their ilk in the Flat Earth Society. Why?

            See my first comment in this thread for how we should treat those who put forward wrong ideas in a dishonourable fashion.

            I’m not familiar with the history of the Flat Earth Society. Were they censored by anyone in public debate?

          • A Real Libertarian

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Teach_the_Controversy

            It’s obvious that Newton is correct for anything not requiring great precision and Einstein is a refinement removing those minor errors.

            Science cut out and ignores those that claim that Relativity is a scam.

            “I’m not familiar with the history of the Flat Earth Society. Were they censored by anyone in public debate?”

            Yes, they were forbidden from entering scientific organizations and yelling out about how the earth is flat and those who disagree are part of a conspiracy.

  • geraldine

    I’m not a climate change ‘denialist’. But if you’re only censoring opinions you consider wrong and disruptive, isn’t that still censorship? And doesn’t that cause more harm in the long run?

    • A Real Libertarian

      “And doesn’t that cause more harm in the long run?”

      No, it causes great success in the long run.

      Can you imagination how little progress we’d make if we had to treat the Flat Earth Society as a legitimate scientific research organization?

  • Senlac

    Lets try another approach:

    A) We have one habitable planet called Earth. Mars isn’t very big, cold and far away from the Sun, so it can’t support billions of people. We are not getting warp drives any time soon, that is if they are even possible. So there you have it, one Planet.

    B) Based on the fact we have just one Planet for the foreseeable future, would it not be prudent to safe guard it’s environment as best we can. Given that premise, to take the risks of climate change seriously and do what is necessary to mitigate the effects is just common sense. There is ample evidence that CO2 along with other green house gases are contributing to the warming of the Planet. There is ample evidence humans activity is producing these gases. Not 100%, but clearly more than at least 50%.

    C) Let us say we take B seriously and do a lot to reduce green house gases. And in 50-100 years look back and discover one of two things.

  • walter schneider

    Now one finds it easier to understand how Hitler rose to power.

    • A Real Libertarian

      Because no one booted Hitler out of the debate hall until he started debating instead of screaming about how the liberal Bolshevik Jews are stealing everyones gold?

  • Rowan Staveley

    What I’d like to know on this matter is if someone who ‘Questions’ not ‘Denies’ the theories / results / interpretations of a scientific study is not allowed to do so in a public forum because any oppositions regardless of rudeness or politeness is forbidden, how can we ignite proper debate. I enjoy being proved wrong about something I was otherwise convinced about as I have learned something. If I have looked at something in a different way to you and you are capable of adjusting your thinking, you might learn something. It promotes progress not stagnation – as you can see I’ve not referred to the actual matter of climate at all but already there will those champing at the bit to tell me how wrong I am.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There is a huge difference between questioning theories/results/interpretations of a scientific study and climate change denier behavior.

      Scientists question studies and interpretations constantly. That’s one of the reason that science makes progress. There is no doctrine that all must follow as in a religion or non-tolerant political group.

      What does not fly in a scientific discussion is the repetition of something that has been disproved. Or the insistence that something is true while providing no supporting evidence.

    • mds

      Sure IF you bring a decent argument to the table and are willing to actually debate by looking at others facts and offering facts of your own. Steeple has rambled greatly here and brought nothing new to the table. You too.
      “as you can see I’ve not referred to the actual matter of climate at all but already there will those champing at the bit to tell me how wrong I am”
      Sorry, you don’t get to enter the debate, but not enter the debate. Man up.

      • Rowan Staveley

        Correct me if I’m wrong but this is not a peer reviewed science blog, these are comments discussing the reddit article so by what authority are you stating my opinion isn’t valid here either. By the way you assume I’m a ‘denier’. I am not. I am simply an observer waiting for one side to conclusively prove the other wrong. I was not attempting to ‘enter the debate’ at all as I have nothing new to bring to it, I was however stating my opinion that the censorship of opposition altogether by either camp is unhealthy.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “I am simply an observer waiting for one side to conclusively prove the other wrong. ”

          Who is setting the criteria for “proved conclusively wrong”?

          Climate scientists have conclusively proven that CO2 traps heat.

          Climate scientists have conclusively proven that the planet is warming.
          Climate scientists have conclusively proven that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen abruptly.

          Climate scientists have conclusively proven that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

          Climate scientists have conclusively proven that the observed warming is not due to orbital change, increases in solar input or increased volcanic activity.

          “The other side” has proven nothing other than they are able to misrepresent the facts and make statements which are easily proven untrue.
          If it’s a contest – game over.

        • A Real Libertarian

          “I was however stating my opinion that the censorship of opposition altogether by either camp is unhealthy.”

          Nope, it’s healthy to exclude those who aren’t interested in science from science.

          How far do you think we’d go if we had to take creationists, flat-earthers and phlogiston theorists seriously?

        • mds

          Steeple has twisted the entire discussion here to be about 1st amendment rights. It’s typical and it’s nonsense. “I have the right to say whatever, whenever I want.
          …even though I have nothing useful to say”. Zach has already said it: It’s not a “public forum”, it’s a “privately run site”. Some of us don’t want to deal with trolls or suffer fools. Now, if you have an actual opinion, that’s supported by real information you put on the table, then that’s different. We already know AGW exists. A child could understand this, but in what proportion to natural GW. What is the new science on this? That is what I am interested in from such discussions, not regurgitated rhetoric from dis-informational sources like Faux news, and not stupid distractions.

          I don’t have any authority here I’m stating MY opinion. Is that ok with you Mr. double standard?

          I did NOT accuse you of being a “denier”. I am accusing you of jumping in and helping Steeple be a foolish distraction. The subject here is not just how science debates are handled, it is also about how the GW/AGW debate is handle. As I already stated: “Sorry, you don’t get to enter the debate, but not enter the debate.” That is a dis-ingenuous position to take.

  • Marion Meads

    Be an example Zachary. Please ban articles and comments here that denies anthropogenic climate changes.

    But do keep an open mind. Unless the contributor has the credentials of Albert Einstein or one of the Nobel Laureates, or has evidences presented that passed peer review scrutinies from leading credible scientific journals, then we would gladly listen to their presentation of evidence.

    Albert Einstein went against the majority opinions and he and his supporters presented extraordinary undeniable evidences. Likewise, the climate change deniers are no longer the majority evidence or opinions, they are the super tiny majority and therefore they should present extraordinarily good undeniable evidences to support their theories.

    As it is, they are sowing apathy, inaction, laziness to solutions, and return to status quo without presenting much scientific evidence that has withstood peer reviews to support their position. Their opinions have become counterproductive in light of the undeniable evidences presented to human caused climate change where more than 97% of credible scientists worldwide has agreed.

    • Steeple

      So does that mean that Climate Change advocates whose models have been proven flawed would be banned? Or just those whose arguments you disagree with?

      • A Real Libertarian

        “So does that mean that Climate Change advocates whose models have been proven flawed would be banned? Or just those whose arguments you disagree with?”

        No, just the ones whose models have been proven blatantly fraudulent and responded with a massively well-funded campaign of propaganda, libel and intimidation.

        So, ya know, the deniers.

        • Steeple
          • A Real Libertarian

            What climate change fraud is there in those links?

            A denier saying “there’s been no surface temperature warming in fifteen years” is like a used car dealer saying “I just replace the spark plugs, it’ll run like a dream” for a car with no wheels.

          • Steeple

            You are just loaded with convincing arguments tonite. Baseball? Spark plugs?

            Ok, you win. Here’s a Trillion $ to go fix the problem. Right.

            Make sure that when you put me on the List that you spell my name correctly.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Really?

            Surface Temperature = Engine

            1998 = Spark Plugs

            Ocean Temperature = Wheels

            And how about this.

            The baseball analogy makes perfect sense. The scientists got the correct winner but underestimated the victory margin. The deniers got the wrong winner and thus were completely wrong.

          • Steeple

            When real world results fall well outside of the confidence band associated with a predictive model, the result usually is that the model is wrong.

          • A Real Libertarian

            And that is relevant how?

          • Bob_Wallace

            With that and a dollar you can buy a cheap cup of coffee.

            You aren’t even willing to read the link I gave you are you?

            Are you actually afraid that you might find that you’ve been wrong and have to admit it to yourself?

          • Marion Meads

            Not to brag that I always aced our modeling class, which by the way, I build climate-driven phenology and ecological models way back in graduate school. I built models that have standard error of estimates of less than 1% but it is not guarantee that it is correct. I have also shown how several wrong assumptions can give outstanding results. Similarly, even if the assumptions are realistic and individually proven in cause and effect relationships, putting them into a model does not always result in predictions that are within the standard error of estimates. Modeling allows us to simultaneously view several multifactorial interactions through time, and if there are discrepancies, we investigate the causes and gain more understanding by discovering other intervening or interacting factors, or guiding us the areas of research that needed refinement. There are many uses for modeling. We build expert systems for farmers, sometimes based on fuzzy logic, because most of the time some information and our understanding is incomplete, but it helps make better decisions and give us better yield predictions, way more than average guess (50%) and we are in the 75% to 99.9% of predictive values. It is the same when applied to climate models.

  • S.Nkm

    Good riddance.

  • Senlac

    Many of these people are not willing to engage in a civil conversation around facts, using reasoned debate and logic along with some good old common sense. They arguments are political, and they seek to fit the facts to their preconceived conclusions. Let them blow their hot air on Fox, they are quickly becoming irrelevant. There are more important things to be concerned with, such as below:

    The “Antarctic iceberg the size of Singapore is finally heading out to sea.”

    http://www.livescience.com/41192-pine-island-iceberg-sets-sail.html

    • mds

      Well said!

  • Steeple

    Galileo would recognize the second coming of the Inquisition, this time from the church of Global Warming.

    • william santos

      Inquisition you mean does who opposed the science? Feels the other way around actually.

    • anderlan

      Number 2 and 3 on the list of indicators a commenter is part of an FF-funded PR campaign.

      1. Says that “global warming” was officially changed to “climate change”. Says it was because of a conspiracy.
      2. Attacks scientists as opportunist sellouts or ideological zealots.
      3. Says “This is like Galileo!”

      • Steeple

        Are you suggesting that these opinions are not my own and that I am somehow being paid to dissent?

        • anderlan

          I’m saying you think pollution should be free. That’s wrong.

          • Steeple

            You seem to easily jump to conclusions. Fist, that I am a paid troll and now that I condone pollution.

            What is your next guess?

          • anderlan

            Did/do you agree with the limits government forced on sulfur emission in fuel?
            Did/do you agree with the limits government forced on mercury emissions?
            Did/do you agree with the cap and trade system on acid-rain causing (sulfur?) emissions?
            Did/do you agree with the limits forced on CFCs that caused ozone layer depletions (which hasn’t fully recovered because things take time and which doesn’t mean somehow CFC ozone layer depletion never exists)?
            Did/do you agree with the government forced reduction and then banning of the sale of asbestos insulation?
            Did/do you agree with the government forced reduction and bans on DDT usage?

            Back up your statement with supporting facts. Actually, first simply be brave enough to make an actual affirmative statement about what you believe, if you can! Stop being like a politician or a lawyer. Pollution should not be free. What’s right is right. Doing what’s right blesses us.

          • Steeple

            Yes to all.

            And you didn’t mention reduction of aromatics content and tetraethyl lead in gasoline, or anything regarding waste water discharge.

            I’m not yet convinced that CO2 is a pollutant to be concerned with. And no one on this post has done anything that is convincing enough to change my mind.

          • anderlan

            OK, progress. I’ll remember this. Steeple@disqus agrees with government limits on pollution, with many specific, historic examples. I confess I didn’t think it would happen. I’ll have to think upon where is the most efficient place in the argument to go next.

            I hold people to the wall on things because unless I get this type of thing in a very clear statement, I’ve noticed that someone I’m talking with will follow my reasoning a few steps and then it turns out that he didn’t even really truly believe the thing we stipulated 3 steps back. It can take forever to reason with folks because we naturally are a little illogical and don’t even really know what we believe. It helps to have a record, an external record of the structure, so that we can be consistent. Just like normal folks, myself being an example, can’t do much math without scratch paper or reconcile our finances without a record or even remember our schedules without a phone or online calendar nowadays. This is what happens in the science literature, or in a court proceeding–reasoning is recorded and structured.. The science has so far born out the concerns of the first physicists who looked at this 100+ years ago, and the courts have backed up the science.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Galileo had data.

      • Steeple

        He had Correct data.

        Meanwhile, there is plenty of incorrect modeling that has been done by AGW advocates, but that seems to be easily overlooked.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Actually what there is is a lot of misreporting on the part of deniers about climate models.

          Climate models have predicted planetary warming. They have, if anything, somewhat under predicted. They got the direction. Underestimated the extent. Overall they’ve been quite good and are getting better.

          You could get yourself up to speed by reading this –

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

          • Steeple

            They got the direction; is that the best you’ve got? These guys are trying to predict global temps far into the future in the order of magnitude of tents of a degree C, and now getting the direction right is acceptable? And we’re supposed to spend Trillions backing that analysis?

            I’m the one who is supposed to be silent in the realm of such analytical genius? Think again.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m guessing you’re flying blind and didn’t bother reading the Skeptical Science page….

          • A Real Libertarian

            “They got the direction; is that the best you’ve got? These guys are trying to predict global temps far into the future in the order of magnitude of tents of a degree C, and now getting the direction right is acceptable? And we’re supposed to spend Trillions backing that analysis?”

            Yes, we’re not going to spend trillions backing the analysis of the ones who got the direction wrong.

            You’re basically saying “the scientists claimed the Red Sox would win in 6 games, the deniers claimed the Yankees would win in 4 games. The Red Sox won in 4 games, clearly we should ignore the scientists and their ‘at least we were close’ talk”.

          • Matthew

            Hey Steeple,

            It is this simple. You are not a scientist, and until a qualified scientist shows up with real data, you are nothing more than a no talent @$$ clown who chooses to be uneducated. That is the reality of the situation. Two of the comments you just made highlight why they don’t want ignorant people contributing to the science debate (aside from you aren’t a scientist.) There isn’t a single scientist that is trying to predict a particular temperature. However they do give ranges. No one expects you to understand that first grade level of context, that is why we are having this conversation in the first place. Second. Trillions of dollars are going to be spent one way or another, either the rich people are going to continue to build socialistic models of dirty energy expecting sheeple like yourself to continue to pay into THEIR system making them rich, or we will buid entreprenereal renewable systems like they are ALREADY doing in Germany so the middle class can be strengthened and local taxes generated. Again, no one here expects your simple minded, ignorant of the facts, oblivious of current trends to get that either. You are like the one kid in grade school who held the rest of the class back because you couldn’t grasp the obvious. That is why they removed you from the forums. And by they way, I have visited your web pages where your Kool Aid drinking clan members hang out. I have read your propaganda and you know what I noticed? I went through 20 pages of your clan members shouting about how stupid scientists are and I didn’t find 1 post, not one post of any of us saying anything on your discrediting science websites. Not one post. If you want to teach me something, explain to me why intelligent people don’t come to your knowledge destroying websites to try to educate your sheeple clan? But all of your non-scientist beer drinking buddies spread your ignorance with great passion every where else? That is something I would be interested in understanding.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      it’s hilarious when deniers bring up Galileo. Galileo is actually an excellent example of the story today, just in the opposite way than you are using him.

      • Steeple

        I find it amusing that people who feel that they hold such a high ground on an issue will go to such lengths to stifle dissent. The Church of Climate Change bears much resemblance to the Roman Catholic Church of Galileo’s time precisely for that reason.

        • Bob_Wallace

          It’s unfortunate that you can’t get your head around the situations.

          In the case of the Church and Galileo it was Galileo who had scientific data that showed something that the Church believed incorrect. The Church had no data.

          In the present case it is the climate scientists who have scientific data that shows the planet warming and why. Climate change deniers disbelieve the facts as did the Church. Climate change deniers, like the Church have no data.

          The big difference this time is that the people without data do not have the ability to execute people who point out the falseness of their belief.

          • Steeple

            I guess silencing them is the next best thing, right?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I prefer pointing and laughing….

          • Steeple

            Let’s go pick a religious group we don’t like next and do the same, Bob.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I point and laugh at the Westboro Baptist Church all the time.

            And at the people who claim vaccinations cause autism.

            And at all the anti-science folks….

          • Bob_Wallace

            Having had some fun, I’ll try to give this a more respectful answer.

            There’s a point at which some people have been given enough opportunity to state their piece. But if they continue to post things that are clearly false then I’ve got no problems with kicking them out.

            Some crackpot who claims that the Earth is flat. Do we let him or her continue to rant and rave and disrupt? I think not.

            How about someone who insists that if you put a windmill on top of your EV you can run your car forever with out charging just using the electricity you generate while driving?

            Bring a claim. Bring proof.

            Get off into tinfoil hat land and start spouting obvious lies and resorting to conspiracy theories to back your position and I’ll hold the door open as they exit. In a bum’s rush if needed.

            If someone puts their beliefs ahead of science there are places for them to talk to one another. Sites that are about science and technology are not appropriate for those discussions.

          • Steeple

            Sorry, Bob, but that’s not how the scientific challenge process works. The burden of proof lies with those making the claims, and that would be the AGW proponents to be clear. The bolder the claim, the greater the need for substantial evidence. You don’t get the claim the high ground just because you think you’re right.

            Doubt that you are going to win the investment case for Trillions based in what you have showed up with tonite.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “You don’t get the claim the high ground just because you think you’re right.”

            And that’s why you deniers occupy the moral lowlands.

          • Matthew

            Laughed out loud on that one. May I borrow that one from you, I promise to footnote?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Sure.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You are shitting me, are you not?

            You actually have that little understanding about the vastness of the climate change data?

            Sometimes you actually amaze me. You seem to have a handle on some issues but on climate science you’re a babe in the woods.

          • Steeple

            Bob, the argument is not that the climate is changing, but

            1) human activity is the primary driver
            2) GHGS, specifically CO2, are the primary bad actor
            3) we can model the impact of CO2 increases in the atmosphere and predict the associated increase in temps separate and apart from other factors

            Is that not the argument for action?

            As much as it pains you, that case has not been made scientifically to justify the level of expenditures being asked for. You can jump up and down all you want, but your side needs to focus more on creating a cogent argument and less time trying to muzzle those who disagree with you.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Why are you using Jack Chicks definition of science again?

          • Bob_Wallace
          • Bob_Wallace

            ” your side needs to focus more on creating a cogent argument and less time trying to muzzle those who disagree with you.”

            Steeple – let me absolutely clear.

            The facts are there for anyone to learn.

            Ignorance is a choice people make for themselves.

          • Matthew

            We only spend time with you because you are special. The rest of the world wonders why we do this, they are already leaving us behind. But that is also why the republicans lost an election they should have won hands down, because smart idiots like you can’t crostrain or understand context. And like I said, the rest of the world is moving on. You keep fighting this, but the reality is that Blockbuster failed because they ignored netflixs. Keep doubleing down Sheeple, cause everytime you do, you and your people look more and more ignorant. More and more people laugh at you because it is becoming more and more obvious to even people who don’t read sites like this. Please, please don’t stop, I find great amusement in people like you.

          • Turtuga Blanku

            Please check out this documentary:
            Crude – the incredible journey of oil

            This 90 minutes documentary Crude is shown in three parts on

            http://www.abc.net.au/science/crude/ and will explain why it is very very likely that human activity is the primary driver.

          • Matthew

            I was thinking from Virginia, probably mom and dad are first cousins, is that too harsh? I am sure they loved each other.

          • anderlan

            TRILLIONS? I’d like fossil energy pollution to lose its fascist socialist subsidies and pay ONE PENNY per ton of emissions, that would be a victory for me. Right now fossil energy pollution is completely free. THAT’S WRONG. Quit whining about trillions like an idiot when no one has even ever taken one red cent yet from your fossil fuel worshiping buddies. And of course, as you well know, EVERY PENNY per ton would, if most greens, liberal and conservative alike, had their druthers, go to reduce taxes on income and work, or be given straight back to the people equally. Stop your willing and knowing lies. You’ve been doing this long enough, you should know when you’re lying.

            Pollution should not be free. What’s right is right. Doing what’s right blesses us.

          • Steeple

            Trillions

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/08/04/whos-going-to-pay-for-global-warming/

            The Carbon Tax has been a disaster in Europe; has netted no real emissions reduction, but has been a windfall to Russia and China as Euros buy indulgences to assuage their guilt.

            Agree that there should be no subsidies for fossil fuels. Or Agriculture. And many other things.

            And don’t be a dupe about what politicians would do with proceeds from a Carbon Tax.

          • anderlan

            So, if a much better and more effective fossil energy fee and stewardship dividend could be implemented, you’re saying you’d be for it?

          • Steeple

            If I were convinced that CO2 was a real problem, yes. As yet, I have not been.

          • Matthew

            On the one hand you know what politicians will do with a carbon tax. But on the other you ignore what the fossil fuel industry is already doing with their Trillions of dollars they are already spending to turn you into an intelligence destroyer. How does it make you feel to know that they are feeding you ignorance so you will go out into the world and fight their battles for them? All while they make billions and you get paid nothing. Do you even realize why a coal fired electrical plant is a communistic entity, a socialistic construct. And yet your type runs around yelling about the free market while oil and gas companies get 1200% more govenrment subsidies than renewable energy does. I know you don’t believe this, if you did you couldn’t continue to preach that other ignorance.

          • mds

            You waste everyone’s time Steeple. If you want to challenge what you see as the AGW paradigm then you need to offer an alternative explanation. You don’t have one and don’t really debate. You just rationalize your own view forever. What a bore.

          • Matthew

            So in your little red neck world you think that millions of scientists who have all spent millions of hours collecting and analyzing data, building models and understanding complex mathmatics are wrong while your Kool aid drinking friends who wouldn’t know how to calculate a quadradic formula are correctly calling science from their arm chairs during beer commercials? You actually want us to believe that Real scientists invite people like yourself to the peer reviews? No wonder you are so lost, start slowly by drinking just a little bit less Kool Aid, small steps, don’t go for anything big. Maybe start off with memorizing Pi, 3.14 is easy to remember, ok for you, just remember 3, baby steps.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Not trying to be an ass Bob, and I agree with you here… But…
            http://www.popsci.com/category/tags/ventomobile

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nothing ass-like about that. I recall seeing that machine.

            It relies on harvesting energy from the wind to move. It’s not using “apparent wind” created by the vehicle. In fact, the wind (resistance) created by the moving vehicle slows the vehicle down.

          • anderlan

            I’ve heard about the car that drives faster than the wind in the same direction, but that one goes against the wind! Impressive.

          • Matthew

            Steve, why would you bring up something like that here. Sheeple is not the type of person who wants to learn, who wants to help society. All he knows how to do is tell everyone else why they are wrong. Please keep your knowledge, wisdom, and hope for humanity elsewhere lest sheeple be enlightened. Thanks! :)

          • Matthew

            Pure ignorance huh Steeple, you and your clan members can scream and shout all you want on your own websites, no one pays attention to you there. Oh and by the way, have you noticed that the rest of the world is moving forward on this subject? Or is reading the content here above your level of reading proficiency and comprehension?

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          there are paid campaigns by fossil fuel industries that put people and even bots in the comments of mass media articles in order to sway public opinion. i wasted my time on these people and people confused by these people for years. i decided at some point in time that it was worth my time. so, i have two options: 1) let them drop misinformation in the comments of my sites and ruin the useful and atmosphere of those sites, or 2) at some point when it’s clear a commenter isn’t open to scientific or logical discussion, set them free to go harass another site. i now choose the latter. it’s obviously not an outright ban — look, you’re still here talking nonsense about how Galileo would have been on your site (quite hilarious). But it’s a logical thing to do if you want to have a useful comment section.

          • Steeple

            Zach, you run a great site and I and really enjoy reading it daily to learn about the exciting things that are going in the the renewables space. We are truly and living in a transformative era where technology can be used to replace natural resources. All true conservatives should support that, as this is the very essence of conservation.

            Where I feel slighted is when people try to take one of he most complex and difficult to model systems known; i.e., our planet’s climate, and assert that they have all of the answers as to how it will behave over time. This is being done while these same models have a poor track record of prior performance and the underlying arguments continue to morph to fit the facts on the ground.

            I have no problem being criticized as a heretic, even when I am playing the role of a skeptic (30 year Chemical Engineer, so I know something about the scientific challenge process). What should not happen is that I be silenced; that’s not what this country is about.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            I don’t think you realize how heavily funded campaigns to distort the science of this story are, and the fact that people really are paid to go onto forums and comment sections of popular sites and spread doubt and confusion.

            Also note that these are private sites. The site directors and comment moderators have every right to shape the atmosphere and rules of their forums.

            When thousands of scientists have studied a topic for decades… even a century+… and 97% of the scientific body for this field come to a single conclusion (with the 3% even disagreeing amongst themselves and not offering any solid evidence to the contrary), it is very logical for sites and forums covering this topic to decide that they aren’t going to tolerate rude and persistently ignorant comments from people misrepresenting the science.

            I’m not saying that’s what you do — I’d have to go through your history of comments to evaluate that. However, that is what hundreds of commenters & bots do who I have moderated for the past several years. They misrepresent the science and ruin the usefulness of comment areas and forums.

          • Steeple

            I don’t doubt you, Zach. There àre plenty of companies whose business model (electric utilities namely) are at risk of being eliminated through the process of Creative Destruction, ànd they are desperate to protect their position.

            There are plenty of informed and technically competent people like myself who want to see the scientific truth win out, and we simply aren’t convinced by the arguments.

          • anderlan

            Not ultimately the electric companies, but the companies that specialize in moving, extracting, and refining the fuel they buy. You know, coal and gas. And not car companies either, but petrol companies. Those are the people who stand to lose the most if they don’t choose the right time to get out. Hint: run, now. Morally correct and materially wise law will happen. You’re pretty much already too late. Get a move on with your money, on and out to better places.

          • mds

            “Not ultimately the electric companies, but the companies that specialize in moving, extracting, and refining the fuel they buy. You know, coal and gas.”
            Actually, both. Not all the utilities, but definitely some. APS is on record using some of their profits to try and kill net-metering …and there are others.

          • mds

            anderlan,

            You might find this link interesting. It supports you statement that “companies that specialize in moving, extracting, and refining the fuel” are supporting the AGW dis-informational campaign:

            http://phys.org/news/2013-12-koch-brothers-reveals-funders-climate.html – December 2013

            “Not just the Koch brothers: New study reveals funders behind the climate change denial effort”

          • Bob_Wallace

            Steeple, you continue to claim that climate models have poor track records when, in fact, that is not true.

          • Bob_Wallace

            As a chemical engineer I would think you would get yourself to a university library and start reading the CO2 research.

            Make sure you understand how CO2 it transparent to some wave lengths while absorbing and re-radiating others.

            Read up on how CO2 levels are measured and especially the isotopes found in the troposphere.

            This is science in your field. You’ve got an excellent background for understanding the basic research in its raw form.

            Surely you have the scientific curiosity to spend a couple hours reading the literature?

          • Steeple

            Bob, you make good points and I don’t disagree with your assertions on CO2.

            But let me tell you what I have learned in my career after spending a lot of time modeling complex systems. And none of these are nearly as complex as trying to model climate, as I’m not aware of any greater challenge.

            1) trying to isolate the effects a single variable such as CO2 on a complex system is typically a waste of time and usually a lazy way of trying solve a problem.

            2) Data Fitting and Recency Bias are HUGE risks, and tend to drive outcomes that are desired rather than are objective.

            3) modeling systems that include linear behaviors (atmospheric CO2 levels lead to a linear increase in temps) where there are other factors that are extremely nonlinear (radiant cooling is a third power function of the diffs in atmospheric vs. outer space temps (and this is simply one example) is an extremely difficult undertaking. Ask the Nobel Prize winners at Long Term Capital Mgt how that worked out.

            4) As much finite data is available, there have to been that many climatic cycle extremes that allow this to be an easily analyzed phenomenon. Whenever there are only a few extreme events to study in history, there is tremendous uncertainty in how much randomness vs causality there is during any of these prior periods.

          • Steeple

            Sorry, but ran out of space above.

            So it is my experience with analytic modelling that tells me that this is nearly an impossible exercise, and that human nature tends to lead otherwise technically competent people to fall into the human nature trap of believing the inevitable back fitting of data that they do. If they don’t rigorously test with out of sample data minimally, these models fail.

            And that’s what I have observed so far.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me tell you what I hear in your comment:

            A bunch of horseshit. Coming from someone with the professional background to wade into the scientific literature and educate himself.

            Steeple, I think you are simply afraid to read the science because you are afraid that you might find that you are wrong and you want to remain a denier more than you want to know the facts.

          • mds

            “We are truly and living in a transformative era where technology can be used to replace natural resources. All true conservatives should support that, as this is the very essence of conservation.”

            They don’t. You don’t.

            “What should not happen is that I be silenced; that’s not what this country is about.”
            Make your case better or you should be silenced. You have not read Bob’s links or responded properly to that …troll or goof-ball for sure

          • Steeple

            Great to hear your typically substantive comments MDS. I forgot how good they were.

          • mds

            Pot calling the kettle.

          • Matthew

            Why don’t you try doing something positive for once in your life. Try helping people, making the world a better place. History doesn’t remember the critics, they remember the people brave enough to venture forward. Why? Because negative people like you suck so bad that everyone knows how difficult it is to succeed that we want to reward those people with fame. Everyone remembers Einstein, no one remembers any of his critics. The world won’t remember you either Sheeple.

        • Matthew

          When actual scientists show up, we will talk with them. You are just a kool aid drinking chap who chooses to be ignorant, we will silence you all day long, granted, it is like shooting fish in a barrel but still brings great amusement.

  • mememine69

    We are deniers because you believers can’t find one IPCC warning that says it WILL be a CO2 crisis, just “could” be a crisis and not one scientist has ever said any crisis WILL be “inevitable” like they say comet hits are.So if nobody can say it WILL be a crisis because science hasn’t said it then what is it exactly that climate change belief believes in? Science did not commit a hoax, you believers did by misrepresenting science.
    Believe what you want but you cannot tell our kids it WILL be, only “could be” a crisis.

    • Bob_Wallace

      No, you are deniers because you choose to be deniers.

      You dismiss the findings of thousands of scientific papers and the learned opinions of tens of thousands of climate scientists. You ignore the proof of climate change that is right in front of your eyes.

      That is a choice you have made.

      Only you know your motivation for making that choice.

  • Frederik

    A wise decision. A small group of dumb and inpolite people should not be allowed to ruin a decent website. As the article says, you cannot have a serious conversation with such people anyway.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Definitely. Great summary of what it’s like dealing with these people.

      • mememine69

        Prove to us deniers that science is saying that a crisis WILL happen as you remaining believers “believe”.
        Find us one IPCC warning that says; “inevitable” or anything beyond; “could be”.

        • Turtuga Blanku

          IPCC stands for ‘InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change’. Negotiations take place over the final content of these reports, political edits are make in the text. In particular, U.S. and Chinese negotiators have managed to get the reports to be toned down.

          If scientists were responsible for the final edit, the reports would look different, believe me.

          Check this link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/06/AR2007040600291.html

        • anderlan

          Do you need 100% certainty that a fire will burn down your house to buy insurance? Your demand is ridiculous!

        • Bob_Wallace

          Science does not work that way.

          Scientists try to avoid words like “always” and “never”. They realize that new data emerges at times and changes the way we understand the world.

          Scientists talk in terms of probability. In terms of certainty greater than 0 and less than 100.

          Climate scientists are telling us that it almost certain that we will make our planet a very difficult one on which to live if we don’t quickly quit pumping greenhouse gases in to our environment.

          Almost certain is a really, really, really, really strong statement.

      • Senlac

        Let us try another approach I call: “The One Planet Theory”:

        A) We have one habitable planet called Earth. Mars isn’t very big, cold and far away from the Sun, so it can’t support billions of people. We are not getting warp drives to go to distance stars any time soon. That is if warp drives are even possible. So there you have it, one habitable planet.

        B) Based on the fact we have just one planet for the foreseeable future, would it not be prudent to safe guard it’s environment as best we can. Given that premise, to take the risks of climate change seriously and do what is necessary to mitigate the effects is just common sense. There is ample evidence that CO2 along with other green house gases are contributing to the warming of the planet. There is ample evidence humans activity is producing these gases. Not 100%, but clearly more than 50%.

        C) Let us examine 2 scenarios, First take B seriously and do a lot to reduce green house gases and Second we don’t take B seriously. In 50-100 years we look back and discover what actually happened, with plenty of real data, no models or theories.

        First scenario, perhaps we over did it. The risks were over estimated because of our limited data, and we reduced green house gas emissions more than was necessary. So what is
        the down side? Our air is a little too clean? Well there is a remedy
        for that, start burning oil and gas to your hearts content.

        Second scenario, we do little because of inconclusive evidence. But perhaps by 2050 or later we discover an error, that we have under estimated the green house effect, and that climate change is far greater, our planet far warmer, ocean levels are rising and storms are destroying much of our infrastructure. Generally bad all around. We begin to cut back on green house gases a lot more, but much of the warming is already in the pipe so to speak, for it takes decades for the new reductions to have any meaningful
        effect, and our planet keeps getting warmer. Are we going to become extinct, perhaps not, but life on our planet is now a whole lot harder. With 9 billion people on the planet, there may be wars over land, you get my point.

        Which would you rather be wrong about? First, that we over react and cut back on emissions more than is necessary or Second, we under react and suffer the consequences of severe climate change.

        Finally let me point back to A, that we have only one planet, and when you have only one of anything, is it not better to be safe, than sorry. Or perhaps you don’t think severe climate change will be all that bad. That is an open question! And since we don’t have another planet on which to test that theory, I don’t think it is a good idea to role the dice with the only planet we have.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Or put this way…

          • Senlac

            Indeed, an image may be worth a thousand words. But in any event, we are dealing with irrationally, a condition that is most difficult to over come.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sponsored irrationality –

            “Not just the Koch brothers: New study reveals funders behind the climate change denial effort”
            http://phys.org/news/2013-12-koch-brothers-reveals-funders-climate.html

    • mememine69

      30 years of “maybe” a crisis proves it “won’t be” a crisis and the real crime in the climate blame exaggeration is those of you who worked so hard at wanting this misery to have been real for our children.
      Science NEVER agreed it “will be” only “could be” so do the same please. Did Bush condemn billions of innocent children to an exaggerated crisis?

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