Roy Spencer, In Denial About What Science Denial Means

Dr. Roy SpencerClimate science deniers tend to be quite touchy when you call them a climate science denier, or denier for short. In my case this has even led to someone threatening to sue me for libel because I used the term climate science denier in a private email. Which wasn’t even aimed at them, I just used the term to describe the type of arguments that were being used.

The term also is quite simple in its origin, it means that you deny something. I use the term to state that climate science deniers dismiss or even flat-out deny the evidence climate scientists have found. You have similar versions of the term denier for those that reject the science behind vaccinations, AIDS, Evolution, etc.

I expect climate science deniers to not respond well when you use the term, that’s why I only use it when it’s truly earned. What I didn’t expect was that the usage of this term would lead to Dr. Roy Spencer writing the blog post ‘Time to push back against the global warming Nazis‘ (archived here):

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The Genuine Sceptic View

I get the occasional email asking me to help out with something. This time it was an email from Mike Haseler who is the chairman of the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum. The name of this organisation sounded interesting to me considering the subjects I tackle. I got even more interested when it was mentioned that this was to gather some information about the public debate about climate change.

But I always do a background check on the party that’s asking me to help out with something, no matter how small the request is or the amount of effort required on my side. Who you affiliate yourself with does matter if you want to be taken seriously. When I did a cursory check of the contents on their website any good feelings I might have had about this organisation evaporated.

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Bob Tisdale’s Ideological Armour

knmi logoOne of the things that completely baffle me is how climate science deniers can reject evidence.

Of course I’m not referring to not taking something at face value or wanting to verify something before you accept it. What I’m talking about is that they reject evidence even when it’s very obvious that it shows that they are wrong. It also often doesn’t matter how small the mistake it, they will still reject it.

One of these examples is a quote from a recommendations document written by the KNMI IPCC delegation that contained advice for the IPCC on how it can improve its procedures. This included recommendations for improving their reports and how results are communicated. Something that the IPCC asked for and the resulting recommendations from the KNMI aren’t shocking.

However, one passage was a bit confusing as to what they meant by it:

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The Dutch And Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)


Zwarte Piet by Sander van der Wel

The time of year has again arrived in The Netherlands that we’re looking forward to our annual Sinterklaas tradition. Especially the children are looking forward to the arrival of Sinterklaas as this means candy and presents. What’s not to like about that when you’re a child?

For us adults it’s fun to see all this as we remember how it was for us when we were little. Every adult also knows someone who has helped as a Zwarte Piet or Sinterklaas. These are roles that are taken very seriously as we have fond memories of this tradition. Especially of Zwarte Piet who always was fun to be around, especially as that was the person you could get candy from (they often carry really big bags filled with candy).

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Tea Party Supporters And Scientific Literacy


Photo by jackiembarr

On social media there’s never a dull moment with all the interesting and fun things that are shared on it. Also never a shortage of misinformation that’s being bounced around in your preferred ideological echo chamber.

The latest example of this was a tweet by Marc Morano that said “Yale Professor ‘Embarrassed’ to Discover Tea Party Members are Scientifically Literate” and linked to an article on CNS News (archived here):

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The Ideological Armour Of ‘Climate Sceptics’


Armour by Kamal Aboul-Hosn

Trying to engage ‘climate sceptics’, or so-called sceptics as I prefer to call them, in a fact based discussion is often quite frustrating. Not because you might not convince them to your own position, but because simple basic facts are dismissed. This prevents you from having a factual discussion on how we might want to react towards the changes we are causing in our planet’s climate.

A good example of this was my recent interaction with Bob Tisdale about his interpretation on a passage from a KNMI document:

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Chemtrails Are Just As Unscientific As Global Warming

contrailWell, according to Watts that is.

The term chemtrail comes from the chemtrail conspiracy theory where the claim is made that some of the contrails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents. According to this conspiracy theory these are deliberately sprayed at high altitudes as ordered by governments. The more commonly stated reasons that I’ve heard for doing this is for mind control or population reduction.

I don’t think that I have to spend much time on telling you that this is complete and utter nonsense that’s not supported by any evidence. Just the logistics involved and the amount of people who need to be in on this make it impossible to do.

The reason I’m now talking about this is that Watts published a guest blog post by Tim Ball (archived here) in which Ball talks about the nonsense of chemtrails. With Watts saying this about it in a note he attached at the beginning:

Like with the essay Saturday about isotasy/glacial rebound being a myth, I don’t think the chemtrails idea has any merit whatsoever. Dr. Tim Ball points out more bad science – chemtrails, which are really just contrails, and which has a cult-like following much like some of the worst theories of global warming zealots – Anthony

I don’t really have a problem with him publishing something that discredits this conspiracy theory. It’s what I said that he should have done with the isostatic rebound myth guest blog post that he published:

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Watt About Post Glacial Rebound

Anthony WattsAnthony Watts published a guest blog post on Watts Up With That (WUWT) that has left me shocked that he was willing to put it on his website.

The guest blog post in question is written by Richard Guy who argues in it that Post Glacial rebound is a myth (also known as isostatic rebound). According to him it’s a “false concept” and says that it’s part of “Geological theology”. This last one is apparently his way of referring to the scientific field of geology.

The evidence he uses to argue for this is ‘interesting’ to say the least:

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Responding To Watts About Anonymous Opinions

Anthony WattsSomething I almost always do is to let someone know that I’ve mentioned them in one of my blog post. It’s why I sent my “Anonymous Opinion ‘Not Worth Bucket Of Warm Spit‘” post to Wotts and Watts on Twitter.

And Watts did responds to it with a tweet containing a link to his FAQ page. This is the relevant section from it:

Q. Why do a couple of guest essays have nom de plum names? Aren’t you adamant about people putting their names behind their words?

A. Anyone who publishes on WUWT must be known to the proprietor, and they are all known to me. This requirement is mainly for legal reasons. When running a large enterprise such as this, there may be a legal challenges to writing, and the writer must be held accountable for his/her own words in that case. For the few occasions where somebody wants to publish on WUWT using a nom de plume, the first requirement is full disclosure before publication, and that communications is recorded should there ever be an issue in the furture. Of the nearly 10,000 posts on WUWT, there are just a few that were given the opportunity to publish this way. For good reason, some of those authors fear things like this from activists such as Greenpeace: We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.

Publishing on WUWT under a nom de plume known to the proprietor is different from anonymous commenters or some of my doppleganger blog children who use the cloak of anonymity to launch personal attacks against me or contributors to WUWT. For example, in a U.S. court of law, the accused is given the right to openly face the accuser(s). WUWT’s author policy of allows for that if need be. With external attackers who claim self righteousness under the cloak of anonymity, not so much.

No, allowing nom de plum names – also known as pseudonyms – for authors of content on your website is not different from anonymous users criticising Watts.

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Anonymous Opinion “Not Worth Bucket Of Warm Spit”

In my opinion anonymity has no bearing whatsoever on someone’s argument being valid or not; it’s completely irrelevant to making that assessment.

So I’m not quoting myself in the title, it’s Anthony Watts:


For those that might not know this, @wottsupwiththat is the person who runs the WordPress blog WottsUpWithThat. A blog that has as goal to “address climate science claims made on Anthony Watts’s Watts Up With That (WUWT) site.” And so far Wotts has been very critical towards some of the nonsense that’s published on WUWT.

Which is probably part of the reason Wotts has garnered some attention from Watts. Attention in the form of a fishing expedition for his identity.

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