Tackling what scepticism is and explaining how to recognize pseudo-scepticism is one of the main driving forces for articles on Real Sceptic. A lot of the misinformation and incorrect scientific claims you’ll see originate from pseudo-sceptics, and knowing how to recognize them and their unsupported claims is important. Without the proper tools you’re vulnerable to the misinformation they spread.
Working with scientists for over a decade has taught me one thing: they are an interesting and varied bunch. Fiercely dedicated to their chosen career, love what they do, very enthusiastic when given half a chance to talk about their research, and very inquisitive. They perk up when somewhere a scientist says “huh, that’s funny.” After all, this often means there’s something new and exciting that they can dig into.
For a while now I’ve been really busy with different projects so it took me some time to finally respond to Judith Curry’s blog post. She wrote a response to my Skeptical Science article The Skepticism In Skeptical Science that I published in June of last year.
I wrote that Skeptical Science article as there’s a significant group of science deniers that present themselves as sceptics; which they aren’t. Basically, what they do is take advantage of the different meanings and connotations surrounding the words “sceptic” and “scepticism.”
During the AGU Fall Meeting I had the honor of working with Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week and John Cook of Skeptical Science, interviewing an amazing line-up of scientists and science communicators. I’m floored by who we interviewed and could have a chat with. Everyone brought their A game which gave us some incredible footage (you can find all the videos in the AGU 2014 video archive, they’ll be added as they’re released).
A lot of this footage you’ll also see in the upcoming Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) from The University of Queensland. The Denial101x MOOC will launch in April 2015 on the EdX platform. Registration has opened so you can register for free.
Though I do know that John Cook was present for the talk Scientists Are from Mars, Laypeople Are from Venus: An Evidence-Based Approach to Consensus Messaging. It was a great talk summarizing the science behind consensus messaging and how effective it is.
Unfortunately it was another long day for me working in the interview room. I didn’t even have any lunch today so packed full was my schedule with interviews and getting footage for videos.
Though I did again meet a lot of great scientists and had a lot of fun. I did have a short chat with Lauren Kurtz the executive director of the Climate Science Defense Fund. I highly recommend you visit them at room 264 in Moscone South if you’re in need of legal advice. Something that is sadly often too needed in the current climate debate with all the attacks from climate science deniers.
The so-called sceptics like Anthony Watts often have some very interesting predictions and speculations about global warming and climate change. Especially the predictions they make when dealing with their opponents can get very strange. The latest example of this was when Anthony Watts noticed a new widget on the Skeptical Science website.
Not much information was present what this widget was about. It had some sort of outline in it and a countdown, but what it was counting down to wasn’t obvious at the time. When you clicked on the widget it directed you to a page full of silhouettes.
This is a guest post by Dave123.
What distinguishes proper skepticism from fatuous doubt? In some part comes down to who is expressing the sentiment. That is, who the person is determines if they are a legitimate skeptic or someone borrowing the title to disguise dismissive rhetoric. I don’t have sufficient training in the necessary physics and math to be a legitimate skeptic about the Higgs boson, the theory behind it or the experimental proof of its existence. I’m never going to have that level of understanding either. So I don’t opine about it. I’m entertained by it, but that’s as far as my engagement with the matter can go.
It’s winter again for us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means the occasional cold spell and maybe even some snow. Though the weather you get depends on where you live in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s one thing you can count on when it gets cold or snowy anywhere on our planet: climate science deniers will not be far behind to misrepresent what it means.
Which is understandable, after all most of the public doesn’t know how to make sense of extreme cold and heavy snow fall in a warming world. They look out of the window and wonder why this is happening. Climate science deniers then jump on this to cause further confusion and distort what experts say on this. But climate science deniers haven’t been jumping on cold weather events where I live (The Netherlands).
The website Watts Up With That run by Anthony Watts always was a website that uses conspiracy theories to support their argument that global warming isn’t a cause for concern. They try to keep what they publish on the website somewhat scientific, but that’s just a thin layer. That they are a conspiracy theory website sometimes becomes very obvious.
Their take on the loss of Cuccinelli in the Virginia elections is a good example of this. The title of their blog post ‘The big green machine: McAuliffe, Mann, and Megadollars‘ (archived here) alone hints at what is to come: