Like being savaged by a dead sheep (again)

by Gareth on October 3, 2010

Denis Healey‘s memorable description of an attack by the mild mannered Geoffrey Howe seems an apt title: it appears that I’ve earned the attention of Anthony Watts and the denizens of his Watts Up With That? (aka µWatts) blog. Apparently he takes my µWatts coinage personally — though I reserve it for the blog, not the man.

Watts post is hilarious. He fulimates about the 10:10 film, links to Wishart to establish my credibility (might as well ask the Pope to give Richard Dawkins a reference), pontificates at length on the fact that he gets more hits than Hot Topic, — a bit like boasting that the USA (pop 307 million) has more ships in its navy than New Zealand (pop 4 million) — and rather digs a hole for himself over Delingpole’s call for a Nuremburg trial for warmists. Apparently Delingpole’s “discovery” that the Bilderberg group had talked about “global cooling” was “important”.  Unfortunately Watts seems to have missed a very early comment under his own post, warning him that the web site Delingpole uses as evidence is a hoax.

The comments don’t disappoint either. Cameron “Whaleoil” Slater chips in to assure Watts that I’ve called him worse (and gets moderated in the process!). Slater’s memory appears a little fallible — he was the one calling me names, as I recall, and the Watts commenters posting here in the last day certainly don’t think I’m moderating harshly. Then there’s a touching little exchange between Watts and Treadgold, in which Treadgold manages to mistake a plastic airline eating utensil for a rapier.

Finally: a word to the wise. Don’t mess with the international truffle grower cabal. It has contacts everywhere. I can reach Jim Hansen via one connection, Pat Michaels via another, and Prince Charles through a third — and they all like truffles. I’ll leave Denis Healey to the Bilderbergers (he was a founding member).

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Artful Dodger October 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

Garth, there is a wise old saying, “Don’t Feed the Trolls” (DFTT). These organized deniers are just trying to waste your time, and make the undecided in the Public turn away from what they perceive as a nasty debate. Don’t give away the power.

Continue your excellence in Journalism, and speak to the People. Let the Rhetoric fade back into the shadows, illuminated with the bright light of Evidence. I continue to follow your wonderful blog as a beacon, and pass it on to my friends. Thank-you.

David October 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

” illuminated with the bright light of Evidence”
Thats hilarious- got any evidence that mans CO2 emissions cause warming? Nah, didnt think so.

Nick October 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm

No evidence that you would understand,David. Just the routine stuff of a thousand educational curricula. Giving Watts’ bumbling amateur disinformation precedence over the world of real research is not a rational option for policy and government.Everybody knows this,with the exception of the few hundred who comment on his site,it seems. . Yes,he is now running with the bin Laden/climate change meme. Sad,but true.

Dappledwater October 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm

So David, you’ve not read any of the peer-reviewed scientific papers the IPCC reports are based on?. Nah, didn’t think so!.

adelady October 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm

“… any evidence that mans CO2 emissions cause warming?”

No David, have you got any evidence that the radiative physics of CO2 that happens to be in a laser (and it works) differ from the physics of CO2 that happens to be in the atmosphere?

That’s the real question.

Unless CO2 molecules differ in their properties depending on where they happen to be at a given time, the evidence is all on one side. So where’s the evidence for the differences in radiative properties?

Carol Cowan October 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

In a nutshell, David, we know that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased by about 40% over the past 150 years. We know that carbon dioxide is one of the ‘greenhouse gases’ which help to keep our planet warm by absorbing and re-emitting infrared radiation. We know, by isotope analysis, that the increase in carbon dioxide comes from the burning of fossil fuels. We know that an increase in carbon dioxide will cause an increase in global temperature, and we also know that a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour than a cooler atmosphere and water vapour is also a ‘greenhouse gas’, more powerful in effect than carbon dioxide. We know too, that so far, no other mechanism has been found to explain the increase in carbon dioxide (and thus the related warming) for this period of time.

All of this information is easily available. If you really want to find out about it you can. I recommend The Discovery of Global Warming, listed in the links on the right-hand side of this page.

Why would you think that the carbon dioxide produced by human activities would have a different effect than any “other” carbon dioxide?

s2 October 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

Personally I think that is wrong.

I think that if someone posts an idiot comment it should be visible for all to see – and for all to comment on in return.

I have blocked comments from two people on the blog that I’m babysitting at the moment, but only because they are known stalkers.

I think Gareth is handling this exactly right.

Richard C October 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

Babysitting? I think you may have been adopted.

John D October 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Gareth, You really need to make it up with Anthony. He’s putting people in the troll bin just because of you!

REPLY: No, you can assume you don’t get to run the conversation the way you want with your snark. Given your track record here, you’ve now reached troll bin status, meaning each of your comments gets an extra pair of eyes. Get Gareth to man up and admit his error, and maybe you’ll get out of the troll bin.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/04/morano-on-fox-news-on-the-1010-exploding-children-film/#comment-499786

Artful Dodger October 3, 2010 at 10:58 am

Pardon, i meant “Gareth” of course, so sorry. Guess it’s my Scandinavian upbringing ;^)

Gareth October 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

That’s OK. You should hear how my surname has sometimes been rendered… ;-)

Tony October 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Have to agree with Artful Dodger’s succinctly put comments. It’s rather like football, if you focus too much on what the opposition is doing you lose track of your own skills and moves. Keep your eye on the ball not the ball-player.

I also wonder whether trolls should be banned from this web site. They have the luxury of freely wasting bandwidth, when you could easily require a login/password. The trolls have clogged up the web with their nonsense enough, don’t allow them to saturate this site as well.

RW October 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I agree.

Gosman October 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

So the point of this site would be to essentially to preach to the converted then?

Excellent tactics in the battle to win hearts and minds.

Gareth October 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Nope. The point to this site is to provide coverage of the latest climate science and policy news, from an NZ perspective. It also aims to actively counter the disinformation spread by the likes of the NZ C’S”C and other groups/individuals. The readers are who the readers are: they choose themselves. Interesting you see a “battle for hearts and minds” where I see a problem that needs to be urgently addressed.

Gosman October 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

That is the trouble Gareth. No matter what you believe about the purity of the science behind climate change the policy decisions around it ARE a battle for hearts and minds and this site is perceived by many as being involved in that. You may wish to keep above the fray but you then get yourself dirty by commenting on campaigns like the recent 10:10 advertisements and critisising the anti-AGW camp. You can’t have it both ways.

RedLogix October 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I’m inclined to agree with Gosman on this one… it IS a battle for hearts and minds. Well hearts mostly, because for the vast majority of people, most of the time emotion trumps logic.

The professionals who have carefully crafted their disinformation and doubt campaign, and assiduiously whipped up the ‘eco-fascist’ hysteria have never ever been interested in
‘facts’ or the ‘truth’ except insofar as they were useful trinkets to twist and invert. Their real goal was to arouse a mass paranoia that would literally shut down the critical faculties of enough people, create enough opposition and noise so that effective action around this issue would become impossible.

And for now they’ve succeeded. They’re experts who knew exactly how to manipulate the mass subconcious, a precise science in itself that has been deeply researched and developed over the last 90 odd years. The climate scientists, innocent and largely unaware of the real nature of the force against them have not stood a chance.

Which is why in my opinion the 10:10 “No Pressure” video created such a firestorm of response from the deniers…for the first time someone exploited the ‘eco-fascist’ meme implanted in their subconcious against them. The sheer emotion in their response is proof of this.

Ultimately this culture war will be won with evidence and reason…the science is assurance of this, but we will not win any upcoming battles unless we correctly understand the nature of the weapons being used against us.

Nick October 7, 2010 at 12:01 am

I think we do “correctly understand the nature of the weapons being used against us”. Fundamentally,many of these weapons are simply not available to scientists and those committed to high standards of information exchange. Scientists are not unaware of the forces ranged against them,science and policy are often in opposition…

We are bound to argue coherently;incoherence has never been a handicap for the opposition. We need to respect source materials and context;the opposition has_only_ever cherry-picked,or used facetious handling of material,and are often indifferent to the standards of reference they demand of others ,in essence using practical hypocrisy. They have often found a ready ally in the lower standard of evidence,tight deadlines and space restrictions of the mass media. And they simply can devote their resources solely to the purpose of disinformation:scientists have to generate the information before they can package it. Scientists produce the raw materials for both sides of the war,then have to don the fatigues and number up! Only one side handles the material according to the directions!

As many have said,it is asymmetric warfare.

Artful Dodger October 7, 2010 at 1:19 am

Nick: That is the most succinct yet thorough summary I’ve ever read of the nature of this PR struggle. May I have your permission to spread your description (with attribution of course, as you prefer). Wonderfully Focused!

John D October 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

Perhaps you’s like to explain why the Grantham institute employs a PR guy – Bob Ward – whose paid job it is to attack anyone who questions the mainstream science.

Are you able to name a person in paid full-time employment who holds a similar role on the “other side”?

Then perhaps we can revisit the ‘asymmetric” argument.

Gareth October 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

You really want a full list, John D? Let’s start with Mark Morano, whose Climate Depot site is fully-funded by CFACT, itself a Koch and Scaife funded lobby group. Then we can start running through the list of “sceptics” who get most of their money and publicity from think tanks like Heartland, AEI, GMI, SPPI etc — Pat Michaels, Fred Singer, Steve Molloy, etc & so on. As Nick so nicely puts it, the entire edifice of scepticism as we see it today is a PR construct, put together and maintained by some very clever people in the US. Read Climate Cover Up (link in “popular posts”) and then come back to argue the point.

John D October 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

Since I can’t reply to Gareth’s comment, I’ll reply here.

How many of the MSM outlets, BBC ABC etc support the warmist cause?

How many of the MSM outlet support the “other side” Fox News, any others?

How many NZ newspapers offer a sceptical voice?
How many NZ TV channels offer anything other than the IPCC “consensus”?

How many NZ TV channels covered “climategate”?

How many NZ newspapers covered the 10-10 issue?

Gareth October 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

John, the media covers what it defines as news, and that definition varies considerably depending on outlet, country, time (other news events) etc. Simply covering news of scientific findings (ice melt for example) does not mean a bias towards any one position (unless you believe that whole of science is so biased, which is the “Dewhurst position” and simply not credible).

You seem to be claiming bias in the media, but I would argue that one of the key successes of the PR campaign against action is the perception that a “debate” about causation still exists. This leads to “false balance” in reporting, and arguably to an overstatement of the sceptic position.

As for the NZ media, for every example you can find of an op-ed arguing for action, I can point to op-eds arguing for inaction. Chris de Freitas, for instance, is a regular in the Herald, and (remarkably, in my view) even Joe Fone can get an opinion piece into the Christchurch Press. Sceptics who whine about their views being kept out of the media are simply wrong.

Carol Cowan October 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I agree with Artful Dodger, they will have another bone to chew on next week.

tomfarmer October 8, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Heavens above, it might even be this from an informed aussie.!

BTW one wonders just why the so-called outrage was so large and sustained in relation to a short movie drama. Could it have been in part the need to obscure or occlude the UK government’s report and rulings upon its Scientific & Technology Panel re CRU/UEA in Feb/Mar this year. Officially dissing much of their garbage as well. Only non-scientific material was deemed worthy of further follow-up.

Gosman October 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Where did the dislike button go?

Gareth October 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I switched it off at the weekend when we were being swamped by visitors from µWatts.

Gosman October 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I thought the whole point of it was to enable visitors to this site to determine which comments they thought were interesting enough in viewing directly. If what I take from your reply is correct then you switched it off because views which you perceived as being interesting were getting too many negative ticks, which you disapproved of.

Doesn’t this highlight that the whole concept was pointless to begin with? It only worked the way you wanted it to when the majority of posters agreed with your position beyond this point it became untenable to what you would like. Why not switch the whole thing off for good and treat us all like adults?

bill October 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm

It was also switched off when a whole troop of the similarly-minded tried to swamp the ‘support John Abraham’ petition. And rightly so.

What’s going on is what PZ Myers would call ‘Pharyngulating’ – swooping in to completely skew the ‘poll’ results of something online – ‘the other side’ also do it all the time. Why don’t you comment on the mentality of people who burst in here with the sole purpose of obscuring ‘warmist’ posts?

People who vote to obscure the nonsense peddled by a Joe Fone or a Girma are regulars trying to save themselves the hassle of reading the same tired arguments, with the addition of trying inflammatory invective in Joe’s case.

I seem to remember that it was Girma’s long strings of hyper-repetitive restatements that saw the feature switched on – other blogs have simply banned him. The posts are still there; one extra click reveals them. One is entitled to some defense from this kind of behaviour, surely?

And surely you’d also agree: it’s Gareth’s blog! You are perfectly free set up your own and moderate it as you wish…

Gosman October 7, 2010 at 8:10 am

I know it’s Gareth Blog and he can do what he wants with it. However he can’t try and claim that the like/dis like button was set up to enable the readers of this forum to decide which comments they approved of and which they can’t be bothered to read. That is disingenuine. It was set up to enable views of a particular persuassion, (i.e. those supporting his ones), to be visible and those that are perceived to be against these views to be hidden. This set up is rather infantile in my opinion which is why I point it out.

Gareth October 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Nice of you to decide what I was thinking. Remind me to impute your motives at random, next time you post something less than sensible.

Bill has the motivation right. The comment hiding feature will probably get switched back on at some point…

Steve Wrathall October 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm

It’s all about imprinting habits. All you need to do is click a little red button, and “poof” those denialists opinions will disappear, just like that.

Billy t October 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm

no pressure though.

har har har

Steve Bloom October 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm

As I’ve said before, it should be microcephaly for the man, not the blog. :)

Paul October 6, 2010 at 10:22 am

The point of this site is to attack anyone who questions AGW.

Oh, I forgot, and to peddle disaster.

Gareth October 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

Clearly haven’t spent much time reading here, have you?

Ken October 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

What is one to do when a disaster is approaching then, just ignore it?

Artful Dodger October 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

And the point of your Comment to to pretend that the Questions haven’t been answered. What do you Peddle? What do you stand to loose if New Zealand switches to clean abundant and renewable Energy? Maybe your stipend for posting these trolls? Look for other work Pal, you’ll need it soon.

Brendan H October 6, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Steve Wrathall: “All you need to do is click a little red button, and “poof” those denialists opinions will disappear, just like that.”

Sounds intriguing. And useful. Do you have a patent on that idea?

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