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Skeptoid – like a skeptic but not quite

Posted By Joanne Nova On June 28, 2011 @ 1:55 pm In AGW socio-political,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Here’s a new sign of the times.

Almost no one has gone from skeptic to believer on global warming. The conversion flow is nearly all one-way traffic. But on the Skeptoid site, author Craig Good is a “convert” of a sort, and I have to give him credit for writing the most sensible advice yet for believers of man-made global warming (see below).

But before anyone gets too excited, the two key questions here are: how much of a skeptic was he, and what did it take to change his mind? Answer, not much and not much.

This is not a big believer-awakening-moment of the Mark Lynas type, or another Judith Curry sort of conversion. Both of those were active, involved and outspoken in the climate debate.  Craig Good’s entire skeptical position can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so yes, he qualifies as a skeptic, of the gut-hunch-it’s-wrong-but-haven’t-read-a-single-skeptical-paper-type skeptic.

If there are grades of skeptic from 1 to 10, he was only a 2.

So here’s the flash of insight, that’s never been seen before from alarmist circles

This is great stuff (if blindingly obvious):

To my friends on the Left: Do you want to convince more skeptics? I mean really? Is the truth more important than your politics? Great. I have some suggestions.

Stop calling people “deniers”. That’s very clearly a slap in the face, designed to link skeptics to holocaust deniers. Maybe it plays well with the base, but you’ll make no friends nor influence people with that kind of disrespect. Don’t poison the well.

Stop calling it “climate change”. That’s a weasel-worded political phrase that dances around the real issue. It looks stupid. Of course the climate is changing. It always has! If the problem isn’t human-caused warming, there isn’t a problem. So call it what it is: anthropogenic global warming.

Stop blaming every unusual weather event on global warming. “We blame global warming” has become a joke on the Right, and for good reason. Scientists need to do a better job explaining why a global average temperature change so small that nobody could feel the difference (how about I warm your room up a half a degree and see if you can tell?) can change weather patterns in a way that some places might actually get colder and some weather may get more intense – sometimes. But blaming every heat wave, hurricane, tornado and earthquake on global warming only confuses the issue. It’s hard enough for most people to understand the difference between climate and weather.

So what was his epiphany?

He watched a Dr. Gleick who was polite, and then read things on skepticalscience.

Did he read any criticisms of not-so-skepticalscience?  It doesn’t seem so.

To my friends on the Right: Are you willing to follow the data? Good, because if nothing can convince you to change your mind, your mind is closed.

Exactly. Follow the data. What data though? You mean the raw numbers that the CRU team lost, or the data Michael Mann  hides, or do you just mean the “data” on meaningless things like the number of climate scientists who tick “yes” on a 2 minute internet survey? (And since we are asking, what do you mean friends on the Right? I thought this was a science question?)

Perhaps it’s Freudian?

As for following  the data. Yes, “let’s”.

As I keep saying, 28 million weather balloons, 6000 boreholes, 3000 argo buoys, then there’s the mystery of the missing heat energy which is not stored in the oceans and 30 years of satellites, not to mention 65 million years of climate information. They all point to the same conclusion — that CO2′s effect is minor.

“Look at the data. That skepticalscience.com site is a good resource. Forgive them for including four economic/political questions (which can’t be addressed by science) and look at the other 160 or so. What you’ll find is that there are multiple lines of data all converging on one conclusion: The net effect of our increased CO2 output is accelerated warming of the planet. It would be beyond the scope of this blog post to address every one of your very legitimate questions. Let them do it.”

We don’t need 200 papers, we need the critical results that validate the models most important assumptions in the long run.

SkepticalScience do put up a good job of it, really, especially when you consider how little real evidence is going their way. But with $30 billion dollars (and the rest) funding many teams of researchers to find a connection between CO2 and the climate, there are a lot of papers to list: irrelevant ones, poor quality ones, ones that deceive, and ones that review all those irrelevant, poor quality, and deceptive papers, and pretend they’ve come to a new conclusion. We don’t need 200 papers, we need the critical results that validate the model’s most important assumptions in the long run.

The best way to quickly understand this debate is to read the Skeptics Handbook, then read the Skepticalscience belated attempt to knock it down, and then read my reply: The Unskeptical Guide to the Skeptics Handbook.

Craig, you are not a true skeptic until you looked at both sides of the story.


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Note the Skeptoid site, founder Brian Dunning writes that he was inspired by his experience popping up as a skeptical soul on sites where people didn’t welcome his point of view, and in response to his comments they replied:

Warning: skeptoid alert!

and

Another debunkatron rears its ugly head.

Brian writes that “their only response was to make up patronizing and dismissive nicknames for me shows that their true interest is certainly not open discussion. In fact, the next time I tried to log in, I found that my account had been banned.”

Banned and called names eh? Well well. I’d say welcome to the club “denier”, except that only some skeptics are real skeptics.

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