A View From Nowhere? The Case Against Knee-Jerk Centrism When It Comes to Politics and Science

Read time: 6 mins

Debate over The Republican Brain is mounting, as emotional (and highly extraverted?) conservatives fling meaningless attacks at the book–attacks so off target it’s doubtful in most cases that the critics read the book–but scientists admit that it represents the research on ideology accurately. That’s what just happened Saturday morning on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes, where Jonathan Haidt, the University of Virginia moral psychologist and author of The Righteous Mind, basically agreed with me that liberals are indeed more open to new experiences, with all that entails—which is why they are more sympathetic to scientists, and take their knowledge more seriously. Conservatives, meanwhile, just do it differently, Haidt explained:

I want to fully agree with Chris that the psychology does predispose liberals more to be receptive to science; my own research has found that conservatives are better at group-binding, at loyalty, and so if you put them in a group-versus-group conflict, yes, the right is more prone, psychologically, to band around and sort of, circle the wagons.

Haidt nevertheless went on to talk about a lot of cases of the left attacking science too, enough that both Michelle Goldberg (of the Daily Beast) and Chris Hayes eventually challenged his stance. Goldberg worried about a “morass of cultural relativism, in which everybody’s equally irrational,”  and later, Hayes suggested that Haidt was trying to put himself at a “remove” that may not exist:

It’s the claim to special enlightenment that centrists have that drives me crazy…the fact of the matter is that [centrism] is as ideologically binding and team oriented as [anything else].

This drives me crazy too–but I don't think Haidt is an un-thoughtful or knee-jerk centrist, of the sort that we so often see out there. Indeed, I think Haidt is incredibly close to my own views, and have no problem with him problematizing things and pointing out cases of left science denial, which clearly do exist. I point out these cases myself, whenever I can. Haidt’s argument, in other words, is not simply that “everybody does it equally”—it is more complex than that, more accurate than that (as I think the Haidt quotation above shows). But a lot of people are going to hear it that way. And it’s this mishearing that requires answering.

Indeed, while Haidt is not making the “everybody does it equally” argument, others really do.

For instance, this argument popped up recently on The Young Turks’ “The Point,” a great web show that did a special science focused episode hosted by Cara Santa Maria of the Huffington Post. I did a minute-and-a-half video to spark discussion for the show, and in response to it, science writer K.C. Cole really did seem to articulate what I consider the  knee-jerk centrist stance (something that Phil Plait, also appearing on this episode of The Point, also criticizes). Here’s Cole at around 8:07:

I was recently at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, and somebody showed this great slide, it was of a health food store in Princeton, New Jersey, and a sign out front, on a chalk board, saying, “Chemical Free Sunblock.” “Chemical Free Bug Spray.” And these people are not Republicans. There is a lot on the loony left that is as anti-science, truly, as there is on the right.

Here, unlike with Haidt, it sounds like we really are getting the centrist “pox on both your houses” approach–which to me, is pretty weak. Let’s state it plainly: Just because the left is not always 100 percent factually correct, it does not follow that the left and right are equally wrong, or that the left and right handle or process information in the same way, or that they’re equally biased, just in opposite directions. None of this follows from simply pointing out a few cases of left wrongness.

How do you defeat the knee-jerk centrist argument? Other than by articulating the logic above, I mean.

Well, first you can show just how overwhelmingly wrong the right is, not just about science, but about facts in general—something that The Republican Brain actually does in detail. And when you do this, not only do you find much more right unreality. You also find that in cases where some on the left actually are wrong, the misinformation doesn’t go politically mainstream in the same way.

On Up with Chris Hayes, for instance, I pointed out that some on the left do seem to believe wrong information about nuclear power, and particularly about the risks of low dose radiation. “It doesn’t travel all the way across the Pacific from Fukushima and kill babies on the West Coast,” I noted. But as Hayes quickly pointed out, that’s exactly the point: Lots of Democrats today are pretty okay with nuclear power. Dubious ideas about low dose radiation risks over vast distances aren’t in the Democratic mainstream. But climate denial, evolution denial, and so on really are in the conservative mainstream.

Another way to make the argument is to point out that liberals today trust scientists much more than conservatives do—the data are unequivocal on that. This is something that Haidt full recognizes, for instance–he mentioned it on air–but that K.C. Cole doesn’t appear to concede.

Most important and insightful, I think, are the psychological arguments for why the left and scientists are naturally aligned—in much the same way that the right and the military are naturally aligned, or the right and the business community are naturally aligned. This, again, is what Haidt and I agree about, as discussed on Up with Chris Hayes.

Anyway, what all of this leads to is the following. If knee-jerk centrists really want to make a serious argument, then they should start by showing one or more of the following:

1.       The dramatic extent of left anti-science, and how it equals or surpasses right anti-science.

2.       The regular mainstreaming of left anti-science in the Democratic Party.

3.       Left wing distrust of science that is equal to or greater than right wing distrust, as shown in national polling data.

4.       Psychological evidence that the left and scientific community aren’t actually aligned, or that the right and the scientific community are just as well aligned as the left and the scientific community.

Until they do this, the centrist “view from nowhere” will continue to seem pretty hard to distinguish from simple blindness. 

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I like that phrase “knee-jerk centrism” for which I could immediately think of examples in political wrangling as well as climate change argumentation.

Did you come up with that, Chris?

In the case of climate science, which has become politically charged, maybe republicans, and the public in general, might have good reasons to be distrustful of scientists. When scientists are tilted to one side of the political isle, and are expected to be consulted on policy that will have significant economic effects, they should be open and not insular.

Judith Curry has been critical of her own group:


Willis Eschenbach, the first person to file a Freedom of Information Act Request against the CRU, has been really critical:


sure, they have a right to be distrustful of anybody or anyone they want, but that’s a damn stupid thing to do when you can supply no reasonable, fact-based reasons to do so.

So far the only thing goons like Watt’s have to go on, is a few predictions/projections that were in error on isolated things like glacial melt in the Himilayas, etc, all of which are overwhelmed by the more general predictions offered for decades that we’re currently witnessing in terms of temps rising and the subsequent melting worldwide, extreme weather events, ect, much less anything resembling an alternative explanation to the warming that has survived more than a few days or so.  There’s no “debate” to be had, there’s just the reasonable and responsible “it’s the ghg crew” as opposed to those who have nothing in their little quivers but “uh uh!!!”.

The only ones lacking in credibility are those like Watt’s and the rest of the “climate-gate” crew, for which their intended victims Mann, etc, were vindicated by how many investigations?

I bet the stupid hack watt’s didn’t contest this http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/04/05/458670/stopping-climate-change-would-cost-consumers-pennies-per-day/ or this http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/science/earth/americans-link-global-warming-to-extreme-weather-poll-says.html either, did he?

The world is waking up despite the best efforts of a collection of idiotic hacks like Watt’s to keep it bored and asleep with the meaningless nonsense he spews.

Maybe you should go on a Watt’s diet, no?

You say “hack” Watts didn’t contest the post from “hack” Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog, based on an article from … Mother Jones! I’d say Watts probably didn’t have time for it. Yes, they’re both hacks. they both toil away passionately to advance their respective causes. I think there’s something admirable about that. Chris Mooney also deserves the compliment of being called a “hack”. I wish I had the perseverance to be a “hack”!

Anthony Watts is the world’s most reviled and popular climate blogger, with the later being the reason for the former. Him and his geust writers blog about all aspects of climate science and policy. They have a skeptical bias against the catastrophic claims of climate change. They critique new papers in the feild and go into extreme technical detail. I tend to agree with a lot of their policy posts. He often gets accused of being a “paid hack”. He did get money from the Heartland Institute, which he is using to make NOAA weather data readily accessable on the web. He is uniquely qualified for this. For a weatherman, he has a long history of working with computer technology, which includes the start of the Weather Channel  30 years ago:


This technical competence, along with his broadcasting experience is undoubtedly responsible for the success of his blog. I particularly like the cartoons by Josh.

Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog is pretty much progressive, left wing propoganda. They have a party line that solar and wind are good, nuclear is bad, any aspect of climate change will be catastrophic…ect. You’ll seldom, if ever, see anything that deviates from this.


Edited to change NOMA to NOAA

The guy is as stupid as he is nuts.


He thinks that Darwin Airport’s data was possibly tampered.  So… lets go with that a second and say he’s right.  *gasp*    Looking closely one data point in 1500, he claims it has been tampered.. that means a .067% error injected.. So if the global temperature shifts by .5C, Darwin would introduce .000333C error.  Why is that news?  Why bother writing about it.  (Of course… he doesn’t mention how much error his analysis could introduce…)

If there was any truth to what that incompetant said he would analyze the other 1500 data points and prove himself right and all of climate science is wrong. Instead he cherry picks a data point and makes hay with it.

Think about it… he could do a study… oil companies could fund it…  it would get published.. there are journals to do it… he’d put 15000 climate scientists out of work..

The only logical conclusion is that there is nothing but hot air backing his BS claims.  At this point I consider everything he says with a certain degree of tar and sand.

Side Note:  Statistics, and data filtering are the very life blood of our society. Any competent individual who processes data from the medical profession to the engineering profession can tell you that some data points get seriously munged in the processes.  It does not mean that all the data is wrong.  It is also impossible to draw any conclusions by just looking at the numbers as he did.

Its a simple fact that the CRU doesn’t own the data.

Much is also military.

Having working in a weather office I can tell you;

  1. I needed Secret clearance.
  2. How to track military vessels that aren’t supposed to be there.
  3. Meteorologists don’t study climate.
  4. And its a guy with a 2 year diploma (Met Tech) doing weather prediction.

Instead of cat calling he and you could grow up and actually speak intelligently on the subject, instead of standing around waving your arms around and demonstrating  absolute ignorance.  Do a little (microscopic in fact) reading and you will learn that everything I’m saying is true.

Gee… how did I know I’d find this, Canman.  I know… its ‘cause I’m smart unlike you and Willis.

You really should try to understand what you are talking about before opening your trap.  Obviously Willis is too stupid to know what he’s talking about.  For a paid blogger, he appearently doesn’t know how to use the internet.  Odd, don’t you think?


“The CRU collates data from many sources around the world. Its director, Phil Jones, told the science journal Nature in 2009 that he was working to make the data publicly available with the agreement of its owners but this was expected to take some months, and objections were anticipated from national meteorological services that made money from selling the data. It was not free to share that data without the permission of its owners because of confidentiality agreements, including with institutions in Spain, Germany, Bahrain and Norway, that restricted the data to academic use.

How can research be reproduced and verified if data is unavailable? Something does not seem right about that. In the Wiki, under the heading, “E-mail controversy”, it says:

 The Muir Russell report, however, stated, “We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA.”

First… Get a Phd in a useful and related field.  Construction… hmm… doesn’t count.

Second… Get a job in a useful field.  Blogging conspiracy theories doesn’t count.

Third.. Sign the non-disclosure agreement.  That means look at data, don’t reveal or sell it because it costs a lot of money to produce.

Even Steve Macintyre knows nothing. What was the field… dendropaleoclimatology?  News flash, there are multiple experts in the field.  He doesn’t even rank. (Apart from odor.)

Actually Steve is quite the butt when you think about it.  I mean.. he thinks that in a review he gets to demand that the author’s do specific actions.  Its not true but it doesn’t prevent him from blogging about it for oh 6 months.  (Gotta drag it out for little no minds like yourself.)

So… yes.  The science is completely and totaly reproduceable, and has been.  Just not by uneducated bumpkins with no expertise.

I haven’t seen anything about nondisclosure agreements. I have seen claims that the data was available elsewhere. WE was requesting to know which data was used. Refusal to disclose this can only be described as obfuscation, the antithesis of science!

Is there room for the amature scientist or does he need the secret decoder ring?

Is this what I’ve reduced you guys to? I’ll admit I’m not a good writer, but I think my points are pretty concise and clear. If you are referring to “WE was requesting…”, the “WE” is short for “Willis Eschenbach”.

You are an atrocious writer (you cannot use abbreviations without letting us know what you mean, that is just lazy) Your knowledge of science is just as bad. Anybody who has studied science for any length of time knows that “data” are plural. You just show your ignorance of many things every time you post.

Of course if you are still in Grade 6 then you are doing very well.

OK, sorry about the abbreviation. I see them used often in blog comments and I thought it would be obvious. I didn’t realize that coinciding with the spelling of the word “we”, would be so confusing to you. It seems like the capitalization would give it away.

“Data” is indeed a plural noun, but  if you look at the American Heritage Dictionary defenition of “data”, you will see that it can be used with both singular and plural verbs:


I have not made a mistake using the word “data”, but you have made a mistake by saying that I did. Now, if a simple matter like this can confuse you, maybe you should reevaluate your position on the much more complicated issue of AGW.

You have obviously (very obviously) never published a science paper in a science journal. Such lack of grammatical correctness would have any editor or reviewer rolling in the aisles at such obvious ignorance of how science is written.

However, since you continually show your ignorance of science I guess you can use that ignorance of the subject as an excuse for your lack of proper usage.

I just defended my use of the word “data” with singular verbs! If I made some other gramatical error, maybe you could enlighten me. If you’re an example of what passes for published climate science, then my point that maybe the public has a reason to distrust climate scientists, is vindicated.

What grade are you in?

going on a Master’s degree…  I believe that makes me better suited and better educated that almost all of heartland and of course Mr. Watts who never graduated from anything.

I’ve written papers, and I have patent for new and original work measuring low concentrations of toxic gases.

As a professional engineer I am authorized by law to apply science to the real world.  Therefore it is easy to spot spacious silly arguments like yours.

After all I can’t go to and advertising web site like say, Watts Up With That and walk away with something useful that I could in any way apply to the real world.


Anyone who’s worked with temperature sensors (I have and do) would read what Watts did and realize he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

If a high school kid presented that to a professor in university, the prof would take take the kid aside and say..

“Son. here’s all things you did wrong….”

“Does that mean I can’t go to university?”

“Son. you’re going to have to study real hard.”

Canman (or should that be Conman?) boasted:

“If I made some other gramatical error, maybe you could enlighten me”

I wont enlighten you as to what error you made in that sentence. I will leave it for you to find out once you graduate into 5th or 6th grade English.

Conman, you are a hoot, you are so stupid you can’t even see it.

Why is that only simpletons seem to be picking up the anti-science side of things?

Can’t they think for themselves?

Are they more susceptible to brain washing?

Conman!  “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for!”  Did that work?

The smart ones (First Tier) I get in Calgary know better than to back their positions with garbage like facts or information.  They say its all wrong, but won’t say why.  They just go at the people (like me) and try to pry them apart.

First and second tier always avoid links to anything that might back their position. (‘cause its WUWT… and even they know its political claptrap.)  Anyone that shows their cards gets shredded. Fast.  Which brings you to the newb or third tier.

Conman is a third tier denier.  He doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.  He’s just parroting it like a dumb bird.  “SQUACK! CLIMATE CHANGE ISN’T REAL! CLIMATE CHANGE ISN’T REALSQUACK!”

Anyways, I know for an absolute fact that I have made many grievous technical mistakes in my rantings on Desmogblog and I know for a fact, that not a single one of the deniers that frequent here has even noticed.  (Meaning they don’t know the material at all.)  Many of the friendlies such as yourself, have noticed and corrected me.

The data was viewed by qualified individuals not associated with the CRU.  I’ve outlined what you must do to look at the data.  Are you illterate?  (Its a reasonable question at this point.)

There is no obfuscation.  It is against the law to take things you don’t own and give them away.

Unless you’re a communist.  Thats what it is.  You’re a communist.  Only communists and left wing nut jobs take things they don’t own.

If the data is available elsewhere (the response to the FOIA request), how can it be owned? Willis was asking which data was used in a publicly funded study, and was refused. How is that not obfuscation? 

Education has clearly dropped since I graduated.  Are you a simpleton?

The data can and is owned.  All of it.  Its ownership.  Not obfuscation.

Now… if I use private data to do a public study, that doesn’t defacto mean the data is public.  The study isn’t necessarily public either.  (Not in Canada anyways.)

Here’s CIA data.


No you can’t see it.  No matter how much you rant, rave, beg, and espouse communist beliefs.  You can’t see it.

Thanks for the link. It was an interesting article. But as to the FIOA request made by WE (Mr. Eschenbach to you guys), the ownership of the data is a moot point. The response said  that the data was available elsewhere on the web. What WE needed to know is what specific data was used, so he could reproduce the results. Not supplying that information can only be described as obfuscation!

You are unqualified and or retarded.


“The Independent Climate Change Email Review went back to primary data sources and were able to replicate CRU’s results. This means not only was CRU not hiding anything, but it had nothing to hide. Though CRU neglected to provide an exact list of temperature stations, it could not have hid or tampered with data.”

So… I don’t know… grow a brain or something.  Get qualified perhaps.  Just stop with the tin hat the fishing expeditions into stupidity.

Skeptical Science quotes the review:

CRU should have made available an unambiguous list of the stations used in each of the versions of [CRUTEM] at the time of publication. We find that CRU’s responses to reasonable requests for information were unhelpful and defensive. [1.3.1]”

I’m skeptical of Skeptical Science. From your quote of them:

“ Though CRU neglected to provide an exact list of temperature stations, it could not have hid or tampered with data.”

Isn’t neglecting to provide an exact list of temperature stations hiding the data, which is the exact list of temperature stations? To quote former president Bill Clinton, I guess it “depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is”.


Lets go down your little tin hat theory….

Its all faked.  Everything the CRU did faked.

WHO CARES!  Its not like their 10 scientists out number the other 30,000 working in this field.  Its not like they did anything more than provide a singular view of data.

Their view however closely correlates all the other data sets from all the other sources which you are somehow ignoring.  Is there a reason you are ultra mega deeply concerned about this one single location?  Is there a reason you are ignoring all (as in lots) the other data sets?

This includes big oil funded studies;  (Koch funded this result.)


I have said nothing about the accuracy of CRU’s data or findings. I simply linked to an essay by Judith Curry and one by Willis Eschenbach. These two essays were not about the accuracy of any data. They were critiquing CRU’s practices in publishing their work, and especially their responses to inquiries from their critics.

I don’t believe there is any grand conspiracy to perpetrate a hoax on the public. But I do believe that the field of climate change is very politically charged, and this is affecting the behavior of many of the scientists. It doesn’t help that most of the scientist and their critics tend to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum. I can’t imagine that the science won’t be infuenced by subtle bias.

So many lies from Conman I don’t know where to start, so many errors or deliberate lies in his post.

You are nothing but a dishonest denier, who pays you to post your lies?

You claim:

“But I do believe that the field of climate change is very politically charged, and this is affecting the behavior of many of the scientists”.

That is complete nonsense, the scientists are being completely honest, at least the 97%, not the few dishonest types such as Singer, Michaels, Spencer, Christy, Ball etc. The honest scientists’ work is being distorted by fossil fuel sycophants such as Watts, McInytre, Jeffid, Mountford etc. Brainless idiots like you, who appear to know nothing about science are part of the ignorant “Rah Rah” crowd who cheer on these losers. Does it make you feel good to know that you are part of the problem rather part of the solution or are you too stupid to even realize that you are part of the problem?

People like you are not even worthy of the title “scum of the earth”, since even pond scum serve a useful purpose.

Your last comment is an insult to scientist everywhere:

“I can’t imagine that the science won’t be influenced by subtle bias”.

The only people who are “biased” are the denier supporters like you who are incapable of making rational statements because of a combination of ignorance, arrogance, greed and selfishness. You are one despicable person Conman.


10 rabid oil paid scientists have it right…  and 30,000 Phds who work in the field are all deluded.  That is his ‘logic’.

Conman… time to up your meds.  Your tin hat isn’t working right.

“Willis Eschenbach, the first person to file a Freedom of Information Act Request against the CRU, has been really critical:”

Well, he’s an oil executive as well as a Republican…why wouldn’t he?


I seem to remember Willis Eschenbach describing his stint as an oil exec in one of his colorful bioessays, but I don’t see any evidence that he is a republican.

While searching with Google, I see that the DeSmog crew has a dossier on him:


“ but I don’t see any evidence that he is a republican.”

I don’t see Chris Mooney is in any way a liberal/Democrat. I certainly havn’t heard him say he is a Democrat, so therfore he is independent, or probably a republican.

Are you really that naive? WTFUWT is a conservative blog. All of its political links are to conservative or green hit piece blogs. They have attack pieces on Al Gore nearly every week and Eschenbach is all too willing to join in the dog whistle politics.

Have you ever seen them attack the carbon taxes or cleantech programs of conservative governments in Germany or N.Z? 


I’ll have to agree with you that WUWT is a conservative blog. This is probably one of the reasons that it is so reviled by liberals. But I don’t think individual writers can be pigeonholed so neatly. WE certianly seems to hold a lot of conservative positions, but he does not toe the line on everything. For example, he took extreme measures to avoid combat in Veitnam. Sometimes public figures can have suprising politics. A good example is country singer Toby Keith who claims to be a life long democrat.

Here’s a great clip from a Republican Scientist;


Notice your choice of words…  WUWT has writers.  Yup… no science in that!  Not a bit.  Your barber or car mechanic is just as educated in climate science as the folks at WUWT.

So.. the next question is who’s paying them to write what? Since it clearly isn’t driven by science.

“This is probably one of the reasons that it is so reviled by liberals.”

No, the reason WUWT is so reviled, is that it lies so consistently. It so blatantly misconstrues evidence to give it a conspiracy slant. It consistently takes comments from scientists on the pro side out of context to invent more controversy and suspicion. It attempts to persuade it’s readers that AGW is a liberal invention and not a scientific fact shared by progressives and conservatives worldwide except high fossil fuel rich countries like USA, Canada and Australia . And that the science was established before the Republican party or Democrat parties came into being, let alone environmentalism.

It attacks renewables consistently without presenting any alternative besides fossil fuels ( gee, I wonder why? $ -> R ) . Like one of Willis’s recent posts full of shite attacking renewables and leaving only one alternative…fossil fuels.


Knowing their readers will not look up anything said, people like Willis can get away with blatant lies. Fuel poverty in the UK is caused by renewables Willis? Really? It couldn’t be anything to do with distribution network upgrades due to everyone buying more energy hungry ( plasma’s) appliances? It couldn’t be caused by, oh I don’t know….poverty itself? Or people living in larger houses? Or poor energy efficiency? Oh no, WUWT readers or Willis will never acknowledge those kinds of possibilties, the only possibility is renewables and no one at WUWT questions that. Incredible dishonesty.

Or this beauty by Watts himself:

“Supreme irony: wind farms can cause atmospheric warming, finds a new study”


OMG, OMG OMG NO!…….its the wind farms causing it! Maybe they could have asked the scientists themselves, like the Washington post did :


Instead of regurgitating exagerated hit pieces from right wing journalists and papers.

Excerpt: “Still, that didn’t stop news outlets and pundits from inflating Zhou’s study beyond all recognition. The Daily Mail ran the headline, “Wind farms make climate change WORSE.” That’s wrong. Zhou himselfcomplained that the media coverage of his study has been “misleading.”

Hmmm, the scientists disagree with Watts version. Hmmm, who to believe? The person who did the research? Or…………………..Watts? I know who Watts readers will believe.

WUWT is not a science site. It’s a conservative opinion blog, with right wing memes, pro fossil fuel stories and conspiracy theories. Science is the anathema of WUWT.


“In the case of climate science, which has become politically charged, maybe republicans, and the public in general, might have good reasons to be distrustful of scientists.

Well that is possible. It would depend if the reason for being distrustful is based on science and not on subjective feelings. But the fact is that the political affiliation of individual scientists has nothing to do with whether or not science is true. It is not a valid argument to say that because many scientists are liberal that therefore the science they do is biased. Scientific facts are NOT determined by politics. They are determined by whether or not the science is TRUE.

“Whatsupwiththat” is a denialist web site funded by Exxon.

“Whatsupwiththat” is a denialist web site funded by Exxon.

Do you have any evidence of this? Watt’s received funds from the Heartland Institute to use his considerable programming skills for a project to make NOAA data accessable on the web. Other than that, Anthony Watt’s, Joanne Nova, Steve McIntyre and other climate bloggers are doing it on their own, according to Matt Ridley:


“Do you have any evidence of this?”

Why yes, I do.

Willard Anthony Watts (Anthony Watts) is a blogger, weathercaster and non-scientist, paid AGW denier who runs the website wattsupwiththat.com. He does not have a university qualification and has no climate credentials other than being a radio weather announcer. Watts is on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, which itself is funded by polluting industries. (1)

Watts held an American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval (a discontinued credential that does not require a bachelor’s or higher degree in atmospheric science or meteorology from an accredited college/university) with a status of “retired”. (2)

Some online lists incorrectly refer to Watts as “AMS Certified”, but this is incorrect; the American Meteorological Society reserves its “AMS Certified” designation for its Certified Broadcast Meteorologists and Certified Consulting Meteorologists, and Watts posesses neither certification (3)

(1) Cubby, Ben (2012 [last update]). Scientist denies he is mouthpiece of US climate-sceptic think tank. watoday.com.au. February 15, 2012.

(2) List of AMS Television Seal Holders”. American Meteorological Society (2009-11-05).

(3) List of AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologists (CCM)”. American Meteorological Society (2009-11-19).

“…to use his considerable programming skills for a project to make NOAA data accessable on the web”

I was unaware that web designers also carry a PhD. in climate science. When did that happen?

“Anthony Watt’s, Joanne Nova, Steve McIntyre and other climate bloggers are doing it on their own, according to Matt Ridley”

I fail to see what relevance “doing it on their own” has to anything. I guess you are trying to suggest that iconoclasts are always right by virture of their being… iconoclasts. This is an obvious logical fallacy. Just because a lone BA in zoology from Oxford (Matt Ridley) believes something doesn’t make it true. Neither does having a romantic vision of oneself as doing battle against the dogmas and orthodoxy of science make one right. Famous iconoclasts of the past fought against the ignorance of religion, not science. In science, people who think they can refute Einstein or relativity orQM or climatology or evolution are called CRANKS.

What makes something true is if in fact it is true.

Global warming is a fact, we can measure it. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know this because quantum mechanics determines how IR is absorbed and then emitted by CO2. We know that the CO2 released by humans is responsible by far for the warming that we can observe because CO2 from fossil fuels has a different fingerprint than that from natural sources. Climate denialists need to explain how it is that CO is NOT a greenhouse gas.

Good luck with that.


“Global warming is a fact, we can measure it. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know this because quantum mechanics determines how IR is absorbed and then emitted by CO2. We know that the CO2 released by humans is responsible by far for the warming that we can observe because CO2 from fossil fuels has a different fingerprint than that from natural sources. Climate denialists need to explain how it is that CO is NOT a greenhouse gas.”

I think you are using a straw man argument. I don’t see any of the major climate skeptic bloggers saying that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas. They argue that temps are not rising as fast as the models predict or that other factors are having a bigger effect.

While the temperature charts show a long term rising trend, they also swing up and down pretty significantly along the way. While it seems that all charts related to climate seem to have these wild swings, I have found one that looks almost like a straight line. Clicking on the time serie and multimission radio buttons on this page shows satellite measures of sea level rise:


Over about 20 years, it shows 6 cm of rise, which extrapolates to 30 cm or about 1 foot a century. Of course, past performance is no gaurantee of future results.

The skeptic bloggers seem to display a lot of scorn for computer models and I suppose that could be unjustified. They tend to argue that the temperature trend (though it is rising) is not rising very fast and here I tend to agree with them. Could we be hit with an exponential curve? For CO2 without feedbacks, the sensitivity is agreed to be 1.2 degrees per doubling, and the curve flattens out logarithmically. If sensitivity is going to be high, I think it could be argued that we will warned by the next steep upswing.

“I don’t see any of the major climate skeptic bloggers saying that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas. They argue that temps are not rising as fast as the models predict or that other factors are having a bigger effect.”

Well it’s nice to know that you agree that global warming is real and is caused by human activity. For many years now we’ve been told by climate denialists that global warming is not happening and even if it were humans could not possibly be responsible. The claim that warming is not happening as fast as some models predict is true. It’s happening faster, THREE times faster and scientists have had to adjust their models to account for the massive changes they’ve observed.

“While the temperature charts show a long term rising trend, they also swing up and down pretty significantly along the way.”

Sure, there is a lot of noise. Climate science is not easy because it requires expertise accross several scientific domains. So I don’t know what you think you’ve found on some website. It shows mean sea levels rising which you would expect if global warming is true.

“They tend to argue that the temperature trend (though it is rising) is not rising very fast and here I tend to agree with them. Could we be hit with an exponential curve?”

The main concern is if large CO2 sinks like the arctic permafrost or methane calathrates thaw and release massive amounts of CO2 triggering a feedback loop or if the glaciers that now cover Greenland melt and raise sea levels by METERS. The great majority of humans live on coastal lowlands. Rising sea levles would displace millions of people who would have to move inland. The resulting political and social disruptions that would then follow would add to our already distressed internaional political scene. Not to mention the loss of capital infrastructure and of food sources or airable land.

Small changes in the global climate have disproportionatly large negative effects on humans. So is it not wise to prevent what warming we can and to adapt to that we cannot prevent? Conservatives resist these needed changes because they are either authoritarians and do as they are told or they are just knee-jerk conservatives who resist ALL change without any basis in rational thought.

“The claim that warming is not happening as fast as some models predict is true. It’s happening faster, THREE times faster and scientists have had to adjust their models to account for the massive changes they’ve observed.”

Sea level and temperature trends, while they are rising, seem rather benign, which I consider to be a good thing. Yet, climate hawks like Joe Romm and Peter Gleik just seem to be freaking out about how bad everything is getting! I understand that there are concerns about methane bubbling up out of thawing tundra and it should be watched closely. But until I see faster temperature rise and ice melting, me and most of the public aren’t going to get too worked up about it. It doesn’t seem like a planetary emergency. It looks like a long drawn out process. This is climate and not weather after all.

“Sea level and temperature trends, while they are rising, seem rather benign, which I consider to be a good thing.”

The claim that warming will be purely benificial is flat out wrong but it is nice to know that you agree that global warming is real and that humans are responsible. Most humans live in lowlands near the sea. Most of our food comes from or depends on estuarays, reefs and other ecologies that would be harmed by rising sea levels.

If you like illegal immigration from Mexico now you’re gonna LOVE it when ALL of Mexico decides to pick up and move north because they can no longer live where they are.

“until I see faster temperature rise and ice melting, me and most of the public aren’t going to get too worked up about it. It doesn’t seem like a planetary emergency.”

No one is saying the planet is threatened. Earth will be just fine. Humans will also survive just fine. Civilization perhaps not so much.

What I consider to be a good thing, is that temperatures and sea level do not appear to be rising too fast. I do not consider rising tempertture to be purely beneficial, although I do think that it is fortunate that it will likely prevent another ice age.

Very fast.  It will affect the world in my children’s life time.

Can you see the ads for Hawaii?  Come see the Great Wall of Hawaii!

Here’s what the Australian government says is happening;  (Page 33, question 78)


As far as I know, there are no projections including ice melt yet.   But indications are that its also happening, and its accelerating.

Note they reference Skeptical Science.  That’s because skeptical science is endorsed by the scientists themselves.  (As opposed to oil companies and crack pots which you prefer to look at.)

“although I do think that it is fortunate that it will likely prevent another ice age.”

We are not due for another ice age for some 30,000 years and we have managed to add a degree to the globe in just under a century.

If theoritically we haven’t already wiped outself out, or a virus does it, or an asteroid, or we don’t have some other technological advancement within 30,000 years time, we might just need something like fossil fuels to stave off another ice age, instead of using it all up within the next century or so.


Anyways, I’m seeing this all over the place.

Suddenly (over 6 months or so) I see a ton a posts saying you guys believe the world is waming.  But you just don’t think the models are correct.  (It begins with the Monckton Maneuver.)

You have to do this of course.  The world temperatures held constant and high for the last 11 years or so… This is while solar energy was declining AND La Nina holding temperatures down.  (Yet 8000, 100 year temperature records were broken in March alone this year.)

In the next 3 years we will definitely be breaking global temperatures.

Many of the arguements I’ve seen lately show folks like Lintzen using false data and lying in public.  So why is it acceptable to for him to lie like that?

More importantly, why is Lintzen illiterate?  Please explain why he is illiterate to me.  Why can’t he publish his theories in papers and actually generate some degree of credibility for you blogger based claims?

There are junk journals willing to publish whatever tripe you guys produce.  It gets read and viewed by real scientists.  This has worked fine for Craig Loehle.  (Too bad he hasn’t proven anything… but that is always the case for you guys isn’t it?)

After deep discussions about evolution and brain function At Science 2.0 the scientists there were very critical of the tribalistic nonsense  Mooney is selling.  They see Mooney as a misguided propagandist who is contorting science for his own ego driven ends. I didn’t expect that kind of backlash at Science 2.0 but objectivists apparently do not choose sides when it comes to science.

Going on MSNBC, one of the lowest rated networks, on a Saturday? What’s the point? What’s next the Comedy Channel? lol

I may just break down and buy the book.

I thought his stuff was hooey, but if you guys attack it, it must rock solid true.

That was my take home lesson from you guys and climate change, expecially Lara “Evidence?  I don’t need no stinkin Evidence!” Jorgensen.

In the mean time I leave you with another Inconvenient Truth;