Cocoons and Comments

Although the lines in the sand were drawn long ago, it seems to me that in  the past couple of years–well, since Climategate, really–that the lines have become walls.

There used to be several places where those from both sides of the climate debate could meet and talk–or yell or snidely put down. But at least converse.

Bart Verheggen’s was one such place. But his blog is barely breathing–he’s put up what, 3 posts in a year? Keith Kloor’s Collide-a-Scape was another–but he went and got hired by Discovery and is Discovering that science is always political–ranging from vaccines to GMOs, with an occasional nod to climate change.

Now, every climate blog has (I think) one resident contrarian who will fight it out to the bitter end with the rest of the regulars. People like Nick Stokes over at Climate Audit. But a place where several of the  commenters from each side will show up in the same thread? Few and far between.

There’s still Lucia Liljegren over at the Blackboard. She gets commenters from both sides, even when she posts on sewing. Or haiku. But how can someone get mad at a fluid dynamics engineer who posts on sewing and haiku? More importantly, how many can claim to fill that ecological niche in the blogosphere?

Here, I’m happy to say Jim Bouldin and CB Dunkerson show up to fight the good fight for the conventional view of climate change, and I hope they keep coming back. But when I ran a blog at there were dozens of commenters from that side of the fence–the fence I’m busy sitting on. But since the climate consensus blogs refuse to acknowledge that this blog (or its companion, 3000 Quads) exists, the only mentions I get are from contrarian sites and naturally my audience leans in that direction–and I’m grateful you’re all here, don’t get me wrong. But other than Judith Curry, where are the vital, extended arguments in the comments section? Should the rest of us hang it up and go on vacation?

I just gotta say, posting from a hotel before I go to a conference reception, that we’ve all gotta get out and mingle a bit more. Or else the climate blogosphere will end up as sterile as, well, hotel rooms and conference receptions.


And believe me, we don’t want that.


55 responses to “Cocoons and Comments

  1. Good point, Tom.
    Perhaps talk about some non-climate issues to humanize and add some depth would help?
    I liked your first blog, and enjoy lurking at 3KQ.
    Please don’t pull the plug here.
    Your recent posts have been some of the best blogging anywhere.
    Good luck on your travels. Where are you these days?

  2. > we’ve all gotta get out and mingle a bit more

    You should set an example yourself But you’re too wedded to your fantasy that you’ll be censored.

    • Hi Tom, unlike this pissant censoring progressive Connolley, you are an eminently decent and bright person, and someone like my libertarian self would happily like to have a beer with. Progressive blogs suffer the same difficulty as progressive radio shows. It is hard to sustain an audience when the core of program is whining about the evils of mankind, doom and gloom. etc. It is why Limbaugh is king of radio and Watts king of blogs – it is a can do vs can’t do theme that is more attractive to people. Declare yourself a libertarian and your audience will take off.

      • “Declare yourself a libertarian and your audience will take off.”

        I find conversation the here far more interesting and informative precisely because Tom is *not* a libertarian. Echo chambers are only interesting to true believers, and are never very informative.

      • “the conversation”, of course, not “conversation the”. Never comment before the second cup of coffee…

      • I can get very annoyed with Connelly. But I don’t think it’s useful to insult.

        Bob, this is more a reminder to myself and other commenters here, not specifically you. Pissant is probably borderline.

        Because I’m on the road things are getting by me, and it will continue for a while–sorry in advance.

      • Pissant Progressive

        Don’t ban Pissant, my sock puppet doesn’t like it.

    • William,
      Perhaps you can tell us how they allow skeptics to post, by offering examples, at the AGW believer sites? I have looked and looked, and just can’t find the skeptics. Since you are well informed on this, I am sure you could easily show us skeptics at Romm’s, SkS, etc.

      • Our host here is frightened to go out, so you won’t see him much.

        > I have looked and looked, and just can’t find the skeptics…

        You clearly haven’t looked very hard. Perhaps you need to take your blinders off? “neil craig” will find you plenty.

        And you won’t find me at WUWT any more, because I’m banned there. Our host is happy with that.

        The idea that what you call “warmists” censor but that you denialists don’t is just your own funny fantasy. But because you only ever talk to people who say the same thing, you can’t realise that.

      • Why do you say I’m happy with that, Connelly? I believe I said I understood the dilemma people like you pose for a blogger, that’s all.

      • > I believe I said I understood the dilemma people like you pose for a blogger, that’s all.

        Ha ha, You do can a conveniently short memory. Who was it said And I don’t consider Watts banning you to be censorship. It’s good sense instead.

        Another example of you being happy with denialists banning people:

        > You change text within comments

        No – unless you mean delete text. I certainly do that, and mark it as such. So do you, hypocrite.

        > delay posting,

        Nope, you’re lying.

        > delete text

        Certainly do. So do you.

        > and refuse to post comments

        Rarely. You’ve censored comments of mine you object to, as well as entire posts worth of comments.

        All this pretending you’re holier than the rest of the world is a joke.

        > Yes, just quivering in my boots, Connelly.

        You do have a short memory. You’ve fallen back to miss-spelling my name just to be irritating. Do you remember when you said “Update: William’s surname is Connolley–and as misspelling his name could easily be perceived as a provocation, I doubly regret this error.” and pretended to mean it? I do confess its much clearer to have the deliberately-impolite TF on display, its less confusing.

      • Actually Connolley, I misspelled your name by accident. I guess I now triply regret the error, but will serve notice that when I comment early in the morning I may even have a fourth chance to apologize for this egregious irritation.

        It is policy on this blog to replace the insult ‘denier’ and its variants with asterisks. I will continue to note the change in the comment.

      • It’s really sleazy of you to continue to accuse me of censoring an entire post without mentioning that I have offered a valid explanation for so doing. The author of the post asked me to delete it because, actually, of a threat in the comment section of the post offered by one William Connnolley.

        As I happen to know that this person has suffered because of alarmed activism in the past, I hastened to comply. The fact that I let you post here doesn’t mean I have any respect at all for your behavior. I will self-censor at this point.

      • Yes, just quivering in my boots, Connelly.

        You censor. You change text within comments, delay posting, delete text and refuse to post comments. I put asterisks when someone accuses another of being a ‘denier.’

        You might ask Michael Tobis if I have the courage to venture forth 😉 Or Gavin Schmidt. Or Joe Romm. Or Bart Verheggen. Or Keith Kloor.

      • william,
        You are more than a bit deceptive. You were not banned because you are an AGW fundamentalist. You were banned for your fibbing and deception, if I recall.

      • Err, no, you’re wrong. I was banned for pointing out that AW was lying about his experiences on wikipedia (it turns out that pointing out where AW has been lying is an unpardonable offence. Pointing it out and being wrong isn’t).

        I’ve already given you a link to the story: its here:

        Do feel free to read it and point out any errors. As you’ll see, AW has a persecution fantasy that he uses to justify not contributing to wikipedia.

      • WC,
        You were banned for lying, and apparently you still are.

    • I believe most of the criticism of me in the past has been that I commented too much on sites such as Bart Verheggen’s, Keith Kloor’s and Michael Tobis.

      I have paid my share of visits and left my share of comments to the blogsites of your compadres.

    • Tom, pissant – definition of pissant by the Free Online Dictionary …

      piss·ant also piss-ant (p s nt) Slang. n. 1. One that is insignificant. 2. Obsolete An ant. adj. Not important; insignificant: “Some pissant Texas court wants to .

      Tom, sound worse than it really is. Sorry

  3. Just to clarify, I’m not really interested in the “conventional” view on climate change per se (or on anything else for that matter). If I was, I would never have submitted my PNAS manuscript, which goes directly against it, or written my series of posts on trend estimation problems. I prefer iconoclasm actually, in measured and warranted doses. One of my favorite quotes is one by one of my favorite artists, John Gorka: “Move along when the crowd is right, stand alone when the crowd is wrong”. I try to live my life by that dictum.

    Nick is a smart and level headed guy, I like him a lot, and as you say, he’s not afraid to go where people disagree with him. And he has some really neat stuff on his moyhu blog, including a constantly updated list of the latest posts in the blog world. It definitely deserves a link here I believe.

  4. Our host here is frightened to go out, so you won’t see him much.

    > I have looked and looked, and just can’t find the skeptics…

    You clearly haven’t looked very hard. Perhaps you need to take your blinders off? “neil craig” will find you plenty.

    And you won’t find me at WUWT any more, because I’m banned there. Our host is happy with that.

    The idea that what you call “warmists” censor but that you denialists don’t is just your own funny fantasy. But because you only ever talk to people who say the same thing, you can’t realise that.

    [Well, waddaya know? This didn’t make it in the first time round. Lets try again.]

    • Patience, Connelly, patience.

    • William Connolley –

      Completely aside from the censorship issue, would you be kind enough to explain to the bystanders why you think Tom is a “d*****ist”? (asterisks inserted to avoid burning out innocent eyes)

      It seems to me that Tom accepts the science of climatology, agrees that increasing co2 is a problem, agrees that it will cause problems and thinks that something must be done about it. Given all that, what exactly is Tom d***ing?

    • stoat is a wannabe blog.
      sort of like a certain wannabe believer troll hanging out here, come to think of it. lol.
      Tom, as do I, believe the physics.
      Tom, and I to a greater extent, dispute the alarmist claptrap of people like you and those whom you echo.
      Your delusion is that you confuse your alrmism with established science.

  5. I’ll be out until late this evening. Please, no insults and don’t use the word ‘denier’ and for the love of Heaven do not misspell anybody’s name.

    Criticize behavior, not character. Remember that your opponent is probably convinced that he or she is right and that you are wrong.

    Dialogue, not dueling monologues–that’s the goal.

  6. Build it and they will come…or not. It’s not clear what the magic formula is, but you probably have to dedicate 6 months to a year at least to build up some content and followers.

    It’s certainly no fun to be part of an echo chamber, at least for me.

    Also realize the climate world has been quite boring over the past 6 months to a year. Not much happening. And the science invariably moves very slowly. Watching the monthly temperature trends is as much fun as watching paint dry.

    My guess is that the mystery ClimateGate leaker will release the rest of the e-mails before AR5. That should liven things up, although that is pretty much old news now as well. I don’t think we will learn anything new.

    I think everyone is getting tired of the climate wars. These things die with a whimper.

  7. kch, ” I find conversation the here far more interesting and informative precisely because Tom is *not* a libertarian. Echo chambers are only interesting to true believers, and are never very informative.”

    What world are you living in. Name one progressive “anything” that is NOT an echo chamber.

    • Bob –

      In case you missed it in other comments, *I* am a libertarian. I value forums like this because I can question/debate my natural opposition. Tom, progressive liberal Democrat that he is, seems to welcome this as well. Possibly unusual for a ‘progressive’, but certainly not unheard of, and definitely not the case here.

    • Thomas Fuller

      Would this venue qualify?

      Sent from my iPhone

    • kch, I see your point. Tom’s is the only site hosted by a progressive that I visit because he, himself, is not an echo chamber. My point was that if he would espouse the views of the true, old fashion liberals (like Hayek), this would become the go to blog. He is orders of magnitude more open than any other progressive, but it is still limiting.

  8. > of a threat in the comment section of the post offered by one William Connnolley

    Liar. I made no threats. You can even check for yourself:

    • Yes you did.

      • Oooooooooh no I didn’t. I said:

        I just turned up here via pingback. Its like totally wacky maan. Anonymous people make unverifiable claims to be climate scientists and then people say “Marty is not an anonymous blogger” when he so obviously is. Come on big boy: if he isn’t anonymous, who is he?

        You’re a very delicate flower if you take that for a threat. I think you didn’t like people pointing out that you version of history was bunk.

  9. Conrad Dunkerson

    The situation you describe has been inevitable for some time now.

    I think we can at least agree that the beliefs on this topic and various details are so radically different that the disparity can only be explained by some participants engaging in self-delusion on a massive scale. Things have gone on so long and the evidence piled up so high that the only way for there to be such diametrically opposite beliefs is if people are actively refusing to see the truth. Yes?

    Such a false dichotomy must perforce lead to separate camps that do not talk to each other… indeed they CAN’T talk to each other because words and events do not have the same meaning. It is a barrier beyond even language or culture… extending to reality itself.

    A detailed analytical dialogue on the issues is antithetical to the kind of self-delusion needed to maintain this split… and therefor the lines are seldom crossed and even when they are there is a deep aversion to meaningful analysis. Just knee-jerk dismissal of the opposing views and quickly retreating behind a shield of excuses to avoid truly thinking things through.

    You want to end the warring camps? Make people defend their positions in detail and with their own arguments rather than appeals to authority and dismissal of all evidence to the contrary. Of course, that will just prompt most to go elsewhere to maintain their sacred bubble of ignorance.

    • Hmmmm….

      “rather than appeals to authority”

      “the evidence piled up so high that the only way for there to be such diametrically opposite beliefs is if people are actively refusing to see the truth”

      For the record, please let us know the “positions in detail” that we are actively refusing to see. Are these actual observations, or are we actively refusing to see future projections?

  10. Without knowing – or much caring about – the roots of the animus between Tom Fuller and William Connnolley, I’m dismayed that two of my favorite bloggers have such little regard for each other. Their differences are trivial compared to their areas of agreement.

    On the science, Fuller fully agrees with WC’s four tenets of climate belief. They disagree on sensitivity, but Connolley is closer to Fuller than he is to say Romm or Tobis on it. The same is true on impacts. On policy, they are very close. Both advocate a carbon tax.

  11. Tom, you’re going to have to ruthlessly moderate the comments and force the discussion onto science topics, because this kind of discussion is completely useless.

    • I think instead I’ll try and do what Judith Curry tries to do–have some posts that are aimed at science and some that are more general in nature. Although I would certainly not expect this post to have much to say to you, I think it’s good to remember why there is a debate about policy and what defines the different sides. I don’t consider it useless. But I agree it isn’t science.

      But Paul Kelly above makes one interesting point–Connolley and I are not miles apart in our perceptions of what the science says. And yet look at the gap between us. I don’t think that science is the only topic for discussion regarding climate change.

    • I agree.

    • Jim –

      I’d also have to agree with you, albeit with a couple of caveats.

      – I would hope that this blog maintains a mix of discussions on the science and on the policies, and that they are clearly labelled (kind of like Climate etc at its best). The science is important and can be fascinating, but the policy responses are far more interesting to the laymen like myself. The non-science topics are far from useless.

      – I definitely believe that Tom should be more ruthless – and less apologetic – about moderating for topicality. The model should be Climate Audit, not Climate etc. The latter’s comment threads sadly have gotten less and less readable, informative or interesting over time.

      – I would hope that focus and ruthless moderation on the science topics does not include the exclusion of requests for clarity or questions from the audience. I would also hope that discussions of the implications of the science, as they relate to policy, are not simply dismissed with referrals back to the science. (Tell us *why* something matters, not just that it *does*.)

      • Just a heads up, I will probably never be as ruthless as Mac or as you two suggest. The climate blogs I enjoyed most as a commenter were Kloor’s and Bart’s. They did very little in the way of moderating.

        I will moderate. It will be with a light touch.

      • “I will moderate. It will be with a light touch.”

        Given my propensity to digress, I guess I should be happy. 🙂

  12. Hmmm… not sure how pleased I am to find myself in Mr. Connolley’s company in being banned from posting at WUWT, but at least my ban was merely aimed at my WordPress name linkage. Shouldn’t discussions of bans be limited to the blog entries on bans/censorships though? Or is the cocoon topic related enough…. hmm… ok… maybe it is. Hard to get out of a cocoon if you’re banned outside of it I guess! :>

    Tom, I thought you might be interested in this article, but didn’t see an email addy to send it to you: It’s not clear whether there IS a problem there, but it seems likely. Just as I believe we see here with the “guys in the white hats” figuring they can steal everyone blind because, after all, they’re the good guys so no one will ever think they’re doing anything wrong, well, maybe it’s the same over in Prague.

    – MJM

  13. Off topic. But a new HS is out. To some degree this is more of the same, but Revkin addresses the high freq. suppression issue I highlighted a couple posts ago in both the text and the video interview.

    The old “trick” of appending the high freq, high resolution recent temperature record against a low freq, low resolution proxy record is still done here, and they trot Mann out to call this farce “unprecedented”, but to Revkin’s credit, he does not let this go unchallenged.

    There is hope.

    • Tom,
      All the AGW promoters do is take the same data, process it the same way and then claim the results are brand new.
      At public expense, and in support of policies they relentlessly push and profit from.
      Revkin will be slapped around and brought back in line soon. He is just a chihuahua on a leash.

      • Disagree again, Hunter. I think Revkin is a damn fine journalist. He got gamed by The Team, but has since recovered and provides (IMO) very sober and accurate journalism. And I’ll tell you one thing–The Team should regret that they gamed him. They probably don’t, as they’re not conscious enough to be aware of subtleties. But they should.

      • Revkin also immediately corrected the scientist in the interview when he stated 4C of warming for this century. He broke in mid sentence and said “for high sensitivity numbers…”.

        Revkin isn’t doing any puff pieces. I like him, don’t always agree of course, but he has more backbone than most.

  14. I am a novice in all of this, but here it goes.

    I believe the planet is hundreds of millions of years old, if not older. The Earth’s climate changed in many significant ways before there were humans. Sometimes temperatures went up, sometimes they went down. Sometimes CO2 levels went up, sometimes they went down. Sometimes there were droughts, sometimes there were not significant droughts in some areas of the world.

    So I believe the climate is changing right now and has been changing for longer than 150 years or even longer than 5000 years.

    The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been increasing during my lifetime.

    The average global temperature increased during the 1980s and 1990s. During the period since 1998, the average global temperature compared with the average since 1850 has been high, but it has not been increasing significantly. During the entire period since 1980, mankind has been burning significant amounts of fossil fuels and this has caused a significant increase in the wealth of mankind; in particular, in China and India. Over a billion people have been lifted out of poverty. In my book, lifting people out of poverty is a good thing, but then I am pro-human.

    The sharp rise in average temperatures in the 1980s and the 1990s followed by the leveling off of average temperatures since 1998 indicates to me that there are several factors influencing temperatures. Some of them are natural (e.g. the sun) and others are influenced by man (e.g. CO2 levels). These influences are likely to be chaotic, nonlinear and nonstationary.

    To believe that all climate variation can be explained by the variation of one variable (CO2 levels) strikes me as an odd approach to the problem.

    It strikes me that figuring out how a complex chaotic system such as climate/weather works is extremely difficult and those believe they “know the answer” are exhibiting hubris. Humility strikes me as an admirable trait in the discussion.

    Does this make me a Holocaust denier?

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