A week or so ago, I got a couple of emails and tweets about a blog post on Medium.com, an internet thing of which I had never heard. Apparently Medium.com is a big giant blog that anybody can go and blog their big giant thoughts on: like tumblr, but more bloggy.

Anyway, some dude by the name of David Siegel, Web Page Designer, posted a really long blog post about climate change on medium.com.

Have you ever been poking around on the Intertoobs, when somebody comes along and says, “Hey, I never really thought about global warming/vaccination/evolution before, but suddenly and unexplainably I am now. And as I think about global warming/vaccination/evolution these innocent and valid questions arise and imma ask you about them.”

Then the conversation proceeds to go down hill. The individual was really an anti-vaxer, a creationist, or a climate change denier all along, but was just pretending to be a thoughtful person who never thought about this issue before and just has some innocent question.

But every single one of these questions is framed in terms of the anti or denial perspective, every “fact” noted and eventually adhered to is a discredited anti or denial meme, and even more amusingly, every statement made by this “innocent, curious” individual is the same exact statement made the last time a similar individual came along.

David Siegel is one of those individuals, only instead of showing up on a Facebook thread or in the comments section of a blog post, he went to medium.com where anybody can post their thoughts. He wrote a long and detailed post, the sort of effort one would normally be paid to write by an interested party or editor, that had many of the standard misrepresentations of science found in the denialist septic system. It is well done but essentially evil, because climate change truly is real and important. I do wonder what motivates a person like David Siegel to do something like this. He is clearly intelligent, and an intelligent person has to know when they are misrepresenting the science so badly, even if they don’t understand the science itself.

At first I chose to Ignore Siegel’s post because it was just another denier screed. But a couple of colleagues who are scientists or science writers also noted Siegel’s post, and we discussed it, and realized that this batch of anti-science rhetoric was making the rounds, being taken somewhat seriously by the gullible or politically susceptible.

So we decided to write up a response. And, it is a good response, including discussion of, and references for, a number of key issues in climate change science. It is the kind of post one might want to keep handy and point out to people like Siegel, but with less time on their hands, when they show up on your facebook page or blog post.

The effort was lead by Miriam O’Brien, and she put a lot of work into it. The other authors include Josh Halpern, Collin Maessen, Ken Rice, and Michael Tobis. Josh is aka Eli Rabett, blogging at Rabett Run. Collin writes at Real Skeptic. Miriam is, of course, Sou at HotWhopper. Ken Rice is known on the internet as …and Then There’s Physics. Michael Tobis plays himself and blogs at Planet 3.0 and Only In It For The Bold. I, of course, blog here.

You can find links to all of those blogs at on the post itself.

So, click through and read our stuff!

Comments

  1. #1 Magma
    October 29, 2015

    That long and comprehensive post is excellent, a fine collaborative effort cutting through much of the misinformation (or disinformation) that is repeatedly recycled by the skeptics-that-aren’t.

    The only criticism I have is that it’s structured as a reply to a silly post that will be forgotten in weeks and to some extent this weakens it as a stand-alone piece.

  2. #2 metzomagic
    Dublin
    October 29, 2015

    And in one fell swoop, three famous climate change blogger nyms get their covers blown. Well, I guess they weren’t exactly state secrets anyway, largely due to the… ahem ‘efforts’ of AW and his minions.

    But in any case, great response from the team (and I do not mean “The Team” 🙂

  3. #3 Dunc
    October 29, 2015

    Be fair: given that he describes himself as a “Web Page Designer”, he’s clearly fallen through a wormhole from the late 90s…

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 29, 2015

    Magma, thanks. And yes, it is structured that way. We talked about structure quite a bit. Frankly, I’d like to see us take the same material and construct a seperate post that isn’t like that. We felt we needed to do this one this way, though.

    Metzomagic, I assure you al of the Pseudonym-bearing authors chose their own authorship modality, and all were known already by their given names!

    I was thinking at one point that Tobis and I should adopt pseudonyms just for this article, and use them instead of our real names. That would have been funny. But this is serious stuff, dammit!

  5. #5 metzomagic
    Dublin
    October 29, 2015

    Greg, I agree with you that it’s a good thing we finally lost the nyms, as the people behind them were already known to most readers anyway. And… it gives the likes of AW one less thing to whine about 🙂

  6. #6 Susan Anderson
    Boston and Princeton
    October 29, 2015

    This is a very big deal to imho. Thank you! Honored to be acquainted with you all. I could wish to be less preoccupied elsewhere, but if there’s anything I can do, you have only to ask.

  7. #7 Kay Yount
    Washington DC area
    October 29, 2015

    I suspect that the blogger who is smart enough to know better writes disinformation for the same reasons AW does, i.e., for some combination of money and prestige. Thank you for writing a response. That blog may not fade so quickly if it’s being deliberately linked to/promoted by ff companies & their hirelings.

  8. #8 dhogaza
    October 29, 2015

    Dunc:

    “Be fair: given that he describes himself as a “Web Page Designer”, he’s clearly fallen through a wormhole from the late 90s…”

    It explains why he had a few hours on his hands to master climate science …

  9. #9 Doug Alder
    October 30, 2015

    Greg – first thanks, that’s an excellent response. I’m impressed with Medium they do something that I’ve never seen on any other site (this in regards to Peter Jacob’s video):

    This embedded content is from a site that does not comply with the Do Not Track (DNT) setting now enabled on your browser.

    Please note, if you click through and view it anyway, you may be tracked by the website hosting the embed.

    I wish more sites would do that

  10. #10 See Noevo
    October 30, 2015

    Could be another Congressional investigation or hearing coming. NOAA isn’t complying with a subpoena for data on its ‘no pause in global warming’ finding.

    NOAA’s rationale of refusal is something about confidentiality and protection of the integrity of the scientific process.
    I don’t understand how that is a valid justification here.

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/258375-agency-wont-give-gop-internal-docs-on-climate-research

  11. […] anche in Italia, vedi sotto.) Separatamente, rigirano il coltello nella piaga l'instancabile Sou, Greg Laden, ATTP et al. A […]

  12. #12 Desertphile
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    November 5, 2015

    A few days ago I saw a YouTube video from a Creationist who said he has “studied evolution for two weeks,” and he listed Creationism web sites as his sources of “study.” He then insisted all of the world’s scientists are wrong about evolution and evolutionary theory (which he conflated as being the same thing) and Big Bang cosmology. It was…. spooky.

  13. #13 Brainstorms
    November 5, 2015

    Desertphile, they’re called “voters”. VERY spooky indeed!