What’s wrong with those Canadians?

There is a site promoting some Canadian blog awards, which says they are “celebrating the best in the Canadian blogosphere.” Good premise, especially since they have a sci/tech section — maybe I can find some more worthy Canadian science blogs. What do I find? No Sandwalk. No Recursivity. No Genomicron. The best Canadian science blogs that I read are unrepresented there, and instead, they’ve got Climate Audit, a climate change denialist blog, and three blogs from Denyse O’Leary’s link farm.

I don’t think these guys have a clue about good science. Don’t bother to vote on this one.

(via Canadian Cynic, who is Canadian, but got screwed too because there is no “most cynical” category.)


  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    November 25, 2008

    DeSmogBlog is on the list and looks OK.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    November 25, 2008

    they’ve got Climate Audit, a climate change denialist blog, and three blogs from Denyse O’Leary’s link farm

    I could see that some Canadians might want the world to warm up (AGW doesn’t happen, wink wink), but they must be simply be stupid if they include Denyse’s dreck.

    She’s not even a journalist, you fools, and is incompetent to deal with any kind of science.

    Glen D

  3. #3 Alex
    November 25, 2008


    Neat article. However, I get irate when I see the language of intent used to describe an organism’s evolution.

    From the article:
    “They then turned their attention to the sea slug’s own DNA and found one of the vital algal genes was present. Its sequence was identical to the algal version, indicating that the slug had probably stolen the gene from its food.”

    Solar Powered Sea Slug

  4. #4 Qwerty
    November 25, 2008

    It’s awards and I am sure the “Canadian Cynic” would have been somewhat cynical even if winning an award. I mean, who remembers what producer took the Oscar for the Best Picture of 1953? Or what actress took the Tony for Best Supporting Actress in a play in 1971?

  5. #5 Jacques
    November 25, 2008

    Vote for DeSmog Blog, because some of those others are just embarrasing. Bloody climate change deniers, and evolution deniers, and sanity deniers, it’s just too much.

  6. #6 Jackal
    November 25, 2008

    OT, but though’t you’l like to know: we won’t be hearing from Ann Coulter for a while.

  7. #7 Geoff
    November 25, 2008

    Ditto Jacques and PZ

    Vote for Desmogblog!

  8. #8 Azdak
    November 25, 2008

    Apparently, Canadian science blogs are like Canadian television shows. They’re there if you look hard enough, and some of them might actually be pretty good, but most of us are happy watching the American ones.

  9. #9 Qwerty
    November 25, 2008

    Jackel @ #6 – If the Huffington post is true, then Coulter will probably have to write another of her crappy books since she won’t be able to open her big yap for awhile.

    It’s surprising she didn’t call Obama and/or Biden fags during the election as this is her favorite epithet. I think she likes to call liberals “fags” as this goes down well with her audience which is mostly 17 to 23 year old homophobic libertarians who still live with mom.

  10. #10 Brian D
    November 25, 2008

    ClimateAudit’s minions are rather zealous, to the point where they will accuse others of groupthink while blindly parroting their blog’s superiority (even in places where it’s frowned upon).

    I read many of the blogs on that list, and my vote would go to DeSmogBlog. It’s not strictly a science site (but unlike ClimateFraudit or O’Leary, it never pretends to be!), being instead focused on PR that obscures good science (i.e. dismantling the “junk science / sound science” movement). Since it’s clear that this award had no idea what “good science” is, I’m not too concerned about voting for a PR site that supports good science.

  11. #11 Brownian, OM
    November 25, 2008

    There’s a subspecies of Canadian, Homo canadianus pseudoamericanus, that thinks like Denyse (BTW O’Leary: nice non-traditional spelling of ‘Denise’. Why not get your eyebrow pierced and vote Green Party, you anti-traditional values hippie?), largely due to an inability to distinguish either Canadian or American history from TV shows like Bonanza and Leave It to Beaver. See ‘Ezra Levant’ for the type specimen of this biological curiosity.

    As dangerous as they are (while occasionally not stupid, they’re definitely vectors for the disease), they’re easy to detect: simply ask them to describe how the oil in Alberta got to be there. If they make any reference to dinosaurs or ferns, they’re an average Canadian. (If they make any reference to the early Cretaceous, back slowly away and then run: you’ve encountered a geologist who will attempt to drink you under the table while describing the ethical dilemma they face in working for Shell). If they respond with “We INVENTED it! Fuck yeah! Check out my Ford F-150 with the pissing Calvin decal! Woo-hoo!” or any mention of the Calgary Flames, then congratulations! You’ve found yourself an H. canadianus pseudoamericanus.

  12. #12 Run-DMS
    November 25, 2008

    Basically, the awards have been hijacked by ignorant reactionary bloggers. Just ignore them.

  13. #13 Nick
    November 25, 2008

    I beg to differ, PZ:

    DeSmogBlog is certainly worthy of our votes.

  14. #14 Shaden Freud
    November 25, 2008

    they’ve got Climate Audit, a climate change denialist blog, and three blogs from Denyse O’Leary’s link farm.


  15. #15 SteveM
    November 25, 2008

    OT, but though’t you’l like to know: we won’t be hearing from Ann Coulter for a while.

    only audibly, now if they could just wire her computer shut for a while …

  16. #16 Leki
    November 25, 2008

    Vote for Inside the Queensway under Best Political Blog. She can drink anyone I know under the table. Oh, and she’s like 3 feet tall and really, really scary.

  17. #17 Chris
    November 25, 2008

    “well with her audience which is mostly 17 to 23 year old homophobic libertarians who still live with mom.”

    I call them Gamestop Libertarians, because these Captains of Industry always seem to have jobs in low-end retail, and getting rid of “socialism”, organized labor, and minimum wage will obviously help the world see their merits.

  18. #18 karen
    November 25, 2008

    “Canadian Cynic” is one of the choices in the “best blog” category:

  19. #19 SLC
    November 25, 2008

    According to Larry Moran, Prof. Myers’ favorite astronomer who, AFAIK, is a native born American living in Boulder, is on the list!

    Re Ann Coulter

    Considering that the hermaphrodite Ms.(Mr.) Coulters’ favorite blogger, one Matthew Drudge, is a closeted gay man, her use of the term fag and apparent disdain for gays is rather fine.

  20. #20 sinned34
    November 25, 2008

    Canadian blog awards? I didn’t even know we had the internet up here yet!

  21. #21 saskboy
    November 25, 2008

    PZ, thanks for the link to the CBAs, but there’s an important bit of information that you’re missing. The CBAs are reader driven by nominations, and our judging staff was lean this year and we didn’t have time to quality check the nominations for the Sci-Tech category.

    If an alert Science blog lover had noticed during the 3 week nomination period that those suggestions you made were missing, and nominated them, they could be in the running. They missed the deadline. Next year let’s hope they, and their readers remember to look us up and throw their hat in the ring.

    Winning a blog award will not validate O’Leary’s fake science. It’s just a blog award.

  22. #22 Etrusque
    November 25, 2008

    Allow me to point to the fact that all those Canadian blogs are English blogs, representing views a lot more frequent in the English part of Canada, especially Alberta (they are our rednecks) than they are in the French part (the province of Quebec).

    You’d be amazed the difference of culture and mindset between the two solitudes. Here in Quebec, creationists and climate-change deniers would be ridiculed on the public place. We are into an electoral campaign as we speak and yet again, religion is not an issue. And we are the province who cares the most about the environment, dixit polls and surveys (although, like everybody else, we are pretty hypocritical about it and don’t really walk the talk as much as we think…).

    I guess my point is, add Quebec blogs in this “Canadian Blog Awards” thing, and you’d get a pretty different picture. Now one wonders why they weren’t included. Did Quebec seperate from the rest of the federation and nobody told me? Inquiring minds want to know.

  23. #23 saskboy
    November 25, 2008

    Etrusque, See my answer above. There’s a Best Francophone language blog too. Now that you know of the CBAs, you can fix that omission next year.

  24. #24 Gary
    November 25, 2008

    Saskboy, any way of blocking blogs like Roberts and Gormley from the awards next year? Is it the highest number of nominations or does any blog nominated stick around?

  25. #25 Brian D
    November 25, 2008

    Saskboy: Didn’t have time to check? Are you kidding me?

    ClimateAudit, for instance, has little to no actual science on it at any given moment. Any post has over an 80% chance of insinuating fraud against legitimate scientists (though McIntyre will never use that term, lest he be charged with libel).

    Anyone even remotely familiar with scientific process, even if it’s not in the atmospheric sciences or statistics, will be able to spot the anti-science vibe on one visit to the site, before any deep reading takes place.

    And if you have taken any relevant first-year courses, it’s even more obvious.

    For instance, McIntyre’s front page, as I write this, has a story insinuating that Ben Santer (who was accused of doctoring a report when it was changed due to peer review!) acted dishonestly, perpetuation of the phony October record myth (including reporting false data *after* it had been corrected), accusations of NOAA deleting data, and more credibility questioning, cushioned in numbers to make it look scientific. (Note: Out of twelve posts, at least nine directly imply scientific fraud as their primary push.)

    If this looks scientific to you, I believe you’ve just been labcoatwashed (which is like whitewashing or greenwashing except making things look scientific instead of clean or green). I honestly can’t believe you’d consider it a scientific blog had you even visited it once (regardless of your level of expertise in the field, any rudimentary scientific understanding should send up red flags).

    (I’d write more about Denyse O’Leary’s blogs, but I’ve already gone overlong on ClimateAudit. The problems are similar.)

    This is about as bad as linking to Uncommon Descent as a science blog, except that McIntyre doesn’t begin to propose an alternate explanation (not even an invalid one!). I get the impression from your solicitation of others to help next year (along with blaming lack of participation for these problems) that you were desperate for nominations or similar, which may explain your lack of basic vetting.

    I hate to say it, but such a gross display of scientific illiteracy (and then justifying it by shifting blame) hasn’t exactly motivated me to help next year. Rather, it’s motivated me to mock the entire project. You can still save credibility by clearing off the insipid trash and non-science from that list (note that this includes the choice I voted for, DeSmogBlog, since it isn’t science any more than ClimateAudit is. It, however, has the decency to be up front about it being PR). It should be obvious which ones need to go — but I’ll leave that decision to you. Show us you know what belongs in sci/tech and what belongs in sci/fi.

  26. #26 Robis
    November 25, 2008

    saskboy, now that you know that there’s a problem with your science blogs, what is to prevent your judging staff from taking a look and disqualifying the pseudoscientific blogs? A conscientious person would want to correct a problem that has come to light, not try to justify ignoring it.

    And you state, “winning a blog award will not validate O’Leary’s fake science” which is very far from the truth. Pseudoscientists use any and all resources to try and make their dreck look official and substantial, even so much as touting what you would consider “just a blog award.”

  27. #27 Enshoku
    November 25, 2008

    Heya all. I’m just delurking to say that the climate audit site should be counted as a nuclear weapon. The home page alone made my eyes asplode…

    Honestly though, that website reminds me of one of the 9/11 truth sites wherein any tiny thing that can be picked apart…will. Every opportunity to make a mountain out of an anthill is taken, no matter how little sense it makes. The website also lacks in scientific reasoning to back up its arguments, numbers are no where to be found, its just a big mess.

  28. #28 Qwerty
    November 25, 2008

    PZ, it was fun checking out the non-nominees. Some interesting stuff is to be found in other bloggers sites and your generosity in sharing your readership is to be admired.

    One thing: If Canadian Cynic had been nominated and won, we probably wouldn’t be hearing an “I owe it all to my creator” or “I want to thank God” thank you speech!

  29. #29 LastHussar
    November 25, 2008

    PZ I can’t believe that you haven’t posted about the mystery of the Canadian fossils being solved

    (Its all Canadian on this thread, couldn’t find a better place)

  30. #30 saskboy
    November 25, 2008

    Robis, perhaps we’ll do that.

  31. #31 Chris Davis
    November 25, 2008

    Ugh. I hate the way that article describes Coulter as ‘leggy’. An innocent person could infer from it a vague suggestion that someone might, well, actually fuck that monster.

    Excuse me. I feel a little ill.

  32. #32 saskboy
    November 25, 2008

    Gary, NEARLY any blog nominated sticks around for voting. We generally aren’t out to block people on technicalities, although some categories are more contentious than others and bring up these sorts of issues from factions who have butted heads in the past.

    The voting is intended to weed out the less visited blogs, leaving the most popular to finish. It also has the effect of spreading awareness about the nominated blogs.

    I’m going to ask the CBA judges if they too think the Sci-Tech category needs a review, since there are some seemingly philosphy/religion blogs in there that aren’t about science.

    Can someone give a neat breakdown of which blogs they think are unworthy, and why?

  33. #33 Enshoku
    November 25, 2008

    Sackboy, when it comes down to it, it ends up just being about standards. Set up a standard for each category, and stick to it. I think a good idea for instance would to check to make sure that at least 40% of the blogs posts have to do with something the the category its nominated for.

  34. #34 saskboy
    November 25, 2008

    We actually have it at 50% Enshoku. And it’s “Saskboy”.

    I may have explained elsewhere that this was mostly an issue of manpower lacking. I also didn’t anticipate on being in the middle of a move during the CBAs, or I would have had more time to focus on the Sci-Tech category since it’s a subject that interests me more than most.

  35. #35 Quidam
    November 25, 2008

    Since this ‘award’ is really just a popularity contest run by an obscure blog, why not just count the traffic numbers? People vote with their mouse every day.

  36. #36 Raphael Alexander
    November 25, 2008

    PZ, it’s an Awards based on peer evaluation. The blogs you mentioned didn’t get nominated, so they’re not in. It’s that simple. The controversial blogs that are in were nominated in.

    Next year we’ll gladly accept your nominations.

  37. #37 Enshoku
    November 25, 2008


    I’m sincerely sorry for misspelling your pseudonym.


    negative things generate buzz too, so it isn’t quite fair to do it that way. Take C4C as an example, it generates its views from negative press.

  38. #38 George
    November 25, 2008

    It is fascinating that ideas that have “legs” can stand on their own, subject to question, criticism and so on. Those than have no “leg” need all sorts of protection. I presumedue to worry that someone may actually see them for what they are?

    Its a rather obvious way to know good from bad.

  39. #39 George
    November 25, 2008

    It is fascinating that ideas that have “legs” can stand on their own, subject to question, criticism and so on. Those than have no “legs” need all sorts of protection. I presume due to worry that someone may actually see them for what they are?

    Its a rather obvious way to know good from bad.

  40. #40 amphiox
    November 25, 2008

    Enshoku: Using your criteria of 40% posts, “Pharyngula” might not qualify as a science blog! (Unless you count posts debunking/decrying antiscience as a post about science)

    Though, ironically, it would probably qualify as a “religion” blog.

  41. #41 Tonez
    November 25, 2008

    Don’t worry, that stuff doesn’t even resonate here (at least here in southern Ontario). Blogs haven’t caught on yet.

  42. #42 JohnnieCanuck
    November 25, 2008

    What’s wrong with those Canadians? Well given that most people on other continents can’t tell us apart as individuals – mostly the same things that are wrong with Americans.

    Our main fault that Americans don’t have is the conceit that we are nicer. Of course anyone on the planet not an American would agree that if Americans weren’t so susceptible to their own Exceptionalism, they would be much easier to tolerate.

    Most Canadians are exposed to more US cultural media than Canadian. We watch your ‘reality’ programs, game shows, violent crime shows and Fox ‘News’, among others. For some people, watching Cirque de Soleil perform in Vegas is as close as it gets to Canadian culture.

    Don’t get me started on ‘Focus on the Family being beamed at us from border town Lyndon, WA.

  43. #43 Glendon Mellow
    November 25, 2008

    Before everyone completely blasts this thing, why not vote for the ones you like?

    Granted I’m biased because my blog The Flying Trilobite is in the running for best photo/art blog. And I’m also a fan of Traumador the Tyrannosaur who is up for the science award. Why not vote for that instead of a climate change denier? Send a message by clicking a small circle.

    The awards had a nomination period where you could throw your hat in the ring. I agree that Sandwalk is terrific, and I’ll likely check out the others. But if no one submitted them, then they aren’t in this year.

  44. #44 Robert Byers
    November 25, 2008

    From Canada
    First there is no global warming. Its just envirormental wackos trying to make a better planet and fear works better then persuasion.
    So blogs denying global warming should be expected from a intelligent Canadian (true ones not French/ethnic/immigrant). Of coarse also any species of creationism.
    Denyse O’Leary’s has a great ID blog and she is funny/witty and a threat to bad guys everywhere.
    America is pound for pound far ahead in fighting and ending the dumb ideas of our times.
    By the way Myers was complaining about censorship but O’Leary always fights censorship structures and climate in canada.
    Surely Myers is not saying censorship is only wrong when it is his stuff/crowd.
    By the by in canada there is across the board more sceptism of ethni motivations in the big problems facing America. Say oh I don’t know like the middle east that is close to Israel,

  45. #45 Sven DiMilo
    November 25, 2008

    Is this guy Byers for real?

  46. #46 Kel
    November 25, 2008

    What’s wrong with Canada? Robert Byers.

  47. #47 Shaden Freud
    November 25, 2008

    First there is no global warming. Its just envirormental wackos trying to make a better planet….

    Make a better planet? Those bastards!

  48. #48 baryogenesis
    November 25, 2008

    RE: Ann Coulter.This has been around for awhile, but for those who missed it:

  49. #49 llewelly
    November 25, 2008

    Raphael Alexander:

    PZ, it’s an Awards based on peer evaluation. The blogs you mentioned didn’t get nominated, so they’re not in. It’s that simple. The controversial blogs that are in were nominated in.

    ‘controversial’? Would you call a flat-earth blog ‘controversial’, and allow it to be nominated as a science blog?

    That is, after all, what has happened here, with ClimateAudit and its ilk being nominated as ‘science’ blogs.

  50. #50 Enshoku
    November 26, 2008


    I wouldn’t consider pharyngula a science blog. It is a political/skeptical/science blog, sort of like my blog if you changed science to gaming.

  51. #51 saskboy
    November 26, 2008

    We’ve had at least one useful offer from a reader here to set up a “critic’s best” list of Canadian Science blogs. When the CBAs wrap up, we can link to the critic’s list as alternate reading suggestions provided by the science community.

  52. #52 Arnosium Upinarum
    November 26, 2008

    Byers#44: “First there is no global warming.”

    Does that conviction come before or after you look at any data? Just curious.

  53. #53 Wendy
    November 26, 2008

    These “awards” in no way represent Canada! We’re mostly pretty intelligent and we fear global warming just like everybody else. Unfortunately, every country has its stupid people!! 🙁

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