Hey Dook asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 7 years ago

How effective is Yahoo Answers as a training ground for denial of climate science?

The cheaters have vaporized this question of mine, for the laughable reason of "personal site promotion." The only links I have in it, are to the (widely acknowledge) DEFINITIVE history of the climate change science by Spencer Weart. There are lots of additional details, in it, more than there normally ought to be, and I hope Marissa Mayer reads them. Evidently, after years of neglect, Yahoo has started to invest in upgrading Answers, and the next step is to stop it from becoming a major platform for systematic attacks on scientific knowledge and scientific truth.

Herewith the prior two answers (and then as much of the additional detail as will fit):

[Well, one of the prior two answers; yours, Gary, is gone, I'm afraid. I thought I copied it, but somehow it wasn't picked up].

From Chem Flunky:

The problem is... 1. I suspect there are a lot more denialists than there are Holocaust deniers.

2. A lot of the people coming to Y!A are actually, legitimately confused or on the fence, and 3. there are some skeptics who *aren't* completely irrational.

So, responding to denialists as though they were at least vaguely sensible people makes sense to me, on the grounds that, even though it likely won't get into their thick skulls, responding intelligently and politely might shine some light into less thick skulls reading the same question.

Basically, what I'm saying is... I think it pays to respond politely and coherently to the denialists, so that any uninformed people *reading* the question later don't get the impression that realists don't have any sensible responses to denialists. Of course, I think it also pays to save and copypaste any good answers, so you don't have to rewrite them the thousanth time the same denialist lie or idiocy comes up...

Now to my PRIOR additional details:

Exhibit A: Sagebrush, whose posts, shall we say, are not distinguished by their intellectual brilliance, figured out how to get enough best answers to get into the top 10 list.

Exhibit B: Kano, after sounding when he first showed up here about as informed and sensible as Sagebrush, now approaches the clever trickery of JimZ or even Ottawa Mike.

What will it take until non-deniers here finally learn to stop "feeding" the Exxon-Mobil & Koch Bros, Marshall Institute & Heartland and Wattsup "trolls"?

Do Jewish historians waste tons of hours "debating," with "revisionists" (who have their "legitimate," differing "point of view"), over and over and over, point by point by point, the historical evidence for deliberate and systematic mass murder of millions of Jews and other minorities at the hands of the Nazis in World War II?

Why do you suppose that the much more usual response in that case is instead to name, shame, avoid and ban?

Would you spend a half hour every day trying to talk sense into a homeless street bum village idiot who rambles on and on in muddled gibberish about 9-11 conspiracies or channeling Elvis?


Chem: You seem to be conflating "denialists" with "the uninformed." Actually, it does not take much time spent here for the difference to become pretty darn obvious 95% of the time. And, you evidently remain still sadly unaware that GENUINE scientific skepticism about AGW in fact WAS the mainstream scientific consensus from about 1906 to 1956. Pretending "skeptics" of the last 20 years are in reality anything BUT.

Please read Spencer Weart's book or at least look at his website or article.

[For the book and website: google Weart Discovery of Global warming; for the article

Changing the climate of public opinion].

Chem: Can we agree (politely) to disagree? While you finally read Weart? Okay, his book is not light, creamy and easily digestible, but you can at least absorb key bite-sized points from his related website.

I think it is a mistake to respond at all to hard-core deniers of climate science. That is quite analogous to the position of most Je

Update 2:

[cont.]...most Jewish groups towards hard-core Holocaust deniers and I basically agree with it. (By the way, I am not sure there are many more climate science deniers than Holocaust deniers in large sections of the Mideast - not that politeness depends on the size of the audience, anyway ). I do not approve of laws in European countries making Holocaust denial a crime, but under the American 1st Amendment which I do fully endorse, allowing dangerous village idiots the right to free speech, does not require giving them a soap box. The internet itself is a huge soap box, there can be no justification for adding a listening board to it. Under the warped rules of this site, the only way to communicate with non-deniers is often by responding to what deniers post, but it should be borne in mind that scientific and historical facts are important, and I believe it is very demonstrable that on the order of 97% of what the hard-core deniers here say about climate science comes directly or indire

Update 3:

...indirectly from anti-science concocted by hired deceivers paid by Marshall Institute and the like in the late 1980s and 1990s. This is VERY similar, in terms of the basic process, to the recycling by Holocaust deniers of old anti-semitic canards and historical sleights of hand.

I agree with you about making it clear that there are sensible responses to denial. The problem is that those sensible responses (collected on places such as skepticalscience.org) have been around for decades (!), just like the denier myths those sensible responses demolish. At some point, after decades of endless recycling deliberate deception, as with the Holocaust, and evolution, and other such targets of systematic lying, one has to say: "Enough."

Unfortunately, the globally HUGE DIFFERENCE between climate change, on the one hand, and the Holocaust, evolution, etc. on the other hand, is that we and 50 generations to come CANNOT afford the luxury of ADDITIONAL decades of polite waiting. THAT, m

Update 4:

...more than any of the new findings sometimes obliquely touched upon in the many pitiful attempts to discredit the IPCC here, is the biggest message from the scientific experts today. The non-trolls have to get busy addressing the real problem and that (among a great many other things, of course,) means stop feeding the trolls, with politeness or anything else.

This website, it seems to me, is becoming a bigger and bigger anti-science troll-feeding trough. I am not sure exactly how to best respond to that, but I am sure that denying it is a mistake.

Update 5:

Walaka: Thanks for your thoughtful remarks, albeit mostly going beyond rather than addressing the question. I don't however agree with their overall implication. I think you need to do the carbon math on the IPCC ""carbon budget, and the various policy steps actually taken so far, and bring into better account the intergenerational and international "free-rider" problem which seriously limit motives for action regardless of anti-science denial. The examples you give of countries "doing what they can" amount to what I well imagine will add up to a few drops in the bucket (especially since we are already paying for decades of non-action) and sounds like a recipe for the world going way beyond the 2 degree increase threshold recommend by IPCC.

1 Answer

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    One positive to take home is that the number of denier trolls on this site is not actually increasing by very much. Probably less even than it seems even given that some clearly are the same old with new names. The other positive is that they seem unable to learn fast, so they keep repeating the sale old easily dispatched crap. Only occasionally coming up with new ideas. The only 'new' idea I have seen recently [and admittedly I haven't been on for a long while] is the idea that GHG's actually cause cooling not warming. This new absurdity seems to be getting around several forums including YAs. It comes in various guises, the concept of 'back radiation violates the laws of thermodynamics', 'GHGs insulate the earth from solar radiation' etc. Apart from this newish nonsense the rest seems to be same old same old, no fresh lies to be found.

    Both of these should tell us that deniers are not the brightest people on the web and that their backers aren't hiring the worlds greatest spin doctors. This is all good news.

    I suggest that the denialist camp is loosing some momentum as the real world moves on. The majority of the world is taking warming seriously. Both governments and corporations. The denialists are more and more looking like the nutters that they are.

    As an example, I have this year relocated to a new country, from a 'least developed' one that took CC very seriously, to a 'developing' one that is also doing its best. It has introduced tax incentives [cash rebates] for people choosing to buy 'eco cars' [small efficient engines] vs up to 300% tax on bigger less eco cars. I can now get a guaranteed feed in tariff of about US$0.23 [depending on exchange rate] per kWh of solar that I sell to the grid [guaranteed for 25yrs]. Solar farms are all over the place and Hydro is being exploited where ever it makes sense too. The nearby ridges have wind turbines on them because of the good winds in this area.

    A massive US$63 billion has just been set massive for upgrading rail building the start of a HSR network and some additional highways [although they will be tollways so should eventually return funds] [actually the country has a fantastic set of highways already]

    Coal fired power stations are being converted/replaced by natural gas fired ones, all gasoline/petrol is at least 20% ethanol mix, over 50% of heavy trucks use CNG as do many buses vans and cars [it is less than a third the price of liquid fuels] Many cars also use LPG again much cheaper, and less CO2 per km traveled.

    Several major car manufacturers have been invited to produce their electric vehicles here. Nissan already does.

    This is not a rich country, nor does it have things like freedom of speech [although not totalitarian] nor is it corruption free [which country is?]. But they are doing what they can. They recognized some 20+ years ago that they had serious ecological problems from over zealous logging and careless attitudes to waste disposal. Now you can not cut a tree without permission, many areas have been re-afforested and the rivers no longer stink. They learned their lesson. Still have problems, serious ones, of course, but at least they are working to address them.

    Most important this country is not an exception, it is the norm, so CC is being taken seriously. any country silly enough to isolate itself from taking action will eventually make itself an outcast and probably be sanctioned. The deniers are irrelevant. To a large extent even the significant minority of the 'public' who deny or don't understand are irrelevant. The big decisions that matter are being made by governments and industry. There is serious money in the renewable sector, those who get in early will make the most. Many big corporations see this and are taking action to get a slice. The sheep will follow.

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