Denier spam and scientific gibberish

My recent post, “Physics trumps right-wing ideology,” seemed to strike a nerve.  The main point of my essay was that global warming denial is an ideological belief system that rejects the fundamental laws of physics.  As of today, it has gotten more than 50 comments, far exceeding the total number of comments that my little backwater of a blog had gotten since its inception in January.  As a new blogger, I never even thought of having a “comment policy.”  That was a newbie mistake.

As it turns out many of the comments in response to “Physics trumps” amount to nothing more than denier spam and scientific gibberish.  One person posted more than a dozen comments within three days.  Even though the topic of my post was explicitly about physics and climate forcing, the author of those comments quickly changed the subject. He started by challenging the scientific consensus associated with water vapor feedback. Rather than citing published data, his evidence was based on personal recollection.  It quickly became apparent that he had no understanding of the difference between relative and specific humidity.  He didn’t even know that humidity is the same thing as water vapor concentration (challenging me when I used it as a synonym).   In short, he was parroting denialist talking points without having a clue about what he was talking about.

Within three days this commenter invoked many of the standard denialist myths and logical fallacies, even after other commenters provided links to articles that debunked what he was saying.   He hadn’t bothered to try to learn the fundamentals, like the difference between weather and climate, the fact that climate is not defined by data from a single year, the idea that attributes of chaotic systems can be predicted, that lead-vs-lag has a different relationship to cause-and-effect in nonlinear than in linear systems, and that the scientific burden of poof is on the party making the extraordinary claim that challenges fundamental principles.   Clearly, this person was not interested in learning or discussing valid points, but was simply spamming my blog with gibberish he had collected off the internet.  Gibberish that has been debunked by many scientists, multiple times, in many forums.

To avoid this in the future, I’m adopting a comment policy.  Rather than start from scratch, I’m simply going to implement the same policy as Greenfyre, who successfully keeps the spam level down on his blog.  Here’s Greenfyre’s statement:  “Comments that are not relevant to the post that they appear under or the evolving discussion will simply be deleted, as will links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish.”

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24 Responses to Denier spam and scientific gibberish

  1. John Mashey says:

    Does your WordPress allow moving comments?
    I observe that RC’s “teh Bore Hole”, Greenfyre’s “dunce Corner”, Deep Climat’s “Very Deep Hole” etc are effective, as they keep the comments (lessening whines of censorship). as well as providing great examples.
    They also help calibrate people’s comments, and finally, maybe be of value to social science researchers.

    [In general, blogging software is not what it needs to be, it should be a simple 1-click or menu-select to place a post in one (or one of several) other threads, add a link back to the place in the thread where it would have been, and perhaps tag it with a code saying why it was moved.)

    • puckerclust says:

      Good suggestion, thanks. I will look into ways to preserve the spam and gibberish for the sake of posterity and social science.

      • greenfyre says:

        Sadly one of the frustrating things about WP is you cannot just move comments. I have compromised by just appending them to the bottom of the “Spam” post.

        This both undercuts the Denier “I posted a proof and puckerclust deleted it because blah blah …” AND allows you to preface it with some sort of note eg “Collected Denier idiocy, all long since debunked @ link link and link.”

        Outright abuse, *ist comments etc I do delete … and sometimes if I’m just in a rush or fed up with a particular moron.

        NOTE you can block emails & IP addresses, which you will need for compulsive spammers like PopTech, Peter Ridley, etc.

  2. puckerclust says:

    Frankly, I’m not highly motivated to spend much time copying and pasting off-topic spam and gibberish. If somebody has a “proof,” that overturns mainstream science, they certainly would not be publishing it in the comments section of an obscure blog like Puckerclust!

    If someone cannot abide by the comments policy then I feel no obligation to give them a free forum to promote long-discredited denialist myths (even in a dunce’s corner). There is no legitimate reason to send more than a dozen off-topic comments to a science blog within a three day period. I think the motivation is simply to distract attention from the original subject and waste the scientist’s time. The tactic is to use the Gish Gallop as denial-of-service attack. While the scientist is responding, he’s not doing anything useful, and the commenter is simply ignoring the response anyway.

    As a newbie blogger, I was a sucker, but I learned my lesson.

  3. John Mashey says:

    Well, deletion is better than lowering S/N ratio to ~0.

    It should be no harder to send a marginal comment off to a shadow thread or somewhere than it is to delete it. Ideally, it would be one menu-select.

    Bug WordPress for something better. If enough people keep asking, maybe it will happen.

  4. Peter Laux says:

    Sir,

    I was puzzled by your assertion that AGW scepticism was a “right wing” political policy, strange indeed – even stranger, you use derogatory political terms like “denier” in a scientific question.
    Has science now become a left wing ideology or worse an unquestionable religious dogma, complete with Papal Infallibility ?

    You can be relieved to know that AGW scepticism transcends political ideology and that you are mistaken on that matter. Simply follow my link for evidence of that.

    I notice your comment, “If somebody has a “proof,” that overturns mainstream science, they certainly would not be publishing it in the comments section of an obscure blog like Puckerclust!”

    You use the term “proof”, alluding, I assume to AGW and that puzzles me, as I thought AGW was a hypothesis?

    Am I mistaken then ?

    If I am, I was wondering Sir, could you provide the following, “a conclusive argument based on empirical facts that increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning drives global climate warming.”

    If you can, could you please post it here, http://climateguy.blogspot.com/2010/11/10k-climate-challenge.html

    I will pay you $10,000 if you can provide such evidence.

    • puckerclust says:

      Don’t be puzzled. There are ideologues at all extremes who deny AGW as I have noted, but we all know that the most vocal and well-funded are right-wing (e.g. Heartland Institute).

      Denial/denier are descriptive terms. I realize there are thin-skinned individuals for whom these are politically incorrect words, but the properly describe behavior and those who engage in it.

      What would you accept as “proof”? Please describe exactly how the theory of zero anthropogenic global warming can be falsified so I can provide evidence you will accept.

      • Peter Laux says:

        Yes, agreed but like Heartland on the right, many of the warmists have backing from Goldman Sachs and Shell/BP etc, who wish to regulate price and hamstring new exploratory companies.
        The CRU of east anglia is a great example of Big Oils largess.
        This list of companies in the largest and most powerful Emissions Trading lobby group the IETA is very revealing.
        http://www.ieta.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168&Itemid=136

        That aside, I didn’t ask for “proof” that is your assertion and incorrect assumption.
        I ask for, “a conclusive argument based on empirical facts that increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning drives global climate warming.”
        Can you provide a conclusive argument based on empirical facts ?

        You state, “What would you accept as “proof”? Please describe exactly how the theory of zero anthropogenic global warming can be falsified so I can provide evidence you will accept.”

        Then you will be pleased to know that I don’t need to “describe exactly how the theory of zero AGW can be falsified ” as I don’t claim it, you assumed it.
        The challenge doesn’t claim zero effect, it ask’s for an anthropogenic effect which “DRIVES ” global climate warming.

        So that should assuage your only concern and I eagerly await your challenge !

      • puckerclust says:

        Can you state your theory? I’m not sure I know what you are claiming. Where have your claims been published, and how can they be falsified? I need to know this before we can proceed, otherwise you will be able to wiggle out of anything I say.

        Corporate funding does not have anything to do with the laws of physics.

  5. Peter Laux says:

    Oh, here we go again, yet more conditions …. I hear the sounds of chicken’s.

    Mate, “He who asserts must prove.” – your the one blathering on how our emissions of CO2 drives the warming of our vast atmosphere. It’s an incredible claim, cant you back it up ?

    You ask, “Do I have a theory”!!!!! I don’t need one – it’s your hypothesis at question, not mine !
    What is it with you blokes, is it a secret ? Cant you tell ?
    Surely you have the laws of physics on your side ?

    You ask, “Where have I been published” !!!!! Absolutely priceless !!
    Needing to angle for some “academic superiority” ? (that smacks of desperation.)
    It appears I don’t need to be published to call the bluff of a warmist physicists !

    Your claim that you “need to know” before you precede is like a fight where one of the protagonists is being safely held by friends and faux struggling to be released.

    You cant lose mate, if your right you win money or you could shame or sue me if I didn’t pay. (plenty of pro bono green legal eagles out there)
    It is supported legally.

    I think your afraid you cant and secondly Denis Rancourt will probably challenge your imperious version of the laws of physics in relation to AGW.

    Whats your new excuse going to be ?
    (I suspect some claim of “outrage or offence” as we both know you will never challenge.)

    • puckerclust says:

      I’ll condense what you are saying: You don’t have a falsifiable scientific hypothesis and you don’t want to play by the rules of science. Did I get that right? It’s easy to take potshots at mainstream science, but you can’t defend your own ideas because (unless you can state them in scientific terms) they are pseudoscientific.

      The way it works is that you need to cast your assertions as a valid scientific hypothesis and provide supporting evidence. Can you do that? Come back when you can.

  6. Geoff Brown says:

    Pluckerclust, what Peter Laux is saying is that you have the hypothesis the man-made CO2 emissions are causing runaway global warming. The way it works is that you need to cast your assertions as a valid scientific hypothesis and provide supporting evidence. Can you do that?

    Albert Einstein said: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
    http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/2011/04/agw-falsified-hypothesis.html
    The CO2 AGW hypothesis has been falsified more than once. QED.

    • puckerclust says:

      No I do not have that hypothesis. Why do you feel that is necessary to make stuff up?

      The null hypothesis is that the laws of physics, as understood by physicists and repeatedly confirmed by experimental experimental and observational testing, apply to the atmosphere. When you transfer heat to a teapot, the null hypothesis is that its temperature will go up. The extraordinary claim would be that we don’t understand physics and that the temperature might stay the same or go down. It is extraordinary claims that violate the vast body of established theoretical understanding and empirical evidence that bear the burden of proof in science.

      That’s what they teach us in science school, and it serves us well. Most deniers haven’t been to science school, so I forgive them for not knowing the rules. But they should learn some science before lecturing scientists about how science should work.

  7. mandas says:

    puckerclust

    Although I sympathise with you regarding denier spam, such as the gibberish posted by Peter Laux above and on his own web blog (yes, I have visited it), I would strongly recommend against having too strict a moderation policy. By all means delete spam and advertising material, but if the idiots want to post, let them.

    As for Peter et al, you have to wonder about their intellect. Yes, I know he is only a train driver with absolutely no science training whatsoever, but even given that very low base from which to start, you would have to ask what sort of evidence would satisfy him enough to part with his $10,000, and if he even has the money to start with. And given the irrational, ideological nature of his rant at his blog, I doubt it very much.

    You know, I know, and every physicist and climate scientist in the world knows the facts of CO2 absorpion and radiative transfer and forcing, but how to explain it to an ignorant train driver who’s whole world view is driven by ideology and a denial of evidence? Simply speaking, you can’t. So why bother? The simple fact that the ‘proof’ he is demanding has been known for over a century obviously escapes him.

    Just like a creationist, no amount of evidence will ever convince these people they are wrong. They link to organisations like the SPPI, and bloggers like Jo Nova and wattsupmybutt. Their heroes are bug-eyed inbred Walter Mitty wannabes, and they never, ever, read science papers because they are incapable of understanding even the most basic concepts.

    Welcome to the world of climate science blogging. Expect to hear a lot more from the deluded, great unwashed, right-wing deniersphere.

    • puckerclust says:

      Thanks, I agree with your advice to let idiots post, but only to a certain extent. If they have absolutely nothing new or original to say, and the same person is posting repeatedly and beginning to dominate a comments section, then I think it’s time to stop approving their posts. Otherwise it is indistinguishable from spam.

      WRT Peter Laux and his supposed $10,000 claim, I won’t believe him until I see the money and until he buys a contract that will be executed based on a decision by a third party that has written, objective criteria for what constitutes “proof”. Unless he does that, we know it’s just a creationism-style stunt.

      • mandas says:

        You are probably correct about the same person posting over and over again and dominating a thread.

        I am a regular contributor to Coby Beck’s site, and we had a denier by the name of Richard Wakefield there recently. The number of inane comments beggared the imagination. Check out this thread – which is only PART of his contributions (they ran to over 1,000 posts on various threads)

        http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/11/global_and_seasonally_averaged.php

        If you see him – delete him immediately!

      • puckerclust says:

        Thanks for the tip. I suspect some of these are “bots”. They are sometimes so incoherent a repetitive with so little information content that they do not deserve to be posted and detract from the discussion if they are. If somebody wants their comment to be seen they need to say something original and intelligent enough to convince me that they are human generated and worth being approved for posting. I don’t have to agree with them, but there does have to be some signal in the noise.

  8. greenfyre says:

    I see you have a couple of trolls who read a 1st year text book at some point and mistake it for understanding science. For what it’s worth, I looked at the phoney Denier bets:

    The $500,000 Climate Carny Scam

    and their refusal to make real bets based on the science rather than Straw Men

    They’ll bet your life, but not their money!

    • puckerclust says:

      I agree. One of the items in my “top ten” list is “Chickengate” which is the cowardly refusal of deniers to risk their own money or resources. They could make a lot of money betting with us if they were right about their theories. Scott Armstrong would have lost his scam bet with Al Gore even though he would have forced Gore to spot him all of global warming so far. Deniers will never accept a fair bet.

    • Peter Laux says:

      Forgive my bemusement but what pompous fools, puckerclust , greenfrye and mandas, Chocker block full of your own assumptions and vanity.

      Though you posts share some priceless revelations of the absence of substance from all three, I do love this quote from Mandas best, “and every physicist and climate scientist in the world knows the facts of CO2 absorpion and radiative transfer and forcing, but how to explain it to an ignorant train driver who’s whole world view is driven by ideology and a denial of evidence?

      What idiotic assumptions, can you quote me where I deny that process Mandas ? I deny it has any appreciable effect, certainly to the point of DRIVING a climate system, thats all.
      Your assumptions are that of a fool. As for how I view the world, you have no idea, i’m a leftist opposing AGW, so I am certainly not the one driven by the moronic ideology of “middle-class canned policy consumers” as the late David Noble would call most AGW adherents.

      So “Einstein Mandas” perhaps you could explain this miracle of physics that you believe and as an ignorant troll as greenfrye assumes?

      Follow me on this – For every 10,000 parts of atmosphere, less than four is CO2, of that, even at AGW’s hyperbolic best less than ONE MOLECULE of that could be mankind’s contribution (even to the politically driven IPCC it is far less).
      Now in those 10,000 parts, 400 are H2O, a far more potent greenhouse gas.
      So CO2 absorbs a narrow band of infra red radiation, then immediately transfers it to a colder body. Now perhaps you can tell me how in our atmospheric system at such low volume and strength it can “force” the greater numerically and physically H2O?
      Now cover your eyes boys but to use a layman’s analogy, it appears a bit like a drop of petrol dominating 400 parts of methanol, to drive the 10,000 part car.
      How does less than one molecule per 10,000 then become the greater force to “DRIVE” the warming of a vast climate system ?

      Explain the physics that causes this MASSIVE reaction ! One forces the 400 !
      Thats greater odds than the Spartans faced at the Battle of Thermopylae !

      So pray tell, how can CO2 be at best more than a minor player in our vast chaotic climate that is still not understood !
      How do you then extrapolate that when there is not one human on Earth who understand’s how climate works. How do you then discount all other factors, most of which are probably as yet unknown, how do you exclude what you DO NOT KNOW ?
      Is it an “ignorance is bliss” thing ?

      And ahh, my poor wilting puckerclust, still clutching at straws by claiming that I ask for “proof”, perhaps you missed you English classes ? I ask for a conclusive argument based on empirical facts. I know its not a physics formula but I thought some comprehension was necessary in the haughty and exclusive world of science.
      It is soooo, amusing that you wont show your evidence until I “buy a contract “- hilarious, thats the best excuse yet, by far !
      And excuse it patently is, it is so obvious that it only reveals cowardice.
      The challenge is already legally binding, whats your problem, cant you produce evidence until I “buy a contract” ??? What more “assurance” do you need to calm your trembling heart ?
      Or is AGW evidence sooooo secret it must be now purchased by contract ?
      Please, spare us your excuses.
      Why don’t you just produce it to “shut me down” ?
      Pucker, that reminds me of the rationale of a spoilt child who wont play.

      I am so delighted in the haughty snobbery, that you esteemed self proclaimed geniuses will feature on the blog !
      Between the three of you, all you have produced is excuses and attempted insult (I really take that as compliment when the “learned” show such signs of mental defeat)
      Oh, and perhaps you can answer this challenge from a physicist and not from an unschooled train driver?
      http://climateguy.blogspot.com/

      One last thing, pucker, as I see you wont post my reply’s anymore, I am going to have all this as a post at the challenge.
      It will show not only your fearful censorship and need to control ( a hallmark of AGW apparatchiks) but reveal your lack of substance in science, you produce nothing except proclamation and pronouncement.

      • puckerclust says:

        This is called “argument from personal incredulity”. Please take a science class and at least learn the basics of what you are lecturing me about.

        Yes, I need to see the money. You appear to assume I and other scientists are chumps.

        Good luck finding a taker without showing money and contract.

  9. mandas says:

    Beautiful Peter!!!

    You have just confirmed everything I said. I couldn’t have asked for a better response had I written myself. I love this sentence:

    “….I deny it has any appreciable effect, certainly to the point of DRIVING a climate system, thats all….”

    Exactly! ‘You deny’. Your whole worldview encapsulated in two words.

    Perhaps if you had a science education – like every climate scientist and physicist who DOES understand these principles, then you would understand. But you don’t. And its much easier to deny something you don’t like than to make an effort to understand it.

    I see your type on the web a lot. And explaining climate science to people like you is a little like trying to explain to a caveman how a computer works. You lack the basics – and what’s worse is that you have made it plain that you have no desire to learn.

    So how about you go away and do some reading of the work of real scientists. You know, the ones who know what they are talking about, such as the CSIRO, BOM, NASA, NOAA, Royal Society, American Academy of Sciences, etc, etc, etc. The people who say climate change is real, and humans are causing it.

    Read this, by the American Institute of Physics. It explains greenhouse theory pretty well:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Then read this, which explains climate change:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

    I know you probably won’t do it, and even if you do you will obviously think you – a train driver – knows more about this that real scientists with real educations who having been working in this field for decades.

    As you said so beautifully – you deny! Which is all you can do when you have no evidence, logic, reason or rationality.

  10. Some Dude says:

    The comments section here reads very much like this article, published 11/11/2011, in which the author addresses climate change skepticism and its apparent aversion to the published research. Note: I found this article doing a Google news search for “climate change” after having read the comments here.

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