Week 9th Feb to 15th Feb 09

We had 15 posts last week – most were posted by me, copied from other blogs. However, we had posts from Herbert Stencil and Vernon as well (thanks guys!).

It is interesting to review the posts rejected at RC. While some no doubt are a bit cheeky, most are actually serious posts that would be accepted, and responded to, without question, at any blog that was seriously trying to address the issues.

There are numerous references to RC and their censorship on a current thread at CA – Andrew Sullivan on “Why I Blog”. Rather than laboriously copy all of the references to RC and their approach to blogging, I suggest that you have a look there for yourselves – for those who are not familiar with CA, the web address is http://www.climateaudit.org.

There are however a couple of choice quotes that refer to RC:

John A, for example (Post 12) said:

“There is one aspect not mentioned in the Sullivan article that is the key reason why I encouraged Steve to start blogging using WordPress: instant rebuttal.

It seemed to me in late 2004 that the key problem in climate science was that Hockey Team were using the media, print and internet to get almost pre-buttal to what became MM05a and b. The journals were no help, they were much too slow (and not very helpful). The print media and some internet media were in the thrall of the Hockey Team. The Team had just launched a very slick weblog of its own (but with bizarre and heavily pre-censored comments as it still does today).

Steve needed an outlet to get his message out unfiltered and blogging (it seemed to me) provided that outlet. My experience came from message boards, but I did have a reasonable idea of what a well-done blog could do, even if I’d never done one myself.”

Pat Frank, in the very next post (Post 13) made a comment that numerous posters applauded as being very insightful:

“So, now, let’s look again at the behavior of so many climate scientists. They are behaving like literary scholars, rather than like scientists. Criticism is met with hostility and scorn, in just the way an insecure person defends a personal and subjective opinion. The scathing retort “Philistine!” has power only within a field driven by learned aesthetics.

The scornful and rejectionist attitude endemic in climate science appears to be the response of a subjectivist literary elite. It may be evidence of a nagging personal insecurity that the field rests upon a negotiated subjective convention rather than on an objective base of replicable fact and falsifiable theory.

After all, in science demonstration is everything, and confidence in a result is to have a demonstration in hand, Critics are met confidently — even eagerly. Not so in climate science. In a negotiated convention, climate meaning becomes asserted (literary) rather than demonstrated (scientific). When the theory is not falsifiable and the data are muzzy, argument is not in terms of theory but of viewpoint. Criticism becomes a personal attack rather than a culling of impersonal discordance. Polemics and the politics of gotcha, dissent suppression, and personal triumph reign. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.”

That is part of a longer post, and to do Pat justice, readers might want to have a look at his post in total.

Of course, what RC do on their blog is their business. It is their blog. However, given that their stated aim is to improve the communication of climate science to a wider market, it is somewhat ironic that their aggressive censorship strategies are so evident to a wide public, and likely, in the longer run, to challenge credibility.

As numerous commentators attest, including Andrew Sullivan, the moderation policies adopted by a blog are a very important factor in the nature and style of the discussion that develop at that blog. A moderation policy that censors out posts (even well mannered posts) from those asking good questions, or from those who may not be convinced about the dangers of AGW, will likely result in the blog ending up preaching to its “choir” of enthusiastic participants, but losing relevance in the wider market for ideas.

I am still not decided whether to close the blog down or now.    I will continue for the moment though, and see what happens.

Update:  I should also have mentioned that, so far at least, no one has objected to my copying posts from other blogs.  That could be either because a) people think it is OK, or b) my readership is not yet sufficiently high that the authors of the comments are aware that I am doing it!  So, please let me know if you have a concern about us copying your posts here.   It is very easy to delete those posts.

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