The beginning

There are a number of blogs that already comment on Anthony Watts’s blog Watts Up With That so this one may be unnecessary.  It does feel like a few more sites that aim to address what is said on “Watts Up With That” may be a good thing. In case you don’t know, “Watts Up With That” is a site that publishes posts about climate science with a general theme that suggests that they are extremely skeptical (deny?) that man is influencing our climate (or, if we are, that it is a good thing).  The rhetoric is typically extremely dismissive and they typically find nothing positive to say about a piece of climate science with which they disagree.  The comments are also typically extremely dismissive and often downright rude and insulting.  They claim to be interested in understanding the science of climate change and in engaging in honest debate.  My perusal of the site makes it very hard for me to believe that this is even remotely true. It’s certainly not a style of science discourse that I, or any scientist I know, would recognise.

I don’t know how much I will actually write on this blog.  I will try to do my best to keep it updated reasonably often.  I also aim to remain civil and polite and to see if there is a possibility of having a site on which discussions about climate science can be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with honest scientific debate.   Of course, I’m assuming here that others will read what I write.  There is a distinct possibility that it will be completely ignored. At this stage I don’t have a comments policy. I don’t like the idea of moderating what people want to say. I sometimes feel that it is good to leave what people say for others to read and interpret. Having said that, I may well decide (assuming anyone ever comments on this site) to moderate anything that is particularly abusive or rude.

I should also tell you a little about myself.  I am not a climate scientist but am a professional scientist who is quite well published and teaches at what is regarded by many to be a very good university.  I have decided to remain anonymous and so aim to refrain from using my anonymity to attack those who are willing to make their identity known.  Anyway, I hope that people find what I write of interest and I will always be happy to be corrected in anything I say by anyone who can politely, and convincingly, explain what was wrong with what I have said.

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46 Responses to The beginning

  1. Having the hindsight of reading subsequent posts – I would say your blog is a welcome {and needed} addition to the discussion. I like your serious approach and lack of snark. This coming from a lay-observer and occasional writer who falls into the snark trap now and then myself… it’s so easy when dealing with the disingenuous double-standard nature of science “skeptics” out there.

    Your rigorous scientific background shows and is much appreciated and a refreshing addition to the blogosphere dialogue.

    It’s good to see you’re posting regularly {although it would be nice if your Archives Menu did a drop down of post titles, rather than taking us to a list}.

    Please keep up your excellent work here !

    Best Wishes, Peter
    http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com

  2. Thanks. I try to keep it as rigorous and snark-free as I can. Can’t promise that I’ll always succeed, but will do my best. Will see what I can do about the Archive menu.

  3. My pleasure – in fact I’ve been able to enunciate it even better:

    Wotts Up With That Blog – Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect
    Post #1 by citizenschallenge » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:28 am | SkepticForum.com
    http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=20677
    ~ ~ ~

    I discovered an excellent new (4 months old) blog last month, https://wottsupwiththatblog.wordpress.com
    The past two days I’ve spent more time getting acquainted with his posts
    unlike http://blog.hotwhopper.com who, like myself, am plain fed up with the malicious deceitfulness of the “skeptic” contrarian side of this dialogue {you know, the argument over the reality of our society driven global warming geophysical experiment – the one we continue running at full throttle, dialogue}

    Mr. WottsUpWithThatBlog is a scientist – not climate science, but he does possess that unemotional analytical objectiveness that good scientists do so well. And as much as I admit I fall into the mud-wrestling trap, it sure is enjoyable and refreshing to read solid objective reasoning in action, the man makes a good teacher and from the comments dialogue I’ve read through, it’s quality, information swapping stuff.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Though I do appreciate scientists are humans and have a right to their emotions – still from what I’ve read so far I’ll bet you’ll do a classy job it, when it’s time for you to vent.

    best wishes
    ;- )

  4. BBD says:

    Excellent blog, Wotts, and so far succeeding in your stated aim:

    I also aim to remain civil and polite and to see if there is a possibility of having a site on which discussions about climate science can be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with honest scientific debate.

    This blog has a distinctive and pleasing style which reminds me slightly of the hats-off marvellous Science of Doom.

  5. Thanks, but it seems like some of the subsequent posters on that thread think I’m bereft of applicable knowledge and should spend more time using Google. Can’t please everyone it seems 🙂

  6. Thanks, quite a compliment. The Science of Doom is an impressive site. If I can come close to that I will feel as though I’ve achieved something.

  7. BBD, your post made me smile.

    PS.
    Understanding the physics of global warming

    May 19, 2013
    http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/05/science-of-doom-understanding-physics.html
    ~ ~ ~

    CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? The Science of Doom
    Jan 16, 2013
    http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/01/co2-insignificant-trace-gas-science-of.html
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ;- )

  8. Barry Woods says:

    Ref: “I have decided to remain anonymous and so aim to refrain from using my anonymity to attack those who are willing to make their identity known. ”

    Anthony Watts is not anonymous.

    I’m sure that many many people would perceive (including Watts!) that this blog, by its name, and the multiple articles starting with Watts in the title, ARE just that, perceived ‘attacks’ by an anonymous person, on Anthony Watts.

    That is not your intent, as you say above, but I suggest that is exactly how you will be perceived, and you will only generate a partisan audience, because of it..

    food for thought.. ?

    your blog tag line says: Trying to keep the discussion civil..

    yet your name belies that, and I think you will be perceived no differently, by many, as the blog Watching The Deniers. Especially as there are a number of other Wotts themed blogs, that are vitriolic towards the real Watts.

    note I said perceptions, I had to change my blog name because of the perceptions I was giving out, to the very people I wanted to talk to!

    As you have built an audience how about a new name – Civil Climate – which would better match your blog tag line (or any other name that better reflects your intentions)

  9. Rachel says:

    I’m sure that many many people would perceive (including Watts!) that this blog, by its name, and the multiple articles starting with Watts in the title, ARE just that, perceived ‘attacks’ by an anonymous person, on Anthony Watts.

    I disagree. Critically analysing the content of a website does not constitute an attack on the person operating that website. In fact, most of the posts here are simply pointing out mistakes in the science at wattsupwiththat and quite often the mistakes are in posts written by people other than Anthony Watts. It would be a very boring world if people did not have the freedom to correct mistakes in this way.

    I think I speak for most people here when I say that Wotts is very successful in keeping the discussion civil.

  10. Barry Woods says:

    most people here, being very like minded.. because it is perceived as an attack Anthony Watts blog, perhaps?

    Why not ask Anthony how he perceives this blog in context of, ref the hosts claim:

    “I have decided to remain anonymous and so aim to refrain from using my anonymity to attack those who are willing to make their identity known.”

  11. Rachel says:

    I don’t know how else to say this so I’ll just repeat myself: pointing out mistakes in a blog post at WUWT is not the same thing as attacking Anthony Watts.

  12. Indeed, Rachel, but the conflation might explain Barry’s concern, which he might repeat ad fatigum, oblivious to the fact that it reveals how he percieves Tony’s crowd.

    People read Tony’s because he attacks mainstream climate science, right, Barry?

  13. Barry Woods says:

    Hi Rachel – Not sure if you are aware I have had a civil chat with the author of this blog elsewhere about this issue, and put a longer comment here for his perusal.

    I changed the name of my own blog, for the very same reason/problems that I suggest have similar consequences with the name of this blog..

    and.. there are many ways to point out mistakes, and I’m sure Anthony would welcome mistakes being pointed out.

    But, I am talking about peoples perceptions in an already very polarised area.
    This blog IS perceived as an attack blog, by many, because of its name, not least by Anthony himself!

    AS was my old blog name, (also not my intent) and I changed the name of my blog because part of the audience I very much wanted to talk to were alienated by it.

  14. Rachel says:

    Ok, sure. Personally, I don’t think the blog name needs changing but it’s not really my decision to make.

  15. Barry, I disagree with the idea that anonymously commenting on what’s written on Watts Up With That is some kind of personal attack. Firstly, science works by others scrutinizing what you say. What you say being criticised is, then, not an attack. I understand that people might perceive it that way, but I don’t agree that it is that way. I kind of agree that the name of the blog may, in itself, create an issue. As I think I’ve said before, it was rather a spur of the moment decision and I didn’t really expect anyone to read it or to take me seriously. I’m not trying to do anything other than write down my views (trying to focus on the science) and give others an opportunity to comment and, potentially, to correct what I get wrong. Although I have considered changing, I seem to be known by this and given that I don’t think I can be accused (justifiably at least) of making personal attacks on others, I don’t think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the name.

    Although I have no desire to actively prevent others from commenting here, I have the impression that those who object to the name are unlikely to, in general, make constructive comments here. There may well be exceptions and I may well be wrong, but that’s my impression at least.

  16. Barry Woods says:

    I think we are at cross purposes –
    I’m not saying you anonymously commenting is a personal attack!
    I’m saying you might be perceived in a different way than you intend, by a significant number of people, because your blog name is perceived by them as an attack in itself…

    a big difference..

    I have never said to you, not to be anonymous, just suggested a more neutral name, might help your articles be heard, by the very people you think need their ‘mistakes’ corrected.,
    And your articles are likely to be dismissed out of hand by some, because of your blog name. Silly perhaps, but this is human nature..

    Ask the climate scientists you know, how they would perceived a blog called Realclimategate…
    …. and how willing they would be to give it the benefit of the doubt…….?

    This is how Dr Peter Gleick saw my old blog name, warning Dr Tamsin Edwards about me:

    “(and Tamsin, your note about how Barry regrets the domain name,
    but ”has kept it because it’s known” might be a warning to you,
    apropos” Dr Peter Glieck
    http://unsettledclimate.org/2012/02/02/clarifications-and-how-better-to-communicate-science/

    (all emails published with permission)

    ask Tamsin about blog names and perceptions!!
    http://web.archive.org/web/20120402005253/http://allmodelsarewrong.com/all-blog-names-are-wrong

    TAmsin blog post was directly responsible for my blog post above (tamsin, Peter and I exchanged emails because of a discussion about blog names and perceptions)

    If people who don’t like your name are unlikely to make constructive comments, is it because perhaps they see your blog name as unconstructive in itself, and have preconceptions about you and your intention, EXACTLY as Peter Gleick thought about me…….
    … and so the polarisation and distrust just continues.

    I’ll drop it… but have a read of Tamsins and mine articles above please (for my reasoning)
    I changed my blog name because of Peter, and I’m not exactly on his Christmas Card list.

    Peter said to Tamsin (suspicious of my intent, as I had kept my, offensive to him, blog name) –

    ”has kept it because it’s known” might be a warning to you” – Peter Gleick

  17. Okay, yes may have a point about perceptions. The question then is whether or not I’m actually looking for those who would perceive this name poorly to comment here or to read the posts. Firstly, I don’t really have any specific goals. In a sense the main goal, initially, was to address what was written on Watts Up With That and, initially at least, mainly for my own benefit. Whatever the intent of WUWT, much of what is written there is scientifically incorrect. I’ve slightly drifted away from writing “Watt about…” posts, but that’s mainly because there are only so many times one can comment on the same issue.

    Unfortunately, it’s certainly my impression that those who are regulars at WUWT are unlikely to make constructive comments here whatever the name of my blog. Another issue, that you may not appreciate me saying, is that there isn’t the kind of symmetry that I suspect you think exists. You wanted climate scientists who were put off by your blog name to comment/read your blog. In a sense you’re implying that the inverse for me would be to get WUWT regulars to comment/read my blog. In my opinion there’s a big difference, when it comes to climate science, between professional climate scientists and WUWT regulars (with some notable exceptions I’m sure).

    I don’t have any particular desire to get WUWT regulars to read my posts or to comment here. I have no objection to it, but I doubt that myself and WUWT regulars would ever reach some kind of compromise or even – in many cases – actually have a constructive discussion. Apologies if that sounds unfair, but it is the impression that I have.

  18. Barry Woods says:

    I’m not talking about just WUWT and only people that comment there. I’m suggesting any sceptical blogger, or commenter might percieve you this way. And might be put off. Especially if you get mixed up with the other more vitriolic wotts ‘tribute’ blogs

  19. Fair enough, that’s a valid point. I do kind of get mixed up with some of the other ‘tribute’ blogs. I don’t fundamentally object to how they choose to engage. I just choose not to do so myself.

  20. Rachel says:

    Is there anyone complaining about the title of this blog, Barry? I’m genuinely curious because the only one I’m aware of is yourself.

  21. I think it’s time to thank Barry for his concerned perception about contrarian perceptions, Wotts.

  22. OPatrick says:

    I don’t much like the title – it makes it feel like less of a blog than it actually is. I’ve found it much more interesting than I’d expected when i first came here.

  23. OPatrick, thanks. That has been one issue I had considered. Do I change it because the role/motivation is different now to what it was when I started. The only concern I have with that is that it might imply that I’m taking myself more seriously than I really should :-). I keep having to remind myself that I’m really just some anonymous blogger who started this because I was tired of reading scientifically incorrect ideas on other blogs (mainly WUWT).

  24. Barry Woods says:

    Rachel. Mine is not a complaint! Just an observation that it might put people off. Using my own experience as an example.
    And I agree.. that the blog is more interesting than the name suggests. Which means people may be missing out on a good blog

  25. Thanks Barry. You may have a point. I’ll need to give it some thought. A factor is that I’m trying not to take this whole blog thing too seriously. Changing the name will make it seem that it has some bigger role than the role I intended – a place for me to write about the science associated with global warming/climate change. I’m not specifically looking for more readers or anything in particular.

  26. BBD says:

    Willard has a point. How do we know this? He posted a comment.

    😉

  27. BBD says:

    I agree with Willard, Wotts, but how far do you go? While I’m sure you are grateful to learn of Barry’s apparent concerns about the potential concerns of contrarians concerning the name of your blog, I’m not sure you should be so concerned as to contemplate changing the name of your blog.

    😉

  28. Rachel says:

    I think you should take it as a compliment, Wotts that people are so interested in the title of your blog. 🙂

  29. BBD says:

    PS – I’m very concerned about this…

    😉

  30. Thanks everyone for your concerns 🙂

    I’m off doing various children sports type things this evening, so I hope everyone will behave themselves 🙂

  31. Rachel says:

    Your minion will be around to deal with any trouble makers. 🙂

  32. For what it’s worth, Barry, your Gravatar name is http://gravatar.com/realclimategate.

    Think of all the audience you very much wanted to talk to that could feel alienated by it

  33. Barry Woods says:

    I can’t change it without screwing up my wordpress .com blog. .. any ideas how
    blog is unsettledclimate.org – tweet as @barryjwoods

  34. Barry Woods says:

    c’mon Willard

    I was discussing this with ‘Wotts’ in good faith, here and elsewhere.. please show some yourself.

    unsettled climate I thought was nicely open, areas of science are ‘unsettled’, look at IPCC WG1 for that areas of low confidence and understanding, also focussing on an ‘unsettled climate’ in a context of unsettling, unclear, with respect to many other issues, ie policies, economics, etc

    I am also not complaining about the title (how could I) just observing it ‘might’ detract from what the author ‘wotts’ said he wanted to wanted to achieve.. bringing to ‘Wotts’ attention my own personal experience and I do think Wotts perceives that possibility.

    as as I said above, I will drop it and comment here (if I’m welcome) anyway.

  35. Barry, you are of course welcome. One the comments side, if you were to comment through your wordpress account wouldn’t it label it as unsettledclimate, rather than realclimategate?

  36. Barry Woods says:

    I registered a blog on the free hosted wordpress.com as realclimate ages ago, but never used it..
    because I decided to self host using wordpress.org blog software (ie could use non standard widgets, etc) as realclimategate

    I then (after Peter Glieck incident) used my free realclimategate wordpress.com as my new blog, (and it really helps with all the spam, other hassles that self hosting gave me) and I gave it the url as unsettledclimate, migrating all the old posts & comments was a big hassle as my version was quite old.

    With any wordpress.com hosted blog when I comment it uses that free wordpress logon, as my email address that l comment under is linked to that account (hence original gravatar). And on other blogs I’m user Unsettledclimate using that logon.. so a bit messy

  37. Barry Woods says:

    As I’ve only actually posted 2 articles on my own blog in nearly 2 years!!
    (and one guest post discussion between Dr Adam Corner – and Geoff Chambers)

    hopefully my gravitar can be forgiven,

    Actually I think it only appears, if I don’t type the url of my website in the box when I post a comment.
    I’ve put it in on this comment, try clicking on my name this time, and see if you get the gravatar or my website?

  38. Yes, that seems to have changed it.

  39. Rachel says:

    If you go into your account settings in wordpress you can change your username.

    Go to wordpress.com (make sure you’re logged in) -> hover over your avatar on the top right -> select settings -> you should see the Account Options page and the top option is your username with the option to change it.

  40. Barry Woods says:

    Thx. Will take a look at that

  41. Rachel says:

    I’ve just thought of a reason for why Wotts may not wish to change is blog title and that is that his name is Wotts. What would we all call him?

  42. Barry seems to doubt my sincerity:

    I find this question somewhat alienating.

  43. Wotts,

    Barry may have provided you with a template for answering his concern:

    C’mon Barry,

    “Wotts up with that blog” I thought was nicely open, since I focus on questioning how questions are answered at Tony’s and that I always try to keep the discussion civil.

    I understand your concerns are well meant, but [your insistence starts to make me doubt].

    Thank you for your concerns,

    Wotts

  44. Barry Woods says:

    Rachel… brilliant!! 🙂

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