Why do sceptics put up with cyber bullying?

Because sceptics are culturally resistant to seeing themselves as victims.

Sceptics are loners … not social loners but intellectual loners. We do not need our views endorsed by our peers. We are resilient, self-reliant we have often worked in time-critical high-risk industries where the pressure of work means that tempers can fly and so we are pragmatic and tolerant of others.

Non-sceptics value group identity. Unlike sceptics they see loners as being weak and needing to be brought into line within the social consensus. As such non-sceptics feel it is legitimate to attack those who reject their social consensus.

But sceptics don’t value their group identity and instead argue the facts.

Such behaviour is extremely frustrating to the non-sceptic. They cannot understand how sceptics can reject their group, but neither can they attack our arguments because we state the facts which cannot be attacked. So non-sceptics find themselves having to attack the people for not arguing in a way that allows us to be attacked.

But, the fundamental reason for this cyber bullying is that in a culture where this bullying has been legitimised by every authority figure from government ministers to the BBC to the moderators of the Independent and Guardian as well as every University in the land …

… even sceptics have grown to believe it is justifiable.

It is not

Sceptics have a right to be treated with respect, to have our legitimate views heard without being insulted and attacked. Likewise sceptics should try to recognise that others may not share our views and that not accepting their views or concerns about CO2 and the environment may be taken as a personal attack on their values.

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31 Responses to Why do sceptics put up with cyber bullying?

  1. TinyCO2 says:

    It’s hard to fight against insults on the net, since abuse is pretty much universal. The news papers are different and it is past time when someone (thank you) said no to actual threats.

    However, I’m not sure what we can do about the constant drizzle of insults and sly digs by warmists. It’s pure politics and an attempt to influence the public by using the types of techniques that politicians engage in to rubbish their opposition. The public don’t care either way and just carry on as normal.

    There is the idea that the public are significantly influenced by PR. It’s a myth. People only tend to be impressed by PR when they want to believe it. Thus people who like X factor can be persuaded to watch and spend money on X factor but people who don’t like it are oblivious to the sales messages. Those who want to believe that this time a political party means its promises might be persuaded to swap parties, whereas everyone else either doesn’t vote or votes for the party that they think will do the least damage. Fundametally nobody likes the idea of CAGW and vote with their carbon feet. All the PR attempts (including insulting the other side) has no effect on their real feelings.

    So until the warmists are honest with themselves about what the real CO2 reduction problems are, they will continue to use abuse and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    • The web may be a jungle, but the real problem is the moderators in places like the Independent and Guardian who think it is legitimate to legitimise insults by lying about our views and calling us deniers.

      But what really makes me angry is that on the one hand they allow people to call us “Oil funded” when it will be absolutely obvious to every journalist that we are just a lot of quite ordinary people without any funding.

      And that is what makes these repeated bully boy tactics by journalists all the worse. They will know that we are ordinary people who stand up for what is right. They use that fact to deny us any hearing … and then knowing we are who we are they use their position of power to to libel us knowing we would find it difficult to fight back.

      • TinyCO2 says:

        But they’re human too. They think they’re doing their bit to protect the message. Of course it back fires because as each person comes to question AGW they get slapped down and that person joins the army of the undead 😉 It’s why I try to be tollerant of ‘trolls’.

        Warmists need to accept that scepticism is the default position and understand that moving people away from that is going to be a lot of hard work.

        In the Guardian, Adam Corner is making another attempt to understand sceptism and gets closer than most but without making the final jump. The question ‘what part of CAGW makes people skeptical’ should be answered ‘all of it’. Depending on which part people are most/currently irked by will influence what type of sceptic they resemble.

        http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/climate-change-scepticism-slippery-concept

        The political viewpoint of the sceptic only determines whether that person is ashamed of their scepticism or is prepared to admit it to themselves and the World.

      • Katabasis says:

        The outrageous censorship at the Guardian also makes this problem far worse. I’ve had so many perfectly reasonable posts deleted there that I find it really difficult not to simply pathologically hate the media outlet, especially because it claims to champion truth, journalistic integrity and all of those good things.

  2. verytallguy says:

    Could you post an example or two of this “bullying”?

    • TinyCO2 says:

      See previous post ‘The police visited today’.

    • Bullying usually comes in the form of name calling. That is creating a false stereotype of us which then allows the bully to attack us based on this false stereotype. A typical example is this:
      Are you seriously suggesting that climate change deniers do climate research?
      That’s a good one. It is patently obvious that 99% of the time they have no idea what they are talking about..”

      This was a totally unprovoked attack on an article where I had already stated that sceptics do not deny global warming, climate change, CO2 increase etc.

      The purpose of this comment was to insult me by creating a stereotype of my views which then legitimised their attack. So stating my views as “denial” then allowed them to justify their comment that I had “no idea what [I am] talking about”.

      That is clearly a highly offensive attack similar in nature to racist attacks based on creating a false racial stereotype which then legitimised the racist attack.

      I should also note that my comment in reply saying that I would not reply until they could treat me with respect and stop attacking me for views I do not hold has not so far appeared.

      This is how this hate speech against sceptics is legitimised by the Guardian.

      • craigm350 says:

        Scottish Sceptic says:
        November 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

        “…That is clearly a highly offensive attack similar in nature to racist attacks based on creating a false racial stereotype which then legitimised the racist attack.”

        Probably a better way of defining this is to say ‘dehumanise’ a practise used in racial discrimination as it is easier to label than face up to the fact that you are dealing with another human with positive & negative qualities. Whilst we all do it to a degree, based on various prejudices or beliefs, it does enable us to eventually, collectively or individually do horrendous crimes against that person as we can justify it as they are not human. A common theme of agitators is to demean and dehumanise the opposition. Israel/Palestine, Catholics/Protestants, Socialist/Fascist, any Irish person during the troubles was a terrorists sympathiser/all English are b*****s etc. It’s not new as the Romans quite liked calling the people of the lands they wished to conquer Barbarians and uncivilised when the cultures of those lands was, in some cases, more sophisticated and far more civilised. A good current example, which I raise from a language not political p.o.v., is the invective IDS spouts about people on benefits effectively classing as human excrement. I am sure some are, but then so are many bankers like the one getting sacked in the news today.

        A few years ago I was a consensus hugger but my own observation as I grew past one oceanic cycle (like AMO which the Met Office blamed for recent freezes – or was it the jetstream?) and the increasingly ludicrous belief system/statements from some trying to pass as science (and from scientists) gave me pause. One of the worst was an activist being ‘convinced’ of a link between CO2 and the Tōhoku earthquake! I had doubts about CO2, but a slow dawning realisation came that most of what I was reading was political propaganda (and trolling in the comments) that I came across on any article on Israel/Palestine, the Iraq war etc. Most of it is simply to sow doubt & disrupt often by straw man arguments.

        I was well aware of governments jumping on any bandwagon and, as power corrupts, using climate as just another way of increasing their power/control. There is not much legislation I have come across that actually deals with a problem, rather it is just a way for interests to further an agenda – wealth and power. In the search for weather info I started reading wider and eventually read WUWT to see ‘the other side’. Despite thinking, initially WUWT was a house of loons, I actually enjoyed the articles which provided a wealth of information and interesting links. I read papers, linked articles, opinion pieces etc all the while still reading the same consensus articles I’d read before but viewing them far more sceptically because of the preaching, dehumanising, vitriol and quite often baseless, often desperate claims.

        In a way it is shameful that I fell for the propaganda as I was able to spot it in other spheres, but if I am honest my belief boiled down – and it was just belief – was based in ‘it can’t be good to keep pumping out all this crap’ and ‘scientists agree with me’ (*coughs now when 97% is mentioned*).

        So, here I am now as a sceptic who does not believe CO2 does much if anything, but my core environmental beliefs are pretty much the same. I recycle more, I am if anything far more sustainable in my behaviour which comes from knowledge passed down through the ages. I am more humbled and in awe of the great forces that surround us than ever. I’ve also found most sceptics are in the same boat – they care for their environment but believe the whole CO2 meme is a waste of effort and time drawing resources away from the myriad real world problems. For example instead of carbon control why don’t we actually help the Philippines build houses to Western standards? Why not, as Willis E has argued, help raise living standards and actually try and help poor people now rather than inadvertently killing them by denying them energy, instead of the perpetual fears about the future
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/27/expensive-energy-kills-poor-people/
        Some of the behaviour and claims I have seen in regards to the Philippines (or the not unusual US November tornado outbreak) is why I have deemed the media propagandists & ‘spokespeople’ ‘ambulance chasing climate vultures’. They don’t appear to see (or care) how they are using human suffering as a meal ticket for the agenda/organisation they support. I also don’t see them changing their behaviour or trying to help them now.

        The thing is denier works two ways, for me once I had doubt I realised what a nasty vicious term it is. Warmist & Alarmist have never been in the same league, although they are obviously not terms of endearment. Denier may for some work and help the social structure but when you have any doubt it quickly backfires. I was personally attacked as a ‘denier’ on the Guardian for a neutral view whilst I was in the consensus camp. I was also accused of making up my own facts (amazing as I hadn’t made any) and referred to a website which started and ended with ‘denier’ so why would I bother reading something that is insulting and immediately assumes I am some form of gibbering idiot because I doubt people whose livelihoods depends on propagating fear and demeaning me?

        I received this lovely comment on my website:

        I would be interested to know which other generally-accepted fields of science you disagree with? Evolution, the age of the Earth, plate tectonics, genetics? Or do you just reject climate science?

        http://craigm350.wordpress.com/about-me/

        What part of science did I reject by stating something quite obvious – that “Science lacks curiosity and follows the money, not observations. Most industries and professions are no different when anything that challenges their funding – right or wrong – is dismissed and made out to be crazy. It’s politics not science.

        On what wacky world do we live in that climate scientists are infallible gods? Are they not human liable to mistakes and wanting to get a pay check? Will they not lie, cheat, steal or be subject to inner bias just like the rest of us when it suits? It’s why we have regulations as you said for buildings and why there must be accountability.

        I’ve worked in many industries and noted those who rise to the top are mostly, but not always, put there because of their ability to say yes. If you do not fit the corporate ethos, or at least pay it lip service, you will not go far. But obviously climate science is different which is why so many ‘deniers’ have risen to the top. /sarc

        One final thought. Having come over ‘from the other side’ I notice many similarities between the two groups. We are both interested and care about climate & our environment. We have far more in common that we don’t but we have a perverse ability to demean each other. Maybe the use of the word ‘denier’ is just one tool to prevent us from realising that. Divide and conquer.

        Craig

        • TinyCO2 says:

          Your route into scepticism is the same as many, including Anthony Watts. His is the only climate change site I’ve ever read that brings up energy saving devices. My moniker partly refers to my CO2 footprint. It was from knowing what it takes to cut CO2 that convinced me that climate science had to be better than excellent to drive that kind of change in society. Ever rising CO2 levels tells it’s own story.

          Personally I have no great objetion to ‘denier’ other than it makes light of holocaust denial which is truly vile. I am a denier. I deny others the right to tell me what to think.

        • Geordie says:

          Craig, this sticks me as an eminently sensible position and shows how people with real concerns about the environment have had their beliefs highjacked. i think there is continuing damage being done to environmental groups by some of the more rabid spokespeople, which might be irreparable. It is like the anti humanity fringe, with its outdated views on overpopulation and humanity like a disease on the earth has been reborn in global warming. It allows hatred a voice

          • craigm350 says:

            TIny – I agree. Now I am reading more of the back story I do find I took the ‘consensus’ route into scepticism 🙂 Having trouble finding the Koch funded sceptics as most of the great work I see is from the curious.

            Geordie – Thank you. I recall a couple of things that struck me in my youth which may have bearing. One was a cartoon book I must have read in the late 70’s about acid rain with pictures of brown sulphur skies and another, a few years later, was an afternoon film about a planet where it rained all the time and a girl who was not allowed out when the sun briefly came out. So by the time Thatcher jumped on the bandwaggon I was ripe & primed to believe. I had a distinct anti human slant as people are the obvious ’cause’ of increased emissions – which again was a belief as I was well aware of Malthus being very wrong or that by raising people’s standards you eased that demographic pressure. The recent piece over at WUWT by Jim Steele is probably one of the best I have seen highlighting this (for amphibians read poor humans in developing countries)

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/21/contrasting-good-and-bad-science-disease-climate-change-and-the-case-of-the-golden-toad/

            Craig

    • Katabasis says:

      verytallguy – working in academia and being warned to “keep your climate sceptic opinions to yourself” otherwise your career could be at risk…

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  5. they can attack the skeptics personally, because the Warmist don’t have legitimate proofs to be proud off; so be it, only behind a good horse there is lots of dust

  6. verytallguy says:

    Scottish,

    apologies, I didn’t read your earlier post.

    To be clear, I’d agree that the “I’d just shoot them…” comment is not acceptable. However, I do feel that many of your other complaints are really just objecting to those who disagree with you.

    Take your obection to the use of “denial”. Denial is a well understood psychological concept referring to people’s unwillingness to accept unwelcome facts, originally from the grieving process. Most people would characterise your refusal to accept the reality of the modern CO2 rise as anthropoenic as denial, given the overwhelming evidence. Your conflating of this with holocaust denial come across as playing the victim.

    Again, for clarity, anyone who does attempt to claim equivalence between Nazis and climate change denial has not understood what happended in 20th century Europe.

    Your

    The claim that both sides are equally culpable does not stand up.

    bears further scrutiny.

    Eg from an Australian scientist:

    The emails typically contain obscenities, insults and sexual slurs, with some including threats such as ”the quicker that c—s like you and your kind die, the better”..

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/academics-fear-climate-change-hate-mail-might-deter-future-researchers-20110610-1fx40.html

    I fear you are showing an equal refusal to open your eyes to the activities of climate change sceptics as you are to the evidence of the origins fo CO2 rise.

    • Have you read “the sceptic view” and can you point to one fact we are “denying”.

      Your argument is really this: all xxx are idiots. Because you are xxx you clearly are an idiot and so it is justified to label you as an xxx and call you an idiot.

      You are without any justification just stating our views as denial and trying to justify by what those who call us deniers say about us.

      That is not acceptable.

      On the emails, you will find that every major sceptic condemned. In contrast when sceptics have been attacked by people like Gleick your side praised their actions.

      And you too continue to justify libel by saying it must be true, despite the fact you don’t have any evidence it is true and we have evidence it is not.

    • Geordie says:

      An interesting response. I was puzzled by your defense of the use of denial.it was almost as if you have missed the media reports in which this link made explicit, even wikipedia has an article that names several media commentators who use it in this way. The other point it makes is that it is also inaccurate, To support the idea of man causing catastrophic climate change requires acceptance of a whole set of theories, you yourself use one that represents an idea that is widely accepted and indeed has considerable scientific support. Even though we contribute such a small part of atmospheric Co2. its measurable, Its when you go beyond that as the evidence becomes weaker, non existent or appears contrary to predictions that the debate gets interesting. In scientific circles it is usually considered that its up to the people advancing new theories to provide the supporting evidence, real science is sceptical and of course never settled. I also enjoyed your use of that report from Australia about threats, which was really a reaction to the many threats received by skeptics, you might like to read what an independent review of these claims found.
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/climate-scientists-claims-of-email-death-threats-go-up-in-smoke/story-e6frgcjx-1226345224816#

      • verytallguy says:

        Geordie,

        I’ll keep this brief as last time I tried to comment here I seemed unable to do so.

        re how denial is used in the media – I think we just disagree on this. You feel the word is inextricably linked to the holocaust. I feel it’s a legitimate psychological description of behaviour.

        re CO2 it’s not clear to me from your post if you accept that the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic or not. *If* you are disputing this, then you are certainly denying facts.

        re the Australians I’ve no wish to get into definitions of what does or does not constitute a death threat and I can’t access the paywalled site. I hope you’d agree that the abusive emails received constitute cyberbullying and are unacceptable. They are certainly much worse than what prompted ScottishSceptic to call in the police – which I also agree was unacceptable.

        • Geordie says:

          Sorry about the link, this is an ABC news transcript
          http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/1216_oz2.pdf
          I think the definition of a death threat must involve whether it happens or not, when faced with the publicity about the behaviour of their supporters, they fell back on their usual patters of behaviour – they lied.
          Denial is a useful word but tends to refer to something specific, so if I deny the rise in Co2 then yes. This is not quite the same if applied to AGW which involves a whole set of theories each with their own problems. In this is word denial is is inefficient, it tells you nothing, so why use it?
          My main concern in the debate is really about how the conventions of scientific inquiry have been perverted and miss-used, the whole debate being a symptom of this Climate scientists, whatever they are are responsible for destroying credibility in all science. If this is a science they should start to behave like scientists, I would also suggest that at least some sessions on communication and social skills be included in their curriculum. The debate now is no longer about science, but in the end increasing reliable empirical evidence will settle it, despite the attempts to stop inquiry with the “science is settled” nonsense. Yes I get annoyed about this and yes it influences how credible the people involved are, it detracts from the science.
          Science is built on skepticism and the onus of proof is on the those who propose the theory the hemorrhaging of public support is largely down to the behaviour of the supporters of AGW, scientists or otherwise. A group who’s support is also a reflection of a wide range of motives.
          Geordie

  7. verytallguy says:

    Scottish,

    thanks for coming back. I’m pretty near certain we’ll never agree on anything on climate, so I think any exchange will only ever be to understand our disagreement rather than resolve it. I hope we can do that, at least, amicably.

    My perception is that you are upset by the use of the word denial, and feel it is insulting – “libellous” even.

    I am frustrated by your refusal to acknowledge proven facts.

    So, specifically on your

    can you point to one fact we are “denying”

    That’s easy –

    Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made.

    It’s a proven fact that the modern Co2 rise is anthropogenic.

    Lines of evidence include
    – mass balance consistent with quantities of fossil fuels burned
    – timing of increase consistent with industrialisation
    – extrapolation of current measured rate of change
    – paleoclimate ice core evidence of historic CO2 levels going back nearly a million years
    – carbon isotope ratios changes
    – reduction in oxygen concentrations
    – ocean acidification
    See IPCC AR4 WG1 2.3.1 for instance.

    There is literally zero peer reviewed published evidence contradicting this. It’s absolutely nailed on, cast iron fact. There is no scientific debate on this whatsoever, just occasional oddballs like Salby, who don’t publish their findings.

    And yet you refuse to acknowledge the reality, not just in your list, but also repeatedly at Wotts for example.

    That’s denial, exactly as the dictionary definition. It’s impossible to libel someone with a true claim.

    It’s nothing to do with being an idiot – we are all prone to this behaviour when presented with unpalatable facts. What I don’t know is what it would take for you to acknowledge the reality. You probably never will.

    • manicbeancounter says:

      The mainstream sceptic view, if you care to view it, at
      http://scef.org.uk/index.php/introduction/31-misc/96-the-sceptic-view
      My own points are
      – it is not solely a problem of CO2 concentrations rising, but other greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as CH4, NOx and various halocarbons. The positive radiative forcing components are allegedly partly offset by the negative effects of aerosols.
      – the major alleged harm of GHGs is not direct chemical impacts, but in creating significant increases in global average temperatures, with resulting large net adverse consequences. Formerly known as “global warming”, it is now known by the less meaningful term “climate change”.
      – Many “climate change” sceptics are mostly sceptical of policy. No proposed policy in theory can generate large net positive reductions in CO2 emissions, whilst actual policy has fallen far short of the claimed benefits. This area of policy formulation and evaluation is the realm of economists. It is outside the skill-sets of climate scientists.
      So to summarize, climate scepticism for me is due to the complete lack of firm evidence of non-trivial global warming with non-trivial net-adverse consequences. More importantly, is the lack of any policy that will effectively mitigate against a prospective climate apocalypse, but there are plenty of actual policies that are costly and cause environmental damage.

  8. JasonB says:

    “Formerly known as “global warming”, it is now known by the less meaningful term “climate change”.”

    This is a good test of “skepticism” because it’s such a simple thing to check.

    I won’t argue how something that encompasses a broader range of phenomenon can be “less meaningful” but I will address the idea that it was formerly known as one thing and is now known as another.

    Firstly, “Climate Change” has *always* been the most popular term in the scientific literature. Simply go to scholar.google.com, set a custom date range, and try the two terms for different periods of time. In the 1970s, for example, Climate Change gave about 94,000 results, while Global Warming gave about 3,400.

    Further evidence of this is the name of the IPCC, set up in the late 80s. It’s not called the IPGW.

    Secondly, if there ever *was* an attempt to get people to start using Climate Change instead of Global Warming, it comes from the infamous Frank Luntz memo advising conservative politicians in the US to do so because ““Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.” In other words, it was those trying to downplay the risks on the conservative side of politics who wanted to change the language.

    So, why do so many so-called “skeptics” have this bizarre idea that it was the *scientists* who “recently” switched terminology, and why haven’t they taken the most trivial steps to check their facts?

    “Many “climate change” sceptics are mostly sceptical of policy.”

    I agree, I’ve seen this myself. A lot of so-called “skeptics” see the policy consequences of accepting AGW and are suddenly full of “doubts” about AGW itself, managing to convince themselves that the reason they can’t *see* any evidence in support of it is because there *is* no evidence, not because they never actually *look* for it.

    It makes no sense to conflate the two issues, but I see it all the time.

    • Geordie says:

      I think there is rather more to the debate than this, the first is a view of science as “skeptical” and what constitutes real evidence. I think anyone with a passing knowledge of research when they see statements like the “science is settled” or that “consensus” is evidence might reasonably become suspicious. When this is then used to suppress debate or as an excuse to suppress information, (because people wont understand) then there is a problem, some people do understand. Another issue is in the use of denier as a stereotype, the idea of catastrophic warming caused by man requires people to believe a number of theories, often when there are other theories explaining the same effect and really the strength of evidence for each of these might best be described as variable, and for the predictions, non existent. Attacks on deniers are in fact useless as they attack a straw man, individuals are often critical of certain elements that underpin this scenario and in most sciences its up to the supporters to address these criticisms with evidence. This doesn’t seem to happen, indeed there are even pseudo-scientific attempts to attack the critics, see Lewandowsky’s joke paper published in the journal of psychological science, I suspect it had been rejected by the Beano (comic) for its farcical methods.

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  10. David L. Hagen says:

    At TheRightClimateStuff.com, NASA engineers and scientists review both evidence for both sides of the argument. These skeptical professionals show how real science works. See: Anthropogenic Global Warming Science Assessment Report

  11. Just a detail, the question is not skeptic of supporte, it is mainstream or dissenters.

    I am dissenting supporter on a subject,
    and dissenting skeptic on climate

    in both case I see:
    – huge manipulation of wikipedia as holder of truths by mind guard
    – huge money wasted by big science, big computers, big machine, and billions budgets
    – unethical obstable proven publicly by SciAm, Nature, Science, bullying of dissenters, blocking of good papers

    For the theory I first refet to thomas kuhn theory on structure of scientific revolution
    I also support the groupthink description, yet the mechanism are wrong
    the good mechanism of groupthink is made by Roland Benabou (groupthink: collective delusions in organizations and markets). His description of “mutual assured delusion”, “delusion trickel-down” match well what I onserved.

    what you describe as the resilience of dissenters, is what Norbert Alter, philisopher of innovation, who studied corps behaviors describe as the cahracteristic of “innovators”.
    He say that innovators need to have 3 characteristics:
    – being a foreigner, an alient, in their workplace, industry, city… being of another country, industry, domain, culture…
    – having a network of similar thinking people who support him despite mainstream opposition
    – being resilient to critics, not following consensus but their ides, despite bullying, attack, losses, failures… adapting to the obstable but not abandonning.

    AlainCo the tech watcher of… don’t mind, wikipedia says it is not replicated… yet it is becoming industrial… so funny is groupthink, like it is on “the pause”.

    • If scientific validity is the cosine, consensus or groupthink is a sin.

      The point of maximum groupthink is the point at which the scientific validity is decreasing most rapidly. The point of maximum validity is when groupthink is small but increasing quite rapidly.

      So, there is perhaps 4 stages of the scientific revolution

      Max groupthink + decreasing scientific validity
      … (about where we are with climate)
      Min scientific validity + decreasing groupthink
      Min groupthink + increasing scientific validity
      Max scientific validity + increasing groupthink

      … then believing that they have somehow bucked the trend they head to
      Max groupthink + decreasing scientific validity

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  13. Tim Groves says:

    In answer to the question of why we sceptics put up with cyber bullying, we judge that it’s worth exposing ourselves to it for the opportunity to make our viewpoint heard and we are not interested enough in fighting against cyber bullying for us to invest as much energy in getting personal as the bullies are.

    Being heckled and subjected to hate-speech rather than being engaged in debate is a good indication that you have the facts on your side. This is doubly true when the mods are involved in ensuring that the field of play remains uneven. While it is naturally frustrating to be treated in that way, in time we learn not to be reactive and even to recognize abuse of this kind as a form of desperation by its practitioners.

    So, let’s not take this abuse any more personally than we would take being scratched by a kitten, and lets keep improving our game and making progress in the fight against alarmism and neo-Lysenkoism in the field of climatology.

    • But I’ve found that no matter how polite you try to be, some will just keep attacking. Unfortunately, that means that these people feel they have the right to do the same to other people – and probably not just sceptics but all kinds of people they disagree with.

      I am in favour of debate … but when that turns into a mob crowd attacking individuals as we have seen on so many forums, then it crosses the line and becomes bullying which should not be tolerated because unless we highlight it as such, this kind of tactic will become accepted as the norm.

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