theConversation

On May 13th, John Cook, PhD student at the University of Queensland, published this article at the Conversation
http://theconversation.com/the-things-people-ask-about-the-scientific-consensus-on-climate-change-59243

There were 414 coments in the next few days. 257 of them have since been removed by moderators

On 17th May 2016 the Conversation sent me eleven messages which all began as follows:

Hello Geoff,
Your comment on ‘The things people ask about the scientific consensus on climate change’ has been removed. There are several reasons why this may have occurred:
Your comment may have breached our communit standards. For example it may have been a personal attack, or you might not have used your real name.
Your comment may have been entirely blameless but part of a thread that was removed because another comment had to be removed.
It might have been removed for another editorial reason, for example to avoid repetition or keep the conversation on topic.
For practical reasons we reserve the right to remove any comment and all decisions must be final, but please don’t take it personally. If you’re playing by the rules it’s unlikely to happen again, so feel free to continue to post new comments and engage in polite and respectful discussion.

And they appended the removed comments, which were as follows:

1
No. We don’t know each other. Yet another false statement from the believers in the 97%. Though it’s true I have met Robin Guenier, who is a barrister and a very interesting chap. Disclosure statement; my brother-in-law sold him a lawn mower. I hope it’s working well.
2
“Nothing wlll be gained by continuing to engage with them.‘
What an interesting statement. “Don’t engage if you can’t gain anything.”
A perfect definition of the relation of 97% with those who they imagine to be the 3%; or of the predatory capitalist west with the “undeveloped” nations. Keep it up Alice. Your argument against engagement is most engaging.
3
You ask why we “deniers of action” are here. In my case, for the same reason that you post so often – because I care about policies I support. Those are generally socialist policies, involving ideas like social justice and the elimination of poverty. Proponents of AGW are the enemies of social justice, since they support billionaire hedge fund managers and their government subsidised investments in useless windmills and smart meters for Africans to be able to recharge their mobile telephones without having recourse to nasty fossil-fuel-based cheap efficient energy supply. Belief in dangerous AGW is not only mistaken – it’s evil.
4
Well get used to it, because COP21 envisages channelling a trillion dollars per decade to third world countries to buy stuff from China approved by Green Blobbers at the World Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Oxfam. If you think that’s going to happen without capitalists taking a rake off you’re either a full-blooded supporter of predatory capitalism or living in fairyland. Which is it?
5
”The evil you see is in actions that result from beliefs not from the beliefs themselves.”
I accept the correction in your last sentence. Those are wise words, and I shall try and remember them and quote them. My excessive statement was not aimed at children or saints, who may well be misled by what they read, or even at John Cook, who is probably a bit of both, (and also, like me, a would-be illustrator). I’m thinking – continually – of politicians with multi-billion budgets to spend; of heads of the Royal Society who don’t understand the nature of science; and even of Professors of the History of Science or Cognitive Psychology who think – I don’t know. That people who point out that they‘re wrong are worms to be trodden underfoot? One has assimilated us in a peer-reviewed paper to vile anti-semites. Who knows what they think? They don’t say.
6
You haven’t addressed Robin Guenier’s point.
Let’s accept for the sake of argument that quantum mechanics needs to be true for my computer to work. Well I just switched my computer on and it worked. In your world, I’ve just proved the theory of quantum mechanics.
On the other hand, my other computer doesn’t work. Can I have my Nobel prize?
What would count as evidence for AGW to be true, according to you? A big rise in temperatures perhaps? Bigger than before we started puttng greenhous gases i the atmosphere? Have you seen one?
What would count as evidence against AGW? A smallish rise in temperatures, hardly different from rises in the past? A pause of eighteen years? Nothing at all?
7
“My co-authors and I even participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the online forum Reddit, answering questions about the scientific consensus.”
That’s not quite true, is it? You only answered questions you wanted to. Many other questions were wiped by Reddit, making nonsense of the title of their forum. What were the questions which were removed? Were they asked by members of the 3%, or by would-be climate scientists eager to test your theory that “you get rewarded if you prove an established idea wrong”? We shall never know.
8
Does the photo at the head of this article of alll those arms raised in salute have any connection with this photo?

9
I’ve never really bought the argument that environmentalism = fascism. Yes, there are similarities, but there are similarities between any contemporary phenomena. Think of the Workers’ Education Association, Boy Scouts and the rambling fad that had its heyday in the thirties, or fascist art in Italy and Germany and the very similar art in Britain, Australia and the USA at the time.
True, consensus is a theme common to fascism and to the subject of this article. It’s interesting to note how often in the literature of the thirties the writer emphasises consensus as one of the significant characteristics of fascism. I’m thinking of Nabokov’s lovely short story “Cloud, Castle, Lake,” but you can find it in the works of dozens of writers who escaped totalitarian régimes (Koestler, Canetti, Mann…) and even in Evelyn Waugh’s wartime trilogy.
Cook embarked on his attempt to establish the existence of a scientific consensus at the suggestion of his PhD supervisor, Professor Lewandowsky, who claims that there is evidence that people are more likely to believe something if they believe that everyone else believes it. What a strange view of the educator’s task! Particularly coming from someone who claims in a peer-reviewed article that one of us climate deniers called him a fascist zionist kike.
Of course, none of this explains why Cook distributed photos of himself dressed as a Nazi.
10
I haven’t either. How do you do it? I clicked on my name, but couldn’t see how to add a profile.
11
”All that I can see that Brad is doing is trying to cast doubt on all of the above by doing all he can to confuse the issues.”
That’s because you haven’t understood what Brad is saying. I wouldn’t boast about it.
Do you know what Oreskes did? Or Anderegg, or Doran and Zimmerman or Cook et al, to get their 97%s? Do you care? I once gave some details at a Conversation thread but my comments were disappeared.
The next ,day I received this

Hi Geoff,

Your account on The Conversation has been locked follow your posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content.

Regards,

Cory Zanoni Community Manager
cory.zanoni@theconversation.edu.au

I have replied to Cory Zanoni as follows:
In your mail justifying your decision to prevent me from commenting at the Conversation you accuse me of posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content. I assume this refers to the eleven comments on this article
http://theconversation.com/the-things-people-ask-about-the-scientific-consensus-on-climate-change-59243
which were deleted by the moderator the day before your decision to ban me. For simplicity I have listed the comments at this blog article, and I refer below to the numbers used in my blog article.
I have tried to identify comments which might be considered “abusive and potentially defamatory” and have identified the following:
comment 7 “That’s not quite true, is it?” addressed to author Cook
comment 8 which links to a photo of author Cook dressed as a Nazi
comment 9 which refers to the same photo, which was one of a series in which Cook and his collaborators apparently photoshopped photos of themselves in Nazi uniforms and put them up on the private part of their site SkepticalScience where they were discovered by Brandon Schollenberger. I took this information from this site
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/skeptcial-science-takes-creepy-to-a-whole-new-level/
but the Conversation has established a rule that any comment citing this site (the world’s most popular scientific site) will be removed.
I note that accusing me of posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content is in itself potentially defamatory. I have indeed accused your second and third most frequent contributors of articles on climate change, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky, of being liars and charlatans on my site, but not on yours. Neither are climate scientists. Both are liars and charlatans.
I am preparing a letter of complaint to my own university and to other British universities which finance your site. Your moderation policy, as evidenced by the comments removed on this article (numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 9) and on other articles demonstrate clearly that you are practising a policy of censorship of opinions which contradict the received opinion which your blog propagates: that opposition to current policies on climate change comes from the political right. As I indicated in one of the comments removed, I support the Communist party in France, where I have lived for thirty years.
Before I write to the universities which provide your financial support, I invite you to justify your claim that I have posted comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content. I look forward to your reply.

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2 Responses to theConversation

  1. Pingback: Censorship at the Conversation | Climate Scepticism

  2. Brad Keyes says:

    Geoff,

    Love the article. The formatting needs some minor polishing, however. As a person of polish extraction myself, I’d be happy to do it if you could give me a contributor password to your blog (or just send me the current HTML for the article and we can do it by email).

    It’d be worth noting that this transpired 2 months ago. I presume nothing has been heard from Cory since then. The wheels of Conversation turn slowly indeed.

    Brad

    >

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