The ScAm Gets Worse—An Open Letter To Bora Zivkovic

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Dear Bora;

I know, I know, like many people I didn’t think it was possible for Scientific American magazine to sink any lower. I loved Scientific American as a kid, the “Amateur Scientist” column was a godsend on the ranch. But then, slowly your magazine morphed, first into less-science, then non-science, then non-sense, and then finally anti-science. I (like many people) quit reading the magazine years ago. Your hatchet job on Bjorn Lomborg, for example, was disgraceful. For me these days Scientific American is known by its shortened name, ScAm.

But now, it’s even worse. You, Bora Zivkovic, write a blog titled A Blog Around The Clock: Rhythms of Life in Meatspace and Cyberland. And who are you when you are at home? Your mini-bio on ScAm says:

bora zivkovicBora Zivkovic is the Blog Editor at Scientific American, chronobiologist, biology teacher, organizer of ScienceOnline conferences and editor of Open Laboratory anthologies of best science writing on the Web.

There’s more there, you’re not just a blogger, you’re the Blog Editor, and you teach introductory biology, not the advanced kind, at Wesleyan College. Got it.

And on the 28th of January, you took all of us low-lifes to task on your blog. You say some commenters are a problem, and your solution to the problem of inconsiderate people asking scientific questions on a ScAm blog is quite simple:

Automatic Computer-model-based Censorship. 

I can only bow my head in awe. I mean, what better way is there to keep you from answering people from WUWT and other sites who might want answers to actual scientific questions, than not allowing them to speak at all? Let me give other readers a glimpse into the future of scientific discussion, your brilliant plan for hands-off blog censorship … here it is, and as you explained, it involves computer models (emphasis mine)

If I write about a wonderful weekend mountain trek, and note I saw some flowers blooming earlier than they used to bloom years ago, then a comment denying climate change is trolling. I am a biologist, so I don’t write specifically about climate science as I do not feel I am expert enough for that. So, I am gradually teaching my spam filter to automatically send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts. A comment that contains any of those is, by definition, not posted in good faith. By definition, it does not provide additional information relevant to the post. By definition, it is off-topic. By definition, it contains erroneous information. By definition, it is ideologically motivated, thus not scientific. By definition, it is polarizing to the silent audience. It will go to spam as fast I can make it happen.

See, Bora, the beauty of your plan is, you don’t even have to think about censorship once you do that. The computer does the hard work for you, rooting out and destroying evil thoughtcrimes coming from … from … well, from anyone associated with Watts Up With That, or with Steven McIntyre’s blog Climate Audit, or anyone that you might disagree with, or who is concerned about “alarmists”, you just put them on the list and Presto!

No more inconvenient questions!

The beauty part is, censorship in that manner isn’t personal or based on prejudices, it’s gotta be 100% scientific—because hey, it’s based on a computer model, and the modelers constantly assure us that model-based science is the real deal. For example, a noted advocate of computer models and transparency in science posted this insightful comment in support of your fascinating proposal for secret hidden computer-model-based censorship of unwelcome views …

mann tweety birdAstroturf pay-4-trolling outfits? I gotta say, Mann has lost the plot entirely. He’s sounding like one of those goofy ads on the insides of matchbook covers, “DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY—Make Money With Your Computer At Home While You’re Trolling!!! Call 1-800-ASTROTURF now!”

I swear, there’s no way to parody this stuff, Bora. You and Mike, you’ve truly outdone yourselves, your idea of computer-model-based censorship is worthy of the modern ScAm you work for.

The sight of a so called “scientific” magazine advocating for hidden censorship based on where someone might comment or their saying the word “alarmist” or where they might find some particular fact, well, that is an abomination, Bora. It makes me fear for the students at Wesleyan College. Do you turn people away from your classes as well for disagreeing with your revealed wisdom, or because they may have read my biology piece about extinctions on WUWT?

Unlike your pathologically computer-censored blog, here at WUWT we just ignore the jerks, or I metaphorically beat them severely about the head and shoulders for bad behavior … but we don’t censor them for reading or citing your or any other web site, ever.

So how about you have the stones to do the same, my friend, and you stop hiding behind your pathological computer models from folks who read or cite this web site?

Finally, Bora, you are (of course) free to comment below on my open letter and defend your position. Unlike your site, where I could invisibly be made a non-person and my ideas prevented from ever seeing the light, here at WUWT we actually DO preach and practice science of the old-fashioned, transparent kind, where even the advocates of hidden, under-the-table censorship like yourself and Michael Mann are free to comment. And if we do snip someone’s particular comment for being a jerkwagon, we note that fact, we don’t just sweep them under the rug like you do.

I won’t be surprised if you don’t show up to defend the indefensible, however. I’d be a fool to expect that kind of honesty and forthrightness from a man who secretly destroys unwanted questions from his scientific opponents …

But I invite you to surprise me, my friend, I’m always overjoyed to see a man moving to become an actual scientist, one who listens to and answers inconvenient questions from his scientific opponents … heck, who knows, you might just learn something.

Of course, I am aware that no one will be able to cite this open letter on your blog, you’ve erased that possibility already … gosh, that’s science at its finest, Bora.

How do you justify this to yourself?

Has noble cause corruption really affected your moral compass to that extent, that you not only invisibly censor people whose scientific views differ from your own, but you actually attempt, not just a pathetic justification of that underhanded action, but an even more pathetic and anti-scientific celebration and and advocacy of such hidden censorship? These questions and more, I invite your answers.

My regards to you, Bora … and I’m totally serious about your sneaky, invisible trashing of people’s comments based on where people post and what they might cite—your kind of cowardly hidden censorship is absolutely antithetical to science, as is conclusively proven by Michael Mann’s approval of your plan.

w.

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213 thoughts on “The ScAm Gets Worse—An Open Letter To Bora Zivkovic

  1. I’d phrase it “To these questions and more…”
    And I certainly would like to see answers!
    (Not some Mannish defense of Al Gore
    Nor more faux-angel pinhead dancers.)

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. I protest! :-) This is a blog about science, why is there a story about the current SciAm which is so short on science?

    More seriously, thanks. I have mental notes about a web page lamenting about what SciAm has degraded into and fondly remember when it was full of articles about science that was not quite on the cutting edge but ready for a sizable article presenting the science to laymen and students alike.

    And, of course, Martin Gardner and Jerel (sp) Walker.

  3. Having the stones? Old Borat (Did I say that?) is a fine example of the craft. I just finished reading NatGeo’s recent article on Fracking, and boy, that should outta get a 10 at SkS, and ScAm as well. I can hear Mann’s cervical vertebrae crunching in approval from here. There was even a picture of hapless roughnecks handling pipe as “oil and natural gas SPEWED from the well”…funny, I’ve never seen that, ever. Usually, they are running away when that happens…handling pipe becomes a pesky sideshow when your life is endangered.

    I’m actually surprised it took Borat and his ilk this long to apply a trolling filter. They must have gotten bored hurling insults.

  4. Another demonstration of mental laziness, just train your computer to do your thinking for you!
    I have to remind my wife that the computer is just a dumb machine that does exactly what you tell it to do. It does not think! It has no idea of the rightness of its’ output. Only people have judgement, well at least some of them do. ;-) pg

  5. Well done, Willis. Will Bora know it’s here? Does he junk his emails as well as his blog comments (if you sent an email)?

    It should make him think about his decisions. It’s no bad thing to have awkward comments or difficult questions. A scientist should be able to answer and respect all contributors. Perhaps he wasn’t thinking straight. Perhaps what he thought of as an easy solution will sit uncomfortably with him. I hope so.

    I’ve learned something extra with this whole climate debate, I’ve learned where the adults are and where the kids are. You can tell the adults from the kids by their behaviour. Fascinating.

  6. Bora Zivkovic is the Blog Editor at Scientific American, chronobiologist, biology teacher, organizer of ScienceOnline conferences and editor of Open Laboratory anthologies of best science writing on the Web.
    ———————–

    Or, in other words, a spectacularly failed scientist.

    Well done Bora. I hope your Mom’s proud of you.

  7. Bravo, Willis.
    That needed saying.
    Amazing that Bora doesn’t see his own unscientific prejudice!

    Kurt in Switzerland

  8. Well in Bora’s defence, WUWT can afford to leave critical comments up because they are easy to rebut and don’t make the site look foolish. Having the truth on your side makes it an unlevelled playing field.

  9. He will not be moved, of course. Speak of categorical thinking! We are witches, and he will brand us with a scarlet letter al gore rhythm.

  10. Orwell was an optimist.

    I too am shocked at what the Scientific American of my youth has degenerated into, I wouldn’t line my bird cage with it, that would constitute animal abuse.

  11. “and you teach introductory biology, not the advanced kind, at Wesleyan College. Got it.”

    Hmmm, I really wonder if you “got it”. That means he’s a talented teacher; the ones that teach the advanced courses are usually the new guys, not so good at saying things in an interesting manner, etc. But you meant to complement him, right?

    “any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts…..you don’t even have to think about censorship once you do that.”

    Whatever. I have been “mod”ed on this site for nothing other than mentioning that word that starts with “Din” and ends with “ialist”. A computer would work the same.

    [Reply: Read the site Policy. You are not special. — mod.]

  12. Well said Willis. The last issue, of ScAm that I purchased was the issue that did a hatchet job on Bjorn Lomborg. Having read Lomborg’s book, I was so mad I never bought another issue, though I will admit thumbing it in the supermarket to see if they changed their strips, but alas they have only gotten worse. Like you, I grew up with Scientific American, it was one of my first stops in the Library.

  13. Credit where it’s due, a post containing “Al Gore” is not likely to hold much scientific value.

  14. A couple things.
    1. I have had a comment snipped at WUWT for pointing out that a chart was produced by a model.
    ehh. nobodies perfect.
    2. If ou want to have fun with his computerized comment control, say the same thing using different words. That would be hugely funny and who knows may lead to the invention of new terms for alarmists and warmist. Think of it as a challenge to be creative.

    REPLY: Mosher, your point 1 isn’t fully true as written. As I recall the decision, it had to do with the fact that after you pointed out the model/chart thingy, you then launched into an off-topic rant about how people that don’t get it should be talking about it here. You seemed to miss the distinction that synoptic models and climate models are entirely different animals. I use and trust synoptic models every day, because they constantly get better as they are rapidly tuned by comparison of output to reality. There’s a strong feedback for improving the code/skill and and the science behind it.

    Climate models tend to be more open ended…not so much skill/feedback improvements go on because of the time scale issues, so they tend to be less accurate, and slow to get better. Synoptic models tend to do well with short term linearity (persistence) with specific weather variable but climate models don’t fare as well due to the larger number of variables and the breakdown of linearity (chaos) over long time scales. In your comment you said you can’t reject one type of model and trust another and went into some over the top off topic chiding. That was a mistake on your part.

    Your comments sometimes get a bit angry and condescending, that was one of them. In my opinion, WUWT moderation did you a favor. – Anthony

  15. “…So, I am gradually teaching my spam filter to automatically send to spam any and every comment that contains the words…“Al Gore”…By definition, it does not provide additional information relevant to the post…”

    And this happens after Al Gore goes through all that trouble to re-introduce his web site, “Climate Drop”.

    After all, Bora Zivkovic said it best: “…By definition, it contains erroneous information…” Especially if Al Gore was involved.

  16. “send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” ”

    Tee hee. Poor old Al is probably wondering why none of his comments ever get published on ScAm.

    :)

  17. His motivation is simple…it’s fear…. If you spend much time on blogs like his, especially as a bystander/reader that doesn’t comment, you start to recognize the insults. Then the ad hom and the vitriol become clear while the science seems foggy. So you click on the links people provide. Eventually you’ll end up on WUWT. On this site you see you don’t have to be disagreeable to disagree. He fears those that will end up here will stay here and if you stay here very long he will lose you. I even sensed Nick Stokes was having a change of heart yesterday. Thanks Anthony for your hard work, kindness, and belief in science.

  18. I guarantee censorship happens at WUWT every single day. You even call it “snipping”. JP

    REPLY: Question. Do you allow people to come into your home and yell insults or angry rants at you? Or, do you show them the door? Yes some comments that don’t meet site policy do get snipped here. Compare our site policy it to some other blogs (Like Greg Laden’s – see commenting policy) and it is quite fair. We also don’t go out of our way to trumpet in an essay how we will block specific people as Bora did.

    WUWT is approaching a million comments now, 992,107 as of this writing, so I’ll say that success speaks volumes, and anonymous angry whiners, not so much. You are most welcome to be as upset as you wish. – Anthony

  19. My brief tenure as writer of “The Amateur Scientist” for Scientific American when it was still a great magazine led directly to a Rolex Award and my 23-years of using homemade instruments to monitor the ozone layer, solar UV-B, aerosol optical depth and total column water vapor (the main greenhouse gas). Details and data are at http://www.forrestmims.org.

  20. So the Mod. says “read the site policy”. What’s the difference? SciAm just uses a computer to enforce the “policy”. At least the computer isn’t biased. The Mod’s, well…not so much. JP

    REPLY:
    The computer isn’t capable of bias, but the computer programmer is. In this case the bias comes from the programmer. Computers can’t read context well, humans can and can make a decision based on the context. Big difference. – Anthony

  21. BTW: Did you spot my comments at #50 and #51?

    Blew his boat out of the water regarding “free speech” concepts, etc.
    Comments survived … one without any contra-argument.

  22. Well, I have finally just let National Geographic subscription lapse as I can’t support their stance with regard to AGW and related topics anymore. Been subscriber for 45+ years and have finally had it. Left Scientific American few years ago on similar basis where science was subverted to policy. I enjoyed them very much over the years but now their editorial policy makes me quite ill and their value in, and with regard to- “Science” is not tenable. Takes a lot to get me in this framework, but they finally reached “the tipping point”.

  23. trafamadore says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Hmmm, I really wonder if you “got it”. That means he’s a talented teacher; the ones that teach the advanced courses are usually the new guys, not so good at saying things in an interesting manner, etc. But you meant to complement him, right?

    Wow… just amazingly WOW… you know, this kind of thought process explains a lot. So, when one does their thesis, they just go back to Biology 101 to get mentored by Bora… cool, thanks for letting us know that is where the talent is kept.

  24. reply to traframadore….[Reply: Read the site Policy. You are not special. — mod.] I disagree. It is especially ignorant,and not even a -D troll. ScAM. I wonder what some of my Dad’s old 1950’s issues say? Gonna have to check that.

  25. trafamadore says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    “and you teach introductory biology, not the advanced kind, at Wesleyan College. Got it.”

    Hmmm, I really wonder if you “got it”. That means he’s a talented teacher; the ones that teach the advanced courses are usually the new guys, not so good at saying things in an interesting manner, etc. But you meant to complement him, right?

    No, I knew that. When I want to find a really top man in a field, I just go to the nearest small college and ask who’s teaching the most basic course in that field … that’s the man I want for a really hard problem.

    w.

  26. I’m really annoyed that I can’t seem to figure out how to get in on those sweet sweet Koch dollars that these yahoos keep yammering on about. I need to stop posting for free!

  27. Forrest M. Mims III says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    My brief tenure as writer of “The Amateur Scientist” for Scientific American when it was still a great magazine led directly to a Rolex Award and my 23-years of using homemade instruments to monitor the ozone layer, solar UV-B, aerosol optical depth and total column water vapor (the main greenhouse gas). Details and data are at http://www.forrestmims.org.

    Damn, you’re that Forrest Mims? Well done, my friend, and to your predecessor as well, that’s where I learned to build a Hilsh Vortex Tube and a Wilson cloud chamber. That was my favorite column, even including “Mathematical Recreations”. Must be sad for you to see how the mighty have fallen …

    w.

  28. Nice work (yet again) Willis. BTW – how smart is this ScAm spam filter? Someone could have a lot of fun (and create a lot of extra work for Bora and his helpers) by sending comments to the ScAm blog by using non-standard spelling of words like “de-nier” and “w@rmist”! In fact someone with fairly basic programming skills could easily create an algorithm to constantly vary the spelling of these key words in any comment they send to the ScAm blog, which could drive Bora nuts! Likewise I’m sure there are ways to fool the filter with respect to Watts references, too. Long live free speech.

  29. Forrest Mims! I remember your work!
    Long ago, when the mag didn’t smirk
    You had helped make them great
    Sadly, not true of late
    To encounter you live is a perk!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  30. A.D. Everard says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Well done, Willis. Will Bora know it’s here? Does he junk his emails as well as his blog comments (if you sent an email)?

    WUWT is amazing, because everyone seriously interested in climate science reads it, as do many people peripherally interested in climate science, plus those just interested in the puzzling things of life. The skeptics read it to keep informed. The AGW supporters read it to see what nuts like me are up to now, it’s amusing for them if nothing else.

    In addition, there’s only six degrees of separation between people or something. Someone will point it out to him.

    My conclusion? He will most definitely read it, if he doesn’t see it himself someone will send him a link.

    It should make him think about his decisions. It’s no bad thing to have awkward comments or difficult questions. A scientist should be able to answer and respect all contributors. Perhaps he wasn’t thinking straight. Perhaps what he thought of as an easy solution will sit uncomfortably with him. I hope so.

    That’s why I wrote it, to try to push him in that direction.

    I’ve learned something extra with this whole climate debate, I’ve learned where the adults are and where the kids are. You can tell the adults from the kids by their behaviour. Fascinating.

    It’s been a true education for me as well, I can tell you that.

    w.

  31. So this blogger is blocking any reference to WUWT?

    Cross-reference; http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/05/lucia-drops-some-reality-on-the-gorebots/, where every comment with a link to Reality Drop is filtered from this blog.

    Hmm.

    REPLY: Tsk-tsk Mr. Ryan, you left out the all important distinction I wrote in Update 3 here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/05/lucia-drops-some-reality-on-the-gorebots/:

    These aren’t comments from real people, they are bot-generated, so there’s no moral issue with automatically sending them to the bit bucket IMHO.

    Note that the link in the bot generated comments is encoded with “clmtr.lt”. Some comment with realitydrop.org would not get filtered because it came from a real person.

    Your comment is FAIL on so many levels, but mostly because you self censored the relevant information to try to score a point. Sorry, you lose. – Anthony

  32. Steven Mosher says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    A couple things.
    1. I have had a comment snipped at WUWT for pointing out that a chart was produced by a model.

    Huh?

    I see no connection at all between your one isolated incident, whatever its cause, and the automated and invisible censorship of every comment containing the word “Watts”.

    Perhaps you could explain to us exactly how they are similar, and how your post is anything but a lame attempt to assert a false and repugnant moral equivalence between WUWT and ScAm.

    ehh. nobodies perfect.

    Meaning what? Anything goes, nobody’s perfect, so everything is morally equivalent, and I shouldn’t criticize Bora for secret censorship?

    I don’t think so …

    w.

  33. Amazing to think that I became a sceptic having been very much an initial believer in AGW because I came to realise that the Climatecsience “team” was guilty of behind the scenes manipulation.

    Now in seems that those on the team have been forced into defending their position by overt manipulation.

    I see that as progress!

    It it is akin to a child putting fingers in ears and going “la la la la la……………..”

    How long before more people notice?

  34. ‘So, I am gradually teaching my spam filter to automatically send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts.’

    Why stop there? Zivkovic can make a truly effective echo chamber by having his computer randomly replace EVERY incoming Email with one of his own posts from his archives. Presto! Nobody will ever disagree with anything he writes EVER again!

    And to complete the effect, he should replace his office walls, floor, and ceiling with mirrors, so he’s always surrounded by his many admirers. Hey, it worked for Michael Mann! :-)

  35. It warms my heart to see how Sci Am was important in the formative years of so many people who post here. What happened to the scientific method? Data? Unbiased analysis? Ideological free education? Thanks Forrest…and Willis

  36. Good job Willis!
    I sincerely appreciate your hard work!
    I’ve been asking if AGW is expected to keep this inter-glacial going forever and have heard from the uninformed that, Yes for at least the next 10,000 years:)
    When we’re able to measure all EMF and the interactions with molecular & particle matter within a cubed meter of free space, we will no longer have any questions about C02’s influence within our troposphere.

    All The Best!

  37. Heres the irony; ordinary people have an instinct to ignore the opinions of bigots! We have a natural tendency to choose to believe what someone with an open mind has to say rather that to listen to the views from people with a closed mind. So people with closed minds have to speak louder to get themselves heard, even when they are right.

    People who lose their emotional compasses become indecisive, because using reason cannot work if it does not start with gut instinct of where the truth might be found. An instinct to cut out unpromising material is key to all cognitive decison making. This is found with brain damaged indiviuals who lose touch with their emotional instincts, they can no longer make decisions because the multiplicity of options make it impossible for them to move at all.

    This guy has got it the wrong way round, he thinks he can become efficient through confining his decision-making to agreeing with group think. In reality he will simply stray off course with his group. They will only be able to talk amongst themselves. and as they stray they will be judged to be bigots and simply be ignored by ordinary folk, even when they are right.

  38. Perhaps it’s time for ScAm to change its name to something more appropriate to its current vision…

    Psychintific American

  39. We seem to have the same problem with New Scientist magazine in the UK. It takes AGW as a given and regales us with a succession of frightening extrapolations.

  40. Just because someone mentions X does not mean that they support or agree with X. Since computers do not understand natural language “naughty word” filters can easily end up matching considerably more than expected. Even in ways which initially baffle humans.

  41. At times I wonder if other writers & editors on a magazine — or other faculty at a university — totally know the depths to which their brethren sink and slither around. Sure, they know a little bit but likely not everything.

    These bad actors do such bad damage an institution’s brand and credibly. (I grew on Jacque Cousteau and ultimately photographed for the Geographic and now can only dismay where it’s fallen.) My naive hope is that the publishers, Board or other senior people go, ‘Frank is doing what?! Are you kidding me?!’

    Hence my taking the time to track down those more senior, such as department heads and deans, and cc’ing them when sending a WUWT link to one of their own profs that has really stepped into it with his latest work. Sure, they’ll circle wagons, but it couldn’t have comfortable for Mann to have his IPCC ‘award’ exposed in the student newspaper. The faculty lounge is a snake pit of jealously and knives in backs. Throwing in a weakened weasel into the open pin gets their rattlers a-going while the true vipers slither in for the kill.

  42. It is truly sad what SciAm has become. I used to enjoy it a lot in the 80’s and early 90’s and was my must reading on the plane. Even in this time frame, listening to the older folks talk, it had already begun its decline at this point. Anyway, I began to like it less and less through time, and noticed even in the 90’s that the focus was shifting ever more political, with ever increasing emphasis of global warming, and other psuedo-scientific topics. I stuck with it as long as I could, but I distinctly remember an article right before the Bush-Kerry election that was an 8 page deification of Kerry on the environment, and an outright non-stop slugfest of how evil and horrible Bush was and how we were all going to die if he got reelected. They even went so far in the “subtleness” as each and every single time Kerry was mentioned by name, his name was preceded by the title “Senator Kerry”, and each and every time Bush was referred to by name he was simply referred to as “Bush”. You don’t have to like either guy to not notice the blatant political bias of the article.

    The other thing that drives me nuts is how each and every nature documentary on the Discovery Channel has to end with the obligatory dire message of “Everything you just saw here is threatened by Global Warming”. Some of the nature shows are outstanding, but I have learned to turn them off at the last commercial, to prevent my blood from from boiling over.

  43. That is unfortunate to hear that SA should feel the need to filter comments. I was about to subscribe again. I have to say that I have enjoyed reading the articles and comment section on this site. It has been educational. I have followed the climate story for the last 4.5 years, mainly at Newsvine. That is how I found my way here about 3 years ago. Newsvine just recently changed the format at their site. They went from having open to all conversations with the seeder moderating off topic/inflammatory remarks, to a new system of ‘Nations’ that you can join in with, if allowed. Naturally the hard core AGW proponents mostly banded together in one main Human Caused AGW Nation. Proudly, I was one of the names that was banned from ever joining their Nation. And I am just a goldminor. I sense a similarity between their mentality and what this new editor at SA has done. The level of negative attack as a form of debate is off the chart at many sites. There is a sea change coming. I also have good memories of what SA used to be like.

  44. “I swear, there’s no way to parody this stuff, Bora. You and Mike, you’ve truly outdone yourselves”.

    What is more worrying is not that we get a few odd crackpots like this. But that the wider scientific “profession” tolerates their quite ridiculous views. And I don’t mean censorship …. just that gap that usually opens up between the e.g. drunk and the rest of the people on the train.

  45. It’s no big deal; all fanatical followers of strange cults have the same attitude towards anything which they disagree with, possibly best summed up by the expression:

    “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.”

  46. I would just like to say Al Gore is the finest man of our age as he fights the eveil deniers, and chmpions the cause of Gaia. Watts and people of his ilk are evil and should be stoned for the witches they are. We are not warmists or alarmists but truth tellers all /sarc

  47. I won’t be renewing my Scientific American subscription.I have decided I cannot trust the judgement of their editors.

  48. James Allison says:
    March 6, 2013 at 12:49 am

    That’s one pissed off rant.

    Actually, that’s me being nice …

    Thanks,

    w.

  49. Well said, Willis. I may not be American, but I am Scientific and used to devour the magazine regularly. My “Amateur Scientist” CD is one of my more treasured possessions, (and warm thanks and greetings to Forrest M. Mims III, above, for his contribution thereto). Now, I scan ScAm on the magazine stand or in the library, shake my head and put it down. I hope Bora and his ilk are proud of the destruction they’ve achieved. And as David Delaney points out above, New Scientist has gone down the same road to irrelevance. I am very glad I’m not starting to learn about science these days: there isn’t a single magazine worth opening any longer, still less buying.

    Mark observes that “Since computers do not understand natural language “naughty word” filters can easily end up matching considerably more than expected.” Indeed. People who live in Scunthorpe, in the UK, were among the first to notice this. ;-)

  50. The word “Alarmist” exists in the dictionary, “Alarmist n. A person who needlessly alarms or attempts to alarm others, as by inventing or spreading false or exaggerated rumors of impending danger.”

    So this nincompoop is banning English?

    I wonder how Al Gore feels about having his name banned…

  51. Regarding being “snipped,” this site at least admits you exist, and has your name there as a person who has had the honor of being deemed out of line. Often this site explains why you have been snipped.

    Before WUWT existed Accuweather had a wonderfully rowdy “Global Warming” site. I especially remember two fellows who called themselves “Patrick Henry” and “Brookline Tom,” who, as Skeptic and Alarmist, used to go at it, day after day, week after week, month after month. They both supplied links, and it was a wonderful education. The moderation at the site was so poor that the people posting had to moderate themselves, and, for a time, that policy actually worked. (One moderating factor was the wait between posting and seeing your words on the site; it could be eight hours, which gave people time to sober up, and even, on occasion, to submit an apology.)

    It was sad to see the moderation of that site become restrictive, and to watch the site change into an echo chamber. All the learning stopped.

    The reason we have two eyes is because we need two views. A Cyclops has no depth perception.

    I have been snipped at Climate Audit, but knew it was because I was not being calm, cool and collected, and was only contributing passion. I didn’t mind it, because I valued the steady objectivity I could find there. I wrote briefly about it: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/welcome-back-climate-audit/

    I confess to being hot headed and making mistakes. I like WUWT because I can depend on other posters to correct me.

    If you have the guts to stand up for your beliefs then there will be times you stand corrected. That is far better than falling uncorrected.

  52. Like many of the readers of WUWT, I grew up with SciAm and my favorite sections were The Amateur Scientist and Mathematical Games. My first exposure to SciAm was in 1964 and I have most of the issues from 1965 to the early 1990’s. Conway’s game of Life was responsible for boxes of computer output in 1970 when video display terminals were simply not available to me.
    I remember issues in the 1970’s being packed with true science and I used to look forward to every issue of the magazine. Then, there seemed to be a gradual shift away from science to anti-science. The magazine seemed to be increasingly dumbed down and followed a statist ideologic path instead of dealing with science. I found myself buying fewer and fewer issues and, when the magazine jumped on the CAGW bandwagon, I totally stopped reading it.
    It was SciAm and Analog magazine that first introduced me to the theory of CO2 induced global warming and, considering these magazines had been reliable sources of information in the past I assumed the theory was correct initially. Of course, I don’t just accept theories blindly and began to educate myself about climate and atmospheric science. As I did so, it seemed what I was finding was increasingly at odds with what was published in SciAm. The articles seemed to be more religious than scientific in nature and I went with what the evidence was showing, not with what the religion of CAGW was proposing.
    Analog SF/Science Fact was an excellent magazine when JW Campbell was editor but under Stanley Schmidt has become a propaganda arm for CAGW – I let my subscription lapse 3 years ago after having read Analog since 1966. I was quite disturbed by the statist perspective of one of Schmidt’s novels serialized in Analog in either the late 1970’s or early 1980’s and this seems to be his personal view that societies priorities must trump those of individuals. Campbell’s Analog magazine was when the individual was still supreme and it was individual effort that got things done, not bureaucracies. The transition from the SF of the heroic multi-talented individual to the era of the wimpy metrosexual in two generations is scary to behold.
    The early SciAm Amateur Scientist articles were quite impressive in terms of what one could do with relatively simple equipment and I continue to tinker to this day. The current perspective is that many of the experiments and pieces of equipment described in the Amateur Scientist are far too “dangerous” for individuals to be tinkering with, somewhat like the idiotic modern “Chemistry sets” one can buy today which essentially allow one to perform no interesting chemistry. I wonder what the current response of the safety obsessed would be to the home xray machine that was in one of the pre-1960 Amateur Scientist columns. This was a very simple device using a high voltage source and old vacuum tube which I built and fogged some film with.
    Fully agree with Willis’s new acronym of ScAm for a once great publication.

  53. Who opened the nut job copboard.? My god Mosher, you have become the epitomy of a complete screwball AGW and in only 3years.

    Willis, thanks for an interesting piece from one grumpy old man to another. My problem, though, is that I don’t have your abilities any more.

  54. Thanks again, Willis. I linked to this post on my site. (I figured it deserved a blaring tabloid headline: “Scientific American Bans Al Gore”)

    It will take a week to ten days for that obscure headline to start appearing on search engines, but I’m chuckling now, imagining a raised eyebrow or two.

    Now please stop writing great stuff, Willis. I’m suppose to be doing my taxes.

  55. Yip the trend toward dogma in science is a little worrying.

    I could have accepted the house rules if they hadn’t been biased; if they’d refused to accept citations to skepticalsceince and filter comments with the term “denier”. It would be very strict but at least balanced.

  56. I stopped reading Scientific American for good years ago when the Editor suggested in an editorial in that magazine that, following the Iowa (or was it Kansas?) Board of Education’s decision to teach creationism in Iowa high schools, that colleges and universities should discriminate against applicants from that state. How despicable, yet how characteristic of the Left.

    I also have fond memories of Scientific American articles praising Chile’s solution, in the 1960’s, to inflation. Indexing. It was real funny, before I gave up on NPR, to hear them in the 1980’s do a show about countries who had been overwhelmed by inflation. Chile was the poster boy for their show, whose efforts to fight inflation they mocked.

    Nothing is beneath these people. Nothing. And, they are everywhere.

  57. “… send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts…”

    Hey that could be great. Any reference to alleged energy imbalance where W/m2 is spelled (rather than abbreviated) would be trashed automatically. The whole movement could end up disappearing up their own fundamentals.

  58. On the one hand he admits not being a climate scientist and on the other he assumes comments with certain words “contains erroneous information”.

    ………I don’t write specifically about climate science as I do not feel I am expert enough for that……………..By definition, it contains erroneous information.

    Right there is the problem with the debate. They make a lot of assumptions about those that disagree with them. Oil funded, denier, right wing etc. None of which I am.

  59. ‘As a high school biologist I base my conclusions on global warming on flowers blooming this year earlier than they did years ago. That surely proves conclusively that those experts who say that global warming over the past 15 years has not happened are completely wrong and I won’t listen to them’

  60. I too grew with ScAM, and knew Jearl Walker as co-author of my freshman physics textbook. Then I discovered ScAm’s lack of doxastic comittment, no skin in the game. How about, “If one cannot be wrong, one cannot be correct?” Or, as E. T. Jaynes might have put it, it is all adhockery. Make a falsifiable assertion and let it stand or fall on its merits.

  61. Fortunately, I don’t care who Bora Zivkovic is or the content of his blog. And I also don’t subscribe to Scientific American (though I once did)…that magazine went belly up a LONG time ago…

  62. Censoring “Warmists” “denialists” “alarmists” would definetly up the level of discussion. But censoring links to specific sites(with the exception of nsfw stuff), now thats just asking for trouble.

  63. I think it’s time for WUWT to start its own magazine. Is it not one of the top scientific website out there? Are there not many scientific contributors to the site? Does it not already have a huge pool of readership? Could it not put together a great editorial board? A quick survey to show how many would buy a one, two or three year subscription right away could diminish the financial risk. I would not be surprised it would supplant SA in no time. A back to roots project with things people love about science in it… Time to branch out and use the notoriety of WUWT (and see some reactions on the other side!)

  64. Thanks W
    I too used to delight in reading Scientific American. Now I sadly avoid it for such anti-scientific censorship. SciAm editors now a priori censor Christians for their beliefs, regardless of their scientific or inventive expertise. See their incredible censorship of Forrest M. Mims III

    During a friendly meeting in his office, Piel expressed excitement over various scientific and electronic devices that I showed him. He repeatedly stated, “We should have hired you years ago!” He called in the editorial staff and asked me to show them the instruments and devices that I had brought.
    Later, Piel frowned when I told him I had once written an article for a Christian magazine about how to organize long-distance bicycle trips for teenagers. (I am a practicing Christian). He then asked if I believed in Darwinian evolution. I replied that I did not, and he was displeased. Later staff editors Laurie Burnham and John Horgan quizzed me in telephone conversations about my beliefs concerning “the sanctity of life” and whether or not I read the Bible. Senior editors Armand Schwab and Timothy Appenzeller supported my proposal for writing the column and provided helpful advice on how to proceed.

    Scientific American eventually published three of my columns, and many readers sent the magazine and me letters about them. Unfortunately, the editor refused to publish more of my columns, because he was concerned that my personal beliefs would cause the magazine to experience what he described as “a public relations nightmare” (Jonathan Piel and Forrest M. Mims III, Science’s Litmus Test, Harper’s, March 1992, pp. 28-32.)

    This is anti-Christian political correctness run amok. Contrast the founders of modern science, almost all of whom were devout Christians. e.g. Mimms quotes:

    “I do think that the study of natural science is so glorious a school for the mind, that with the laws impressed on all created things by the Creator, and the wonderful unity and stability of matter and the forces of matter, there cannot be a better school for the education of the mind.”
    Michael Faraday (1791-1867), an active Christian and one of history’s most important experimental scientists, quoted by Bence Jones in The life and letters of Faraday, Volume 2, 1870, p. 454.

    Contrast the founder of the Scientific American, Rufus Merrill Porter

    At an early age he became a member of the Christian Church and remained a faithful member throughout his life.

    How far today’s Sci Am editors have fallen from the dreams of Rufus M. Porter to today’s anti-scientific anti-Christian censorship. Their actions are directly opposed to the Declaration of Independence, and the Judeo-Christian foundations of the Western Civilization. See The Book that Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi.

  65. “Scientific American” is scientific like the “Union of Concerned Scientists” : Accidentally, at best.

  66. Willis,
    Note that the hot earthers will complain about the very things they do.
    This seems to be simple projection. ie massive funding, censorship, blah blah, and so on.
    It is my considered opinion that they approach things from a 100% political stance.
    Example: the term astroturfing and the admission that I believe the skeptical science blog had a bot all set up to do their voting for them, or set up to seed all the skeptical blogs with comments. I don’t remember which. Nevertheless, they engage in the very unethical practices that they accuse others of.
    IMHO your rant was indeed too kind.

  67. Of course, the meanest trick of all is that while they’d censor us for mentioning alarmism or Watts, his casual references to early blooming flowers passes without difficulty. He’s just an objective observer! He can’t help it if he notices such things! It’s what makes him all sciency! However, unbelievers noticing the severe cold in Alaska, or the lack of forecasted sea-level rise is just a form of cherry-picking and should be ignored as such.

  68. Steve C says:
    March 6, 2013 at 1:00 am
    . Now, I scan ScAm on the magazine stand or in the library, shake my head and put it down.

    I flip it and turn it around, then place it back on the stack with other unwanted copies.

    Vindictiveness is an art form…

  69. Will the computer model screen for the word “Denial” or “Denier”. And If I spell Al Gore as “@l G0re” and “warmist” as “w@rmist” or “w@R^^1st” will it get dumped?

    It’s also interesting that this braniac knows that no post could have any value at all and contain the words “Al Gore”. I think he may be right! /sarc

  70. Fellow Group Thinkies

    Have you got invasive thoughtcrimes entering your inbox ? ? ? Well….the editor of ScAm has an app for that ! ! ! Why be a bore with the other group thinkers singing “Kum-ba-ya” and you asking embarassing questions involving REAL science. Don’t be that buzz kill BORE….get BORA.app…and finally be a Thinkie FREE Science Twinkie ! ! !

  71. Actually, I don’t know if I should be concerned about this or unconcerned. In some respects who cares what this insignificant hack does? But if he would become significant, however, then his vision of censorship is frightening.

  72. Another step on the path towards proving that this is now a purely religious fight (on their part) and no longer a scientific one. A person who goes to Borat’s blog and casts doubt on AGW is treated in the same way as one who might attempt to cast aspersions on L. Ron Hubbard at a Jon Travolta fan blog.

    Maybe what’s happened is this – journals such as ScAm and New Scientist are no longer run by any actual “scientists” but instead by high school teachers like Borat who crave the status that comes from being thought of as a Real! Scientist! And somehow they have manipulated their way into control of a few old names because they desperately craved the Status that gave them, a status they could never get from their own (very limited) abilities.

    And so OF COURSE they go all in on political agitprop! Getting attention from their emotionally needy friends is all their involvement in this arena was ever about.

  73. Trafamadore:

    I rather think, in the context, you meant ‘complIment’, not ‘complement’.

    Willis: They are running scared, aren’t they?!

  74. I was a kid when I discovered SciAm in a vast collection at the home of my eldest brother. A science lecturer himself, he dismissed it as trash. Maybe the fact it had been amassed by his wifes previous husband influenced that. But anyway, that was 1960s ScAm.

    I became an avid reader over the following years founded in articles on such topics as how to DIY a laser, that my brother was happy for me to “abstract” by ripping up his marital rivals huge collection.

    It wasnt until my thirties that I happenned to read a SciAm article on a topic that by then I was an expert in. It was such appalling trash I was dumbfounded. the scales fell at that point. I wrote a letter. No reply and not published. Never again for me to glance at such dross.

    Now this. SciAm trying to expand its Dross Footprint across debate, even among those who electively have avoided the rubbish. Well my reaction is to say, accept it and figure out how to exploit it. Try to lure their commenters into using the censor words. Devise circumlocutions. And Mr Watts, set up a few hundred free-to-host (ten minutes to build) proxy sites with names like “mannenvironment” etc, that merely carry a link directly to here. Better still, link them to a page set aside for that purpose.

    That Bore thinks he’s clever clearly illustrates there’s no fool like an old fool. As in JuJitsu, use his move against him.

  75. ” Stephen Richards says:
    March 6, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Who opened the nut job copboard.? My god Mosher, you have become the epitomy of a complete screwball AGW and in only 3years.

    Willis, thanks for an interesting piece from one grumpy old man to another. My problem, though, is that I don’t have your abilities any more.
    ##################
    That is interesting. In years gone by such comments would be disallowed.

  76. Willis: you know he will never read this letter to him, you 1) posted it on this site, 2) included all the keywords he is filtering, and 3) most certainly doesn’t give a rat’s-hoot what any of us on this site think about him or Scientific American because he is filtering us out to start with. But it is kinda funny to what lengths he and his cohorts will go to ignore us. I wonder if they also sit around all day long, sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming, “LALALALALALALALA – I CAN’T HEAR YOU – LALALALALA!!”

  77. REPLY: Mosher, your point 1 isn’t fully true as written. As I recall the decision, it had to do with the fact that after you pointed out the model/chart thingy, you then launched into an off-topic rant about how people that don’t get it should be talking about it here. You seemed to miss the distinction that synoptic models and climate models are entirely different animals. I use and trust synoptic models every day, because they constantly get better as they are rapidly tuned by comparison of output to reality. There’s a strong feedback for improving the code/skill and and the science behind it.

    ############################

    1. It was not a rant.
    2. I made a point about logic not people
    3. No cursing, no swearing,

    I wrote: If you accept the output of a model as truth, then you are commited to accepting the inputs and the physics.
    PERIOD.

    That’s it. I cited a couple papers. mentioned no one by name. called no one a nut as I have been called above. The topic was temperatures. the chart was model output.
    I gave 3 links to documents. And I commented on LOGIC not people, not a single soul.

    REPLY: I’m sorry Steve, but I don’t agree with your post rationalization of your comment. Feel free to be as upset as you wish, but you did indeed make a rant in that comment and the innuendo was that anyone who couldn’t understand the difference between the model types was stupid. Besides, models (synoptic or climate) never make truth, they make estimates. Surely you must know this. People are free to accept what estimates are valid based on the demonstrated skill. The 2M NCEP model I cited that you objected to has demonstrated some excellent skill at collating the past months global surface temperature, while many climate forecast models can’t even be verified yet, and those that can haven’t been all that skillful.

    The complaint you made was apples and oranges regarding model types and model skill and you were the one that missed the difference while insulting others. Like I said, that moderation of that particular comment was a kindness.

    – Anthony

  78. My long running subscription to ScAm (not as good as an old time fantasy magazine, but often still hilarious /sarc) is about to run out this spring. I’ve tried because of the great article every so often but will just let it go and remember the good. Others have mentioned a few of their favorite authors and columns.

  79. Like many others, I too gave up on SciAm back in the 70s, but my reasons had more to do with time and money… not enough of either. ;-> Imagine my surprise when I leafed through a recent edition of SciAm to find that it had morphed into a strange combination of People Magazine and “vital science-y issues ‘n’ stuff”.

    I do have in my possession a collection of ancient, hard-covered editions of Scientific American from the late 19th century. Here are a couple of headlines:
    July 20, 1872 – Machine for Bunching, Wiring and Inserting Bristles in Brush Backs
    October 12, 1872 – New Methods of Docking and Excavating Canals and of Reclaiming Wasteland

    Fun reading for those rainy weekends.

  80. Forrest M. Mims III
    As a reader, I would welcome reading any posts you could contribute on WUWT topics.

  81. ho ho. I just had a quick look at that blog
    you can mention Hitler, Mussolini, and Saddam Hussein, but not Al Gore

    it’s a funny old world

  82. The best way around the blog filter is to write about the science without the pejoratives. Write civilly. Novel idea.

    Andy Wehrle

  83. Here is what I tweeted to Bora
    @Nitetrain_1
    The ScAm Gets Worse—An Open Letter To Bora Zivkovic http://wp.me/p7y4l-lbz via @wordpressdotcom @MichaelEMann Will you respond @BoraZ?

    And here is his quick response.

    Bora Zivkovic ‏@BoraZ
    @Nitetrain_1 @MichaelEMann I responded last night….with laughter. No need to drag myself through that mud. Will not feed that troll.

    He has completely missed the point. He is an example of the problem with their side of climate science.

  84. my first exposure to SciAm was a 1954 issue my dad had purchased. i fondly remember smuggling the Pompeii issue into fourth grade so i would have something to read instead of the books they wanted us to read. i gave up on SciAm several years ago when i could no longer stomach their politicizing ‘science’. it was sad, somewhat like watching a beloved family member sinking into dementia. i still hope for their recovery, but do not have much optimism.

  85. “That is interesting. In years gone by such comments would be disallowed.”

    In a discussion concerning how excessive comment editing and deletions destroy any chance of real debate, Steve appears to wish that there was MORE editing and deletions here than there are.

    Someone’s Internal Irony Detector is broken. (shades of Sheldon Cooper)

  86. “I am a biologist, so I don’t write specifically about climate science as I do not feel I am expert enough for that.:

    Key and telling: won’t determine for himself the truth or semi-truth of CAGW with an ou that he is not competent to do so, but attacks those who question the IPCC narrative. A follower of authority, an acolyte of the White Coat.

    And seeing flowering plants earlier? Within his lifetime: a “scientist”, a “chronobiologist”, whatever the hell that is, who does not recognize that his 50 years (perhaps) of personal experience means little to none at a planetary level.

    A chronobiologist: would that be a paleontologist, or just someone who is older than “we” are?

  87. Willis,

    Great post, and…

    The comments, both positive AND negative, remind me of why WUWT is so good and so important. My conscience forces me to put another Grant in the tip jar.

    Russ says: March 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm
    “….. I will admit thumbing it (SciAm) in the supermarket to see if they changed…..”

    My choice is the National Enquirer. You can have more trust in what they report. Besides they have cleavage.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  88. Read SciAm from my father’s stack from ~1950-68, and subscribed myself into the late 90s. They like NatGeo, quit that ~’92, editorialized science, made it not-science, and not worth reading. This past year I gave their Science Mind, I think that’s what they call it, a try. Even for the more subjective subject of perception, or whatever one wants to call what the mind does, it is vacuous.

  89. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 6, 2013 at 12:59 am
    James Allison says:
    March 6, 2013 at 12:49 am

    That’s one pissed off rant.

    Actually, that’s me being nice …

    Thanks
    —————————————————–
    Willis somewhat OT but one of the many things I find very attractive about WUWT is that Anthony regularly posts links to Press releases highlighting the “alarming” results of yet another research paper written by yet another self climate scientist. You all know the type of press release – the “its worse that we thought” that are often just plain stupid and innacurate and usually gets our collective blood up to boiling point.

    If time permits I go look for the Alarmist climate scientist’s email address and write a quick note pointing out that their press release and research findings are the subject of a post at WUWT. I also mention how widely WUWT is read and of course what a friendly and considerate bunch we all are! I then go and invite the scientist to join the discussion here and perhaps be kind enough to respond to some of the queries and questions being raised.

    Mostly I don’t get a response however would bet my last dollar these Alarmist scientists will invariabily follow my link through to the relevant Post here and at read some of the comments. I see value in doing this because these self called climate scientists get to see first hand, and perhaps for the first time, how large the skeptical community have become and also the extent and diversity of the group knowledge base. A large extended community made up from many different cultures and countries that we all appear to enjoy being associated with – I digress.

    I do like to think that the action of inviting these Alarmist Climate Scientists here may encourage them to pause and ruminate a little about the huge credibility gap between their research findings and the reality of how our climate works.

  90. Not that I am old enough to remember, but didn’t SciAm trash the work of the Wright Brothers while supporting the work of Samuel Langley.

    REPLY: Indeed they did, the article is here: http://invention.psychology.msstate.edu/inventors/i/Wrights/library/WrightSiAm1.html

    Scientific American
    Vol. XCIV
    No. 2
    January 13, 1905
    Page 40
    [Article verbatim and in full]
    The Wright Aeroplane and its Fabled Performance

    A Parisian automobile paper recently published a letter from the Wright brothers to Capt. Ferber of the French army, in which statements are made that certainly need some public substantiation from the Wright brothers. In the letter in question it is alleged that on September 26, the Wright motor-driven aeroplane covered a distance of 17.961 kilometers in 18 minutes and 9 seconds, and that its further progress was stopped by lack of gasoline. On September 29 a distance of 19.57 kilometers was covered in 19 minutes and 55 seconds, the gasoline supply again having been exhausted. On September 30 the machine traveled 16 kilometers in 17 minutes and 15 seconds; this time a hot bearing prevented further remarkable progress. Then came some eye-opening records. Here they are:

    October 3: 24.535 kilometers in 25 minutes and 5 seconds. (Cause of Stoppage, hot bearing.)
    October 4: 33.456 kilometers in 33 minutes and 17 seconds. (Cause of stoppage, hot bearing.)
    October 5: 38.956 kilometers in 33 minutes and 3 seconds. (Cause of stoppage, exhaustion of gasoline supply.)

    It seems that these alleged experiments were made at Dayton, Ohio, a fairly large town, and that the newspapers of the United States, alert as they are, allowed these sensational performances to escape their notice. When it is considered that Langley never even successfully launched his man-carrying machine, that Langley’s experimental model never flew more than a mile, and that Wright’s mysterious aeroplane covered a reputed distance of 38 kilometers at the rate of one kilometer a minute, we have the right to exact further information before we place reliance on these French reports. Unfortunately, the Wright brothers are hardly disposed to publish any substantiation or to make public experiments, for reasons best known to themselves.[emphasis added] If such sensational and tremendously important experiments are being conducted in a not very remote part of the country, on a subject in which almost everybody feels the most profound interest, is it possible to believe that the enterprising American reporter, who, it is well known, comes down the chimney when the door is locked in his face–even if he has to scale a fifteen-story sky-scraper to do so– would not have ascertained all about them and published them broadcast long ago? Why particularly, as it is further alleged, should the Wrights desire to sell their invention to the French government for a “million” francs. Surely their own is the first to which they would be likely to apply.

    We certainly want more light on the subject.

    It seems they changed their tune later though:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-wright-perspective

    – Anthony

  91. trafamadore may be speaking from experience. At the university where I got my engineering degree (some many years ago), the basic courses were taught by those with PHD’s that knew the material well and how to explain it to novices. However many of the 3rd and 4th year courses were taught by those in graduate programs that had to teach along with doing their own work and weren’t always that helpful or able to explain clearly. In other words, those instructors had neither the experience, the knowledge or the incentive to teach well. There was a major complaint by a group of students in one of the engineering classes being taught by a Physics major (who was removed from teaching that course) who apparently had no interest in teaching engineering students at all. Saves some money for the school but doesn’t do much to instill confidence in their curriculum.

  92. ”Who opened the nut job copboard [sic]? My god Mosher, you have become the epitomy [sic] of a complete screwball AGW and in only 3 years.” — Stephen Richards

    “That is interesting. In years gone by such comments would be disallowed.” — Steven Mosher

    Maybe in years gone by you weren’t an “epitomy.” But keep on trying to guide us on the path to scientific righteousness, anyway.

  93. There is some good outrage here, but how many will take the time to comment over at Sci Am. There is no subscription required to post (yet) and it still remains a good platform to give readers pause over the terribly biased stories. There are only a few skeptics “holding the line” there and they could use a little support from WUWT. Keep in mind there is an unofficial 2 link limit, and comments do disappear. Keep copies so that they can be reposted after a cleanup, if necessary. Always clear your cookies and return to see if your comment survived, to the public in general, as your comment may appear to your browser, but no one else’s (bastards).

    Yes it is tough blogging, but there are lots of young people there who are only being exposed to the skeptic view, by a few. There is opportunity here to make a difference. IMO GK

  94. Stephen Richards says:
    March 6, 2013 at 2:03 am
    Who opened the nut job copboard.? My god Mosher, you have become the epitomy of a complete screwball AGW and in only 3years.

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    I have seen Mosh rail against those in the other camp just as often as those in this one. Albeit, here he is usually railing against AGW skeptics.

    While I don't always agree with Mosh (or with anyone!) I never have felt that he is insincere or in the tank for anyone or any side. Although, he may be faster to comment than to think sometimes! A problem I fall into as well…

  95. Caleb: Yes, I remember the “no holds barred” battles at accu-weather, as well as your excellent contributions. Live well and prosper… alas… the blog, unfortunately, did not. GK

  96. As a lad (I’m about Willis’ age), on rare trips to “the city” I was allowed perhaps 50 cents to spend on back issues of Scientific American, and I think they were 10 cents in the used magazine store. These were the magnificent days of the columns of Martin Gardner and C.L. Stong, and of real informational articles. These articles were review articles, and a student could learn a lot and be enthralled by science. And a particle physicists could get up to date on biology, for example, and vice versa. Something like 10 years ago, someone destroyed Scientific American. I don’t know the details. I myself affirmatively cancelled, and cringe every time I see the issues on a newsstand. It is heartbreaking.

  97. I dropped my ScAm subscription about 8 yrs ago, for the many reasons already cited.

    I’ve since subscribed to American Scientist, whose content quality is similar to ScAm’s heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.

    However, AmSci lacks articles comparable to Martin Gardner’s or the Amateur Scientist … to be fair, those wouldn’t fit in with AmSci’s mission.

  98. I held a continuous subscription 1972 through nov 1, 2002. That was when SciAm introduced their SciAm50 Award and gave one to Fran Pavely the California legislator who has done so much to this state and thus the world as her anti science positions have promulgated. Perhaps WUWT could start their own “Whatsies” award. Warmist Theology Founders, WTFs can be recognized for their efforts. Needless to say a few lifetime achievement nominees will need to be intelligible in order to give others a chance.

  99. Mann, Bora, same arrogance.
    Mosher has been censored here, yes!!! Scandal!!!?????

    All about ONE post, apparently…

    Looks like Mosher is more at ease here than talking about meteorological events and their genesis.

  100. @Forrest M. Mims III As much as any other human, you influenced my early life for the better. Poor, in Georgia, I didn’t have a lot of educated influences. I spent a lot of time reproducing your circuits. I graduated from Ga Tech and went on to retire from a large National Laboratory, In my early career as a circuit designer, and later, as the rich adventure that has been my life developed, I credit my discovery of my enduring love of science and technology to your little books. Thank you.

  101. I’ve got a question/observation … how is it *some* comments at YouTube are getting ‘filtered’.so’s only the original poster can see his posted comment, YET, when logging in via another PC (same IP addy BUT not logged into YouTube) the *comment* doesn’t display, but rather shows up tagged as spam!

    (This was NOT based on a “case sample of one” either, it was replicable several times over as of a couple days ago.)

    YACoC – Yet Another Case of Censorship*?

    (*Of course, YouTube is free to do as they wish, honesty and openness with the subscriber/user base being THE issue.)

    .

  102. I was a subscriber of Scientific American in the 1950s and even invited publisher Gerard Piel to be a speaker at USC Medical School in Los Angeles in 1965. He accepted the invitation and spent several days with the medical students. Alas, the political drift in the magazine led me to end my subscription in the early 70s. It’s a shame to see what has happened in recent years as grant seeking seems to be one source of the corruption. By the way, I believe Richard Feynmann took over a freshman Physics course at Cal Tech for several years. I have a set of recordings of the lectures that someone made. They are a treasure.

  103. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    “Damn, you’re that Forrest Mims? Well done, my friend, and to your predecessor as well, that’s where I learned to build a Hilsh Vortex Tube and a Wilson cloud chamber. That was my favorite column, even including “Mathematical Recreations”. Must be sad for you to see how the mighty have fallen.”

    Amen. That column was remarkably popular. You could walk into the philosophy faculty lounge and some of them were reading it. I recall that on one occasion they asked me to help them build a device that Gardner had described in a column published on April 1. They were so excited.

  104. Nice comment Willis, maybe this reality/spam filter, Boris is so proud of serves another purpose.
    Sure its great for reinforcing groupthink, but ScAm has fallen on hard times, unlike WUWT they probably have no willing volunteer moderators.
    Consider what rate of pay may be necessary to keep a blog moderator engaged at that moribund institution.

  105. Jim says:
    March 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I’ve got a question/observation … how is it *some* comments at YouTube are getting ‘filtered’.so’s only the original poster can see his posted comment, YET, when logging in via another PC (same IP addy BUT not logged into YouTube) the *comment* doesn’t display, but rather shows up tagged as spam!

    It is all done with cookies (see my post above). Clear cookies. Revisit without signing in. You will now see what everyone else sees (bastards). GK

  106. Just another indication the Genocidal Warmistas are losing the content battle.

    Little do they realize that implementing a blanket policy of censorship is like playing Russian roulette with a semi-automatic–they deny the devastating eventuality even while pulling the trigger. Stupidity is such a self-fulfilling condition.

    RIP, ScAm–a magazine I once thoroughly enjoyed, but now simply ignore.

  107. James Allison says:
    March 6, 2013 at 12:49 am
    “That’s one pissed off rant.”

    You have got to be kidding. Willis pulled every punch. We have learned that Wesleyan employs a professor of biology who is so emotionally committed to what he sees as the truth or the cause that he refuses to read any remark that might conflict with it That professor believes that only his own views are worthy of rational consideration. If the course that he teaches involves only rote learning then he is fine as a teacher. If the course includes rational criticism then he has published the fact that he is emotionally incapable of doing the job.

  108. He should be careful about what he asks his spam filter to do.

    For example: The funniest form of self parody that the BBC has managed (so far) is when a reader’s comment is selected as an “Editors Pick”, and then moderated into oblivion by an automaton of some sort (human or electronic).

  109. For me Discover magazine goes into the same category as ScAm and the others. Walking by the magazine rack I am sadly reduced to scanning the car crap (full of anti carbon BS as well), the cycling and running rags and then buying nothing but the occasional paper to start the fireplace with. Oh well….

  110. MangoTree says:
    March 6, 2013 at 3:42 am

    I don’t see a problem with banning trolls from denying facts.

    I like your plan, Mango.

    Now you just have to teach your computer model how to tell a troll from someone who is asking an honest but poorly phrased question … oh, and how to tell a fact from something which we believe to be a fact but isn’t, and how to tell both of those from a hotly-disputed claim that might be true but might not.

    Be sure to let ScAm know when your computer model can do that, because it sounds like a wonderful idea, and one we all desperately need …

    w.

    PS—I suppose some people require a [sarc] tag with this, perhaps your program could identify them as well …

  111. @ Anthony per http://invention.psychology.msstate.edu/inventors/i/Wrights/library/WrightSiAm1.html

    The Wright Brothers developed four irrevolkable patents that the banking elite needed to steal. Yesterday the Google ‘this day in history’ mentioned George Westinghouse patent of railroad air brakes in 1872. Westinghouse was 22 year old son of a machinist and not part of the protected ruling class. The Rockefeller-Morgan-Carnige-Melon crime syndicate ordered massive quantities of brakes, requiring massive coal and steel to be provided by the banking cartel members, who then defaulted, forcing Westinghouse bankruptacy. This same pump and dump cycle was used to steal all one thousand of the Edison patents and the hundreds of Westinghouse and Tesla patents. See “I’ll Take Some Epluribus….but HOLD the Unum” at Canada Free Press archive.

  112. Well, I sadly followed the link to Bora Zivkovic’s original article. Damn, the man needs a good editor or, at a minimum, to take take a few writing classes. His prose can be as cumbersome and obscure as some of Mosh’s offerings (though I believe Mosh is a lit grad, so maybe the classes won’t help). Apart from the general rant, it was eye-opening how brazenly he flaunts his political views. Just look at all the blogs he cites: Daily Kos, Atrios, Talking Points Memo, Daily Dish. Every one of them well left of center (yes, even the Daily Dish has had a liberal slant for a number of years). He does not even make a pretense of objectivity. You will look in vain for references to the Corner, Powerline, Best of The Web or any other counterpoints on the conservative side. He clearly likes to live in an echo chamber and I think this helps explain his desire for censorship.

  113. As a long time manufacturer of water powered water pumps, I was appalled to see an article in Mother Earth describing how to make one out of string and baling wire, in their usual manner. What SciAm has become is a Mother Earth News with a similarly focussed market – urban cliff-dwellers who fantasize that they could make out like a pioneer in the forests of Appalachia. SciAm was about science and the endless path of discovery. That it scoffs at this wonderful site and its collection of opinions and supporting reference pages is testimony to how things can and do change.

    It was from magazines like New Scientist and Scientific American that I first learned that things can and do change. What was unexpected is that both of them would, to such a extent, eschew the very principles of enquiry and evidence they used to hold dear.

    Willis, Bora’s tweet in reply says it all: he read your letter and he has literally nothing of substance to say in reply. Another one bites the dust.

  114. Les Johnson posts Bora’s wonderful reply, thanks, Les …

    This is absolutely hilarious. After banning any mention of Watts on his site, the beauty of his reply is, think of all of the folks who follow his tweet … where is he telling all of his acolytes to go spend their next few minutes—the ScAm blog site, or WUWT?

    Man, I just gotta admire folks who go out of their way to publicize my work. What’s not to like?

    (Well, I don’t like the personal insults about my mental capacity … but then considering the source, I suppose I should take it as a compliment.)

    w.

  115. Annie says: “I rather think, in the context, you meant ‘complIment’, not ‘complement’. Willis: They are running scared, aren’t they?!”

    I dont know about scared, but the running part is correct…traveling day and Chicago didnt help.

  116. I started reading ScAm around 1957 in high school and kept my subscription going for many years after that. But, as someone stated here several months ago, ‘all institutions (maybe with only a very few exceptions) become more liberal over time’. And this then leads to the groupthink and strong confirmation bias necessary to close off debate and relieve them from (at least what they consider) the undesirable and uncomfortable requirement of having to think for themselves. I guess they would rather just believe strongly in any cause than have to continuously reason things out.
    Anyway, I would guess that is what has happened to both ScAm and NatGeo. I’m just afraid it is also happening to science in general. If this continues, and with society becoming more polarized, the next ‘Dark Ages’ just might not be that far away.

  117. So, I am gradually teaching my spam filter to automatically send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts.

    This should not pose a problem to people who read WUWT: Anthony Watt and collaborators always link to primary sources. I grant you that his links exclusively to left-wing blogs is a disgrace to a “scientific” magazine, but WUWT writers should have no trouble passing the “spam” filter.

  118. Greg Roane says:
    March 6, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Willis: you know he will never read this letter to him, you 1) posted it on this site, 2) included all the keywords he is filtering, and 3) most certainly doesn’t give a rat’s-hoot what any of us on this site think about him or Scientific American because he is filtering us out to start with.

    Quite the contrary. As I predicted yesterday, he has read it and responded to it already, within 24 hours of its publication.

    I tried to tell you about the power and reach of WUWT …

    w.

  119. “Astroturf pay-4-trolling outfits? I gotta say, Mann has lost the plot entirely.”

    Sorry have to disagree. This looks like a simple case of projection in combination with their delusional belief that everyone who disagrees with them does so because of Big Oil money.

    Think about it. What do you think that the very well funded green activist organizations do with all that money they have? What do you think the left’s “great community organizers” are organizing?

    Astroturf pay-4-trolling outfits? Well the community organizers have to organize the useful idiots to do something, and we know that the green groups are so flush with cash they are handing it out to any and every thing they can to attack any signs of rejection of their dogma.

    When I hear Mann say things like that, I interpret his thinking to be that we must be doing this (with our imagined big oil money) because that is their own strategy (with their big Marxism money from groups like Tides et.al). In other words, since they are doing it, by their logic so must we.

  120. Gave up reading ScAm a couple decades ago and NatGeo about the same time. Founders of both magazines would be horrified at what they have become.

  121. Andy Wehrle says:
    March 6, 2013 at 7:10 am

    The best way around the blog filter is to write about the science without the pejoratives. Write civilly. Novel idea.

    Andy Wehrle

    And writing civilly somehow gets us past a filter for “Watts”?

    You probably should re-read my article, and his article, before posting again, my friend. You seem to have totally misunderstood the issues. Protip—civility is not among them.

    w.

  122. David L. Hagen says:
    March 6, 2013 at 7:03 am
    Forrest M. Mims III
    As a reader, I would welcome reading any posts you could contribute on WUWT topics.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Please search on “Mims” here at WUWT to see my posts. Much of the content on the WUWT site and the entire http://www.surfacestations.org site has more scientific value than most of what has been published in Scientific American during the past decade. The findings reported at http://www.surfacestations.org by Anthony Watts and his team of volunteers represent an ideal example of the high quality amateur/citizen science advocated in “The Amateur Scientist” column.

  123. Thomas O. McGill says:
    March 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

    @Forrest M. Mims III As much as any other human, you influenced my early life for the better. Poor, in Georgia, I didn’t have a lot of educated influences. I spent a lot of time reproducing your circuits. I graduated from Ga Tech and went on to retire from a large National Laboratory, In my early career as a circuit designer, and later, as the rich adventure that has been my life developed, I credit my discovery of my enduring love of science and technology to your little books. Thank you.
    ———-
    I’ve been fighting my impulse to post something like this as well, but since Thomas mentions it:
    Thanks from me as well Mr. Mims – your circuit books were my bibles as a teenager, and were instrumental in getting me to view digital electronics as something to play with and enjoy instead of an impenetrable mystery to be avoided.

  124. Stephen Mosher: 1. I have had a comment snipped at WUWT for pointing out that a chart was produced by a model.

    At Climate Etc you characterized your WUWT post this way:
    1. Skeptics have claimed they doubt the NOAA temperature products.
    2. Skpetics have claimed they doubt radiative physics.
    3. Skeptics have called GCMS Junk.

    (http://judithcurry.com/2013/02/24/open-thread-weekend-9/#comments)
    No particular “skeptic”, or “skpetic” was named, and no particular “claim” was quoted.

    When you rewrote your comment so that it was on point, then the moderator let it through.

  125. Climate is not my speciality, thus I seldom get in on the higher debates of such, but I’m truly interested in the topic. However, just because I don’t specialize in climate does not mean I do not specialize in other topics and love good ol’ hard debate. I’ve personally been snipped by Anthony, and it burned me for a time, but eventually I had to accept the fact that the snipped portion of my comment was indeed off topic and was meant to incite off topic memes. My bad. I guess what I really want to say in response to this open letter is this: if I considered myself an expert on the science of climate I WOULD CLAMOR TO DEBATE ALL COMERS! Period.

    This is exactly what I see in throngs at WUWT. It is what has formed my opinions on climate and what’s truly going on with climate. Not Anthony Watts. Not Willis Eschenbach or any of the other big names at this blog. It’s been the ongoing debates within the comment sections, more so than the articles themselves. If you got a nugget you believe in – prove it! Or as they say in my Mama’s home state: “Show Me.” Argue your point to the point of nausea. Then argue some more. Debate. Spend hours presenting your position, then spend a few more days honing it and perfecting, changing where necessary, then present it again. Equate, relate, debate. It is the only way. Informed and formal debate is not trolling. It is part of the scientific method. Question everything, surely, but also one must question one’s self. Perhaps that is the most important of the human/science equation.

    Is WUWT perfect? Heck no. Does it inspire honest debate? Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. And let the panties alone in their own drawer. Stop throwing pearls before swine. Throw the pearls where they’ll be picked over, discussed and valued. Or maybe thrown at at the last, found unworthy of the name of pearl. Bottom line: One side is absolutely funded by special interests, and that side discourages debate. The other side is not funded… and they want debate. Say no more. Say no more.

  126. Sadly, I no longer read Scientific American. It has become “Sciency” American. It has become less about the investigation about the nature of things and more about indoctrination on the “correct view” of things. It is basically like one great big “appeal to authority” exercise.

    And to Forrest M. Mims III, I say a truly heartfelt “thank you” . Your “Notebooks”, “Mini-notebooks” Handbooks and project books published in the 1970’s and 1980’s directly influenced my career choice in electronics and were the source of many hours of independent experimentation and learning outside of formal training. I owe my current living in no small portion to the publication of those books. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us and being a mentor to probably thousands like me with an interest in that field. In many ways you were my tutor.

  127. G. Karst says March 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    … Clear cookies. Revisit without signing in. You will now see what everyone else sees (bastards). GK

    Ummm … ahhhh … I thought I had made it clear that was (in effect) the process I had used … (to wit, I used a 2nd PC that has _never_ been logged into, only _visited_ YouTube. Maybe that was not crystal clear. The 2nd PC saw comments later marked as “spam” ONLY ONCE the show “All Comments” link was clicked, otherwise, the comment was effectively *gone* to a casual viewer. Just verified it is still working this way just moments ago too.)

    This is reminiscent of what (was it) MSNBC (on their website?) did some years back, where disagreeing comments were ‘blotted out’ from general readership and those logged-in YET the original commenter could still see his/her comment! (I’m sure there is a term for this too.)

    BTW, still in the dark since no new light has been shed on the issue – but keep those cards and letters coming!

    PS. YouTube: now owned by GOOGLE (I should add).

    .

  128. @ P Sharrow http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/05/the-scam-gets-worse-an-open-letter-to-bora-zivkovic/#comment-1240087

    Tell me about it, even Hollywood get’s that part . . . . Just saw the repeat of The Dead Code on Broadcast, they have put their two cents in . . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WarGames:_The_Dead_Code.

    and then there is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicentennial_Man_(film)

    All certainly good visual disertation of the subject . . . . . in my opinion, of course!

  129. Jim says:
    March 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I’ve got a question/observation … how is it *some* comments at YouTube are getting ‘filtered’.so’s only the original poster can see his posted comment, YET, when logging in via another PC (same IP addy BUT not logged into YouTube) the *comment* doesn’t display, but rather shows up tagged as spam!

    I read a post on another site [Lucia’s, I think] where some code was posted that did this. The commentator could see his comment, but no one else could. Despicable, if you ask me. Worse than censorship. Dishonest.

  130. FauxScienceSlayer says March 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

    The Wright Brothers developed four irrevolkable patents that the banking elite needed to steal.

    ” bankers? Bankers!? We son’t need no stinking BANKERS!!! ”

    Sorry, could not resist … prompted by the “Keeper Of Odd Knowledge” (K.O.O.K.) society member post going on and on about cartels, con-spiracies involving Tesla et al … for some reason, Tesla sets these person’s minds a-spinning …

    This, I think, is one more ‘frontier’ that needs conquering; the idolizing of certain personalities above and way beyond the status of mortal like ourselves (and only partly aside the nutty con-spiracy stuff), a mortal in this case who was in the right place at the right time AND with the right skills (engineering knowledge AND multi-lingual). The access he had to information on the other side of the Atlantic was KEY to his success in the ” AC system ” of power generation and distribution … yes, he *did* read other people’s papers and patents to get where he got …

    .

  131. His whole “auto censorship” concept is based on a clearly-defined, but spectacularly miconceived, premise: i.e.

    “A comment that contains any of those is, by definition, not posted in good faith. By definition, it does not provide additional information relevant to the post. By definition, it is off-topic. By definition, it contains erroneous information. By definition, it is ideologically motivated, thus not scientific. ”

    It is perfectly obvious that none of these things could possibly be the case “by definition”. If you cannot refer to an issue, you can neither support nor rebut it. It is tempting to suggest that anyone who makes such a statement is “by definition” just a little bit stupid.

  132. It is good to see Bora’s statement regarding the use of the words “Al Gore”: “By definition, it contains erroneous information.”

    I wonder if that extends to ManBearPig?

  133. Like several on this list, I grew up on ScAm (like that shortening), my father was a professor at a local university and was interested in science. However, even in the 60s I could see the weeds in the garden that would eventually destroy the mag.

    By the 90s I had long stopped reading the mag because I had found I could get more science information from other sources with less effort. Further the mag was morphing from a science magazine to a religio-political rant rag with a certain religious orthodoxy, albeit an atheistic religion, it espoused and promulgated. As such, it couldn’t have a member of the “enemy”, G. Forrest Mims III a practicing Christian, as a columnist.

    That religious orthodoxy is not only anti-Christian, as mentioned by others here, but thereby also anti-science. The two are connected. It’s a historical fact that science, as a process with a community of people to support it, developed after the Reformation, in Reformation influenced societies, and there’s an article at http://www.wikinfo.org/Multilingual/index.php/Biblical_roots_of_science that gives factors within Reformation theology and practice that led to that development. Cut off the root (Christianity as defined in the Bible), and the branches (among them science) will eventually wither. Is not the whole CAGW scam an example of that withering?

    Unless the magazine has a complete change in its editorial staff and outlook, I think it’s too far gone to resurrect. But sometimes I think wistfully back to the days when I learned real science in the pages of Scientific American.

  134. Some of the commenters on this thread seem to think that if Anthony censors anyone at all, ever, for any reason whatsoever, that is somehow morally equivalent to Bora Zivkovic’s blanket censorship of everyone he disagrees with. Isn’t this a blatant illustration of Craig Loehle’s recent post on ‘categorical thinking’?

  135. MangoTree says:
    March 6, 2013 at 3:42 am

    I don’t see a problem with banning trolls from denying facts.

    The problem is enormous. The short of it is that one reader’s “troll denying facts” may very well be another reader’s “rational skeptic reasonably questioning a conclusion.”

    You need to consider the distinction between “facts,” and data or evidence. Facts are synthetic, data and evidence (ideally) are not. In a jury trial, the jury is [supposedly] presented with evidence, and then uses that evidence, as presented by both the prosecution and the defense, to arrive a consensus regarding the “facts” of the case. “Reasonable doubt” in a trial hinges on whether it is possible to construe evidence in more than one array of “facts.” If the evidence is in fact ammenable to multiple explanations, then there is reasonable doubt about the actual facts of the case.

    The entire climate debate is strongly colored by convictions rather than by rational argumentation and strong evidence. The criticisms directed at most skeptics and “denialists” are founded on the assumption that those convictions are really true. Thus anyone questioning that conviction is denying the truth. It remains perfectly possible that the defenders may be right. What is lacking is strong evidence to support what is being asserted as fact.

    Worse, “evidence” as it is being collected or post-processed can be tainted by prior assumptions concering what the “facts” are. “Adjustments” to data are made because the adjustors have already made assumptions regarding the “facts.” The reason for the Surface Stations project was because the “facts” about the local encironmental effects on data from weather stations were in question.

  136. “I loved Scientific American as a kid …” me too. Same with New Scientist. Now I don’t even bother looking at their one eyed rubbish on line.

  137. Noble cause corruption? Et tu Willis? All the signs are there, aren’t they?.
    Science is not a teleological philosophy, nor should it be.
    As a long time subscriber (since 1950’s) of Scientific American, the disappointment due to their editorial proselytizing has finally done it for me.
    I am letting my subscription expire. Skeptic Michael Shermer is also a major disappointment with his silence in the face of what seems obvious.
    “The reader is not asked to accept a theory without question. Rather, he is invited to consider for himself whether he is reading a book of fiction or non-fiction” –Immanuuel Velikovsky

  138. Asking the wrong questions about climate is a fast way to destroy an academic or journalist career.Sad.

  139. I come here more for the comments/discussion than just the articles. Censorship is an issue that hits home to me, and one version of comment moderation that I like to see is an option for the reader to view the pre-moderated comment.
    Though I am sure Anthony et. al. is aware of this option, and he may very well have good reasons for not doing it this way, written somewhere on this site (that I don’t know where to find). Just pointing it out.

    Direct and categorical censorship, like what Bora has chosen, is the purest form of the poor logic of attacking the source, not the argument. It is an easy mistake to fall into this trap of ignorance, we all know the story of the boy who cried “wolf”. Now we have boys who cry “warming”. Of course much of it is garbage, but I really appreciate and respect that this site will sometimes post things that are rather dubious, and let the readership take it to pieces and show why it is wrong.

    I know of no place else where such a collection of Dr’s, experts, and decades-of-experience types congregate to discuss the issues that get attention on this website. The fact that anyone who is found in disagreement is welcome to post here, while other websites on the other side of the argument continue to increase their blatant censorship, absolutely and automatically gives WUWT the moral and integrity high ground.

    There is a very high level of, if not complete, transparency here. It seems to me that 99 times out of 100, anyone who gets moderated is respected with the reason why, and mods will go out of their way to discuss their choice of moderation and offer a way for the poster to deliver their message while observing site policy and general good manners.

  140. Just to say that I am another who grew up on the science that ‘Scientific American’ used to run, and have given up on the travesty it has become. Yes, the Bjorn Lomborg scandal was the real driver for my dropping the thing, but I lingered on in hope – the joys of youth die hard.
    But then, of course, there is its penpal, Nature. About 100 years ago, I was published in Nature, and walked on air for two days. Today I wouldn’t feed them material even if page charges were negative.

  141. Computer-modelled, pathological censorship?

    No problem. It’s easy to get around this little booger.

    Just use the tactics upon which it is founded AGAINST it. Use the tactics underlying it AGAINST it. You know, a sort
    of cyber jujitso — call it “SLAM” (Systematic Lying Anticybercensorship Manuevering)

    Heck, those computer models are just poor little bits of code who “don’t know no better”. Why blame them?
    Blame their masters.

    Here’s what I mean about using their foundational principles AGAINST them:

    First, LIE – Never supply your real name.

    Second, DECEIVE – Always use a reference to, say, Michael Mann or to the name of any other person from the
    “consensus” crowd.

    Third, MANIPULATE – Be certain to include phrases like “proven theory”, “settled science”, or “unquestionable fact”
    in your commentary. Then slam the “proven theory”, “settled science”, or “proven fact” to smitherenes in the most
    dispassionate, mechanical manner possible. Those innocent little computer programs will love the mechanical-manner part of
    your manipulation.

    For example, you might post an entry such as this:

    NAME: (nothing too strange here – nothing Dutch, or anything that sounds like anybody’s name on anybody’s blacklist)
    (keep it generic, Anglosaxon, under three sylables for a last name) … something like “Frank Stewart”

    COMMENTARY: “The proven science of global warming states blah, blah, blah, … ad infinitum … use lots of words and
    figures. (spend at least two hundred words pretending to endorse the “proven science”). Then simply slam it,
    pointing coldly (he he) to counterfacts, without calling them “counterfacts” or “refutations” or, God forbid, “non-consensus
    views”).

    In other words, tactfully and maticulously avoid any manner of word or phrase that a pathological censoring computer program
    could use to block you. This will only make you a better writer. The whole idea, in fact, could produce a new, bigger
    better, even MORE convincing crop of writers to tell the other side of the one-sided story. Hey, this sort of thing is only
    doing civilization a favor in this respect.

    Higheeeeyah! [kung fu scream]

  142. Like many others on this list, I grew up on ScAm (clever shortening). But already in the 60s I could see the weeds that would eventually destroy the garden. By the 90s, I’d long stopped reading the rag because I found I could get more science information with less effort elsewhere than through its pages.

    What I see is that the mag has morphed from a science magazine to a religio-political rag, albeit promulgating an atheistic religion (yes, atheism is a religion as in strongly held beliefs in something that can’t be proven). That’s why it couldn’t have a member of the “enemy” (a Bible believing Forest M. Mims III) as a columnist. It’s become both anti-Christian and anti-science, the two go together. It’s a historical fact that science as a discipline with a society to support it developed after the Protestant Reformation, concentrated in those countries most affected by the Reformation. There’s an article at http://www.wikinfo.org/Multilingual/index.php/Biblical_roots_of_science that gives some reasons for that historical event. Cut off the root (Biblical teachings) and eventually the branches (including science) will wither, though it may take a few generations. Is not the pushing of CAGW and example of the destruction of science?

    Yet I sometimes still think wistfully at the times I could find real science in the pages of Scientific American.

  143. Re R.Ortiz….ScAm may have become anti-Christian, its a common trait nowadays (over 100,000 people a year murdered for being Christian) but the vast bulk of creationist, anti-evolution, anti-science opinion is in Islam and I dont think you will ever see anyone publishing anything opposing that.

  144. Wow. A very long thread, and I can’t read it all, so bear with me if I happen to repeat someone.

    My moment of truth with Scientific American came during the SDI years of the early 1980s. They trotted out a number of disapproving analytical articles. I happened to be involved on the contractor classified side of the story, and I could see that these analyses were worthless: key aspects of the problem were glossed over, and implausible engineering implementations were set up as straw horses to knock down. In a word, they were untrustworthy. And once that happens, there is no profit in continuing to trust them.

    Edward Teller, a hero of the SDI years, once quipped that “Scientific American is neither scientific, nor American.” So true.

  145. Bethe, Garwin and others’ 1984 Sci Am article on SDI is supposed to be a clear and unbiased analysis of the problem. Many other articles appearing after that have criticized the technical feasibility of SDI and underscored their fundamental conclusions. The basic problems have been analyzed multiple times over, for instance by Postol, Lewis and Garwin and have been found to be the same (simple countermeasures, futility of mid-course deflection). It’s not a question of engineering, it’s one of basic physics.

  146. Censuring any link to WUWT?
    This guy is crazy…. If he thinks that in a normal day anyone from WUWT is remotely interested in visiting or placing any links on his site.

  147. In regards to ScAm and NatGeo losing their (scientific) way….

    Anyone remember when Time and Newsweek were about news?
    Or when Rolling Stone was about music?

    As we all know, I could go on. It seems that most large publications get bored with simply informing their readers and eventually succumb to their own greedy thirst for power and influence. It’s a bummer dude….

  148. Re Wavefunction….nope, wood for trees, SDI, along with its cohort of contemporaneous programmes, was a resounding success: the USSR is no more.

  149. I always get a chuckle at the machinations that alarmists go through to avoid anything having to do with Al Gore, the ManBearPig, whose name must never be spoken. They just get completely apoplectic about it. How dare we say his name???? Heathens!!! LOL.

  150. On second thoughts, maybe there is some merit in his methods… Perhaps we can have a “Bulls… Filter” for some people or even a “Rant Filter” for Mosher haha. :)

  151. Within 10 years, maybe less, ScAm is going to go the way of Newsweek – print edition axed, and what’s left will just be a special interest blog that no except partisans and ideologues bother to look at… a lot like the Skeptical Science site is today.

  152. Wavefunction stated:

    “Bethe, Garwin and others’ 1984 Sci Am article on SDI is supposed to be a clear and unbiased analysis of the problem. Many other articles appearing after that have criticized the technical feasibility of SDI and underscored their fundamental conclusions. The basic problems have been analyzed multiple times over, for instance by Postol, Lewis and Garwin and have been found to be the same (simple countermeasures, futility of mid-course deflection). It’s not a question of engineering, it’s one of basic physics.. . . . ”

    Wamron replied:

    “Re Wavefunction….nope, wood for trees, SDI, along with its cohort of contemporaneous programmes, was a resounding success: the USSR is no more.”

    My observation. . . . . wow!

    If the USSR had just read Scientific American, they would have known that there was no way that the US could have developed SDI — and would have encouraged the foolish Capitalists to squander billions of dollars on such a foolhardy scheme, and not worried about it at all. It would have been the USA instead of the USSR that went bankrupt and dissolved!!

    From my memories of that era and those articles, I got the impression that the authors would have been much happier if the USA instead of the USSR had wound up on the ashheaps of history.

    Scientific American should have just comped the Ruskies a few copies of their most excellent magazine — it might have changed the course of history!

  153. Have to add my comment here too. As a scientist, I find that sort of behaviour reprehensible. Not so long ago we scientists were being reminded that public consultation meant we had to take on board every opinion and validate it, simply because it was an expressed opinion. I personally believe that all opinions on AGW are valid. Expressly because it is our tax dollars that are paying for the response.

  154. Billy Liar says March 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    cookies

    1) Insufficient reply; does not expurgate YouTube on it’s presumed ‘responsibility’ (from my perspective under ‘implied contract’, if any *, with a YT subscriber/user) regarding keeping a comment-maker aware of the status of his (or her) comments’ visibility (esp. during ‘comment wars’ or comments on controversial subjects) when comments are in or out of view by others, e.g. un-logged-in YouTube site visitors.

    2) I saw the comment was ‘hidden’ though the use of a **2nd PC** which has never been logged into (but has been used to simply visit) YouTube, THEREFORE it should bear *no* user login cookies. I made this a little clearer in my 2nd post above on this subj, although I thought I had stated so in my 1st post.

    Further comment? Hopefully something new, uncovered, as ‘cookies’ have been mentioned *twice* now.

    .
    * Not sure if addressed in YouTube TOS or TOU – terms of use/service – or not)

  155. Forrest Mims III – I remember the incident. SciAm was good when I was in highschool and college and science always interested me but that was before it went all witch-hunty.

    Open minds allow open discussions. They don’t allow noise, rants, or vulgarity, that is neither freedom or discussion. Somehow those who claim to be most sensitive to pollution wish to use acrid smoke to pollute the places of others just because they disagree instead of discussing the issues point by point. Tolerance and openness admits no burning of heretics and where there is smoke – from either the post or comments – there is fire.

    As much as I hate the irony, most people who have found the right side, the truth of the matter, are the ones that do things in the open, encourage debate, allow discussion – even when things are not so clear that they will win, and I will include climate science here. Fearmongering is not an argument. Nor is an adhominem attack, insult, or appeal to authority “He’s a professor at a nice university”.

    I would hope and am starting to believe there are growing numbers of people like me each day that read unwillingness to debate as weakness itself in the position, and intolerance and insults as direct evidence of the position as error.

  156. How the heck did religion get into this?? Good science does NOT rely on or require religion. Period. Atheism is NOT a religion, it is a belief.

  157. Bora finally gave up, and booted me from his twitter list. My postings below. Its interesting to read his. He does not know what an ad hom is, and thinks its ok as long as its true. For true intellectual tolerance and support of freedom of expression, one needs to follow the threads to Pharyngula.

    https://twitter.com/LesJohnsonHrvat

  158. RE Billy Liar @ 1:24 PM

    Thanks for that link to the story about the English Daffodil crop being four weeks late. I can always count on the people replying at WUWT to alert me to things which, (despite being 99.9% off topic,) are things my mind simply grabs,

  159. O Olson says:
    March 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    …… Atheism is NOT a religion, it is a belief.
    ————————————————–
    A distinction without a difference.

    BTW, if I remember correctly, site rules prohibit discussions of religion (and I assume that includes atheism.) Personally I support that policy, but I think “drive-by” slamming of religion is a bit disingenuous since any direct response would technically be a rule infraction and I have never seen it further objective discourse.

  160. BTW, Bora Zivkovic better watch out – there’s one scientist wandering loose that has created his own “parody” site called vvatts up with that (using a double “V”, not a “W”). So we should all help Bora’s spam filter out by using that variation, and knock out discussion of an alarmist site with it.

    Sorry, Russell Seitz, you picked the name out. If Bora decides that that version is ok, then expect it to lead here, not to your site.

  161. Re Ben Wilson…No, you have that totally inverted: The USA DID invest in SDI and that DID force the USSR to squander THEIR billions on trying to develop counter-measures. For example the collossal Energya Polyus programme, to field a space battlecruiser armed with a megawatt laser specifically for attacking SDI sattelites but also able to dispense nuclear orbital mines. A project which reached hardware stage but failed to attain orbit, falling somewhere over the Pacific, Icarus like, the very peak of the USSRs failed attempt to compete with SDI and similar projects.

    It was precisely by engaging in large scale investment in military R and D on all fronts that the USSR was forced to compete, whilst being engaged in military action via proxies whereever the opprtunity arose, being ultimately driven into the ground, bankrupted and busted.

    This competition included the USSRs own SDI, featuring such wonders as ground based energy weapons for use against spacecraft, the monumental Sharyagin (pardon the spelling) phased array radar complex (only meaningful as part of an ABM system) and the worlds first operational anti ballistic missile shield around Moscow, which actually remains operational in modern Russia.

    It should also be remembered that at the time of Apollo-Soyuz and supposed orbital detent the USSR was theonly country arming its space crews. The USSR was also the only country to orbit armed spacecraft for use against other spacecraft. Specifically a 23mm cannon aboard a Salyut station, orbited and test fired on orbit.

    I think your conception of what happenned in the Cold War has some gaps.

  162. Forrest Mimms is also writing for MAKE Magazine, once described as a sort of McGyver’s Practical Mechanics. I’ve been a subscriber since the first edition. It’s a magazine you can (generally) read without gagging over political correctness or lefty orthodoxies.

  163. Oh good, looks like someone else pointed out that you can do things like use tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/acnub5c which makes the whole “censoring links to a site with a bot” concept rather laughable, really.

    Even funnier is the fact that you and I can–with surprising ease–read words like dneeir wmrasit and aamirlst with the letters rearranged, but I’m not quite sure automated filters are up to the same task.

  164. Admad says:
    March 6, 2013 at 3:44 am

    “… send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts…”

    Hey that could be great. Any reference to alleged energy imbalance where W/m2 is spelled (rather than abbreviated) would be trashed automatically. The whole movement could end up disappearing up their own fundamentals.

    Dude, it says a link to Watts, not a mention of the word “watts”.

    Reading is fundamental.

  165. Many moons ago, I was explaining and reading about the names of VW models which, when they went to alcohol-cooled, adopted names of winds.

    “Bora” is one of those names (used outside the USA for the “booted” version of the Golf Mk4). At the time I paraphrased the US Navy definition as:

    Generally speaking, the Bora can be a nasty piece of work howling at up to gale force down from the mountains at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Flow to the Aegean is channelled through the Dardanelles.

    (emphasis new)
    Just an amusing coincidence. No prescience required.

  166. March 6, 2013 at 8:14 am

    While I don’t always agree with Mosh (or with anyone!) I never have felt that he is insincere or in the tank for anyone or any side. Although, he may be faster to comment than to think sometimes! A problem I fall into as well…

    I just wonder how sore his buttocks must be after sitting on the fence for so long.

  167. Wamron. . . .

    I remember exactly what happened. . . . which you summarized quite nicely.

    I thought I was being fairly obvious at my attempt at a “tongue-in-cheek” observation — which was to assume that the Scientific American articles on SDI were completely and 100% accurate — (which I don’t believe now and didn’t believe then) —

    But if they had been accurate, than all the USSR would have had to do to save billions of dollars. . . was read Scientific American.

    Somehow, I suspect they did read it — and rejected it’s conclusions too.

  168. From trafamadore on March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm:

    Whatever. I have been “mod”ed on this site for nothing other than mentioning that word that starts with “Din” and ends with “ialist”. (…)

    Dinialist?

    You obviously must be lying, as WUWT obviously does not [snip] for poor spelling.

    Interestingly, Googling that spelling quickly led to a Motley Fool board posting where “AGW skeptics” were challenged by a 2011 LA Times piece about how global warming will lead to more open space in Yellowstone Park etc, as the massive forest fires will hit too often for the trees to grow back, etc.

    Which was ably rebutted by this reply by “MrCynic”, which is what Google had actually linked to, noting there had been no significant increase in global average temperatures for 15 years, among other things.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears The Motley Fool will not be censoring any climate skeptics, nor will they be supporting the CAGW mantra… Except for fleecing the fools who have bought into it, who naturally deserve to be parted from their money, so it’s only fair.

  169. Jeff Alberts says:
    March 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I just wonder how sore his buttocks must be after sitting on the fence for so long.

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    LOL! I actually have no idea where he stands in This debate as I have seen him argue with many different people.

    But, it is an important distinction between those with whom we disagree and those that are parroting.

  170. Wamron: The point of the criticism by Bethe, Garwin and others was that the offense could easily overwhelm the defense using cheap countermeasures like chaff, decoy warheads. That’s as true today as it was then.

  171. O Olsen wrote, “How the heck did religion get into this?? Good science does NOT rely on or require religion. Period. Atheism is NOT a religion, it is a belief.”

    “Religion” is not generally mentioned here to avoid proselytism and the flame wars that that will engender. This is a science site.

    However, two points:

    1) “a belief” is ipso facto a religion, especially when it deals with subjects outside the realm of science, such as the existence or non-existence of a deity or deities. There’s no more to be said on this on a science blog, as it’s not dealing with science. The only reason to mention it is to say “Don’t go there.”

    2) The article at http://www.wikinfo.org/Multilingual/index.php/Biblical_roots_of_science refers to the factors in Reformation theology that historically led to the development of modern science. Among those factors are found honesty, open communication, question experts—they could be mistaken, make experiments to test theories, that there are absolute laws of science (e.g. “laws of physics”, “laws of chemistry” etc.) and so forth, some of these factors have repeatedly been mentioned on this site as fails among the CAGW crowd. It was upon these beliefs that the scientific method (described at http://www.wikinfo.org/Multilingual/index.php/Scientific_Method_from_science_textbooks ) was developed to describe a subset of present day reality. While nowhere do I see the claim that one must follow Biblical theology in order to practice science, I certainly don’t make that claim, one must follow the methodology derived from that theology in order to practice science. That includes recognizing that there are limits to what science can study.

    My disappointments with ScAm is that it descended from being a science magazine to a political-correctness/religion proselytism rag with a little science mixed in. When I want science information, it’s quicker and easier to find it from other sources.

  172. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    Forrest M. Mims III says:
    March 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Damn, you’re that Forrest Mims?
    You would not happen to also be the Forrest M. Mims III that wrote the Archer Engineer’s Mini-Notebook would you?
    (Not that any electrical engineers working on Naval weapons systems would have a copy of “Op Amp IC circuits” or “555 Timer IC Circuits” in their desks.)

  173. Re: Wavefunction, Zimcorp, and fellow-travelers

    First, I would like to point out, to the unacquainted, that engineering is based on physics, as well as on chemistry and other sciences. It is also the profession of solving problems, which is different from science, which is the profession of discovering knowledge. They interact, but they are not identical. As far as I know now, and knew then, Bethe, Garwin, et al., had no reputation as weapons engineers. To think they could claim such credibility is logically equivalent to insisting that all Nobel Prize chemists are qualified to be the world’s best cooks (cooking is only chemistry, right?).

    Yes, they showed that THEIR solutions would not work. They did not show that credible engineering solutions would not work. I had a rather lengthy rebuttal paper prepared against one piece of nonsense analysis involving space-based lasers, but my boss told me to put it in my desk drawer. Not politic to show our hand.

    As to the notion of decoys, I have to point out that boost-phase intercept precludes any problem with RV decoys. (The concept of booster decoys is laughable, but you would have to go through the physics to understand why.) Intercepting the post-boost-vehicle (PBV) was also an option, before any decoys or re-entry vehicles (RVs) could be dispensed. As for RV decoys, there is a method (recently patent applied-for) to generate gas clouds in the path of space objects in order to “filter” them kinematically. It is a 30-year-old concept…. (http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20120241562)

    So, as is true with all questions on this site, it is best if the participants know what they are talking about, or pay attention to those who do.

  174. R Ortiz says:
    March 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I should correct myself. What I should have said is atheism is technically a Lack of belief. That said, I will say again that science today does Not require religion regardless of how the past may have played itself out.
    “factors in Reformation theology that historically led to the development of modern science. Among those factors are found honesty, open communication,”
    This I strongly take exception to as it implies that these qualities can not spring from within us but must come from somewhere else. Many of my best friends prove this to be patently false. As you said, this is a science site. And I love it.

  175. Zimcorp…decoy blather…WRONG. Evidence:

    First up, if the counter-measures to SDI were so cheap-n-easy why the hell did the USSR bankrupt itself with projects like the ones I cited…not hypothetical projects, but hardware built and flown at immense expense as an attempt to ounter SDI and maintain an offensive capability.

    Secondly…Chevaline. No you aint heard of it and you’ll have to Google it. But I’ll tell you. The UK strategic deterrent is posited upon the ability to obliterate Moscow. When the Moscow ABM shield (SDI in other words) became operational the UK lost this capability. The result was they had to invest heavily in the development of maneuvreable RVs, priject Chevaline. They could afford this but once. They could not have afforded to keep pace were such changes of circumstance repeatedly forced on them.

    The mantra that missile defence doesnt work is an article of faith of the left. But ABM systems have proven themselves effective for decades.

    Returning to the original point, SDI worked because it, not by itself but as part of a along with a raft of programmes, bankrupted the USSR and brought about its collapse.

  176. Ben Wilson…sorry to mis-read you, thats the danger with irony online (as opposed to face to face) . However, perhaps it was a useful opportunity to unfold on the topic.

  177. From O Olson on March 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm:

    What I should have said is atheism is technically a Lack of belief.

    Incorrect. As revealed by the roots of the word, it is the rejecting of the existence of God, aka “a higher power”. As the evidence does not exist to conclusively reject the possibility of such, this cannot be a scientific position, therefore the affirming of the non-existence of said deity is a belief by definition.

    A lack of belief is technically known as agnosticism, where one neither confirms or denies said existence. As the evidence is lacking for proof either way, this is the proper viewpoint for scientific endeavors.

    This I strongly take exception to as it implies that these qualities can not spring from within us but must come from somewhere else. Many of my best friends prove this to be patently false.

    In a time of great scarcity, when you have just enough food to feed your family that day and the next, a stranger approaches and asks if you have some food to spare, just enough so that their family may have something to eat today as well. Do you:

    A. Truthfully tell them yes and get it for them,
    B. Truthfully tell them yes but they can’t have it (and you’re sorry about their family starving),
    C. Say you’re sorry, but you barely have enough for your own family for today, and wish them luck.

    Humanity didn’t get this far as a species by being inherently honest. We are predators, hunters, who have advanced by becoming more cleverer deceivers.

    How many people do you know who are perfectly honest with their taxes because of noble qualities that naturally spring forth from themselves? The desire to avoid prosecution and punishment is not a noble quality BTW.

    When left to our own instincts and natural impulses, we humans will lie, cheat, steal, and kill. We do whatever we can to enhance our own survival, and spread our genetic material. In case you haven’t noticed, humans are not monogamous by nature.

    Those qualities you admire still come from the same place they always have, the fear of punishment (pain), whether we believe a holy person telling us of punishment to come, the more immediate punishments of government/community for violating laws/customs… Or your momma punishing you for fibbing to her face.

    Being open and honest cannot possibly spring from within, because it is anti-survival, thus nature wouldn’t allow it.

    As you said, this is a science site. And I love it.

    Me too. So let’s stick to the science, and admit what humans really are, as evolution has naturally brought about, and stop trying to pretty us up into something you find more comforting. Which you are mainly doing because then your fellow humans appear to be less of a threat to you, whether you’re consciously aware of it or not.

    And following the dictates of nature, being as we are omnivorous predators, the correct answer following our inherent instincts was:
    D. Kill the stranger, strip the corpse of anything usable, then work the meat into your food stores (the usual concerns about possible preservation of perishable stuff, eating fresh when possible, etc). Should keep your family surviving another three or maybe four days, at least.

  178. I dumped them when they had an article in the back that was toting Marx as a great economist. I still receive it although I am not paying for it. I wish they’d just stop sending it.

  179. O Olson:

    Since you want to continue to inject religion into this discussion, while I’m avoiding proselytism, you are wrong on definitions: atheism is not a lack of belief, rather it is a positive statement of belief that there’s no deity or deities. A lack of belief is agnosticism where the person truly just doesn’t know.

    Concerning honesty, let me give you a true story: a KGB defector told how he was recruited; he was arrested on a trumped up charge, then in prison forced to sign a false statement of guilt. The KGB desperately wanted one fellow prisoner to sign a false statement, but that man refused to lie. Finally the torture was so bad that the man died. The defector and his fellow prisoners had all broken and they mourned the death of a man better than they. You claim your friends are honest? What is their breaking point? At what point can they be bought? How many of your friends are honest because they’ve never faced an existential challenge where honesty would cost and cost big?

    This is what we’re facing in the warmist camp—many of the warmists livelihoods depend on continuing the fiction of anthropogenic global warming. Even when they admit among themselves that the story is falling apart, they present a brave face to the world, because to admit that they are wrong would mean the loss of their jobs, the loss of the honors and access to power that their fiction presently gives them, the loss of their friends or actually worse that their then former friends would turn on them, big costs. “He who is trustworthy in the smallest things is trustworthy in much, and he who is unjust in the smallest things is unjust in much” Luke 16:10. The warmist lies started out small, but now they’ve snowballed so that the cost of coming clean is high, maybe too high? Given the present political climate, they can continue to get grants, but only if they continue their lies.

    What science needs is honesty even where honesty will cost and cost big, and we’re not getting that honesty. Given the rate of scientific fraud where it’s evident that many people aren’t even trying to be honest, and that rate is going up, bodes ill for the future of science. It’s said that everyone has his price; what we need are people who can’t be bought, no matter what the price. Where does that sort of honesty come from? And don’t come up with a glib, quick answer.

    It’s not only science that needs this sort of honesty, I’m finding other fields need it too.

    This is dealing with only one of the factors needed for science, what about the other twelve listed in that article?

  180. Humanity got exactly here by being what we inherently are. But enough of silly semantic games. Night all.

  181. Sorry I’m late to this party, er, funeral. To all those former and about-to-become former subscribers to Sci-Am, I have a suggestion: keep a copy of the issue that boils your blood the hardest, for posterity. Imagine having something as quaint as an actual printed magazine from the early part of the century when eco-alarmism was at its height. In time, it will be as novel as a bottle of radium water! Personally, I’ve saved a Nat Geo (June 2007) with the cover article on The BIG THAW [Ice on the Run, Seas on the Rise] and a Sci-Am (December 2007) promoting the article on Carbon Markets [Making Them Work to Save the Climate], but my favorite is the Delta ‘Sky’ (in-flight) magazine with the cover graphic of a shining, curly-Q CFL bulb in front of the Earth, with the text “If every American household turns off the lights during Earth Hour on March 29, it will prevent more than 16,500 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.” followed by the inevitable “… it’s so easy… what else can we do?” (with ‘easy’ and ‘else’ in italics, of course). This stuff is comic gold! So turn that frown upside-down and invest in your future: consider what it would mean to your grandkids to be able to actually touch such amazing artifacts while becoming the envy of all their friends (who will only be able to read about it in poorly written Wikipedia articles)…

  182. trafamadore: apparently a Kurt Vonnegut fan; but isn’t it ‘Tralfamadore’? If you can’t get your name right, …

  183. R. Ortiz says:
    March 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm


    atheism is not a lack of belief, rather it is a positive statement of belief that there’s no deity or deities.

    Just my 2 cents regarding atheism: I want to see some proof that there’s no deity or deities. That’s all.

    Can’t? Hmmmm…..

  184. Hello Michael Dunn: Thanks for your note, I will check out your patent. SDI in the 80s was supposed to work based on midcourse interception and that was what the Bethe and Garwin paper was criticizing. In addition the authors were not criticizing “their” solutions, they were pointing out the solutions announced in official government reports.

    By the way it’s true that chemists are not all good cooks, but even cooks have to conform to the basic laws of chemical kinetics and thermodynamics :) A lot of the criticism of midcourse interception was based on pointing out the basic physics fact that in the vacuum of space a lightweight balloon, a dummy warhead and a real warhead will all follow the exact same trajectory. Any method that relies on surface identification (like IR detection) will thus be unable to distinguish between them, especially when the decoys outnumber the warhead by thousands. I have not found a good solution to this fundamental problem and would be interested if you could point me to one.

    Hello Wamron: The countermeasures involved things like aluminum chaff and simple balloons. Look up the price of these things; the question was one of cost/benefit analysis and the problem was that even if SDI were 99% effective, a few dozen warheads getting through would have killed tens of millions. Plus, could you point me to evidence indicating that whatever SDI research the Soviets attempted was a significant part of Soviet bankruptcy? The mere fact that the Soviets engaged in SDI research does not mean it was responsible for bankrupting them.

    In addition, even if we accept the belief that SDI might have worked as part of a package to bankrupt the Soviets, it still doesn’t mean it was technically feasible; those are two very different issues. For instance I can drive a gullible person crazy by convincing him that monsters are going to crawl out of his bed every night, but that doesn’t mean monsters actually exist, does it?

    Lastly, the Chevaline system was indeed based on countermeasures and decoys; I didn’t see a document indicating that the UK ever “lost this capability”. In fact with so many decoys (roughly 500 per warhead) and limitations on the USSR to house no more than 100 interceptors in its ABM system all evidence points to the potential success of the system.

  185. Mario Lento says:
    March 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Willis: I hope your missive was emailed and snail mailed to him, as his email filter may have recognized your name.

    WUWT busts right through those restraining orders and lands in a guy’s inbox regardless. I predicted above that he would read it. He answered it the next day …

    w.

  186. @Willis: WUWT busts right through those restraining orders and lands in a guy’s inbox regardless. I predicted above that he would read it. He answered it the next day …

    GREAT GREAT!! I can’t wait to hear his response and your interpretation of it. Also, I’m honored to have you respond to one of my posts. Thank you.

Comments are closed.