Closed Minds of the herd

human-herd.jpg

Spot the free thinker in this photo (photo courtesy ZombieTime)

Russell Steele over at NCWatch has an interesting post about “going against the herd”. He says “Bob Prechter, an expert in observing social behavior, thinks social herding is leading to some social hysteria over global warming. ”

I’ve seen some examples of this lately, especially in attacks from other bloggers on my www.surfacestations.org project. One of the most notable aspects of being in a “herd” is the anonymity it affords the individual animal. As long as the animal does not stray from the herd, it doesn’t become an easily visible target for a predator. At the same time, the herd forces a conformity for its individual members, stray from the herd, and you are liable to end up as chow. I guess it’s similar the “publish or perish” thinking on climate change these days, anything or anyone contrary to CO2 based warming theory gets attacked, and viciously.

A number of the climate blogs are just like that. Rabett Run and Open Mind are two prime examples. They are operated by what appear to be scientists, but done so anonymously using a false or hidden persona. Or maybe it’s just a way for them to vent emotionally, since peer reviewed journals don’t allow for anonymous opinions to be published. Or maybe it’s just plain cowardice. I’ve always believed that if you have an idea, you have to put your name behind it for it to be considered valid. This is why this blog and my website have my name on it.

In any event, if you visit these climate blogs, it’s pretty easy to get trampled by the herd if you try to establish a constructive and civil dialog, I’ve tried. Lots of immature comments, screeching attacks, anonymous piling on, and vulgarity are the norm there. I edit those things out or block such posts when they appear on this blog, so does Steve McIntyre on his Climate Audit blog no matter what side they come from.

Yet it seems that some in the climate community don’t have such decorum and prefer to attack anonymously. The climate blog RealClimate.org is the exception, as they list what scientists are involved, and edit out a lot of the ad hominem attacks.

But beyond that, anonymity and angry personal attacks seem to be business as usual.. This week, my surfacestations.org photo database server has been getting hit with Denial of Service (DOS) attacks in an attempt to knock it offline. None of my other servers on my network are getting attacked. So clearly, the pattern of anonymous attack seems to be the norm for the pro AGW based science community. That does not bode well for the state of science today.

I invite some of the regular readers here to visit these blogs and decide for yourself. BTW since this blog is sponsored by the local newspaper, it doesn’t allow for posting contact information. But you can get it on my website www.surfacestations.org using the “contact” link.

There’s an old saying that I think should apply to online interaction with people: “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar

On the plus side, the entire climate blogosphere is abuzz with the hornet’s nest the pictures at surfacestations.org has stirred up. The first step in understanding and solving any new problem is getting people to talk about it. I’d say I’ve accomplished that if nothing else. Maybe the herd is thinning.

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8 thoughts on “Closed Minds of the herd

  1. The is hope for the future. I showed my 16yo daughter a few of your surveys and asked her what she thought about “global warming.” Her reply was future scientist material. “These sites can’t tell us anything about global warming. All they tell us is that the people relying on these sites are stupid.”
    I add about white wash vs latex; anybody who thinks this is a minor issue is welcome to put on zinc-oxide sunblock to lay in the open and compare the experience to wearing a rubber suit. Not just in the sun but also at night.
    Keep up the good work, you’ve already covered all my local stations but I’ll be sure to find time if I’m ever near an uncharted site.

  2. Anthony (on the Rabett blog)> I’m looking to acquire am IR camera to really get a complete picture in addition to air temperature measurements. Would any of you kind folks wish to assist in defraying the costs or help in the experiment?
    My company is working on developing high resolution IR cameras, and I may be able to help at some time. We do not plan to have anything to loan out soon, but we may be able to run an experiment in a few months.
    For something sooner, you might try a fire department; many of them have low resolution (160×120) cameras that are very sensitive.

  3. Anthony, just a note that at the end of last Friday’s KUOW (NPR’s big affiliate in Seattle) “Weekday” program, in his regular weekly weather/climate chat, professor Cliff Mass from UW Seattle gave a plug for surfacestations.org and commented that, based on the evidence there, the “warming” in the US over the past century looks like it may be partially or wholly due to site effects.
    He added the caveat that climate scientists still all believe in *future* warming.
    On another note, would it be possible to create an email list of the surfacestations.org contributors, in order that you can inform us of news and additions to the site (such as message boards, which would be a welcome addition). Thanks!

  4. Just so things don’t get misinterpreted, I believe the words of Cliff Mass were “some of the climate change that people have been talking about in the past, not in the future, could of been due to some of these poor sites”.

  5. RE: Denial of Service attacks
    I notice now that I can’t get to the ClimateAudit.org site.
    Are they suffering a DOS attack, too?

  6. I’m reminded, when I read about the “consensus”, of something James Randi pointed out- that scientists really are not that hard to fool, because they are almost never looking for outright deception. They believe the data.
    Whether the data is fouled by poor siting or not (and it looks to be- Kudos on your diligent work)- the fact that it is increasingly clear that the ‘consensus’ rests in part on data that has mistakes in it (GISS) or is massaged in ways that are not fully disclosed suggests that climate scientists should really be vigilant about the possibility of being misled by bad data.
    I’m not sure I would expect gratitude, exactly, but then, I would also not have expected the howling at you and McIntyre as if you came and took a dump on their new carpet.

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