A review of the seminar 'The contrarian discourse in the blogosphere–what are blogs good for anyway?'

Guest post by W. Jackson Davis (who attended the seminar today as listed below)

The contrarian discourse in the blogosphere–what are blogs good for anyway?

Franziska Hollender, Institute for Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue. Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012

Summary from CSTPR

The media serve to inform, entertain, educate and provide a basis for discussion among people. While traditional media such as print newspapers are facing a slow decline, they are being outpaced by new media that add new dimensions to public communication with interactivity being the most striking one. In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it

is science’s responsibility to fight them. Blogs, being fairly unrestricted and highly interactive, serve as an important platform for contrarian viewpoints, and they are increasingly permeating multiple media spheres.

Using the highly ranked blog ‘Watts up with that’ as a case study, discourse analysis of seven posts including almost 1600 user comments reveals that blogs are able to unveil components and purposes of the contrarian discourse that traditional media are not. They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal. Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic performances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again. Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.

Approximate Transcript by W. Jackson Davis

(vetted for accuracy by Ms. Hollender)

Introduction

I did this study because this “mediated” society [one blanketed with diverse media] calls the integrity of science into question. A changing media landscape provides new possibilities for public discussion and participation.

Anthony Watts received an invitation to this talk and posted it online. It received 476 comments. The comment section verified my results and provided extended peer-review at the same time.

This study was done as a Master’s thesis–a small scale study by a graduate student. I sampled 7 blog posts by Anthony Watts between 2006 and 2012. I used principles of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, Wodak). The climate blog “Watt’s Up With That” (WUWT) is ranked 118 of more than one million. WUWT gets 3 million hits per month. My results should be seen as an in-depth case study rather than overview of the field.

Discourse analysis–my primary methodology–is used to analyze prevalent power structures and views language as a social practice. provides overview of prevalent power structures.

Results

Normal science (as promulgated by Thomas Kuhn) is seen as the goal by bloggers above all else. However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community.

Post-normal science (defined by Funtowitcz and Ravetz) as practiced by the blogger community is described as anti-scientific, yet the blog community does extended peer-review and demands the further opening of science towards the public. She believes that whether post-normal science is anti-scientific may be debatable.

Post-normal science is, in her view, a description, not a prescription. Normal science no longer fits with complex socio-economic factors that influence science.

Analyzing the seven WUWT posts, she finds discursive strategies on WUWT to include ridicule, personal attacks, and name-calling. She says this is formally discouraged on the site, but nonetheless occurs.

Narrative structures utilized on WUWT include: 1) Scientific data dissemination. 2) Critique of scientific findings. 3) Social and political implications of climate change. 4) Climate change as a political tool to challenge capitalism and impose a new model of wealth onto the American public.

Comment thread narratives include: 1) The authority and trustworthiness of science. 2) The role of science in society. These are often discussed at length.

Discussion

Science itself is not a sound action-basis and does not determine what the results of scientific inquiry imply for society. Science is not free of values and beliefs, it is not done under the exclusion of social, economic and political factors.

Data represent a social construction. Who constructs the data, and for what purpose, is relevant to the analysis. Nothing is without (observational) bias. In fact data construction is never unbiased. There is always a translation between the observed phenomenon,what we observe and what we record as the data that represent what we have observed.

The choice of media arena is crucial to the discourse. Some people say blogs, and post-normal science, is a sideshow (WUWT), irrelevant, and unimportant. However, choice of media is crucial. This is among the reasons she wanted to research it.

Gate-keeping exists implicitly and explicitly on blogs, including WUWT. Censorship is taking place. Hostile comments prohibit an open and constructive discourse–but gate-keeping is no longer imposed by the medium but by human intervention. Interactivity is high, manifest as responses to posts and subsequent responses to posters.

Not all of this is true for WUWT–there is definitely gate-keeping, however. Certain kind of comments are welcome, while others are deleted by the site manager (gate-keeper).

There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked. Self-selection of contributors therefore takes place, under the influence of and to avoid prospective attacks on views expressed.

These are all things that happen at WUWT–it is not that free, not everyone is welcome. There is gate-keeping.

Interactivity of the WUWT blog is high. No post has less than 50 comments, and the seven posts analyzed here received up to 400 comments.

Example: The post advertising this talk was published on Sept. 1, 2012, receiving at least 476 comments. Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace, including “This girl has a brain the size of a peanut.”

She experienced extensive misunderstanding of certain terms and notions “science as ideology, “avowals of distrust, “linguistic performances.” Plans to disrupt and intervene in her presentation were posted. One comment said to offer her another Zoloft and put her by the window, she’ll enjoy the bright colors in the sunlight.”

On the plus side, the constant questioning encompassed in blog comments holds scientists accountable. She agrees with this function, which she considers valuable. This is what she expressed as avowals of distrust, which is a term from speech-act theory and describes linguistic performances that accomplish something beyond a statement.

The example of the post announcing her talk, and the many responses, illustrate exactly some of the problems she sees with the blog. About 250 have nothing to do with her talk, and instead diverge to off-track issues–and there is no formal mechanism to keep the comments on track.

Responses

Post-normal science is a description, not a prescription. It is something that is happening, not something that should be happening. We have problems now, certain things are at stake. What comes out of science is one thing–what we do with it is another.

“Science is not an ideology, but it is not free of values and beliefs–and what role science plays in our society is a matter of ideology.”

“Blogs are an underrated media arena and need to be taken more seriously in academia–extended peer review works very well in the Blogosphere, but constructive discourse is not happening because of personal attacks and ridicule.”

Peer-review needs to be extended toward wider public, “extended peer review” using non-traditional approaches. People who are not expert in the field should engage, look at material, point out mistakes. This function works very well in the blogosphere. Often papers are reviewed like this (example of Roger Pielke on his blog). This facilitates uncovering of mistakes and inconsistencies. Constructive discourse is mixed up, however, with “noise”–personal attacks, non-constructive replies, etc.

Every scientist used to criticism–but not used to being called “ridiculous.” Blogs would work better without the non-constructive discourse.

She personally takes no position on climate change in order to remain objective in her analysis. She is unbiased, deliberately avoids sitting in either of the corners.

“Q and As”

Q: Are you personally involved [in the issue of climate change and its causes]?

A. No, she deliberately avoids taking either side on ethical grounds. She will not engage, because this would compromise her objectivity.

Q. Productive criticisms emerge from this blog–does same come out of journals? Does vitriol facilitate critical attitude even though it is harsh?

A. Yes, generates content and visibility, and so vitriol is not all bad. It can lead to constructive discourse. Also steers away many people. Also generates a lot of media attention.

Re: open source journals–they still stay within the scientific boundaries. You can access them, though it is hard if you are a lay person. Blogs a better medium to reach a wider public than just your own colleagues. Access is not the same. Blogs are superior in this regard.

Q. Have you observed any difference between Anglo sphere blog tradition and European tradition?

A. She has not read many German blogs–not as many. She does read some institutional blogs, but there is less of a divide in Germany than in US, so do not have two oppositional views on climate. Don’t have the same diversion of opinion in Europe.

Q. How can you learn and take back to journals to get them to engage a broader audience?

What can the journals do [to reap this benefit of blogs]?

A. The journal Nature Climate Change offers a possible model–it has moved to an online format, there are chat rooms. There is still a barrier to access, however. The reason is economic; when you have a print journal, have to pay for it. The access [under this business model] cannot be free to everyone. Individuals can always seek out information by going to a University library, but this is not generally done. Nature Climate Change has made a step toward broader access with online forum. Scientific journals do use a certain kind of language, but it is not journals’ responsibility to teach this to the public, it is the responsibility of each individual.

Q. Your presentation is concerned with discourse between two groups [“warmists” and “skeptics”]; how do you view the two camps and where do you sit?

A. She is still undecided on the science. She feels she cannot take either side because she does not have all the [scientific] information required. She is not a climate scientist–she is undecided. Adapting to climate change may require certain lifestyle changes, which she does embrace (such as recycling). She nonetheless believes that it is important to keep an open mind on both sides. Science never proves anything beyond doubt. Still, the question remains as to what we should do about climate change. The precautionary principle is important–it is essential to act sooner than later.

Q. Do blogs help generate new ideas and avenues of research?

A. Different roles of commenters–there is the police function, aimed at exerting power and silencing oppositional voices. Another role is productive–criticism, reinforcement, engaging information.

Q. Do you see same people serving the same role repeatedly, or do people switch roles?

A. Both. Blogs are more complex than they appear.

Q. My question is about the blogs’ influence on the relation of “normal” and “post-normal” science. Many people who post on WUWT do so because they cannot get their findings published in what they consider a biased and even corrupted climate science peer-review system. Do the blogs enable exposure of new ideas that can enter the discourse of “normal” science?

A. She only looked at Watt’s posts, and not at the guest posts that would pertain more to this question. Guest posts are written by knowledgeable people. She cannot judge whether guest posters would be able to publish what they write on WUWT. It is generally not clear whether they tried. Anyone can write anything they want–there probably are ideas that do not have peer review that can be beneficially published on blog.

Q. Do other blogs have a more balanced or “intermediate” view on climate change? I am thinking of the Judith Curry blog–is this an intermediate view on climate?

A. Judith Curry has adopted “warmist” views [views supportive of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming], in Watt’s opinion, but her blog gets many diverse comments as well. Interaction between bloggers is interesting. Most blogs have distinct viewpoints, but none encourage diverse views.

Comment from audience. Competitive discourse as on blogs may be a “purer” method of sorting out the “truth.” Aristotle used in his rhetoric. Blogs may be modern equivalent. Gecker [sp?] and Posner [sp?] at the University of Chicago have economic blog where they debate each other on economic matters using this format.

Reply. There is initiative in Europe called “deliberative democracy”–citizens have access to information and experts. It works well, although it takes a lot of effort and expense.

Comment from audience. People are generally getting very negative on blogs right now in U.S., maybe because of the political season.

Reply. She says this is part of the reason she looked at 2006-2012–she wanted to integrate over time. She wanted to control for short-term fluctuations, including seasonal and political, as a kind of “control.”

Comment from audience. There is a major misunderstanding of [your position on] blogs — you (she) is not taking a side, but rather just describing what is going on.

Reply. She agrees–she does not take sides. She is descriptive, not prescriptive. She feels very misunderstood in that regard.

Comment from audience. A book that comes to mind is Republic of Science, by Ian C. Jarvie. He edited some journal the philosophy of social science. He defends an Anglo-American norm, very much non consciously adopted by most scientists. Ravetz came out that it is the urgency of the matter that drives standards.

Reply. She replies that post-normal science does NOT promote lower standards…one of the main problems is that whether climate change is taking place, and whether anthropogenic. The other side is concerned with what to do about it after having adopted what they perceive as a scientific consensus, so the discussion between the two opposing groups is not about the same thing anymore, which makes it frustrating for both sides.

______________________________________________________________________

The representative of the host organization, CSTPR, stated that both audio and visual of this seminar will be posted on sciencepolicyColorado.edu in the next couple of weeks.

===========================================================

Comment by Anthony:

For the record, Ms. Hollender never contacted me nor asked any questions online that I am aware of. She states that she sampled seven WUWT blog posts to come to her conclusions.  As of this writing, there are 7,764 published stories, which would make her sample size 7/7764 = ~ 0.0009 or .09%. I think that if I were to do a study with a sample size that small, I’d probably be laughed at.

Since she chose what posts to sample, I have no idea what if any personal bias she might have intentionally or inadvertently introduced by her choices. I do know this though, her statement of:

Interactivity of the WUWT blog is high. No post has less than 50 comments, and the seven posts analyzed here received up to 400 comments.

The “no post has less than 50 comments” is demonstrably false. There are many many posts at WUWT which have less then 50 comments, especially in the early days of 2006 and 2007. However, even recent posts such as:

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup for 9/9/2012

…has only 7 comments, so this suggests to me that she wasn’t very careful with her sampling methods, and perhaps used personally formed opinions rather than hard data to come to that conclusion.

Also as of this writing there are 895,357 approved comments and the traffic count is at 125,607,045 views.

I don’t claim WUWT to be the perfect venue, and clearly there are many things that could be done better here, but I think the numbers speak for themselves. If there’s any other climate blog that can garner that kind of reach, please let me know. I encourage her to do an identical study on RealClimate, and note what she finds there, especially when it comes to gatekeeping.

UPDATE: Just a few minutes after posting, Fran Hollender responded in comments. Here’s that comment along with my reply:

Fran Submitted on 2012/09/11 at 9:39 pm

I wish you had consulted me on your added comments, too. In my talk I specifically said that in my sample (!), no post had less than 50 comments.

REPLY: It certainly doesn’t read that way, and you vetted the document by W. Jackson Davis before posting was done here. Not knowing which posts you sampled, I can’t confirm anything of what you talked about.

And further, how could I contact you? You’ve never revealed yourself to me or to WUWT that I am aware of….until now. But a search shows you commented under a fake name here on 02/07/2012 as “thedetroiter”.

Here’s the two comments:

===============================

thedetroiter 2012/02/07 at 4:27 am

Oh, as an addition: even here in Germany we know not to trust anything the BILD writes. Most of you won’t understand the BILDblog, but its mission is to debunk their bullshit.

Before using a BILD article as a basis for an argument, thing again. Next time maybe just enjoy the naked ladies and move on.

================================

thedetroiter Submitted on 2012/02/07 at 3:25 am

Right. Green activist, you say? Vahrenholt was a lobbyist for Shell and responsible for “improving their public image”. He now works for one of the biggest energy companies in Germany.

================================

These suggest you have biases too.

– Anthony

UPDATE2: Fran has responded to criticisms in a lengthy comment here

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September 11, 2012 9:39 pm

I wish you had consulted me on your added comments, too. In my talk I specifically said that in my sample (!), no post had less than 50 comments.
REPLY: It certainly doesn’t read that way, and you vetted the document by W. Jackson Davis before posting was done here. Not knowing which posts you sampled, I can’t confirm anything of what you talked about.
And further, how could I contact you? You’ve never revealed yourself to me or to WUWT that I am aware of….until now. But a search shows you commented under a fake name here on 02/07/2012 as “thedetroiter”.
Here’s the two comments:
===============================
thedetroiter 2012/02/07 at 4:27 am
Oh, as an addition: even here in Germany we know not to trust anything the BILD writes. Most of you won’t understand the BILDblog, but its mission is to debunk their bullshit.
Before using a BILD article as a basis for an argument, thing again. Next time maybe just enjoy the naked ladies and move on.
================================
thedetroiter Submitted on 2012/02/07 at 3:25 am
Right. Green activist, you say? Vahrenholt was a lobbyist for Shell and responsible for “improving their public image”. He now works for one of the biggest energy companies in Germany.
================================
These suggest you have biases too.
– Anthony

RockyRoad
September 11, 2012 9:47 pm

They don’t apply “gatekeeping” over at RealClimate–it’s more like “barndooring”. You’re lucky to get out unscathed if you have a contrary viewpoint.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 10:06 pm

“She is still undecided on the science. She feels she cannot take either side because she does not have all the [scientific] information required. She is not a climate scientist–she is undecided. Adapting to climate change may require certain lifestyle changes, which she does embrace (such as recycling). She nonetheless believes that it is important to keep an open mind on both sides. Science never proves anything beyond doubt. Still, the question remains as to what we should do about climate change. The precautionary principle is important–it is essential to act sooner than later.”
Well young lady, if in fact you are undecided (first sentence above) and you cannot take dies (second sentence above) because you are not a climate scientist (third sentence) you are undecided (third sentence) you keep an open mind on both sides (fifth sentence) how do you possibly conclude with your last sentence:
“It is essential to act sooner than later”
Perhaps you could explain how you can be both undecided and decided at the same time.
The rest of your talk and Q&A has glaring holes in it as well, just thought I would point that monster out to you. Welcome to the blogosphere. (And don’t try and pretend you didn’t read this, an ego the size of yours couldn’t possibly resist seeing what her “talk” prompted in response)

Doug Proctor
September 11, 2012 10:14 pm

Limited analysis: worse than none. Like a blog comment, a conversation rather than a learned disccorse.
This is the whole thing of a blog. It is not an on-line debate. It is a conversation with a crowd. Within the conversation some good things come out, but also some bad. But unlike responding to a journal article, the response is immediate and public. You are supposed to respond to a bad journal article by writing a better one. but that was before a journal article, or even the Press Elease, could influence government policy.
It strikes me that criticism of the blogosphere comes from the point of view that the blogosphere is not the traditional means of information dispersal, discussion and review. It’s like saying that the problem with this cat is that it isn’t a dog.
We enter into conversations with those we identify with or feel comfortable with. Of course there is not an equal balance of views on skeptic sites. But there isn’t on warmist sites either!
And that brings a point up: how would this study have gone if it had picked a Stoat-Connolly or a RealClimate? Same points, but backwards.
The blogosphere is not perfect, and I see partisan, emotional positions on the skeptical side. Just as on the warmist, with the difference that the skeptics are trying to prove their points by self-research and effort, while the warmists do so with appeals to authority and moral rightness (which includes the use of the Precautionary Principle). A more useful Master’s thesis would have been to analyse both camps and identify the basis of positions and strategies of defense. That would have taught us something useful: where each is really coming from, and the nature of their strategy for defending one and denying the other.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 10:15 pm

She says this is part of the reason she looked at 2006-2012–she wanted to integrate over time. She wanted to control for short-term fluctuations, including seasonal and political, as a kind of “control.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Wow. 7 posts from 2006 to 2012. You’ve “controlled” for seasonal, political and short-term fluctuations with just 7 posts over 6+ years? Seven? Who are you trying to fool, or did you simply flunk stats?

Paul Clark
September 11, 2012 10:19 pm

The post sample size, 7/7764, is 0.0009 or 0.09%.

REPLY:
Thanks, got distracted by getting kids to bed, fixed – Anthony

michaeljmcfadden
September 11, 2012 10:24 pm

I’ve recently been active on the “Watching The Deniers” blog after landing there due to an article by Simon Chapman about blog attacks. The original “Conversation” board in Australia was closed to the public just minutes after I made an extensive post questioning Simon’s attacks on “tobacco deniers” and was re-opened just long enough for him to add an unanswerable response to me.
The Watching site was more tolerant than “The Conversation,” although after three days, the moderator there indicated he wanted to shut down the comment thread as well after banning a number of Free Choice posters (excluding me, interestingly), and posted a new blog article titled “a-hive-of-scum-and-villainy-wtd-versus-the-smoking-trolls” in which he claimed the “tobacco apologists” were worse than “holocaust deniers.”
It would have been interesting if Ms. Hollender had applied a similar yardstick to that blog for comparison. Simply commenting about witty/snide/personal comments may say something about the general nature of blogs and Internet commenting… or it may not. It would depend a lot on which blog was being analyzed. Analyzing two on the opposite sides of a scientific issue would be a lot more informative than just analyzing one.
In a sense the British Medical Journal is a blog: their research studies are open for what they call “Rapid Responses,” (the comments) to the “main blog articles,” (the studies), with the Rapid Response Editor serving as invisible blogmeister/gatekeeper. I’ve never had one of my Responses turned down, but I *did* have one put on hold for several days while a reference (one that used “The Wayback Machine” to get around censorship) was questioned. Eventually, upon providing the evidence and proper link, the post was approved.
A professional level blog that screened out personal/attack/etc comments would be nice — except for the fact that the gatekeeping blogmeister would have to rise above the opinions and motivation that probably prompted them to start the blog in the first place. What would Anthony do here if there was suddenly an influx of highly literate and scientific posters launching strong and seemingly successful attacks against his points? What would “Watching The Deniers” do if the reverse happened over there? From what I’ve seen, both claim censorship from the other side, and my guess is that to at least SOME degree, there probably IS some censorship on both. I can only attest to the fact that I myself was only temporarily censored over there despite being in strong disagreement with the blog, but would also note that I know of at least one good and humorous posting by a Free Choicer, Frederik Eich, that *was* almost immediately permanently erased despite being not at all the sort of “violent” or “vitriolic” posting that was supposedly the cause of the clampdown.
Personally I think blogs should religiously eschew ALL censorship aside from blatant contentless ads and outright obscenity/illegality and simply handle “undesirable” posts by moving them to an “undesirable post” section with a note that such posts have been moved and can be seen by any who are interested.
Michael J. McFadden
Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 10:25 pm

Reply. She replies that post-normal science does NOT promote lower standards
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Oh really. Well since Ravetz runs away and hides every time I challenge him on his PNS “science” perhaps you “Fran” will step up to the plate. Ravetz, from his own definition posted on this blog defines PNS as:
“Someone has asked for a definition of post-normal science. Let’s try: when facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent, the paradigm-based puzzle-solving research confined to closed sets of practitioners is not adequate. We can call this a ‘post-normal situation’. Then there must be an ‘extended peer community’, using ‘extended facts’ which include traditional research results along with open criticism, plus data from non-traditional sources, and expressions of value commitments.”
So perhaps you can step up the plate and defend Ravetz definition which falsifies itself:
If the matter is urgent, then by definition, time to make decisions is limited. The more urgent the matter is, the LESS time there is to consult an “extended peer community”. This being the case, the PNS proposition applies to a set of circumstances that does not exist.
Ravetz runs and hides when I poin this out to him “Fran” or “the detroiter” or whatever name you want to hide behind next, so how about you step up to the plate and explain this to us?

September 11, 2012 10:27 pm

A fair amount of semantic confusion in the use of the term ‘normal’.
Normal science as defined by Kuhn, is the way most science progresses, most of the time – incremental refinement of a paradigm (theory).
For Kuhn, the opposite of ‘normal’ science was ‘new normal’ science when a new paradigm is accepted.
(from wikipedia) Post-Normal Science is a concept developed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, attempting to characterise a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for cases where “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991). It is primarily applied in the context of long-term issues where there is less available information than is desired by stakeholders.
I’d add that for many people, the term ‘pot-normal’ science has a derogatory connotation, and implies something that isn’t (real) science, or refers to ‘consensual’ science.
The semantic relationship between Kuhn’s normal science and post normal science could be made clearer by replacing the term ‘post-normal science’ with ‘inter-normal science’.
Because post-normal science is really about a state of affairs when the existing normal science paradigm (GHG AGW) is generally agreed to have failed, but no new paradigm has become generally accepted.
Which makes this statement make sense.
They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science.
Now to read the whole thing.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 10:31 pm

Q. Do blogs help generate new ideas and avenues of research?
A. Different roles of commenters–there is the police function, aimed at exerting power and silencing oppositional voices. Another role is productive–criticism, reinforcement, engaging information.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Commenters have ZERO power to silence opposition. The only people who can silence opposition are Anthony and the mods. If you actually studied the culture of this blog you would know that. But you sampled only 7 posts over 6 years and presume to know what the “roles” of various commenters are. Wow.
Question: Did it occur to you that some commenters are silenced because the positions they took on issues were torn to shreds by examination of the facts?

September 11, 2012 10:32 pm

Seems to me another attempt by progressives to change the definition of another word. Post-normal science. I guess it’s not the consensus she alludes too, but the skeptics who ask for data and code to verify the claims made. the rest of the talk was just camoflauge, to hide her bias, which she acknowledges exists. If a scientist can’t sort the wheat from the chaff on a blog post,then they must reach her conclusion that “…constructive discourse is not happening because of personal attacks and ridicule”.

Martin Lewitt
September 11, 2012 10:33 pm

From that summary, the study sounds more objective that I expected, because suspicion is definitely aroused about the motives of someone who speaks in terms of “critical discourse analysis” and “post-normal science” selects Wattsupwiththat for study. I think many of the participants that are attracted to this site are modernists, and the modern/post-modern dimension might have been and interesting one to analyze.
It sounds like the researcher might have been distracted too much by the vitriol and attacks. Those are easy for the participants to ignore, and focus on the substantive discussion. Their relative number may not be representative of their relative importance. That may be one of the characteristics of the blog medium, that serious exchanges can be taking place amidst the noise.
I would caution her about the “precautionary principle” if she is striving to be unbiased, that is controversial itself.
I don’t think that it is fair to call this site “censored”, serious substantive disputing of positions is allowed here, while it isn’t at RealClimate. If someone is civil, interactive and not spamming with material they don’t understand and can’t defend, I doubt they will get censored.
If she is curious about the science, I would challenge her to take the position that while warming is occurring there is no model independent evidence that the net feedback to CO2 forcing is positive rather than negative, and that the model diagnostic issues are too large for them to be credible in attribution and projection of an energy imbalance this small. See if anyone can credibly challenge this assessment.

September 11, 2012 10:40 pm

It’s a long time since I read Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Kuhn calls the period between the failure of the old paradigm and the acceptance of a new paradigm, as ‘revolutionary science’, which is what I meant by ‘inter-normal science’.
Which makes WUWT a forum for revolutionary science and entirely within the Popperian/Kuhnian view of science. No need to invoke ‘post-modern science’. Occam’s Razor and all that.

george e smith
September 11, 2012 10:44 pm

I noticed the comment on a paucity of responses to the weekly climate news roundup (on a particular date.
For the record, I read that column religiously but seldom post responses to it. But it is one of my go to sources and I hope you continue to post it. I do miss Fred Singer’s doings from time to time, but I read the weekly regularly; at least once a week.
George

September 11, 2012 10:47 pm

Ms. Hollender is making a contribution by her lights. She has not dug very deeply to be sure; but she has concluded there are “gatekeepers” and that there is a strong bias towards “normal” science here at WUWT.
And she’s right. If you “just make stuff up” (which is effectively what “post normal science” embraces) you will tend to have the WUWT gate slammed in your face. Especially if you are rude.
Down the hill, in the little pub I frequent, a bunch of guys stand around the bar about 10:30 at night and discuss stuff. Some are righties, some from the left. Iphones supply facts, hockey is discussed (we’re in Canada, eh), and all are welcome. Unless and until a guy is rude or makes up his own facts. Do that a couple of times and you are excluded from the conversation.
The top level posts at WUWT are intelligent, fact driven and often scientifically interesting…the comments are sometimes brilliant but, more often, in the line of a pub bar chat. People either get that or they don’t. No one has to come to this particular blog; but we do because we like the company and learn a lot.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 10:56 pm

Martin Lewitt;
If she is curious about the science,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
But she isn’t. She says she had no opinion, she doesn’t take sides, etc etc. Then she says we should act “now”. Odd that someone who says she has no opinion about the science nontheless presumes to know what we should do about it!
She is nothing more than a rent seeker. Despite being from Europe, she did her amazingly inept study (7 posts over 6+ years!) on American blogs. Ooops, make that a SINGLE American blog. Now she has wangled herself a trip to the United States to give a talk on her study of… and American blog. You’d think if she was really interested in the blogosphere, she’s have studied MANY blogs. If she was really interested in how blogs affect the climate debate, she’d have studied MANY climate blogs and she would have studied skeptic, warmist and lukewarmist blogs alike. What possible value could be generated by studying ONE blog in ONE country and then travel to that country to talk about it?
To get a job. That’s the value. The value is to her, and her alone. She’s trying to make a name for herself and get a position in an American institution. If she had studied any number of European blogs, and there are lots, on both sides of the issue, would it have made any sense for her to travel to America to present on them?
No, she chose a single blog, not because studying it advanced anyone’s knowledge of anything in any substantive way. She chose a single blog because it was in the US, giving her the excuse to travel to the US and get maximum exposure for her talk with minimum effort. She’s a rent seeker looking for a position at an American institution.
That’s my opinion, I am entitled to it, and if she doesn’t respond to defend herself, I expect that makes me a “policeman”? Or just pointing out the PNS?

JJ
September 11, 2012 10:57 pm

Normal science (as promulgated by Thomas Kuhn) is seen as the goal by bloggers above all else.
Nonsense. What Thomas Kuhn described and promulgated and is described here as “Normal Science” is anathema to most sceptic bloggers. “Normal Science” is rife with cliquishness, restricted access, and adherence to dogma until “paradigm” shift is forced. What most scpetic bloggers see as the goal is normal science, AKA just plain old science. Ala Popper, not Kuhn. “Normal Science” is not desired, it is simply that “Post Normal Science” is (rightly) rejected with (appropriate) enthusiasm for the anti-science political rabbit trail that it is.
However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community.
No. Providing people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide fits perfectly with the principles of normal science. It just doesn’t fit within “Normal Science”. The solution to the deficiences of non-scientific practice within “Normal Science” is to apply normal science in heaping spoonfuls.
Blogs are an underrated media arena and need to be taken more seriously in academia–extended peer review works very well in the Blogosphere, but constructive discourse is not happening because of personal attacks and ridicule
No. Constructive discourse is happening on the blogs. There is certainly personal attack and ridicule, and some of that is also constructive discourse. The two are not mutually exclusive.
She personally takes no position on climate change in order to remain objective in her analysis. She is unbiased, deliberately avoids sitting in either of the corners.
AKA, she is self-deceptive and/or untruthful. Her formulation of the topic demonstrates extreme bias:
In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.
To suggest “socially constructed language” such as that represents a cognitive position absent bias is assinine.
Reply. She agrees–she does not take sides. She is descriptive, not prescriptive. She feels very misunderstood in that regard.
Perhaps if she chose to frame her inquiry using descriptions that were not derogatory and indicative of an echo chamber mentality, she wouldn’t feel so misunderstood.
The above is constructive discourse, preparing to be dismissed out of hand as “police function” yada, yada, yada.

Crispin in Waterloo
September 11, 2012 11:09 pm

I regularly post at two blogs, this one and another which is populated by warmists mostly. I have not had a post declined at either. I have directly challenged a well read and well educated warmist to a debate and get no answer. He knows I am too well read to be swayed by the usual appeals to authority and diversionary references to discredited papers, refereed or not.
I concur that Real Climate is the leading ‘dark’ in terms of naked propaganda and censorship while simultaneously avoiding scientific debate. WUWT is the leading ‘light’ in the opposite regard.
FYI, Judith is not a warmist, she is a scientist first and last. That is why she started her blog. Climate Audit is another high end chat room and is an important adjunct to WUWT.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 11:13 pm

Reply. She replies that post-normal science does NOT promote lower standards
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
She’s right. Since post-normal science addresses only situations which, by the definition of PNS, are urgent, the opportunity to consult with people who have no direct expertise in the matter doesn’t actually exist so the standards cannot be lower or higher.

dp
September 11, 2012 11:15 pm

Oh my freaking god it is possible to be a bigger idiot? This nit creates an insulted population and then uses the expected response to show they are unruly and rude. This is Walmart shopper science. That is where someone goes to a Walmart store and videotapes the least flattering patrons and then makes the case that Walmart shoppers fit the mold thus created. It is self-fulfilling. All but a moron can see the fallacy. It does not surprise me he has gotten pissy about this post. We’re not accepting his prejudices and it is a travesty we’re not. [snip]

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 11:22 pm

“In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?”
Before I retire for the evening, I shall ask this one question of you “Fran” in the hope that you answer on the morrow.
Do you know the name of the last major European leader who characterized a certain group of people as being a problem and what to “do with” them? Do you have any idea who you are channeling?

September 11, 2012 11:24 pm

Regardless of the accuracy of my scientific or personal views, I try to demonstrate integrity.
Integrity is something else missing from the study and the authors claims.

cui bono
September 11, 2012 11:27 pm

More social scientists investigating sceptic blogs? It seems to be the order of the day.
A more useful exercise, clearly, would have been to compare WUWT with a popular pro-AGW blog, if there is one. The degree of gatekeeping is only part of the difference; WUWT has a wonderful, light sense of humour amid the serious points, which is totally absent from the zealotry of the bash-the-sceptic efforts.
An even more useful exercise would be to look at the innumerable occasions where posts and comments on this blog have forced corrections to pro-AGW work, including post peer-reviewed papers.
“Contrarian Blogs: Do They Make a Difference?” – much better paper, imo.
Answer: yes, despite battling great adversity.

davidmhoffer
September 11, 2012 11:27 pm

OK, that was two questions. Maybe I flunked stats too. Or maybe I’m too angry about someone having the unmitigated gall to look at 7 posts over 6+ years on a single blog and then yap on about what “to do” with people like me and it has affected my ability to count.
But that’s what PNS does to people’s brains. It substitutes opinions in the place of facts and justifies itself in the process. So by PNS standards, I only asked one question. Ask any number of “contrarians” that you wish to know what to “do with” and I’m sure they will back me up.

September 11, 2012 11:31 pm

JJ says:
September 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm
Nonsense. What Thomas Kuhn described and promulgated and is described here as “Normal Science” is anathema to most sceptic bloggers. “Normal Science” is rife with cliquishness, restricted access, and adherence to dogma until “paradigm” shift is forced.

Agree completely and Kuhn describes how the bulk of scientists persist with ‘normal science’ in a paradigm long after it has clearly failed. In Kuhn”s terminology, ‘normal science’ can be considered a synonym for ‘failed theory’ (when the revolutionary science phase has started).
Ms Hollende needs to read the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where she will find a very good framework for describing the current state of climate science – climate scientists persist with normal science (ie a failed theory) during the revolutionary science phase. With blogs hosting the revoutionary science.

September 11, 2012 11:34 pm

Post normal science as I deduce it from the definitions in this blog, has nothing to do with science but with what one wants. Science in a way is boring because is involves the counting of “beans”, on the other hand if the “beans” counting fits, or leads to something, it may become (very) exciting.

Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001)
September 11, 2012 11:34 pm

Reading W. Jackson Davis’ vetted account of Hollender’s presentation (notwithstanding some “red flag”** alerts therein) initially led me to think that Anthony’s criticism might have been somewhat on the harsh side. Particularly in light of the Lewspew™ we’ve seen of late.
** First red flag for me was Hollender’s:

Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.

Whatever might have happened to the third option, I wondered. Oh, well, I said to myself, perhaps she’s been inordinately influenced (unbeknownst to her) by so much MSM oft recycled articulation of this particular alarmist PR meme.
As a person with an open mind, who is not as familiar with the the current “social science” jargon as she probably should be, I was prepared to grant her some leeway for her (somewhat naïve and yet another red flag):

Master’s thesis–a small scale study by a graduate student […] in-depth case study rather than overview of the field. [emphasis added -hro]

What “field” might this be, I wondered. Oh, well, this is only a master’s thesis … probably good enough for citation in the IPCC’s AR5, but as a small-scale “case-study” not to be taken seriously as a representation of … well … anything!
Why am I reading this again, I asked myself. “Self,” I said, “Compare this with the Lewspew™ we’ve seen of late – and L’s manifestations of multitudinous machinations of Machiavellian madness.”
With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve come to the conclusion that “relativity” is a bummer that can lead one to granting a modicum of credit where further revelations strongly suggest it was never due.
Anthony, please accept my apologies.

mfo
September 11, 2012 11:40 pm

thedetroiter
“Next time maybe just enjoy the naked ladies and move on.”
Would she class her own words as vitriol. I don’t. I read them as humor, in the same way as the peanut and Zoloft comments were jokes.
Analysis of only one blog, using only 0.09% of posts, unsubstantiated accusations of censorship (“deleted by the site manager”) and a desire that comments should be controlled (“there is no formal mechanism to keep the comments on track.”), shows a very narrow thought process.
A quick search on Google reveals two blogs connected to the name ‘thedetroiter’.
http://thedetroiter.wordpress.com/about/
http://screwkyoto.wordpress.com/about/
Are they perhaps connected to our Fran? Would they make a good subject for analysis?

Carsten Arnholm, Norway
September 11, 2012 11:41 pm

sdsparky says:
September 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm
Seems to me another attempt by progressives to change the definition of another word. Post-normal science.

I read it the same way, and was about to make the same comment. But you came first.

Scottish Sceptic
September 11, 2012 11:41 pm

This post seems to be based on a fundamental misconception of the nature of science. Science is not a social construct any more than maths is a social construct. You cannot have a group of people sit in a room and come up with a new consensus that 2+2=5. What people think, the actual social context, does not change the evidence. interpretation is a social construct, the evidence is not. Science is a methodology. The social construct is the acceptance and use of that methodology. Normal and post normal refer to a philosophical change (affecting all subjects) away from objectivity and toward subjectivity. As science is an objective methodology it doesn’t fit this description. Science is evidence based. post normal “science” is subjectivity based … they are incompatible.
There are people who try to as objective as they can but are forced by the lack of evidence and testability to be subjective. But because only that which is objective is “science”, the more and more you include subjective assessments, the less if becomes science. In reality science or total objectivity is a goal rather than something that can be achieved, but as the goal of science is to be objective and “post normal” in effect means “subjective”, you cannot have “Post normal” science any more than you can have “touchy feely maths”.
Science works because advocates focus on objective measurements and testable hypothesis. Both of these allow reproducibility and largely remove or allow verification of observer bias.
Post normal “science” is really just a con trick to allow the legitimisation of observer bias. And climate academia is the epiphany of what you get when you have post normal “science”… a subject devoid of much if any real concrete data, where the quality of data is ignored, where verification is almost frowned upon, where all criticism is considered with contempt and where almost everything stemming from that rotten cesspit is observer bias.
All observers are biased, but the aim of science is to remove that bias. Post normal science says: “observer bias is fine because its a normal social construct of an imperfect society and it’s not possible to be free from observer bias so it should be the goal to be free from it”.
All observers are biased, I am biased, and my bias is that when academics get off their back sides and stop trying to create baseless social & philosophical constructs to rationalise their own prejudices and start doing the job they are paid to do: good quality data used to construct verifiable hypothesis that work in practice not as sound bites after the latest flood, drought, snowstorm, heatwave, …. then you will have science people can trust.

David Ross
September 11, 2012 11:48 pm

Hostile comments prohibit an open and constructive discourse
dissenting comments … are viciously attacked … attacks on views expressed
Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace
Plans to disrupt and intervene in her presentation were posted.
constructive discourse is not happening because of personal attacks and ridicule
Blogs would work better without the non-constructive discourse.
Analyzing the seven WUWT posts, she finds discursive strategies on WUWT to include ridicule, personal attacks, and name-calling.

Hollender seems to think we “contrarians” are a pretty hostile bunch, viciously attacking, with our wacky notions like “post-normal” science being nothing but a load of neo-Marxist claptrap.
REALLY?
Culture, Politics, and Climate Change
AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER
SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2012
http://www.climateculturepolitics.com/program/
You can access a pdf of the final program by clicking on the cover image below.
http://www.climateculturepolitics.com/docs/CPCCONLINEProgramFinal.pdf
Franziska Hollender is listed as a speaker on p.31
And on p.27 under “Featured Speakers & Presenters”
p.27
Craig Rosebraugh
Who is Craig Rosebraugh?

The Face of Eco-Terrorism
New York Times, December 20, 1998
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/20/magazine/the-face-of-eco-terrorism.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
[…]
Craig Rosebraugh stands out in Portland — among activists, at least — as the guy who spoke up on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front, a group that, through Rosebraugh, took credit for burning down a mountaintop ski resort in Vail in October … the largest act of eco-terrorism ever in the United States. But Rosebraugh jumped in quickly to put the movement’s spin on it. …on behalf of the underground E.L.F, for which he is now the public face. … In deep spin mode, he told another reporter, ”To me, Vail expanding into lynx habitat is eco-terrorism.”
[…]
In Portland, on the day after Thanksgiving, Rosebraugh was due any minute at the Activist Resource Center, a storefront in Portland’s Old Town, where his Liberation Collective is based. … The resource center’s interior is decorated with large photos of animals being experimented upon and signs that say ”McDeath” and ”The F.B.I. Are the Real Terrorists.
Environmental activist takes the Fifth, is threatened with contempt citation
Seattle Post Imtelligencer, Tuesday, February 12, 2002
http://www.seattlepi.com/national/article/Environmental-activist-takes-the-Fifth-is-1080192.php
WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee yesterday vowed to pursue contempt charges against a former leader of an environmental group linked to fire bombings in the Northwest after he frustrated lawmakers by refusing to answer questions.
The threat was directed to Craig Rosebraugh, a former senior official with the Earth Liberation Front after Rosebraugh invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 40 times during an appearance before the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
Rosebraugh refused to answer questions about where ELF gets its funding and who is paying his attorney’s fees. He appeared only after the subcommittee subpoenaed him.
Each time he replied: “I’ll take the Fifth Amendment.”
[…]
The hearing was held to consider legislation to crack down on what officials say is the growing violence and brazenness of some environmental groups. Among the examples was a firebomb attack May 21 on the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture that caused $5.3 million damage. ELF took credit for the attack.
The group has also been linked to a 1998 arson in Olympic National Forest that caused $1.9 million in damage as well as a report last year of “several hundred” spiked trees in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
In the most infamous case, ELF took credit for a firebombing in Vail, Colo., which destroyed a restaurant, four ski lifts and other structures to protest the expansion of ski resorts. Officials estimated the damage to be between $12 million and $26 million.
[…]
But in testimony he submitted but did not read, Rosebraugh’s ideology was clear. “I fully praise those individuals who take direct action, by any means necessary, to stop the destruction of the natural world and threat to all life,” the statement said.
“They are the heroes, risking their freedom and lives so that we as a species as well as all life forms can continue to exist on the planet.”
TERROR TAKES THE FIFTH
New York Post, Feb 18, 2002
http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/nypost/access/108695054.html?dids=108695054:108695054&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Feb+18%2C+2002&author=Stefan+C.+Friedman&pub=New+York+Post&desc=TERROR+TAKES+THE+FIFTH&pqatl=google
Craig Rosebraugh is the snide “former spokesperson” of ELF – the Earth Liberation Front, a group of radicals who commit arson and other violent crimes in the name of environmentalism.
Also testifying before the House Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health was FBI Domestic Terrorism Chief James F. Jarboe … he puts the ELF near the top of the most dangerous domestic terrorist groups : “They’re the most active,” according to Jarboe. “They cause the most damage.”
While a couple of dozen people have been arrested for ELF-related crimes, Craig Rosebraugh is the best link to ELF’s core. He’s been subpoenaed seven times and has yet to say a word. The subcommittee’s now threatening to hold him in contempt of Congress – a crime that could allow prosecutors to throw Rosebraugh in jail until he starts talking.
Bill Donahue, Oct 1, 2005
http://www.inc.com/magazine/20051001/rosebraugh.html
From 1997 to 2001, Rosebraugh was, famously, a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front
[…]
In 1998, The New York Times Magazine called Rosebraugh the “Face of Ecoterrorism.” In 2002, Congress summoned him to testify. FBI and ATF agents raided his house twice. Rosebraugh was unmoved. He went on to found the Arissa Media Group, a nonprofit with the stated purpose of pushing for a revolution in the U.S.A. Through Arissa, he then published his own book, The Logic of Political Violence, which bore on its cover a photo of the World Trade Center engulfed in orangey black flames.
The Face Of Eco-Terrorism
CBS, February 11, 2009
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/04/11/eveningnews/main182898.shtml
He bakes vegetarian food for a living but in his other life, Craig Rosebraugh is the spokesman for the most radical eco-terrorist group in America, CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.
Does Rosebraugh think that arson helps to win over public debate in this country? “That’s not the immediate goal,” he replies. “The immediate goal is to cause economic damage.”
[…]
Rosebraugh sees the Michigan State fire as a legitimate act of protest, saying the use of arson against that program was justified. “I see an increase in the number of actions committed by the Earth Liberation Front, not only in the number of actions, but in the intensity of the actions,” he says.
That kind of talk has put Rosebraugh in the middle of a federal grand jury investigation. In February the ATF and FBI seized Rosebraugh’s files and computer records, looking for a link to the actual terrorists.
“We’re hoping to find evidence of the crimes themselves,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer. “His objective is the support of these organizations. He supports the terror.”
Rosebraugh has refused to answer grand jury questions about the ELFHe has said many times he doesn’t really know any of their members or anything about their crimes. So why would he risk going to jail for people he doesn’t know? “I’m protecting an ideology which I believe in,” he says.
At the same time, university research labs and federal agents nationwide are on alert for this new kind of domestic terrorism. As for Rosebraugh, he’s now been offered immunity for his testimony, so any further defiance of the grand jury could bring jail.
Daryl Hannah Boards ‘Greedy Lying Bastards’ Documentary as Executive Producer
Hollywood Reporter, 2/7/2012
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/daryl-hannah-greedy-lying-bastards-documentary-287654
Craig Rosebraugh‘s film is an investigation of the influence the fossil fuel industry has had on the political process and efforts to combat climate change.
Daryl Hannah has signed on as executive producer of the documentary Greedy Lying Bastards, directed by first-time filmmaker Craig Rosebraugh. The $1.5 million film is an investigation of the influence the fossil fuel industry has had on the political process and efforts to combat climate change.
[…]

Contrast the above with the whitewashed bio of Rosebraugh presented in the conference brochure.
I find it inconceivable that the conference organizers, each of whom is involved with environmental journalism, could be unaware of the nature Rosebraugh’s past and current activities. Excluding that information from the brochure is not the action of honest journalists.
As long as people like Rosebraugh keep getting invited to their conferences, my opinion of Ms. Hollender and other “post-normalists” will not change.
——————
Afterthought
Ms. Hollender, you are young and possibly naive. I am older and probably more cynical. Were you aware of Craig Rosebraugh’s past? If you were not aware, how do you view his attendance at the conference? Does it trouble you in any way?

DirkH
September 11, 2012 11:48 pm

“Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted. ”
She said that? She suggests stopping to discuss the science basis, and advance the discourse by changing how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.
Excuse me, I switch to German for a moment.
Franziska Hollender, wenn Sie das hier lesen:
Wir lesen Sie. Wir verstehen, was Sie bezwecken. Sie sind eine Ideologin, keine Wissenschaftlerin.
Wir werden Ihren Untergang geniessen.

September 11, 2012 11:53 pm

First paragraph, first sentence.
“I did this study because this “mediated” society [one blanketed with diverse media] calls the integrity of science into question.”
Fell at the first fence. Strawman up & the rest is just knocking it down. A Masters is obviously a cakewalk nowadays. In passing, that’s not the accepted definition of “mediated”, but wtf …
Pointman

BB
September 11, 2012 11:53 pm

As in the impartial Franziska Hollender that said;
“Climate change is not something to ‘believe’ in, it’s a fact. Why laypeople always try to argue on the science, I’ll never understand. It hasn’t been a scientific issue for quite a while, what remains is a political issue…
Is this you Ms Hollender? Comment on Jan 16?
http://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=279399835447659&id=132274126826898&_ft_a=132274126826898&_ft_tf=279399835447659&_ft_tpi=132274126826898&_ft_ti=22&_ft_fth=30866372050415eb&_ft_time_ft=1327915542&_ft_mf_objid=279399835447659

Richard Phillips
September 12, 2012 12:00 am

Come on, guys, this is just student work. And she’s bound to have been influenced the indoctrination prevalent in Europe. It’s probably taking her a while to recover from the shock of seeing that other views are possible. I guess she was surprised to find the anti-AGW case put so clearly and convincingly, but didn’t want to upset her teachers by saying so.
I actually think some parts of it are quite good, e.g.:
‘Using the highly ranked blog ‘Watts up with that’ as a case study, discourse analysis of seven posts including almost 1600 user comments reveals that blogs are able to unveil components and purposes of the contrarian discourse that traditional media are not. They serve as extended peer communities as put forth by post-normal science, however, blog users themselves do not see post-normal science as a desirable goal. Furthermore, avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic performances of accountability, forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.’
Putting it like that seems to me to be accurate, as things should be, and an acknowledgment of the key role played by WUWT & other blogs.
I know there’s other stuff in the assignment which is dodgy, but so there is in all or most pieces of student work I get to mark.

Agnostic
September 12, 2012 12:03 am

I think the analyses generally was pretty balanced and her characterisation of WUWT pretty accurate, notwithstanding Anthony’s valid points in response.
I also think it was a worthy thing to have attempted, and as good a start as could have been hoped for. I wonder what Judith Curry would make of this – this is an area of great interest to her.

Mark and two Cats
September 12, 2012 12:06 am

davidmhoffer said:
September 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm
“In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?”
————————————–
That bothered me too.
She goes on to say: “Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.”
Only two possibilities, huh? And both negative.
In her thedetroiter guise, she wrote: “Before using a BILD article as a basis for an argument, [think] again. Next time maybe just enjoy the naked ladies and move on.”
I tried, but bildblog is down 🙁

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:07 am

Re Franziska’s undercover comments:
“thedetroiter 2012/02/07 at 4:27 am
Oh, as an addition: even here in Germany we know not to trust anything the BILD writes. Most of you won’t understand the BILDblog, but its mission is to debunk their bullshit.
Before using a BILD article as a basis for an argument, thing again. Next time maybe just enjoy the naked ladies and move on.”
This is the typical meme brought forward by German leftists, akin to US Fox News bashing. It should be pointed out that BILD brought an interview with Fritz Vahrenholt (author of Die Kalte Sonne) before Franziska’s cherished Der Spiegel (German equivalent to the NYT) did.
So, Franziska, can we get your apology now?

Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001)
September 12, 2012 12:08 am

Anthony, Mods
I don’t think I used any bad words, but my http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/11/a-review-of-the-seminar-the-contrarian-discourse-in-the-blogosphere-what-are-blogs-good-for-anyway/#comment-1076321 [September 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm] seems to be stuck in moderation
Several posts later than mine have have appeared. I know you’re all busy and many thanks for all you do, but could you check the spam-trap?!
Thanks
Hilary
REPLY: I don’t see anything – Anthony

John West
September 12, 2012 12:10 am

“The precautionary principle is important–it is essential to act sooner than later.”
That’s not a sound basis for making a decision and reveals a lack of objectivity. Should I not eat since my food may have been poisoned? Risk analysis, Cost/Benefit analysis, and Option Evaluations are sound bases for making decisions. In Emergency Management the “Do Nothing” option is always evaluated; I contend that has yet to be seriously evaluated by academia.

DBCooper
September 12, 2012 12:12 am

“Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”
I am completely baffled by what she said. It sounds a lot like the warmist propaganda that their only problem is communicating with the “deniers.” If the science basis is not important, why are we even discussing CAGW? It’s a lot easier simply to dismiss it out of hand.

Tom Harley
September 12, 2012 12:12 am

Post normal science #pocket-liner …

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:13 am

Richard Phillips says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:00 am
“Come on, guys, this is just student work. And she’s bound to have been influenced the indoctrination prevalent in Europe.”
I’m a native German and I can tell you that leftism/environmentalism was virulent since my school days in the 70ies. The flawed reasoning and screaming of the leftists left me unimpressed since I was a teenager. I deeply mistrusted them; they were the obvious examples of community organizing, collectivists by nature, incapable of developing an idea on their own.
So, it IS possible to grow up and study in Europe without being impressed by the weird movements around you, ESPECIALLY because you get told in school in Germany at least how easily the Naz1s agitated the people.
Uncritical thinkers are uncritical thinkers and that’s that, and Franziska is one of them. No excuses for following the pied piper (A GERMAN fairytale that ALSO should have told her SOMETHING.)

Maus
September 12, 2012 12:17 am

“Reply. She replies that post-normal science does NOT promote lower standards…one of the main problems is that whether climate change is taking place, and whether anthropogenic. The other side is concerned with what to do about it after having adopted what they perceive as a scientific consensus, so the discussion between the two opposing groups is not about the same thing anymore, which makes it frustrating for both sides.”
There’s a lot of good commentary, color and critical, otherwise. But the passage quoted here sums up the entire quandry rather nicely. Worth noting is that a ‘scientific consensus’ is simply a paradigm qua Kuhn. That is, it is a purely philosophical position as there’s certainly no need for consensus on experiments. You simply go out and replicate them; belief is wholly unnecessary.
Which puts a rather fine point on the clip-art line “… forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.” For we are not speaking of science as science to prove it reliability and integrity. We are speaking of Philosophy, called science for rhetorical reasons, to prove it’s reliability and integrity.
And this is why there are two different sets of conversations. In the one there is a discussion of epistemic issues and replicable experimentation. In the other there is a discussion amongst those with shared philosophical commitments about police functions to silence voices that are oppositional to those philosophical commitments. Or, to put it bluntly, one side is discussing what to do with empiricism and the other side is discussing what to do with heretics.

William
September 12, 2012 12:17 am

Curiously, Hollender claims ignorance or neutrality concerning the science of extreme AGW.
The science does not support extreme AGW. The planet is not warming in accordance with the IPCC predictions. The IPCC general circulation models amplify CO2 warming (positive feedback).
Analysis of top of the atmosphere radiation from satellite vs ocean surface temperature indicates the planet resists warming or cooling changes (negative feedback) by increasing or decreasing cloud cover in the tropics.
The extreme warming IPCC predictions of 1.5C to 5C warming for a doubling of CO2 require that the planet amplifies the CO2 warming which is positive feedback. If the planet’s feedback response to a change in force is negative a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming with most of the warming occurring at high latitude regions of the planet which will cause the biosphere to expand.
There is no extreme AGW warming problem to solve.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/09/uah-global-temperature-update-for-august-2012-0-34-deg-c/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/06/uah-global-temperature-up-06c-not-much-change/
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf
On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000-2008) satellite instruments. … ….We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity….
…However, warming from a doubling of CO2 would only be about 1C (based on simple calculations where the radiation altitude and the Planck temperature depend on wavelength in accordance with the attenuation coefficients of wellmixed CO2 molecules; a doubling of any concentration in ppmv produces the same warming because of the logarithmic dependence of CO2’s absorption on the amount of CO2) (IPCC, 2007)….
…This modest warming is much less than current climate models suggest for a doubling of CO2. Models predict warming of from 1.5C to 5C and even more for a doubling of CO2. Model predictions depend on the ‘feedback’ within models from the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds. Within all current climate models, water vapor increases with increasing temperature so as to further inhibit infrared cooling. Clouds also change so that their visible reflectivity decreases, causing increased solar absorption and warming of the earth….
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/04/11/a-new-global-warming-alarmist-tactic-real-temperature-measurements-dont-matter/
A New Global Warming Alarmist Tactic: Real Temperature Measurements Don’t Matter
What do you do if you are a global warming alarmist and real-world temperatures do not warm as much as your climate model predicted? Here’s one answer: you claim that your model’s propensity to predict more warming than has actually occurred shouldn’t prejudice your faith in the same model’s future predictions. Thus, anyone who points out the truth that your climate model has failed its real-world test remains a “science denier.”
This, clearly, is the difference between “climate science” and “science deniers.” Those who adhere to “climate science” wisely realize that defining a set of real-world parameters or observations by which we can test and potentially falsify a global warming theory is irrelevant and so nineteenth century. Modern climate science has gloriously progressed far beyond such irrelevant annoyances as the Scientific Method.
Is Hollender aware commercial greenhouses inject CO2 into the greenhouse to increase yield and reduce growing times? The optimum level of CO2 from the standpoint of plants is 1000 ppm to 1500 ppm. It is now at 400 ppm. The yield for cereal crops for instances increases by 40% when grown in an test environment with CO2 at 780 ppm. CO2 is not a poison. We are carbon based life forms.
Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas and a minor constituent in the air we breathe. It comprises only .04% [ 400 parts per million, or PPM] of the atmosphere, but is virtually important to all life on this planet!
Plants are made up of about 90% carbon and water with other elements like nitrogen calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and trace elements making up only a small percentage. Almost all the carbon in plants comes from this minor 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air.
http://hor134.blogspot.com.es/2007/11/module-12-co2-fertilization-and.html

DBCooper
September 12, 2012 12:25 am

“Not all of this is true for WUWT–there is definitely gate-keeping, however. Certain kind of comments are welcome, while others are deleted by the site manager (gate-keeper).”
Gracious sakes alive! What is her definition of “gate-keeper” and could we have some examples?
“Analyzing the seven WUWT posts, she finds discursive strategies on WUWT to include ridicule, personal attacks, and name-calling. She says this is formally discouraged on the site, but nonetheless occurs.”
So there’s gate-keeping and failure to gate-keep? Something must have been lost in the translation (from German?)
“I used principles of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, Wodak). ”
Checking Wikipedia, I find http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_analysis. Frankly that whole article makes no sense. Apparently she divines hidden meanings or motives in material that she deconstructs. It’s “social science” at its highest level of nonsense.

James Allison
September 12, 2012 12:26 am

jaycurrie says:
September 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm
Spot on Jay Currie. Additionally non scientists struggling to understand technical posts can ask an honest question without fear of a put-down or snide reply.

David Ross
September 12, 2012 12:26 am

Anthony wrote:

But a search shows you commented under a fake name here on 02/07/2012 as “thedetroiter”.

Which may explain her silence now. Despite her claims of impartiality she has interfered with the subject of her study. You don’t suppose the threads she commented on were among her sample. She might have jeopardized her PhD. Wait, what am I saying, this is post-normal science we’re dealing with. But … Fake name, posing as skeptic (or at least not warmist), meaninglessly small sample size … kinda reminds me of Lewandowsky.
Still, I for one, am going to be a lot more respectful to Fraulein Hollender. Who knows, she could be one those calling the shots in that New World Order thingy we conspiro-contrarians are always talking about. [sarc]

thedetroiter
I’m bold, different and invent myself new every single day. I care a great deal about the world and one day, you’ll see me on TV making major decisions for the UN.
Joined: July 2005
I am: Female and Single
Occupation: Student
Contacts
[…]
floho Florian Hollender
http://www.flickr.com/people/detroiter/

F. Ross
September 12, 2012 12:31 am

“…There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked. Self-selection of contributors therefore takes place, under the influence of and to avoid prospective attacks on views expressed.
…”

The above statement is, in my opinion untrue about WUWT. There have been many articles posted in which there are close to equal numbers of dissenting posts. It has been my observation that respectfully worded dissents comments are answered with respect by those who disagree with them.
Those who post intentionally provocative statements [“trolls”] are sometimes dealt with in the same tone and manner of the provocateur’s post.
The discerning researcher should have noted that the Anthony and moderaters only step in when the comments may be too acerbic, off topic, harrassing, have an invalid email address, etc.
The researcher should have based her results on a much larger sample. Perhaps there was some cherry-picking in her selection of posts(?)

Caleb
September 12, 2012 12:32 am

I find it interesting that “Post-normal” is defined in ways different from the way I myself do.
I personally define “normal” science as the study of the Truth, and thus a beautiful thing. (“Truth is Beauty,” and so on.)
Scientists, on the other hand, are merely human. Like all of us, they have flaws. When a new idea comes along, (for example, “Continental Drift,”) they likely will be skeptical. This is especially true if the new idea in some way undermines the validity of their own work. However, even while skeptical, they must not willingly embrace dishonesty and untruthfulness.
I define “post-normal” science as a corruption of these strict standards. Dishonesty is allowed, if it serves a political goal. The idea that “the ends justify the means” allows dishonesty and untruthfulness.
Personally, I feel this is a huge mistake. If you allow false data, while building a bridge, the bridge likely will fall down. I see this in history.
Dictators are merely human, and always seem to be tempted by a “might makes right” mentality which excludes voices which attempt to point out Truth which the dictator dislikes. Because the dictator is ignoring Truth, the social construct he heads tends to collapse, though not always in his lifetime. “The rise of X,” is only on the bookshelves in the short term, before it is replaced by “The rise and fall of X.”
Truth belongs to no one man, and if you abuse it, you lose it.

Steve (Paris)
September 12, 2012 12:33 am

What strikes me is that Franziska Hollender is from or at least lives in Vienna, the home of the celebrated coffee house/cafe society. Greats such as Von Neuman (on the science side) and Koestler (in lit. and politics) honed their thinking skills in such an enviroment. The open access debates in nanotechnology (http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/periodicals/open_alist.php?letter=P) are directly inspired by such informal forums. You’d think she would have made such a connection.
Enjoy your coffeee.

Laurie
September 12, 2012 12:38 am

How disappointing. Did Ms. Hollender get a stipend or travel expense reimbursement from the Education and Outreach department’s grant funds (US taxpayer money) for her little talk? Were there no examples from Watts’ posts to illustrate her points? We really shouldn’t let students speak to the public before they’ve learned something. The humiliating memory of the event will haunt them for years. It’s like asking a pre-med student to perform neurosurgery. Not really fair to the student.

Keitho
Editor
September 12, 2012 12:38 am

I have not yet read all of the comments here so if I am rehashing I apologise.
The real nub of what she is saying is that WUWT is being run in a way that she doesn’t like and it would be better if it was run in a way she approves of. That would make the site infinitely less useful, productive and accesible which may well be what she would prefer. However I feel that this site is exceptional in its tolerance and hence the exposure of so many points of view that can be debated and learned from.
Yes there are certainly contributions that are trivial or facile but my hope would be that such commenters would go on to up their game. There are the obvious trolls who over time wither away only to be replaced by others but so what, we all quickly fly over them. The real thing is that WUWT provides a wonderful space for learning about science, current trends in Climate and about oneself. I have seen many contributors refine their arguments and even shift their positions over time.
It is no wonder that WUWT has become such a popular site or that its reach extends into the MSM now. Open, tolerant and genuinely skeptical are its attributes and they so perfectly reflect the character of our host.
Thank you Anthony.

mfo
September 12, 2012 12:39 am

“She is still undecided on the science. She feels she cannot take either side because she does not have all the [scientific] information required. She is not a climate scientist–she is undecided.”
“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
Is this you Fran?
“In the last weeks, I have devoted my time to my studies, making a lot of progress. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when reading the climate change contrarian blogs that I’m using for my research, it is definitely not a study for the faint hearted. But I’m biting my way through, because ultimately, I hope that my work will contribute to understanding better how to develop an action basis for climate change through new media.
Today, many people still don’t know – or believe – that there is a scientific consensus on climate change. Also, many do feel like they need to discuss the physical science basis, which really is not at all that accessible to the general, lay public. I, for one, don’t feel comfortable discussing many of these things.
I’d much rather talk about what we can do, what the societal influences are, and the culture behind denying science, distrusting scientists and pushing this issue further and further away.”
http://thedetroiter.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/halfway-house/

William Ballinger
September 12, 2012 12:40 am

I find the the discussion of Normal and post normal to be bothersome and inaccurate.
What it appears to me is we have Establishment Science, people that depend on a government paycheck primarily, that feel they should be the ones that guide the Ship of State, not the unwashed mass. You know, the people that work and get taxed to provide those government checks. We skeptics are the Non Establishment Science, where things are not accepted sole based on appeals to authority, where Data is King and Models should be restricted to catwalks and not entrusted with our future.
SAVING THE SHIP OF STATE
I feel that the ACGW folks (The Team) have infiltrated into the rudder room (Universities, NASA, Etc) and have barred the door (restricted peer review, hiring only true believers) in an effort to prevent anyone else from influencing the direction of the Ship of State. Unfortunately, the Captain (Policy Makers) don’t understand that he is being feed bad information (IPCC, Hockey Stick, ManBearPig, etc) because the intercom (The Media) is compromised and some of his staff are in cahoots with The Team. Thus, to save the ship, we are going to have storm the rudder room (get our own people in positions of influence) and seize the bridge (throw out the enablers of the The Team). The blogs serve as our mutinous network, informing and guiding. It will be a tough fight, since The Captain takes a dim view of mutiny, even when it is to save the Ship of State from crashing upon the rocks (Carbon free Madness).
So grab your cutlasses and vote the scurry lot off the bridge in November! ARRRRRHHHH!

Old Ranga from Oz
September 12, 2012 12:45 am

“The precautionary principle is important–it is essential to act sooner than later.”
The precautionary principle should also be applied to protect the economies of large and small communities, to ensure they aren’t bankrupted by the CAGW mania. If in doubt about wrecking an economy….then don’t.
Ditto coastal planning rules relating to projected “sea-level rise”, which can drastically affect the market values of people’s beachside homes and destroy retirement savings.

RoyFOMR
September 12, 2012 12:47 am

Aside from a fair number of “wincing” points, I actually enjoyed reading it!
Detected a good portion of courage in her essay.

R.S.Brown
September 12, 2012 12:48 am

We need to be informed as to what criteria to select the seven
example WUWT threads that were then sampled using
“discourse analysis”.
The basic study parameters are not described or delineated. The study
can not be replicated as described. There is no parallel random sample
of the blog’s threads to serve as a statistical control on experimental or
observer bias.

Peter Miller
September 12, 2012 12:53 am

The point here is that blogs like WUWT are helping to make ‘climate science’ honest and believable – true, it is an extremely slow, uphill, process.
However, the global warming industry now knows it has to justify everything it says with unbiased, believable facts and data, or it is likely to be subject to ridicule by blogs such as WUWT, Climate Audit, or Jo nova. This is extremely inconvenient for the industry’s high priests, such as Mann, Jones and Hansen, who really do not enjoy the experience of having to justify themselves, especially when their usual practices of data manipulation and cherry picking are exposed. Sceptics will no longer tolerate comments like the original data is not available because it is: lost, “in the dog’, or subject to copyright or considerations of privacy. If that is the case, then the ‘research’ should never have been published. Let us not forget their data is of no strategic, military or financial value and has nearly always been funded by the taxpayer.
The global warming industry is a fascinating business – it neither reaps nor sows. In other words, despite enormous financial input it produces nothing useful. It survives because: i) politicians believe it is trendy/vote winning to be seen to be ‘green’, and ii) it has learned that ever more scary ‘research’ reports guarantee ever greater amounts of financial sustenance. Most sceptics view the global warming industry in the same light as a surgeon views a cancer: unless it is removed, it will eventually kill its host.
The global warming industry – remember, these are mostly government bureaucrats or ‘green’ organisations with fund raising tactics and leaders like those of bizarre religious cults – responds to sceptics with a litany of lies, half truths and distortions about their funding and motives.

September 12, 2012 12:58 am

Steve (Paris) says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:33 am
What strikes me is that Franziska Hollender is from or at least lives in Vienna, the home of the celebrated coffee house/cafe society. Greats such as Von Neuman (on the science side) and Koestler (in lit. and politics) honed their thinking skills in such an enviroment.

It was also the home of Karl Popper, the father of our current understanding of the scientific method.

gringojay
September 12, 2012 1:00 am

Quote: “Adapting to climate change may require certain lifestyle changes, which she does embrace (such as recycling)….” The effectiveness of recycling to alter climate conditions doesn’t make sense to me – although I don’t like to waste needlessly. Since I don’t have a car does that earn me Gaia’s forgiveness?
Admittedly I sometimes find WUWT commentator’s jibes at others expense enjoyable. Humans have directed humor & mocking toward others long before political correctness or even “fatwas” about someone’s feelings.
Meantime good intellectual challenges keep me following here & glad there are some with fortitude to venture contrary views. People’s meandering comments only make things more interesting. I thank Anthony Watts for being down with that & current on what’s up.

F. Ross
September 12, 2012 1:05 am

“…
Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.
…”

[+emphasis]
Still other warmists think that “contrarians” should be exploded by pressing the “Red Button.”

Christopher Hanley
September 12, 2012 1:08 am

” Data represent a social construction …. ” etc.
This all sounds depressingly like ‘The Practice of Theory’, the ‘deconstructionism’ which has infected the liberal arts faculties for past thirty years and now established in science departments (Gawd help us if it even gets to engineering faculties).
Biased data is bad data; science based on biased data is bad science.
I can’t say I know exactly what Kuhn meant by “paradigm shift”, but it sounds like the swarm behaviour of fish and birds.
For instance the geocentric theory of the cosmos was not abandoned because of a “paradigm shift” but because the empirical evidence discovered by often maverick individuals falsified it.
It’s the free spirits amongst scientists individually or in small groups, who have been the pathfinders, not the institutions.

Slabadang
September 12, 2012 1:14 am

Im so tired of dishonesty and manipulation!
Her first most obvious bias is in what she choosed to “study” and what she didnt. Just even promoting any part of the precutionary princilple reveals her bias. And you see a clear pattern how theese fake skeptics appear. The two main issues is about trust in science and politics. How do you earn it and how do yuo spend it.. When it comes to climatescience they didnt earnt it. It was given to them by politiciens and they spent what they havent earned within two seconds.
IPCC delivered an order and instead of evaluate and summarize the science it steared it by taking control ower the main institutions that was needed to be able to pull this off. NOT to let the the real uncerainties be known to people and to block dissenting voices became its main problem and challange. Oh my good how I just hate this IPCC charade..

TinyCO2
September 12, 2012 1:16 am

1) We’re already pig sick of post normal science.
2) WUWT does extended peer review but not PNS which is something else.
3) We are dismayed at how poor climate science is. This has nothing to do with expecting climate scientists to have all the answers. PNS seems to be an excuse to do poor science but act anyway.
4) Business already has a framework for protecting the public while still proceeding without 100% knowledge of what might happen. It involves scrupulous records, accountability, monitoring, external policing, standards, punishment, etc (all things climate science get wrong). PNS is reinventing the wheel… badly.
5) WUWT is the place for fast and furious assessment of the science. This fires the more able and determined to do some real scientific digging. It brings them together and they then can team up to examine the science at source. They become the spokes people, refining and condensing the cogent questions and arguments. They then take that to a wider audience, often to the authors. It is there that the process often stops because the ‘real’ scientists can’t deal with criticism.
6) We’ve no time for brain shrinks who poke us with a stick from afar and then smugly make evaluations.
7) Hostility has been building for many years due to constant abuse from warmists and government policies. To maintain a kinship this long, fosters a certain amount of clannishness. It takes time for someone with differing views to be accepted as an honest broker of those ideas. In other words, you need to earn your viewpoint. Until that day, expect a rough time.
8) Stop trying to evaluate what happens here with the hope the warmists could copy it. They already try and fail. Censorship here is minimal compared to most warmist sites. Attacks and insults by individuals are lower here, but inevitable given the weight of numbers. The numbers probably increase at times when both the community as a whole and the moderators as individuals are under attack from outside. In other words, don’t expect a heavy moderating hand from Mr Watts when his excellent surface stations work has been blown off by some git from NASA or NOAA. We’re all human.
9) An ideal would be a totally neutral site that could filter the best arguments from the blogs of each side and discuss the finer points. Unfortunately, any criticism of climate science, no matter how well intentioned, automatically labels you a denier or contrarian. Bing! A new sceptic site is born.
10) Imagine how hostile you’d be if you found someone was about to do a talk about you. They haven’t introduced themselves but they have studied your behaviour over a few randomly chosen days. You don’t know what you did or said those days. Was it the day the kid bit the cat and ran round the garden naked? Was it the day you had a blazing row with your partner? Was it the day you got the promotion? Nothing about your overview suggested you would say nice things about us. How would you have reacted?
Next time say ‘Hi’, have a nice chat and ask us stuff.

Slabadang
September 12, 2012 1:22 am

Thanks to Ms Hollender WUWT have disclosed Ms Hollender as an example of “fake position”!
WUWT RULES!! CAGW people cant just shoot straight can they?

September 12, 2012 1:32 am

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
Franzi OUTED!

ID deKlein
September 12, 2012 1:34 am

OT and irrelevant, but the number representing the proportion of all WUWT blog posts selected for analysis by Ms Hollender, 0.09%, is still more than twice the proportion of Earth’s atmosphere that is CO2.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 1:40 am

David Ross says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:26 am
[Franziska:]
“thedetroiter
I’m bold, different and invent myself new every single day. I care a great deal about the world and one day, you’ll see me on TV making major decisions for the UN.”
I guess you have little choice but reinvent yourself everyday when every day your ideology falls apart due to its internal inconsistencies.
“We are all individuals.” (Life Of Brian)
Franziska, watch that movie. You might learn something. Well, theoretically there’s a chance, at least.

Otter
September 12, 2012 1:51 am

And of course, even the most constructive criticism of her work, in this thread, will be taken as ‘hostility.’

Keitho
Editor
September 12, 2012 1:52 am

mfo says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:39 am (Edit)
“She is still undecided on the science. She feels she cannot take either side because she does not have all the [scientific] information required. She is not a climate scientist–she is undecided.”
“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
Well spotted mfo. However I doubt she would see the cognitive dissonance she is suffering from. Or is she just another lying liar like so many others we have come across lately?

Agnostic
September 12, 2012 1:53 am

I’d like to make this observation:
Some of the comments here seem unnecessarily harshly critical. An inclination towards believing the orthodoxy is not an unreasonable position given how widespread the CAGW meme is and how much support it enjoys from authoritative positions. A lot of denizens here probably was at some stage along the continuum of acceptance of the hypotheses and as they began to find out more the position shifted more towards skepticism, as the better arguments and evidence were coming from that side. That certainly was how it was for me, and for a long while I also supported the precautionary principle.
Anthony made excellent and balanced marks in response to this study and I would add one other point:
– it would be worth characterising more clearly the types of (but especially the scientific ones) objections skeptics have before commenting on the nature of the responses. A lot of vitriol and anger stems from a frustration at what skeptics believe is a neglect of scientific norms and best practise.
I think some of you guys are a little over-sensitive that the study might be biased….and it certainly is as Anthony pointed out, but not to the extent that say the Lewandowsky study was. But look at it again, a good deal of it is not unfair or unbalanced. I’d have thought polite constructive engagement would be more productive in this case.

Rhys Jaggar
September 12, 2012 1:55 am

Well, based on personal experience, I can inform the writer of this that left-wing websites and ‘climate science’ (i.e. warmista) websites are more than capable of viscious ad hominem attacks, so they probably self-select their own communities too.
I received a particularly vituperative blast at Jennifer Marohasy’s site from a scientist who thought that, despite being funded by taxpayers pounds/dollars/roubles etc, that the ‘good public should STFU when any discussion of how their money was actually spent’ was concerned. I was neither amused nor silent as a result…..
The Guardian’s opinions are that you can attack any white, middle class, heterosexual man 100 times and that’s fine, because they are the cause of all ill, whereas attacking an individual woman, black, homosexual or Muslim, no matter how badly they behave, is ‘racist’. If two women are fired in a UK Cabinet reshuffle, it’s ‘big willy politics’. When Maggie Thatcher emasculated an entire Cabinet that was ‘furthering the women’s struggle’. Yeah right. If Thierry Henry, black footballer, blatantly cheats to get his national side to a World Cup finals, you’re not allowed to roast him by calling him a four letter word, because that is ‘racist’. But calling a white referee a ‘fookin nobhead’, as has happened many times in the UK, is not worthy of mention. The referee did no worse and perhaps only made an honest mistake.
What you will find is that all communities have hierarchies and the only thing which differs between them is the rules which determines who gets to the top and what values and beliefs enable you to do so.
I’d like this social researcher to do a similar analysis of a warmista rag (e.g. The Independent, Guardian in the UK) and see if they reach identical conclusions about community behaviour.
However, as soon as this researcher says that the ‘science is settled’, THEY are the person who must shut up, because they have betrayed the creed of science which is that the only thing which settles the science is data.

Scottish Sceptic
September 12, 2012 1:56 am

Dissenting voices on WUWT
As someone who originally became a sceptic because I inadvertently put a dissenting comment on wikipedia, and then genuinely tried to support those of a different view (sceptics at the time), I am aware that from time to time those of opposing views have commented here and met with not a little adverse comments.
However like all meeting places WUWT has a certain set of protocols and those who come in with all guns blazing attacking other commentators usually get a resounding thrashing.
However, those alarmists who do observe the protocol and address the facts and not try to tackle the poster will post without direct hindrance.
However, there can be a bit of a “scrum” to comment on posts of opposing views – just because so many people share the same view here. That I’m certain is intimidating. In order to “allow” such posting contentious posters both need to be coached in how to make their point without incurring the rath of fellow posters and we need people to actively counter more hostile comments with “XXX let him talk”.
In other words, with a forum which is very one sided, we would need to pro-actively support alternative views rather than just “not censor them”.
However, in my view the main reason we don’t get dissenting voices is because after such views try to make their point they find that most people ignore comments without any substance or based on the authority of people whose work is highly questionable.
Indeed, one of the strongest forms of “censorship” is that those with a contrary views are often ignored and as the intention seems to be to provoke a reaction rather than discuss anything of substance, they just seem to fade away.

Jerry Mead
September 12, 2012 1:59 am

From one of Franzi’s posts on her Screwkyoto blog:
“Maybe you want to give this thing another thought. There’s nothing bad about admitting you’ve been wrong. And if you think you’re totally right about your point, argue it, tell me why. Maybe you know something I don’t.”
With that attitude – and even taking into account the fact that English isn’t her first language – she is bound to go far in (say) a post with the EU.
I can see her being wheeled in to explain to the government of country ‘X’ why a “No” referendum vote doesn’t really count, do it again.

Kasuha
September 12, 2012 2:00 am

“Not all of this is true for WUWT–there is definitely gate-keeping, however. Certain kind of comments are welcome, while others are deleted by the site manager (gate-keeper).
There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked. Self-selection of contributors therefore takes place, under the influence of and to avoid prospective attacks on views expressed.”
That’s not my experience on WUWT. I usually read the article, then point out things that I don’t like on it (even though I like other points and/or the article overall). I have never ever experienced my post being deleted even if it contained strong criticism, unlike on other blogs. And my criticism is even rarely attacked, sometimes others even agree. Although the fact that tracking discussion in the comments part is not very easy and people tend to screw up my nickname may play a role in that, too.

James Allison
September 12, 2012 2:04 am

I suspect Ms Hollender understands very little about what drives the climate and her bias is based upon limited selective reading of alarmists political advocacy blogs. Perhaps Ms Hollender should hang around WUWT for a month or two, keep an open mind, ask questions and participate in the discussions.

Capell
September 12, 2012 2:10 am

If this is a dissertation for a German Master’s Degree (M.Phil.), then analysisng just 7 WUWT threads seems a paltry effort.

AndyG55
September 12, 2012 2:10 am

from what I can tell, WUWT is pretty full of people withquite a bit of SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE.
So why the **** do we even bother with what some scientifically illtierate social scientist think.
In the scheme of REALITY, their thoughts ar TOTALLY IRRELEVANT
(expect red wine typos) yummm

Scottish Sceptic
September 12, 2012 2:12 am

Just to add to my last comment. The lack of opposing views may just be a facet of the way conversations go here because it may suit the “sceptic mind”. There is not a lot of feedback or social chit-chat. You need to be quietly confident your view is “worthy” because there is not a lot of social support & and there is the minimum of hierarchy and that which there is, is not open to “alternative” views. By it’s very nature because those opposing us tend to argue from authority and seek “consensus”, they will prefer a different type of conversation where they get more social support & social esteem.
Perhaps we should introduce “number of posts”. Most people won’t think it is relevant, but alarmists will see a high number as being a mark of social esteem, which might encourage them to join?

AndyG55
September 12, 2012 2:12 am

FRAN.. you know ZIP.. so ZIP IT !!!

DirkH
September 12, 2012 2:12 am

gringojay says:
September 12, 2012 at 1:00 am
“Quote: “Adapting to climate change may require certain lifestyle changes, which she does embrace (such as recycling)….” ”
I’ve just been to her blog. She might want to consider doing her next world tour with a canoe. And stop using Apple products.
“Data represent a social construction. Who constructs the data, and for what purpose, is relevant to the analysis. Nothing is without (observational) bias. In fact data construction is never unbiased. There is always a translation between the observed phenomenon,what we observe and what we record as the data that represent what we have observed.”
She is mad. She talks from her high horse yet she admits climate science is too hard for her. And re the data capture, I’d bet she wouldn’t even know how to do that. She probably knows more postmodern philosophers than signal theory and here she is pontificating about data.
I’d like to apologize for this entirely useless individual from our continent that seems to have decided to go to the promised land of liberal arts, the USA. Now you have the damage.

Merovign
September 12, 2012 2:19 am

So my question is, and I doubt we’ll get a direct answer to this, is Fraulein Hollender in fact “thedetroiter?”
And if so, was the misrepresentation of her background and positions to her audience deliberate?
And out of idle curiousity, why Detroit?

Carbon500
September 12, 2012 2:22 am

Lots of interesting comments here! I must admit that lately I wonder why I spend so much time on my reading about AGW and visit various websites for the views expressed.
My background after all has nothing to do with climate, it’s in healthcare (nursing and hospital laboratory technology to Ph.D. level).
My interest was triggered by Al Gore’s book, which I read about five years ago. I instantly formed the opinion that this was little else than a carefully crafted piece of propaganda, and downright condescending in some parts. That’s when I looked further afield. I looked at other books – those of S.Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, Ian Plimer, Robert M. Carter and Roy W. Spencer providing a welcome relief from the tide of doom on the bookshelfs. Clearly, my opinion on climate matters doesn’t really matter a proverbial monkey’s cuss, maybe the AGW brigade have got it right – after all, I’m not a meteorologist and I don’t have the physics background to judge the climate models, satellite data and so on. However, there are things that have been propagated that I know to be wrong because they’re a part of my background (spread of diseases attributed to AGW for example), so I find myself wondering what else that we’ve been told is also wrong.
And then there’s the hockey stick. Aside from all the shenanigans and controversy, here’s a claim that using proxy data it’s possible to deduce temperatures from a thousand years ago to within a fraction of a degree. A fraction of a degree. Really?
Regarding tree ring data, are there any botanists out there who can tell us what factors can influence tree ring width?
I also wonder why no-one’s constructed a modern version of John Tyndall’s experiment. An artificial atmosphere, so that variable amounts of CO2 and water can be pumped into it to assess what difference one ppm of CO2 really makes. A proper model in other words. Not the real world it’s true, but at least there’d be some solid evidence to back up or refute the claims made.
So why do I look at the blogs? Because I learn from them.

cui bono
September 12, 2012 2:31 am

The Precautionary Principle: Men, do not get married. Instead, find a woman who hates you and buy her a house.

Merovign
September 12, 2012 2:31 am

Capell says:
September 12, 2012 at 2:10 am
If this is a dissertation for a German Master’s Degree (M.Phil.), then analysisng just 7 WUWT threads seems a paltry effort.

As we seem to be seeing in journals, the intent and usefulness of the claimed result seems to be more important than the quality of the research.
Which is actually just as sad for “them,” in the long run, as it is for us. Irony.

richardscourtney
September 12, 2012 2:42 am

Ms Hollender:
I am addressing this to you because I am certain you are reading this thread (for the reasons stated by davidmhoffer at September 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm).
I commend that you reject your thesis because it uses flawed assumptions to analyse an inadequate sample selected using extreme observer bias and thus reaches demonstrably incorrect conclusions. And I commend you to replace your thesis with the information and arguments presented in this thread. For your convenience, I list some especially pertinent posts which explain the inadequacies of your study.
Scottish Sceptic at September 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm (who explains the fundamental difference between science and PNS of which – if the report of your presentation is anywhere near correct – you are completely ignorant)
Maus at September 12, 2012 at 12:17 am (who explains a fundamental flaw in your methodology of which you seem unaware)
R.S.Brown at September 12, 2012 at 12:48 am (who points out the inadequate reporting of your work which – on its own – requires your study to be rejected)
JJ at September 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm (whose cogent assessment consigns your work to the refuse bin)
davidmhoffer at September 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm (who accurately points out the inevitable destination of the road paved by PNS)
TinyCO2 at September 12, 2012 at 1:16 am (who lists demonstrable facts many of which your ‘study’ ignores or denies but are familiar to all who study an adequate sample of threads on WUWT )
I hope you find this selection a helpful contribution for support of your Masters studies which are intended to raise your analytical skills to a useful level.
Richard

geronimo
September 12, 2012 2:52 am

“Data represent a social construction. Who constructs the data, and for what purpose, is relevant to the analysis. Nothing is without (observational) bias. In fact data construction is never unbiased. There is always a translation between the observed phenomenon,what we observe and what we record as the data that represent what we have observed.”
A sweeping generalisation based on the way data is treated in the social sciences. In real science the data is the data and if it is biased it is soon found out, hence the existence of a strong corps of what Fran calls “contrarians”, the data is the same, but the interpretations of it different. I don’t believe in foretelling the future, even using sophisticated models, to Fran that gives me a peculiar mindset one that argues with scientists. This hierarchical thinking is rife in the social sciences, strangely, because it is populated mainly be “progressives” who consider themselves to be egalitarian. Anyone can argue with anyone else as long as they present facts and data, you don’t have to be qualified.
Finally I wonder why they’re concentrating of “contrarians”, why not ponder why there are people around who want to destroy the best conditions humans have ever had in their history – not all for sure, but eventually it will be all. To me at least, sixty years ago in the UK i lived in a house with two bedrooms upstairs one cold water tap and sink and an outside toilet. We could only afford one fire to be lit, we had mice and cockroaches and we were far from being unusual. Most people ran out of money the day before pay day and welfare just kept you from death’s door. We’ve moved from there to here because of cheap energy. So I ask myself why is the fact that there are people out there who want to take us back sixty years of no interest to the social scientists?

DirkH
September 12, 2012 2:54 am

Merovign says:
September 12, 2012 at 2:19 am
“So my question is, and I doubt we’ll get a direct answer to this, is Fraulein Hollender in fact “thedetroiter?”[…]
And out of idle curiousity, why Detroit?”
It looks like she studied there.
http://www.csuohio.edu/class/com/clevelandstater/Archives/Vol%209/Issue%2010/news/news091003.html
“Hollender” BTW is a pretty rare German name, as the regular spelling for “Dutchman” would be “Holländer”. So I’m sure this is that person.

TimC
September 12, 2012 3:01 am

TinyCO2 said: “6) We’ve no time for brain shrinks who poke us with a stick from afar and then smugly make evaluations”. Bang on – though I would personally have said “brain shrinks or other ‘ologists’ …”.
However it’s good to see that WUWT is now the journal of record in the climate blogosphere and is now having post-grad studies into its discourses!

3x2
September 12, 2012 3:03 am

Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.
She makes a fair point. We could save a great deal of time and money by dismantling our climate monitoring systems and switching to a regular internet survey in order to establish OHC and atmospheric temperature profiles. The ‘science basis’ is so yesterday.
With the volume of ‘moon landing conspiracy believing wack-jobs’ at WUWT and other ‘sceptic’ blogs we will have LT temperatures voted down in no time – end of debate. [/sarc]
Really Anthony – you are giving these people far too much time and attention. Lewpaper indeed.

David
September 12, 2012 3:03 am

Lots of good detailed comments deconstructing a poor study influenced by this preconcieved bias…”Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.”
Who are these some? This sentance alone shows the author to have a clear bias as she separates “science” from the “contrarians”, who, in her view, are clearly not scientist, but something science needs to fight, or they are an annoying pesky side show who should be ignored.
The fact that she claims no bias later is irrelevant to a sentance that demonstrates bias. She innsults the thirty plus thousand scientist that signed the Oregon petition by her refusal to accept that the sceptical scientist may be correct. (In her view they, “sceptical scientist” do not exist, they are either annoying, or to be fought by science) She ignores hundreds of peer review papers which demonstrate reasons to be critical of the CAGW meme. She implies bias in who gets banned without discussing actual reasons they may have got banned. She does not compare the allowance of dissenting viewpoints, virtualy 100% allowed here when on topic and following blog policy, verses the clear censorship at some pro CAGW sites. She cherry picks some personnal attacks as representive of common comments, when in fact most subjects have dozens of comments with dozens of links to disparate perspectives on most subjects.
I would love to hear this miss-educated person discuss what is, and what is not settled science in regard to CAGW. It would not surprise me at all to hear her say that …”97percent of climate scientist agree…. I would love to hear her “percautionary” thoughts on what the possible “unintended consequences” are if the draconian one world govt solutions advocated by CAGW proponents were fully enacted. I doubt the thought of doing a cost benefit analyisis ever occured to her.

September 12, 2012 3:05 am

Climate Alarmists politicians hate the Internet .Hate Bloggers always contradicting .Causing Trouble
James Dellingpole reporting Climagegate hasnt got 23 Million news paper reader.But reporting Climatagate he 23million Mouse clicks instead.Last century Enviromentalists just an off shoot of Last Century Anti consumerist Radicals .The Hocky Stick just the last embers of Last Century Millenium Angst.
Last Century Politics generally hate the internet because it cant up up with it.Niether can science.
If someone makes a major scientific breakthrough why report to Sir Paul Nurse in the Hallowed halls of The Royal Society just Tweet it instead.
Truth is Micheal Mann prsented the Hocky Stick in 1998 a few years BEFORE the internet really took of Facebook.Paypal Napster Ebay ITunes .The internet now more than just Porn and Emails .
The Hocky Stick is old school politics. Old school Hype TV news and Newspapers.
Question would the Hocky Stick be so convincing if it had been now on a grainy Youtuby Podcast instead amonst the popup advertizing for Eharmony.
Climate Skepticism .Tea Party Occcupy Arab Spring movements all new internet based poitics.
The Hocky Stick is over 20 years old BN (Before the Net)
Blogs comments section youtube rants is the new 21st Century public discourse.
Basically anybody can say anything.Its greatest strengh and its greatest strengh.Old politics for all the news print and TV Slots its just not enough to get your message across.
The Revoloution has been Digitalised .And if you want to see George Osborne and David Cameron beiing booed at the ParaOlympic Games on TV you can find it on Youtube.
Who should we thank for this genuine revoloution in free speech Rupert Murdock..giving Humanistic Libertarian Compassionate politics its voice on the screens of millions of PCs Laptops and Mobile Phone across the globe
Sir Tim Burners Lee didnt want his invention being exploited and corrupted by some Media Megalmanic Mogul.So he put a Free Patent on Data Packet Switching.He should be the man with the Nobel Peace Prize fuck Al Gore.
Had my say now everyone elses turns.

Snotrocket
September 12, 2012 3:06 am

Having read all the comments up to 1:52 am, Sept 12th, I feel I can say that the comments on this post are a model of crowd-sourced exposure of a very poor study. 0.09% sample, for shame!
If I applied Hollander’s study to this one post, how would I know the ‘gate-keeper’ has deleted any comments (other than those that say ‘snipped’)? If a comment is deleted it’s got to be like Schroedinger’s Cat. So what is her evidence of comment deletes – and how do the numbers of deleted comments compare to other blogs (RC and SkS, for instance)
It would have been helpful to know which seven Posts were selected for the study and how many comments were in them. It would most certainly have been interesting to see what Ms Hollander would make of the posts concerning the ‘editing’ of comments on SkS. In fact, it would be interesting if Ms Hollander had the courage to do a similar analysis on SkS – and then see if she could get it posted there, let alone commented on.

mfo
September 12, 2012 3:09 am

Fran
You’re no doubt reading these comments. Fundamentally I think you’re a decent person but you do present yourself as being prejudiced against WUWT and people who question Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.
I know that students are under pressure to believe in CAGW. You may be concerned that not believing in CAGW or producing a thesis which may be contrary to that view could mean not getting your Masters.
WUWT is a hot potato. If you criticize the views expressed here you will have to stand up and defend yourself with rational, evidence based arguments.
My advice to you is to scrap your research, forget all your sociology jargon and start again. Begin with a completely open mind. Read all the posts on WUWT. Try to understand them. Look at the math or analyse the graphic depictions and explanations of the climate. Understand the science as much as you can.
Then read as many of the comments as you can manage. The majority of the comments and debates were written by highly intelligent people. Many are scientists and engineers whose second language is mathematics. They do understand climate science and the issues involved.
When you have completed that do the same with RealClimate, as Anthony suggested.
Then write your thesis.

Latimer Alder
September 12, 2012 3:19 am

I’d hate to fall victim to racial stereotyping, but there is a view that the Germanic peoples are more comfortable with a more ordered and organised society, with stronger central control, While British-based people are more at home with a laissez-faire approcah.
Perhaps it is this desire for more ordered discourse that lies behind her dislike of those pesky commentators that just refuse to stay on the set topic. Perhaps they shoud all be told to stay behind after school and learn to do the work that teacher sets the…not wander off into other things

‘The example of the post announcing her talk, and the many responses, illustrate exactly some of the problems she sees with the blog. About 250 have nothing to do with her talk, and instead diverge to off-track issues–and there is no formal mechanism to keep the comments on track.

And some people sad disobliging things! How could they? They should just sit there and get psychoanalysed by a Masters student quietly and without complaint.
‘Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace, including “This girl has a brain the size of a peanut.”

She experienced extensive misunderstanding of certain terms and notions “science as ideology, “avowals of distrust, “linguistic performances.” Plans to disrupt and intervene in her presentation were posted. One comment said to offer her another Zoloft and put her by the window, she’ll enjoy the bright colors in the sunlight.”

My advice to her is that she should (metaphorically) grow a pair before diving into the blogosphere. It is not a strongly regulated extension of the academosphere, but a (mostly) very weakly regulated addition to it. IMO it is the rough and tumble, no holds barred robust style that gives it its freshness and immediacy as a refershing alternative to the lethargic and ponderous style of academe.
And if noisy multi-faceted debate is not to her taste she should definitely avoid the Dog and Duck early on a Friday evening

DirkH
September 12, 2012 3:20 am

geronimo says:
September 12, 2012 at 2:52 am
“A sweeping generalisation based on the way data is treated in the social sciences. In real science the data is the data and if it is biased it is soon found out, hence the existence of a strong corps of what Fran calls “contrarians”, the data is the same, but the interpretations of it different. I don’t believe in foretelling the future, even using sophisticated models, to Fran that gives me a peculiar mindset one that argues with scientists. This hierarchical thinking is rife in the social sciences, strangely, because it is populated mainly be “progressives” who consider themselves to be egalitarian. Anyone can argue with anyone else as long as they present facts and data, you don’t have to be qualified.”
Simple. Social sciences need to find a backdoor to re-introduce themselves into the hard science context, so by arrogantly calling each and every data collection “subjective” (without delving into the details as the technicalities of how to ensure data quality are not of ANY interest to them), they can reintroduce the old canard of solipsism / existentialism, denigrate objectivism etc etc.
You see the same pattern at Jerome Kravetz, the inventor of PNS, who stated in a guest post on WUWT that he does not believe in an objective reality.
In the end, it’s all a divide-et-impera strategy. I’ll take my bridge engineer over a social scientist any day if I have to cross that bridge, thank you very much.

Doug Huffman
September 12, 2012 3:22 am

Aww, Geeze, not this again, social criticism of science? Read of the Sokal Affair, read Gross and Levitt. Or not.

AndyG55
September 12, 2012 3:42 am

This postnormal science thing is pretty darn obvious.
We have a bunch of scientifically illiterate socal science/humanities/philosophy academics that think they want to have a touchy-feely say in what they refer to as climate science. They can’t call it real science, or apply proper scientific principles, so they are trying to apply “artistic” and “social” memes to the debate. This is what is called Post-normal science.
It has basically zero credence within any real science, so they can only argue at a totally non-scientific level, which means trying to portray those who do actually understand the science as “bad ” or “immoral”. It is the ONLY arguement they have.
We see it will the likes of the Ork, Manne, Lewy, Flim-flam.. and with many left wing (and unfortunately some right-wing) politicians.
A constant display of ignorance, over-run by ego.

Paul Coppin
September 12, 2012 3:48 am

How is it that “social scientists” and so many journalists don’t get that blogs like WUWT are not pedantic discourse, they’re conversations. And like all conversations, they’re full of animation, discussion, pejorative, passion and outrage. The closest social analogue is an open discussion after the presentation of a seminar, wherein the audience engages itself to discuss the presentation laid before it. The gate-keeping is there to keep the audience from becoming a mob. Could the lack of awareness be that so many blogs are a one-sided conversation, because nobody chooses to engage the blog-writer?
Ms Hollender’s thesis work for a graduate degree fails, badly. In more rigorous times, it wouldn’t even qualify for an undergraduate thesis at baccalaureate level. Personal opinion doesn’t constitute a researched thesis at any intellectual level. I’m disappointed for her. So much of an opportunity to truly learn lost, so much time wasted allowing herself to be framed by others, rather than finding the enlightment that comes with self-critical thought. This should be the goal of every university student and their teacher, not hiding in the shadows seeking only solace in peer approval.

Snotrocket
September 12, 2012 3:58 am

Hi Mods…My comment at 3:06am seems to be stuck in moderation….
[No, sorry, not there either . . mod]

Louis Hooffstetter
September 12, 2012 3:59 am

Franziska’s seminar comes across as whining rant, but she was right on the money about one thing:
WUWT is forcing (climate) science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.
Mission accomplished! Keep up the good work!

Paul Coppin
September 12, 2012 3:59 am

An afterthought: If Ms. Hollender actually believes her thesis, she should jump in here and defend it. This after all, is a living, current event, not a dusty bit of scribble discovered in an old library written by a long-dead author. If she wants to experience science, she has no better opportunity. She will learn what every biologist, psychologist and doctor has to learn – how to experiment on and learn from a subject that has its own significant degree of self-determination. It takes guts and fortitude to do it, but she’ll learn the truth of her thesis, and there is no better experience for a student that has aspirations of higher learning. Working with subjects that bite back is both exhilarating and consciousness-raising, be they polars bears or “angry mobs”.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 12, 2012 4:00 am

From DirkH on September 12, 2012 at 12:13 am:

I’m a native German and I can tell you that leftism/environmentalism was virulent since my school days in the 70ies. The flawed reasoning and screaming of the leftists left me unimpressed since I was a teenager. I deeply mistrusted them; they were the obvious examples of community organizing, collectivists by nature, incapable of developing an idea on their own.

Yet when I was an American college student in the ’90’s, taking German classes and practicing by translating and reading ads in Der Spiegel, one thing I noticed has stuck with me ever since.
Three ply toilet paper.
Here in the US for institutional use like schools and businesses, we had rolls of thin paper, was actually shiny. For home use there were softer brands, although the strength wasn’t optimal, and nothing above two ply.
But in West Germany, not only did they have toilet paper with three layers, but each layer was different, one was soft, one was for strength… Toilet paper that you actually had to think about which side went where. The legendary German propensity for over-engineering and advanced technology, exemplified by that to be used once and flushed.
Der Spiegel may have been a socialist rag, but those companies advertising in that rag knew that those socialist readers appreciated their comfort, and were willing to pay for it. No Soviet-style bucket of dry leaves and corn husks for those environmentally-minded leftists!

Jimbo
September 12, 2012 4:05 am

Not all of this is true for WUWT–there is definitely gate-keeping, however. Certain kind of comments are welcome, while others are deleted by the site manager (gate-keeper).
There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked. Self-selection of contributors therefore takes place, under the influence of and to avoid prospective attacks on views expressed.
These are all things that happen at WUWT–it is not that free, not everyone is welcome. There is gate-keeping.

Where is the evidence?
Now try the same analysis at RealClimate and other Warmist blogs.
Perhaps they should search WUWT for “Leif” or “R. Gates” or “LazyTeenager” et. al. They should also take a look at the site policy and realise there are rules. Finally when the story emerged about Heartland and the faked document Anthony made a post about it. Anthony was viciously attacked and dissenter comments came in thick and fast.

polistra
September 12, 2012 4:17 am

It’s always fun to watch Gramscians like Hollender. She’s using anti-establishment revolutionary language to defend the cream of the financial cream, the coolest of the media darlings, the harshest of the tyrants.
She’s like Eugene Debs defending J.P. Morgan, or John Brown defending Jeff Davis, or Lenin defending the Czar, or Robespierre defending Louis XVI.
Simply an Establishment tool.

pat
September 12, 2012 4:22 am

has anyone posted this?
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research: University of Colorado, Boulder: Ogmius 10TH Anniversary issue
Fran Hollender
In the fall of 2011, I was a visiting graduate student at CSTPR to conduct research for my Master’s thesis. When I first asked Roger [Pielke, Jr.] whether he thought there would be an opportunity for me to come to Boulder for a semester, I had no idea that my stay would change my career choices.
Coming over from the University of Vienna I was new to American academic culture, but the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the Center immediately put me at ease…
After I returned to Vienna, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. after finishing my Master’s degree this year…
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/ogmius/archives/issue_33/hollender.html

pat
September 12, 2012 4:24 am

or this?
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder
Fran joins CSTPR from the University of Vienna, Institute for Social Studies of Science, where she is pursuing an MA in Science, Technology and Society. Fran will be collaborating with Max Boykoff on a project examining climate change and social media.
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/about_us/meet_us/fran_hollender/index.html

Aussie Luke Warm
September 12, 2012 4:27 am

Paul Clark says:
September 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm
The post sample size, 7/7764, is 0.0009 or 0.09%.
REPLY: Thanks, got distracted by getting kids to bed, fixed – Anthony
Anthony, I can really relate to you.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 12, 2012 4:33 am

Re previous post:
“Yet when I was an American college student in the ’90′s…” should have been “the ’80’s”. Yup, I too am now old enough that I’ll drop decades.

Ian H
September 12, 2012 4:39 am

Not as bad as I thought it might be. Biased of course. She believes that everything is biased – a great excuse for not even attempting to be fair and neutral. But let us put that aside for now. As her stated intent was purely to analyse the discourse here let me restrict my comments to that topic.
Firstly I think she seriously overstates the importance of ridicule and invective and similar negative comments in blog discussion. Such comments are not an expression of power by the powerful as she seems to believe. They are more like background noise produced mostly by people on the fringe of the community. The respected regular voices don’t do this. Invective and ridicule really don’t deter discussion. Nor do they win respect.
On the one hand Ms Hollander notes that comments containing ridicule and abuse do appear despite being prohibited in the blog policy. She is right. Some do. On the other hand how does she think such comments could be excluded other than by the exercise of censorship and moderation?
It isn’t enough to simply state that censorship and moderation take place and stop there. It is actually impossible to run a blog without moderating discussion in some fashion unless your intention is simply to provide a free hosting service for pr0n and v14gra advertisements. One MUST look deeper at the nature of the moderation, at whether serious dissenting voices are permitted, at whether moderation is used neutrally or abused as a tactic to cut off discussion or win arguments that cannot be won in other ways. It isn’t at all clear that Ms Hollander has done this.
Moderating a blog is a difficult compromise. WUWT owes a large part of its success to doing this difficult thing well. It applies moderation in a generally weak and fairly fact neutral manner, cutting only the most abusive posts. The result is a vigorous albeit very noisy forum with serious discussion taking place against a background of namecalling and similar noise. WUWT owes a large part of its success to the FAILURE of other climate blogs to do this well. Realclimate in particular is notorious for using censorship as a weapon to cut off argument. Other climate blogs have been caught editing history. In the short term these tactics can ensure that the “correct” side wins every argument. But they have killed themselves by doing this since no real discussion can take place in forums with such policies.
Some comparative analysis would have been particularly useful here.
Also I wish she’d stop assuming that WUWT is

Scottish Sceptic
September 12, 2012 4:42 am

mfo says:
Fran
You’re no doubt reading these comments. Fundamentally I think you’re a decent person but you do present yourself as being prejudiced against WUWT and people who question Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. I know that students are under pressure to believe in CAGW.

mfo, I do not think there will be pressure only that “global warming” will be assumed to be true in acadeia.
Regarding your suggestion of “reading the comments”, I think that may be very counter-productive for this lady because many of the viewpoints and subjects will be alien to her, and without understanding the context, she may just falsely interpret our anger at poor quality work and partisan presentation of the “facts” (by others) as an unjustified attack on people she holds in high esteem.
The best advice I could give Ms Hollender is to try a subject where she will have more empathy with the various sides and not this subject where she fails to understand our view at all. So, I suggest she go and look at the debates about midwife assisted child birth. This is a good subject where I’m sure she will understand the debate and good to compare the methodology of those experts who advocate seeing childbirth as a medical “problem” needing medics (the few predominant in the US) and those who see it as natural and one that should be left to the more holistic care of midwives.
She claims that WUWT is a fight “against science”. This would be akin to claiming those who support natural child birth are “against medicine”. Being in favour of not treating natural things as “a problem” doesn’t mean you are against science or medicine. The other benefit of assisted childbirth is that there are countries which support the “contrarian” view (as she would put it) and where medicalised child birth is not the norm.
I think this would be a far better case study for her: she could compare the way the medical profession in the US “evangelise” their superiority in medicine and probably play with the fears of people to support and enhance their role. She will also be able to see professional people in the UK who are respected for their views (unlike us sceptics) who are against the “alarmist” medics who want to scare mothers into their care.
Hopefully, when she realises that you can be pro-medicine but against medicalising natural child-brith, she might understand that we sceptics are pro-science but against academics “medicalising”, “alarming” … declaring a problem out of natural cycles in the climate.
The big question in both cases, is at what point should natural child-birth be considered a problem needing to be medicalised? Likewise, at what point should variation in the climate be considered a problem that allows untrained, untested, self-appointed “climate doctors” to declare a medical problem for the climate …. for which we then have to pay a bill of $trillion.

Beth Cooper
September 12, 2012 4:43 am

Don’t yer jest know when someone uses the term ‘discourse’ that what follows is gonna be a wack of post modern criticism, (‘critique’) deconstucting the obstructiveness of those pesky free marketeers and/ or CAGW skeptics who jest won’t come ter the party ‘ when the facts are uncertain, the stakes are high and decisions are urgent?’ …sigh.

richardscourtney
September 12, 2012 4:46 am

Latimer Alder:
At September 12, 2012 at 3:19 am you report

‘Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace, including “This girl has a brain the size of a peanut.”

Really? That large? Evidence please.
Richard

September 12, 2012 4:46 am

”Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.”
Science’s responsibility to fight contrarian discourse……since when?
I thought it was “Science”s responsibility to prove it’s theory stands up to scrutiny.
The science is NEVER settled.

charles nelson
September 12, 2012 4:48 am

Poor old Fran and her solemn pompous agenda laden twaddle,(jargon enriched of course, to make it seem weighty and ‘academic’)…but then you caught her out as an ‘activist’!
Couldn’t help but chuckle.
Do you think they feel shame or humiliation?
Nicely done Anthony.

Larry Geiger
September 12, 2012 4:59 am

“What would Anthony do here if there was suddenly an influx of highly literate and scientific posters launching strong and seemingly successful attacks against his points?” That’s the point. There are no “seemingly successful attacks”. There are only good scientific attacks or worthless attacks. If someone launched strong and successful scientific attacks against his points, Anthony, like most folks here, would sit back and smile and enjoy. Knowledge and wisdom and would grow. That would be a good thing.

ursus augustus
September 12, 2012 5:07 am

If Ms Hollander want’s to precipitate a constructive discussion then perhaps she should use language that sounds neutral, part of the general lexicon and intelligible across a range of professions and disciplines. She initially came across to me as some sort of nutjob zealot gibbering on with language that seemed like some sort of rhetorical Mobius strip. She now asserts that “post normal science” means something else. When you read what she now says she was referring to as simply an area of scientific enquiry which is a work in progress, the “jury” still being out. To describe an area of science which is in fact “incomplete” or “partially explained” as “post normal” is unhelpful to say the least and utterly banal in its anaesthetised, meaningless stupidity IMHO.
She says she is neutral on the AGW-Skeptic discourse but the sort of language she uses is strongly associated with the extremist pro warmistas such as Lewandowski, Hamilton, Gleick, McKibben and Hansen etc. I could hardly imagine any scientist using such language. It is the language of intellectual masturbation not procreation.
Ms Hollander if you want to contribute to the public discourse with some expert work ( using “expert” in the legal sense) then I suggest you also work on being seen as credible to “the court” of interested public opinion, i.e. sounding credible by using credible, meaningful language, “plain” language.
“Post normal” is not something unique to climate science or any part of science, most of us live our entire lives and make the big lifechanging decisions and choices in a “post normal” state of being. WTF are you on about making up junk jargon to describe what is completely and utterly normal to the human condition?

ursus augustus
September 12, 2012 5:08 am

PS
Verstehen Sie?

Scottish Sceptic
September 12, 2012 5:09 am

richardscourtney says:September 12, 2012 at 4:46 am
Latimer Alder:
At September 12, 2012 at 3:19 am you report
‘Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace, including “This girl has a brain the size of a peanut.”
Really? That large? Evidence please.

Gentlemen, that is hardly a way to encourage engagement with this lady.

Tom in Florida
September 12, 2012 5:12 am

Just wondering how many solar posts with accompanying comments she included in her “study”.
A good dose of the Leif, Vuk, Sharp and Tallbloke interaction would certainly require a better understanding of the history of those relationships. And perhaps a more comprehensive understanding of the history of many of the posters would be required before any conclusions could be considered valid,(i.e Oliver Manuel)

September 12, 2012 5:34 am

In defense of Ms Hollender
As a masters student, Ms Hollender is probably young and I suspect she is un-used to the “robust” nature of our discussions. In a more formal, accademic environment, discussion tends towards the very formal and very polite. At WUWT, as with much of the web, people are less restrained and will call a spade a spade, or a fool a fool. (Note that identification of “fools” is highly subjective.
Further Ms Hollender is, I presume, a product of the modern education system. She has probably never seen contrarian or even conservative opinion except as a “bad example”.
If she is bright, time and wider exposure to the world may yet save her.
So let’s not be too hard on Ms Hollender: it isn’t entirely her fault. 🙂

Mickey Reno
September 12, 2012 5:37 am

Ms. Hollender, I hope I’m wrong about this, but you seem like a person with an agenda, looking for evidence to prove it. I’m not even sure what your hypothesis is, but it seems to be a vague derivitive of an insulting assumption which assumes things not currently in evidence. If your hypotheis isn’t honest or is just an intellectual sounding attempt to promote a political agenda, do the planet a favor and find a new field of study.
But if you want to truly advance the understanding of science as it pertains to blogs, why don’t you test the notions of using blogs to crowd-source the refining of scientific hypothses or asking if blogs can help with crowd sourcing of actual experimental protocols or can blogs and online environments replace scientific print journals? Those seem like very interesting topics to me.

J.Hansford
September 12, 2012 5:37 am

The moment they use jargon they lose me…. Specially when it attempts to undermine bedrock tenets…… Post Normal science… WTF. She reckons we have moved into an era beyond what was “normal” for science.
…. That just shows her ignorance of two things.
1: That the scientific method cannot be moved away from. If you do. Then you ain’t doin’ science no more.
2: The scientific method is not being applied in many instances. So she’s looking at what is abnormal and thinking it is normal….
I hope the criticisms here do her good. She needs to view things from beyond her own egocentric orbit…;-)

September 12, 2012 5:38 am

Crispin in Waterloo says “Climate Audit is another high end chat room and is an important adjunct to WUWT.”
That’s a bit unkind, Crispin, even if inadvertently. They are different animals, say as a hard cover book is to a paperback. Anthony typically starts a topic with a commentary, Steve almost always with a cutting edge analysis. The intensity of response at CA is more analytical, at WUWT more conversational. IIRC, it was Steve’s example that encouraged Anthony along until he surpassed his numbers.
That said, there is a place for both and I’m not wishing to be rude to either Steve or Anthony or to suggest changes to either. The world would be so boring if all blogs were run the same way with similar content. I enjoy both. But they are incomparable.

Steve Keohane
September 12, 2012 5:45 am

Normal science (as promulgated by Thomas Kuhn) is seen as the goal by bloggers above all else. However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community
What a load of crap. Someone needs some real life experience.

M Courtney
September 12, 2012 5:51 am

Such a small sample size is not going to give meaningful results so I won’t address her findings.
But I will consider her alleged weaknesses of WUWT as they may be right anyway.
1 Dissenting voices are subdued and harrassed out.
The main response has been “not compared with other blogs” and that is true. But is that enough? Any post that does support the cliamte establishment is countered by many of the regular commenters here. Responding on multiple fronts is difficult and so the easiet response is to run away. Therefore there is a danger of becoming an echo chamber (except on solar discussions).
2 Comment threads go off topic.
True. But it seems to methat they stay on course more now that the Tips and Notes page has been introduced. Perhaps, with a larger sample size, she could have given evidence to back my impression.
3 The comments are personally abusive.
Again true. But have you seen the rest of the internet? Try the Youtube comments. Of course, the quotes she gave about peanut brains do WUWT no credit. But those sort of comments are not the majority. Further work that could be useful would be to analyse the frequency of abusive comments down the thread and see if the peak at the start, the middle or the end (if at all). Also, in my opinion, the political posts are foar more vicious in the comments threads than the science threads. Again it would be nice to know if that’s true.
Sadly, the study which could have been useful, is not that detailed.
But it is worthy of note that WUWT is considered worthy of analysis at all. WUWT must be effective.

pat
September 12, 2012 6:07 am

lengthy, but u have to read it to (not) believe it:
11 Sept:Bloomberg: Katherine Bagley: Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment in U.S.
InsideClimateNews.org — The harassment faced by U.S.-based climate scientists has been well documented in the media—but not the harassment of scientists in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world.
That’s because there hasn’t been much to report…
InsideClimate News contacted scientists working on climate change in Europe, Canada and Japan and learned that virtually everyone believes that the harassment is specific to the United States. They said that it could have long-term consequences for public understanding of global warming.
“The harassment has an intimidating effect—especially on young scientists,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Rahmstorf said that watching colleagues be harassed often deters them from speaking to media or the public about their research, which skews the debate…
Why Harassment Here and Not There?…
There are two main types of harassment in the United States—by individual skeptics, or by campaigns led by conservative groups, often bankrolled by fossil fuel industries, that seek to sow confusion on the climate issue and undermine support for carbon regulations…
The European Union, home to the world’s largest carbon market…ETC ETC ETC
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-10/climate-scientists-face-organized-harassment-in-u-s-.html

September 12, 2012 6:10 am

Once and for all, I reject “post-normal science” as an unwarranted intrusion by incompetent sociologists into physical science, and I reject appeals to “authorities” or “definers” such as Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper — those writers had nothing to do with my science education and lifetime of learning, and I owe nothing to them, nothing at all. I tried reading them at one time or another, long after my initial science education (high school and undergraduate), but I concluded they are full of it (sorry, but they are; in my professional scientific view, not only are there no heroes in climate science — with the very limited exception of myself and perhaps a few other “climate deniers”, in a small way — but there are none in the philosophy of science either, they are all dogmatic cranks, deluded by their choices of supposedly fundamental categories). I don’t like Kant either, or Aristotle, or…you get my point.
And the whole basis for the seminar and this discussion is false. There is no competent climate science, and there is no greenhouse effect to destabilize the planet.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 6:13 am

Jim south london says:
September 12, 2012 at 3:05 am
“Sir Tim Burners Lee didnt want his invention being exploited and corrupted by some Media Megalmanic Mogul.So he put a Free Patent on Data Packet Switching.He should be the man with the Nobel Peace Prize”
Data Packet Switching is way older. Tim Berners-Lee defined the protocol of the web, http (Hypertext transfer protocol) and made it free of charge.

Stephan
September 12, 2012 6:15 am

Franziska Hollender is absolute right: We should name a scientific principle after her:
The Law of Franziska Hollender:
You shall not use more than:
7
samples for a science paper.
See the picture at:
http://i49.tinypic.com/n55xf.jpg

pat
September 12, 2012 6:15 am

even lengthier, and desperate for action (with taxpayers’ money):
12 Sept: Bloomberg: Alex Morales: Bayer, Nestle Lead Carbon-Cutting Effort as Climate Risk Grows
Bayer AG and Nestle SA are leading efforts to measure and cut emissions as companies increasingly view extreme weather events caused by climate change as a threat to their business, the Carbon Disclosure Project said.
About 37 percent of respondents in a survey of the 500 biggest companies reported an immediate danger to their operations from disruptions ranging from floods that shut factories in Thailand to drought that’s decimated crops in the U.S., the London-based non-profit said today in a report. That’s up from 30 percent last year and 10 percent in 2010…
Watch Live:CDP’s Global Climate Change Forum at 9 a.m. New York time on Sept. 12…
“What’s needed is government action — taxation and regulation of greenhouse gases,” said (Carbon Disclosure Project Executive Chairman Paul)Dickinson. “CO2 is a valueless pollutant, so it’s not really possible to address without government action.” …
Greenhouse pollutants are already traded in the European Union…
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-11/bayer-nestle-lead-carbon-cutting-effort-as-climate-risk-grows.html
——————————————————————————–

September 12, 2012 6:17 am

As a former researcher and statistician, the idea of using a sample size of 7 in a population
of comments this large and varied is a good reason to reject her thesis and deny her even a lowly
Master’s degree. One need not even bother with her tortured logic – the study gets rejected
and needs to be redone. Now here’s a perfect place for some personal ridicule – she has earned
it, after all.

Stephan
September 12, 2012 6:18 am

Sorry, it was the wrong picture: This is the right picture.
http://i49.tinypic.com/14llymp.jpg

Jimmy Haigh
September 12, 2012 6:20 am

Any pictures of Fran in Bild?.. Going by her Flickr site she travels a lot – lots of aeroplane flights. (Lots of CO2..) She also drinks carbonated beer. (More CO2…)

michaeljmcfadden
September 12, 2012 6:27 am

Some others have already stated things along these lines, but given the amount and strength of the criticisms of Ms. Hollender’s work . I would like to repeat several of the points that have been made in her defense:
(1) She was quite clear on what she was analyzing, seven individual blog postings and their following comments, not the entirety of the content of this entire website.
(2) She was also quite clear on what tools see used to make that analysis.
(3) This was a paper presented at a conference, not a published and finished paper, having undergone peer review in an established journal.
(4) She presented her paper at a conference that had another speaker who many might feel was disreputable, but using that as a standard discredit her seems to be going a little bit far. I think all of us occasionally have had strange bedfellows in our politically active spheres at times.
On the other hand, her presentation of her work had some notable weaknesses which have been well pointed out here and to which I would like to add the following:
(1) She seems to conflate the substance of the major blog articles themselves with the commenting sections that appear after those articles. It would have been instructive and helpful if she had analyzed both separately in at least a brief section of her research.
(2) She should have made at least a preliminary and superficial examination of one or two blogs on the other side of the issue and commented on how there content seems to compare to her more thorough examination of this blog.
(3) If she did not do so, then she should have included in her references the specifics of what seven blog items she had chosen for her analysis and outlined the standards that governed that choice.
Finally, I would like to comment on kadaka’s note on German toilet paper: at last we know the true story behind the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Whipple from the American airwaves! We demand his return and the entire German supply of WMD (Wipers of ‘Merican Derriers) at once or consequences will be consequent!
– MJM

leftinbrooklyn
September 12, 2012 6:28 am

‘‘The contrarian discourse in the blogosphere–what are blogs good for anyway?”
A truly strong belief system would not need to cower from freedom of speech.

Tamara
September 12, 2012 6:29 am

Ms. Hollender, can you elaborate on why you chose to focus on the “extended peer community” portion of Post Normal Science, and chose to ignore the insertion of value judgments which is the key portion that most commenters at WUWT find objectionable?

DirkH
September 12, 2012 6:30 am

I would have been less harsh with my comments had that woman not had the gall (assuming she is “thedetroiter”) to one day “make important decisions”, i.e. rule over me, in the UN – i.e. the stated goal of becoming an unelected bureaucrat in an undemocratic organisation; all the while having no grasp of the scientific basis of whatever it would be she would make decisions about.
She sees no problem with that.
She is actually in good company. Connie Heedegard, climate comissioner of the EU commission, is a journalist by trade. We can safely assume that she has no grasp of climate science either.
It is not necessary for the modern unelected ruler to understand anything, it seems.
That’s where we are. In the form of Franziska Hollender, we are producing the next generation of rulers with no understanding of anything.

Toby Nixon
September 12, 2012 6:30 am

I think we already know what they want to “do with” contrarians:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/30/o-m-g-video-explodes-skeptical-kids-in-bloodbath/

Patrick
September 12, 2012 6:36 am

“The media serve to inform, entertain, educate …” With an intro this naive, I saved myself a few minutes and skipped the article.

Annie
September 12, 2012 6:37 am

She claims she is unbiased but uses the term ‘contrarians’? Eh?

September 12, 2012 6:48 am

Interesting critique of this being a “great way to advance onself” in this comfortable “academic realm”. Back in the 1990’s I had a room mate who’s 42 year old sister had been accepted in a Phd program in early childhood development.
She needed to do a rather (in my mind) trivial statistical analysis on some data supplied by her advisor. She was a big MAC attack person. I helped locate a Pentium II, used for $350. Got her set up, Modem internet through AOL.
Downloaded the stat program.
Showed her how to use it. 3 or 4 nights over two weeks.
She did the (as I say, rather trivial) analysis, wrote a paper full of words…submitted it. Went to “conference” presented it, integrated it into the larger dissertation..and wallah, in less than 1 year finished up her Phd. Within 18 months she was TEACHING at a prestigious East Coast Women’s college.
Sorry to be so in the “ad hominim” attack mode, but I’m a STUPID ENGINEER who could waltz circles around this person. I’ll NEVER have the security and comfort she now has.
I see the similar result for this woman who did this study. BRAVO, on a “evolutionary basis” she deserves to survive…After all she understands “the SYSTEM” much better than I.
I pray that we will still have elecrtric lights, functional automobiles, and sewer system when this sort of “superior” member of the TRIBE takes over!

Shevva
September 12, 2012 6:49 am

I believe WUWT is a middle ground meaning that any Tom, Dick or Harry can turn up read the posts ask questions and get answers, the gate keeping (stupid derogatory language for a thesis) comes from what are classed as trolls due to the use of non-truths to divert or subvert the general direction of discuss on a blog post.
The main problem I see with this study is the generalisation used, where all 7 posts say about sea ice or was 1 about CO2 and another about say burning man? as the responses to each would differ but Ms Hollande assumes that all comments can be compared and pigeon hold as such.

Shevva
September 12, 2012 6:57 am

I apologies should read Ms. Hollender.

Neo
September 12, 2012 7:03 am

I find the label, post-normal science, to be somewhat apt in an ironic way.
Whenever there is a discussion of climate science and the ways of science, I am always struck that there is no mention of the public impact. Climate scientists aren’t merely scientists of the conventional form. Most of the more notable have projected themselves into politics, trying to affect public policy, not to mention greasing the skids for more grant money for themselves.
Climate science does not come cheap. For a bunch of folks who torture numbers at least as well as the Tobacco Institute, they seem to command billions of dollars. $80 billion a year is now spent by the US federal government on “climate” related programs. NASA spends less than $19 billion on it’s entire budget, so some public accountability for the climate related expenditures should be more than expected.

Steve from Rockwood
September 12, 2012 7:12 am

Editorial boards are a form of gate-keeping. There are gates everywhere, even where none should exist. But seriously, who made that Zoloft comment and told her to sit by the window and enjoy the sun? That made my day!

Rich Horton
September 12, 2012 7:12 am

“Normal science (as promulgated by Thomas Kuhn) is seen as the goal by bloggers above all else. However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community.”
Leaving aside the question of the validity of this interpretation of Kuhn (and I am dubious), I do think it is safe to say such a view is exactly what places like WUWT do NOT want science to become. It would be far better to adhere to Karl Popper’s view of science and its public component:
“Two aspects of the method of the natural sciences are of importance… Together they constitute what I may term the ‘public character of scientific method’. First, there is something approaching free criticism. A scientist may offer his theory with the full conviction that it is unassailable. But this does not necessarily impress his fellow-scientists; rather it challenges them. For they know that the scientific attitude means criticizing everything, and they are little deterred even by authorities. Secondly, scientists try to avoid talking at cross-purposes. (I may remind the reader that I am speaking of the natural sciences, but a part of modern economics may be included.) They try very seriously to speak one and the same language, even if they use different mother tongues. In the natural sciences this is achieved by recognizing experience as the impartial arbiter of their controversies. When speaking of ‘experience’ I have in mind experience of a ‘public’ character, like observations, and experiments, as opposed to experience in the sense of more ‘private’ aesthetic or religious experience; and an experience is ‘public’ if everybody who takes the trouble can repeat it. In order to avoid speaking at cross-purposes, scientists try to express their theories in such a form that they can be tested, i.e. refuted (or otherwise confirmed) by such experience.
“This is what constitutes scientific objectivity. Everyone who has learned the technique of understanding and testing scientific theories can repeat the experiment and judge for himself. In spite of this, there will always be some who come to judgements which are partial, or even cranky. This cannot be helped, and it does not seriously disturb the working of the various social institutions which have been designed to further scientific objectivity and impartiality; for instance the laboratories, the scientific periodicals, the congresses. This aspect of scientific method shows what can be achieved by institutions designed to make public control possible, and by the open expression of public opinion, even if this is limited to a circle of specialists. Only political power when it is used to suppress free criticism, or when it fails to protect it, can impair the functioning of these institutions, on which all progress, scientific, technological, and political, ultimately depends.”
-Karl Popper “The Open Society and its Enemies: Vol II Hegel and Marx” (pp.217-218)
Places like WUWT are valuable precisely because they defend “free criticism” from those who would eliminate it on the grounds of “consensus.”
I really have no idea what that is so difficult for some people to understand.

richardscourtney
September 12, 2012 7:14 am

Scottish Sceptic:
At September 12, 2012 at 5:09 am you object to my joke at September 12, 2012 at 4:46 am by saying

Gentlemen, that is hardly a way to encourage engagement with this lady.

I respectfully disagree.
At September 12, 2012 at 2:42 am I addressed a post to her that listed posts in this thread which I consider would be helpful to her together with explanation of how each of those posts would help her (incidentally, the first in that list was a post from you).
Subsequently, I posted my joke to which you have objected. I honestly think that joke is also part of helping her to learn because I agree with Kent Beuchert who says at September 12, 2012 at 6:17 am

As a former researcher and statistician, the idea of using a sample size of 7 in a population of comments this large and varied is a good reason to reject her thesis and deny her even a lowly Master’s degree. One need not even bother with her tortured logic – the study gets rejected and needs to be redone. Now here’s a perfect place for some personal ridicule – she has earned it, after all.

Richard

thelastdemocrat
September 12, 2012 7:16 am

So, the author/researcher believes that science should be limited to certain people and certain situations, such as uniquely limited to “peer-reviewed journals?” Favoring anything else is to be un-scientific?
This is the same elitist totalitarian propaganda where we rabble obviously must be doing things wrongly since we have opinions that differ from what has come down from on high. How very scientific.
that is ridiculous. That is why people are making fun of this woman. She is bash tardizing science in order to follow the Alinsky strategy of identifying opponents sharply, cutting them off from normal society and discourse, and so eventually neutralizing them. I give credit to Alinsky, but to jot this note I am reminded that this is pretty much what the bolsheviks did with the menscheviks.

Zeke
September 12, 2012 7:32 am

I enjoyed the comment about new media “increasingly permeating multiple media spheres.” There are so many interesting possibilities re why this is so.
Of course, one way to look at it is that the “old media” which was provided in pre-packaged form so that people would be “informed, entertained and have something to talk about” never really had anything but a captive audience. But that only scratches the surface about the charms and possibilities people find in blogs, live radio shows, and user-generated sites.
Never mind all of that. What do we do about contrarians?

September 12, 2012 7:38 am

Here is *my* take on the seminar, with a “reporter’s” slant to the story:
Thirteen people, including Franziska Hollender (Google +: https://plus.google.com/116446784794396843390/posts), attended a seminar on September 11, 2012 at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado.
Ms. Hollender recently completed her M.A. studies at the University of Vienna and is planning to pursue a PhD next spring. Her presentation centered around her M.A. thesis, which examined seven blog posts over six consecutive years by Anthony Watts on his blog, Watts Up With That.
Bobby, the woman who introduced Ms. Hollender as “Fran”, told us that Fran was taking an academic look at blogging, something few others have attempted. Bobby then asked Fran if she would take questions during her presentation, but Fran preferred to take questions at the end of her talk.
Fran started by talking about a “mediated society” that calls into question the integrity of science. One of the new media is the weblog, or blog. She noted that she also has a free blog about cooking, and mentioned that few blogs make money. She talked for some time about seven posts by Anthony Watts on WUWT. The comments on these seven posts had two notable functions: 1. Verification of the results in the posts; 2. Extended peer review. Comments on the September 1, 2012 post announcing her seminar also had these two functions.
In her thesis, Fran analyzed Anthony’s posts using critical discourse analysis in the manner of Fairclough and Wodak. She was especially interested in analyzing the power structures that were evident in the seven posts and their comment sections.
Fran’s analysis showed three major ideas that ran through all the posts:
1. Normal (Kuhnian) science is the good above all else.
2. Climate scientists are not following the scientific method and are not honoring the people who pay their bills and wages.
3. Post normal science (the science that comes *AFTER* normal, Kuhnian science, according to Ravetz and Funtowitcz) is anti-scientific.
Fran said very little more about Anthony’s seven posts. Instead she began her discussion of the 476 comments that followed Anthony’s posting of the announcement of the seminar she was now conducting.
First, she pointed out that Anthony’s policy to cull post comments of ridicule, personal attacks, and name calling was inconsistently enforced.
She said that this policy was clearly not being being carried out for the posts commenting on the WUWT announcement of her seminar – or any other comments that use tthe terms “warmist,” “alarmist,” “warmista,” or “global warming fanatic,” for example.
Next, she took umbrage at being called a “dipshit.
She objected to the terms “warmist” and “alarmist” but noted that the term “believer”, which Simon Kuper used in an article at the Financial Times, is not an accurate description of “people who are of the opinion that climate change is at least in part anthropogenic and worthy of public action” but is at a loss herself for a good one-word term.
She then discussed the authority and trustworthiness of science, asking, “Has science ever been normal?” Her answer was that it has never been normal. Scientists cannot be totally objective. They always have motives other than the mere search for knowledge and truth.
She observed that most of the people who posted comments to the WUWT announcement missed the point of her “Science AS ideology” (my emphasis) comment.
Because data collection is never unbiased, not being objective with the collection of data, Fran was reluctant to fault scientists who interpret their data in a biased way. She emphasized that observational bias is unavoidable.
She noted that even blogs have biases due to gatekeeping. Nobody sees the comments that have been snipped by moderators, so there is no objective way to determine if they were snipped deservedly. Fran pointed out that in all her studies of WUWT, few dissenting comments remained after moderation.
For example, there was a guest post on WUWT by Jerome Ravetz, in which he attempted to explain Post normal science and its enactment in the blogosphere. Fran felt that the response to Ravetz was almost entirely personal attack, and unfair personal attack at that, since clearly few of the attackers even understood what Ravetz was getting at.
Fran summed up her appreciation of WUWT and other blogs by saying that they are “Not that free. Not everyone is welcome.”
However, she emphasized that high interactivity on blogs is a plus: there are about 250 comments on each post on WUWT. The interactivity and lack of moderation mean that derogatory comments like “Offer her another Zoloft and put her by the window, she’ll enjoy the bright colours in the sunlight,” were “speech acts” that should be held accountable for their impoliteness and aggression.
“Holding science accountable is important.” People who comment on blogs that claim to be scientific should be held accountable for the aggressive speech acts that they have committed, according to Fran.
Then she noted that the vast majority of the comments that were appended to the seminar announcement descended into a discussion of Post normal science.
Fran’s appreciation of Post normal science is that it is a description of what happens after the science is done. It is not a prescription, but is a description of what people do after they understand what the normal science means in the real world. There are large issues at stake. What must we do with the knowledge we gain from science?
Thus, in Fran’s thinking Post normal science isn’t a different kind of science at all. It is the actions and words that occur *after* science is done with its objective data and replicated experiments – thus, POST (after) normal science.
Fran believes that, “blogs are underrated as media and need to be taken more seriously.” Blogs are good at noting that the role of science in society is a matter of ideology. Blogs are also good at extended peer review of the results of scientific inquiry. However, blog commentary as constructive discourse is impeded by personal attacks and ridicule, something she herself experienced in the comments to Anthony’s seminar announcement on WUWT.
Fran suggested that if blogs were willing to take out the arguing and attacks, they would become acceptable as academic and scientific discourse. She ended her presentation with the Heisenbergian statement that, “Observing a system changes the system.”
Then Fran opened the floor for questions.
One questioner mentioned that “open source” journals might be one solution to the problem of scientific peer review. Fran replied that unfortunately, scientific journals are usually put on paper, which costs money, and thus they will mostly remain read only within the scientific community, while blogs are open and are much better way to reach a wider public. Also, even though there are free journals, they are not very well promoted and thus reach fewer people from outside a discipline.
I asked Fran whether she could articulate the great divide, the thesis and antithesis of climate change.
She said that she was confused, and could not take a side. Her conviction is that humans do contribute to climate change and that it was worth it to make lifestyle changes like paying more for energy and recycling. She also mentioned that she believes in some version of the precautionary principle: we should do something if the stakes are so high that the entire planet might be affected. She said she would rather act sooner about such a situation rather than later. She added that her approach is very European. Europeans have a “give and get” tradition where they are willing to give more in taxes in order to get less poverty and environmental degradation.
Another questioner asked Fran about roles that commenters take on blogs, specifically the roles of policing the comments or the role of commenting productively. Fran noted that most people stick to some particular role, usually noting that they are stepping out of that role in a particular comment by saying something like, “I normally don’t do this, but now I will comment.” Unfortunately, the policing role generally degenerates into nothing but vicious comments, something that is “unproductive.”
Fran noted that she had to refrain from commenting on Anthony’s post about her seminar. “I wouldn’t be able to stop if I started commenting,” was the reason she gave for not participating in the commentary. Plus, the fact that doing so would have changed the object under study.
Another questioner asked if blogs could influence normal science. Fran noted that many of the guest posts on WUWT were by knowledgeable people, but people not usually publishable in normal peer reviewed journals. This might have some influence on normal science. However, some posts on WUWT were definitely not suitable for peer reviewed journals, most notably Anthony’s posts regarding Pachauri’s novel writings, an activity that has nothing to do whatsoever with Pachauri’s science or his believability as the head of the IPCC, at least in Fran’s opinion.
Thus, says Fran, “Ideas that don’t pass rigid scientific peer review get air.”
Another questioner mentioned Judy Curry’s blog and how it engages both believers and contrarians. Fran noted that Anthony has said that Judy Curry used to be a contrarian, but has “fallen off the bandwagon and retreated to warmist views.”
Fran noted that Jerome Ravetz had a guest post on WUWT, but the 500 comments on that post were almost uniformly “all bad.”
Fran said that she has “yet to find a blog where constructive discourse happens” when clashing views are encouraged.
Another questioner asked whether blogs could be the new “agora” in the Greek philosophical sense. Fran found the comment interesting.
Fran wrapped up the questioning by noting that there is still a lack of constructive discourse in the blogosphere. Among contrarians, the role of humans in climate change is still discussed, while among those who are believers, they are “not concerned about whether climate change is happening.” Believers are only concerned about what to do about it.
Bobby thanked all the participants for coming, and most everybody but a few contrarians left for classes or other activities. To the remaining few, Fran opined that she ultimately preferred the European lifestyle to that of America, but appreciates the possibilities and chances in America, having lived in different states and cities herself. She was appalled at the poverty she saw in big parts of the country and was flabbergasted that Americans could allow such blatant inhumanity to stand. She also noted that even with the higher taxes and lack of economic freedom in Europe, the lifestyle there has not changed for the worse.

Scottish Sceptic
September 12, 2012 7:43 am

richardscourtney says:
Subsequently, I posted my joke to which you have objected.

Richard, it is clear she does not understand us and so it is unlikely that she understands our humour, …. and now we await the humourologist who will dissect our humour to show that it is in fact growing at an alarming rate consistent with CO2 induced global snoring.

ferdberple
September 12, 2012 7:43 am

RockyRoad says:
September 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm
They don’t apply “gatekeeping” over at RealClimate–it’s more like “barndooring”.
======
100% of my comments at RealClimate have been posted – to the Borehole. This happened after I pointed out that the was no need for sea level proxies. That the British Admiralty 200-300 years ago made the single most complete and accurate scientific record of sea levels on a global scale, and that climate science has completely failed to double check their results against the Admiralty Charts.
The charts made by Cook, Vancouver, Bligh, Flinders, etc. These are the records of sea levels 200+ years ago. Why are they not used in sea level analysis? The answer is simple. Over the past 200+ years the charts do not show enough sea level rise to be visibly measured, on charts that are accurate to 1 foot.
These charts are ignored by climate science because they don’t fit the narrative of catastrophic sea level rise. Quite the opposite. They show that if sea level rise is occurring, it is so small as to be insignificant in a human lifetime. Much smaller than the daily tidal range. Much smaller than the average waves on a beach.

ferdberple
September 12, 2012 7:50 am

There is a statistical rule of thumb that in a normal population, the significant sample size is the square root of the population. For a reliable analysis of WUWT’s 7764 articles, you need a random sample of 89.

Anonymous Coward
September 12, 2012 7:56 am

The irony here is just too funny.
Professor says “discursive strategies on WUWT include ridicule, personal attacks, and name-calling.” WUWT commenters respond with ridicule, personal attacks, and name-calling.
REPLY: You should go look at some of the pro AGW blogs and then explain to me how they are different. I also have a number of taunting blog-children that have setup blogs specifically to taunt and denigrate me. Seen any of those? I’m betting Fran hasn’t either. Compared to those, WUWT is pretty civil.- Anthony

September 12, 2012 7:58 am

Doug Proctor says:
September 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm
….
A more useful Master’s thesis would have been to analyse both camps and identify the basis of positions and strategies of defense. That would have taught us something useful: where each is really coming from, and the nature of their strategy for defending one and denying the other.

Exactly. Without a counter-balancing analysis, this is yet another example of confirmation bias.

Keith
September 12, 2012 7:58 am

I attended the CSTPR Seminar 9/11/12. It was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Hollender.
She provided a very broad outline of the research topic. No specifics. Others have provided specifics of the seminar and discussions. I found the topic of interest, so I will comment on the potential of the topic.
What can we learn by researching climate science blogs on how to improve the effectiveness of scientific exchange?
1. How can we increase the effectiveness of blogs in scientific discourse? Blogs are successfully engaging a diversity of people and view points, but also creating a large quantity of noise and vitriolic comments. How will we separate the wheat from the chaff (or do we need to)? Note: Google has been working on increasing the effectiveness of in-house scientific discourse with some scientific organizations.
2. Science is becoming more isolated and siloed, not engaging a diversity in perspectives. It might be okay for short term prestige and grant funding, but long term, this is detrimental to science and the public’s willingness to fund science. What can be learned from blogs for effectively engaging a diversity of perspectives?
3. Peer reviewed journals are not interactive nor accessible to the media, politicians, masses…. What can be learned from blogs/social media to improve the peer review journal process?
4. There will be significant Federal budget cuts that will impact science. Those who can best engage will best survive the severe cuts to come.
I would hope the research will study the structure of blog interactions and discourse to gain understandings in how to make them more effective for discussing differing scientific points of view. I recommend you drop any references to “contrarian” and make no references to “sides”. Study the process not the points of view. I would analyze a variety of highly used climate science topic sites.
As a scientist and engineer, I understand the desire for a comfortable, country club of scientific friends where we could pursue our interests for “the good of humanity”. Engaging a broad community with our science and justifying our research is very difficult and time consuming. Often they don’t understand. But, “trust us” no longer works in industrial nor public R&D.

michael hart
September 12, 2012 8:00 am

As Shevva asks, what were the blog titles about?
At what point do you start to ignore “works” such as these, Anthony? There must be an unhealthy supply of them, and probably a larger supply of people who realize that they can get themselves free publicity by appearing on WUWT.
[They probably don’t realize, or don’t need to care, about what sort of publicity]

Jimbo
September 12, 2012 8:06 am

I was once on RealClimate and someone wanted me to provide at least 10 peer reviewed papers countering AGW. I responded that I could not provide 10 but over 500 and pointed them to the following link which was gate-keeped i.e. sniped in full.
http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html
Another time I pointed out that alarmists are well, too alarmist. I was asked for evidence and I pointed them to the following link which was gate-keeped i.e. sniped in full.
http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm
I have had worse experiences at the old Climate Progress where my comment was not snipped but deleted then subsequently later comments never saw the light of day.
Franziska Hollender must realise that many people here and on other sceptical blogs have been gate-keeped a lot more than here.

ferdberple
September 12, 2012 8:08 am

DirkH says:
September 12, 2012 at 6:30 am
That’s where we are. In the form of Franziska Hollender, we are producing the next generation of rulers with no understanding of anything.
========
Perhaps not. In the west lawyers become politicians. In China it is engineers that become politicians. Who is in the better position to rule the world in the next generation?
Western politicians have a solution however. They will pass a law making us all rich. Those that are not rich will be given money until they are rich. The politicians guarantee the money will never run out, that we will all be rich. We need wait just a bit longer…

September 12, 2012 8:12 am

What to do with the contrarians? I bet dictators and tyrants have asked the same question throughout history.

misterjohnqpublic
September 12, 2012 8:13 am

What is the point of the study? To prove that gate keeping exists on blogs? No kidding. So what?
It also exists in the academic community … and everywhere else.
The point of blogs is simply they are an arena of alternative views. The days of the voices of Science, Politics, or Enforcement bodies being blindly accepted are done. These loose groupings of individuals have shown time and again that they serve their own agendas, make incorrect analyses, and can cost Joe Citizen billions on boondoggle programs … leaving future generations to pay the bill.
If the writer wants to study something of importance, why doesn’t she research what compels these groups to dare think they have all the answers or the intelligence to propose definitive conclusions on such complex matters without examining all the evidence and repercussions of their ideas.
Blogs are evidence of a lack of faith in the few who state the official party lines.
Isn’t it normal for the many to be tired of being managed by the few?

Billy
September 12, 2012 8:15 am

I’m not sure criticizing the sample size is appropriate. It depends on what you are trying to show. For example, there are lots of airplane flights every day—but if you see one that lasts for more than 10 minutes, you are correct in concluding that airplanes sometimes fly longer than 10 minutes.
I’ve read a number of posts on this blog, and I do detect a certain sameness. So, I doubt if a large sample is required to understand much that goes on.
Interestingly, I’ve never been censored on this blog, unlike the case at RC.
Billy

Editor
September 12, 2012 8:17 am

I didn’t see this question or answer, perhaps I didn’t look deeply enough:
What are the seven posts? And what were the selection criteria? I assume one criterium was one post per year between 2006 and 2012.

September 12, 2012 8:21 am

“Normal science (as promulgated by Thomas Kuhn) is seen as the goal by bloggers above all else. However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community.” Science as promulgated by Popper and others says nothing about science staying inside the community, it simply expounds and identifies the methods and philosophy as do most WUWT readers.

Bob Kutz
September 12, 2012 8:22 am

Fran;
You just blew it.
“However, their request is to provide people broadly with the means and education to evaluate and disseminate the scientific data they provide, which does not fit with the principles of normal science in which the production and review of results of inquiry stay inside the scientific community and even within a certain paradigmatic community.”
That statement demonstrates an anti scientific viewpoint which is likely irreparable.
The principles of normal science include reproducible results, shared data and methodology and even the archival of data and samples. I don’t know what universe you live in, but in this one data must be recorded, preserved (to include documenting any ‘adjustments’) and shared.
Not just shared amongst some ‘paradigmatic community’ but shared with those who disagree. Shared with those who do seek to tear it apart. If they succeed; you are wrong, and THAT IS SCIENCE. Some would say at its best.
The crux of the problem to date has been ‘the dog ate my homework’ aspect of the core of CAGW theory. Adjusting data, refusing to provide data, refusing to provide documentation for adjustments of government owned archival data, hiding from and obfuscating against FOI requests and so forth does not lend credibility to the likes of Mann, Hansen, Jones, Briffa, et. al.
The internet has indeed introduced a new paradigm; now data and methodology should be shared, universally, with any who care to have a look.
The days of hiding and obfuscating need to end. When someone looks and says ‘hey, your work is wrong’, other scientists can take a look and see. If the blogosphere is where laymen can argue, certainly peer reviewed journals have room for true scientific review of published articles.
Right now there are members of the ‘paradigmatic community’ of climate scientists hiding data, promoting political agendas directly related to their science, and a main stream media who refuses to listen to any but these ‘establishment scientists’. These same ‘scientists’ then attempt to game peer review, and have had a great deal of success doing so, much to the detriment of science itself. Then, when questioned on the science, they claim the media is being bombarded by ‘deniers’ who are funded by big oil. Even if there were any actual evidence of that, you seem to well understand that ad hominem attacks do not change the scientific foundations and science does not promulgate policy. They have engaged in out and out deception; see Climategate and Fakegate, for reference. They refuse to stop making false meme arguments, even long after they have been thoroughly debunked; see the Hockey Stick Illusion (of ‘hide the decline’ fame), the antarctic ice is in fact not in decline, and polar bears are demonstrably not in danger at all, least of all from global warming. Google fakegate, and the first result is an article at Politico that doesn’t seem to have picked up on the fact that the memo is acknowledged by everyone involved, including Peter Glick, to be a fake. These ‘high preists’ of the church of CAGW then portray any who dare to question their orthodox views as deniers and then argue against straw man arguments, rather than entertain a serious debate. Even their ‘consensus’ is demonstrably manufactured for media consumption. All of the hallmarks of fraudulent science. When you look at the political agenda driven by this ‘science’ it isn’t hard to comprehend.
It is hard to comprehend how any serious person, least of all an aspiring scientist, can fall for this.
And mind you; I am a skeptic that believes quite seriously that human CO2 emissions have probably caused some warming. It would be good if the scientists could get back to working out how much of it we’ve caused, rather then taking the ‘sky is falling’ approach, when the uncertainty clearly outweighs the provable effect of the CO2 at this time.
Maybe these ‘scientists’ could even attempt to make a model that doesn’t fall on it’s proverbial arse after just a couple of years. Tipping points and runaway greenhouses don’t seem to work in the real world climate, outside of the ice-age/glacial switch that we don’t yet understand. Hansen ought to come out and acknowledge that he claimed that the West Side Highway would be under water by now, and he was wrong. Or, giving him the benefit of the doubt; he’s still got another 10 or 20 years to go (and the interviewer got it wrong and he just let it go) under his prediction, and we’re not even one twentieth of the way to having sea level rise put it underwater.
Now; go redo your paper, using more than one web site, more than 7 articles from each, and make the articles themselves a part of the paper. Have at least some description of what was discussed; be it a scientific paper, a political event, or a discourse on the FOI laws in the UK. That could be relevant information to your paper.
But first; please take a moment to study what is meant by the word ‘science’ and what the term ‘scientific method’ means. From Ibn al-Haytham, Galileo and Pierce to Kuhn and Fleck; study what each of them contributed to science and the scientific method. Take note that not one of them ever benefited from or relied upon an FOI exemption. Take note that each has something to say about archiving data or methodology and sharing it.
How is that for peer review from the blogosphere?

DirkH
September 12, 2012 8:28 am

W. Earl Allen says:
September 12, 2012 at 7:38 am
“Thus, in Fran’s thinking Post normal science isn’t a different kind of science at all. It is the actions and words that occur *after* science is done with its objective data and replicated experiments – thus, POST (after) normal science.”
That is the stupidest thing. Hans von Storch proposed to classify climate science as Post Normal Science not because he wants to do something with it AFTER the science is done but because model-based climate science CANNOT make a prediction (models only do projections) and therefore FAILS to ever reach the yardstick for Normal Science.
Please, can someone send her a Popper or something.

TomRude
September 12, 2012 8:31 am

The last update about her previous anonymous comments is gold, Jerry… GOLD!

mfo
September 12, 2012 8:37 am

Scottish Sceptic says:
September 12, 2012 at 4:42 am
Scottish Sceptic
I suppose I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. Although I agree it is certainly true that in much of academia there is an assumption that questioning CAGW is wrong. And I entirely agree that it is foolish to study the informed opinions of people she does not understand who are posting and commenting on a blog about a subject she doesn’t understand.
Although it’s a very appropriate subject for the reasons you gave I’m not brave enough to suggest to a female sociologist that she should be studying childbirth. :o)

Ryan
September 12, 2012 8:39 am

It was really, really obvious that she was talking about the 7 posts in question when she said none had less than 50 comments.
REPLY: Since she won’t tell us what the seven were, there’s no way to verify. It wasn’t obvious to me. In science, specifics are required. – Anthony

September 12, 2012 8:39 am

It seems to me that the entire blogging thing and blogging about science it giving the academics some serious problems. Many are simply unable to deal with every other “mans” right to be absolutely wrong and to say so. This whole port normal stuff is more smoke and mirrors then reality. Ideologists have always attempted to influence science and philosophy. What I see here at WUWT is very broadly based collective of ideal and analysis that coves a very wide range to thought. The “turth” (what ever that is) of anything will eventually rise and be recognized even if gruelingly.

Bob Koss
September 12, 2012 8:49 am

Since she made some mention about a thread by Ravetz and one about Pachauri’s x-rated scribblings, it wouldn’t be unwarranted speculation that those were 2/7 of the threads on which she based her presentation.
Since she is a sociable scientist, I wonder how many of the head posts were related to actual science rather than sociable science.

Bill Yarber
September 12, 2012 8:53 am

I’ve read through maybe half of the above comments and did not see any discussing this conclusion sentence.
“Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”
1) climate change discourse has not been stifled by the “contrarians”, it has been brough into the light of day! AGW proponents don’t want discourse on the science, they want blind obedience to the authoritarian establishment.
2) of course we are obsessed with discussing the science basis because the AGW crowd has made many glaring scientific errors and hidden “facts” that weaken or contradict their conclusions. That is not science, that is ideology!
3) science is not and should never be an ideology, it must be based on facts, real world data and repeatable analysis. Ideology has no place in science, or the peer review process. It is obvious that this is not true for AGW climate science today and that is what the contrarians are fighting against. When the model predictions fail to match real world data, then you must change the MODELS, not revise historical data as has been repeatedly done by the AGW crowd.
Fran, I don’t beleive you have a clue about anything you wrote. Your paper is worthless, both scientificly or socially.
Bill

RockyRoad
September 12, 2012 9:21 am

That the world now rewards and compensates “social scientists” more than real scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs is like the battle fought between the “producers” and “looters” in Atlas Shrugged. Ms. Hollender is your typical “social scientist” with lofty aspirations of becoming a queen looter. The rest of us scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs would like to know what accomplishments elevate her to that position. A faulty study should not be one of them.

September 12, 2012 9:21 am

Interesting. Ms. Hollender seems to feel as one of my philosophy professors did. He would never reveal his opinions on religion, etc, because he might overly influence us. I always considered that an insult to the intelligence of his students (or very narcissistic). One suspects she simply fears a verbal tirade concerning her view, no matter what side she chooses. If she really has no idea what is correct, it is always best to so state and then stop talking. Everything from that point forward either sounds evasive and/or dishonest.
There are blogs that concern skeptics and climate change that do not allow insults. I love commenting on and reading them. There are not very many comments because one has to really think through their post before presenting it on the blog. These are excellent blogs and I wish there were more of them.
As for getting off subject, I learn a lot no matter where the topic goes. I would think most readers of this blog are used to the comments meandering and are okay with that idea.

Annie
September 12, 2012 9:35 am

Bill @ 8:53 am 12th September 2012:
I have spent the whole afternoon reading every single comment and that paragraph was mentioned a few times.
I agree with your points 1), 2) and 3).
I think I need to get out for a walk in the fresh air after all this. It is cold and windy here in North Yorkshire, with the occasional really heavy downpour and some sun. What ho!

September 12, 2012 9:38 am

A little browsing on the CSTPR site brought up this gem from Roger A. Pielke, Jr.:
“Awareness of our ignorance—the creation of nonknowledge—is important in democracy because it opens the way for flexible policies that learn and evolve based on experience, subject to the approval of the plebiscite. Such awareness also sensitizes the public to the possibility—indeed the inevitability—of policy failure. The alternative is a “lock in” to strategies that are far more brittle and incapable of evolving.”
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2012.12.pdf

September 12, 2012 9:51 am

First, I wish to thank W. Jackson Davis for his timely Approximate Transcript and his foresight to ask Ms. Hollender to vet it for accuracy. It gives us some info that can be used for discussion. However, I will wait to do a detailed analysis of her seminar presentation until I see the official video and/or transcript. Now I can offer only some observations of her basic argument.
Second, I thank Anthony for what seems like the 100th time for his open venue that is well moderated by his volunteers.
My general observation of Franziska Hollender’s seminar is that the fundamental premises her seminar rests on are merely several invalid presumptions. She does this ‘a priori’ without stating them explicitly as presumptions and she offers no justification of uncritically endorsing them as the basis of her argument.
She bases her argument on an unjustified and invalid premise that a person who is critical in any way of the climate scientists whom the IPCC Assessment Reports endorse (as the consensus of correct authority in climate research) means that person’s efforts are fundamentally and inherently contrary to the general scientific method and the results thereof. Evidence that she holds this invalid premise is her explicit representation of those critics as ‘contrarians’ to science per se. On that basis alone I discount her seminar presentation as explicitly subjective and intentionally biased.
Also, she bases her argument on another unjustified and invalid premise; that she has possession of some kind of special knowledge that allows her to objectively claim that no objective knowledge of the nature of reality is possible. Seriously, it is what Hollender is saying. NOTE: Ravetz’s work also claims objectivity in claiming there is no objectivity possible in ‘normal’ science.
Those two false and hidden premises are just my initial observations of Hollender’s premising problems. [Better to do shorter posts that one excessively long post.] More later.
John

Maus
September 12, 2012 10:02 am

DirkH: “… but because model-based climate science CANNOT make a prediction (models only do projections) …”
This is another clip-art line. Or the linguistic performance of an avowal, if you want to stay with the zeitgeist. But a prediction and a projection are precisely the same thing. Labeling a prediction as a projection is only useful to then state that the theory was not falsified when the prediction was. Which is terribly absurd and does unsightly things to Popper’s corpse.

pochas
September 12, 2012 10:10 am

I get it! Post-normal science is when you ignore reality and let the politicians run things. 🙂
Oh, wait…

more soylent green!
September 12, 2012 10:12 am

It seems to me that Hollender both complains about gate-keeping and then complains there isn’t enough of it. She does have a point about consistent enforcement, because the violation of policy is a subjective call by the moderator.
Still, she sampled 7 posts over a period of 7 years. Is that really a good sample? Is it representative? How were those 7 posts selected for analysis?
It’s really sad that her paper seems to be very representative of the poor quality of higher-education in America. She doesn’t understand the objections to post-normal science, she doesn’t understand the objections to not following the scientific method and she doesn’t understand why don’t we just all believe exactly what she believes.
After all, wouldn’t life be easier for the collective if we would just let ourselves be assimilated?

Neo
September 12, 2012 10:13 am

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” — Albert Einstein
The rarefied air of climate science seems to really fear that “single experiment,” but then again they seem to define the problem such that there is no “single experiment” that can prove any thing.

SanityP
September 12, 2012 10:29 am

Is her study reproducable ? Where is the data? Who paid for it?

DirkH
September 12, 2012 10:33 am

Maus says:
September 12, 2012 at 10:02 am
“DirkH: “… but because model-based climate science CANNOT make a prediction (models only do projections) …”
This is another clip-art line. Or the linguistic performance of an avowal, if you want to stay with the zeitgeist. But a prediction and a projection are precisely the same thing. Labeling a prediction as a projection is only useful to then state that the theory was not falsified when the prediction was. Which is terribly absurd and does unsightly things to Popper’s corpse.”
A projection is for a scenario, with a random initial state; a prediction would be for the real world, with an accurate initial state. So they can say, we have run that scenario and this is the projection.
Basically it’s all moot, climate is chaotic and a chaotic system cannot be reliably simulated with a model with finite precision. So, they will never pass that yardstick and until everybody agrees to stop funding them they will muddle along, you know that and I know that. And as long as they muddle along, social scientists , hungry for power, will inject themselves into the fray.

September 12, 2012 10:42 am

NOTE: To be clear, this is a reply from Franziska Hollender – Anthony
I debated with myself whether to comment here at all, but since below the personal assaults there are questions I am happy to answer, why not.
First off, to be completely honest, I had forgotten that I had once upon a time commented here, too. I apologize for making a false statement, it certainly wasn’t planned deception. However, this does not change anything, I was not in any of the sampled posts. “thedetroiter” is not a fake name, it is my screen name. Many of you have screen names, that’s how it goes on the Internet. Why Detroit? Because I was once upon a time an exchange student in Detroit. However, how is this relevant to my work? Why does it matter what I once wrote about myself years ago, who really cares about my personal life, and why SHOULD you care? I’ve noted this over and over again: while it is of no matter of all, you still try to seek out any sort of personal (not scientific) weakness you can find. I will not be put into a situation in which I have to defend my personal life which is none of your business. I am happy about constructive criticism of my work-in-progress, even the type that is worded rather crudely.
Now, to the “transcription”: it is true that I was given the opportunity to review the text before it got submitted. However, I was also pressured quite quickly by saying “If you don’t change anything right NOW, I will just post it as it is.” It was late and I don’t actually spend all of my day on the Internet, hence I chose to make the most important changes instead of having something posted that I felt missed the point. There will be an actual recording up on the CSTPR website in a while, so for those who are actually interested, you are welcome to listen for yourself.
During the talk, I actually got the feeling that many of the misunderstandings were resolved quite well, even with the “contrarian crowd”. I explicitly stated that I think blogs are an excellent medium to do extended peer-review and that WUWT works well in this regard. I also said that it is a way of holding science accountable, which also works well, looking at the site’s track record of pointing out data issues and the like. One commenter pointed out that a rather fierce mode of discussion is beneficial for sorting out “matters of truth”. I agree. There is a thin line though. Also, I was asked directly whether it is true that I was trying to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. This is true. I do not have an agenda. I am not paid for my research, I did it out of interest. I could have done anything else and yet I chose to “pick a fight with the biggest dog in the park” as someone phrased it. I also said in the talk that none of the characteristics that I found are exclusively a “contrarian” thing, just to make that clear. You are completely correct in saying that ridicule and the likes go on at other blogs, too. Sometimes even in the same way. But saying “but the others are doing that, too” doesn’t change anything about this observation HERE. I agree that a comparison would be a great next step. Nevertheless, my aim is not to hold a contest which blog has better comments or something like that. My impression was that blogs are much more important and vibrant than they are sometimes judged to be, also, they are way more complex than “less gatekeeping, more interaction (than traditional media such as newspapers)” and that they really need to be taken more seriously. I feel like I succeeded in verifying this. Next time someone asks me whether my research is relevant at all, I will just point that person to the posts about my talk.. 😉
What I also mentioned – and this wasn’t reflected in any of the reports about the talk – is what I meant saying that some people propose it is only a sideshow, etc. I used two opposing sides, namely “The contrarian discourse is an irrelevant culture war (rough quote!)” by Simon Kuper, FT, also Roger Pielke Jr.’s statement on his own blog that it is just a sideshow that does not have an effect on policy-making (see here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/12/about-those-skeptics.html) The other perspective is represented by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, in an article called “Defeating the merchants of doubt” which you can access here http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7299/full/465686a.html if you’re a suscriber to Nature or have access to a University library network. I tend to find lots of articles posted online free of charge by running the titles on Google, so you may try this if you don’t have access.
I used these two opposing opinions in order to structure my discussion. My conclusion is that BECAUSE the discourse is happening largely on blogs, it is NOT an irrelevant sideshow that should be ignored or fought. This points again to the assumption that the medium chosen is very important to the message.
Why only WUWT, why only seven posts and 1600 comments? This is not a book. It is a study conceptualized for six months of work. In my discipline I was encouraged do to an in-depth study rather than an overview of different blogs, which would simply have a different – no less important – focus. WUWT was, after a while of reading different blogs, the best choice for me: it is highly visible in both the blogosphere and tradtional media, it gets a very high amount of comments, there is lively interaction, a high volume of posts,… Why NOT WUWT? It also scores well on Technorati and other indexing tools. I believe that there is much to be done when it comes to academic research of the blogosphere and you have to start somewhere. In order to do qualitative, not quantitative work, it is less important to have large samples and more important to study the sample thouroughly. This was not content analysis. I appreciate that many people here are not familiar with discourse analysis, but it really isn’t fair to lash out at a methodology where all you know about it is a Wikipedia post. Go ahead, read a book on it, then make up your mind.
Some people were offended that I hadn’t asked permission to read their comments for my research. I am sorry you feel that way. There is a difference between participant observation and non-participant observation, and I chose to do the latter. All of the material here has been posted online and in public. I am sure everyone is aware of that. All of the 1600 comments I looked at were of course, when they were quoted, anonymized. Nothing can be traced back to a particular person. There is a wide variety of ways in which you could do this work, and there are valid arguments for all of them.
Keep in mind, too, that this was a short synopsis, not a presentation of every single aspect of the paper I wrote. I presented what I felt to be the most important findings to reinforce my statement about the importance of blogs.
I will not be responding to every single comment in this thread. Mostly because I simply do not have the time. Also because I don’t have calluses yet, I still care about those personal assaults and am certainly unwilling to engage in any discussion while I am being attacked like this. Those who are interested in a constructive and calm discussion are welcome to let me know – I, in turn, will E-Mail you and get the party started.

September 12, 2012 10:44 am

W. Earl Allen says:
September 12, 2012 at 7:38 am
Keith says:
September 12, 2012 at 7:58 am

= = = = =
W. Earl Allen and Keith,
Your commentaries from your attendance of the Hollender seminar are appreciated. In addition to the seminar commentary by W. Jackson Davis, you have thankfully provided readers at WUWT with several quite independent reports of Hollender’s presentation.
Was there info given on when and where the video and official transcripts of her seminar will be available?
John

September 12, 2012 10:58 am

Video (the slideshow, not a recording of me speaking) and audio should be up within the next weeks, it takes a while to edit I guess. It will be available on sciencepolicy.colorado.edu, which is the website of CSTPR.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 11:12 am

thedetroiter says:
September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am
“I believe that there is much to be done when it comes to academic research of the blogosphere and you have to start somewhere. In order to do qualitative, not quantitative work, it is less important to have large samples and more important to study the sample thouroughly. This was not content analysis.”
Qualitative work, ignoring the content?
Paste from the Q&A session:
“A. She is still undecided on the science. […] The precautionary principle is important–it is essential to act sooner than later.”
This is EXACTLY the PNS approach. Act now, no matter the cost, ask questions later. If anyone’s still paying attention.
The blog “thedetroiter” is now marked as private.

more soylent green!
September 12, 2012 11:15 am

@John Whitman says:
September 12, 2012 at 9:51 am
A little bone to pick with you — she doesn’t understand the scientific method and is completely confounded about why we keep bringing it up. The science has been done, in her mind, what we should do about the problem is what we should be focusing on (the “post” in post-normal science).
She doesn’t even grasp that there likely isn’t any real problem to worry about.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 11:21 am

Our impartial scientist again, in a comment she forgot:

“thedetroiter Submitted on 2012/02/07 at 3:25 am
Right. Green activist, you say? Vahrenholt was a lobbyist for Shell and responsible for “improving their public image”. He now works for one of the biggest energy companies in Germany.”

She doesn’t even seem to know that Vahrenholt in 1978 wrote the book “Seveso ist ueberall” (Seveso is everywhere) that warned of the dangers of dioxins and other chemical pollutants after the dioxin catastrophe in the chemical plant at Seveso, Italy, which killed several hundred people.
Not only biased, despite her protestations, but uninformed as well. Vahrenholt BTW is a social democrat (SPD), comparable to American Democrats.
The German Greens were not yet founded when he wrote the book.

September 12, 2012 11:23 am

thedetroiter says:
September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

= = = = = =
Franziska Hollender,
I appreciate you coming here to comment.
My critique of your seminar presentation based on the attendee reports is about premises in your argumentation that are ‘a priori’ presumptions that contain invalid concepts. I articulated two such invalid premises of yours in a comment above. Would you care to continue a dialog based on that comment? I reproduce that comment here for your convenience:

John Whitman says:
September 12, 2012 at 9:51 am
First, I wish to thank W. Jackson Davis for his timely Approximate Transcript and his foresight to ask Ms. Hollender to vet it for accuracy. It gives us some info that can be used for discussion. However, I will wait to do a detailed analysis of her seminar presentation until I see the official video and/or transcript. Now I can offer only some observations of her basic argument.
Second, I thank Anthony for what seems like the 100th time for his open venue that is well moderated by his volunteers.
My general observation of Franziska Hollender’s seminar is that the fundamental premises her seminar rests on are merely several invalid presumptions. She does this ‘a priori’ without stating them explicitly as presumptions and she offers no justification of uncritically endorsing them as the basis of her argument.
She bases her argument on an unjustified and invalid premise that a person who is critical in any way of the climate scientists whom the IPCC Assessment Reports endorse (as the consensus of correct authority in climate research) means that person’s efforts are fundamentally and inherently contrary to the general scientific method and the results thereof. Evidence that she holds this invalid premise is her explicit representation of those critics as ‘contrarians’ to science per se. On that basis alone I discount her seminar presentation as explicitly subjective and intentionally biased.
Also, she bases her argument on another unjustified and invalid premise; that she has possession of some kind of special knowledge that allows her to objectively claim that no objective knowledge of the nature of reality is possible. Seriously, it is what Hollender is saying. NOTE: Ravetz’s work also claims objectivity in claiming there is no objectivity possible in ‘normal’ science.
Those two false and hidden premises are just my initial observations of Hollender’s premising problems. [Better to do shorter posts than one excessively long post.] More later.
John

Several more critiques of some other of your premises will follow on this WUWT thread.
John

William
September 12, 2012 11:26 am

In reply to Ms. Hollender’s question what do skeptics discuss? (i.e. I would suggest you read through the attach links if you are interested in the scientific and economic issues related to the extreme AGW paradigm.)
The extreme AGW paradigm pushers have tried to create a strawman hypothesis that any warming due to CO2 means that there will be catastrophic warming due to CO2. They purposely misrepresent the skeptics’ position. The skeptics do not assert there will be no warming; they assert observational evidence indicates there will be benign beneficial warming due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. The very, very, high forecasted IPCC general circulation model forecasted warming 1.5C to 5C is only physically possible if the planet amplifies the forcing change due to CO2 warming. If the planet resists the change (negative feedback) due to an increase in planetary clouds in the tropic the warming due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is less than 1C with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which will cause the biosphere to expand.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/09/uah-global-temperature-update-for-august-2012-0-34-deg-c/
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/04/11/a-new-global-warming-alarmist-tactic-real-temperature-measurements-dont-matter/
Connected with the extreme AGW paradigm is the “green” energy paradigm. This paradigm is that if only more money if invested in the “green” energy will be many jobs created and the world will be a better place. Green energy is however a scam. There is a net loss in jobs due the green energy subsides and there is no significant reduction in CO2 emissions. There is therefore no rational reason to spend money on “green” energy. People support the concept of “green” energy. General taxpayers absolutely will not support “green” energy subsidies that result in a net loss in jobs and have no appreciable difference in CO2 emissions which is not a problem anyway in term of planetary temperature rise.
The following is a critique of the economically best of the suite of “green” energy sources, but fatally flawed wind farm.
There are two basic issues with wind farms. 1) Wind farms must be located where there are steady strong winds, which is a small area of each continents. (problem is major city are not located near the wind sources and there is physical limited as to how far electric power can be moved, even with super high voltage very expensive DC systems, this eliminates wind as possible energy source for many major cities and 2) the wind is an intermediate source where the power generated is at the square of the wind velocity. The best locations for wind farms produce power for less than 40% of the time. Germany wind farms produced power for example for less than 20% of the time. Wind farms therefore require energy storage, as the wind does not blow when energy is required. Conventional power plants produce power on demand.
There is no economic energy storage. Those advocating wind farms suggest a fantasy “smart energy” grid that can magically move electric power thousands of miles without energy loss. That is not impossible and a super high voltage line costs billions of dollars and requires massive movement of power from region to region to be justified. There is insufficient power to justify the super high voltage power lines.
Scientific America has a fantasy article written in this August issue that at least acknowledges that storage is required. The fantasy article notes Denmark generates 20% of their power from wind farms and then explains Demark sells all of their wind power to Norway which produces power from hydro which can be turned off and on. Demark then purchases hydroelectric power from Norway when then need electricity. The point is the wind does necessarily blow when power is need. Demark is the ideal location for wind farms as it is small country with cities located in along a windy coast line with a small adjacent country that has a surplus of hydroelectric power.
The article notes that the Danes have the most expensive electric power in Europe. Ironically oil revenue rich Denmark can use the surplus oil revenue to pay for a power scheme that does not make economic sense. In addition Denmark has a population of 5.5 million people and has one of the best locations in Europe for wind generation.
http://www.aweo.org/problemwithwind.html
http://www.greenwisebusiness.co.uk/news/vestas-to-axe-more-jobs-as-wind-turbine-manufacturer-forecasts-sales-slump-3508.aspx
In high winds, ironically, the turbines must be stopped because they are easily damaged. Build-up of dead bugs has been shown to halve the maximum power generated by a wind turbine, reducing the average power generated by 25% and more. Build-up of salt on off-shore turbine blades similarly has been shown to reduce the power generated by 20%-30%.
Eon Netz, the grid manager for about a third of Germany, discusses the technical problems of connecting large numbers of wind turbines [click here]: Electricity generation from wind fluctuates greatly, requiring additional reserves of “conventional” capacity to compensate; high-demand periods of cold and heat correspond to periods of low wind; only limited forecasting is possible for wind power; wind power needs a corresponding expansion of the high-voltage and extra-high-voltage grid infrastructure; and expansion of wind power makes the grid more unstable. [Click here for a good explanation of why wind-generated power can not usefully contribute to the grid and only causes greater problems, including the use of more “conventional” fuel.]
Despite their being cited as the shining example of what can be accomplished with wind power, the Danish government has cancelled plans for three offshore wind farms planned for 2008 and has scheduled the withdrawal of subsidies from existing sites. Development of onshore wind plants in Denmark has effectively stopped. Because Danish companies dominate the wind industry, however, the government is under pressure to continue their support. Spain began withdrawing subsidies in 2002. Germany reduced the tax breaks to wind power, and domestic construction drastically slowed in 2004. Switzerland also is cutting subsidies as too expensive for the lack of significant benefit. The Netherlands decommissioned 90 turbines in 2004. Many Japanese utilities severely limit the amount of wind-generated power they buy, because of the instability they cause. For the same reason, Ireland in December 2003 halted all new wind-power connections to the national grid. In early 2005, they were considering ending state support. In 2005, Spanish utilities began refusing new wind power connections. In 2006, the Spanish government ended — by emergency decree — its subsidies and price supports for big wind. In 2004, Australia reduced the level of renewable energy that utilities are required to buy, dramatically slowing wind-project applications. On August 31, 2004, Bloomberg News reported that “the unstable flow of wind power in their networks” has forced German utilities to buy more expensive energy, requiring them to raise prices for the consumer. [Note, April 2012: State support for industrial wind fluctuates, but the trend noted here has continued.]
A German Energy Agency study released in February 2005 after some delay [click here] stated that increasing the amount of wind power would increase consumer costs 3.7 times more than otherwise and that the theoretical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved much more cheaply by simply installing filters on existing fossil-fuel plants. A similar conclusion was made by the Irish grid manager in a study released in February 2004 [click here for 172-KB PDF]: “The cost of CO2 abatement arising from using large levels of wind energy penetration appears high relative to other alternatives.”
In Germany, utilities are forced to buy renewable energy at sometimes more than 10 times the cost of conventional power, in France 3 times. In the U.K., the Telegraph has reported that rather than providing cheaper energy, wind power costs the electric companies £50 per megawatt-hour, compared to £15 for conventional power. The wind industry is worried that the U.K., too, is starting to see that it is only subsidies and requirements on utilities to buy a certain amount of “green” power that prop up the wind towers and that it is a colossal waste of resources. The BWEA has even resorted to threatening prominent opponents as more projects are successfully blocked. Interestingly, long-term plans for energy use and emissions reduction by both the U.K. and the U.S. governments do not mention wind [click here for more about this (the article is in Spanish)]. Flemming Nissen, head of development at the Danish utility Elsam, told a meeting in Copenhagen, May 27, 2004, “Increased development of wind turbines does not reduce Danish CO2 emissions.”
http://www.aweo.org/problemwithwind.html

DirkH
September 12, 2012 11:27 am

The quote of “thedtroiter” where she expresses the desire to rule the peons via means of the UN has vanished from her Flickr stream.

P Wilson
September 12, 2012 11:59 am

It is perfectly reasonable that if a theory is being cast as the universal truth thrown in tablets of stone from heaven, then curiosity ought to occur.
The consensus says, for example that there was a big bang some 14 billion years ago that created time and the universe and is still expanding. It is reasonable to question this hypothesis on the basis that time is infinite – such that one cannot conceive of a moment that did not precede another moment, and it might from that be reasonable to assume that the universe is infinite, in which case there was no origin, and furthermore, that infinity cannot expand on itself – it is a paradox.
With climatology there is evidence beyond that proposed by cosmologists, who can only make conjectures, of climate change, its causes and effects, which is perhaps why the debate is more fierce between either positions in climatology. When there is little evidence to support a consensus, and much to overthrow it, then the debate becomes hostile on the basis of data and known physics

rogerknights
September 12, 2012 12:13 pm

Annie says:
September 12, 2012 at 6:37 am
She claims she is unbiased but uses the term ‘contrarians’? Eh?

If the other side is the insiders, the establishment, the consensus, and our side is criticizing them, then we’re contrary to them, so we’re contrarians. All the word says is that we’re in a minority, not necessarily that we’re inherently “contrary.”

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:17 pm

pat says:
September 12, 2012 at 4:24 am

“or this?
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder
Fran joins CSTPR from the University of Vienna, Institute for Social Studies of Science, where she is pursuing an MA in Science, Technology and Society. Fran will be collaborating with Max Boykoff on a project examining climate change and social media.”

Well, now let’s look at that Max Boykoff. What kind of books about the climate does he write, why, ‘Who speaks for the Climate?’, diddntyaknow. And what does the reviewers say about this book?

“This is an important book for those trying to understand the conversation of democracy. ”
– Former Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of The Climate Reality Project
“People’s understandings of climate change are shaped more by the media and their cacophony of voices than they are by the systematic enquiries and endeavours of climate scientists. Boykoff’s Who Speaks for the Climate? arrives just at the right time to offer you the authoritative guide to how climate change is made, affirmed and denied in print, broadcast, internet or new social media.”
– Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Don’t believe me? You know, Franziska Whatshername who hasn’t made up her mind about climate science and will start working with that Boykoff guy whose book gets endorsed by Gore and Hulme, can’t be true you say… well…
http://www.amazon.com/Who-Speaks-Climate-Making-Reporting/dp/052113305X
Impartiality rocks.

Tom in Worcester
September 12, 2012 12:18 pm

Well with regard to the question “What to do with them, I’m sure someone can come up with a final solution.
Sarc/Godwin’s Law

more soylent green!
September 12, 2012 12:21 pm

I’d like to redirect Miss Hollender to this discussion, in hope it sheds some light on some issues:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/12/quote-of-the-week-rutan-rocks/
Simply put, if it’s not reproducible, it’s not science. If it’s not testable, it’s not science. If it can’t be falsified, it’s not science. If they hide the data and won’t show you their work, it’s not science. The scientific method is a process that can’t be short-circuited.
Science is not about advocacy or promoting policy. Science is not consensus. Read up on “100 Scientists Against Einstein” (sometimes known as “100 Authors Against Einstein”). Scientists should have no more weight in influencing policy than anyone else.
And please read the post about Burt Rutan, follow the links to his site (http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm), download and read the PDFs documents.
Even if you disagree, you’ll come to better understand the arguments against AGW.
BTW: My handle is a combination of the name of a distopian sci-fi movie starring the late Charleton Heston (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/) and the pop-culture phrase “More Cowbell!” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_cowbell).
~more soylent green!

richardscourtney
September 12, 2012 12:23 pm

Ms Hollender:
Thankyou for your response in this thread which you provide at September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am
I write to provide some responses from a person who has made a Guest Article on WUWT and often posts on WUWT. But I will not be accepting your invitation that says

Those who are interested in a constructive and calm discussion are welcome to let me know – I, in turn, will E-Mail you and get the party started.

You made a secret study of WUWT that may have included my Guest Article and may have included posts from me, and you then made a public presentation of your findings and opinions which are derived from that study. My response to your public presentation is here – i.e. in public – and not in private conversation.
You take offence at people reporting what you consider to be your “personal life which is none of [their] business”. Sorry, but you did not assess findings of their work. When you decided to make a public presentation of what you assessed of their activities then you made it their business. They each have a right to ask, “Why did she say that about me?” and – as a social scientist – you should be capable of understanding that your background is relevant when answering that question.
And the matter is not resolved by your saying

All of the 1600 comments I looked at were of course, when they were quoted, anonymized. Nothing can be traced back to a particular person. There is a wide variety of ways in which you could do this work, and there are valid arguments for all of them.

Indeed, you say

Keep in mind, too, that this was a short synopsis, not a presentation of every single aspect of the paper I wrote. I presented what I felt to be the most important findings to reinforce my statement about the importance of blogs.

That invites people to ask, “What is her paper likely to say about us?” and that reasonable question also invites people to investigate what you have said in the past. It is not reasonable for you to object to them seeking an answer to that question because their interest is an affront to your “personal life”.
Please remember that you are not studying the results of their work: you are studying what they do and how they do it. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
You write

Now, to the “transcription”: it is true that I was given the opportunity to review the text before it got submitted. However, I was also pressured quite quickly by saying “If you don’t change anything right NOW, I will just post it as it is.” It was late and I don’t actually spend all of my day on the Internet, hence I chose to make the most important changes instead of having something posted that I felt missed the point.

The people about whom you made your presentation had no opportunity to see what you intended to present. Some gratitude for the better treatment afforded to you would have presented yourself in a better light than a whinge about pressure of time.
And please don’t make sophomoric points about your study was of the blog and not what people post on the blog: that is a distinction which defines no real difference.
You condemn yourself when you write

During the talk, I actually got the feeling that many of the misunderstandings were resolved quite well, even with the “contrarian crowd”.

“Contrarian crowd!?”
You say those who don’t share the view you deem to be right are a “contrarian crowd”, and then you take umbrage when members of that “contrarian crowd” regard you with contempt and treat you with ridicule? Sorry, but that is not an academic approach to disagreement. Indeed, it is not an adult approach to disagreement.
You make some good points about “extended peer-review” and how “WUWT works”, but it is a blatant falsehood for you to claim you “do not have an agenda”. The history of your posts on the web (which you complain is improper interest in your “personal life”) and your declaration of those who disagree as “contrarians” provide clear demonstration that you do have an “agenda” whether or not you recognise it.
Indeed, you say

I am not paid for my research, I did it out of interest. I could have done anything else and yet I chose to “pick a fight with the biggest dog in the park” as someone phrased it.

Most people involved in the social sciences would be interested in the “agenda” which induced a young person to make that choice instead of, for example, ‘letting it all hang out’ on a beach.
You state your tenets as being comparison of “two opposing opinions” and structured your “discussion” about them. And you say

My conclusion is that BECAUSE the discourse is happening largely on blogs, it is NOT an irrelevant sideshow that should be ignored or fought. This points again to the assumption that the medium chosen is very important to the message.

Well, much academic study confirms the blindingly obvious, so that cannot be faulted. But you make excuses for your lack of rigour in your method saying

Why only WUWT, why only seven posts and 1600 comments? This is not a book. It is a study conceptualized for six months of work. In my discipline I was encouraged do to an in-depth study rather than an overview of different blogs, which would simply have a different – no less important – focus. WUWT was, after a while of reading different blogs, the best choice for me: it is highly visible in both the blogosphere and tradtional media, it gets a very high amount of comments, there is lively interaction, a high volume of posts,… Why NOT WUWT? It also scores well on Technorati and other indexing tools. I believe that there is much to be done when it comes to academic research of the blogosphere and you have to start somewhere. In order to do qualitative, not quantitative work, it is less important to have large samples and more important to study the sample thouroughly. This was not content analysis. I appreciate that many people here are not familiar with discourse analysis, but it really isn’t fair to lash out at a methodology where all you know about it is a Wikipedia post. Go ahead, read a book on it, then make up your mind.

Oh dear! That mixes obvious truth (e.g. “Why NOT WUWT?” and “you have to start somewhere”) with obfuscation. For example, it is not sufficient to answer the question
“why only seven posts and 1600 comments?”
by saying
“This is not a book. It is a study conceptualized for six months of work.”
If the sample is not representative then that “six months of work” is wasted at best and misleading at worst whatever detail you apply to study of that sample. But you do not address the issue of whether your sample is representative.
Finally, I offer a comment on your saying

I still care about those personal assaults and am certainly unwilling to engage in any discussion while I am being attacked like this.

Secretly studying people then making public pronouncements on their collective behaviour is “attacking” them, and they will fight back. If such studies are the academic field in which you intend to work then you need to grow a thicker skin. And, if – as your past writings suggest – you intend a role in the political world (e.g. the UN) then you need a much, much thicker skin.
I sincerely hope you will reflect on these comments so they can help you with the studies you have undertaken for your education.
Richard

rogerknights
September 12, 2012 12:25 pm

Thus, in Fran’s thinking Post normal science isn’t a different kind of science at all. It is the actions and words that occur *after* science is done with its objective data and replicated experiments – thus, POST (after) normal science.

If so, they should call it “Post Normal-Science,” not “Post-Normal Science” or the ambiguous “Post Normal Science,”

September 12, 2012 12:28 pm

more soylent green! says:
September 12, 2012 at 11:15 am
@John Whitman says:
September 12, 2012 at 9:51 am
A little bone to pick with you — she doesn’t understand the scientific method and is completely confounded about why we keep bringing it up. The science has been done, in her mind, what we should do about the problem is what we should be focusing on (the “post” in post-normal science).
She doesn’t even grasp that there likely isn’t any real problem to worry about.

= = = = = =
more soylent green!,
As I continue my premise detecting activity on her seminar’s argument I will keep your comment in mind.
In my view science is just normal application of a normal human being’s natural and normal cognitive capabilities. Anyone with an interest in accessing the necessary cold hard reasoning that is available to us all and willing to work hard can do it. I mean anyone. So I do not preclude her achievement of science understanding yet, I am still in my analysis. : )
Thanks.
John

rogerknights
September 12, 2012 12:31 pm

She also noted that even with the higher taxes and lack of economic freedom in Europe, the lifestyle there has not changed for the worse.

Give it a year.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:36 pm

More about Boykoff…
…looks like we’re approaching the heart of the Climate-PNS beast…
…it lives in the bowels of Boulder…
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/students/envs_4100/slides_jan26.pdf
“will climate governance create an enabling environment where ‘climate capitalism’ is compatible with climate change mitigation and adaptation?
OR will carbon markets exists as isolated sites of accumulation in an economy separated from climate reduction efforts?
•‘climate capitalism’ – system where capitalist imperatives of accumulation are achieved through low carbon economic growth
•future paths? ‘cowboy climate capitalism’ vs. ‘climate Keynesianism’”
Oops! No mention of “What if the theory of CO2AGW is, ahem, WRONG”?
Impartiality rocks. I smell a Muller.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:41 pm

rogerknights says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm

“She also noted that even with the higher taxes and lack of economic freedom in Europe, the lifestyle there has not changed for the worse.
Give it a year.”

Or ask a Spaniard if you’re impatient.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 12:46 pm

More links about Franziska Detroiter’s future mentor Boykoff:
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/about_us/meet_us/max_boykoff/

Max’s research has concentrated on interactions between state and non-state actors at the interface of environmental science, policy and practice. He has been working in two primary research areas: (1) issues in the cultural politics of climate change, and (2) transformations of carbon-based economies and societies.

So he’s a kind of American Schellnhuber.
Here he gives his opinion in the WaPo.
“A dangerous shift in Obama’s ‘climate change’ rhetoric”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-dangerous-shift-in-obamas-climate-change-rhetoric/2012/01/26/gIQAYnwzVQ_story.html
Impartiality. Shaken, not stirred.

F. Ross
September 12, 2012 12:51 pm

@richardscourtney says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Well said; hear, hear!

JJ
September 12, 2012 12:51 pm

DirkH says:
The quote of “thedetroiter” where she expresses the desire to rule the peons via means of the UN has vanished from her Flickr stream.
&
The blog “thedetroiter” is now marked as private.

The blog “ScrewKyoto”, also maintained by Fran Hollender, is also now marked as private.
Fran’s Twitter account indicates that she “follows” these people:
ActionForOurPlanet
Chris Mooney
Climate Progress
Yale Climate Project
DeSmogBlog
John Resiman @ RealClimate
Peter Gleick
OneClimate
ClimateTruth
WUWT
Marc Morano
Cato Inst.
Michael Mann
Andy Revkin
Max Boykoff
LearnMoreAboutClim8
InsidetheGreenHouse
This list does not suggest the lack of bias claimed by the researcher. Neither does having a blog called ScrewKyoto, let alone the act of hiding it from public view now.
Fran asks:“However, how is this relevant to my work? Why does it matter what I once wrote about myself years ago, who really cares about my personal life, and why SHOULD you care?”
From the standpoint of science, we shouldn’t.
On the other hand, “Post Normal Science” encourages us to judge the “quality” of the research that is presented to us by (among other methods) examining the “values” and “motives” of the researcher. This is the system of inquiry that you are promoting. Stop whining about it.

DirkH
September 12, 2012 1:00 pm

JJ says:
September 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

“Fran asks:“However, how is this relevant to my work? Why does it matter what I once wrote about myself years ago, who really cares about my personal life, and why SHOULD you care?”
From the standpoint of science, we shouldn’t.
On the other hand, “Post Normal Science” encourages us to judge the “quality” of the research that is presented to us by (among other methods) examining the “values” and “motives” of the researcher. This is the system of inquiry that you are promoting. Stop whining about it.”

I disagree strongly about the “We shouldn’t” because Franziska has made it clear – or at least pretended – to NOT engage in the question of climate science but only in the question of the “power structures” immanent in this blog’s discourse.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I think we’re just examining the power structure behind the hidden networks of the warmist-social science complex; we are making no judgment at all about the veracity of the theory of CO2AGW on this thread.
And I think we did a splendid analysis.

Lars P.
September 12, 2012 1:25 pm

Dear Franziska, from the very first moment I read the post it immediately struck me:
“Ils n’ont rien appris ni rien oublié:”
“Science is not free of values and beliefs, it is not done under the exclusion of social, economic and political factors.
Data represent a social construction. Who constructs the data, and for what purpose, is relevant to the analysis. Nothing is without (observational) bias.”
Who needs this kind of science? Data a social construction? Memories of communist science scream out of the print. Yes there was the time when science had a clear social bias and imprint. We have seen the results, there is abundant material in the former communist countries.
“The contrarian discourse in the blogosphere–what are blogs good for anyway” – this comes out impertinent in tone. The tone strikes from the very beginning and goes down through the discurse.
“Nothing is without (observational) bias. In fact data construction is never unbiased. There is always a translation between the observed phenomenon, what we observe and what we record as the data that represent what we have observed.”
Is it so? Now it is clear why the temperature is different when read by different people. People who understand “the science” see it with different eyes, it is a subjective and not objective temperature measurement. Is this what this sentence tries to communicate? It is exactly to remove subjectivity as much as possible that raw data needs to be produced, methodology needs to be clarified and the experiment needs to be reproducible.
If the results are not reproducible this is not science.
“The choice of media arena is crucial to the discourse. Some people say blogs, and post-normal science, is a sideshow (WUWT), irrelevant, and unimportant. However, choice of media is crucial. This is among the reasons she wanted to research it.”
I feel irritated by this linking of post-normal science to blogs review. I do not feel and would not support post normal science. I would love to read about science. Science which is using the scientific method and is reproducible. This is not only the case of climate science, it is the same for social science (sic), medicine and other. And it is very important:
http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/
What is becoming irrelevant is the former MSM which is becoming legacy media, not blogs. Blogs offer a much more efficient way of communication and analysis, synthesise the feedback from many persons (if this is allowed) what really happens at WUWT. It is a great, active community here.
This is the strenghts of blogs and you seem to have missed it.
“There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked. “
Is this comment your showing “data is social construction”? “Who constructs the data, and for what purpose, is relevant to the analysis.”?
Please show the data which is the basis of this statement. You cannot make such affirmations without underlying it with data. Please compare it and make analysis with other blogs. I have my subjective understanding in the blogosphere and would like to compare it with your data to make it more objective
If a phenomenon cannot be replicated, if its replication depends on the social group the person doing the experiment belongs to, then it is not science. There cannot be airplanes and rockets, trains and computers that work based on such science.
Dear Franziska you again say you: “takes no position on climate change in order to remain objective in her analysis. She is unbiased, deliberately avoids sitting in either of the corners.”
You also do not like the word “ridicule” especially used like below, but how can one not laugh and not use the word ridicule when you would like to show yourself unbiased, not taking positions on climate change but posts a title like “In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? “
Where did the question arise? Who asked this question? Why is anything to do with the contrarians? Why do you want to do something to me?

September 12, 2012 1:45 pm

So she has confirmed that she is thedetroiter – and therefore lied outright to her audience in the talk above regarding her postion.
Is there no depths these propagandists will not sink to?
You make me sick Fran. Like Lewandowsky you’re an example of everything that is wrong with Western academia and you don’t even have the humility to apologise when caught out.

davidmhoffer
September 12, 2012 1:53 pm

thedetroiter;
I appreciate that many people here are not familiar with discourse analysis, but it really isn’t fair to lash out at a methodology where all you know about it is a Wikipedia post. Go ahead, read a book on it, then make up your mind.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well Fran, right back at you. You admit you are not familiar with climate science. You state that you are not interested in it, you instead want to move on to discuss what to do about it.
You can’t see how it is fair for people who are not familiar with discourse analysis to lash out at it. You recommend that they read a book on it and them make up their own minds.
Yet you feel perfectly comfortable dismissing out of hand the opinions of those of us who are familiar with the very science that you dismiss out of hand. Who are you to dismiss us, many of whom are engineers, physcists, chemists, and researchers directly active in climate science itself with an imperial wave of your hands? Does the advice “read a book on it” not apply to you?
The fact of the matter is that you have wilfully blinded yourself. You have admitted you know nothing about the science, made no effort to learn about it, and instead simply define the discussion as belonging to two groups. One you define as being obsessed about the science in the manner that serves no further purpose, the other has having moved on to a discussion about what to do about the science, a group you have openly admitted to identifying yourself with.
Why is it Fran, that the more someone knows about climate science, the more likely they are to be a skeptic? Why is it Fran, that you can see the limitations of those who are not familiar with discourse analysis, and recommend that they read a book, but you cannot see that same failing in yourself when it comes to discussing climate science? Why do you get a free pass to “decide” what is truth and what isn’t in climate science? Should you not seek at least the same level of expertise you demand of others to have a conversation about discourse analysis before having a conversation about climate science?
Your entire thesis is that the science is settled, and there is a need to move onto a discussion about what to do about it. What to do about it appears to include what to “do” about the “contrarians”, not as a means of confirming the science one way or the other, but to marginalize them from the conversation altogether in order to concentrate only upon what to “do” about the climate.
This is the language of totalitarians. This is the language of those who propose that their value systems trump all others, and rather than confront valid objections, that the means to silence the objectors is instead the preferred method. You are channeling Pol Pot. Hitlet. Genghis Khan. And you don’t even know it.
Worst of all, it has never entered your mind that we might be right, and that the costs of mitigation will kill billions more than the negative impact of the “solutions” that you imagine. Perhaps you even imagine a new world order (your aspirations to rule others as a member of the UN having been noted already) and come up with some “final solution” to the climate issues. Unfortunately Fran, “final solutions” have a tragic history that you don’t seem to understand you are in fact flirting with. If you are so foolish as to temp history’s penchant for teaching through repetition, then that is your choice. But all the derision heaped upon you, much of justifiably so, is from those of us who HAVE learned histories lesssons and have no intention of repeating it with you as either propononent or victim. We’ll fight you every step of the way.
Sea level rise is decelerating
The ice caps have not melted, and total global ice has declined only marginaly
The glaciers will not be gone by 2035 and many, many of them are growing, not shrinking.
Manhatten is not under water, decades after the prediction was made by still current climate “scientists” that it would be.
The best predictions of climate “scientists” were for much higher temperatures than we have today at CO2 levels much lower than we have today.
Despite obvious manipulation of the temperature record, it STILL shows no significant warming for the last 15 years.
But most of all Fran, the effects of CO2 are logarithmic. Don’t know what that means? Go read a book on it and make up your own mind. Until you do, you are nothing more than a lobbyist grasping for power, and the insults and derision you have encountered in this thread don’t even come close to what you deserve. People like you fail for the most part, to achieve your agenda. The problem young lady, is that when people like you succeed, death follows you in the hundreds of millions.
When you are done reading a book on the lograithmic effects of CO2, I suggest you venture into the history of man’s inhumanity to man, and how easily your flippant dismissal of “contrarians” turns into holocaust.

Mike Ozanne
September 12, 2012 2:33 pm

“Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.”
Lets just push that through the de-wanking translator…..
We’d like uncritical approval of our political action agenda without going to the bother of justifying it with reproducible evidence; or the effort of calculating costs and benefits.

Darren Potter
September 12, 2012 2:44 pm

Anthony: “I encourage her to do an identical study on RealClimate, and note what she finds there, especially when it comes to gatekeeping.”
Being Ms. Hollender’s work/paper was “The contrarian discourse in the blogosphere–what are blogs good for anyway?” and going with (assuming) Ms. Hollender having only reviewed posts at WUWT and never reviewed RealClimate (or equivalent there of); then it would seem Ms. Hollender is biased. Ms. Hollender clearly believes AGW is real since she choose WUWT to be the contrarian in her work/paper.
Ms. Hollender’s work/paper comes off as a case of an AGW supporter complaining about those who are resistant to propaganda.

September 12, 2012 2:47 pm

thedetroiter / Fran
“I appreciate that many people here are not familiar with discourse analysis, but it really isn’t fair to lash out at a methodology where all you know about it is a Wikipedia post. Go ahead, read a book on it, then make up your mind.”
– That’s where you’re wrong. I’m loathe to admit it, I can barely believe we can be considered part of one of the same disciplines – but as one STS scholar to another I redirect you to Bruno Latour’s all out assault on the social sciences and discourse analysis in ‘Reassembling the Social’, backed by a similarly all out assault on both continental and analytic philosophy. I doubt you’ll understand his critique as he goes very deep into philosophy (attacking the Kantian Subject/Object division from which so many other controversies are unnecessarily derived, including the very basis of “discourse analysis”) and you’ll likely claim that you don’t understand enough philosophy to be able to grasp it.

Darren Potter
September 12, 2012 2:50 pm

Mike Ozanne: “We’d like uncritical approval of our political action agenda without going to the bother of justifying it”
Exactly. The Alarmists just hate having to justify there Taxpayer funding and power grabbing regulations.

Bob Koss
September 12, 2012 2:55 pm

Franziska,
Presented for your edification.
Here is Richard Feynman explaining what science is. 10 min.

Here he is again discussing pseudo-science. 2 min.

September 12, 2012 2:56 pm

Franziska Hollender,
In addition to the two premise faults in your seminar presentation that I think you committed (John Whitman on September 12, 2012 at 11:23 am @ thedetroiter on September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am) I ask you to consider these two additional problematic premises of your seminar talk.
The third premise problem in your seminar talk is the invalid presumption that current freedom of speech in climate science dialogs on any venue anywhere requires a sociopolitical focus on (in your own words) “In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?” You merely postulate there is a problem with freedom of speech in voluntary open public climate science venues when it does not actually exist, then you discuss a non-applicable subjective sociopolitical PNS solution to the non-problematic free of speech.
The fourth premise problem with your seminar talk is subtle and ubiquitous to virtually all CAGW protagonist arguments: the hidden false obstruction premise. This is the false premise that says if you are not for us then you must be against us; which by the way is a false dichotomy. When you (Franziska) say (again) “In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians?” then you are implicating obstruction by someone; in this case by your so-called ‘contrarians’. Yet you did not and cannot manifestly justify this hidden premise; which you seem to just culturally inherit from the hype of the media focused activists. The activists who openly advocate radical ideology which is seeking to influence scientific communities to scientifically endorse sociopolitical imposition of their (the activist’s) radical ideology.
I look forward to an open dialog with you wrt your premises. More premise problems with your seminar talk will be posted later in this thread.
John

sorepaw
September 12, 2012 2:57 pm

In the notes about Hollender’s talk, I’m pretty sure the bloggers with University of Chicago affiliations are Gary Becker and Richard Posner.

Jordan
September 12, 2012 3:08 pm

Fran said:
“In order to do qualitative, not quantitative work, it is less important to have large samples and more important to study the sample thouroughly”
Then perhaps you should have gone to RealClimate for your data.
They need all the attention they can get these days. Given that they are all good objective scientists, I’m sure they’d be in a much better position to appreciate your analysis of gatekeeping, ridicule, attacks and so forth on their site.
A couple of helpful questions you might consider as topics for your next assignment:
What have your learned?
What would you do different next time?

September 12, 2012 3:08 pm

Granted, Ms. Hollender’s study is limited in scope, but she did say as much at the beginning of her talk. Also granted, the study has logical and methodological limitations and faults, many of which are highlighted in this lively discussion thread.
Notwithstanding the study’s shortcomings, Ms. Hollender concludes that WUWT plays two crucial new roles in media-dominated society: 1) reaching an extended new audience, and 2) contributing to scientific accountability through extended peer review. Unfortunately, neither conclusion was addressed in the study design, and both conclusions remain untested hypotheses (truisms?).
Perhaps the most significant limitation of the study is that it was restricted to seven posts by Anthony, and did not address Guest Posts. As we know, Guest Posts play at least two additional potential roles: 1) to preview and test new ideas, methodologies, and data that would otherwise not be published in what has become the politicized peer-review environment of climate science; and 2) to stimulate action from those members of the extended peer review community in a position to influence policy. Future researchers may yet test these hypotheses: opportunity missed, but perhaps not lost.
A clarification: Ms. Hollender writes in her post above (Sept. 12, 2012, 10:42 am) that
“Now, to the “transcription”: it is true that I was given the opportunity to review the text before it got submitted. However, I was also pressured quite quickly by saying “If you don’t change anything right NOW, I will just post it as it is.””
She mistakenly attributes to me an e-mailed comment of another audience member who also planned to submit a story on her seminar. For the record, I informed Ms. Hollender before her seminar that I wished to make an “approximate transcript” of her comments for submission to WUWT, if she agreed, and offered her both the option to decline and the opportunity to review and correct my “approximate transcript” prior to posting. She accepted.
My subsequent e-mailed invitation to her to vet my “approximate transcript” for accuracy reads as follows:
“I invite you to make whatever edits you believe are necessary to ensure accuracy. Please use red font to distinguish your edits, and return the edited version to me ASAP. We would like to get this to WUWT as soon as possible.”
I informed Ms. Hollender by subsequent e-mail that each of the seventeen edits that she entered to my original “approximate transcript” was included in the version posted on WUWT. In any case, and as noted in my post above, the audio and visual record of the seminar will be posted on sciencepolicyColorado.edu in the next couple of weeks. My apologies in advance for any inaccuracies.

Darren Potter
September 12, 2012 3:18 pm

more soylent green: “The science has been done, in her mind, what we should do about the problem is what we should be focusing on …”
The most concerning aspect to AGW, is not that AGW is Fraud, it is that those behind AGW are the ones creating the solutions (albeit to a non-problem).
Green-cars that are not even remotely green between required recharging and their batteries making/disposal. Shuttering of coal-fired power plants without any consideration of what the replacement plants impact will be. The solutions of wind or solar power without thought about required power storage (no wind / night). EU’s plan to burn forests since they are renewable “biofuels”. Termination of Incandescent bulbs in favor of mercury laced CFLs.

Jordan
September 12, 2012 3:27 pm

W. Jackson Davis says: “Granted, Ms. Hollender’s study is limited in scope.”
Good point. Limitations starting with “contrarian”.

RobertInAz
September 12, 2012 3:36 pm

This is my attempt at a discourse analysis of the comments in the WUWT article. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/
My goal was to focus on the following assertions in Ms. Hollender’s analysis of that thread in her Sept 11, 2012 talk as documented here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/11/a-review-of-the-seminar-the-contrarian-discourse-in-the-blogosphere-what-are-blogs-good-for-anyway/
– Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace
– Plans to disrupt and intervene in her presentation were posted
– About 250 [comments] have nothing to do with her talk
– She experienced extensive misunderstanding of certain terms and notions “science as ideology, “avowals of distrust, “linguistic performances.”

She cited 476 comments in her talk.
Personal attacks on Ms. Hollender were commonplace
I scored 12 comments as personal attacks on Ms. Hollender. This is 2.5% of the total. Because of the negativity associated with personal attacks, I would give Ms. Hollender a pass on this assertion. Commonplace synonyms include usual (false) and everyday (true). The antonyms are exceptional, infrequent, rare, and unusual. In this context, IMHO, 2.5% is too high and is uncivil. How will we get young social scientists to participate if we are uncivil to them and consistently attack their chosen discipline (and note that the attacks on the discipline where not scored as personal attacks even though they are ad homonym attacks) . To that extent, I find her assertion: “There are very few dissenting comments on WUWT, and if so, they are viciously attacked.” to be distressingly true.
I scored personal attacks as those focused personally on the author. I did not score attacks on sociology as a science, post normal science, or science as an ideology as personal attacks. Example of personal attack scoring follow. In what follows, I an using a DD:HHMM notation to identify comment time where HH is 00-23.
No: davidmhoffer 01:1026. “What complete arrogance surpasses only by their self imposed ignorance.” This was almost a yes but it is really a comment about an attitude and not Ms. Hollender.
No:eyesonu 01:1144 “It’s a Saturday afternoon and my 2 beer response would be: Get on your knees and worship the intellectual superiority of the contrarian skeptics and ask for forgiveness for your ignorance.” Tongue in cheek and clever.
No: Ross: 01:1225 http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/01/wuwt-is-the-focus-of-a-seminar-at-the-university-of-colorado/#comment-1069421. Actually a very nice post but someone who is thin skinned might deem it a personal attack.
Yes: otsar: 01:1226. All examples of Reducto ad Hitlerum were scored as personal attacks. Not so for comments relating post modern science to Marxism.
Yes: Bull: 01:2222 “If you educate an idiot all you get is an educated idiot not a clever person”. This was scored as a personal attack and off-topic.
Yes: Gallun 01:2308 “This is girl thinks stringing big words together makes her look smart…”; “She will get it — and I bet they will give this bimbo a MacArthur Genius Grant also.” Gallun also gets credit for “This little girl has a peanut for a brain.” At 02:0113 Sad because the posts otherwise have content.
No: Selkov 01:2330 “What a drivel. That blurb could have been computer-generated, just like post-modern philosophy, and nobody would be able to tell the difference.” This comment is focused on the content, not the person.
No: Gallon: 02: “Is she writing in fluent bollocks? I’m having a hard time decyphering that last paragraph”
No: First 02:0759 “It’s extremely depressing that such people are employed by institutes of learning”.
Yes: Jeff: 02:0927 “ – has the insufferable Ms. Hollender …”
Plans to disrupt or intervene in her presentation were posted. I found zero instances. I did see comments about attending. Then there was this term of art that might just be a language misunderstanding: 01:1353: “Methinks Dr. Hollander is in urgent need of a deprogramming intervention …” This was scored as a personal attack but not a threat to intervene in the talk. The term disrupt did not appear in the thread. The Zoloft comment mentioned in the next sentence was scored as a personal attack but not as a threat.
About 250 [comments] have nothing to do with her talk
I scored 15 comments as off topic including the clearly marked as OT thread on sea ice. A couple of the off topic comments were whimsical. I think that to get to 250, Ms. Hollender had to score the extensive discussion on post normal science as off-topic. I scored every comment even vaguely related to the abstract as on-topic.
She experienced extensive misunderstanding of certain terms and notions “science as ideology, “avowals of distrust, “linguistic performances.”
The intent of this assertion is not clear. I added this section because I am in the group who cannot parse the term “avowals of distrust can be seen as linguistic performances of accountability…”. The discussion related to this phrase focused primarily on the consequence: “forcing science to prove its reliability and integrity over and over again.“ OTOH, I found the science as ideology discussion to be useful and would argue that it is a point in favor of the blog.
Finally
RockyRoad was prescient when he asked:
September 2, 2012 at 2:12 am
I wonder if she’ll include this thread of comments in her study. Will that skew the results? Will we see chaos in her conclusion? Or after considering such scathing rebukes of PNS, will she drop the project altogether?
Time will tell.

RichieP
September 12, 2012 4:24 pm

Hmm, no sign of this not very thorough or competent student since that first comment – it’s beginning to seem like the perfect troll to me. Megatroll perhaps?

Zeke
September 12, 2012 4:54 pm

William says:
September 12, 2012 at 11:26 am
Grand post.

BB
September 12, 2012 5:42 pm

RichieP.
Poor comment RichieP, she has commented since, (although yet to justify her clear attempt at misinforming her audience)
Such incorrect posts serve little purpose to anyone. Further while I think her thesis is fatally flawed, she hardly fits the behavior of a troll.

James Allison
September 12, 2012 5:59 pm

RobertInAz says:
September 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm
Perhaps there would have been less “attacks” if “Frans” hadn’t felt the need to write in her opening comments the inflammatory (two options for action) Totalitarian comment quoted below. Particularly in light of her privately expressed future desire to join the UN and rule us Contrarians.
“In the context of climate change, one question has arisen from recent events: what to do with the contrarians? Some propose that the contrarian discourse is merely an annoying sideshow, while others think that it is science’s responsibility to fight them.”

Merovign
September 12, 2012 6:19 pm

thedetroiter says:
September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

I’m not going to drag this out into a long list of errors and disingenuities, other’s have done that more than adequately, and detail you seem to have missed.
What you call “your personal life” here is, in fact, a discussion of the presumptions and biases that you brought to the project, which people here found online, and which you explicitly denied.
Hiding the prior comments on your online journals is only circumstantial evidence of “guilt” in this sense, the comments shared from those blocked pages is enough. I can tell you consider them to be disconnected from this study, but the study is based on those assumptions.
You lied about the assumptions you were “bringing to the party.” You lost credibility because of that, at least here, away from the people who share your assumptions.
Ironically, if you had simply said up front what your presumptions were, even though you consider them to be tangential, you would not only have produced (slightly) stronger work, but you wouldn’t have had to go to the trouble of “scrubbing” your online record.
The tangled web and all that.
I admit to a prejudice of my own, actually – I hate passive-aggressive games. You know, the kind where you insult someone (perhaps even my marginalizing them and describing them as a problem to be dealt with instead of people who sincerely hold differing opinions), are insulted in return, and then claim victim status because you were insulted.

davidmhoffer