Thank you Nathan Myhrvold!

I’ve detailed some of my misadventures at Real, the sometimes insightful but usually activism-masquerading-as science water cooler for folks who buy the notion that human-caused global warming (aka “AGW”) is on a rampage that is increasingly likely to end with the destruction of global civilization as we know it.

My greatest frustration at RealClimate is the bizarre  comment moderation policy, which effectively squelches most informed dissent in favor of “supportive” comments from the regulars.    My reasonable comments have so often been zapped out that I don’t post there anymore – it’s a waste of my time (and theirs!) to compose a thoughtful reply only to have it reviewed by a climate scientist who takes some offense by people less interested in parroting the party line than questioning some of the nuanced, globally warmed interpretations of proxy data.

But I digress…

Enter Nathan Myhrvold and the fun new book “SuperFreakonomics”, which was  the subject of RealClimate’s spurious attack piece of the week by Raypierre:

The problem wasn’t necessarily that you talked to the wrong experts or talked to too few of them. The problem was that you failed to do the most elementary thinking needed to see if what they were saying (or what you thought they were saying) in fact made any sense.  If you were stupid, it wouldn’t be so bad to have messed up such elementary reasoning, but I don’t by any means think you are stupid.

Levitt’s reply

Now, it’s one thing to make a case that a bunch of whacky bloggers or frothing-at-the-mouth fools like Glenn Beck don’t understand the issues surrounding Global Warming, but it is ridiculous to make this case against a guy like Myhrvold who has both the business credentials and academic ones to suggest he’s very well informed.  He was Microsoft’s Chief Tech Officer and he is the founder of the globally respected “Intellectual Ventures” think tank.   He’s also got the academic chops to debate these issues thoughfully:  Master’s degrees in Geophysics/Space Physics and in Mathematical Economics and a Ph.D. in  Mathematical Physics.

Here’s Myhrvold’s reply which includes this real nugget of wisdom:

One of the saddest things for me about climate science is how political it has become. Science works by having an open dialog that ultimately converges on the truth, for the common benefit of everyone. Most scientific fields enjoy this free flow of ideas.

The good news is that some good scientists who do NOT have a political agenda are (finally) starting to speak out forcefully when attacked by those who do.   The end game is already obvious because reason tends to prevail over ranting.  We should soon soon see the alarmist rhetoric die down in favor of real discussion of real issues, and as we do let’s tip our hats to Nathan and others who are willing to simply state the obvious, regardless of the political implications of doing that. bans most reasoned dissent?

As a long time blogger I’m going to start calling out other blogs for an outrageous practice that is becoming very common and very frustrating to any clear thinker:  banning comments simply because they don’t line up with a particular blog’s point of view and biases.     Blog authors have a lot of control and it’s increasingly abused in the name of groupthink.    At the WordPress conference I was alarmed to hear a prominent blogger say something along the lines of “it’s my house and I can kick out whoever I want to”.    Blogs already suffer from inhibiting good two way communication and it pains me to see bloggers make the problem worse by wasting their time censoring comments.   I comment far less now than I used to at blogs like because I know that even a calm and reasoned comment may be deleted by the heavy handed and irrational moderation practiced there.    This form of censorship distorts the conversation, often misleading the gullible into thinking there is concensus where there is none.

There are many obvious gray areas in terms of censorship but I’m seeing an increasing number of blogs cross the lines of reasoned discourse in the interest of lining up support for their positions.   Interestingly this is becoming something of standard operating procedure in much of the climate alarmism blog community, where ClimateProgress stands out conspicuously as an alarmist voice for the poorly informed who want to stay that way.

My hypothesis is that this irrationality and censorship stems  from several new factors:  Ego-driven science of the last few decades, unreasonable attacks on scientists that were common in the Bush “anti science” administration, overspecialization in the sciences that creates narrow bands of expertise that have little relevance to larger context issues like Climate Change, grade inflation (there are a remarkable number of scientists who now write and discuss things as irrationally as a TV pundit – acting more as advocates than purveyors of information.

A spectacular example of this is Joe Romm’s , a targeted and uninformed collection of misleading  posts about Climate Science.   Most are simply attack dog pieces on reasoned voices who do no share Romm’s irrationally alarmist views about Climate change.     Although I’m a fan of Tom Friedman his implied endorsement of this blog forces me to reconsider Friedman’s coherency.

Now, we are living in the blogosphere so ranting irrationally has a lot of entertainment value, but Romm’s has the audacity to simply ban or moderate those who don’t agree with him.

I feel a combination of anger and pity for people who choose to limit the conversation to strengthen their own (usually weak) positions, but when this is done in the name of “science” it *REALLY* pisses me off, and I’ll be bringing this up regularly as the intersection of advocacy and science continues to metasticize in the blogOsphere.

OK, I admit the comment below, posted over at  is kind of snarky but he should at the very least post it in the interest of dialog since he’s attacking *both* Pielke’s, who any reasonable person would agree are well qualified climate scientists who suffer enormous abuse at the hands of their intellectual inferiors for simply pointing out the obvious about climate alarmism.

Ad Hominem BS as usual – do you EVER address any reasoned scientific critiques here? Both Pielke’s represent voices of reason in the rising sea of alarmism that represents the greatest exaggeration of risk in the history of humans on earth.

The main point for those of us who accept global warming and accept the anthropogenic nature of that warming but don’t preach catastrophe is that 1) related natural factors are very significant and poorly understood and affecting things as is obvious from the last few years of cooling 2) the models suck to the extent they don’t predict things well and are generally presented as unfalsifiable 3) the changes are gradual and small, presenting us with engineering issues, not existential ones.

These three points are *totally obvious to informed people* yet they don’t line up the groupthinkers.

PS – shame on you for deleting this comment!

Or this one at RealClimate.   I used to participate there often but noticed that if I addressed people who attacked me in the same snarky vein I’d sometimes be moderated.    This form of targeted censorship has no place in the blogs where free spirited discussion should rule the day.

Commenter Chris wrote: <i>In the interest of civility, I think we should await Pielke’s response before heaping abuse on him</i>

My reply: (I predict this will be deleted by the RealClimate censors):  Sure, but you obviously don’t belong here at RealClimate, where no reasoned objection goes unchallenged by blustering nonsense. Only here does “less change” become “more change”. The whole problem for clear thinkers is that the models are predicting things that are not happening. Predicted warming is not materializing as expected, and the *very recent* data suggests even more strongly that the idea we are poised on the brink of (Hansen’s term here) “Climate Catastrophe” is simply nonsense. I don’t even think you guys are *sincere* anymore. Egos and alarmism now trump the data on virtually every public front, though ironically the non-politically polluted studies remain of good quality.