Posted by: ericgrimsrud | November 22, 2012

Watt’s Up at the Denier’s leading web site?

During the last several months, I have occasionally posted comments on a website that claims to be the most visited in the world concerning the subject of climate change. This website is called “Watts Up With That” and is run by meteorologist Anthony Watts. Mr. Watts regularly refers to WUWT as being the “Skeptic’s Website” and does not allow the word “Denier” to be used even though that is exactly what most of his contributors appear to be.

From my posting experiences on this site I have learned what happens whenever a bonifide scientist shows up. First, alarms apparently go off at headquarters and a set of in-house “goons” do their best to rough up the intruder. These goons have a name they apply to well-educated and experienced scientists who post at WUWT – they call them “trolls”. The three goons that were apparently assigned to “take care of” me whenever I posted a comment had the website names, Richardscourtney, Davidmhoffer, and D Boehm. From what I could determine (none of these gentlemen could provide a scientific resume), one is a lobbyist for the coal industries, another described himself as a “business man”, and the other, as far as I could tell possesses no scientific or social skills, whatsoever. Indeed, he appears to be a truly professional goon. The quickly demonstrated fact that none of these people seemed to know much about science at all did not appear to diminish their assigned functions at WUWT. They simply embraced a few of the usual outrageous “truths” that one often sees on the Denier’s bloggeries and referred to all scientific evidence to the contrary as constituting “scientific dogma”. Thus, this self-proclaimed subset of “skeptics” hold their own set of “truths” at WUWT to be so dear that Mr. Watts and his goons make sure that no outsiders such as myself are allowed to challenge them. Those who do not hold these truths to be self-evident are called “stupid”, “mentally imbalanced”, and “troublemakers” – the latter label being cause for expulsion from WUWT by Mr. Watts.

My several experiences on a few threads at WUWT usually went as follows. As I increasingly painted the scientifically-illiterate goons into a corner via scientific argument, they “responded” with an increasing amount of personal insults until I would finally respond somewhat in kind with a sharp criticism of their comments. At that point, the overseer of this dialog, Anthony Watts, would generally step in and issue me a “time out” allegedly for my “offensive” comments – thereby rescuing his goons from continued embarrassment as they were getting themselves painted further into that corner. Thus, I was often prevented from throwing the scientific knockout punch they saw coming.

Thus, I learned that the website WUWT is anything but a “Skeptic’s Website”. It is one where only the faithful and unquestioning Deniers of AGW can expect to be allowed to remain and discuss an issue through to satisfaction. Upon nailing a scientific argument on one thread, I was actually declared to be a “thread-breaker” by the moderator on duty and was given another “time out” for that infraction of the “rules” at WUWT.

As a specific example of what I have related above,  I refer any interested party to the very last thread at WUWT in which I was allowed to participate. This thread was initiated by Anthony Watts on Nov. 7, 2012, and  was entitled “Here it comes – a carbon tax”.  As related above, you will note on it that the three goons of WUWT promptly show up upon my arrival  – leading off with gobs of personal abuse and no scientific content.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to see many of my responses. Many were “snipped” as shown on the thread and many are not shown at all –  these were apparently trashed by Mr. Watts and his tightly controlled set of moderators.  While there appeared to be no barriers to instant and abusive comments placed by the goons and other  anti-AGW regulars at WUWT, all of my posts were delayed so they could be inspected, snipped, approved, or rejected by Mr. Watts.  Since this self-imposed task caused Mr. Watts extra work and some angst in the orchestration of his website (his declaration, not mine), I was kicked out – none of my posts appear to make it through even initial screening anymore at WUWT.  If there is any skepticism at all in play at WUWT, it is clearly of the sort that only goes one way.  In my book, that is nothing more than Denial.

While the web site you are now reading  is possibly the least widely read site in the world concerning the subject of climate change, its manager will nevertheless do his best to publish any comments or arguments from any party – as long as the argument is clearly and sincerely presented and that the submitting party understands that all discussions and arguments can go both ways.  Note also that the host of this site prefers to consider information, ideas, and conclusions that have been subjected to at least some form of either historic or modern peer-review.  While being marginally interested in science fiction, I prefer to save my limited brain capacity for understanding those forms of science that have traditionally provided our best indications of what Mother Nature has done in the past and is most likely to do in the future.


  1. I was interested in your account as something similar happened to me. My degrees are in physics and electrical engineering. Today, I teach on a part time basis:

    While I believe in “Global Warming” since 1850 I am not convinced that it is either “Anthropogenic” or “Catastrophic”. However if you can show me scientific evidence justifying these adjectives I am open to persuasion.

    For a couple of years I commented at “Skeptical Science” and found the discussions stimulating even though the forum was hostile to my point of view. I had some helpful email discussions with John Cook “off line”. Then the “Moderation” became increasingly intrusive. At first there was some “snipping” but things soon escalated until it became pointless for me to comment at all.

    So I wrote an essay similar to yours above. The essay has an addendum showing some of what was snipped. If you find fault with my arguments I would be happy to hear from you.

  2. Try posting dissenting views over at RealClimate or Skeptical (sic) Science!

    • Adam, OK, no problem. I will when I spot something that I think needs correction.

  3. Du klager over mangel på høflig diskusjon og respekt når du poster, men jeg ser ingen innsikt og forklaring her for flere av dine påstander.

    1) hvor er kommentar-eksemplene for din sensur (kopier de hit så man kan sammenligne) ellers blir det bare påstand mot påstand.

    2) Protestene mot å bli kalt “denier” er det samme som “Nazist”. “Denier” knyttes til Holocaust av de som begynte å bruke det og de som er villig til å bruke det i artikler kan beskrives som aktivister og ikke forskere som lytter men er uenige.
    I tillegg er “Denier” feil for de fleste skeptikere, i og med at den eneste forskjellen mellom de og deg er at de er skeptiske til (les: mener det mangler bevis) for at mennesker har skylden i temperaturstigninger og at hyperbole og politisering av klima fra mange forskere har gjort mange mer skeptisk til deres utsagn (follow the money, climategate etc.)

    3) Mange av de som drifter pro-klima nettsteder har heller ikke “riktige” kriterier til å uttale seg om klima, men tiltross for det blir de aktivt brukt av miljøvernorganisasjoner, sitert i media og gitt mange-million budsjetter fra offentlige etater.

    4) WUWT er mer lest enn de neste 100 pro-klima sidene tilsammen, og de har flere faste pro-klima forskere som poster i de fleste trådene. Sålenge du oppfører deg høflig og svarer fyldig har du ingen problemer der. Bla. sol-ekspert Leif Svalgard er fast poster der, uten at han blir “angrepet” av noen. Og han er ikke særlig høflig, men holder seg ihvertfall god nok til å ha moderatorer som må gi rettelser slik som det du klager på.

    [Herr Grimsrud: Ich verstehe nicht. Aber ich werde es arbiten.]

  4. Its Norwegian Eric, you posted a sentence in Norwegian in another post, so I assumed you would understand it, coming from Minnesota?

    Into English:

    You complain about lack of polite discussion and dis-respectful answers when you post, but I see no insight and explanation here for your claims.

    1) Where is the comment examples for your postings (copy them here so we can compare) otherwise it is just a claim against claim.

    2) They protests to being called “denier” as it links to the accusation of being a “Nazi”. “Denier” is linked to the Holocaust by those who started to use it and, those who are willing to use it in articles are viewed as partisan activists rather than scientists who listen but disagree. 

    In addition, “Denier” is the wrong term for most skeptics, in that the only difference between them and you is that they are skeptical (read: think it lacks evidence) that humans are to blame for the temperature rise and that the hyperbole and politicization of climate coming from many researchers have made people skeptical of their claims (follow the money, climategate etc.)

    3) Many of those who operate pro-climate sites do not have “proper” criteria to make a statement about climate, but despite this, they are actively used by environmental organizations, quoted in the media and given many-million budgets from government agencies.

    4) WUWT is more read than the next 100 pro-AGW sites combined, and they have several pro-climatologist researchers regularly commenting in the posted threads.

    As long as you behave politely and respond in substance there is no problem there. Solar expert Leif Svalgard is an example of a researcher that often post there without being attacked, and he’s not the most polite person.

    Thank you.

    • John,

      Thanks for the translation. My Norski ancestors came to the US in 1858 and use of the language did not extend into my generation, unfortunately. I am pleased, however, that my son studied Norsk at St.Olaf College and next time you write in your native language, I will use his skills.

      I stand by my statement concerning my experiences at WUWT. Whenever I showed up – from my very first post – the goons I described followed, usually leading off with personal insults. If you can find a single instance in the archives of WUWT when I led with an unkind personal statement, let me know where that is. Since that would not be my nature, I am quite sure that you will find nothing of the sort.

      On the other hand and as I admitted several times on WUWT, one of my great flaws is that I sometimes do start to treat others like they treat me. While I did not learn his language, I suspect that some of the genetic instincts of Eric the Red still flow in my veins.

      Concerning who is a skeptic, I would hope that all scientists are skeptics – that is why they study things – in order to answer their questions. The term, Denier, really does have a definite meaning to me that is entirely different. When I use it, I am referring to someone who thinks he knows the answer for whatever reason – no matter what the evidence is. If one can not openly discuss the evidence because it goes against ones bottom line, that person is a Denier. I will gladly discuss all evidence until the cows come home – and will then sometimes come to my own personal conclusions – which I might retain until they are replaced by other, better tentative conclusions. I found that the three goons I referred to at WUWT were not so much skeptics as they were very hard cores Deniers. It was they who always ran away from the table, hurling personal insults and pleading with their boss, Mr. Watts, to come to their rescue by litterally kicking me out – until Mr. Watts obliged them.

      And I understand the predicament that Watt’s goons found themselves in. One has to know quite a bit of science in order to stand on your own two feet using only the force of logical argument as your weapon – without resorting to BS and personal insults. So just to save face in front of the audience at WUWT – who are there mainly to see the legitimate science of the world discredited – they resort to the only thing they know how to do. Note that there was probably not a single science education or science degree among any of the three goons who were assigned to “take care of” me whenever I posted at WUWT.

      In any case, Tusen Tak for your comments, Eric

      • Quote:
        “The term, Denier, really does have a definite meaning to me that is entirely different.”

        Hi Eric.

        That might be so for you, but when the blog and people commenting there are intentionally compared to holocaust-deniers by politicized “mainstream” researchers, (even people with better degrees than you like Dr. Lindzen are getting this label), you come across as dishonest and disrespectful as a visitor and new commenter and I have no doubt you are intelligent enough to know it.

        As an example, should I insist on invoking the Swastika in any of my comments on temporary German politicians discussing solar-power, just because it is also a sun-sumbol that pre-dates Nazi-Germany? No.

        I note that you jump past my example about Leif Svaalgard and the fact that you yourself is not going to be banned there if you keep your cool and respond properly with your thoughts.

        Of course there are rabble-rousers there, even people with far-out theories that most there laugh of or shake their head at, and Watts even have a blog-roll with such a category of people that he allow to comment (showing his tolerant comment-policy).

        I suspect you are intelligent enough to also understand this and should rather do like Leif, be partly selective in your reply or terse with direct links. It works for Leif, it should for you if you agenda is the same (public education and focus on facts etc.)

        I will close by saying this; I take a wait and see approach to human influence in earth-climate. My gut-feel is that the level of politicization of green research is an indication of how corrupt the science is, and scientists like Mann etc. actually going from being a researcher to an public attacker against those with different viewpoints, are very off-putting and does not help at all in changing most anyone’s perception (quite the opposite is my guess).

        When you see lies, exaggerations and scientific hypotheses converted to “99% of all scientists-give us lots of money-stop BUSH” headlines in national journals, what effect do you think this has on the average intelligent “trying to be informed and not lied to” person out there?

        Thank you for your time, and welcome to Norway anytime 🙂

        [ Response for EPG: John, The word, denier, has a clear meaning which was not created by the Holocost and its followup. I use it all the time. When a colleauge, for example, denies something, he becomes a denier of that something and if I point out that he is a denier of that something my comment is in no way connected to something the Nazis did – even though denial of the Holocost has occurred. Neither Anthony Watts or the Holocost can take ownership of that word. It has a simple, clear meaning. It is the noun that goes with the verb, “to deny”.

        Anthony Watt’s insistence on not using that word at WUWT is nothing more than PC BS. It is both interesting and common to see the tyrants of the world hide behind Political Correctness whenever others treat them honestly and forcefully. Watts is a Wuss in the moral sense and a genious in the financial sense. He knows that (as Mark Twain did) “noone ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the public”. What do you think Mark Twain would have said if someone tried to remove any word from the English language so that is could not be used against them? (For you, John, lets change that to Ibsen).

        Eric ]

    • Actually, this whole concept of a green house like effect surrounding the earth like a pane of glass is a ludicrous attempt to present a vision in children’s heads and I well imagine many adults also believe this. The question is, when was the last time anyone was able to “capture” anything with a gas? That this ubiquitous, odorless, colorless, and benign trace gas essential for life on earth, CO2, that is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere (maybe there is intelligent design after all because everything that utilizes CO2 is on the surface of the earth) and be reminded that it constitutes only .038% of the total atmosphere of our planet can have basically anything to do with the earth’s climate can not and never will be shown by ANY experiment to do so.

      [Response by EPG: John, you will note that I have run here only a portion of your comment. The reason is that I do not want to get into science fiction and prefer to run things that deals with real science. You will note that what I did run here is silly stuff – after your read, for example, Ch 3 of my book – which goes over about 20 of the very common and erroneous claims of the hard core Deniers of AGW. That is why I wrote to book and set up my short course – to answer questions and refute comments such as you made above – you don’t know why CO2 can capture anything simply because it is a gas ???? Please consider studying the subject a bit and then come back when you have a clue. Once again, excuse me but that is exactly why I built my short course ]

    • John Kagen: I am surprised that your well put reply to Eric stood the test of would be considered heresy by Eric’s camp. I had presented an answer to you expressing what I found to be the case in Denmark that prevents the destruction of class 1 tropical storms such as Sandy, when they hit shore but Eric saw fit to not let it stand and this was a reply to a whining secession about how WUWT where he, even after 18 post, felt that he was being discriminated against. I now know the meaning of the word’ ‘hypocrite”. That he took my post out of context and I stand by what did get posted, I.e.; show me the experiment that demonstrates that the present amount of CO2 in the atmosphere influences the earth’s climate.

  5. > show me the experiment
    He did. Ch. 3.
    He can lead you to the information.
    He can’t force you to read it.
    See also

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