Exclusive: Watts offers ‘inanity defense’ for his effort to censor Sinclair’s video, saying he was “doing him a favor.” Sinclair replies, “His reaction pretty much confirmed that my psychological profiling was dead on.”

I am filing this under humor, specifically ‘inanity defense’.  The explanation Anthony Watts has invented for his attempt to yank Peter Sinclair’s video off YouTube is the funniest thing you’re ever going to read — assuming of course you don’t read the laughable stuff that passes for “analysis” on WattsUpWithThat every day [see “Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS)“].  ClimateProgress also has an exclusive interview from Sinclair on Watts and his wildly inappropriate attack on Sinclair’s family.

When we last left the former TV meteorologist and top anti-scientific blogger, his nonexistent knowledge of copyright laws had failed to stop the world from seeing Sinclair’s video (see The video that Anthony Watts does not want you to see: The Climate Denial “Crock of the Week”).  Thursday, Watts offered what might be called the “I have no friggin’ clue what I’m talking about but I am the world’s biggest hypocrite” defense for his failed censorship in a post with the unintentionally accurate headline, “On Climate, Comedy, Copyrights, and Cinematography.”

To understand the inanity defense, first take a moment to watch the video Watts is afraid of:

Yes, Watts actually claims that Sinclair has committed copyright infringement because “in the video Mr. Sinclair produced and posted on YouTube, I noticed that he did in fact use photographs and graphics from my published book “Is The U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”.”  If Watts wants to claim authorship of a ‘book’ on his resume that is in fact a 31-page PDF ‘published’ by that world-class publishing house The Heartland Institute (!) and posted for free, well, heck, this is the age of resume padding and vanity presses.

But Watts is going to have a hard time convincing any judge that the reproduction of a small amount of material from a PDF given away for free on the Internet hurts the “the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work,” one of the four factors considered in lawsuits over the fair use doctrine, “codified by the Copyright Act of 1976 as 17 U.S.C. § 107,” which “permits some copying and distribution without permission of the copyright holder or payment to same.”  Given how little material Sinclair used and the “transformative” nature of the work — he used it as part of a critical analysis — the whole notion that there was any copyright infringement here would lead any court to the simple summary judgment “ROTFLMAO.”

Watts would know that if he spent as much time on Wikipedia researching copyright law as he did investigating Sinclair and his family.  Since Watts’ ignorance of copyright laws rivals his ignorance of climate science, he actually and seriously and literally posted this must-read explanation on WattsUpWithThat without a trace of irony:

But since he had used that © symbol, Mr. Sinclair demonstrated awareness of copyright protections, having availed himself of them, e.g., here, right below his own artwork.

With knowledge of this and ad hominem attacks made on me personally, I reasonably presumed his copyright violation on my part was likely intentional. I also figured that this might be a teachable moment, as I was still thinking this is a kid just out of college since there seems to be no business website for Greenman studio in operation yet, it is still “under construction”.

And, I mused, by bringing the copyright issue to his attention, I’d probably be doing him a favor, since I surmised he’d be at risk for using the film clips. I figured anybody working a business out of a house without an operating web page probably can’t afford licensing fees. No deep pockets there. I certainly have no personal beef with Mr. Sinclair, it is just the copyright issue.

But my copyright had been ignored, with evidence that Mr. Sinclair as a publisher himself using the © symbol understands copyrights, and WB’s copyright also looked like it also had been ignored. And well, lets face it, he got the facts wrong about the project and never contacted or interviewed me to get any facts from my side (more on that later). So it could hardly be defined as “journalism” and the protections that such enterprise affords for “fair use”. So I filled out the form for copyright issues on YouTube, and pressed enter.

“I throw myself on the mercy of the court.  I’m inane, I tell you.  Pathologically, clinically, inane.  I’ve been diagnosed by dozens of experts and they all come to the same conclusion:  You must find me not guilty of attempted censorship by reason of inanity.”  [Note:  Any resemblance between that quote and the writing of any person living or dead is purely coincidental.]

Yes, a man who knows less about copyright laws than your average sidewalk vendor of fake Rolexes thinks he can teach Sinclair about copyright law.  Apparently, in Watts’ view of the law, if you don’t contact or interview the copyright holder — and if you get the facts wrong from the perspective of the copyright holder — the “fair use” doctine is null and void.

Seriously.  And people actually go to WattsUpWithThat for any reason other than laughs???

Memo to Watts:  The fair use doctrine extends well beyond “journalism.”  And while I know this is going to come to a shock as someone as scrupulously wrong as you, but journalists sometimes get their facts wrong, they sometimes don’t contact or interview subjects, and they are still afforded fair use protection.

Here is Peter Sinclair’s reponse to Watts in an email interview with CP:

I set out in the video quite deliberately to puncture Mr. Watt’s  pomposity and sense of self importance, hoping, frankly, that I might  get a rise out of him. His reaction pretty much confirmed that my psychological profiling was  dead on.

Readers have sent myriad examples of Watts’ hypocrisy when it comes to copyright laws and standard journalistic practice.  Two seem worth mentioning.

twit3.gifFirst, Watts has repeatedly reprinted and defended TVMOB (aka The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley — a famous anti-scientific denier who is most certainly not depicted in the figure on the right).  Yet TVMOB is guilty of the most extreme copyright infringement — posting an unpublished article without permission of the author (see Rabett Run).

Second, WattsUpWithThat reposted part of a Chicago Tribune article here — see Pachauri: “Skeptics are flat earthers.” Notice that the title of the Tribune piece is “Blunt answers about risks of global warming” by Michael Hawthorne.  But apparently Watts thinks it is totally fine to take a copyrighted story and repost it with a completely different headline, “PERSON OF INTEREST RAJENDRA PACHAURI” — a fake headline that he ascribes directly to the original author!

This is standard operating procedure for Watts, who has no regard whatsoever for the integrity of the written or spoken word.  Consider that Pachauri did NOT say what Watts claims he said in the headline, as the excerpted interview shows:

Q: What do you think about the small but vocal group of doubters still out there

Pachauri:  There is, even today, a Flat Earth Society that meets every year to say the Earth is flat. The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.

Does Watts believe it is legitimate to ascribe a direct quote to somebody that they never said?

Watts is the last person in the blogosphere who should be offering anybody a “teachable moment” on copyright laws.  The teachable moment is for you, Anthony.

Finally, in the department of “making things up egregiously and inappropriately,” let’s go back to Watts’ inanity defense:

He [Sinclair] is not a college student, though he has a son who is of college age, a nice Ron Paul supporter, I am told from someone who has met him. His rather conservative son, contrasts the rather left-wing eco-activist ad hominem and rhetorically unrestrained father (see here). It is almost humorous greeting card-worthy, this role reversal.

So now Watts has stooped to investigating the children of people he has disputes with? Scary stuff.  And not just investigating them but publishing untrue hearsay attacks on them.  Sure, relatives who are public figures and who are in at least a somewhat related field can be fair game (see “Like father, like son: Roger Pielke Sr. also doesn’t understand the science of global warming “” or just chooses to willfully misrepresent it“).  But what does Sinclair’s son have to do with anything Sinclair has done?

While trying to protect as much as possible the privacy of Sinclair’s son, after a back-and-forth with his father, here is what Sinclair says about his son:

He’s an Obama-voting organic farmer who has worked on mucking out Katrina-blasted towns.

He and I are are both deeply “conservative” in the sense that we both feel since there’s only one planet, maybe we should err on the side of caution in caring for it.

So much for Watt’s skill as a detective.

Perhaps in addition to brushing up on copyright laws, Watts should study the libel laws or at least the minimal standards of blogging etiquette.

In any case, I think Watts can safely count on a winning verdict with his inanity defense — as long as he gets a jury of his peers or, rather British peers.

UPDATE:  Watts is still whining today in the first sentence of a new post that Sinclair “infringed on my copyright.”  Waaaah!

40 Responses to Exclusive: Watts offers ‘inanity defense’ for his effort to censor Sinclair’s video, saying he was “doing him a favor.” Sinclair replies, “His reaction pretty much confirmed that my psychological profiling was dead on.”

  1. Gordon Parish says:

    Perhaps the best thing that may come out of this is that Sinclair seems to be receiving quite a bit of publicity. The “banned” video is now up over 20,000 views, and one of his earlier ones, “The Big Swindle Movie,” is over 10,000 views. A few weeks ago, I was lamenting that his videos were only registering on the order of 3,000 to 5,000 views each. His entire series is so very well done: simple, clear, and as far as I can tell, consistent with the actual science. These videos should be viewed by anyone interested in the issue, particularly laypeople honestly attempting to determine what the science really says. Let’s hope that, through his own paranoia and pomposity, Watts’ efforts to suppress this video will actually result in a larger audience for Sinclair’s complete library of work. That’s the kind of irony I can embrace.

  2. Brewster says:

    Sinclair is getting a lot of well-deserved atention out of all this…

    The only problem I see this the denialsphere is just overwhelming his Youtube site…

    More nonsense than I’ve ever seen before, even on some of the denier sites.

  3. Like many other climate sites, I posted the video and gave Watts one of my coveted Double Dumb Ass Awards. That didn’t go over too well with his loyal minions, who turned it around, and gave my own award back to me!

    If anyone wants to stop by for a visit to redress the one-sided comment, feel free. I can do it, but it’s always more fun with company. :-)

  4. greenfyre says:

    Yes, it’s interesting how you are getting mugged by them. I have been following the Watts thing pretty closely with multiple postings and a reasonable amount of traffic, including my own reaction to Watts’ Inanity Defense (love that)
    “Act III Scene 1: But but (from the Watts)”
    and yet I have had no real reaction from the Trolls. Curious.

  5. Paul K says:

    Hoorah for Peter Sinclair. I am really happy to see his videos are attracting viewers.

    He has an earlier video that really hammered the denial crock about the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. This is another of Mr. Watts core positions on AGW, and is easily debunked, as Sinclair did in this video (some of the material is reused in the video that Mr. Watts is trying to squelch).

  6. Paul K says:

    The copyright infringement and unprofessional behavior of TVMOB is a horrendous story. I can’t understand how deniers can defend Monckton’s behavior, then stoop to attacking Peter Sinclair’s on copyright grounds.

    For those unfamiliar with what TVMOB did, here is the story in a nutshell:

    TVMOB managed to get a letter (paper) published in the non-peer reviewed letters section of an APS journal. The paper was attacked by a number of competent scientists.

    TVMOB was sent a private copy of a rebuttal by Dr. Arthur Smith as a courtesy, at the same time Smith submitted the comments for publication. The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley then added additional text to the paper, then PUBLISHED it on the politically motivated SPPI site, with his own rebuttal of Dr. Smith’s work. This was before the author could possibly respond to any comments from the journal where he submitted the paper, and was done entirely without the permission of the author!

    Meanwhile the editor indicated that the paper they published by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley was NOT peer reviewed. Normally this would involve peer scientists reviewing the methods and calculations in the paper, for those not familiar with peer review. The paper had received editing and the scientist who suggested some editing changes said he didn’t conduct a peer review. The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley then accused both the editor who published his paper, and the scientist who suggested some edit changes (who actually tried to constructively help him get the paper published), of being LIARS.

    These kind of public attacks and behavior by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, are without precedent in the scientific world, as far as I know. Any reputable scientist knows that you can’t publish the work of your colleagues without their permission, especially private courtesy copies. This is essentially stealing the fruits of another person’s work.

    I would think that those like Mr. Watts, who espouse a belief in free enterprise systems, would appreciate and condemn these actions. In fact, at the time TVMOB was running wild, Mr. Watts put five posts up on WUWT defending TVMOB, and criticizing the American Physical Society (APS).

    Mr. Watts didn’t show any concern over this obvious violation of copyright, or in the unprofessional behavior of TVMOB.

  7. Lamont says:

    Watts also cried about ad hominem attacks in the YouTube video and then proceeded to attack Sinclair with all kinds of ad hominem attacks (“college student”), etc.

    I think the problem with a large portion of this country is that their ability to recognize when they’re being completely hypocritical is broken and they rationalize their own behavior while being the first to criticize all the poor behaviors that they are familiar with because they engage in them so often.

    All the True Believers in Watts claiming that other people are “sheep” is another good example.

  8. Eli Rabett says:

    Arthur was and remains too nice a person to jump up and down on dotty which meant it all went nowhere. Michael Berube, talking about David Horowitz, put it pretty clearly

    My job, therefore, is to contest that legitimacy, and to model a way of dealing with Horowitz that does not give him what he wants: namely, (1) important concessions or (2) outrage. He feeds on (2), of course, and uses it to power the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Massive Persecution Complex he runs out of Los Angeles; and most of the time, we give it to him by the truckload. Liberal and left academics need to try (3), mockery and dismissal, and thereby demonstrate, as I put it on my blog, that when someone tries to blame tuition increases on Cornel West’s speaking fees, that person needs to be ridiculed and given a double minor for unsportsmanlike bullshit.

    That has pretty much become Eli’s goal. Link and other stuff is here for the defenders of copyright.

  9. dhogaza says:

    Watts also cried about ad hominem attacks in the YouTube video and then proceeded to attack Sinclair with all kinds of ad hominem attacks (”college student”)

    Apparently Watts has no personal knowledge as to what it’s like to be a college student … at least one who graduates.

  10. John Mashey says:

    Re: Peter Sinclair’s videos

    1) It is good to see them getting more attention, as they’ve long had very good production values on top of reasonable science. Good articulation of science for the general audience is *hard work*, and takes different skills from doing the science in the first place.

    2) YouTube, of course, is a terrible venue for serious discourse, given the character count limit. Hence, his channel has long been plagued by the usual sorts of posters, or worse, well before this.

    3) Hence, please make it practice to drop by his Channel, and if you like a piece *say so*, there. I think Peter deserves that, to make up for the ill-informed Dunning-Kruger-afflicted who often post there. Not all of us can create/write this stuff, but we should support those who do.

  11. DavidCOG says:

    Nicely skewered, Joe.

    Anyone with a reddit account, feel free to vote as you wish:

  12. Hi Mike (Greenfyre)…

    Someone posted a highly indignant link at WUWT saying that One Blue Marble’s calling you a Double Dumb Ass! It knew something was up when I came home after a nice day out, and found a dozen onery comments. The best I usually manage is one or two.

    I noticed that you were talking about AW, but I’m saving them for tomorrow… Busy day today, and you’re a very entertaining writer!

  13. From Peru says:

    Watts said:

    “With knowledge of this and ad hominem attacks made on me personally, I reasonably presumed his copyright violation on my part was likely intentional. I also figured that this might be a teachable moment, as I was still thinking this is a kid just out of college …”

    This sentence is insulting to anyone, like me, who are young universitary students. To be young necesarily means being stupid ?!
    The only stupid person here is the one that can wrote this kind of stuff.

    ADDENDUM: what about the part about the “homogenization of climate station data” that there is in the second part of this WUWT post?

  14. cce says:

    Don’t forget Watts’ promotion of the “supressed” EPA report, which was, in large measure, a knock off of a Pat Michaels blog post and various “think tank” nuttery.

  15. Martin says:

    “Watts” and “intellectual property”: I just have a hard time figuring out how to put the two into one sentence without a “never,” an “infinitesimal” or the like. Just can’t seem to do it. On the other hand, couldn’t help the snarking. Some situations just demand it….

    Cheers y’all!


  16. paulm says:


  17. Franklin Barrett says:

    You have to give Anthony Watts credit for at least one thing– he allows all comments on his blog.

    I know a few blogs *cough please* that silently moderate/eliminate dissent…

  18. marianna says:

    Richard said, “If anyone wants to stop by for a visit to redress the one-sided comment, feel free. I can do it, but it’s always more fun with company.”

    Consider it done, Richard, my fellow Canuck, it seems. Great site you have. I just found it last week when I followed a link from one of your comments at RC.

    Yes, I do like this CP site too. Very much so. ;-)

  19. Eli Rabett says:

    Watts and his ilk are victim bullies, a term coined by C.K. Gunsalus. As Dean Dad says, she

    distinguishes between traditional, assertive bullies, who throw their weight around with bluster and force, and ‘victim bullies,’ who use claims of having been wronged to gain leverage over others.(pp. 123-4) Unlike simple passive-aggression, victim bullies use accusations as weapons, and ramp up the accusations over time. Unlike a normal person, who would slink away in shame as the initial accusations are discredited, a victim bully lacks either guilt or shame, honestly believing that s/he has been so egregiously wronged in some cosmic way that anything s/he does or says is justified in the larger scheme of things. So when the initial accusations are dismissed, the victim bully’s first move is a sort of double-or-nothing, raising the absurdity and the stakes even more……

    One of the commentors at Rabett Run pointed out that

    I don’t see any self awareness. Victim bullies believe they are justified: they don’t receive enough support and attention, and that all negative comments are directed against them. It is just a total delusion about how the world works. Problem is that they either win and their expectations get higher, or they get mistreated as everyone attempts to avoid them. “You Can’t Argue with a Sick Mind” – Joe Walsh and you really can’t.

  20. dhogaza says:

    You have to give Anthony Watts credit for at least one thing– he allows all comments on his blog.

    Not true. I speak from personal experience. And I’m not alone.

    It’s just another one of Watts’ sweet little lies …

  21. Mike#22 says:

    Truly skewered, perforated, deflated, colandered.

    Hats off to NOAA.

    So now Watts and his frat-party-gone-bad web following just fold and go away? After all, his whole rational just went up like Dracula in the daylight. Poof!

    Not likely. Despite being remodeled as a colander, the denier zombie will keep on marching. This time.

    Hit him again, Greenman!

  22. Lou Grinzo says:

    “Victim bullies”: Talk about a perfect term for the people who behave that way!

    The more general pattern of doubling down endlessly, and never tiring of posting the same garbage over and over in the hopes of snaring someone who’s never seen it before and doesn’t know any better, is why I’ve been calling them the Marching Morons. Or the Borg. Depends on my mood.

  23. bluegrue says:

    You have to give Anthony Watts credit for at least one thing– he allows all comments on his blog.

    If anyone should doubt dhogaza, explain to me who that “Lee” person is, that is being quoted here and even referred to by Watts himself. Lee annoyed Watts and Watts deleted not only the offending comment, but each and any comment Lee ever posted on WUWT. Watts failed to catch those quoting or mentioning Lee in this Great Cleansing.

  24. Arthur Smith says:

    Joe and all – thanks for bringing up my interactions with TVMOB last year – though the reminder does strain the “nice person” in me – but I was able to get out my aggression a little this morning while cutting 2×4’s and thinking of Joe’s TVMOB icon up there. Too bad I hadn’t seen this Saturday afternoon when I was pounding stakes into the ground…

    FYI my “formal” response to Monckton’s APS nonsense is available here:

    although after some discussions with (new? denier) Bob Austin, I have an idea to update the graph to make it even more convincing…

  25. MarkB says:

    Eli Rabett’s comment is a must-read. For awhile I haven’t been able to think of a term for someone who uses the various tactics that Watts uses. “Victim Bully” is an excellent term for it.

    “…‘victim bullies,’ who use claims of having been wronged to gain leverage over others. Unlike simple passive-aggression, victim bullies use accusations as weapons, and ramp up the accusations over time. ”

    Indeed. Watts uses his lack of qualifications as part of this “victim” argument. He will use this argument to claim that contrarian scientists are victims of the “elite”. When one of these folks makes an entirely unsupported or misleading claim and someone calls him/her on it, this is evidence that those “arrogant elitists” are stifling dissent. Watts’ own lack of qualifications or credentials are used to his advantage. He isn’t part of the mean old rigid scientific establishment so he can see more clearly. The same goes for all contrarian bloggers. This sort of anti-education populist appeal draws a lot of folks to his blog.

    This is not to say that “victim bully” is Watts’ only weapon, but it’s a key part of his rhetorical arsenal. He routinely throws mud at scientists and anyone who suggests human-caused global warming is a problem. He reminds me of the antagonistic brother who starts a fight with another sibling, and when that sibling fights back successfully, he seeks sympathy from his parents, claiming “he started it!”.

  26. TrueSceptic says:

    For anyone who doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to go there, here’s a list of quotes from Watts’s supporters in his thread on this subject. Those with weak stomachs are warned!

  27. Another Phil says:

    You have to give Anthony Watts credit for at least one thing– he allows all comments on his blog.

    Nope. Not content with deleting a post of mine, Watts accused me of a personal smear against him, ad hominem remarks and implied I was a troll. Of course as the post had been pulled nobody reading the blog would have been able to see that the post concerned contained nothing more than the mildest of rhetorical questions, fortunately I kept a copy, here is the exchange, verbatim…

    ME: Either Prof Lindzen is unaware of the correction, which I find impossibly unlikely, or he has knowingly circulated incorrect information to support his case, an act that one might normally expect would attract severe opprobrium from the posters of an objective science blog such as this. Neither possibility does much for the pursuasiveness of his argument, in my view. Certainly if the Professor were to submit this article for publication, it would be rejected on these grounds alone.

    REPLY: There is a third option, perhapss he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data.

    ME: The correction was largely the result of step in the computer code that caters for satellite altitude being effectively ’switched off’. Details were published in the Journal of Climate and also by the Data Product provider. All other researchers who use this dataset use the revised version. The onus is therefore on anyone citing the 2002 version to at least mention that the originators of the dataset have revised it and explain why they prefer the ‘uncorrected’ dataset, especially if the corrected version removes a central plank of their argument. From Prof Lindzen, not even a footnote. Does this qualify as the good and transparent science quite rightly promoted by WUWT?

    REPLY: I have deleted your response, and I resent the smear you made against me for publishing this informal essay from Dr. Lindzen. You get a 24 hour timeout. If you wish to continue, lose the ad homs. Otherwise off to the troll bin permanently for you. – Anthony

    A friend of free speech, he ain’t.

  28. Paul K says:

    Franklin Barrett… R U Kidding?
    “You have to give Anthony Watts credit for at least one thing– he allows all comments on his blog.”

    Anthony Watts has a escalated censor system in place. His moderators “lose” comments that contain references or links to sites AW disapproves. If the comment has information that potentially discredits or effectively refutes the post AW put up, they hold it, then call Watts to take a look at the comment. Watts will often gut it, or snip it, often without indicating where the post was modified.

    In fact, Watts attempt to block Sinclair’s video was in response to an email that I sent him, complaining about censorship at his site, and specifically pointing out the link to the Sinclair video was removed in my comments, without so much as a snip mark. Here is an excerpt from that email:

    Since you clearly are sensitive to the issue of censorship on this site, I tried to avoid talking about it today. But since you insist, here are concrete examples of censorship, with some that happened today:

    I have had links in posts deleted for the following reasons:

    1. A Fox News clip, because the clip was hosted on a site. The content of the video clip, was entirely an excerpt from a Fox News show. What does it matter, which server hosted the clip?

    2. A post containing a link to Climate Progress, apparently in a tit for tat because CP typically removes WUWT links. However the post I put here, was substantially similar to a post submitted to CP at the same time that contained links to WUWT posts… Joe Romm let my post through linking to WUWT, but the moderator here blocked a similar post linking to CP.

    3. Links to Peter Sinclair’s series of videos on YouTube, covering the most common skeptical claims, and debunking the claims. The link today that was deleted, was to a video that discussed the NOAA analysis of your Heartland published report on surface stations. It also contained your interview by a right wing media commentator. My comment (as edited by WUWT) doesn’t show a note where the editing occurred.

    In addition, I can’t use the term denial or anything smacking of that, without incurring censorship. All of my comments are delayed for moderation, and pieces of the comments disappear without even a ‘snip’ as a signal that some information has been removed or edited out.

    I try to stay on the subject, and I especially like to link to other WUWT posts and comments specifically germane to the discussion. Sometimes these posts get cut, because the comments on the previous WUWT posts seem too painful to revive.

    Since Watts will hold the comments for some time, he can have several of my comments in the “censoring bin” at one time, Then he can read them, edit them, add his own counterattack, then post them in the original time slot. Often his response and editing to the first post will attempt to make my followup post look stupid.

    In summary, not only does Watts doctor up the information he takes and posts from reputable news sources (as Joe Romm pointed out in this post), he clearly censors and edits the information you are allowed to see on his site. For example, he censored the clip from my email to him, that I quoted above.

    Please don’t allow him to continue deceiving you about the openness and lack of censorship at WUWT. If you want to see evidence of this on WUWT, read my comments on his Sinclair post. After several days of blocking all my comments, I went to his site late Saturday night, and got a moderator who apparently hadn’t gotten the message to censor my comments. After a couple of comments, the moderator called Watts in to censor, clip, and respond to my comments.

  29. bhanwara says:

    Just to note that I am another who has been moderated out of the comments on Watts’s site. My crime? I tried to draw attention to the video before Watts created a post on the subject.

  30. Mike#22 says:

    One aspect of Watts as Victim-Bully worth examining, why are so many people blindly listening to his nonsense?

    There have been some powerful misleaders in history who have gained their position by playing on a nation’s sense of insult, offense, mistreatment. Speaking to a mob’s feeling of victimization works.

  31. dhogaza says:

    Ha! I remember that exchange involving Phil, before it was made to disappear …

    So, Franklin Barrett, are you going to apologize, or are you just the typical post-and-run type?

  32. J4zonian says:

    Dear friends,

    While it’s distressingly easy to get pulled into the he said/he saidness of the deniosphere, the gossip, the repeating story of mutual victimization-feelings, (as I know from multiple personal surrenderings to the pull) it is not getting us anywhere. It is not going to get us anywhere. Denialists are a small minority of the US population, an even smaller minority of voters, and a vanishingly infinitesimally tiny percentage of world population. Let’s stop letting them set the terms of every debate on the subject.

    [JR: They aren’t a minority and they don’t set the terms, at least not here.]

    If someone asks a question or points out a source and says in a reasonable tone ‘this person/site disagrees; what do you think about that?’ then a reasonable answer should be given, calmly and politely pointing out the relevant science and giving links and references. Then the discussion should go on as if they hadn’t posted.

    People who are willing to do that should do it. People who aren’t willing to do it– concisely, calmly, rationally and compassionately–however sincere or passionate about the cause, should refrain. Ad hominem attacks (and again, mea culpa) are as useless in advancing our agenda as falling into the trap of endlessly debating the particulars of how many graphs can dance on the head of a pinhead is. Oops. Sorry.

    If, on the other hand, an attack is made, or a commenter repeats points debunked TO HIM OR HER before, then maybe one brief universal standard response, followed by simply continuing the conversation as if the person hadn’t posted, would effectively enough answer the falsehood for unsuspecting readers while not giving energy and time to the trolls. It might frustrate them into stopping such posts. I suggest the following: “The vast majority of scientists believe human activity is causing global climate change which will have devastating effects on civilization and the biosphere. Such points as you bring up have been repeatedly proven wrong and will no longer elicit any response other than this. Please refer to the following resources for more information:,,

    I found this article interesting in a sort of cheap tawdry gossiping way, but when I finished I felt not only embarrassed but cheated, as if I had wasted my time. In what way has this article helped us increase the number of truly liberal senators and representatives in the US and state congresses, who support science, and action on climate catastrophe? In what way do the tangential arguments with this TINY minority of people who disbelieve in science advance our willingness and ability to bicycle, install solar panels on our houses, turn off the TV and computer and do the thousands of things for ourselves that corporations do for us now, infantilizing us while dramatically increasing energy use, climate change, pollution and species extinction?

    We need to pay attention to George Lakoff, stop helping deniers and reactionaries by using their frames, and put forward the debate we want rather than the stuck debate they want. We need to talk on these blogs and in the mainstream media not about whether but about how, not about how slow but how fast, and about bringing everyone along into the post-fossil fuel age, with programs of development for poor countries and neighborhoods or with universalizing useful and compassionate knowledge of psychology.

    [JR: If it were “TINY mintority” you’d be right. But in fact it is a majority of those who call themselves conservatives and Republicans who share many of these views. It is the refusal to confront these folks for about a decade now that has put us in that mess. One of the things I do here is debunk deniers. It isn’t the primary activity, but it is a key mission. I know Lakoff and enjoy much of what he has to say, which is one reason this post is not in the denier frame.]

  33. J4zonian says:

    oops again.

    I meant to say the wording of the standard response could be tweaked, and we should add a few links and books and articles to the list we refer deniers to, maybe including Hell and High Water, by that guy… uh, what’s his name?

    I don’t know of a short book or article generally available that deals with the usual denier arguments–hockey stick, medeival, sunspots, urban skewing, etc.–or even a website that, even better, does not give them the credence that a mention would engender but does, briefly and simply, lay out the science that DOES debunk each, while laying out what we know and don’t know. We should list these, and then can just cut and paste the standard denier response and save ourselves a lot of time And in the end, win the arguments by not arguing.

  34. Another Phil says:

    Ha! I remember that exchange involving Phil, before it was made to disappear …

    Mr Anthony then compounded the offence by popping up on a blog where I had posted the ‘smear’ and falsely accusing me of not reproducing the text in full….

    Anyhoo, water under the bridge. Anyone persona non grata at the ‘Science Blog of the Year’ [weeps openly] is welcome to comment at my new and modest internet home …

  35. Gail says:

    Oh, ketchup!

    Once, back in the day, when romance eclipsed all (well, it still does, pretty much!) significant other, a died-in-the-wool Ayn Rand Reagan free marketeer, noted with shock, on a road trip desperate for fast food, that I like to dip my McDonalds fries in ketchup (catsup?).

    “Of course I do, I’m an American!” I said.

    “Oh” he said, perplexed, “I thought you were a French princess.”

    Isn’t that cute? I love him. He has since understood about climate change and debates all his conservative buddies.

  36. Bernard J. says:

    The delicious irony is that Watts appears to be infringing the copyright of “The Mole” TV series with his use of their iconic graphic at the top of his thread on Peter Sinclair…

  37. Bernard J. says:

    Oops, I should have said …”the thread on the Met Office/Hadley CRU data”, rather than “the thread on Peter Sinclair”.

    My point remains, however!

  38. Lee says:

    @23, bluegrue:
    ” bluegrue says:
    August 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

    “If anyone should doubt dhogaza, explain to me who that “Lee” person is, that is being quoted here and even referred to by Watts himself. Lee annoyed Watts and Watts deleted not only the offending comment, but each and any comment Lee ever posted on WUWT. Watts failed to catch those quoting or mentioning Lee in this Great Cleansing.”

    That would be me, actually. My great sin; the terrible offending comment? In May or June of 2008, I asked Watts when he was going to get around to the followup posts he had promised for his flawed ‘anomaly histogram’ posts of February 2008.

    The man is an actively dishonest simpleton

  39. J4zonian says:

    I’m distressed, Joe.

    I’ve made a suggestion that might–just might–go some way toward solving our psychological/communication problems, and thus, over time, remove the political obstructions to becoming a post-industrial, ecological society. Maybe not, but I think the suggestion deserves discussion, at least. Particularized disagreement, even. Revision. Collaborative collegialism. Suggestions for refinement and improvement. Thoughtfully sarcastic rejection…

    Instead, besides your welcome interspersed comments, it gets completely ignored and people go right on gossiping and telling weird cutesy stories about nothing. (I apologize if I’ve missed the deep meaning behind the ketchup tale).

    Wow. Are we that far gone? Where do we find then, intelligent discourse on strategies [first mistyped as ‘startegies’, which seems apt] for solving the greatest challenge to humanity in history? Where do we go for discussions that include the absolutely crucial psychological sphere, so we can actually begin to bring people into understanding rather than shout rudely back and forth, both sides feeling perpetually victimized, while civilization crumbles?

    [note: I’ve seen the polls; I’ve also talked to people who make anti-global warming or anti-evolution statements. Many are parroting what they hear, do not really believe it, and can pretty easily be brought to understand not my views but their own, which are not anything like what they were saying. The poll numbers claiming x% of people don’t believe in ACC are soft and sometimes the questions are manipulated to look shocking and get attention. It may seem like a substantial % of Republicans, but once you include non-voters, people of all parties, people of no parties, etc. the people who truly turn out to believe global warming is fake after a respectful 5-minute conversation is small, I believe. It is joined by an even smaller number of psychopathic people who have no particular such beliefs, and don’t particularly care, but will say anything that allows them to continue with their lives and/or profit making without interference. Even some of them are curable.

    And again, here we all are, spending time and precious public discussion space talking about the deniers and their arguments when we could instead be talking about, planning and carrying out the solar-wind-conservation-bicycling-permaculture revolution that will go a long way toward picking the low fruit of becoming an ecological society and demonstrating its advantages. That’s not letting them set the terms of the debate?

    [JR: Well, I think airing out the deniers views for all to see is valuable. But I think you’ll agree I certainly spent a great deal of time laying out the clean energy future and how to get there. It is a question of balance.]

  40. Jens says:

    I feel that we all have a duty to read sites airing both sides of the argument.

    We HAVE to ask “what if I am wrong?”.

    “Warmists” would regret their stance when the lights go out because the wind didn’t turn the windfarms in the middle of the night.

    “Deniers” would regret their stance when the crops whither and low coastlines flood.

    We all would regret our collective inaction when we reach peak oil.

    There’s too much evangelism and mud-slinging going on here. Both sides are shouting – I see little evidence of either side listening.

    What happened to constructive scientific (and impersonal) debate? The other guy may be smarter than you, or have better information and so be better able to make a decision. It’s great being right – but it’s greatness to accept being wrong.

    Myself? I don’t think the science is settled – that’s all. Too many predictions are surfacing in the media which are not being born out by real world events for me to have enough confidence to prefer any side of the fence.

    I will keep reading and learning, trying to correct mistakes of fact, but most importantly, I will try to keep both sides listening.

    Good luck to us all.

    [JR: Good luck. Facts don’t really have two sides to them. Are their two sides to the question of whether cigarette smoking dramatically increases your chances of getting lung cancer? I’ve said many times the science isn’t settled — we simply don’t know whether global warming is going to be the worst catastrophe ever to hit civilization or the end of civilization as we know it.]