Censorship at its finest, Reddit, now bans from it’s forum anyone who questions the “science” of climate change.
If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
― George Washington
That this once free thinking and liberal site still describes itself as “passionately dedicated to free speech” is amusing. In an article, published by Grist, on 16 Dec. 2013, tilted, “Reddit’s science forum banned climate deniers. Why don’t all newspapers do the same?” author Nathan Allen, a moderator of the forum who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and works at a major chemical company, not only defends his decision to delete comments that raise questions or argue against the “science” of climate change but also suggests that all news publications do the same, because the arguments are too “problematic.”
Allen, justifies his position to silence these troublesome individuals, because they were just too “outspoken” with “uninformed opinions”. He labels these annoying people as “contrarians,” and prone to paranoia and delusional conspiracy theories. I suppose that if I lived my life in a bubble where my whole existence is focused on a “truth” that I already knew to be real and all “evidence” (as I interpret it) supports that “truth/dogma,” then I too would most likely be offended by those who raise objections about my work. Just because people are suffering under some new policy, regulation or law that has been implemented because of the political influence of my “facts,” is no reason to reinvent the wheel, as they say and because I am human, regardless of my training, I would probably be just as stubborn.
However, I don’t live in a bubble and neither do you and we do want the truth, even if it hurts. Yet, controversy about global warming and climate change as explained and supported by climate science is growing with good reason. Climate science, as a credible discipline, is under increasing scrutiny as ‘junk science’ because of many reports in recent years that much of the research has been untowardly driven by political, ideological, financial, or otherwise unscientific motives. Even James Lovelock, the father of global warming, no longer believes that climate change is such an immediate threat. He thinks that it is still an issue but one that is advancing much more slowly than he originally thought. In addition, he likes ‘clean and green’ energy but he is against fossil fuels. Now that is comforting! So true, false or somewhere in between such debate is certain to make public discourse at times spicy. Allen reveals the science forum of Reddit as a gentle place where science as discussed by scientists/academics is intellectually stimulating and always polite. Polite is something that I can agree with, think John Polkinghorn trying to explain how God created the universe in scientific terms to Richard Dawkins.
Allen further argues that such skeptics do not have credible evidenceto support any attack that could possibly refute the (sacred) research findings of hard working climate scientists. So just silence them and the unpleasant, (ignorant boobs) will disappear. That is why a new policy of “proactive moderation” was implemented at Reddit. Now whenever a user makes a “potentially controversial submission” on climate change, a “warning” alert is issued, if it happens again the comment disappears and the user could possibly be banned.
These people are true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments are hopelessly flawed, the result of cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking.
Obviously, this man is blinded by his arrogance and what a snob! He continues,
They have no idea that the smart-sounding talking points from their preferred climate blog are, even to a casual climate science observer, plainly wrong. They are completely enamored by the emotionally charged and rhetoric-based arguments of pundits on talk radio and Fox News.
My goodness, if only the public would just listen to CNN and MSNBC and of course printed publications from the Associated Press, if you have read one, you have read them all.
Allen refers to cynics of climate change as “true believers” but by closing down the very nature of what science is all about, constant inquiry and challenge, perhaps he too is a “true believer”, but in the other direction.
Our users are mainly academics (and all are nerds), the discussion generally resembles any scientific debate. That is, there are always numerous links to peer-reviewed science to support positions, people don’t deliberately mislead or misrepresent content, and there is a basic level of respect shared regardless of position.
As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral.
So it is “immoral” to challenge climate change” and those hard working secular priests/priestesses of this particular scientific method, who present the empirical evidence that this objective “truth” is based on? Who says that science and religion are mutually exclusive? I argue that in our time the two are doing a tango and very soon a new or old terror will be reborn, see:
Therefore, by “negating the ability of this misguided group to post to the forum” Allen claims that a positive change has occurred in the culture of the forum. In short, the professionals at Reddit prefer its discussions of climate change to be more “measured” or on-message and conformist. After all, the non scientists or amateurs should be grateful that they are even allowed a glimpse into the “Ivory Tower”.
Climate change, science that has been established, constantly tested, and reaffirmed for decades was routinely called into question. Over and over, solid peer-reviewed science was insulted as corrupt.
So lets keep the rhetoric flat and just accept what is no longer allowed to be challenged. If Copernicus and Galileo had worked with that kind of attitude, the West might still be in the early stages of rockets as nothing more than glorified fire crackers!
The end result was a disservice to science and to rational exploration, not to mention the scholarly audience we are proud to have cultivated. When 97 percent of climate scientists agree that man is changing the climate, we would hope the comments would at least acknowledge if not reflect such widespread consensus. Since that was not the case, we needed more than just an ad hoc approach to correct the situation. The answer was found in the form of proactive moderation.
Consensus is not science and if “peer review” is the condition for worthy outcome then science once again falls prey to politics, because success and grants are often measured by conformity. Perhaps, he is right that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that mankind is the reason for climate change, I don’t know. However, there are many notable scientists who have made statements that conflict with this “mainstream scientific understanding” of global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies. I list just a few.
Scientists who question the accuracy of IPCC climate projections:
- Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society
- Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences
- Nils-Axel Mörner, retired head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University, former chairman of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999–2003), and author of books supporting the validity of dowsing
- Garth Paltridge, retired chief research scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre, visiting fellow ANU
- Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London
- Hendrik Tennekes, retired director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
Scientists who argue that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes:
- KhabibulloAbdusamatov, mathematicianand and astronomer at Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences
- Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
- Chris de Freitas, associate professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland
- David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester
- Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University
- William M. Gray, professor emeritus and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
- William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University
- William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology
- David Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware
- Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa
- Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and professor of geology at Carleton University in Canada.
- Ian Plimer, professor emeritus of Mining Geology, the University of Adelaide.
- Nicola Scafetta, research scientist in the physics department at Duke University
- Tom Segalstad, head of the Geology Museum at the University of Oslo
- Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia
- Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville
- Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Center
- Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, professor emeritus from University of Ottawa
Scientists who argue that the cause of global warming is unknown:
- Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics and founding director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Claude Allègre, politician; geochemist, emeritus professor at Institute of Geophysics (Paris)
- Robert C. Balling, Jr., a professor of geography at Arizona State University
- John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, contributor to several IPCC
- Petr Chylek, space and remote sensing sciences researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology
- David Deming, geology professor at the University of Oklahoma
- Ivar Giaever, professor emeritus at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
- Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of nuclear physics at the University of Bologna and president of the World Federation of Scientists
Scientists who argue that global warming will have few negative consequences:
- Craig D. Idso, faculty researcher, Office of Climatology, Arizona State University and founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
- Sherwood Idso, former research physicist, USDA Water Conservation Laboratory, and adjunct professor, Arizona State University
- Patrick Michaels, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and retired research professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia
I guess I will do Reddit a favor and stay away from their science forum, I know where I am not wanted. However, Allen goes too far when he complains that “professional climate change deniers” have an outsized influence in the media and the public, and recommends that,
If a half-dozen volunteers (at Reddit) can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?
Now, “them thar is fighten words” ammunition for another story. Time to bust out the canons!
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