As I’ve said on other threads far too often, I was extremely peeved to be banned for life from Comment is Free, the Guardian’s interactive website, since I think commenting there is one of the most useful things a simple footblogger in the Climate Wars can do.

The Guardian is read by Greens and the pro-green centre-left, so it’s possible to have a real debate, and perhaps influence opinion on the opposing side. Guardian readers are clearly far more numerous than those of any sceptical blog, they are more likely to be believers in global warming than readers of Delingpole or Booker, and they are therefore more in need of enlightenment. I also felt that if Guardian editors realised that a majority of readers did not accept the warmist argument, they might put pressure on the Environment Editors to be more even-handed in their treatment.

On the last point I was clearly totally wrong, as evidenced by a recent interview given by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger in “the Hindu” newspaper, in which he said:

“A year ago we decided the environment was the biggest story of our lives. So we have six reporters doing the environment … And then we built a network of … about 20 or 30 sites. A huge amount of editing and resources goes into the environment.” and by the comment by Environment Editor James Randerson that climate change is “editorial policy”.

Commenters here and elsewhere have objected that commenting on CiF is a waste of time, because of the distracting tactics of warmist trolls, and because of the apparent bias of moderators. Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) was recently prevented from commenting on the thread to his own article when he was subjected to “pre-moderation”. I’ve never been convinced that the moderators are biased, since warmist comments frequently disappear, even comments by Guardian contributors,  like Blucloud and GPWayne.

I’ve just conducted an experiment at CiF, and I’m fairly sure I know how the “censorship” works. I can state with certainty (well, let’s say, with IPCC-style 90% confidence) that:

  1. The moderators will not take the initiative in removing comments. They only act if someone presses the “report abuse” button with a justified complaint.
  2. One complaint is enough to get a comment removed.
  3. Since the rules list a large number of types of “abuse”, it is very easy for a determined troll to get an opponent removed by persistently reporting  abuse.

The debate on the infamous 10:10 “Splattergate” video is currently raging at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/oct/04/10-10-campaign-events

At the time of writing, there were 100 comments on the above thread. Ten of them have been deleted, all of them posted by Onthefence, and all of them reported for abuse by me. They started at 15:28, when Onthefence addressed Ecocampaigner as follows:

“You laughed when Stephen Schneider died after being targetted in a hate mail campaign, and you went on to wish similar deaths on other climate scientists”.

Ecocampaigner replied, and Onthefence repeated his accusation at 15:34, 15:37, 15:45, 15:59, 16:15, 16:36, 17:27, 17:41, and 17:49. I reported abuse on two of the comments, adding that the statement was a lie. An hour later they had been deleted, but others kept popping up. I reported abuse each time, and they went, but I didn’t spot the first one until five hours later. I reported it, and forty minutes later it was gone.

The fact that the first abusive post stayed up after I’d reported and had deleted the other nine clearly demonstrates that the moderator didn’t read the other comments, even one posted six minutes before the comment he’s been invited to delete.

The fact that comments disappeared when and only when I reported them strongly suggests that I was the only one reporting abuse. It was obvious that Onthefence was being picked on, and it would  have been easy for anyone else to join in the fun and report his first abusive remark. The fact that it stayed up for five hours, until I spotted it and reported it, demonstrates that it was all my own work.

Clearly, the system is open to abuse. The fact that Ecocampaigner’s replies stay up, quoting Onthefence’s defamatory remarks, shows how ineffective the system is. If the Guardian carried out their stated policy of deleting replies to deleted posts, there would be nothing left on many threads. Clearly, the removal of polite, reasonable comments by the likes of Andrew Montford strongly suggests that dedicated warmist trolls are deliberately targeting the opponents they most fear. There is censorship at CiF, but it’s the work of commenters, not of the moderators, and it’s a result of a weakness in the Guardian’s system.

Let’s give the last word to the admirably even-tempered Ecocampaigner. Onthefence at 19:.41 complained that his comments were all deleted just after Ecocampaigner complained they were “off topic” To which Ecocampaigner replied at 19:54pm “It wasn’t me who complained, I’d have preferred it all stay up to be read. I want the world to see your viewpoint’.

Update 06/10/2010 20:40 :- The point I wanted to make is that, had I openly accused the commenter of lying on the thread, my comments would have been deleted. By secretly and anonymously accusing him of lying in my reports of abuse, I got his comments deleted. Clearly, there is something seriously wrong with the CiF moderation system.

116 Responses to “Moderation in Moderation: Comment is Free at The Guardian?”

Pages: « 1 [2] 3 » Show All

  1. 51
    geoffchambers Says:

    Barry’s post is at:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/07/open-thread-week-in-review/#comment-3648
    and Tonyb’s at:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/10/07/open-thread-week-in-review/#comment-3663
    Under premoderation your comment gets delayed, so you can’t take part in the debate, even if it appears eventually. It happened to me when I was rude about Berlusconi, and I suppose it can be justified when there are fears of libellous commments, for instance. Then I imagine the moderator hands the decision up to a higher authority. I imagine Tonyb and maybe Barry had their comments removed because of the number of links, which could be interpreted as spamming.
    The interest of posting at CiF to me is in being able to contact a large number of possibly curious readers. When I started about wo years ago, I made a point of linking to WUWT and ClimateAudit as often as possible, because it was quite clear that many sceptics or “undecideds” were quite unaware of mainstream sceptic blogs. Later, I tried to link to here or Clmate Resistance or Omniclimate, to encourage traffic on the British based blogs. Guardian Environment is quite openly a medium for warmist propaganda, and I felt I was doing my bit if I could use it to counter their own biasses.

  2. 52
    Jack Hughes Says:

    Hope this isn’t too OT.

    I feel strongly about the indoctrination of schoolchildren

    My own child is now learning about “sustainability” in her science class.

    Maybe someone can give us a quick summary of what “sustainability” is and how it can be measured. If I went to the library would books on this subject be in the science section – or would they be in “economics ” or “politics” or even “new age”.

  3. 53
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    You asked what “sustainability” means. Let’s check Wiki:

    Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.

    OK. That sounds like a “scientific” sort of definition that is devoid of “political double-talk”. Sort of describes the way that polar bears have survived climate swings in the Arctic, including prolonged periods that were much warmer than today.

    But let’s read on:

    Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity.

    Hmm. This is beginning to sound a bit less “scientific” and a bit more “sociological”. But let’s continue:

    Sustainability economics involves ecological economics where social, cultural, health-related and monetary/financial aspects are integrated. Moving towards sustainability is also a social challenge that entails international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.

    Oh-oh! This is beginning to sound like socio-political double-talk with very little “science” involved.

    Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities)…

    “Ecovillages?” Oops! This sounds like total gibberish.

    …reappraising economic sectors (permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture)…

    Ouch! Hold on to your wallets…

    …using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy), to adjustments in individual lifestyles that conserve natural resources.

    Well, at least we’ve got “science” back into the equation. But the rest sounds like total political gobbledygook to me.

    But then I didn’t take the “science” course your daughter is taking now. I just studied chemistry…

    Max

  4. 54
    Jack Hughes Says:

    Thanks, Max.

    It looks like a mixture of vague nonsense and circular references.

  5. 55
    manacker Says:

    Jack Hughes

    Yeah. Circular or elliptical.

    At the risk of her getting a bad grade on the “science” test, clear your daughter up on the facts.

    After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some “fuzzy logic” science teacher.

    Max

  6. 56
    tempterrain Says:

    Max, Jack,

    “Sustainability” ?

    What about “affirming the validity” of? For instance, in a court of law, any objection from you lot would be overruled on the grounds that you didn’t know what you were talking about, whereas if you were to go along and study climate science properly at your local university you might find that what you had to say may be sustained!

  7. 57
    Barry Woods Says:

    I had comments THAT NEVER appeared with NO LINKS. only a coupleof sentences..

    On the LOvelock interview in the Guardian, when LOvelock said the computer models are rubbish…

    I only put:

    I wonder what George Monbiot will make of that!

    NEVER appeared.

  8. 58
    geoffchambers Says:

    Barry
    I’m sure you’re right (in fact I know you’re right, because it’s happened to me) that comments disappear without trace for no reason. Some people just can’t resist pushing that big red button. The point of this article was simply to indicate how one zealous troll (me, in this case) can “punish” a commenter who oversteps the line, without the moderator apparently using his judgement. I accused a commenter of lying, the moderator believed me, and deleted ten comments on my say-so. All I would say in defence of moderators is that they are NOT in the pockets of the journalists, as I will demonstrate in a later post.

  9. 59
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    To “sustainability” you quoted another (legal rather than scientific) meaning:

    “Sustainability” ?

    What about “affirming the validity” of?

    Well, Jack Hughes’ daughter is not learning about “sustainability” in a “Law” course , but rather in a “Science” course (where I personally think she should be learning about real “science”, such as “biology”, “chemistry”, “physics”, etc. rather than the fuzzy socio-political concept of “sustainability”).

    But let’s use your definition, anyway.

    You refer to “climate science” as the field:

    if you were to go along and study climate science properly at your local university you might find that what you had to say may be sustained

    Using the legal definition of “sustainability” (i.e. “affirming the validity of”) I’d say that the “validity” of the dangerous AGW premise in climate science has not been “sustained”, i.e. scientifically “affirmed” by the scientific method.

    We’ve discussed this before on the other thread, Peter. It is the “fatal flaw” of your premise.

    But this whole discussion belongs on the other thread, Peter.

    Max

  10. 60
    Alex Cull Says:

    Re moderation/censorship, there’s a comment on this Guardian thread that appears relevant:

    Mitzcici: 12 October 2010 8:18AM

    christineottery @ 11 October 2010 7:31PM

    If you are so sure that good reporting requires truth, why do you keep censoring comments about some scientists who disagree with you? Truth isn’t just what you print it’s about what you refuse to let your readers hear. Lies by omission.

    And this is relevant to this thread – you were the one who mention 97% of scientists … global warming consensus. Well here’s evidence, strong evidence, that the consensus that you mention may be based on rotten foundations.

    11 October 2010 2:57PM

    Christine,

    Thanks for your replies, but there really is not the consensus you suggest there is. I suggest you read the resignation letter of Professor Harold Lewis, which delivers a damning assessment of the politicisation and corruption of science which has happened.

    You would have been able to read it here, except your moderators deleted my post referring to it, and also deleted several other comments (including a couple which reproduced the letter), indeed removing the entries entirely so that people couldn’t even see that they had been moderated.

    It really is like a Police State. Comment is free (if you agree).

  11. 61
    JunkkMale Says:

    As read more and more, this keeps popping into my head:

    ‘All comment is equal, but some is less equal than others’.

    I might write a book about it, but only once I’ve fed the Old Spots.

  12. 62
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex Cull #60
    Thanks for the link. This is an interesting case, where we can follow the moderator’s logic.
    In the first four hours four comments had been deleted. Then between 2.33pm and 7.31pm the author of the article Christine Ottery posted eight (!) times in reply to comments. In her second post (2.50pm) she says “can we avoid ad hominem attacks on Omond, Monbiot (how did he get dragged into this?) or myself here? It gets pretty boring after a while”. The ad hominems must be among the four posts deleted up to then, because the only mention of Monbiot is in a post pointing out that Ottery is a researcher for him!
    In this post she also says: “You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that there is a scientific consensus”, and here you can see what has happened. In the article she makes no claims about global warming, so Mitzcici’s reference to Lewis’s resignation is obviously off-topic. Only when Ottery mentions consensus at 2.50pm does it become on-topic. Mitzcici’s comment arrived just 7 minutes later and was deleted. His/her complaint of 8.18am today is still up, plus three more comments. The latest, just arrived at 2.39pm, is a gem:

    The Guardian is a mirror image of the Mail. Each panders to its readers’ prejudices, slants stories and cherry picks data. The comments in each are littered with extreme rantings but… and this is the great but.. on both there is a good body of people who go ‘come off it, we can see through that’. It’s nice to know that most people are smarter than the newpapers give them credit for.

  13. 63
    tempterrain Says:

    @Junkmale,

    There is no saying in the English language to the effect that “comment is equal”, the Guardian use the word “free”. However there is a saying : “empty vessels make the most noise”. So maybe what you are really objecting to are the Guardian’s use of noise filters?

  14. 64
    JunkkMale Says:

    @tempterrain says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    There is no saying in the English language to the effect that “comment is equal”, the Guardian use the word “free”. However there is a saying : “empty vessels make the most noise”. So maybe what you are really objecting to are the Guardian’s use of noise filters?

    Never said there was. I was merely adapting an actual quoted comment, from George Orwell, which seem apposite. So, actually, there is now. I just wrote it.

    Both were… are about some saying one thing, but doing another…. somewhat in favour of their own superior notions over others despite sanctimonious protestations of equality.

    It’s always interesting when such points get made, especially for one.

    ps: It’s JunkkMale. Amazing how many seem to like to use their own mis-spelling in personal references, for some reason.

  15. 65
    tempterrain Says:

    Yes, except that George Orwell was talking about animals not comments. Although there was notional equality of the animals in the constitution, it didn’t extend to an acceptance that the sheeps’ or hens’ utterances or comments were the equal of the pigs’, for example.

  16. 66
    JunkkMale Says:

    Er, whatever… you wish to say. It is free, here, after all.

    It is interesting to note that I was commenting personally on a topic, and you decided to move it to a personal comment.

    I’ve noticed that seem to happen a lot with some ‘debaters’. Not interested. Find a new semantic playmate to try and overcome.

  17. 67
    Alex Cull Says:

    JunkkMale, slightly OT but in the ballpark, I thought your comment on this thread was very apt, both about the BBC editorial attitude and the stealth editing (noticed that the Guardian has done its share of stealth editing as well, e.g., during the Andrew Montford/Bob Ward contretemps.)

  18. 68
    JunkkMale Says:

    Alex Cull says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Tx. All things considered… I needed that.

    At least that blog thread, so far, seems to be permitting free and open discourse on the subject raised. We’ll have to see how much longer that persists. I fear a few more interested in bringing it to a speedy conclusion (though I have found, recently in fact, that the most eloquent exposure of the bullies, trolls, adhominids, strawmannerists, cherry pickers, etc, are actually provided in their own writings) may emerge soon and, sadly, a ‘closed for comments’ soon thereafter. The Graun is a little less sensitive to robust exchanges, but does pull the plug, if with a rather ‘variable’ logic. I must pop back to the ’3 day standard shut down’ threads that still were burbling along after several days when it suited.

    I am excited (if that is quite the word) that the author has seen fit to engage, albeit by proxy. Welcome, but rare. Equally with the Graun. I am hoping for an answer to what was after all, two factual questions citing published (or hoiked in one case) BBC material.

    What tends to ‘spoil’ things is when folk get rude and they scarper. As our host has alluded, that can be often more than convenient.

  19. 69
    Alex Cull Says:

    JunkkMale, sorry it was my own raising of the BBC thread which I thought was slightly OT; I could have phrased that better.

    The term “adhominid” – I like it; indeed a very vocal and aggressive sub-species!

  20. 70
    geoffchambers Says:

    Small flame war between moderator and two Guardian writers last night. Not many dead. On the thread following this article
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/global-warming-environment-west-waste
    a comment by english hermit was deleted, with the usual message: “This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted”.
    What made it interesting was that english hermit has a “C for contributor” next to his name, indicating someone who writes for the paper. Luckily, other commenters quoted largely from the removed comment, including MartyninEurope, another Guardian writer. English hermit said, in part:

    …. The only solution that I can see is brutal, harsh and cruel. It means identifying those who cannot or will not change and when the time comes, exterminating them. When the survival of the human race is at stake, it will have to be done….

    To which MartyninEurope replied: “As well as not being desirable IMHO it’s also not practical” adding an elliptical remark suggesting that most of “those who cannot or will not change” are American, and couldn’t be exterminated because they are too well armed.
    When I went back a few hours later, all comments referring to english hermit had been, not simply deleted, but wiped from the thread, as if they never existed. So there is no record of two Guardian writers discussing whether it would be sensible or practical to exterminate people who don’t agree with them.
    English hermit is 62, gives his real name as Gandalf the Red, Gold and Green, and lists his interests as Ents, elves, and magic rings. I wouldn’t leave him alone with saplings in my arboretum, that’s for sure.

  21. 71
    JunkkMale Says:

    geoffchambers says:
    October 17th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I know this thread is Grauncentric, so forgive the OT, but things are heating up everywhere, and not in a good way.

    I am in a mini flame war of my own, not with some scary trolls (who really deserve it, but there really is no point lowering to their level), but with the BBC blog mods who seem to indulge every sociopath who they can invite on to get a dodgy thread closed down asap, whilst House Ruling legitimate posters are referred or deleted for ‘saying things my Aunty might not like’, and other bizarre excuses which they have dredged up from the ‘Beware of the Leopard’ catch-all files.

    It’s getting silly, and dirty.

  22. 72
    geoffchambers Says:

    junkkmale
    have you got a link for your BBC flame war? I saw you mentioned it on omniclimate (I imagine it”s the same one).

  23. 73
    Alex Cull Says:

    Gaurdian contributor englishhermit is a rather interesting soul, is he not? Although his run-in with the mods has been expunged from history, you can see from his profile that there’s a related comment of his on a different thread that survives (about the 10th one down):

    “… I would like to see an article about the government’s plans to deal with the aftermath of an eco-collapse when there will be insufficient resources to support the whole population.”

    If you read ‘The Secret State’ by Professor Peter Hennessey which gives a chilling account of plans for survival after a nuclear war in the fifties, you will understand the thinking that may govern policy in the event of eco-collapse.

    In the fifties and sixties, plans were drawn up so that those who were unable or unwilling to work would be abandoned, left to starve with no medical treatment for their injuries or, if fortunate, put out of their misery with a bullet in the head. It would not have been a matter of choice. It would have been a matter of necessity.

    Watch ‘The War Game’ by Peter Watkins if you don’t believe me.

    It is likely that similar plans have already been drawn up in Whitehall to deal with the aftermath of the impending eco-collapse.

    Peter Hennessey is the ideal person to write about this authoritatively…”

    You know, with all the talk of eco-collapse, nuclear war and Lord of the Rings, I’m having flashbacks to an earlier epoch. There’s a quote by anthropologist Bernard James (at the risk of veering even further OT, I found it here in an interesting book review from 2008), and it’s from his 1973 book The Death of Progress: “there [was] a sense of desperation in the air, a sense that man has been pitchforked by science and technology into a new and precarious age.”

    And that was thirty years ago; thirty years from now, what are the odds that “eco-collapse” will be just as imminent and yet elusive as it is now, or was in the 1970s?

  24. 74
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex #73
    English hermit’s death fantasies, and the obsession of many Greens with Tolkien and fantasy literature are obviously linked with what ESmith and others have been saying on the Monbiot thread. I’d like to continue this over there when I have time, though I agree with TonyN that certain obvious parallels shouldnt be pursued, unless someone has something truly original and enlightening to offer.

  25. 75
    JunkkMale Says:
    geoffchambers
    October 17th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    have you got a link for your BBC flame war? I saw you mentioned it on omniclimate (I imagine it”s the same one).

    I am currently engaged in a few ‘terse’ exchanges. but they are mainly with the mods and/or complaints bots (hard to imagine a human could stay sane for long trotting out the same inaccurate, insincere, smug, dismissive tripe each time) behind the threads about their ‘selective’ indulgence of some who are clearly there to provoke and/or drive away ‘normal’ posters and/or wind up a flame exchange that can be used to shut things down.

    This is one example:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/10/bbc_news_coverage_of_san_jose.html

    I decided to bail when I was House Ruled for ‘provocation’, when their House Elf had been the one deployed to target me personally and was allowed to a) pass through modding and b) remained whilst my comment was removed. Note that after he/she/it disgorges a series of barely concealed abuse at any ‘threat’ to the house line, all that is left is supportive pap.

    One thread I am amazed they have yet to get him/her/it onto… yet.. is this one:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml

    Mind you, whilst initially promising, the ‘answers’ are yet to be forthcoming at time of writing.

    I have had a direct, very quick, very snotty reply to a complementary complaint that a diplomatic correspondent took near zero facts and spun it into a highly negative set of views, which were then ‘stealth edited’ when called out, with a classic ‘we think we got it right’ dismissal.

    I have decided to move this up the line.

    Bad enough that a reporter tries prefers undermining with clearly agenda driven opinion, but for the ‘system’ to reckon it’s OK to print tripe and then quietly ‘evolve’ it retroactively to cover up once the misinformation damage is done is risible. The munchkin who wrote even tried to claim that as the timestamp changed, that clearly showed ‘a’ change had been made. Which meant it was not ‘stealth’.

    That mentality would set an interesting precedent if you can say or write whatever you want, but it’s all OK if you pop back and erase that later. Makes the ‘corrections’ of headlines that are printed (at least with these what was printed before as wrong is revealed) on p45 pale in comparison.

    The gut-wrenching thing is I am very environmentally concerned, but find the science/engineering ‘reporting’ and agenda-driven editorial of too many publications or broadcasters to be counter-productive to rational discussion and progression. Further, I am currently more concerned about the attempted crushing of free speech in the name of green (or anything else) than I am future climate ‘threats’. A future under the control of those who believe they have a mandate to dominate because ‘they care for the planet’, one presumes more than anyone else, or else, is not one I favour.

    Using the bizarre rationale some BBC ‘defenders’ use, I find myself accused of being a ‘warmist” on a Delingpole and a ‘denier’ on a Black or Graun thread, so by some twisted logic could be seen as doing ‘something’ balanced.

    I’m afraid for a credible MSMedium that won’t cut it. And should not be allowed to do so.

  26. 76
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    This comment contains two mistakes “After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some ‘fuzzy logic’ science teacher”

    The minor mistake is that “fuzzy logic” is some sort of deficient logic as your statement implies. It isn’t. It does have a grounding in mathematical probability.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic

    I doubt if most science teachers would have a good grasp of this however.

    The major mistake is to assume that a biological link somehow gives a parent an an offspring a greater scientific knowledge than the population average. As far as I am aware, there is no scientific research showing that the donation of 50% of one’s DNA to an individual in the next generation has the slightest effect, one way or another, in the accumulation of any knowledge, scientific or otherwise.

    I must say that I haven’t done the research, but I’d say that it is very unlikely that individuals with, say, seven or more children have a better than average appreciation of science as a subject!

    I would, nevertheles, agree that schools would benefit from having more highly qualified science teachers, but even so, I would expect that their scientific knowledge would be significantly greater that the population mean.

  27. 77
    tempterrain Says:

    I must admit it did occur to me that there might be something in your “parents are more knowledgeable theory” after writing the previous posting. I was perhaps too hasty.

    But could it be something to do with sex? Maybe its just more sex than can actually lead to increased intelligence? I should think that this would be a very popular theory amongst all those studying tough subjects like Quantum Computing or the Unified Field Theory.

    I think I’ll even try out that line of argument with my wife the next time I get stuck on the Guardian crossword!

  28. 78
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    To my 55 to Jack Hughes you opined:

    This comment contains two mistakes “After all, you’re her Dad, so you are bound to know more than some ‘fuzzy logic’ science teacher”

    The minor mistake is that “fuzzy logic” is some sort of deficient logic as your statement implies. It isn’t. It does have a grounding in mathematical probability.

    Thanks for providing me the well known mathematical definition of “fuzzy logic” as published by Wiki.

    Now let’s talk about the more general, or “non-mathematical”, definition:

    fuzz·y
    adj. fuzz·i·er, fuzz·i·est
    1. Covered with fuzz.
    2. Of or resembling fuzz.
    3. Not clear; indistinct: a fuzzy recollection of past events.
    4. Not coherent; confused: a fuzzy plan of action.

    So “fuzzy logic” in the more general, non-mathematical sense is “incoherent or confused logic”.

    This is what the secondary level science teacher is applying when he is attempting to brainwash Jack Hughes’ daughter.

    Got it?

    It’s really quite straightforward, Peter.

    Max

  29. 79
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    School teachers are paid by the taxpayer to educate their children in the essential subjects required to be able to pass their “O-levels”, “A-levels”, graduate from “high school” or “gymnasium”, pass university entrance exams, or whatever, and eventually be armed with the necessary skills and knowledge to become productive citizens.

    They (hopefully) know the subject matter they are teaching and also (hopefully) have learned the pedagogical skills required to be able to teach this subject matter to the children in their classes.

    But they are not paid to frighten the school children with their own personal anxieties about impending climate doomsday (or anything else, for that matter). That simply is not their job.

    But, unfortunately, this is happening in many instances.

    Max

  30. 80
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Further to my earlier post

    Kids fear global warming
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kids-fear-global-warming-more-than-terrorism-car-crashes-and-cancer-according-to-national-earth-day-survey-58684647.html

    Nearly 60 percent of children said they feared global warming and environmental disasters-such as hurricanes, tornados and flooding-more than terrorism, car crashes, and even cancer.

    Cool!

    Nearly one-third of children reported thinking about global warming a lot and worrying about how the effects of global warming will change the planet and directly impact their lives.

    Job well done, teachers!

    Or how about this report
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/kids-worry-about-environment.php

    One out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Earth won’t exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least very unpleasant place to live), according to a new survey.

    Great! Let’s “force (some more) awareness” on them!

    Or how about the psychological fallout for children of the “awareness” campaign in the UK?
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article7066030.ece

    Today, it is not the mushroom cloud that threatens to suffocate children psychologically but carbon emissions. The new bogeyman is climate change: submerger of nations, polluter of skies, slayer of polar bears.

    This week the Advertising Standards Authority issued a ruling on the Government’s £6 million climate-awareness advertising campaign, which has attracted nearly 1,000 complaints. While most focused on whether the evidence for climate change was strong enough, a notable proportion thought that the ads were unnecessarily frightening and distressing.

    In addition to the psychological trauma, the problem is, if the kids are spending so much time learning and worrying about global warming, is there any time left for them to study arithmetic, reading, writing or real science – or just to play?

    There is no question: frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    Hope you see this the same as I do, Peter.

    Max

  31. 81
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children. Even us bogeymen of the left:-)

    However, you need to ask why they are being frightened and who is responsible for it? If climate mitigation was going ahead as it should, and if the problem was being tackled as it should, there would be no need for anyone to be frightened or concerned, regardless of their age.

    However, it isn’t. And that’s genuinely of concern for all. And all of you who are arguing that it shouldn’t have to accept your share of responsibility for the situation.

  32. 82
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Glad to hear from you:

    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children

    Unfortunately, there are apparently still some school teachers that do not share your view on this, or there would not be the problem of frightened children mentioned in the studies I cited.

    So I’ll repeat what I wrote before:

    There is no question: frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    ‘Nuff said…

    Max

  33. 83
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance!

  34. 84
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    You wrote (83):

    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance

    No, Peter. That is not what I wrote. What I wrote was:

    frightening children (even in the name of a supposed “good cause”) is irresponsible, reprehensible and inexcusable.

    I thought you agreed with this statement, when you wrote:

    no-one is in favour of frightening children.

    But now it looks like you are waffling on this and adding “ifs”, legal disclaimers and rationalizations

    If climate mitigation was going ahead as it should, and if the problem was being tackled as it should, there would be no need for anyone to be frightened or concerned, regardless of their age.

    Let me express it very clearly.

    Whether or not “climate mitigation [i.e. imposing carbon caps and taxes] was going ahead as it should, and the problem was being tackled as it should”, there is still absolutely “no need for anyone [especially impressionable school children] to be frightened [especially by their school teachers]”. None. Period.

    This has nothing to do with keeping “the younger generation in blissful ignorance”, Peter. It simply has to do with not frightening children.

    Your next sentence was:

    However, it isn’t. And that’s genuinely of concern for all. And all of you who are arguing that it shouldn’t have to accept your share of responsibility for the situation.

    This sounds like a legalese rationalization, i.e. it’s not those few misguided and irresponsible school teachers who are to blame for frightening their pupils but instead, all of us who argue that AGW is not a serious potential threat (such as I and many other bloggers on this site) “have to accept our share of responsibility for the situation” (i.e. for the fact that these teachers are frightening their pupils with global warming scare mongering).

    This is totally warped logic, Peter, and I really hope that I misunderstood what you wrote.

    It is those teachers who frighten their pupils, and they alone, that bear the full blame and guilt for this reprehensible and intolerable behavior.

    And they should be sacked. Period.

    Max

  35. 85
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Like everything else your arguments depends on every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC having it all wrong about AGW.

    If you can just bring yourself to accept that they might just be right for a moment, what then? Do we tell the kids or not?

  36. 86
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    You are dead wrong.

    “Every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC” do not support scare mongering, especially not frightening impressionable school children.

    This is immoral and reprehensible and if some misguided idiots who happen to be school teachers are doing this, they should be fired on the spot.

    You ask, “do we tell the kids or not?”

    Hell, no, Peter, “we” don’t pass on our own personal anxieties about climate change to the kids in the mistaken belief that “we” are “doing something good for society”. All “we” are doing by this is frightening children.

    The school teachers are paid by the taxpayers to teach their pupils, not to frighten them.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not ” every scientific institute in the world, every university, and the IPCC having it all wrong about AGW”. It has to do with frightening children. You have written:

    Well of course no-one is in favour of frightening children.

    Did you really mean what you wrote? Are you or are you not “in favour of frightening children”, Peter?

    If you are doing this as a school teacher you should be canned immediately.

    This is just as reprehensible as some fundamentalist religious idiot frightening children with “hellfire and eternal damnation” scare mongering, just because he personally “believes” this and “all the religious scriptures and the word of the Lord himself” confirm his “belief”. No difference at all.

    Can you see this? Or are you blind?

    That is the issue here.

    Max

  37. 87
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    The Australian Government produces this sort of thing as a guide for school teachers.

    http://www.climatechangematters.net.au/understand.htm

    Australia is a secular society. Our PM is a declared atheist, she lives unmarried with her partner and it didn’t seem to adversely affect her vote at all. The dominant opinion is that what is taught in schools should be decided on the basis of science rather than religion. That means the Darwinian Theory of Evolution is in. Creationism and Intelligent Design are out.

    Similarly AGW are in and Climate denialism is out.

    It will be a sad day if that ever changes, and people like you ever get into a position to sack teachers for teaching consensus science.

  38. 88
    geronimo Says:

    @tempterrain: “The dominant opinion is that what is taught in schools should be decided on the basis of science rather than religion. That means the Darwinian Theory of Evolution is in. Creationism and Intelligent Design are out.

    Similarly AGW are in and Climate denialism is out.

    It will be a sad day if that ever changes, and people like you ever get into a position to sack teachers for teaching consensus science.”

    So teacher’s should be able to teach Creationism if there is a scientific consensus?

    Science isn’t done by consensus, it’s done by hypothesis, forecast and observation. Once the forecasts have been observed the science becomes de facto correct until the next group of scientists push the boundaries and change the accepted scientific fact.

    What you have in climate science is a hypothesis that humans are intrinsically evil. I don’t think we should be telling kids that humans are intrinsically evil, especially based on no science to speak of. I have a very simple question for you big T:

    The IPCC states that half of the temperature increase since the beginning of the industrial revolution has been caused by natural forcings, and that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased so that must be the cause of the other 50%. OK the question to you is prove it, prove that the increase in temperature attributed to CO2 is in fact attributable.

    If you can do that then by all means tell our kids they’re evil and will be sent to eternal damnation unless they change their ways and behave like you and the other believers.

    If you can’t prove it, it’s not science.

  39. 89
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    geronimo has already commented to your 87, but let me add two basic problems in your logic.

    The first argument is “scientific” : the basic scientific problem you have in your comparison with Darwin’s theory of evolution is the fact that Darwinism has been validated by empirical data and has scientifically withstood attempts at falsification, all following the “scientific method”.

    In other words, Darwinism has moved from being an “uncorroborated hypothesis” in the scientific sense to being a “highly corroborated hypothesis”, and is now considered to be “reliable knowledge”.

    The premise of “dangerous AGW” has not made this transition following the scientific method of “validation by empirical data based on experimentation or actual physical observations”. It is still an “uncorroborated hypothesis”.

    In fact, empirical data from recent studies have challenged its validity. Unless these can be scientifically refuted, “dangerous AGW” will move to being a “falsified hypothesis”.

    [This is basically the debate on the "science" we are having on the NS thread.]

    The second argument is moral and ethical.

    There is no valid reason or excuse for anyone frightening impressionable children, no matter what the supposed “good cause” is (religion, environmentalism, politics or anything else). Frightening children is irresponsible, reprehensible and unacceptable. Period.

    Max

  40. 90
    peter geany Says:

    Peter

    It seems to me that you really mean you’d like to keep the younger generation in blissful ignorance!

    My god Peter you are getting worse. Its people like you and all the hopeless educationalists that are now producing children that get to 17 or 18 and cannot think for themselves. I know as I have 4 children myself and have witnessed the decline. Fortunately for my children they have me and my wife to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    Now here is an example of you telling it to the children strait before they have any basic understanding of subject. I’ll use as an example the humble electron. When we are at school we are given the impression that the electron is a particle flying around the nucleus consisting of protons and neutrons. This is a simplistic model and one that is used throughout school so that children can make sense of all the equations and formula they may come across in Chemistry and Physics.

    We don’t introduce relativity or the uncertainty principle until university or at the earliest A level here in the UK. We don’t teach that the electron could be a wave or a particle because if we did it would make it impossible for children to understand and accept what we are trying to teach. They would be forced to adopt parrot type learning without being able to work things out for themselves. And this is exactly what is happening more and more with our children’s education. We have a bunch of morons that just can’t wait to “influence” our children’s thinking to their own way. This is wrong every which way you look at it and is why we have so many kids who get to the workplace unable to think for themselves. We get Geography students that don’t know where each country is, or what physical attributes contributed to that countries existence. How have we got to this?

    The Morons know that if they taught these basics to our children, they would quickly put 2 and 2 together and get 4, not 9 or 10 as now happens. They would ask some very awkward questions. Like how come in biology plants need CO2 and yet you are telling us CO2 is bad and a pollutant. Who is it harmful to, and how does it affect them? Or maybe do you have any proof of that? Now wouldn’t that put the cat amongst the pigeons? By the way my boys have both done this to teachers and lectures. The reaction they’ve got has been very humorous on most occasions, with the true believers getting very upset at being questioned, and the agnostics generally getting the whole class in on the discussion.

  41. 91
    manacker Says:

    Peter Geany

    You are absolutely right.

    Further up this thread Jack Hughes wrote that his daughter was being taught “sustainability” (instead of “science”) in her “science class”, and asked what “sustainability” really means.

    Science teachers should teach their pupils “science” (not socio-political concepts such as “sustainability”).

    They should also not frighten them with doomsday scare mongering, regardless of the supposed “justification”. A large percentage of school children are apparently traumatized by fears of global warming – a major part of the blame for this certainly goes to misguided teachers.

    Teachers should be encouraging children to think for themselves, as you say, not to parrot some “party line” or personal belief of the teachers.

    The problem you mention exists here in Switzerland, too. There is not so much fear of global warming among pupils here, but the quality of primary and secondary education has suffered as teachers are losing their focus on really educating their pupils rather than simply indoctrinating them with socio-political concepts that happen to be “PC” or “in”.

    Hurray for your boys in raising questions, which were uncomfortable to the “true believers”.

    Younger children are, unfortunately, less able to challenge their teachers, and are at greater risk of being traumatized by fear mongering in the name of the “cause” (whatever that happens to be at the moment).

    Max

  42. 92
    tempterrain Says:

    Geronimo,

    We do get some weird objections to why AGW can’t be true but I’ve not seen it quite put like this before

    “What you have in climate science is a hypothesis that humans are intrinsically evil.”

    Er, well, no I don’t think I do.

    I seem to remember that the biggest danger the astronauts on Apollo 13 faced during their aborted Moon trip was a build up of CO2 in their capsule. It was a problem which was fixed due to the technical brilliance of the backup team. I suppose you would have disagreed and you’d have advised NASA to look at the moral backgrounds of the Astronauts slightly more carefully for future missions. Maybe they collectively had a poor record for church attendance. Or, one or more of them may have been married more than once, or may have been guilty of having extra-marital affairs!

    I would suggest that what we do have, is a somewhat different CO2 technical problem to the Apollo astronauts, but which will need to be fixed with just a touch of technical brilliance just the same.

  43. 93
    Brute Says:

    I would suggest that what we do have, is a somewhat different CO2 technical problem to the Apollo astronauts, but which will need to be fixed with just a touch of technical brilliance just the same.

    “Technical Brilliance”?

    How about massive government taxation, punitive government regulation, economic sanctions and misery………Peter’s solution to this “scentific” problem is Marxism.

  44. 94
    Brute Says:

    BROKE UK SLASHES 500,000 GOV’T JOBS…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11579979

    UK?unveils dramatic austerity measures

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/53fe06e2-dc98-11df-84f5-00144feabdc0.html

    Peter,

    Your dreams of a Marxist Utopia are running out of money………at least in England…

  45. 95
    Brute Says:

    French Riots Intensify…

    http://www.france24.com/en/20101020-france-violent-protests-unions-retirement-sarkozy-pension-hortefeux-petrol

    Looks like the Socialism experiment is going well in France also……………

  46. 96
    tempterrain Says:

    Brute,

    You need to keep up with the international news a bit better!

    Both France and the UK now have governments dominated by Right-wing political parties!

  47. 97
    tempterrain Says:

    Brute,

    You say “…Peter’s solution to this ‘scentific’ problem is Marxism.”

    Not really. The CO2 and other GHG emissions record of the USSR was pretty poor in fact. Part of the reason was that there wasn’t a market price for commodities. So, if the five year plan called N million barrels of oil to be produced it didn’t really matter if that involved flaring off any natural gas that may have slowed down the process even though it might well have made more economic sense to collect and sell it.

    It was also considered to be more socialist to not bill users for actual amounts of electricity and hot water etc used in apartments – users just paid a flat rate for a connection and could then use as much as they liked. The present Russian government are encountering some resistance to the idea that usage should be metered.

  48. 98
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    It appears that you’re a bit far removed from the scene in France.

    It’s correct, as you say, that the current government there is “to the right” (by French standards). Sarkozy there has inherited (like Cameron in the UK) a budgetary can of worms based on many years of previous left-leaning socialist governments.

    The key issue today is that Sarkozy wants to increase the retirement age from 60 (where the previous socialists had pegged it) back to 62 years. The socialist and communist unions have called the current general strike (October is “manifestation” time in France anyway) and students plus even 16-year old school children have joined in. (Not becuase 16-year olds have any thoughts about their own retirement, but because they have been filled by the unions with the fear that 60 to 62-year olds will “take away” their job opportunities!)

    This was a government that also enforced the 35-hour maximum work week they had enacted by raiding business offices and arresting or fining managers who dare to violate the law (these had to move “overtime” work to hotel rooms to avoid fines!).

    Cameron has inherited an essentially bankrupt state left over by several years of “New Labor” grandesse and silly spending sprees (as will Obama’s successor in the USA if the trillion dollar bleeding there doesn’t get stopped by Brute and others there soon).

    So you have to look further than just the present governments to find the root causes of the problems in France and the UK, Peter.

    The poor guys that are in office there now have a major cleanup job to do, which was inherited from their earlier governments.

    Max

  49. 99
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Isn’t that what President Obama and his supporters are saying in the US?

  50. 100
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Well I’m not sure if the level of debt in the UK and France is that much out of the ordinary by World standards.

    Latest figures are
    UK 68%, France 77.5%, USA 52.9%, Japan 190%, Belgium 97% etc
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_public_debt

    Those lucky Mozambiquans! No public debt to worry about at all!

    I’m sure that the Conservative government in the UK have blamed the previous Labour Government just as the Democrats have blamed the Republicans in the US. That’s politics. That’s what politicians do.

    But as always the truth is somewhat different and more complex.

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