… on a thread about censorship on warmist blogs. Ironic? After my brief excursion into the denialosphere, that ended with my rapid banning from Watt’s Up With That, you’d think I’d have known better, but there’s a juicy new scandal doing the rounds about a paper by a certain professor Stephan Lewandowsky that shows that skeptics are more likely to believe crazy nutjob conspiracy theories than warmists. Steve Mcintyre at Climate Audit has been running a particularly aggressive one man show against this paper, and most of his and Watts’s posts about it have been based on elaborate conspiracy theories about faked data. Oh, the humanity! But Mcintyre’s posts have been so disingenuous that I have felt a burning desire to comment, and so I did. My first comment got through, on the thread in which he (erroneously) claims to have proof that Lewandowsky’s data is fake. So did my second comment, on the same thread: Mcintyre replies to both. Well and good. However, after that things went pear-shaped.

Mcintyre has put up a new post about censorship at Lewandowsky’s blog, in which – because he’s all class – he originally accused Lewandowsky of a “pogrom” against one commenter. After debating whether or not this choice of language was tasteless, and suggesting that warmists who call skeptics denialists shouldn’t complain about a skeptic calling deletion of a skeptic’s comments on the internet a “pogrom,” Mcintyre finally got his shit together and changed the post to sound a little less … crap. The main thrust of the post is that a single commenter, Thomas Fuller, has had all his comments deleted from Lewandowsky’s blog.

Censorship! On the internet! Those bastards! How will the opponents of Lewandowsky’s work ever get their message across?

Indeed … So on September 15th at 10:19pm I commented with the following nugget of highly condensed wit:

cute! WUWT regularly deletes comments during moderation without any announcement, and one of its commenters is probably a sock-puppet for a moderator. Where is your thread of outrage on censorship in the skeptic blogosphere?

and right now, on September 18th at 10:05 pm, my comment is still stuck in moderation. This is cute because since then, Mcintyre found time to fish another of my comments out of moderation and reply to it, to write a whole new post on his attempts to replicate the Lewandowsky results, and no doubt to approve other comments. I’m pretty sure he’s been commenting madly at a WUWT “census” thread, too.

It’s also cute because of some of the complaints in his own censorship thread. For example, consider this one from Les Johnson on Sep 15th, about alleged censorship on a warmist site:

He simply left my responses in moderation, which I could see as being in moderation. Eventually, I was able to post by being tricky with the references. He put some of those back into moderation after they were public for a day.

Wow, look at the way those warmists censor debate! They even leave you in moderation

At the same time, a comment of mine on the fake results thread also remains in moderation, presumably because it questions Mcintyre’s ability to perform the required statistical analysis. So currently I have two comments in moderation for at least two days, one of them on a post directly concerned with censorship of skeptics, that contains a comment directly complaining about being held in moderation.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Mcintyre.

In case you think this might be just some oversight – maybe Mcintyre is too busy slinging accusations of censorship and fraud at his political enemies to check his moderation queue? – I think it’s worth considering his earliest responses to the Lewandowsky paper for evidence of mendacity. In this post, he quotes the email he received advertising the survey, in which the research assistant (Hanich) states

When we published the surveys, we had two options:

a) Use the provision offered by the hosting company to block repeated replies using IP addresses. This, however, will block legitimate use of the same computer, such as in our laboratory, where numerous participants use the same PCs.

Mcintyre’s response?

And why would he be trying to accommodate respondents from their own laboratory? What business do they have filling out the survey in the first place? I wonder how many responses came from his own university? And how many of the fake responses?

It’s thoroughly obvious that Hanich is giving an example in his email, and not actually suggesting that members of the laboratory have been offered the survey, encouraged to take it, or directed to give fake responses. The only way that one can interpret Hanich’s phrasing as evidence of gaming a survey is by being deliberately, wantonly mendacious. This is vicious behavior by Mcintyre, though it’s worth noting that for Mcintyre this was (to quote a famous supervillain) “just Tuesday”: when he originally read of the publication of this paper, he loudly proclaimed he had never been contacted about the survey, and completely forgot this email that now so excites his outrage. Everything he has written in connection with this paper has been mean-spirited and deliberately deceptive.

I guess in time this controversy, like all the others, will fade away: the ice will melt, the planet will warm, and these internet thugs will be shown up for the idiots and liars that they really are. But in the meantime, I know that a lot of people read these sites and think that they represent honest debate: when they read WUWT they don’t realize that people who disagree with Tony’s “science” are censored, or that commenter smokey is a sock-puppet for moderator dbs; when they read a thread on censorship or fake results at Climate Audit they naturally don’t realize that these threads are being carefully policed to screen out conflicting opinions. So they get the wrong impression of the honesty and sincerity of these voices in the climate debate. These sites are not run by inquiring minds: they are liars. Their aim is to deceive, to manipulate the scientific record to support their own dodgy aims, and to intimidate their political opponents. Their goal is to deceive, not to educate, but people who don’t understand the details of statistics will not be able to tell the lies from the half-truths unless they are shown, which is why these sites carefully prune out anyone who can dispute their misrepresentations. Thus does Mcintyre get a reputation as an “expert in statistics,” and Tony Watts gets to be seen as an authority on climate science even though he never even got an undergraduate degree in atmospheric physics. They are liars, and they are lying about an issue of fundamental importance to the future of the planet.

In my book, that makes them scumbags, too.

Update: after I posted this I toddled over to Stephan Lewandowsky’s website and put up a comment noting I’d been censored at CA – I wanted some of Mcintyre’s readers (who were all over Lewandowsky’s website) to see it and get some sense of the veracity of their auditor. After a little time one of the CA auditors read it and replied, blaming censorship on the spam queue. Some time later, one of my two comments got unmoderated, and later still the other did. So, witness the benefits of complaint! Of course my comments had now been freed up on a thread that had stopped receiving visitors. Now that they’re on notice of accusations of censorship, the moderators there are behaving more carefully, though I notice that some of my comments get stuck in moderation a long time, while others get through quickly – often with a comment from Mcintyre. It’s a very effective way of controlling debate, and one I’m not familiar with from most blogs I frequent. For example, some comments I made last night have been freed up and replied to, but this one is still in moderation in the same thread:

RomanM, no one’s trying to marginalize you: they’re trying to understand how ordinary people interpret scientific debate, in order to better understand scientific communication in the future.

Unfortunately, traffic from there has now been directed here, and Mcintyre and his mate RomanM are starting to play games with my identity: a kind of subtle threat very popular on skeptic blogs. I can take a hint, so I’m not going to go back there. For newcomers here, I remind you of the Faustusnotes Privacy Policy.