Junior Woodchucks: No Climate Change

October 26, 2011

The above from a debate thread at SkepticalScience  relating to  my latest video. Sample comments:

• “Not bad. But, why resort to name calling (Junior Woodchucks, climate cranks, etc…). If what you’re saying is sound – you really don’t need to do that.”

•  “Yep, calling people “Junior Woodchucks” – that’s ‘no holds barred’ and will drag us all down to a ‘base level of reality’. And fails to ‘maintain standards of integrity’. Sure.
Is there anything that Sinclair does that actually could hope to meet these exalted standards? Heck ‘Climate Crocks’ as a name, that’s really disrespectful, isn’t it? It’s amazing how popular the series is, though, don’t you think? Perhaps because it’s both punchy and funny? There’s this thing we call ‘satire’…”

• “I think Peter Sinclair’s video is excellent, except I agree he should have left off the “Junior Woodchucks” and similar comments. It simply gives places like WUWT a reason to deflect their response (if they do respond) away from the science — where they are getting increasingly incomprehensible and contradictory — towards complaints about ad hominen attacks from the “warmists.”

• “WUWT can realistically draw attention to issue of ad hominens when they stop publishing Viscount “that is a fascist point of view, Zeig Heil, and on we go” Monckton.
The simple fact is that many of the climate change deniers, including explicitly Monckton are conspiracy theorists of the tin hat variety. Monckton personal view is that global warming is a conspiracy by the UN to establish a “global, bureaucratic-centralist dictatorship” to achieve world government which will “… not, I repeat not be democratic government”.
This is not an ad hominen, except to the extent that describing Monckton’s views in print since 2009 (at least) is ad hominen. What is absurd is that this tin hat conspiracy theorist is lauded by the press, and taken seriously by the majority of climate change deniers.
I do not share the delusion that we should maintain the illusion of Monckton (and other deniers) rationality by carefully keeping concealed the absurdity of their purported beliefs out of some misplaced sense of politeness.”

I called ‘em Junior Woodchucks, and by Golly I meant every word. They’re all a bunch of Junior Woodchucks. Let ‘em scream.

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5 Responses to “Junior Woodchucks: No Climate Change”


  1. The tactic which is used here of discrediting persons, is called concern troll.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)#Concern_troll

    • sinchiroca Says:

      I’ve always been wary of the concept of the concern troll. There’s no question that such behavior exists, but it’s much too easy to apply the concept to anybody who doesn’t march in lockstep with the group. In other words, it’s a conformity enforcement mechanism. That’s OK in plenty of settings, but I would expect that any intellectually robust forum would welcome civil dissent. My own inclinations are to consider any hypothesis openly, and to examine every hypothesis from every possible angle, which often means that I lag the group in embracing ideas; I prefer to poke at them a little while before I embrace them. This earns me the epithet “concern troll” occasionally, something I resent. I often walk away from fora that accept such behavior.

  2. sinchiroca Says:

    This is such a complicated issue that I’m going to come down firmly on both sides.

    On the one hand, anything that detracts attention from the issues themselves is a loss. The techniques used by the denialosphere constitute the classic “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt”. They want as much obfuscation as possible, and if they can get into an argument about civility, that’s NOT an argument about science (which they must necessarily lose). Besides, I’ve always felt that mudslinging just gets mud on you.

    On the other hand, the fact is that the scientists have done a terrible job of communicating the urgency of the situation because they are so… scientific. We need good communicators like you to get the word out in a way that people can understand. The fact is that the denialosphere is an echo chamber of lies, and these people have no reservations about pushing flat-out lies onto the world. When a fence-sitter asks us to reconcile our science with their lies, how can we do so without calling them liars?

    I have several more hands on this matter, but I’ll stop at two.


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