Sunday, January 27, 2008

Backseat driving

Well its finally happened and its a mixed blessing. Sooner or later if you have the temerity to challenge the prevailing dogma someone will target you. My relatively small blog has escaped some of the invective sites like Desmogblog and Gristmill routinely throw at more prominent voices such as Climate Audit, JunkScience, CO2Science, IceCap, Climate Science and even Prometheus: the good folks over at Climate Resistance have been at the forefront of responding to such smear campaigns on behalf of us all.

Now it appears my under the radar days are limited as I received contact from the blog backseatdriving challenging me to bet on future global warming, with the implication being that a refusal to accept the bet is either:
  • cowardly and/or
  • a lack of commitment to my perspective and/or
  • because my views are wrong.
My concept of science comes from reading Popper, Kuhn and Wilbur. I am trying in vain to remember where betting as a strategy for refutation and conjecture fits in with either scientific method or understanding.

I posted a reply on backseatdriving indicating that I found the whole situation analogous to a grade 1 playground spat, which I must confess I never really thought was a good way to resolve disputes let alone determine knowledge. I also asked if the blog's author had responded to the long running competition on JunkScience which seems a much quicker, and easier, way for him to cash in on his beliefs.

Why is this name calling, peeing contest a mixed blessing? Well the whole bet, challenge, respond or let somebody impugn your motives thing is a no win situation (see this response,the reaction to it and further discussion posted on Jan.29 at Greenie Watch).

Instinct tells me to walk away, but experience also tells me that these ad hominem blogs revel in that. Conversely, to have attracted the smear guys in the first place means that as a blog ecomyths is attracting attention and irritating those who purvey dogma for a living.

Hopefully, that will at least will give others pause for reflection and independent thought: which is the primary purpose for the blog in the first place.

update: an excellent discussion and good links on the science by number of scientists listed game here by Roger Pielke