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John Cook: Skeptical Science Is Unsuccessful and Counterproductive

You know things are going down the drain when an English Major interviews a Cartoonist to talk about psychology and the identification of scientific “myths”.

The level of absolute idiocy is reached of course when the owner of a website purportedly debunking 173 climate change “myths” and well-known for its unethical treatment of non-compliant commenters writes:

Debunks that offered three arguments, for example, are more successful in reducing the influence of misinformation, compared to debunks that offered twelve arguments which ended up reinforcing the myth.


Avoid dramatic language and derogatory comments that alienate people. Stick to the facts.

Who knows, John Cook might one day read his “Debunking Handbook” and ditch Skeptical Science completely.

  1. 2012/02/06 at 05:48

    I find Cook to be opposed to science, considering it a matter of forcing opinions rather than the free exchange of ideas. You can see in his comments policy and elsewhere on his site that he finds his task at his web site to use his personal feelings to gauge the merits of posts. The dysfunction exhibited at his site and his great intolerance appears to be a disservice to science and humanity. I’m not a global warming denier but I think there is evidence it might lead to the collapse of the relatively brief and precarious interglacial. There is quite a bit of strong evidence that may be happening but it is not within his ability to allow speculation, as if there were absolute truths that he knows. Such a head strong person could only be the controller of such a web site through creating it on his own with help of his wife. I really think one would best define his “skeptical science” as anti-science.

  2. 2012/01/17 at 12:45

    recently I had occasion to google ‘divergence of tree rings’ where I came upon Cook’s take on the topic. Second only to Wikipedia.

    He says;

    The divergence problem is a physical phenomenon – tree growth has slowed or declined in the last few decades, mostly in high northern latitudes. The divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades, indicating its cause may be anthropogenic. The cause is likely to be a combination of local and global factors such as warming-induced drought and global dimming. Tree-ring proxy reconstructions are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independent proxies.

    In one fell swoop he confirms that trees don’t track temperature over the all important validation period, then invokes two or three different fairy tales to hitch the problem to anthro causes.

    With enemies like that, who needs friends?

  3. Alice Cheshire
    2011/12/31 at 21:08

    Stephan Cook may read the debunking handbook and ditch Skeptical Science, but only after someone stomps that huge ego into the ground. I often read sites on climate change and his has to be the most arrogant one I have seen. No disagreement permitted, no discussion. It’s as if he allows one person on that actually had evidence and he didn’t insult and demean them, he fears we might find out he’s wrong. He has no confidence in his own beliefs.

  4. 2011/12/27 at 02:09

    ”Deniers” are a treat. If one doesn’t believe in what preaches; doesn’t believe in his / her own believes – has no option but to try to silence the opponents. Warmist believe in GLOBAL warming in 100years. Skeptics believe in lots and lots of localized warmings in the past that were GLOBAL. New year will be 3 cornered contest: I /we believe that: past warmings were localized; the laws of physics don’t permit warmings, or coolings to be GLOBAL. It’s like children’s ”see-saw plank in the park: the more one hemisphere gets warmer – the more the other gets colder. ALL PROVEN BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT

    CLIMATE IS CONTROLLED BY H2O, on many different ways, not by CO2. B] Human is powerful enough to deteriorate the climate – human is powerful to help climate to improve also. Does human have enough brains, to believe me that H2O changes the climate instead of CO2; time will tell.

  5. Otter
    2011/12/21 at 10:22

    He gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Cook the books’….

  6. 2011/12/21 at 00:11

    I guess they don’t think calling people “deniers” is derogatory

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