Academics need to let off steam too


OK, here are the facts folks: the climate change debate can get heated and personal. As active participants in that debate Richard Pancost and I are both all too familiar with this unpleasant fact, maligned as we regularly are – by name – in the denialosphere blogosphere with no apparent hat-tip to either statistical nor logical truth. The enormous stress of this unscientific attrition on myself and my colleagues is something we occassionaly have to attend to by letting off steam.

Now, I don’t know whether denialists are familiar with the concept of letting off steam since they seem viciously wedded instead to the notion of ‘venting’ their scrofulous opinions on any ragged web platform that will have them, and venting is diametrically opposite to steam-release so, you know, you do the graph. However, letting off steam is something I and my colleagues know for a fact is something deeply essential to maintaining some vestige of function in these turbulent waters. So when we published an article in The Conversation last week on climate change and the Dunning-Kruger effect we did so in full knowledge that we would attract the usual crazies, in full knowledge of what the usual crazies would say and in full knowledge that these comments would necessarily fall foul of The Conversation’s moderation policy and be removed – and decided to have some private fun based on the original post i.e. we decided to let off steam (privately – on a private forum not intended for public view but which – of course! – got hacked). Laughing our heads off as we did so, we mocked up a humorous parody of how the original post would look in the alternative universe of the sceptics. We amused ourselves by imagining what fevered paranoiac patterns of thought assemblage would coalesce in the brains of denialists and we came up with this – this is how they’d look at it:

Now, as many now seem to be doing, you can debate whether YOU think this private joke was funny but do so in mind of the fact that 97% of the editorial board of The Conversation DO think it’s funny. The FACT that such a consensus exists – in peer reviewed academic circles – on the humorous nature of our mock-post will therefore inform the comment policy on any academic web post discussing this so-called controversy. That’s just how it is.

And I have the support of my colleagues, the Royal Society and the University of Bristol for at least the next year on this. There is the possibility they will extend this support after that, but definitely for one more year. That’s guaranteed. I have that written down. That’s mine. What have you got? 

One response to “Academics need to let off steam too

  1. Pingback: Lewandowsky’s Loopy Logic | The IPCC Report·

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