Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trolling the climate trolls

Professor Barry W Brook is Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide. He warns against engaging with climate change deniers on science blogs, likening them to Internet trolls:

"Don't feed the troll!" This is a common admonition in the expanding science blogosphere - at least the rational quarters.

Trolls, in the internet vernacular, are people who intentionally post false or controversial messages to gain attention or foment a conflicting style of debate. Most remain shielded within the anonymous confines of their online pseudonym. A rare but vocal few are sufficiently emboldened by self-confidence (or hubris) to speak out in public.

For the long-standing "debate" over the relative merits of evolution versus creationism, they usually style themselves as "creation scientists" or "intelligent designists". In climate science and policy, those few apparently well-educated people who continue to deny the now vast body of scientific knowledge and analysis on the causes and consequences of global warming are variously called sceptics, denialists, contrarians, delayers or delusionists. Whatever the label you attach to them, they are all cut of the same anti-intellectual cloth.

Their business is the dissemination of disinformation, doubt and unscientific nonsense. One of their most regular ploys is to leverage the widespread lack of public appreciation of how science operates. The scientific process of theoretical postulates, hypothesis testing, critical evaluation (and re-evaluation) of ever accumulating empirical evidence, model validation and peer review is inherently complex and often technical.

Quick diversion to a bugbear of mine: "Internet" is capitalised.

Meanwhile, back under the bridge at Andrew Bolt Blog, the good Professor's characterisations has Andrew raising his hand to say, 'Who me?':

UPDATE

Reader Elsie notes the Professor’s word for those who disagree on apocalyptic man-made global warming:

Trolls.


I notice that Andrew has finally accepted man-made global warming, and now seems to only be against people saying man-made global warming could be apocalyptic. A cartoon at the excellent Skeptical Science blog (as recommended by the good Prof. himself) exposes the logic supporting Andrew's numerous positions on the subject over the years. And it's a clever parody of the processed meat he throws to his gaggle murder irritation of climate trolls, on a daily basis:



Technorati Tags

2 comments:

Earth & Economy said...

The topic of feeding the trolls is discussed further in a discussion thread at BlogCatalog. It is a great community and often will spark up a debate about global warming being a hoax. There are definitely real examples of trolls you can see in action.

Glitch said...

Hmmm....

We all hate "Trolls", but the description in this article is interesting.

Question: Do all posts that disagree with the blog's premises get tagged with the 'troll' definition?

Their business is the dissemination of disinformation, doubt and unscientific nonsense. One of their most regular ploys is to leverage the widespread lack of public appreciation of how science operates. The scientific process of theoretical postulates, hypothesis testing, critical evaluation (and re-evaluation) of ever accumulating empirical evidence, model validation and peer review is inherently complex and often technical.


wow. methinks the writer is (unintentionally?) equating anyone who disagrees with AGW as "anti-science trouble-makers".

(can we say arrogance boys and girls?).

still waiting on my anwer regarding 'global cooling' (instead of 'global warming'... will you advocate upping the CO2 levels when the temp begins heading south?)