Richard Betts has written a long explanatory note to Stephan Lewandowsky’s ‘Seepage’. Seepage contends that invasive memes from skeptics have tricked scientists into framing the public debate their way.
Betts submitted the article to ATTP’s blog. At the surface his reasoning sounds plausible: it would be dismissed by consensusists if it were on a climate-skeptical blog:
Judith Curry evidently agrees:
It is no surprise scientists like Betts and Curry find themselves in a bind – if they speak to skeptics they are pilloried and the consensusists don’t engage. But from the perspective of the consensus, the problem is different and runs deeper. Have Betts and Curry thought about this?
In the politics of climate consensus, what is said is less important than who says it, where it is said and how it looks. The frame carries more weight than the picture. If climate activists and alarmists venture out to skeptical venues, they lay their claims open to challenge. They may be shown to be wrong, or fall to a better rhetorician. With either, they don’t come out looking good – something that is very important.
When you submit opinion you cede control. You have something the onlooker judges. When you debate, your opponent becomes your equal
A lot of the authority in consensus climate has been built by assiduous adherence to looking good, controlling the terms of the debate, avoiding being subject to judgement and appearing beyond question. It uses climate science as a tool, and consequently hollows and fragilizes it.
ATTP bans skeptical commenters and provides a safe space for the consensusists, free from triggers. They need to be slowly drawn out and forced to engage, and not pandered to. Like Lewandowsky, ATTP has to learn – in the realm of ideas there are no safe spaces.