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Scott Adams of Dilbert had a climate "sceptic" rant, my reply


  • Victor I looked through that with interest.  For a while I was almost thinking of Reposting it, but in honestly, upon thinking about it, it seems to me you spent too much time chasing the bullshit he's tossing out, without bringing it back to the fundamental basics he's deliberately (or not - is he really that stupid?) ignoring.

    The magicians slight of hand that always tracks the eyes away from the real action.

    I'm going to try a more direct, less politically correct approach (I hear politically correct has gone out of style in the US, so I'm going to allow myself to give it a try some.) 

    Hell, now I'm even starting pissing matches    :p

    but not with you    :)
  • Just got back from spending some more time with your article, ... and the comments this time.  A is quite the trip, your responses hit their mark too, though he's not noticed.  All those other very cool and worth pondering comments made up for him - its been an interesting excursion back into home territory.  
  • I thought it would be worth it because Scott Adams has quite a following and these are not people who hang out at WUWT for their daily dose of misinformation. Thus they are partly people can can reach. On twitter I pointed a few of Adams' followers to my post and even got a positive reply once, that would not happen on WUWT.
  • From the responses looks like you called that one correctly.

    I'll admit I only know Adams from his cartoons which I've usually found rather dull though I'll do my best not to bring that ad hom into this - don't know much about his following.

    Don't get me wrong, what you wrote was good - and needed!  Since too many people with some following put out garbage like that which is never confronted.  

    I just want to try it from a slightly different perspective, unfortunately, today begins with a couple unexpected chores so we'll see if I actually get around to what I'm hoping to write, well and then see if I can make anything out of it.
  • edited December 2016
    I had the following exchange over at the Dilbert Blog and figure it's worth adding here.

    CitizenschallengeAE • 12 hours ago

    I wonder if Scott Adam's can offer one example of his odd claim: "Something can be “true” according to science while simultaneously being completely wrong. Science allows that odd situation to exist, at least temporarily, while we crawl toward truth."

    Bet he can't! Wonder if anyone can?

    PS. Asimov spoke to the above misconception quite eloquently: The Relativity of Wrong
    Jack D to  citizenschallengeAE • 10 hours ago:

                    I can. Eugenics 100 years ago. 
    My response:

    How interesting you would choose Eugenics. I didn’t see that coming, but it makes sense for the crowd.

     For starters I hope you can at least acknowledge that Eugenics has nothing to do with Darwin's work - it was an opportunistic idea, - sort of like denying the solidity of the science behind Human Driven Global Warming these days, is an opportunistic idea that special interests have embraced and invested a fortunate into, for purely agenda driven, and decidedly dishonest, PR purposes - devoid of all serious commitment to constructive learning.

     Seems to me Eugenics was all about achieving an outcome. Thus even though some "scientists" the Lindzens, Singers, Seitzs (I dare say) may show undying support of the contrived fiction - the label "pseudo-science" fits Eugenics as it does the climate science contrarian crowd and the contrived, transparent bs they peddle.

     { But, okay, as has been pointed out in other places, this discussion has nothing to do with considering serious science, it's all about public perceptions and how they are manipulated - as though that should be our guide. }

     Back to Eugenics, after a little refresher, I'll admit it seems more scientists supported it than I had imaged - but then that was a pretty racist, bigoted, self-certain bunch of rich white men running America’s academic institutions, who were doing all this "science" - don't suppose that raises any red flags for you?

     Eugenics was never a constructive learning process - which to me is how I define science - there was always something purely utilitarian and opportunistic about it.

    Again exactly like the climate science denial machine of our own era. I’m glad you brought it up, the more I think about it the more compelling similarities I see.


     "Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune.

    They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stamford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.

     Stanford president David Starr Jordan originated the notion of "race and blood" in his 1902 racial epistle "Blood of a Nation," in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood." ...

  • Victor this morning I kept thinking about this Dilbert contrarian discussion and found myself back at considering respective mental mind-scales, I had to run, but I made some notes.  See if any of this resonates.

    Perspectives and considering fundamental differences.
    Serious science founded on learning and striving for an ever more objective (i.e. honest) understanding of the world around us and our place in it.
    Republican, faith-based, presuming to 'know' god, etc, and so on,...
    They are all about bending the world to fit their purposes.
    Science is all about bending what's out there to one's own desires.
  • Thus they never see what is out there and are trapped within a postcard deep disconnect from this Earth that gave us everything and that we depend on for everything.

    They eat any flimflam that suits their purposes.

    Folks like us, on the other, deal with the world as it is, tougher, but richer experience for sure.
  • Autocrats want the population to be confused. Science and reality are autocrat kryptonite.

    Best concentrate on what they do over what they say.
  • edited December 2016
    Yea, I'm working on it.  Too bad most Americans are apathetic and believe keeping our democracy alive is someone else's job.  (actually  VV, I'm not sure what you mean.  Seems to me, we'd better concentrate on what they are saying and the way they construct their fictions that tons of people still eat up uncritically.  How else will people become aware of the nonsense they have been accepting as gospel?)

    Every year we get more hard evidence, going into ever more exquisite detail - but all we are doing is documenting unremitting degradation of the geo-physical processes that we are utterly dependent on.  
    What the hell good is shaving down the error margin from 30% to 3% if there's no increase in appreciation of the fundamental basics which are absolutely certain? 

    As for what they are doing - look to America, and they are damned successful.  So we'd better come up with new strategies because the momentum certainly isn't on the rationalists side.

    Anyways I got sidetracked with something more pressing.  How I wish others realized how fleeting our (USAs) moment of opportunity is to minimize the coming destruction.  On the other side we have ruthless driven people who's only concern is there own self interest and you'd better bet recking some revenge along the way - against that is the America people and what's left of its Democracy, yet most are too apathetic to even realize what's going down.   

    It’s Official: Trump will be USA’s Russian Obligate President (at CFI).

    REJECT Trump the Russian Obligate - a national security threat

  • edited December 2016
    actually  VV, I'm not sure what you mean.  Seems to me, we'd better concentrate on what they are saying and the way they construct their fictions that tons of people still eat up uncritically.  How else will people become aware of the nonsense they have been accepting as gospel?)
    Trump says a lot and a lot of contradictory stuff. He can do that because the media wants access and fears to reveal the contradictions. People have a tendency to accept the version they like and rationalize away the version they do not like. Most politicians like to be vague for this reason, but Trump gets away with an amazing broad range of opinions.

    The said he would drain the swamp, but nearly all the cabinet position filled are people who gave money to Trump or the Republican party. What counts is what he does. This will likely be the worst corporate rule America has seen.

    Donald Trump: Stop appointing campaign donors to your administration.

    Yes, you should also respond to the dreadful things and the contradictions, but do not keep your eye off the ball. When he tweets insane stuff, this will be spread by other and the outrage loving media, you better spread the more boring factual story he tries to distract people from.

  • Calling eugenics "science" is truly bizarre. It was a sociopolitical movement, & a few scientists backed it, but it had nothing to do with science as we understand it now. As CC says, it was a misunderstanding & misapplication of Darwin's work.

    BTW, now that The Donald has selected Rex Tillerson as Sec'y of State, we're more or less officially the United States of Exxon rather than the United States of America. Maybe we're being more honest with the world now.
  • Hello, I got side-tracked again, but it gave me an excuse to get all biographical.
    Then I finished that Scott Adams roast, now I'm going to bed.
    Profiles in Self-delusion - Dilbert’s Scott Adams

    The cartoonist responsible for the “Dilbert” strip has decided to expand his reach into writing on climate science.  His first endeavor is such an excellent example of the self delusional mind doing it’s best to rationalize and embrace an avoidance of fundamental reality that I’ve decide to make a case study of it.

    Victor Venema at has already written an interesting fairly detailed rebuttal at “Scott Adams: The Non-Expert Problem and Climate Change Science” and I recommend it because Victor, in keeping with his serious scientific sensibilities, offers Scott Adams’ the benefit of the doubt and takes the time to explain why Adams’ claims are misleading.

    However, Scott Adams’ words convince me that his is nothing more than another cynical con game utilizing well worn tactics of strategic denial.  His exercise had nothing to do with an honest person trying to constructively explain his misgivings in an effort at better understanding. 

    In this review I intent to focus on examining his disingenuous contrivances. ...

    You know I don't want to get too pissy, but it sure worked good for those guys.   O.o
  • edited January 2017
    Adams has run several of his denier blog posts in the past few weeks since the one Venema started this thread with.

    Most of his blog posts include Adams professing to believe in climate change. He then explains this is because that is the socially safe choice. He would be ridiculed for being a denier, so it is better to be a believer.

    His current blog post "What if climate change causes more CO2" is a typical exercise in self contradiction. If Venema. CitizensChallenge, or Sou want to snark a little bit in their next posts about Adams, here is a thought.
    • He opens his current post with his standard profession that climate change is real and important
    • He reiterates: "My view is that climate scientists are more likely right than not, but the quality of their persuasion is worse than that of the skeptics on this topic."
    At the same time:
    • He presents hooey theories and generally tries to throw a lot of denialist doubt around.
    • He repeatedly ridicules climate scientists for not following his (Adams') rules of persuasion.
    Many of Adams' posts are about how he is a "Master Persuader," and often promote his book on this topic. While many of his climate change posts have the same bullet points as above.

    So my question to Scott Adams is: Why don't *you* pick up the mantle of persuading the public of climate change? If you believe climate science is correct, and you are a master persuader, and the climate scientists are doing it all wrong, shouldn't *you* be showing us how to do it right?

    Current 2 Jan 2016 post: .


  • mboli - So my question to Scott Adams is: Why don't *you* pick up the mantle of persuading the public of climate change? If you believe climate science is correct, and you are a master persuader, and the climate scientists are doing it all wrong, shouldn't *you* be showing us how to do it right? 
    Great point.

    Just visited over there.  Boy talk about visiting Lalaland, are all those commenters just hired guns or are their really that many totally uninformed people around.

  • CC, I think the term "crank magnetism" applies.
  • Maybe Scott Adams deserves a thread to himself in the Deniosaurs category? He seems fond of blogging on the topic. As a self-described "master persuader" he rather obviously thinks he is throwing out clever new persuasive memes in the denialist cause.
      His most recent blog post is a hoot. Except that a lot of his commenters eat it up.
      Adams starts out by assuming that perhaps 99% of climate scientists don't interact with the production and analysis of any data, they just use other peoples' data. What he is talking about, it turns out, is reconstructions of mean troposphere temperatures. He then goes on to explain that these reconstructions are very difficult to produce, requiring a lot of aligning and massaging of data.
      And since (he guesses) 99% of climate scientists just use the stuff, without being involved in its production, they don't know what they are talking about. Conclusion: the consensus on climate change is a house of cards, it is bunk built on air.
      I had trouble getting my mind around this "persuasion" from the get-go. Scientists without data? 99% of them? People studying ice sheets are up to their elbows in data on ice sheets. People studying coral bleaching are up to their necks in data on corals and oceans. People studying moving habitat zones are up to their keisters in data on ....
      Seriously, do you know a lot of scientists who are not involved in the production and analysis of data somehow? And all those data sets, from the ice sheets, the corals, the wildlife habitats, you-name-it, point to the same conclusion. *That* is a main reason for the consensus. Each person, in their own specialty, sees the same darn climate change.
      What Adams said is: If you throw out the work of 99% of climate scientists, then he might be able to argue that the consensus was built on very little.
      And to top it off, he adds some self-congratulatory curlicue at the end claiming to have just used a clever rhetorical trick.
      Recall that this bunk is from a self-described "master persuader." And I'm guessing he is right that a lot of folks read it and indeed find new arguments to reinforce their denier inclinations.
      Which is why I wonder if Adams deserves his very own Deniosaurs Whopper thread.
    Link to his 10 Feb 2017 blog posting:

  • I tell you that Dilbert, er Scott Adams, is hoot, more cartoon character than thinking person and that there article is a classic effort in right-wing cluelessness.  
    "Recently I retweeted a link to a climate science whistleblower. I don’t have any way to evaluate his claims. But his story did a good job ..."

    "What follows next is pure speculation, based on my years of experience in corporate America and my understanding of human nature. ..."
    But then he goes on yodeling like a self-certain clueless fool.  
    They simply can not conceive that everyone in the world isn't obsessed with maximizing profits and piling up material shackles.

    Thanks for sharing, I seem to love the diversions and I left a few choice words here and there.

  • edited February 2017
    @citizenschallenge : I noticed you left some trenchant comments in that thread.
    The Scott Adams posts on global warming are weird. He seems proud of having (in his little mind) produced clever new irrefutable arguments that climate change isn't to be believed. Climate change isn't real because he can think of some very contrived logical traps. I think he believes he is contributing in some way. Quite odd. And very self-important.
    I retract my suggestion that Adams is worth addressing however. I looked through some of the swill that sluices through his comment threads. He attracts a good many wack-a-doodle alt-right haters. That they feel at home makes me want to stay away.
  • True enough, bigger fish to fry.  'Trenchant' sounds like BBC   =)  and it is close to incisive, I like it.

    BatesMotel#1-US Rep Lamar Smith, Koch ties shackles behavior

    BatesMotel#2 - US Rep Lamar Smith - Follow the money. A collection.

    to be continued

    But you know there is one aspect of duking it out with some of those wackos.  Writing is a matter of practice, practice, practice, after that comes rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.  So I see it as a sort of homework, honing skills, plus it's healthy to be forced to pursue some investigations that you otherwise may have had little interest in.  It's all a learning process.   But dang it all, if only some of the learning went in the other direction too.
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