Monthly Archives: December 2015

I Have a Doppelgänger

by Brad Keyes

It seems someone called Brad Keyes has been peddling defamatory denialism over here. (Don’t click.) Many thanks to all the concerned readers who, through no fault of their own, got lost on the Internet and wound up in that hive of scum and villainy that is the hottest site in the skeptosphere, only to see this crank trading on the counterfeit credibility that comes with having the same first and last name as yours truly.

So, what do we know about my nemetic namesake?

Well, climate science is easily the most complicated, multidisciplinary can of worms our species has ever opened, so we can assume this Keyes guy must have undertaken the many years of postdoctoral scholarship necessary to mouth off reliably on the issues… right?

Imagine my surprise when a Google Scholar search for the name “Brad Keyes” shows a grand total of zero hits in any relevant field.

Yes, that’s zero with two zeros.*

Ouch. So much for credibility!

So here’s a friendly warning for my disbelievalist Doppelgänger:

In science, reputation is everything. And reputation takes a lifetime to earn, but a moment to undo.

Just ask a water scientist called Peter Gleick.

In a single act of lateral journalism now known as Water-gate, Dr Gleick—a sought-after lecturer on scientific ethics—managed to discredit the Heartland Institute forever.

Just sayin’, Braddles old pal.

*Including the alternative form “Bradley” improves the results by a factor of infinity, but this isn’t particularly impressive when you recall that the denominator was 0.

The Conversation to ban comments

In a sign of the times, the board of directors of The Conversation has announced that the iconic blog will cease taking reader responses. For the millions of ordinary Australians who’ve come to rely on the site for intelligent discussion, bereavement is expected to give way to anger in coming days as blame is sheeted home to the climate skeptics who’ve used their disproportionate vocalness to make dialogue impossible.

The policy doesn’t take effect immediately, senior editor Michelle Grattan assured the public this morning. For now, all feedback from the community will merely be deleted as soon as it’s posted, with full abolition of the comments section to take place in February.

The government-backed blog franchise, which now has branches in the UK and US, started life in 2011 as a bold experiment in bringing intellectuals and the non-intellectual public together. But it was soon nicknamed ‘The Nonversation,’ for reasons that are not clear, but probably due to the low quality of readers’ responses to the professionally-written posts. With few exceptions, commenters failed to supply valid refutations—backed up by peer-reviewed sources—of the above-the-line thesis, and some were even known to spout ‘zombie talking-points‘ (arguments that have already been rebutted at least once on the Internet, to no apparent avail).

“Conversation is the lifeblood of democracy, but it depends on respect,” wrote founding editor Andrew Jaspan in today’s Age, “for those who actually know what they’re talking about. You can’t have a conversation if the other side insists on butting in every 10 minutes.”

Continue reading