About

Who are you?

Brad.

Why does the world need yet another climate-change blog?

Climate Nuremberg aims to be Skeptical Science, but for adults.

Are you even qualified to have a position?

Yes. Climate science is exquisitely multidisciplinary, which means everyone from an actuary to a zoologist can understand it.

I got my Jack of All Trades from Sydney University in 2000.

I then paid my way through a Masters of None by slinging hash—an Americanism by which some readers will probably assume I mean “working as a short-order or ‘fry’ cook.”

Tell us a bit about your philosophy as a science communicator.

The public communication of science is hard (and probably pointless), since the majority of the public is incapable of ever understanding the first thing about science.

Like most science communicators I’d have to name William of Ockham as a personal inspiration. He was, of course, famous for saying (whilst shaving) that

entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem,

which means something like, “Only disclose things [entia] on a need-to-know basis.”

Astute readers will notice that despite being English himself, he spoke to himself in Latin, the English of the Middle Ages. This was no accident: Ockham had a real instinct for communicating, including to himself.

Hence our policy at Climate Nuremberg of using English. Science communication is, after all, about speaking your audience’s language.

Which is English, we’ve found.

You may also have heard of Einstein’s Razor. I’m equally indebted to the wisdom of this tool (notwithstanding its likely apocryphality):

Man muß die Dinge so einfach wie möglich machen—aber nicht einfacher.

—A. Einstein, Zitate, Sprüche und Aphorismen.

In other words, “One must make things as facile as possible—but no more facile.”

Why was my comment redacted?

You started out fine, but from your second paragraph on I got the feeling you weren’t taking the exercise entirely seriously. (Is that an unfair assessment?)

Please put yourself in Climate Nuremberg’s shoes. We’ve invested literally uncountable amounts of keystrokes and science to bring you one of the world’s most elaborate climate parody resources, only for you to treat it as a big joke.

Forget the sheer hurtfulness of it; think about the cause for a second. Let’s just say the sort of attitude you displayed wouldn’t help the narrative. Not one bit.

We encourage you to keep commenting, but please try and treat the science with the earnestness it demands, OK?

Do people actually take this site seriously?

Yes, but not to the extent we’d hoped.

We’ve analysed the threads by tone and it turns out only about 80% of first-time commenters seem to believe this is an honest-to-god, alarmist website.

You’re kidding. How could anybody be so irony-blind?

Whoa—don’t get all judgy! Several factors are at play.

The simplest one is that on the Internet, readers don’t actually read anything writers write.

They scan. And once a given text has activated either of the 2 known climate-rhetoric schemata (Affirmative or Negative), it becomes all too easy for the reader’s brain to start missing or actively suppressing the little deviations from the template that a satirist includes in order to be… well, satirical.

Such blindness to detail isn’t necessarily a bug in the reader’s neural software—you could even think of it as a tribute to her built-in powers of noise correction and tolerance—but it does make it a lot harder to get subtleties across to her.

Another thing nobody likes to talk about, because it isn’t funny, is that parody and satire come from a place of respect, even affection. You can’t take the piss out of people whose mentality you can’t relate to, at least on some level.

We all have someone in our lives who’s a climate believer—a mother, a brother, a friend, a colleague—and hopefully we’ve figured out by now that it’s not really their fault. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid, gullible or immoral. It only means they never learnt how science works, which is hardly an indictment of them. After all, 98% of the population has never been taught.

They haven’t even been taught that they need to be taught!

They’re invariably under the impression that the scientific method is some kind of birthright of all modern citizens, and that anyone can piece it together from snippets remembered from high school and the movies. Just try questioning a person’s understanding of how science works: they’re guaranteed to take this as a personal insult. For some reason, people can quite easily handle the truth that they don’t know how (say) Icelandic grammar works—they’re usually fine with this reality, because, after all, they’ve never studied the subject—but if you dare suggest they might not know how science works either, they’ll deny and confabulate til they’re blue in the face.

Much of what we satirise, therefore, is the pseudoscientific language the climate movement has employed to fool our scientifically-untrained loved ones. To us, of course, this language barely even seems scientific enough to deserve the name pseudoscience. It’s beyond ridiculousness. Over the last twenty years They™ have become increasingly shameless, stretching the limits of what anyone would’ve expected muggles to believe scientists sound like. Who would have thought, in 1988, that a “scientific” belief movement would get away without even bothering to name the hypothesis it “believed” in? Who would have thought it was possible to convince the scientifically-untrained majority that there was something called the (sic) science, and that if you didn’t accept certain alleged policy corollaries thereof, you were a “denier” thereof? The sheer audacity of the catastrophic/dangerous AGW scam makes it a classic fit for Poe’s Law. A writer has to try very hard to make it sound sillier than it already does.

Last but not least, many of our readers are American.

What else would you like to know?

I’ve forgotten what I was going to ask but it wasn’t as interesting as what you’re talking about. Could you just keep talking?

Sure… I guess. Bit weird, but OK…

As denialists, we’re cursed to watch well-meaning people getting conned every day, and be powerless to help them.

But no matter how disappointing and frustrating it can be, we know the victims of the con are not bad people (necessarily), or even stupid people (necessarily). Christopher Hitchens was a believer, as far as I can tell, but he’s pretty much the last person I’d suspect of voluntarily electing to be wrong if he could at all help it. He just lacked a specific piece of knowledge that very few people possess, and he was quite open about it: he didn’t know how science works. And considering how much he did know, that’s hardly blameworthy. Not everyone has time to do a science degree.

By contrast, believers seem completely incapable of explaining the huge swathes of the community that disagree with them without positing either bad faith, stupidity, mental illness (“denial”), Medieval science-rejectionism, or some other insulting conjecture.

I’ve yet to meet a believer who can explain why I’m not a believer except by assuming I’m not rational. (Have you?)

15 thoughts on “About

  1. Gautam Kalghatgi

    Brad,
    I assume it is you taking on the climate mafia on the Guardian environment blog about the parliamentary hearings on the IPCC. If so, congratulations! You have been brilliant and brilliantly persistent.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Sam Beckett

    I am really hoping that this is all satire and parody.
    Otherwise I’ll have to come over there and liberate you.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Dave in L.A.

    I don’t know who you are (well OK- you’re Brad Keyes), but you have one wickedly accurate sense of the insanity of the climate debate. I am often tempted to use examples of climate lunacy as cautionary tales in my work life, but can’t risk that my audiences might include a True Believer or two. Keep up the great work!

    Like

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  4. Gord on Grand Cayman

    “Over the last twenty years They™ have become increasingly shameless, stretching the limits of what anyone would have expected ordinary people could possibly think scientists sound like.”

    Yeah, well… It appears that the process has gone beyond stretching the cognitive limits of ordinary people and extended itself to stretching the limits of those who purport to be scientists. As my wife informed me long ago, having worked in the medical field as researcher and practitioner, science has its share of scoundrels.

    Like

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  5. Homer

    Absolutely brilliant!

    Well done Brad.

    The sad part is, I could barely tell the difference between the kind of things real “climate science” believers say and a well constructed parody.

    Like

    Reply
  6. Minta Marie Morze

    Because I have forsworn the use of the word “awesome” (see Gerard—who thinks the word is overused—at www dot American Digest dot org), I am unable to tell you that I think your writing is awesome.

    I can, however, tell you that your site and writing filled me with awe. And I laughed out loud.

    (Although—for a few seconds, at first, I wondered about you.)

    Totally cool, Dude!

    Like

    Reply
  7. GabrielHBay

    Well, I suspect that I have found a new favourite site. Now I need to gag and bind my teenage daughter, who would NEVER otherwise read anything that I recommend, and park her in front of your writing. See, she has writing ambitions and a lot to learn… On climate front, luckily, my efforts at countering the formal educational exposure has rubbed off a little. So she may just get the drift. (Now where did I put the duct tape…)

    Gabriel van den Bergh, in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

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  8. "H.D. Kline"

    Climate Nuremberg is among an elite few of the most enjoyable and well-informed anti-denialist sites out there. For wit and humour it even puts the hallowed Skeptical Science in the shade! If you really want to understand what denialists call the “climate debate” Climate Nuremberg should be your first port of call.

    On a personal note I probably SHOUT TOO MUCH, but it’s hard to hit the right tone when you haven’t quite decided who you are???

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  9. "H.D. Kline"

    This is probably too far off-topic and personal, but even as H.D. Kline I do my best to avoid the numerous grammatical, syntactical and other blunders that seem mysteriously to appear in my posts. It’s just that I’m tired much of the time, and my attempts at checking are as error-prone as my writing.

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    Reply
  10. Genghis

    Fantastic Blog, I will be a regular reader now that I have discovered it.

    I will try to comment occasionally, if I am not too intimidated by the incredibly high standards and
    commitment to the scientific method. Perfection is too often marred by picking at imperceptible and immaterial details.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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