Globe and Mail Personal Attack by “Eyes Wide Open”

In commentary at the Globe and Mail to the article “Cheap and dirty: Where provinces diverge on energy crossroads“, user “Eyes Wide Open” states at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2011

Eyes wide open

Eyes wide open but blinkered. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it think.

You’ve gotta laugh! Here we have Alan Burke talking about cooling over the last decade and coming up with with [sic] his typical unproven and incorrect science as excuses! What about “The Cooling Myth” Alan? You’re speaking about both sides of your mouth! That’s why people cannot trust anything you espouse here on the G&M forums! ROTFLMFAO!

He is accusing me of hypocrisy in a clear attempt to cast doubt on my credibility in commentary there.

He usually makes a personal attack in his comments, in violation of the Globe & Mail‘s commentary terms and conditions to which he agreed in participating to adhere, part of which states on each commentary page (bold emphasis is mine)

Editor’s Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of The Globe and Mail, but only of the comment writer. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. For more information on our commenting policies, please see our Community Guidelines page, or read our full Terms and Conditions. If you see a typo or error on our site, report it to us. Please include a link to the story where you spotted the error.”.

He’ll often then continue with unsubstantiated opinion typical of a doubt monger, contrarian or denialists, on issues of anthropogenic (human caused) global warming leading to climate change, also in contravention of the terms and conditions. Even when reported as abusive, his comments frequently survive “moderation”.

In this particular instance, he claims that I have been talking about “cooling over the last decade”. Yes, I have been talking about it but only to point out that it is not cooling but continuing to warm. I have produced graphs to demonstrate that fact. He then refers to my editorial article “The Cooling Myth” and accuses my of hypocrisy with his statement “You’re speaking about[sic – he apparently means “out of”] both sides of your mouth! That’s why people cannot trust anything you espouse here on the G&M forums!

I wrote that editorial several years ago, motivated in part by his attacks back then, and have left it intact online, as I do with all of my pages and postings. I preface that editorial with the paragraph

One of the most frequent contrarian and denialist myths is that the Earth is now cooling. The commenters usually use 1998, the peak of an unusually powerful El Niño, as the starting point for a trend, asserting that temperatures have not been rising since then. Their myth does not stand up to scrutiny from the evidence. Visit the Temperatures page for detail. This is a quick summary.
It is important to distinguish between short-term natural variability and long-term rise. There are fluctuations in global average temperature, driven in large part by the oceans, and the transition points around 1910, 1940 and 1970 are likely shifts in decadal natural variability; the flattening of temperatures since about 2000 may also be such a transition but it in no way negates the long-term monotonically increasing and accelerating rise in temperatures attributed to human causes, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. See the PNAS 2009-09-14 article cited below for details about decadal variability.

I also specifically refer to the studies of Swanson, Tsonis, et al, which identifies decadal variability caused by “chaotic” (in the mathematical sense) interactions of the primary ocean currents (bold emphasis is mine)

PNAS: Long-term natural variability and 20th century climate change , doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908699106; Swanson, Sugihara and Tsonis

Global mean temperature at the Earth’s surface responds both to externally imposed forcings, such as those arising from anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as well as to natural modes of variability internal to the climate system. Variability associated with these latter processes, generally referred to as natural long-term climate variability, arises primarily from changes in oceanic circulation. Here we present a technique that objectively identifies the component of inter-decadal global mean surface temperature attributable to natural long-term climate variability. Removal of that hidden variability from the actual observed global mean surface temperature record delineates the externally forced climate signal, which is monotonic, accelerating warming during the 20th century.
Supporting Information (pdf)

There and elsewhere I discuss statistical significance and have frequently pointed out that using a cherry-picked decade to make a point is not a legitimate discussion of long-term climate trends.

I also identify on my site that aerosols, volcanic eruptions and decreasing solar insolation have an impact on global temperatures, resulting in a temporary cooling impact although rarely enough of one to cause actual cooling, an exception being post WWII.

Each of these factors has been identified by me in commentary and there is no hypocrisy. The attack by “Eyes Wide Open” is unjustified, offensive and based on misrepresentation. That’s fairly typical of his comments unfortunately. I have identified that comment as being abusive. It will be interesting to see if the G&M “Moderators” act on that report of abuse. I have frequently asked “Eyes Wide Open” to refrain from personal attack and deal with content but that is clearly not something that he is willing to do.

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12 Responses to Globe and Mail Personal Attack by “Eyes Wide Open”

  1. Alan Burke says:

    I’ve just noticed that the G&M moderators did in fact remove the comment.

    However, he posted the remark twice – once as a reply and once at the top level of comments. The latter was removed but the former has not been removed as of 11:00 AM 13 Sep.

    This is a good example of the “capriciousness” of moderation at the G&M.

  2. Christine says:

    Hi Alan – I’d say that you are getting such frenzied attacks because you are persistent and accurate in your assertions. The deniers don’t have a leg to stand on, and this is becoming clearer and clearer as our weather gets weirder. Don’t let the b*st*rds get to you! (and I’m glad the G & M responded by removing it, as they should have)

  3. Alan Burke says:

    “CarlW” is another who uses personal attack frequently. He said at 12:50 AM on September 13, 2011

    Alan, I suggest you take a course on hypocrisy, how to recognize it in oneself, how to do something about it, coz you have problem! Your post on the nutter forum is indecorous, like so many of your G&M posts, and none of them are deleted, but you attempt to have comments from everyone disagreeing with you deleted???

    Clean up your act, and quit preaching about what you yourself practice, in spades!

    I replied

    No CarlW, I report as abusive only those comments which violate the G&M terms and conditions, not as you falsely allege “you attempt to have comments from everyone disagreeing with you deleted”.

    CarlW has a history in his commentary of failing to distinguish between a personal or “ad hominem” attack concentrating on who a person is or irrelevancies about other behaviour, and legitimate critique of what an individual or group says. I concentrate on the latter, shunning personal attacks and “ad hominems”, concentrating on what is said, but he continues to call me a hypocrite because I report as abusive comments which are personal or directed at who the person is rather than what he says. I’ve pointed out the difference to him several times but he fails to “get it”, perhaps even doing so willfully.

  4. Alan Burke says:

    “Moderation” of commentary at the Globe and Mail is fundamentally flawed and I have discussed this at length with their management, with their acknowledgement but with very little response or corrective action. It is conducted not by G&M staff but under contract by an outside company.

    It can be capricious, especially during the evening, at night and on weekends. I have seen postings of mine which were entirely within the terms and conditions capriciously removed. As a result I often make backup of my larger comments, for resubmission if necessary. That has worked occasionally.

    But there are bigger problems. Postings are removed without warning to the author, without notification, without justification, without a right to appeal and without an audit trail. A poster may never know that his comment has been removed and even if he becomes aware of the fact, cannot even see in his profile what he said, seeing only that the comment was removed by the moderator, supposedly because it abused the terms and conditions. No rationale is provided as to why it was removed.

    I withdrew from the G&M “Catalysts” program because it was impossible to meet the goals of the program, including to “raise the level of discussion”, when the moderators stepped in so capriciously. Until the moderation policies and practices are amended, we’ll continue to be flooded by abusive commentary of the sort which I have shown here from “Eyes Wide Open” and “CarlW”.

  5. Alan Burke says:

    Eyes Wide Open is back at it again this morning. Replying to “Geoffrey May CBI’s” comment at 7:43 AM on September 13, 2011 in article “Can coal come clean or is wind the future?”

    At 8:23 AM on September 13, 2011

    The only thing that has become destabilized is your mind!

    And at 8:48 AM

    The solution to this debate is to have two power supply infrastructures. One for the ecotards and one for those of us with brains. Let the cost of the significantly more expensive ecotard infrastructure be paid for solely by the ecotards. Then we’ll see how many will put their money where their mouths are!

    and at 9:21 AM on September 13, 2011

    Soundoff, if you are so concerned about the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, please, stop breathing!

    and at 10:46 AM on September 13, 2011

    It’s obviously working! Keep whining child!

    and at 11:58 AM on September 13, 2011

    Many Europeans don’t even own a car – I guess they’ve been inctivized [sic] out of it! More ravings from a loon!

    and again at 2:13 PM on September 13, 2011

    You’ve gotta laugh! Here we have Alan Burke talking about cooling over the last decade and coming up with with [sic] his typical unproven and incorrect science as excuses! What about “The Cooling Myth” Alan? You’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth! That’s why people cannot trust anything you espouse here on the G&M forums! ROTFLMFAO!

    This is (almost) a repeat and it is in clear violation of commentary terms and conditions; judging by his traffic at the G&M I believe that he has read this posting; he even corrected an error identified here and now states “You’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth!“. He didn’t get it all though, he still has “with with“. It will be interesting to see when/if the moderators remove this version of his diatribe. Over 4 hours later, this comment remains visible; clearly we’re seeing capricious “moderation”.

  6. George Ennis says:

    It is unfortunate that the Globe and Mail has simply not banned him. I am at a loss as to why they refuse to do this. He is not engaging in free speech but rather drive ad hominem attacks on other commenters, I also note the that a distinguishing mark of internet trolls is that they do not use their own name. They prefer instead to hide in the dark from which they can make their attacks.

    • Alan Burke says:

      I originally used my real name at the G&M but switched to “Klaatu_Barada” when I withdrew from Catalyst status (they ignored my request to remove the status from my original userid). I had also received threats of violence. I don’t hide who I am even though I’m using a different “handle” but anyone planning violence would have some difficulty in actually finding me physically and in fact might regret having done so given my military training.

  7. Alan Burke says:

    Hey Eyes Wide Open you’re welcome to reply here. Of course to do so you’d have to pass pre-moderation and disclose a little more about your identity so I expect that you won’t; you’ve demonstrated that you’re vile and violent but clearly a coward hiding behind your pseudonym.

  8. Alan Burke says:

    Now CarlW is at it:

    1:19 AM on September 14, 2011

    Alan the hypocrite, gets his buddies to delete at the G&M site, slags folks on his own url to nowhere!!!

    1:27 AM on September 14, 2011

    Alan, buddy, obviously a malfunction, as someone deleted my response to you, the one quoting you, which wasn’t (deleted), so I know it’s all acceptable! I know that you’re not such a hypocrite as to have folk’s responses deleted just because they don’t agree with you! Oops. I forgot. You are!!!!!!

    Wow! Other than telling me to f*ck off, calling Bjorn Lomborg a liar, your merchants of doubt by “respected”, not, science historians, your denier and tobacco and big oil lobby references you mean?

    You have shown your pathetic true stripes, taking your diatribe off page where your target cannot respond, when your G&M buddies won’t back you up!

    I responded 5:22 AM on September 14, 2011

    Yes CarlW you responded with the above to my:

    Substantiate your allegation CarlW. Show us with a link or verifiable quotation when I have made a personal or “ad hominem” attack here.

    BTW, I have no special relationship with the moderators in spite of allegations here that they are my “buddies” and comments of mine which were entirely within the terms and conditions have been deleted, capriciously.

    Having solicited your comment why would I report it as abusive?

    Yes, ONCE I probably lost my temper after a vicious onslaught from you and resorted to an obscenity.

    Your other observations certainly do not qualify as personal attacks.

    Bjorn Borg IS a liar and many critiques of him have shown his distortions. It would possibly be a personal attack if I were addressing him directly without substantiating my claim.

    Oreskes & Conway are respected science historians and they document their “Merchants of Doubt” case in great verifiable detail. I summarize it in They make a verifiable and compelling case and my referral to them cannot possibly be called a personal attack.

    As it is, you have made an unjustified and unsubstantiated personal attack on me by calling me a hypocrite. I’d be justified in reporting your comment as abusive.

    Anyone can respond on my site. If course it’s pre-moderated and an email userid is required. Obviously that’s unacceptable to many who hide behind pseudonymity.

    Always offensive Eyes Wide Open at 8:18 AM on September 14, 2011

    Carl just make the best of the situation. Print the content of the website you and I know as worthless on soft paper ad use as a substitute for TP when one runs out. (You know the one created in support of a certain person’s religion. You know the one created by the guy who has never let go of mommy’s skirt. You know – boohoo boy).

  9. Alan Burke says:

    Eyes Wide Open refused my invitation to visit here at 1:26 PM on September 13, 2011

    Would go to your referenced website Burke but unfortunately my rare past visits have led to vesuviation hence you’d better post your rant here instead!

    I replied at 7:49 AM on September 14, 2011

    Eyes Wide Open I assume that by “vesuviation” you mean that you erupted. Too bad you refuse to visit, it confirms the graphic which I used to introduce the thread.

    No, I won’t post here – it’s too long and uses presentation formats that are not available here. It also will stick around, unlike this piece which will disappear into the G&M bowels and become inaccessible unless paid for.

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