Are you a closet skeptic?

[Update (Thursday 2 Dec) – good response so far – see below – keep the votes coming]

I don’t know how many times I’ve read in a blog comment that someone has a friend or relative who works for the Met Office, or NCDC, or in a government department, who told them that…[some sceptical remark]…but can’t be open about their scepticism.  I know several company executives who are quite happy to embrace AGW to sell more product when they themselves are highly dubious that it is a problem.  Think also of the academic who might write his (or her) grant proposal “To examine the effects of climate change on the habitat of the lesser spotted something and its consequences for…”  but really doesn’t give a fig about global warming (or climate change or climate disruption or whatever the current mot-du-jour –  s/he really can’t keep up), but just needs to maximise his/her chances of obtaining that funding.  Then there are all the blog commenters themselves who hide behind anonymizing handles…

We know from polls that belief in man-made climate change is falling and many such people would show up in anonymous polls, but are there people lurking out there who feel the need to conceal their doubts for professional reasons? This poll asks simply, if you have doubts about the ‘orthodox view’ of climate change, how open are you about it? Please answer all four questions.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Update 2nd Dec – Votes so far: Part1 – 130; Part 2 – 125; Part 3 – 158; Part 4 – 120

The results are hidden. I’ll run it for a couple of weeks or longer depending on the response and, hoping I get an adequate response, I’ll do a follow-up results post.  I’d really appreciate if others would repost it, especially if you can translate it.  The embed codes follow and need to be enclosed in [  ] brackets:

Part 1 – polldaddy poll=4162242; Part 2 – polldaddy poll=4162302; Part 3 – polldaddy poll=4162346; Part 4 – polldaddy poll=4162397

Note also I haven’t asked for reasons – maybe you have an annoying ‘green’ colleague who would never let you hear the end of it if you said you didn’t agree with them, or perhaps there are people out there who fear loss of clients or income.  Do tell.

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16 Responses to Are you a closet skeptic?

  1. Ian Beale says:

    Check this out for some interesting new phraseology!

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/gut-it-out/

  2. xyzlatin says:

    It should also be noted that most people in business that relies on the public for income, do not discuss their opinion on MANY topics because it could lose them business. This has always been true and existed before AGW was ever heard of.

    In the public service in Australia, I know several Liberal supporters and members, who do not ever acknowledge this as the Labor party members have the upper hand there and their careers would be scuppered if it came to light that they supported the opposing side.

    Many businesses contribute equally to sporting groups in their community for the same reasons. The bottom line is, we all have to survive and the way we survive is by not rocking the boat of the people who can give us an income, whether those people are above us as employers, or our freely moving customers.

  3. xyzlatin says:

    Also in the Australian Army, it used to be forbidden to discuss politics or religion in the mess (I don’t know what the position is now). The whole AGW suppression of dissent, should be considered in the wider context of how we negotiate our lives. (by the way, I am not knocking your poll, I just would like to see it widened so that the AGW suppression is compared to suppression on other topics).

  4. Pingback: When enough is enough… | Digging in the Clay

  5. Phillip Bratby says:

    I have filled in the poll, but am retired so it doesn’t really apply to me. I campaign against the UK government’s ridiculous renewable energy policy which follows on from the climate change scam. However, being labelled a “climate change denier” is now par for the course (that occurred when I was giving evidence at a wind farm public inquiry). You are not allowed to give any evidence that runs counter to government policy, which means you cannot give evidence to say that the whole policy is nonsense because it is based on false climate “science”.

  6. Ken Mival says:

    This is a great survey – but unfortunately meaningless – because most people who would come to your web site would already be converts to the anti AGW cause, and therefore the results should be biased. I am a geologist by training and in a responsible environmental job that depends on government accreditation by the EPA – but they and my colleagues know that I have strong views about the meaningless rubbish served up by computer modellers rather then real scientists. I resent being called a Climate change denier – because I dont deny that it occurs – and has done many times in the past, I just dont believe that CO2 and man are the culprits. I could go on. Until the warmers can explain how an ice age starts and ends I will not believe them, and expecially when they only compare with the last 30 to 40 years. Michael Mann and Phil Jones will have a lot to answer for one day.

    • Verity Jones says:

      Thanks for commenting (and voting I assume) but the point IS that it is only a survey of sceptics or those at least reading sceptic sites because they are starting to doubt, hence my choice of the more neutral word. It went though several versions in my head before I realised I didn’t need to ask “What is your opinion of climate change?” (because the answers to that would have been biased)

  7. Viv Evans says:

    Same as Phil Bratby – I’m retired and can open my mouth as wide as I like. Mind – it does help that I’ve got a science degree, because this allows one to question AGW nerds who think we all ought to bow our knees in gratefulness when a climate ‘scientist’ explains ‘the science’ and accept without question the gospel according to Jones/Mann/Gore etc

    • Verity Jones says:

      I am amazed how many commenters on skeptic sites seem to be retired – or should be (I mean that non-pejoratively as so many are still active in business, research or teaching due to an inability to do nothing and still very active minds). I correspond with quite a few. Perhaps also it is the experienced that are more likely to question objectively and be truely sceptical..

  8. j ferguson says:

    Retired.
    I find myself living in a nest of CAGW true believers. Those that aren’t tend to be off the charts on the right. The second group is almost 100% skeptical of even trace AGW. The dilemma is that if the true believers discover that I’m racked with doubt, I get asked about all of the other nonsense that the far right apparently believes. In other words, since the true-believers’ beliefs seem to be politically biased, they assume mine must be as well. But then they don’t understand my politics either.

    Accordingly, I tend to keep my views on this subject to myself.

    It takes a lot of work to even begin to think I’m informed in this area. I worry, without really knowing, that the skeptical blogs pick off the low hanging fruit of the least solid “science” and the more substantial stuff further up the tree is ignored because it’s either too complex to deal with on a blog, or they don’t have the time to take it apart…. or they don’t understand it, or know about it.

    I think that Dr. Curry’s new blog could be very helpful in this regard because she seems likely to be more familiar with the broad literature than some of the specialists who are most effective here on the web.

    I continue to suspect that there is truth in the temperature records and that it can be divined by one to one comparisons. the existence of time series which don’t trend over very long periods should be unnerving to the warmistas* AGW proponents, but for some reason the issue seems to be ignored in their compulsion to create complex means of analysis of data sets which aren’t there but must be created by affinity.

    *Altered 02Oct2011 in line with new policy: https://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/cleaning-house/ VJ.

    • Brian H says:

      Keep your eye on the pea. The demonization of the far-right is a tactic, perhaps even a strategy. If important issues can be lumped in with irrelevant ones (creationism, etc.) they can be protected from fire.

      There are now very overt statements coming out from AGW proponents which push far-left / Green super-solutions; don’t ignore them because you might be labelled a right-wing conspiracy nut. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites:

      “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” — Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford

      • j ferguson says:

        BrianH,
        I can’t tell if you are in the states, but here, we have people who I may have crudely referred to as the far right who believe all manner of bizarre things such as Obama being born offshore, or that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a hoax. Some people on hearing that I choke on a lot of the CAGW cant, call me a denier, and ask if I also think Obama was born outside the US and is therefore President on an illegal basis.

        We all have our crazies at the fringes. The tragedy is that the one can’t always be comfortable with the folks he nominally agrees with.

        And this leads to a certain reticence in confessing my confusion.

    • Verity Jones says:

      @J Ferguson, I’m sure you are right about the ‘low hanging fruit’. There are things I have looked into that I’ve left half done or I realise I’ve started along the path and did so in naivete only to realise I’ve a lot more to consider than I thought which will take a lot of time, or I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I probably post a fraction of what I look into. Some weeks ‘spare time’ is a few hours. It would be quite different if I was able to do it as ‘the day job’. I’ve lurked quite a bit on Judy Curry’s site but the last 2 months have been incredibly busy and is it hard to engage with people or make a meaningful contribution on a busy site unless you have time to do it properly.

      It took me 6-8 months to develop a good understanding of GIStemp and the GHCN datasets and even now I know there are bits of which I have only a vague knowledge. Some of my comments and blog posts written a year ago show my lack of understanding. I have quite a few ideas and analyses started that I hope to get back to, because I agree that there is a lot that seems to be glossed over (at best) by the ‘official analyses’. Yet I can understand their need to do things a certain way and not get bogged down in the minutae.

  9. Nick Fleming says:

    Ken Mival says:

    “I resent being called a Climate change denier – because I don’t deny that it occurs – and has done many times in the past, I just don’t believe that CO2 and man are the culprits.”
    and;
    “Until the warmers can explain how an ice age starts and ends I will not believe them, and especially when they only compare with the last 30 to 40 years. ”

    I find those two statements describe my own views and suspect that they sum up the opinions of many others.

  10. lapogus says:

    Not retired but run my own business so I can say what I want. That said I agree with what xyzlatin says – that more often than not its best to avoid voicing opinions on any subject with clients or potential clients. But in the last year or so I have become increasingly overt in deriding CAGW when talking with clients (and also people I know in the environmental sector – and interestingly very few of whom have tried to defend it).

    [Reply – I have had a similar experience this year. Verity]

    Philip – I have (in a small way) spoken against two wind farms at joint public inquiries in Scotland – and managed to criticise government policy and get away with it. The developer’s QC picked up on a statement in my precognition that to keep the lights on we need reliable and significant generation capacity from nuclear, not peanuts from intermittent windmills (or words to that effect). He smugly stated this was contrary to the Scottish Government’s anti-nuclear policy – I came back and pointed out that while planning policy is devolved to Holyrood, energy policy is not, hence my statement was not contrary to UK Government policy. Small victory over the arrogant QC but the reporter approved the bigger windfarm anyway (and amazingly in his written report then gave advice to the developer of the neighbouring smaller scheme on how to subsequently get it approved).

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