Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wow, the denialists really like me! Wait, it's David they like...

Yesterday's guest blog post by my betting opponent David Evans has generated more hits on my blog than I've had in the last two months. It's amazing how differently people will view the same event - the denialist blogs are linking to it, and see this as some kind of vindication in that David used to support the consensus, and in that he's willing to bet.

I should start as my mother taught me though and say something nice, which is that the comments in the post, mostly by skeptics/denialists, are very complimentary to both David and myself for keeping our debate civil. It's good for me to get that reminder about the decent people that are on the other side of the fence. And I think I've already made my respect for David clear.

Okay, enough being nice. The irony is that most of the referrals are coming from Tim Blair and Planet Gore. Blair's site labelled me a troll and de-facto banned me for repeatedly offering to bet Blair and others at his site. I emailed Planet Gore just 3 weeks ago offering to bet them, and never heard a word. So now if they think David's action is commendable, why don't they show it by betting me themselves?

It would also help if they were accurate - both short posts on Planet Gore got essential things wrong - first, David isn't a climate modeller-turned-skeptic and never claimed to be. Second, he isn't betting that temperatures will cool (a claim repeated by other denialists who fail to read the post); instead he's betting that temperatures will increase at a slower rate than predicted by the consensus.

Finally, they fail to note that it took nearly two years for me to find someone to bet against the consensus position, I'm still open to more bets, as are other people, and we can't find betting opponents. From a free-market perspective, this seems a pretty clear indication that the consensus position is nearly universally-held, and people like David whose disbelief in it is strong enough to be backed up with their wallets are quite rare.

Summing it up, the effect's unclear so far. Stoat thought my bet was a good one but entails a PR risk, and he might be right earlier than he thought. On the other hand, in three years we'll start to see whether I'm on the path toward winning or losing the bets, and we'll see what PR effect that has too.

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