Pity the Fool

Well, we got a response from “fiq”. It didn’t make much sense.

First things first: What part of “The presence of a trend invalidates the “within statistically normal boundaries” argument” did you not understand? I didn’t just assert it, I proved it.

Did you even read what I wrote?

You don’t like the answer so now you’re gonna make out like I avoided the question. My opinion: that doesn’t make you a coward, it makes you a liar.

Here’s how “fiq” opens his response:


Now this is just curious. I feel perfectly fine where I sit, but when I read the comments I realize that falling fast; “weapons grade stupid” yesterday and now a leveler of cherry-picking accusations (really Michael?): “I checked it and Tamino has not cherry picked the data as you accuse.” Time to hide the kittens, there is no telling where my depravity will take me today.


You don’t like being insulted? Neither do my readers. If you wanted a genial discussion then you shouldn’t have accused climate modelers of institutionalized incompetence and referred to my regular readers as “fawning uncritical thinkers,” the kind who “believes you without demanding evidence”.

You went out of your way to invite scorn. Then you whine about it. We are not surprised.


Now, from Tamino . . .

“…Here’s the deal: I’ll answer your question. Then you answer mine.]
“I’ll do a big post about sea ice. After you read it, I expect you to answer the question: is Arctic sea ice decline “staggering” or not?”

The old, “let’s trap the rube into my domain expertise so that I can school him, thus garnering praise of damsels and vanquishing my enemies trick?” How many Dave Burtons do you need?

Exactly what “domain expertise” did I trap you into? Statistics? Statistics as applied to Arctic sea ice?

You trapped yourself. I do agree, however, that you’re a “rube.”


I have asked a very simple question. I have repeated it. I welcome an answer to it. I don’t welcome a treatise on the question that you wished that I asked.

Again . . .

“The chart depicts a current extent about ~1.5 sigma under the median. As a static data point, isn’t that quite normal?”

[This is a yes/no question, one to establish agreement on the 1/30/14 data — the question would transfer to other data sets, it’s a question about statistical inference, it’s not a question about ice.]

“If so, how do we have a staggering decline if we seem to have a perfectly acceptable value in a normal distribution?”

[In other words, why are you using twenty dollar words to describe a data point that is 1.5 sigma from the mean (in a data set that describes two sigma as the range of moves that might be due to natural variability?)]

I answered it. Right off the bat. In no uncertain terms.

Let’s use small words so you might be able to get it. It’s not a “static” data point.

What part of “The presence of a trend invalidates the “within statistically normal boundaries” argument” did you not understand? I didn’t just assert it, I proved it.

Suppose the 2nd graph (artificial data in correct time order) was your success rate in persuading people that you have a clue (seems plausible to me). Keep telling yourself that everything is fine because that final data point is well “within statistically normal boundaries.”


My hoped for response was, “Okay, you raise a good point. It is fair to characterize that data point as statistically normal and it does not constitute a staggering outlier on it’s own. However . . . .” Then I think we would have had an instructive exchange about recent ice volatility in the arctic and how to deal with statistical uncertainty in that data set (the latter part being my biggest curiosity). And my tacit question of whether or not your current language matches current conditions would have been up for fair debate. I honestly didn’t think it would be so hard to get to the starting point, an agreement that the data point in question does appear to be rather normal.

You didn’t raise a good point. It is not fair to characterize that data point as statistically normal.

So you didn’t get your hoped-for response. Poor, poor you, all you got was pwned.

My opinion: your in-laws should be afraid. Very afraid. And not just of the threat from man-made climate change.

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46 responses to “Pity the Fool

  1. Let me get this right.

    Today ice loss isn’t staggering, therefore ice loss isn’t staggering for the whole year and/or the melting season.

    Is this your argument, fiq?

    • I thought his argument was more along the lines of

      – the lowest data point is <2-sigma from the mean of the entire dataset,
      – we tend to view results within 2-sigma as non-significant,
      – therefor we can say that the lowest value is not significantly lower than the previous.

      Whether or not the data points can be thought of as samples from a collection of normal distributions, the question of whether there is a *trend* in the underlying normal distributions' mean values cannot be answered by a variance calculation on the data as a whole. See for instance my comment below; essentially if you keep tacking on an extra data point each year and then ask "Well is this below the mean by a significant amount?" you're making the mistake of ignoring the facts that (1) adding another low datapoint lowers the mean of the entire dataset, and (2) adding another low datapoint increases the variance.

      So, of course if we only look at the z-score for each new point, we're not going to fall outside of our 2-sigma range, because our method of calculation actually fights against that goal.

      It would be better to ask what's the odds of obtaining a set of z-scores that are all negative (or preponderantly negative), if we think there is no underlying trend. If there is no trend, that is a small probability. If there is a negative trend, it is a higher probability.

    • Neven: No, his argument’s even stupider than that. He doesn’t realise that it’s meaningless to calculate a normal distribution for data without detrending it first.

      It’s the equivalent of someone saying,

      “If you consider all the years from 1900 to 2014, the average is 1957 with a standard deviation of 33.34 years. 2007 is only 1.5 standard deviations away from the average, which is within statistical norms. Therefore 2007 doesn’t seem especially recent to me. You can’t prove that time passes.”

      • Yep. It is that stupid. And on seeing that argument, you can no longer take seriously anything else fiq says.

        At that point it was still possible that he was someone battling with statistical concepts and trying to genuinely understand. But it very soon became obvious he was insincere.

      • It’s called lying with statistics.
        Did he think Tamino was an amateur?
        If so, he’s even more stupid.

      • I had the same thought, more or less, The Fiq principle (and I believe this fallacy deserves a name) can be used to generate all sorts of nonsense.

        You are born at age zero, and reach one hundred, or one-fifty, or whatever. The age at your final birthday is not significantly different from your mean age (~1.7 sigma again). Ergo, aging is an illusion.

        Or, if you start with 100 people in a room on Day 1, and kill one every day until they are all dead, then the Fiq principle says it’s okay. The final population (zero) is not significantly different from the mean (it’s ~1.7 sigma from the mean). A mere 80% cull (as in the arctic ice situation) would surely be even less significant.

        I wonder if Fiq would apply the Fiq principle if he let me look after his bank account, and it “mysteriously” dwindled to 20% of its original value, but was still within 2 sigma of its mean value – or would he finally notice that the mean itself had problems?

  2. “a genial discussion”

    Why should anyone ever have such a discussion with people whose bullshit will cost millions of lives, and trillions of dollars? Why should we be nice to people who think cost shifting negative externalities is a sound economic model? They should be mocked mercilessly.

    “I do agree, however, that you’re a “rube.””

    Heh. And the rubes love their chum.

    “your in-laws should be afraid.”

    I know one thing almost all of them are afraid of, and that’s putting their money where their mouths are. I am offering $100 bets to anyone who wants to put up. At least Pat Michaels was willing to do that.

    http://supak.blogspot.com/2013/09/fake-climate-science-skeptic-finally.html

  3. johnrussell40

    I think the reason your readers rarely ‘demand evidence’, Tamino, is because you always provide it; without being asked; by the bucketful.

    ‘Fiq’s tactics are reminiscent of the way Phil Jones was set up to provide a misleadingly short answer to the question whether the warming trend between 1995 and 2009 was statistically non-significant. [ http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/06/global-warming-since-1995-statistically-significant/ ] I might be wrong but that seemed to mark the start of the whole ‘hiatus’ hoo-ha.

    • I was always pleased that Phil Jones said it wasn’t statistically significant. Its the truth. And “skeptics” are now stuck with a problem. They want to keep repeating the “not statistically significant warming” line, but the only way they can is by moving the start date.

      So anytime a “skeptic” says “no statistically significant warming since xxxx”, we should ask why they no longer use 1995 as their start date.

  4. To elaborate on my previous comment that shows that no matter what slope you choose, you’ll never have anything fall outside a ±2-sigma range without added noise of large enough amplitude, this proves it:

    Given a line y = mx, defined on x = [0, b], we calculate the ratio of the ±2-sgma range to the range of y values:

    4(sigma = s) / (y_final – y_initial)
    = 4s / (m*b)
    = 4/(mb) * Var(y)
    = 4/(mb) * √[E(y^2) – E(y)^2]
    = 4/(mb) * √[E(m^2 * x^2) – (mb/2)^2]
    = 4/(mb) * √[m^2(E(x^2) – (b/2)^2)]
    = 4/(mb) * m * √[1/12 * b^2 + (b/2)^2 – (b/2)^2]
    = 4/b * √[b^2(1/12)]
    = 4*√(1/12)
    ~ 1.155

    QED the ±2-sigma range will always encompass all of the y values, and hence if you only look at the ±2-sigma range you can learn nothing about the underlying trend. You may, in fact, be compelled to conclude there is no trend. That would be false.

    This assumes a particular set of data, but the variance in the y values in the model is impacted by the magnitude of the spans of x and y, not the values at which they begin; so, this result applies generally for any line of non-zero slope.

    • A slight typo, Var(y) = s^2, hence the third equation should read

      = 4/(mb) * √Var(y)

      The remaining calculations are correct.

  5. As an addition t to Alex’s analysis, I’d like to add a bit of musing from the industrial side of things…albeit poorly recalled, as I haven’t used this stuff in decades. The point being that Tamino’s randomizing the series of points in a straight line isn’t just something he dreamed up to trap a statistical ‘rube’.

    The discipline of statistical process control uses among other tools, something called and x-bar R chart. This plots some data series related to a production process within control limits. A process can be in control is the values of process characteristic (a part dimension, particle size, surface reflectivity, etc.) are scattered within whatever the ‘in process’ deviation has been determined to be. That is the kind of ‘static’ values that fiq was thinking were the sole determinant of meaning. But that’s not all that those charts are used for- trends within the limits are a warning sign of a process falling out of control. You don’t walk away from a chart showing a trend within the control region, you have to take action. In industry these kinds of tools save a lot of money. Looking at the polar ice decline, we’re now talking about saving the planet.

    Anyone who is a six-sigma black belt feel free to chime in. I never took it that far.

  6. “The old, “let’s trap the rube into my domain expertise so that I can school him, thus garnering praise of damsels and vanquishing my enemies trick?””

    The last ditch effort when a sufferer of Dunning-Kruger syndrome is backed into a corner. The problem here is that Tamino actually has domain expertise because he’s spent years becoming an expert. Somehow people think that The Internet means that their stupid ideas have equal weight and must be given equal measure as real experts, when in fact they don’t deserve anything other than to be laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.

  7. Fiq,
    Can we get you a bag to make it easier to carry around the ashes of your credibility?

  8. fiq apparently does not understand the difference between a data point and a whole lot of data points.
    One 1.5sigma outlier is normal. True. Empasis on _one_.
    A whole lot of them, all pointing in the same direction, are not.

  9. Anyone who is a six-sigma black belt feel free to chime in. I never took it that far.

    Six sigma, you say? Ah, that would be our dear physicist friend Lübos, with the original ‘hiatus’ cherry pick:

    http://motls.blogspot.ie/2010/03/insignificant-warming-trends-why-1995.html

    He even admits that if you start a year earlier than 1995, the warming *is* statistically significant. All they got is disingenuous. By design.

  10. Oh, yeah, needless to say… Motl could bore for his country, and has an ego that is significantly larger than its GDP. He should stick to the physics, which I’m pretty sure he is actually good at, where six sigma actually means something.

    • Ah Lübos… I can honestly say I am embarrassed that he is a practicing theoretical physicist… Most physicists get it, somehow his Randian ideology allows him to create a perfectly coherent doublethink state when it come to AGW….

      BTW. I have lurked here for a number of years and Tamino is always at his best when he flashes a little anger masquerading as contempt and scorn as he did in this exchange. It may not be “right” or “nice” but too long have the mendacious shills had the podium, and if only by shaming then will they cease and desist, so be it. The stakes are too high….

  11. It was clear from the start that Fiq would claim that since today the arctic sea ice is within 1,000,000 sq km of the average that means it has never been lower. (How can he look at the graph showing 80% loss of September ice volume and claim ice is within 15% of average?) It is also not warming since today is not the hottest day ever recorded. It rained in California last week so they cannot be having a drought.

    At least the rest of us benefit from seeing some posts by Tamino on recent Arctic (and Antarctic) ice data properly analyzed.

  12. I’m startled here, not by the lack of statistical acumen, but by the outright lack of common sense.

    1. The distribution of values observed determines what the 2 sigma range is. So if there is a trend in the values, the steeper the trend, the wider the 2 sigma range for the full data set. If we insist that there’s no ‘significant’ trend until we get values (consistently?) outside the 2 sigma range of observed values, the only ‘trend’ we could observe would be a sudden shift in values outside the 2 sigma range (which would then gradually stretch to fit the new ‘range’ as new data points accumulated).

    2. If the ‘temporally randomized’ data Tamino presents don’t represent a broad, statistically valid ‘expected pattern’ of distribution in time, treating the visually striking difference made by ordering them temporally must be a fallacy. But given that conclusion, we could never discern a trend in any data set (in effect, we’d be assuming that any ordering of the data points is as good as any other, even though the very meaning of ‘trend’ implies an ordering where data from different periods of time differs systematically).

    That’s some lead-plated crazy Fiq has going on.

  13. From NSIDC daily data:
    Average Feb. 1 arctic sea ice extent, 1979-1989:15.53 million km²..
    Standard deviation of above: 0.277 million km².

    Feb 1 sea ice extent in 2014: 14.1891 km².

    Number of standard deviations 2014 is from 1979-89 average:
    -4.83.

    Seems pretty staggering to me. But then I’m just an uncritical fawner.

  14. Horatio Algeranon

    Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull said it best:

    Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.
    My words but a whisper — your denseness a shout.
    I may make you peel but I can’t make you think.
    Your quant’s in the gutter — your stocks in the sink.
    So you ride roughshod o’er sea-ice fields and
    You make all your animal* appeals and
    Your wise men don’t know how it feels to be fiq as a brick.

    *fawns, stags, monkeys

    Another Jethro Tull song “Skating away on the thin ice of the new day” also works

  15. So basically he’s saying that unless some aliens evaporate all the ice in one go (or some similar staggering loss of ice) it’s always going to be withing something something sigma where the something can be adjusted because it’s withing something sigma or something like that?

  16. Fiq as a brick, I love it!

    It seems to me that most, if not all of the denierati do not at all get the concept of irony. No doubt the name “Fiq” has some clever, esoteric meaning to him/her, but did he ever say it aloud and ponder the connotations?

    The arrogance of the man is truly err… “staggering”…. All predicated on:

    “what I learned from a statistics course”

    Err… Is that it? One Statistics course? So now he’s an expert?

  17. I used a dictionary (well, google) to look up the definition of ‘staggering’ and discovered that it basically means to surprise someone greatly.

    Neven’s observations V model runs

    err, yup.

  18. Yet another proof: Lets take the line y=1-x on 0<x<1.
    The mean of y on the range 0…0.5 is 0.75.
    The mean of y on the range 0.5…1 is 0.25.
    The standard deviation of each region is 1/(2*sqrt(12)) = 0.144
    The last datapoint is different from the first half of the data at the 5 sigma level.
    The two means are different from eachother at the 2.4 sigma level (combining the variances of the two regions).

  19. So here’s another exercise for the esteemed fiq (who seems not to understand the concept of trend):
    Calculate the average and standard deviation of the minimum ice extent during the period 1979 to 1989 (6.954 and 0.317 million square km respectively, by my calculations). Then subtract the minimum ice extent of, for example, 2012, from that average (answer: 3.584 million square km). Then divide this by 0.317 (the S.D. of the 1979-1989 period). This gives the number of 1979-1989 standard deviations that the 2012 ice extent differs from the 1979-1989 mean (answer: 11.29).
    Let me know if I’ve done these calculations wrong. Otherwise, it would appear that the term “staggering” is appropriate.

  20. “It was clear from the start that Fiq would claim that since today the arctic sea ice is within 1,000,000 sq km of the average that means it has never been lower. ”

    I’m guessing he gets his climate science from Goddard’s site, since this it the kind of idiocy Goddard specializes in and fiq doesn’t seem bright enough to invent this kind of stuff on his or her own.

  21. fiq clearly is limited in what he understands about linear regression and trend lines. For instance, he has absolutely no idea what r^2 tells us about the standard error about the regression (as opposed to the original standard deviation of the raw data).

  22. Andy Lee Robinson

    Another excellent post Tamino, and a lesson to those that want to hijack reality that if they insist on bringing a water pistol to an intellectual tank battle, it looks better if it’s at least loaded.
    The record drought doesn’t just apply to a lack of H₂O!

  23. Some people are just too dopey to understand why they’re wrong.

    Perhaps fiq might like to examine what proportion of measurements “about ~1.5 sigma (or more) under the median” appear in the second half of the time series and what proportion appear in the first half.

  24. Jonathan Gradie

    A comment in passing through (I read this site’s blog occasionally; I have a PhD in Planetary Sciences, you can look me up). I am sure there is more to the story with “fiq”. Fiq is either purposely nefarious or, as I suspect, fiq’s dialog and logic is inherent in the way fiq thinks: the configuration of mind and brain. Most of us (think we) are “normal.” Some of us are abnormal in both positive (enhanced cognitive capabilities) and negative (disabilities) ways. There are many dimensions of intellect and personality that go into making our minds. This combination of dimensions provides us with a composite, fuzzy view we call normal or not. Some of us are in the 99th percentile in some capabilities and in the 1st percentile in others. Those of us who test in the 99%ile in some things, like math language or short term memory, are both revered and envied as if they had an extra set of legs with which to run faster. Some of us find ourselves, by hardwired brain configuration, to be helpless with words (e.g. dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), or numbers (discalculia). Some have additional problems with logic because of short term memory issues – it is hard to construct logical thoughts without certain types of memory. These are invisible disabilities that hinder an individual’s ability to function and compete in society as “normal”. And the disability is real, as if a person were missing arms or legs, sight or hearing – and no matter how much the encouragement or berating, you can’t make a person without legs run the same way you or I run. I bring this up because fiq’s conversation seems to be reminiscent of someone who cannot comprehend or is very slow at comprehending this particular issue or logic the way you or I comprehend it. This does not mean that fiq is dumb, stupid, can’t function or write. I simply mean that the thought processes in the brain constrained by the wiring just makes it very difficult for fiq to converse the way we feel is normal. Fiq appears to be as high functioning as you or me except for one or two issues that require a great degree of intentional and mindful cognitive compensation, which he is not doing successfully or, more to the point, as quickly in our view. I do not know if that is true in fig’s case. But, I do know from my work with dyslexic and gifted-dyslexic (brilliant!) students that berating, insulting and demeaning language is never going to get you where you want to go – a new degree of understanding. Bringing fiq around to the normal way (our way) of seeing this problem will probably take much more work than anyone has time for and is unlikely to reach a positive result through a blog. I think Tamino expressed his frustrations. I think many commenters piled on when piling on is unnecessary and counterproductive. Lest you feel my concerns are trivial and unfounded, do a little research on this topic and how these invisible disabilities affect the individual and his/her ability to maneuver in life. Some are more successful than others. My son scores in the 1%ile in short term visual verbal memory retrieval, something that keeps him from the type of reading comprehension your and I find natural and easy, but scores in the 99%ile in other communication and cognitive abilities that make you and me envious. He has a MPH from Cornell U, has worked on the staff for Senators and Representatives in DC and is currently a Sr. Policy Analyst for NYC. He is very successful. My son had enough of the “stupid”, “can’t read”, “dunce” labels when he was young. He overcame them by special (different) approaches to learning, compensation skills and very hard work. Someone on the blog commented, maybe fiq has Dunning-Krugher syndrome; we should all consider ourselves lucky we weren’t born with that or any other potentially devastating nvisible disability hard-wired into our brains. Perhaps the uncalled-for derision of fiq by some belies an unsettling feeling of insecurity in one’s own inventory of cognitive capabilities. There never is a need to feel superior and throw slurs.

    [Response: I don’t think your concerns are trivial or unfounded, not at all. In fact, I’m impressed by the thoughtfulness and enlightenment it conveys.

    If you read all the comments on all the relevant posts, then you probably noticed that twice I urged readers not to “pile on” because I still held out hope that “fiq” might listen to reason.

    But I disagree that the derision of “fiq” by some was “uncalled-for.” There really are some actions that merit derision. Your son was the unfair recipient of insult when it wasn’t in any way deserved, but in my opinion “fiq” got his insults the old-fashioned way: he earned them.]

    • Jonathon,

      You raise an important issue, but I don’t think fiq was derided for his cognitive failings, but for his behavior. His initial query was met with a polite explanation, which he failed to consider before replying.

      To find statistics cognitively challenging is *normal*. To have a poor grasp of stats and nonetheless think you know better than someone who runs a mathematically based blog and offers data analysis services is *ridiculous*. Far too much nonsense is written on the internet by 5-minute experts, and they deserve derision. It’s not as though he wasn’t given a chance for civil discussion first. Tolerance is fine in some contexts, but I reject the idea that we should sit back and say nothing every time a denialist breaks cognitive wind, which is what this was.

      I think you’ll find plenty of other examples on this blog where people have humbly asked for explanations and been offered every courtesy.

      Cheers,

      Leto.

      • Jonathan Gradie

        ” …but I don’t think fiq was derided for his cognitive failings, but for his behavior. ” “Behavior” (as seen and judged by others) is difficult to discern many times. All bad behavior is not to be tolerated but our response to that behavior is critical in the outcome of our interactions. The most extreme cases lead to war. However, in day-to-day interactions we run across all sorts of impolite and bad behavior, some intentional, some not. Consider the case of the individual with Asperger’s syndrome who responds (in many social interactions) in a most odd and inappropriate manner. We, who are “normal”, have no comprehension as to why someone might fly off the handle at a joke, pun or other non sequitur. The reasons are complex but is in essence a reaction of a “mind/brain” which is inflexible (by chemsitry and hardwiring) and sees the world in overly structured themes. When I say inflexible and overly structured I mean way, way beyond a curmudgeon’s. I’ve had to deal with kids and young adults like this – brilliant, but narrowly defined, especially with respect to social interactions: think what that means to conversations and blogs. I do not know if fiq is a boor or something else. In either case it is best to ignore the bad behavior, concentrate on the conversation, or say nothing at all. A boor will get annoyed on purpose, a person with Asperger’s will appear annoyed because the brain can’t cope with deviations from the self-imposed reality at the same rate or the way you and I do. Or, do we?

      • Jonathan.

        Fiq certainly does have an affliction – the syndrome identified by David Dunning and Justin Kruger.

        The difficulty is that those who are Dunningly Krugered are resistant to polite indication of their condition. This resistance is in the vast preponderance of cases not the consequence of a physical pathology but a learned response arising from a cultural attitude. Long experience has shown that reason does not make any difference to the attitudes of these people, and although recognising them for the fools that they are is probably not going to be any more successful, calling a spade a spade is often the best thing for informing third parties of the facts.

      • Indeed Bernard,

        And a classic example of Dunning Kruger personality is Anthony Watts. He spent from 1975 to 1982 at Purdue University and never graduated in anything. That’s between 7 or 8 years depending on where you count from, and never awarded a degree.

        http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Anthony_Watts

        Hence, not the sharpest tool in the box, but it doesn’t seem to dampen his ego, or his certainty that he is right, and the rest of Climate Science is wrong.

  25. “Congratulations, you are king of the uniformed. Is it a heavy crown?”

    “Your readership believes you without demanding evidence”

    “when I look at the fawning uncritical thinkers that seem to frequent your blog,…”

    “… the imagery that pops into my mind is one of a monkey,…”

    fiq is not being attacked because of some possible intellectual shortcomings or just his inability to understand a particular point of statistics, as the quotes above show, he’s being attacked because of his arrogance and his rudeness. I’m less educated and most probably less intelligent than fiq is (know nothing about stats and science, don’t even know what a “sigma” is) and I’d be fully deserving of a caning if I behaved like he does and started insulting people on a blog full of people with high qualifications in maths and science. I can imagine how insulting it is to call a scientist “fawning uncritical thinker”. I wonder if fiq reads WUWT, and how critical he is of the excrement that is produced in there.

  26. A response to Jonathan Gradie:

    I got the same sense about fiq as you did, although I can’t be sure. But in any event there is a real question about how one should deal with such individuals in the context of a ‘commons’ like this.

    First, how do we distinguish between someone who is being offensive because of a neurological trait and someone who is simply exhibiting a semi-pathological personality? Those of us who have experience working with such individuals, or who have overcome some degree of social awkwardness ourselves, might pick up on it pretty quickly– even on the internet. But I would suggest that perhaps you could be more tolerant of the typical participant, who is used to people showing up with poorly comprehended denialist memes, motivated by talk-radio-generated animus.

    The second part of this is ethically more difficult, in my experience of other ‘commons’ venues. How tolerant of such behavior should we be, whatever the cause? We can understand the child having a tantrum, but at some point we must request that the family leave the restaurant. Not to do so might even be construed as the bigotry of low expectations. So, if someone wishes to participate, isn’t the (unattenuated) response an inevitable, necessary, part of the work of education and adaptation that such an individual must continually practice?

    One hopes that there are people in this person’s life who, if the experience is shared with them, could guide him/her to a more fruitful approach in the future.

  27. Horatio Algeranon

    “Dr. Horatio’s Blognosis”

    He’s ideologically challenged
    We really mustn’t mock
    His self-deluding talent
    For “You’re a money” talk

    Tamino bends over backward to assume that people who ask questions and even challenge him are doing so sincerely. He has a great deal of patience for nonsense, far more than most and when devotes a HUGE amount of time to explain things in order to educate the uninformed” (uniformed too).

    He put an entire post together on Arctic Sea Ice Decline for a fellow who had just called him a monkey and “king of the Uninformed” and referred to his regular readers as “fawning uncritical thinkers”.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      oops,

      should be “For ‘You’re a monkey’ talk”

      • Indeed,

        The mental pathology of these individuals is indeed interesting. In all other respects, they appear to be perfectly normal individuals, perhaps even of above average intelligence, yet they sometimes seem incapable of the simplest of logical operations.

        Sou had one of these trolls called Greig, infesting her blog recently. He managed to derail the discussion so much that she had to create a separate blog for him. He couldn’t be made to comprehend even the simplest of non sequiturs, eg: The fact that there have been exceptional geniuses in the past who overturned the scientific consensus (Galileo & Einstein for example), does not mean that all people who argue against scientific consensus are exceptional geniuses. A common denialist meme (he wasn’t even original).

        This Greig, no matter how many times his arguments were demolished, refused to acknowledge it (or perhaps was unable to understand the logic), and just kept coming back for more. Eventually, he just had to be banned (On that topic at least) because he was just wasting everyone’s time. At least Fiq has (by his failure to respond), the sense to realise that he has made an ass of himself, though unfortunately, not the courage to admit it.

      • Debunker,
        Au Contraire. I’m sure Fiq is off declaring victory over the “warmists”. He will carefully omit any mention of which blog it is, so his audience can’t check his assertions and will bask in their admiration.

      • Snarkrates,

        No doubt you are right, but its all pretty depressing…..

  28. Just a thought, for what it is worth.

    We (that is, Tamino and those who discuss his offerings with intelligence) had been considering Judith Curry’s “STATEMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS OF THE UNITED STATES
    SENATE”.
    Tamino said, “Don’t let anybody — not Judith Curry, not me — get away with avoiding the issue.”

    And along comes fiq.