‘Plain English’ Rebuttals of Skeptics Being Posted at Skepticalscience.com

Skepticalscience.com, an increasingly popular and successful Australia-based site committed to rebutting common climate “skeptics” positions, now is emphasizing its communications in “basic English.”

Queenslander John Cook, the individual most behind the site, said online that after initially recoiling at the amount of work that would be involved in re-working his rebuttals of common climate science “myths” he soon found the notion “irresistible.” His overhaul applies to the full range of skeptics’ arguments his site debunks, with much of the actual rewriting being done by a worldwide group of volunteers who have signed up to help him with the effort.

He initially announced his plans as involving three different levels of understanding — easy, medium, and hard. His breakdowns of those categories:

Source: skepticalscience.com

1.   Easy: explaining the climate science in plain English, the way you’d explain it to someone in an elevator or at a pub. So the response needs to be short, simple, understandable to the average person.

2.   Medium: this goes a little deeper, discusses the evidence in more detail, provides links to peer-reviewed papers without necessarily going into the nitty-gritty of the methodologies or technical aspects of the science.

3.   Hard: this might contain detailed mathematics, equations, methodologies on how measurements are taken, the nitty gritty of data is processed, etc.

There are a number of examples of skepticalscience’s “basic English” interpretations of the site’s more technical rebuttals. For instance:

Go here to review the piece distinguishing climate and weather;

Go here to review the piece addressing climate skeptics’ points about mid-20th Century cooling;

Go here to see a piece rebutting claims of 31,000 scientists having refuted climate change science via their signatures on the so-called “Oregon Petition”; or

Go here to see a rejection of arguments that scientists in the 1970s were generally forecasting climate cooling.

As of August 24, 2010, the site had assessed and written rebuttals for 119 different “Skeptic Arguments.” Those interested can sign up to receive e-mail notifications of new rebuttals, follow the site through various social media, or download a free IPhone, ITouch, Android, or Nokia app.

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