One of the tactics of deniers is to bully scientists into bowing out of public debates. This is very advantageous to them because it gives them the public stage all to themselves. They are then free to say anything they want. Scientist, in general, are not interested in getting into this kind of hand-to-hand combat.
Certainly, this tactic has shown itself in comments to my blog. The personal attacks have been just plain vicious at times. This tactic seems to be coordinated because the attacks are so similar. It is well know deniers do just that. I guess I should be flattered that I have made enough of a splash for them to feel threatened by me.
Now, I much prefer to be civil and many people submitting comments, including deniers, have been not only civil, but even pleasant. I enjoy talking to them and try my best to treat them with as much respect as they show me. But, the deniers that like to be bullies need to understand that I am glad to mix it up with them. I can give back just as well as I can take. What I have observed is that they cannot take it when it comes back at them. They really start acting like petulant children throwing a temper tantrum in the store when they don't get what they want.
Certainly one of the major sources of attacks has been my motivation for the challenges and my book. Being deniers, they are not interested in the facts and simply jump to the conclusion they want, just like with the climate science. Here are some facts:
I wrote the book for myself. It was something I wanted to do. No, I did not write it to make money and never expected it to. If your name is not Stephen Hawking or Neil deGrasse Tyson, a book on a science topic is not going to sell. I was at a pool not long ago and noticed that everyone around the pool that was reading was reading a James Patterson novel. Different groups (not just a family sharing) and different books. You will never see something like that with science books. I could go to a science convention and I still wouldn't see everyone sitting around reading books on science. This is not something I was fooling myself on. I will not make any significant money off this book and it doesn't matter how much promotion is done.
So, no. This challenge and the blog are not about promoting the book. But, they are certainly about promoting the issue, just as the book is. As I said above, deniers have the stage all to themselves and I don't like the fact they are lying and deceiving the public about such an important topic. They are serving the fossil fuel industry at our expense.
There have been only two science issues with such an emotional public debate - climate change and tobacco. See any connection there? In each case some entities (corporations and people) were making a ton of money at the expense of the public that didn't know better because a coordinate attack was made to undermine scientists and block any actions that might cost them money. It is what happened with tobacco and it is what is happening with climate science today.
And, do you think global warming isn't costing you? How are your utility bills looking like nowadays? How about your grocery bill? What has happened to your insurance rates? All of that supposes you have not been hit with some weather event such as a flood, drought, Superstorm Sandy, etc.
Every time someone buys into the claims of the deniers they are taking their checkbook out and sending money to billionaires.
I think that is wrong and that is why I am doing what I'm doing.
If you want to deny global warming, that is your right. I am not on a crusade. I just want you to be able to make an informed decision.
What the challenge is showing is that there is no credibility to the deniers. I did not challenge anyone to prove anything. I just gave them a chance to prove what they have been claiming is so obvious and easy to prove, namely, that man made global warming is not real. No one has to submit an attempt. They do that on their own volition. What we have seen is that there are no credible claims.
They are lying to you every time they say man made global warming is not real and the science is there to prove it.
That is why I did my challenge and I have been demonstrating it very thoroughly.
By the way, when they object to me being the sole judge, they are lying to you again. They are trying to make it sound as if I have it rigged (some have stated so outright). What they aren't telling you about are the denier challenges that are similar to mine (including one that just cut and pasted my challenge with changes to make it a denier challenge). These denier challenges all have the guy paying the money serving as the sole judge. And you know what? They aren't objecting to those guys. Here are some that I am aware of. I'm sure there are more:
The ScottishSkeptic $10,000 Global Warming Challenge
JunkScience.com's Ultimate Global Warming Challenge
Climate Guy $10K Climate Challenge
So, that is why I did the challenge and the book. I believe this is an important issue and want to help people make an informed decision. If the deniers want to tell you anything else, they are liars. But, we already know that.