Inspirations for the project

Michael Quirke

Michael Quirke

Hi, my name is Michael Quirke. I created the first version of this blog, forum, and fact checker website with the help of Austin-based programmer Mario Champion in 2010. This is the second and final beta version, which will continue to be enhanced as we grow our future blogging community and approach the kick off date. This customized WordPress site has been tailored to carry out the vision of the CCNFR founding board and to better utilize awesome developments like Goolge+ Authorship, which will help garner a national audience for our volunteer bloggers.

This website and project takes inspiration from a variety of sources. These include:

  • a traditional panel discussion (experts in various disciplines will publicly engage with one another for the purpose of educating the audience);
  • Facebook (columnists will be able to publish posts, comment freely, and engage in live discussions and debates in columnist-only comment threads);
  • politifact.com (a journalist will post up a constant stream of outside claims about climate change in the media for the science columnists to fact check and comment under);
  • an announcer giving a blow by blow account of a live prize fight (if a group of columnists get into a heated debate on an important issue, the journalist will cover it);
  • CSPAN (we are all about transparency and not afraid to get into the weeds on science and policy);
  • a news magazine (the journalist will be publishing interviews and his or her own original pieces alongside the scientists’ and experts’ content);
  • Wikipedia (there is no editor, and CCNFR’s volunteer community of scientists and experts will be responsible for generating content and keeping the site active);
  • a court case (columnists must meet certain criteria before being admitted into the Forum as experts; also, no scientific position regarding climate change will be assumed, so everything will have to be proved up in the Forum);
  • the Socratic method (we really don’t know where the discussion and debate will lead, but objections will be made on ad hominem attacks, hyperbole, and other fallacies); and
  • scientific peer review (we encourage expert scrutiny, examination, and debate).

On this last point: Some scientists might at first blush see this as an attempt at an alternate scientific peer review/journal. They would be mistaken. This “National Forum” is entirely an educational and journalistic exercise. Enabling scientists to blog about the science of climate change and enabling subject matter experts and policy makers to publicly discuss and debate the policy implications of that science are just effective and objective means to an educational end. Given that the Forum will be an open platform, I really do not know where the discussion and debate will lead, but I am confident that it will be beyond the current partisan morass.

-Michael Quirke