Potholer54’s ‘Live Debate’ Turned ‘Private Discussion’ with YouTuber Ben Davidson (Suspicious0bservers) on Climate Change – Transcript Part Two

This is the second part of the transcript from science journalist Peter Hadfield’s (Potholer54’s) video “Discussion with Suspicious Observers,” which was supposed to be a “Live Debate” that turned into a private Skype “discussion” with the YouTuber Ben Davidson (Suspicious0bservers). Part one of this transcript can be found here.

In a previous blog article, I mentioned that Ben Davidson has a disclaimer (published in all capital letters) on the “About” section of his website that says, “I OFTEN INTERJECT MY OPINIONS ABOUT THE TOPICS PRESENTED ON THE CHANNEL AND ON THIS SITE, AND I ATTEMPT TO CLEARLY COMMUNICATE WHEN THAT IS THE CASE” (Davidson 2018). I went on to point out that this is:

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The War Against Fake News and Pseudoscience on YouTube: Computational Propaganda Creates the Illusion of Popularity and Support

It’s a simple fact that a user of social media is more likely to interact with, and share content if it looks like other users are doing the same. But what we now have to consider is whether those other initial interactions are even real, or if we’re being duped into thinking we’ve found something that’s more popular than it actually is.

For the most part, people don’t want to belong to a group that is seen as “unpopular.” However, there is a way of developing support for an “unpopular” person, group or cause by creating the illusion of popularity through manipulating how social media works; this artificial popularity can garner actual support in the real world.

In this case: some of the content creators who use social media benefit from an illusion of popularity that can be created by inflating follower/subscriber counts, through the use of “follower bots,” which can translate to real popularity, actual support and financial gain over time.

What is computational propaganda?

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The War Against Fake News and Pseudoscience on YouTube: What Constitutes Evidence for Claims (Prequel to ‘Potholer54’ vs. ‘Suspicious0bservers’)

While a debate between the science journalist Peter Hadfield (Potholer54) and YouTuber Ben Davidson (Suspicious0bservers) has been set for Wednesday March 28th, 2018, their current “misunderstanding” is going to be the topic of my next blog post.

My previous blog article pointed out the illegitimacy of Ben Davidson’s (Suspicious0bservers) claims of having a “peer-reviewed publication” to his name. This was done by emphasizing the criticisms made by the solar physicist behind the YouTube channel, Space Weather, about how “what Ben has done is he’s given his paper to a poor journal with no quality peers and as a result ended up with poor results and bad research” (Space Weather 2017).

This blog post is going to expand that focus to a couple of Ben Davidson’s other claims. But first, it’s important to sledge-hammer this nail on the head: there is a big difference between publishing a paper in a reputable peer-reviewed journal and publishing one in a predatory journal that is meant to mimic the peer-review process; the latter of which is pseudoscience that anyone can do, while the former is what constitutes evidence for the scientific claims made by experts.

What is a Predatory Journal?

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The War Against Fake News and Pseudoscience on YouTube: ‘Space Weather’ vs. ‘Suspicious0bservers’

Hello everybody, I apologize for the long absence, however, a lot has happened over the past several months!

Anyway, today’s blog post is a slow-burn introduction to two YouTube channels that are polar opposites of one another: one promotes science and the other monetizes pseudoscience.

The first channel is called, Space Weather, and it’s owned and operated by a man who has degrees in physics as well as 30+ years of experience working as a space weather forecaster. He created his YouTube channel with the purpose of correcting misinformation and making a public record to show that some of the pseudoscience circulating on social media is being challenged with real science.

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