Archive for May, 2014
I’m still correcting papers like a maniac in an attempt to get all this done before my grades have to go in on Wednesday–
But I’d like to point out a few things:
1) I made NO statement as to the truth or falsity of “climate change” science or the existence of nonexistence of a consensus.
2) I will stipulate that there is a consensus. So what? “There’s a consensus” just means “everybody thinks so!” and it’s NOT a valid argument FOR ANYTHING.
3) No, it does not matter if the consensus is among experts. Experts have been wrong, and “consensus” is the ad populam fallacy.
4) The two things that make me think, at the back of my mind, that the present presentation of “climate change” science is wrong are not particulars on missing heat or speculations on the state of the oceans, but–
a) the fact that when I ask for evidence, I too often get “there’s consensus” AND
b) the use of the term “climate deniers.” That’s ANOTHER logical fallacy, called “poisoning the well.”
5) The link that lead to the “here’s the ocean theory of why we haven’t seen the heat rise in the last 17 years” reminds me of Christian creationists trying more and more and more possible “explanations” when reality doesn’t meet their predictions.
For whatever reason, the reality did NOT match the predictions. I’d also thought the first response to such a circumstance FOR SCIENTISTS was supposed to be to ditch the predictions as flawed, unless a CERTAIN explanation could be found to explain the anomaly, after which more predictions would be made with the new information and then the hypothesis would be retained ONLY if the predictions panned out.
Deciding that you already know the answer and responding to failed predictions by running around looking for excuses does not inspire confidence.
6) What John Oliver is suggesting is the ad authoritatem fallacy–we won’t counter the other side’s arguments, we’ll just declare them obviously untrue and get together to laugh at them.
That’s a lot of things, but it’s not science.
7) Oliver himself is in fact suggesting a way to shut people up, but the other two links I provided in that post were to information on very straightforward, brutal and bullying attempt to shut people up, including a law suit that, if won by Michael Mann, would put an end to the first amendment guarantee of free speech.
As it is, the lawsuit itself chills speech even if it’s lost–the punishment is in the process, not the verdict.
Then there are the calls, and there have been many of them, to put “climate deniers” in jail.
I’ll reiterate my point from last time.
No matter what the validity of your position, tactics like these RIGHTLY make people think you’re probably lying.
Over at the Staying the Same post, or whatever I called it, Mike Fisher posted the following link:
Go look at it.
Then let me tell you what’s wrong with it.
This is the continuation of an old argument usually expressed as “don’t give them a platform.”
The idea is that some ideas are so awful, and so wrong, that agreeing to debate them does nothing for the side of Truth, but only “gives them a platform” they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Do you know what’s wrong with that argument?
It ALWAYS backfires.
If you don’t debate the issue, your opponents won’t shut up–they’ll find other avenues to express their ideas, and y ou’re the one who will look wrong.
Not only will you not be there to counter them, but to outside observers with little understanding of the issue you’ll look like a spoiled brat who insists on taking his baseball home because the other kids won’t play by HIS special rules.
And that IS how people will see it.
With the debate on climate change, however, the climate change side is doing a lot more than “not giving THEM a platform” to ruin their reputation with the American people.
There have been too many people going public in the press with the idea that climate change “deniers” should be jailed, or shut up altogether.
And then there’s this
Which is a nice blow at free speech–you’re only free to speak what somebody else decides is “true.”
What’s more, when you try to get straight logical analysis, you end up mostly being told to shut up–a “consensus of the scientists” says x or y or z is true about climate change, so you’d just better shut up and believe it.
It’s called the ad populam argument, and it’s a logical fallacy–an INvalid argument.
It increasingly begins to seem that that is just about all the argument the climate change side is willing to make.
But “everybody says so” is not a rational argument. Even “almost all the experts say so” isn’t a rational argument. Experts have been wrong before.
The Washington Post published this
which pretty well sums up why the climate change argument isn’t working.
And if climate change proponents do manage to get their opponents gagged, it will just make Americans less likely to believe them and more likely to accept whatever underground conspiracy theory props up.
After all, if they’re telling the truth, they shouldn’t need to force people to acquiesce. They could win the argument honestly.
You either debate the other side or you give them free rein to get wherever they want to go.
So you’d better keep talking–and, yes, on a plane of equality, no matter how galling that may be–and you’d better learn the difference between science and policy recommendations.