The rules for debating with climate change deniers 1

Climate change deniers have rules that they expect you to stick to when debating their latest weak attempt to disprove the theory. They look a lot like the ones posted here.

And please note, that when I say evidence, I mean:

1) Nothing that was recorded by instruments such as weather-stations, ocean buoys or satellite data. Since all instruments are subject to error, we cannot use them to measure climate.

2) Nothing that has been corrected to account for the error of recording instruments. Any corrected data is a fudge. You must use only the raw data, which is previously disqualified under rule #1. Got that? OK, moving along…

3) Nothing that was produced by a computer model. We all know that you can’t trust computer models, and they have a terrible track record in any industrial, architectural, engineering, astronomical or medical context.

4) Nothing that was researched or published by a scientist. Such appeals to authority are invalid. We all know that scientists are just writing these papers to keep their grant money.

I still occasionally interact with some folks online for whom the rules above aren’t satire. A good response- which they’ll still ignore, of course- is given by one of the commenters on the post-

Mole, you’ve also got to factor in the consequences of inaction into the assessment of data.

If, for example, despite the existing scientific evidence, you personally would ONLY be satisfied by a longitudinal study over the next 30 years – well, what if it turned out todays’s scientists were actually right, and waiting for that study took us through the tipping point?

Why would policy makers be wise to adopt your approach?

See – even if I am wrong, cleaning up carbon emissions will do no harm. Clean the air up a bit, less pollution, fewer illnesses among kids, etc. No problemo.

If you are wrong, however: life on this planet could well be reduced to a few green sites supporting half a billion people – instead of 6 billion – by next century.

You see why doubt-mongers are losing this debate? And that that is a good thing?

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One thought on “The rules for debating with climate change deniers

  • David

    This was my reply to a colleague who is very sceptical about climate change:
    "If you say that you don't believe in climate change based on the current evidence, what would you need to see to convince you of it?"
    I think the repsonse I got was some vague comments about agreement from scientists in the field…

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