Scientists pick apart list of nonsense

Discuss

43 Responses to “Scientists pick apart list of nonsense”

  1. Julien Couvreur says:

    Aside from the dubious gap between science and policy, which commenters above already pointed out, there seems to be a fundamental empirical problem:

    Climate science builds its knowledge empirically, but were some “surprising” predictions verified?

    The main reason we trust our theory of gravity (and the resulting planetary models) is that it has proved itself empirically to be “pretty good”.

    For example, the theory of relativity was boosted by its prediction about how light would bend around the sun, which was surprising but confirmed with good accuracy by checking the apparent position of a start during an solar eclipse.

    Maybe readers of the blog can point out some examples of convincing empirical validation of valuable predictions, in the case of climate science?

    • Anonymous says:

      It depends what you find convincing. Global warming is about statistical shifts – people are right to dismiss single data points as possible outliers – so we’re going to be talking about aggregate measurements compared to predicted curves. So I’d have to know first, what about the data sets given by the IPCC do you feel is inadequate?

    • greebo says:

      Julien: That’s easy…

      Ten predictions about climate change that have come true (The Sunday Times, UK):
      http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article1984755.ece

      Or if that’s a bit too vague for you, try the list of specific model forecasts that correctly predicted what would happen, put together by Barton Paul Levenson, complete with detailed references to the literature:
      http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

      Somewhat ironic that many of the commenters here would attempt the gish gallop that the original post so roundly criticizes. So many people, so convinced they

  2. Steve says:

    All this talk is about cutting back on US pollution, meaning cutting back on US progress. That is the real goal, maybe not the scientists goal but that of those who hate the US.

    Other countries, such as China, India, etc. will not sign on to this nonsense..

    • Brainspore says:

      Interesting that you equate “pollution” to “progress.”

      I would argue that leading the world in green technology would be a form of “progress” better for our long-term environmental and economic interests alike.

      • Steve says:

        Ok, but the “progress” does not include “profit”. When it does, private enterprise will be tripping over themselves to get in on it.

        Look at a picture of Pittsburgh, 100 years ago; compare it to today. Less pollution and less jobs.

        I like clean air and water too. I love it, actually.

        We need to find a balance. Not pass a bunch of laws that restrict innovation and our livelihood.

        • Brainspore says:

          Ok, but the “progress” does not include “profit”. When it does, private enterprise will be tripping over themselves to get in on it.

          I disagree with that premise but I’ll play along for sake of argument: some forms of profit come at an unacceptable social or environmental cost. Southern plantations weren’t tripping over themselves to find an alternative to slavery, which is why it was left up to the government to end the practice for them.

          Look at a picture of Pittsburgh, 100 years ago; compare it to today. Less pollution and less jobs.

          Actually most major cities have much cleaner air today then they did around the turn of the 20th century because we shifted away from energy sources that belch huge amounts of soot and other particulates into the air we breathe. We use more energy per capita than ever, yet today most of us don’t have to employ small children as chimneysweeps.

          I like clean air and water too. I love it, actually.

          Then thank your local liberal. The conservatives and libertarians aren’t the ones who passed the Clean Air Act. True, it was Nixon who established the EPA but he was a neoliberal moonbat by the standards of today’s GOP.

          We need to find a balance. Not pass a bunch of laws that restrict innovation and our livelihood.

          Innovation is the result of rising to new challenges, not maintaining the status quo. The sooner we realize that protecting the environment and fostering innovation are not mutually exclusive concepts then the sooner we’ll find some real solutions.

  3. myke says:

    Pollution is an economic cost to society (local and global). To look at economic profit without taking into account the cost of pollution is giving the (generally) already wealthy a free ride at everybody’s expense. I can understand why the people who would directly profit from passing on this cost to everyone else would argue we should ignore it. Other than it being a difficult problem and that power structures favour the wealthy, I cannot understand how anyone else would argue for ignoring it though. I don’t think someone else should profit for giving me (and everyone else in the world) bad water to drink, bad air to breath, worse storms, less land to live in, etc..

    (Not that I have a solution, but some way of making the cost of anything = the real cost would seem to a good start)

  4. jmzero says:

    Most of the debate in the public sphere seems to be on whether there is a danger from anthropogenic climate change. It’s unfortunate that this is the case, as it obscures the much more important debate about what we’re going to do about it. Eventually the first debate will be won, but if we don’t pick the right option to solve the problem it won’t matter.

    Most of what I hear in terms of solutions could be categorized as “cutting back”. From my understanding of the data, “cutting back” is nearly pointless because nobody has a plan that will cut back nearly enough – especially when factoring in all the growing economies in the world. To me, someone who believes that the problem can be solved by recycling or having everyone drive a hybrid, or banning incandescent bulbs is as much of an impediment to a real solution as someone who denies the problem entirely. There’s just not enough “cuttable” to solve the problem or slow it down enough – at least not without tremendous societal will and resolve (that, I think, would only be generated by a catastrophe – because I think it involves things like population control that will not go down easy).

    In short: we’re driving towards a cliff. We don’t want to tap the brakes. We want to turn. (Not saying we want to “keep giving it gas” either – but I think the analogy holds in that by trying to brake too hard we may limit out ability to turn).

    Specifically, I worry that if we spend what societal goodwill and money there exists now on “cutting back”, there won’t be enough to fund a real solution until there’s already been a catastrophe.

    What do I think a real solution is? Nuclear fission on a much larger scale (not more small plants; huge ones, possibly with a new fuel chain or technology) or fusion. I don’t see anything else cutting it.

  5. ackpht says:

    Blunting the impact of climate change boils down to putting limits on environmental exploitation, use of resources, and human population growth. A lot of people really, really, really don’t want to hear that.

    These folks don’t want to believe in climate change, so they don’t. Discrediting science in media (radio, television, internet) provided to them BY science is an irony that they are willing to ignore.

  6. lesbianjesus says:

    So many anon comment, your belief is nothing if you are afraid to defend or discuss it in your own Alias at least.

    The debate is always the same

    Righteous Atheist, God 100% does not exist because there is no proof, you are all dumb and wrong.
    Righteous Fundamentalists, God 100% exists, we are the proof (aren’t we juts great) and besides it says so in the bible.

    Reasonable Atheist, I believe god does not exist, otherwise there would be proof. I will continue to live my life believing in now higher power. You have the right to your beliefs and I will always listen if you wish to present me with scientific evidence, if you ever uncover it.

    Reasonable Theist, crickets..

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      “I will continue to live my life believing in now higher power.”

      I think you meant to write “know higher power.”

  7. JasonsRobot says:

    POLLUTION IS HARMFUL – Everyone knows this.

    We don’t HAVE to be polluting as much as we do.
    How is green energy an evil, left wing plot..?
    Yes, people are going to make money off of lowering pollution – Just like people make money off of things that create pollution.

  8. chgoliz says:

    Obvious place for xkcd.

  9. farwest says:

    Bell is motivated by a conservative political world view. This informs his take on climate. It’s the opposite of impartial science. He starts with a political agenda and position, and then shapes the facts around that perspective. Given this information, it should be relatively easy to discredit what he is saying.

    Most climate change deniers approach the subject from their own political perspective. They don’t start with the science. They start with conservative politics, and then twist science to meet a political end. Look at the Koch Brothers, for instance.

    This is really the opposite of what real environmentalists do. Environmentalists start with science, and are willing to accept fluctuations in data and so on. Any politics is based on the proven data that global climate change is happening and that, for the sake of the planet, we should do something about it.

    Bell’s idea is that somehow environmentalists are in it for power and political gain–but he gets their motivations fundamentally wrong.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Speaking as an atheist, reasonable theists are out there, and their side of the debate tends to be “I believe in a higher power and you probably won’t convince me there isn’t one without proof, but it’s okay that you don’t believe. If you ever change your mind, we’ll be here.”

    Assuming there aren’t both reasonable and far-flung people on any side of an argument is just silly, and makes me think you’re carrying some misbegotten grudge against people of faith.

  11. Chevan says:

    The science is far from settled on global warming.

    And by that I mean, it’s settled that it’s happening. What we don’t know is how bad it will be, because every few months there are new papers that indicate the situation is WORSE than we thought it was.

    One thing to keep in mind when you read IPCC reports: they lowballed everything. They’re conservative estimates. Evidence suggests we’re on the worst-case scenarios of the possible tracks they predicted in the last report. Oh, and there aren’t any climate change models that include feedbacks like tundra melt that are probably going to be devastating when (not if) they happen.

    If you want to get a feel for the current state of climate science, and a good idea of what we can do to fix things, read Climate Progress. Here’s an article relevant to the discussion.

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/10/the-full-global-warming-solution-how-the-world-can-stabilize-at-350-to-450-ppm/

    Oh, and ‘waiting until the science is settled’ is a really, really bad idea. The science won’t settle until the catastrophes are over and done with. The damage is ongoing and cumulative; the science CAN’T settle. That plan will have disastrous consequences.

    Act now, it’s almost too late.

  12. travtastic says:

    I like to pull this out on such occasions.

    What if it’s a big hoax…

  13. Beelzebuddy says:

    One important point I forgot to include. Like I said, a good solution is one that costs less than the problem. Since we don’t know what the problem will cost us, a good solution now is one that helps to some degree while costing very little.

    Painting roofs white. Forcing companies to accurately estimate & publish their greenhouse gas (NOT just carbon!) footprints. Allowing people to pay extra on their utility bills, then funneling that money into alternative energy production.

    All very minor things, yes, no magic bullet, but they’re cheap. If they don’t work in the long run, no harm done. If they do, hey, good deal. The thing we want to avoid is massive time and investment in countermeasures to a problem we don’t even know is that bad yet.

    • greebo says:

      Beelzebuddy: “a good solution is one that costs less than the problem”

      I think you ought to go and read the Stern report before making these assertions. If you insist on costing everything up, and acting purely on a cost-benefit basis, then Stern is your man. The detailed economics show that the damage from not acting vastly outweigh the costs.

      Of course, being economists, Stern and co do some pretty obnoxious things, like valuing human life according to the expected economic value of the person. Which means lives in the developing world are valued very low, and lives in the developed world are valued quite high. So, although the cost benefit approach gives a pretty compelling reason for urgent and massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, I much prefer the ethical argument, which pretty much boils down to us ensuring the next generation can enjoy life on this planet as much as we have. Read James Garvey’s book “The Ethics of Climate Change” for a very readable explanation.

      If you don’t realise why action is urgent, then you probably don’t understand calculus. The effects of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases are cumulative – every extra tonne of CO2 we emit this year has a compounded effect every year from here on, until it is eventually removed from the atmosphere, either by some yet-to-be-invented air capture device, or by natural geological processes that take thousands of years. See here for a longer explanation:
      http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=1285
      The bottom line is that the longer we wait, the much bigger the challenge becomes.

      If you don’t understand why action on climate change is urgent, then you really don’t understand climate change.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You’ve clearly missed the point of scientific method. There is an inbuilt asymmetry when it comes to proof.

    If you claim the sun comes up every 24 hours, all I have to show is a day when it doesn’t come up in a 24 hour period to force you to retract your theory or modify it. The fact that it comes up regularly on every known day isn’t sufficient. For a good example of this, look for the orbit of Mercury and the relativistic effects. Newton had to be modified.

    So when you critique those throwing spanners in the work, its clear you don’t understand how science works.

    • SamSam says:

      If you claim the sun comes up every 24 hours, all I have to show is a day when it doesn’t come up in a 24 hour period to force you to retract your theory or modify it. … So when you critique those throwing spanners in the work, its clear you don’t understand how science works.

      Yes, but it sounds like you didn’t read the article, or missed it’s point.

      Those “spanners” that you say are being thrown in the works are akin to me saying “Those ‘scientists’ say that the sun comes up every 24 hours! Yet a 1999 article said that one day it didn’t! And we have evidence from the ancient Greeks that the sun regularly didn’t come up! And one day when my Russian friend told me the sun was up, I looked up at the sky and it wasn’t up! And the length of the day was getting shorter just recently, so when we plot the data we see it won’t come up in just a few months!”

      The article at RealClimate in question was a point-by-point analysis showing that all of those “spanners” being thrown were junk science, irrelevant, or just plain made-up.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this. I recently have become a big boing boing fan, as you post elaborately on most of my topics of interest, but I have seriously missed posts about global warming. I believe it is something that should concern a lot more people a lot more than it does. Also, RealClimate is a great site.

  16. SamSam says:

    Little or no knowledge of a holistic view of any given science is needed to construct such scattershot attacks.

    This is precisely one of the biggest problems when debating climate change science, or other “controversial” science topics such as evolution. No where is this clearer than in online debates, where people with very little knowledge of the underlying science are nevertheless able to keep throwing barrage after barrage of intelligent-sounding nonsense, ignore counter-arguments, and generally do a good job of looking like they might have won the debate — or at least sown dubt.

    Personally, I’ve always wanted internet forums to make it easier to conduct rational debates: it should be possible to take each and every assertion in a poster’s comment and branch it off into a sub-thread, in such a way that you can clearly show that every argument has been satisfactorily answered. As it stands, though, half the time the poster can’t even remember which arguments he’s already used. In a speaking debate the problem is compounded many time over.

  17. Emo Pinata says:

    What if I feel larger environmental problems are left at the wayside for a more obscure evil with “pat yourself on the back” solutions?

  18. Mira says:

    Fnord!

    (Sorry, had to do it..)

  19. Mira says:

    Fnord!

    (Sorry, had to do it..)

  20. noah says:

    The Gish gallop raises a barrage of obscure and marginal facts and fabrications that appear at first glance to cast doubt on the entire edifice under attack, but which on closer examination do no such thing.

    Man, this sounds like the typical peer review I get back after submitting a paper or proposal…

  21. Beelzebuddy says:

    against the case for immediate policy action to mitigate climate change.

    I don’t believe the article addresses this, actually, which is a good thing. By using evidence for global warming as justification for “immediate policy action,” you’re committing the same sin that the Forbes article is guilty of, and the linked article warns about: conflating policy with science. Don’t do it.

    Right now global warming is still a science problem. It’s happening, yes. But we really don’t have a great estimate for specifics: what the impact will be, and how effective putative countermeasures might be to check it. Without all that, any policy enacted will be based in ignorance, and likely end up as feel-good measures that cost an arm and a leg and damage the economy far more than the changed climate they’re ostensibly preventing would.

    Therefore, keep your alarmist and denialist bullshit out of policy fora. It ain’t helping, you’re just muddying the water. Don’t panic. Wait for the science to work this out, then panic. It will be a more focused, precise panic, that might actually be good for something. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for low cost policy changes that stand a good chance of doing something beneficial along the way, like Stephen Chu’s “paint all the roofs white” suggestion.

    Personally, I’ve always wanted internet forums to make it easier to conduct rational debates: it should be possible to take each and every assertion in a poster’s comment and branch it off into a sub-thread, in such a way that you can clearly show that every argument has been satisfactorily answered.

    I’ve occasionally considered some form of unstructured post system, whereby threadless posts could be tagged by subject, and clouds of related posts could be arranged into argument-structures: refutation, counterpoint, supporting argument, redundancy, fallacy, etc. The hardest part, I think, would be encouraging communal integrity. Keeping people from tagging all the posts they dislike with “retard,” say.

    • Dave Ng says:

      Thanks for catching that. And you’re right that that line is a snapshot of my own bias. Plus I especially like your phrase… Wait for the science to work this out, then panic (would be great as a point of discussion in class).
      Still, I’m wondering if there is some justification to being a bit alarmist here (at least from a measured risk assessment sense, or an “is there anything we should do now?”). I agree that due to the nature of the science involved, the evidence has certain caveats associated with it, but there does seem to be a fairly coherent take on global warming (as you say) “happening” as well as many of the reasons concerning why and how. In that case, wouldn’t you say that some level of immediacy is needed?

      • Beelzebuddy says:

        In that case, wouldn’t you say that some level of immediacy is needed?

        Perhaps, but to do what? While scientists agree that global warming is a reality, all proposed solutions have been kneejerk political ones, and ineffective at that. None of them are grounded in any science better than “well, it probably wouldn’t hurt.”

        You mention “why” and “how,” but I’d argue the pertinent question is “what.” Current science suggests global warming would turn out to be a significant hit on the global economy, as well as accelerating extinction of niche species, and that’s about all. Any good solution is going to have to cost us less than ignoring the problem would, plus a sum appropriate for allaying the fears of the Chicken Little population.

        Public perception of global warming, on the other hand, ranges from “it’ll make things better” to “the Earth will be a glowing lump of charcoal in ten years’ time.” (Protip: it won’t) Arguing solutions is a lost cause when people refuse to agree on the problem.

        Then there’s the political side of things. The public as a whole might all agree that Something Must Be Done, and probably pick the Something they hear the most, but individuals are cannier than we tend to credit them for. So long as the problem remains unknown, they’re going to try and twist the debate to suit their ideologies and realpolitik. Nukes we can agree on. CFCs we did agree on, and the whole world came to a solution that was necessary and sufficient for combating the problem effectively. Global warming? Not right now, no. Globally, this means China and India argue themselves exempt from any carbon reduction policy indefinitely, defeating the purpose of international accord. Locally, on this very site I’ve seen people argue against seemingly sound carbon-sequestration schemes for the sole reason that it wouldn’t limit Man’s incursion onto Nature, which we all know is the true evil.

        Upon reloading before posting, ackpht’s post is a good example. He really doesn’t care what the science might or might not say. His mind has been made up, he’s ready to help you set policy now.

        Here’s a good litmus test: ask somewhat what impact global warming needs to have before it merits the solution du jour. If they respond with “doesn’t matter, global warming bad! GLOBAL WARMING BAD!” you’ll know you’re dealing with a fanatic. Don’t waste your time.

        • SamSam says:

          Current science suggests global warming would turn out to be a significant hit on the global economy, as well as accelerating extinction of niche species, and that’s about all.

          What? Sources please. What “current science” suggests that the effects of global warming will turn out to be nothing more than a “hit on the global economy, as well as accelerating extinction of niche species?”

          IPCC: Is the sea level rising? Yes, and the projections range from a sea level rise of 200 to 500 mm in the next hundred years.

          EPA: Coastal Zones and Sea Level Rise: A two foot rise in sea level would eliminate approximately 10,000 square miles of land. Also describes a huge number of other effects.

          Science Daily: Approximately ten percent of the worlds population – 600 million people – live in low lying areas in danger of being flooded.

          IPCC: Are Extreme Events, Like Heat Waves, Droughts or Floods, Expected to Change as the Earth’s Climate Changes?: Yes.

          Those, and many more, are the actual science predictions.

          Similarly, we can call BS on the line “all proposed solutions have been kneejerk political ones.” Actually, scientists have made hundreds of proposed solutions, ranging from better use of energy to carbon sequestration. Where are you getting all this from?

          • Beelzebuddy says:

            Uh, yeah. Those are all economic problems. Pretty significant ones, too.

            Point is, even in the worst-case scenario, life will go on. Civilization will not crumble into a Mad Max style post apocalypse. There are issues, and dealing with them will cost us, but we can deal with them.

          • SamSam says:

            Those are all economic problems.

            Well, sure, but along the same lines, millions of starving refugees is “just” an economic problem. You can pretend you’re not being dismissive of the problem by modifying your wording to say it’s a “serious” economic problem, but the fact remains that we’re discussing possible discruptions on food supplies and housing for hundreds of millions of people.

            To suggest that all the problem is is an “economic” problem, with some death of “niche” species is akin to saying that an asteroid hitting the earth would just be an “orbital” problem. Fine, play with words if you want, but don’t use that to suggest we shouldn’t be working harder than we currently are on (potentially expensive) solutions.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry, “droughts and floods” are only “economic problems” through the eyes of people very far away from them. Civilization isn’t going to crumble, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be just fine.

        • Dave Ng says:

          Ask somewhat what impact global warming needs to have before it merits the solution du jour.
          (BTW good discussion here). I guess a problem I have with your argument is that it almost sounds like you want a more definitive answer before acting. However, when exactly is the data definitive enough, and maybe more importantly, who exactly should make that call? It reminds me a litte of a fundamental public misunderstanding of what science is – the idea that it provides an objective “truth.” Whereas in reality, one of the nicest definitions of science is to agree that it must be something subject to falsification (i.e. it can never be truly definitive).

          So where does that put us? When exactly is the pertinent time for action, kneejerk or otherwise. Well, I’d like to think that under these parameters, you’d start listening to people who know what they’re talking about. Not necessarily alarmists and definitively not the denialist – but maybe the folks with the expertise to truly critique the scientific data, and also the folks with the expertise to try and understand the possible societal consequences of the projected climate. For example, and I’ll promote my opinion here – I think the IPCC report (link), though flawed for various reasons, is still excellent reading with a lot of smart people behind it.

          All to say that that is the kind of criteria I hope people use to make these policy decisions, and that I (and many others) think that doing something sooner rather than later is the better choice.

          Of course, whether the political context listens to this type of advice is another story altogether…

          • Wally Ballou says:

            I suspect that the only solutions which are likely to be both successful and politically palatable are tied to making clean energy cheap.

            There’s work being done in that direction, but not enough.

            Making dirty energy expensive is of course not the same thing.

          • Beelzebuddy says:

            The scientific community is pretty good at reaching consensus by themselves, if left to their own devices. They’ve been telling us global warming is happening for, what, a decade now? What they haven’t agreed about is what exactly we can do to effectively combat it, and how effectively we need to combat it, though the IPCC and friends make a great start.

            Most scientists can agree on some flavor of carbon reduction being a net benefit, but ideas of how much and how quickly are all over the map. There’re a few people with some pretty good specific plans, but afaik nothing everyone can get behind, present to policymakers and say “okay, here’s the plan, here’s what it’ll prevent, does that make financial sense?” That’ll all change with time, as models get better and objections get settled.

            Personally, in these sorts of situations I find myself expressing more fatalistic optimism than anything else. If this were a god game, right now I’d be reading the manual trying to figure out how to get the scientists, economists and politicians in the same room, because it’s nearly time to lock them all in together until they work out a joint plan. But, near as I can tell, that sort of thing is already routinely happening. Policymakers aren’t idiots. Aside from climate scientists, they’re probably the best informed individuals in this whole kerfluffle. When push comes to shove, when they need to set bullshit politics aside and come to an accord, they have, can, and will.

            In my opinion, the more the rest of us try to make it a capital-T Thing, the more eyes on the people in charge of this, the more people pulling in different directions, the harder their jobs become to do just what’s necessary and justified. That goes for the denialists and the alarmists in equal measure. Don’t rush them, don’t mire them. Siddown, shaddup, let the people who do it for a living get on with it, and don’t worry too much. It’ll turn out all right.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Siddown, shaddup, let the people who do it for a living get on with it, and don’t worry too much. It’ll turn out all right.

            You are a building block for every tragedy in human history. People have said that while every oppressive regime has risen to power, while every epidemic has raged past the point of control, while millions have suffered and died. You are apathy made out of meat.

          • Beelzebuddy says:

            Eh, fair enough. You’re entitled to your opinion. “Apathy made of meat” is a great phrase, though, one I shall wear with pride.

            Let me rebut, though, that no disease has ever been crowdsourced into extinction via people caring on the internet. Experts cured smallpox. Experts cured polio. People acting on their own homespun wisdom is why virgins in South Africa are being raped to “cure” HIV.

            Likewise, many oppressive regimes take and hold power by the same base demagoguery that FOX News employs. When people can be incensed into supporting a party whose economic plan can be summarized by “fire ze ovens!” it’s a fair thing to say that a widespread dose of apathy in their tap water would have gone a long way.

            There are times when people need to care. When evil runs free and good men do nothing.

            There are times when they don’t. When the half-informed pseudoscience they picked up from the fraction of internet sites they agree with can only cloud the issue and make right action seem wrong.

            This is one of those times.

          • Anonymous says:

            Let me rebut, though, that no disease has ever been crowdsourced into extinction via people caring on the internet.

            Except diseases cured by vaccination, which though experts prepare the solution, are only eliminated by large amounts of people caring. Right now most experts are saying climate change is like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Um. The whole point of a large part of the climate change argument is that waiting is not an option. Waiting will mean drastic, possibly irreversible, possibly hyper-fed-back changes in the planet’s climate systems, things we cannot fix under any circumstance. The argument that we can make minor changes and win anything has been soundly trounced several times. Calling anyone alarmist at this stage is a great indication that you’re not getting the point, and if you’re not getting the point then you’re basically on the wrong side of the argument.

      Waiting for a massive global change in climate to be 100% certain is a fool’s game. Bangladesh will be underwater long before we’ve got five 9s of certainty in the science, but we’ve got enough data now to say for sure that it’s happening and most likely that we have the causes in hand. Doing something about it isn’t something you can half-ass at this point.

  22. Cowicide says:

    We have some posters here who shall remain nameless that utilize the “Gish gallop” and just love invading threads involving Wikileaks, especially if there is any focus on Assange.

    Trite semantic pseudo-arguments, deflections, blind accusations, obtuse insults, character assassinations, flagrant ignorance, blatant hypocrisy and disdain of facts and general distraction from valid points are their evil, mind-numbing tools.

    Can this “Gish gallop” disease be helped or is it an incurable illness? I fear it’s hopeless especially when they often also suffer from apologistitis.

    While it’s much worse across other areas of the Internet, it’s gotten worse over the years as boing boing has gotten much more exposure to the dumb.

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