Saturday, February 27, 2010

Arguing About the Weather

"Hottest January Ever Say Climate Experts" Unbelievable. It must be nice to have a theory that survives no matter what the evidence. If it's hot, it's global warming. If it's cold, it's global warming. Snowing, or not, global warming.

A long time ago I learned to be on the lookout for arguments that seemed impenetrable to counter-evidence. At the time, I was then an undergraduate, I was debating a friend about whether or not all human behavior was motivated by self-interest. His contention was that it was. When I protested, "But what about charitable giving?" He quickly replied that even that was self-interested as you only did it because you sought, for yourself, the approval of man, the approval of God, or both. Ahhh!

Whenever you suspect you're hearing just such an argument on any subject, STOP! Immediately ask your antagonist what, if any, counter-evidence they will accept to disprove their contention. If they can't, or won't, dismiss them for the unscientific sellers of snake oil they are and move on.

For me, the global warming/climate change business (evolution theory as well, I might add) has long had this quality about it. Don't engage them unless and until they provide you with the conditions by which they are willing to be proven wrong. If they won't, abruptly shift the conversation to safer subjects like religion and politics.

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