9.23.2008

Global Swarming

I've been having kind of an episodic debate with someone about climate change. Episodic because every time we butt heads over it, we both get so cranky that we realize the subject is just not worth engaging in. And the engagement happens because, specifically, this individual is a self-defined "person who, while he acknowledges that global warming is happening, has not ruled out the possibility that it is just a natural part of earth's self-regulating process and we should probably stay the heck out of it until there is more conclusive evidence." Whereas I define his position as "a large pile of guano."

Surprise surprise, I am not the world's most levelheaded person when it comes to certain lines of argumentation. Especially on something like climate change, about which I admittedly know almost nothing except osmosed conventional wisdom from various outlets like the NY Times and The Internet, which tend to run along lines of THE PENGUINS ARE SO CUTE. So while I am rock-solid in my belief that, yeah, global warming is both real and our own damn fault and also bee tee dubs worth doing stuff to stop, I am not so hot at actually coming up with coherent arguments against this dear guy's beliefs except I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU BELIEVE THAT OMG OMG OMG. Which is not fair.

The one thing I can do, and this is maybe too deeply ingrained, thanks to years of philosophy and logic and debate, is dissect the structure of someone's arguments and take it apart on methodological grounds. Which rarely goes over well, let me tell you, but goes over just about as badly as possible when I shift gears from "I take your climate change denial personally! And am going to cry now!" to "Hey btw did you notice how your argumentation precisely mirrors the shit that is pulled by the creationists?" Because at those moments he gets very very very mad at me and then I wind up feeling deeply bad about myself for pulling this low blow of comparing this irrational belief held by someone I know and eat brunch with to an irrational belief held by mittelamerican crazy scheming insano-bots.

The point of all this is: I am not the only person in the world who sees the evolution/climate change denial parallels! And this article was on Digg so obvs it is a legitimate contribution to the human canon.

5 comments:

Cunning_Linguist said...

Ahhhhhhhhh. The "new" age old debate of global warming. It's funny how passionate people are with it, isn't it? Mention religion, politics and global warming and people go crazy. Each side gets so heated that the other shuts down to all logic. It no longer becomes a discussion rather it turns into a piss fest about who's right. Democrats turn into anti-Bush. Republicans turn into anti-liberal. You see how this goes? It goes very quickly from true discussion to anti-something. Well, the same goes for global warming. While both parties agree that maybe sucking a tailpipe isn't good for you, neither is willing to concede that the other may be a hair correct in thier view.

Try this statement with your friend and let us know how it works out..... "While I believe the earth *is* going through a natural cycle, it is being sped up exponentially by human means. Agreed?" That should basically shut him down because BOTH views are actually correct and undeniable.

Marcin said...

Wait, how is pointing out that a hypothesis is based on the Texas Sharp Shooter fallacy the same as denying something for which there is direct evidence?

greenfyre said...

RSGo

Stay strong - we are not alone!
http://civildiscussionbetween.blogspot.com/2008/07/global-warming-deniers.html

;-)

As for cunning, all of the natural cycles are currently in a cooling phase yet we still have had "Global warming greatest in past decade" http://www.physorg.com/news139508446.html ... so much for that argument.

Cunning_Linguist said...

ooooo, linkies. Too bad the one meant for me focuses on a crackpot ( Mann ) who values publicity over actual scientific data.
No argument, though. I whole heartedly agree that it's the fault of the human as to why we are in this predicament. Either that or cows really are the cause with the methane gas. I'm doing my part, though. Waiter..... steak, med-rare and don't hold the grissle!

Lisa M said...

Is your "friend" Mark?? :)