Feb 22, 2016

Before We Debate: Global Warming

Want to debate global warming with me? First, you'll have to answer these four questions:
1. Do you believe that global warming should be a top five global priority?

2. If so, here is a conviction check: What if the solution to the problem is a 20% tax on non-renewable energy, non-electric cars and air travel? Would you voluntarily pay that tax?

3. If so, what are the main reasons why?

4. What would I have to show to falsify those reasons?
If you had to admit your answer to No. 1 is "no," we have no reason to debate. In essence, we agree.

If you made it to No. 2 but then answered "no," we also have no reason to debate. I've found that debating with those who lack conviction is ultimately pointless unless you like to argue for the sake of argument. Actually, I sometimes like to argue for the sake of argument, so depending on the day I may choose to engage you. But just so you know, I won't take your position very seriously.

Of course, it's possible you are convicted about GW but want other people to pay for it. That's good to know. I personally have no interest in debating with you if that's the case. Your ideas are likely to be unbounded by reality. Frankly, I think answering "yes" to No. 1 and "no" to No. 2 is intellectual fraud.

If you made it past No. 2, having a clear picture from the answers to No. 3 and No. 4 should help guide our debate in a more rational direction.

For example, some people are no doubt convicted about global warming because they believe Armageddon is imminent if we do not take aggressive action. When pressed for the basis for their hypothesis, they have to rely on climate models. To falsify their hypothesis, then, I just need to demonstrate that climate models have been inaccurate in their predictions thus far. I can work with that.

Side note: This is much better than where these debates tend to go, which is the activist side claiming people like me (those who entertain skepticism about GW) are denying that warming is happening or that man's carbon emissions are the cause.

Still want to debate? Check out my position on global warming.