Friday, December 14, 2007

Word of the Day, or, How Not To Look Ignorant

The internet is a great place. I really love the fact that there is literally an unlimited amount of information readily available at my fingertips. It has its downsides, though. One is people who don't know how to use dictionary.com:

There's a difference between being a skeptic, and being a debunker. Skeptics will see both sides of an argument and admit the likelihood of both. A debunker will deny, deny, deny the truth, even if it slaps him across the face. Which one are you?
For your reading pleasure (and hopefully, edification):

de·bunk
–verb (used with object)
to expose or excoriate (a claim, assertion, sentiment, etc.) as being pretentious, false, or exaggerated: to debunk advertising slogans.

However wrong he may be on what the word debunk actually means, the commenter was right about one thing. There is a difference between being a skeptic and debunker. Anyone can be a skeptic. All skepticism requires is enough brain matter to choose to doubt. This doesn't necessarily include rational analysis of the subject matter or any real reason to do so.

The debunker, on the other hand, accepts the data as it becomes available and uses his own wits, intelligence, and logic to get through the claims made by others (true or false) with the express purpose of finding truth, and subsequently uses that truth to drown out the claims of the ignorant, uninformed, or intentionally disingenuous. Both parts are critical -- the man who finds truth and does not share it may be wise, but he's no debunker.

Based upon the actual definitions of the words in play, as opposed to the imagined ones of a sadly confused but nevertheless passionate poster, I'll gladly wear the mantle of Global Warming Climate Change debunker. It's the least I can do.

3 comments:

Matt said...

It's funny how, despite all of the facts that I "copy and pasted" off the NASA GISS, not one was challenged by you. You instead decided to attack the way I framed my argument. I'm being such a jerk on here, because we've been through these arguments before. Like the one about the "new" US record for
hottest year. You were intentionally deceptive in your last post by not even mentioning the fact that the data you put up only represented a small fraction of the overall GLOBAL data in GLOBAL Warming. It, in fact, only represents about 3% of the actual data.

The highest rate of warming, ONCE AGAIN, is seen not in urban environments, but in the arctic. You, once again, do not do anything in the way of even attempting to challenge that fact. You simply ignore it, like 99% of the facts that I put on here.

Like I've said before, I'm not a climatologist or a physicist. Yes, I did copy and paste the information from NASA's website (you caught me!)... while citing and referring you to the exact place I got it from. I don't pretend to have a vast reservoir of knowledge on climate change. That's why I use institutions like NASA to help me out on the subject... you know, the people who put the first man on the moon? They seem like a pretty reliable source to me. Since their overall conclusions disagree with your conservative talking points though, I'm sure you've labeled them as somehow incompetent.

I attack you on the merit of the facts that you present in your arguments. You come back and attack me for my use of the word "debunk". Somethings not right here. If you actually had a real, intelligible argument to make, you would be making it right here in the comment section. You wouldn't be constantly linking me to other posts that have little to do with any of the arguments that I've been making.

Al Gore is not Jesus Christ (I have never been to his website, nor do I regard him as the be-all, end-all on global warming information). The CO2 sequestration of young and old trees within the United States and the disagreement between environmentalists on how to deal with deforestation has little to do with the overall theory of global warming. Yep, people disagree; especially in a movement that includes literally hundreds of millions of people with a wide variety of opinions. The CO2 release of moose in Norway (and all other gas emitting animals) is irrelevant since moose have been around for millions of years, while cars and coal burning plants are new to modern history. Human and moose respiration are of little importance in this debate because they have little effect on global warming. Exhalation/flatulence is part of a closed system. There can't be a net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, since the amount exhaled can never be more than the amount of carbon taken in from eating plants and, in our case, animals. ONE article you cite from 1922 is laughable as any kind of argument against todays consensus AND, once again, repeats the claim that the hottest year on record is 1934 with absolutely no mention that it only accounts for United States data, and the "new energy policy" about whether or not higher taxes would reduce the price of natural gas has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with the subject of climatology.

As for the "most important" link you cited (from your own posts) on the consensus of global warming, you proved absolutely nothing. There obviously is not a 100% consensus on the VARIABILITY of different climate forcings (which was the main, and probably, only point that were attempting to make). The article that your post was based on discusses the uncertainty of the values of different inputs into equations determining the overall heat absorption of the ocean. None of your posts challenge the consensus on the OVERALL assumption that human activities have triggered an increase in temperatures.

Neither of the articles in the links of your last post on "anecdotal evidence" had even one scientist in them making any sort of claim that this precipitation had anything to do with global warming.

I'll shoot them down as long as you keep them coming. I believe that I've addressed nearly all of your points so fa\. If I haven't, I'm sure you'll let me know. I just wish this was more of a two way conversation. You still have not addressed any of the points that I have made in support of anthropogenic climate change, except to say that since temperatures in the US have been adjusted, the likelihood that all other data around the world will also be adjusted is high. If this is so, tell me why the highest rate of temperature increase is in the arctic... far, far away from any civilization.

k2aggie07 said...

Goodness gracious. You clearly have more time to devote to this than I do. I promise my lack of posting over the past two months hasn't been part of a grand scheme to hide my face in shame from your gleeful NASA/GISS quotations.

I'll write a post rather than a comment because I don't really feel like typing it all out in this crummy little box. At least you held back your environmentalist rage long enough to keep from calling me stupid or insulting me with words you (apparently) don't quite understand. Thanks.

k2aggie07 said...

My posts were shown merely to demonstrate the number of issues with which you are able / willing to debate on the same level as I am, e.g., the politics of climate change, how it affects our society, and the like. You don't read journal papers, you don't do math, and so you can't really talk science. You don't (clearly) even know what "facts" are.

you proved absolutely nothing.
That's handy, because I wasn't trying to. I was taking a peer-reviewed journal article and doing my best to put it in layman's terms. This was to demonstrate the uncertainty involved in climate science and to show that it is clearly not a done deal. Climate science is a flourishing area of research and our understanding of the climate and why and how it changes increases daily.

Neither of the articles in the links of your last post on "anecdotal evidence" had even one scientist in them making any sort of claim that this precipitation had anything to do with global warming.That's why they're called anecdotal evidence. I'm beginning to believe you don't even read what I write -- which is fine, because I don't write it for you. But seriously, there's a disclaimer at the bottom for a reason.