2010-08-27 00:20:47Funny climate discussions you've had :D


I've just had one. :D

Amongst other things, I need a partial jaw reconstruction (something to do with getting beaten up by a right-wing activist) so I was just called by the dentist's office, who will be doing the finishing touches. Since I know most of the people working there pretty well, we did a bit of small talk too and I mentioned translating stuff for SkS "because there's such a lot of misinformation on the internet".

"But isn't it true climate scientists still disagree on just about everything?" Ilona, the dentist's assistant, asked. "I recently saw on TV..."

As you might guess, I had an aswer to that :P ("Actually, 97% of all climate scientists...") and afterwards she even wanted to know where she could find my Source of Knowledge. Which I gave, of course. :D

2010-08-27 01:16:01welllll...


I spent the last week arguing with a youtube guy who claims to design biospheres, and who calls all scientists "eggheads" - repeatedly - and states that the effects of GHGs have not been experimentally verified, that we don't know the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic, that it's all outgassing due to mantle plumes (and that this hypothesis has not been tested). He asked why noone had bothered to simply take two containers, one with CO2 and one without, heat them, and watch the termperature difference. When I pointed out to him that a fourth grader had actually conducted the experiment he was asking for, documented in a youtube movie, he responded that the experiment did not have proper controls. You have to give the guy credit for rigorous scientific standards of evidence.


Simultaneously, I was also arguing with some jackass who thinks getting rid of all people currently living at sea level is good riddance because they're all on-welfare no-good commie hippy Nazi bastards anyway, who are too stupid to have been born in a mountain or highland region. But he's very concerned with paying taxes to Al Gore.


And then there's the various discussions I've had at my regular hideout, the Skeptics Guide To The Universe forums, particularly with one Will Nitschke (he's posted here in the past), who is a master at spinning any argument you can come up with. It's amazing how slippery that guy is in debate. For example, after I linked to the recent post of independent temperature reconstructions here, he claimed that the fact that people like Von Storch, Judy Curry and the Met office are arguing for independent analyses of temperature data and building an independent new record, signifies that these people thought the existing reconstructions are unreliable. So I emailed all of the above and got the unanimous response that this would be very unlikely to change the conclusions of the existing studies, but that it has some theoretical benefits as well as strong PR value. Von Storch actually published our brief conversation on his blog. I pointed this out to Nitschke, who then somehow managed to spin it so that I was being an apologist for Jones et al. It all sounded very convincing, except for the fact that he was dead wrong about what he had said earlier! ARGH!

He also managed to spin the State Of The Climate 2008 conclusion that "high end projections can not be ruled out on the basis of recent decreases in temperature trends" (not a verbatim quote, but that's basically what it said) into "we can rule out any projections above 2oC".


Anyway, while frustrating, those were all pretty funny in some way or another. Or maybe I should say "hilariously tragic".

2010-08-27 02:07:53


On the plus side, my frustrating encounters with Will have triggered my creativity in coming up with new insults (there's not a lot left but ad homs after a few pages of arguing with a condescending brick wall with high maneuverability). In one such moment of weakness, after Will had misrepresented and ad hommed me a number of times in a row, I took a page out of Fritz Zwicky's book recently, who is (in)famous for referring to his colleagues as "spherical bastards" because "they were bastards, when looked at from any side". I referred to Will as a six-dimensional hyperbastard, because he can slip in and out of our plane of reality in any argument, but he remains a bastard in any dimension.

It's not the most productive way to argue, and I try to avoid personal comments, but for some people I'll make an exception, some of the time.

[EDIT] Of course, I've also met a lot of people with whom it was quite possible to have a more civilized discussion, but those are typically more "encouraging" than they are "funny".


Oh, and not-climate related, but also kind of amusing, on the IMDB expelled board we once asked a creationist whether God has a penis. His exact words in response to the question, which I saved to a text  file, were:

"He sure does! A Holy, Righteous One that is."

 He went on to argue that It is not for sex or peeing:

"No, God's Penis is not a biological organ. I never said God's Penis was the same as man's penis. Obviously it wouldn't be. That is why I pointed out God has a Holy, Righteous Penis. That is to say, it's not the same as man's corrupted, fleshy one.
As I said when this subject first came up, once again: Penises are not just for sex & peeing. It is only because man is evil that he thinks of penises exclusively in those terms.
Man is made in the image of God the Father. That is the primary reason why man has a penis.
You cannot insert your evil prejudicial ideas of man's penis onto God - which is exactly what you are doing. God's Penis is not equal to man's penis. It's really not hard to understand." - Navaros


Another one was asked how he could explain that some people are born with tails, if not for evolution. His words:

"Yes, that's exactly what I am trying to say. I believe Adam and Eve had tails"


OK, I'm done for now. I think.

2010-08-28 00:59:42

Did werecow slay this thread? }|:o(
2010-08-30 15:31:51Another funny discussion
James Wight

On one occasion, I was arguing with a guy who didn’t even seem to understand the skeptic arguments he was parroting. For example, he made a big deal out of CO2 being a trace gas, but he couldn’t even do the sums – in the very same paragraph he said that CO2 is only 0.037% or 180 ppm of the atmosphere. He admitted that this level had risen since 1950 (when he wrongly believed it had been 150 ppm), but only to add that the Earth cooled from 1950 to 1970 so “evil CO2” couldn’t have anything to do with warming.

The same person also argued that water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. Of course, I countered that water vapor has a short lifetime in the atmosphere and thus acts as a feedback, not a forcing. I don’t think he understood that either because he paraphrased my response as: “H2O is able to hold more moisture when it is warmer.” His main objection to this was that he did not think the local weather had become more humid in the last twenty years.

He grew less and less coherent, and his responses less and less relevant, until eventually he seemed to realise that he was on shaky scientific ground and retreated to making ad hominem attacks on scientists, not to mention Al Gore. Finally, he declared that the burden of proof was on those who wanted to promote “anthropomorphic global warming”, and dismissed all those proponents on the basis of something that Al Gore said.
2010-09-11 04:37:40


Some random guy writes:

"Here is the problem you believers do not even know what your own argument is, damn it it is in the IPCC 4th report chapters 1, 6 and 9 explains it all. Takes about 2 hours to read darn it. You are correct CO2 is a greenhouse gas but in the lab it takes 200,000 PPM of CO2 (or 20%) to get a 3 degree C increase, NOTE 100 PPM HAS NO! I SAID NO AFFECT! Nothing of nothing is nothing!!!! We are talking about CO2 rising .01%!!! not 20%%%% like me giving you 100 dollars or 200,000!!!!! HELLO"


I suspect that this is... not entirely accurate. How do I even respond to something like that?


Maybe I should spend my time more productively. }||o|
2011-07-26 08:42:38


In german: klimaforschung . This guy (he's a well-known crank) claims:

"... Weder Verdauung noch Ausscheidung könnte ohne CO2 funktionieren und ein Beutel Orangen würde uns ohne die puffernde Wirkung von CO2 im Blut ins Koma versetzen. .."

"... Neither digestion nor excretion could function without CO2, and a bag of oranges would knock us into a coma without the buffering effect of CO2 in the blood. ..."

In his world that's the proof of CO2 not beeing a GHG. But he fails to explain how digestion of oranges could have any effect on atmospheric physics. (well, probably methane excluded)