Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Another Climate Change 'Debate'

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." Author Unknown.

 Some farmers newspaper is having a go at a university for not wanting to host a debate between the two 'sides' of the climate change issue. So what? Probably nobody would notice. However, Andrew Bolt has added it to his blog, which is connected to a mass tabloid. Unfortunately, there are a larger number of Herald Sun readers in Australia than there are kangaroos. 

These people's main argument seems to be that the two scientists they invited to represent them should be considered credible on the basis of their previous work experience and qualifications. Actually having something intelligent to say or having published credible evidence that has been examined by peers and found to conform with the scientific method doesn't seem to rate very highly among their criteria. 

Of course, debating a climate change denier would be something like trying to have a reasoned discussion with a concrete wall: no matter what you say, the rude symbols someone painted there aren't going to change their message. It would be insulting to the academic community to ask them to participate in that kind of freak show. Universities are places of learning, not puppets in these people's sick political games. 

Debate is pointless when one side doesn't have a point other than it's own short term interests and refuses to listen to the other. Proper scientific debate, anyway, needs to be done on paper, not on a stage. In trying to reduce carefully recorded data, calculations and mapping to the form of 'facts n' figures' that can be slung across a room in the form of rhetoric, the vast majority of their meaning and value is inevitably lost. 

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