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About Debate-Challenged Climate Scientists

A truly awful and extremely funny remark from the recent “Trip Report” by Goddard’s Climate Supremo Jim Hansen:

My guess is that scientists may not fare very well in”…”you-tube “debates” between scientists and contrarians

Why is it funny? Because what Hansen is likely trying to do is rationalize the failure of people like Gavin Schmidt to “win” any debate they are invited to.

As I have already stated, the inherent inability of Mr Schmidt and others in putting forward a cogent argument when publicly challenged, may be the reason why the RealClimate blog’s comment policy leans so much towards censorship.

Why is that statement awful? Because as a skeptic of the Carl Sagan/James Randi/Michael Shermer/Isaac Asimov variety I have followed debating scientists for more than two decades, and have seen them not just “fare very well”, but “win” hundreds of debates against believers in all sorts of fallacies, including the fakery of the Moon landings, UFOs, astrology, the paranormal, etc etc.

Why would climate scientists, and only climate scientists, be unable to survive a public challenge, whilst scientists studying evolution for example win all their debates hands down?

What is the difference? What is special about AGW?

Could the underlying problem be that, as Hansen inadvertently admits, nothing truly important has happened in terms of climate as yet, and the evidence for AGW if not for an upcoming disaster is flimsy? Direct quote from Hansen himself:

It is extremely dangerous to wait for real-world events to be so large that they overwhelm special interests and their contrarian lawyers

In other words, “real-world events” have not been large enough to justify AGW.

ps The “danger of waiting”, by the way, is exactly what some people have been claiming for many years…those people, that is, fond of carrying “The End of the World is Nigh” plaquards.

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  1. Douglas Hoyt
    2008/08/25 at 23:47

    The real world situation is actually as follows:

    The IPCC’s aim is to present the AGW case as effectively as possible, citing only evidence that supports their pre-determined conclusion and policy goals, and making the story appear as favorable as possible so that policy makers behave as they are told to behave.

  2. agwdoubter
    2008/08/24 at 22:45

    Don’t know if you saw this or not, on the same subject. Desmugblog had the same Hansen quote: http://www.desmogblog.com/the-case-for-not-wrestling-with-pigs

    Why? Turns out one of the bloggers for the site went up against Monckton & did not come off well at all, even according to other AGW supporters. Just google Littlemore + Monckton and you’ll see.

    Sure, they can blame the medium or the moderator or the format, but as you pointed out, evolutionary biologists or those debunking psychics never seem to have the same complaints.

    And as usual, what people say about others gives one insight into their own thinking – such as this gem from Hansen: “Some of the contrarians were once scientists, but now they behave, at least on the topic of global warming, as lawyers defending a client. Their aim is to present a case as effectively as possible, citing only evidence that supports their client, and making the story appear as favorable as possible to their client.”

  1. 2010/12/03 at 22:51
  2. 2010/12/03 at 21:41

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