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 Post subject: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-14 11:33am
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I know somebody who is gigantic bullshitter at times. A good person, but when he starts expressing his opinion on certain topics, he simply can't concede he got proven wrong when I challenge him. He plays word games, makes outrageous clams and bullshits. It pisses me right off. Do you guys have any advice on how to pin down a bullshiter? I admit, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, I usually come up with witty verbal counters hours too late. :banghead:

The guy begins by claiming global warming is bullshit. I was mildly interested, I usually avoid public arguments. I couldn't help myself this time, though. My own position is that many scientific institutions and many scientists have published literally hundreds of peer reviewed articles about global warming and the consensus is that it is likely to be partly influenced by man-made activities. I don't have the technical expertise to analyse this stuff, but I'm inclined to believe the people who are experts on this stuff.

I find it hard to be believe a non-technical person claiming to have more knowledge than literally hundreds of scientists in their own fields of expertise.

I asked him how he came about this observation. He said he knew of a study that said so, I asked which study and institution it came from. He avoided this question altogether. He claimed that most of the relevant scientific institutions didn't support the idea of climate change.

I literally went to a computer with him and took him to the NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. He quickly claimed it wasn't "official" (what ever that means, I assumed a "proper" institute) . I pointed out this quote on the site:
Quote:
The National Academy of Sciences was born in the travail of the Civil War. The Act of Incorporation, signed by President Lincoln on March 3, 1863, established service to the nation as its dominant purpose. The act also named 50 charter members.

He quickly then said they weren't enough scientists to analyse this stuff, I pointed out the site said there were 1800 scientists associated with the organisation and it was likely a few hundred were experts in the relevant fields. He quickly changed the topic once more. He was quick to dismiss the IPCC panel as "biased" because it was a panel about climate change, therefore the had to endorse climate change. I asked for evidence and he dodged the question.

This is when it gets bizarre. He asked me if it was possible for a climate change "person" (I assumed he meant some sort of advocate) to get onto the panel that allows/appoints the hundreds of scientists into these institutions. I asked him if he was implying that the panels (I'm quite sure this isn't how these organisations operate, but lets go on) that allow scientists to join these organisations and publish reports are all biased and have a political agenda to push climate change. A conspiracy involving literally hundreds of scientists and serious academic misconduct. He exclaimed "I didn't say it was a conspiracy! but the board could be biased with their appointees!".

I pointed out that would mean that the boards/panels of every major scientific institution of note in America, Europe, Australia, etc. would have to be biased in a similar way, and it would be a conspiracy involving literally thousands. It pointed that most of the peer review journal articles on climate change would have to be deemed as "biased". He replied "It could be". This is when I seriously got the shits. I strongly challenged him to provide evidence for his claim. He refused to, he simply answered "they could be biased". I was pissed off with this seriously retarded chain of thought, that I couldn't rip it to pieces on hand.

I also pointed out that statistical sample of peer reviewed papers indicated a vast majority "support the consensus view that a significant fraction of recent climate change is due to human activities." (Link). He said that there were recent developments in the last 6 months that blew all these papers out of the water. What exactly these "developments" were, he strangely didn't elaborate in detail. What a surprise. :roll:

When he claimed a number of prestigious institutions like the National Academy of Sciences have come out against climate change, I challenged him to name one. I even offered him money. I said he could get $20 for every one. He flat out refused.

He claimed that since "humans have not witnessed it", we couldn't possibly know how things "were". I said outright this was bullshit. Accordingly to his line of thinking, most murders couldn't be solved, because there were no witnesses. There are no living witnesses to the various events in the earth's history hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago, but using various scientific techniques to collect evidence scientists were able to form a picture of what happened in the past. He didn't answer and moved on.

He said "even if it is happened, do don't know how exactly it will effect ecosystems and humans". I pointed out he had no technical qualifications to make such a claim, and while we don't know everything exactly, scientists know enough to make some predications. When the night time temperatures in Europe rose in 2003, literally 30,000+ people died. The heatwave effected agricultural production. We know that some plants, animals and marine life can be adversely effected by changes in temperature. We know this for fact. To claim that "we don't know what is going to happen", which was to subtlety hint that it might not be any bad outcomes, was grossly dishonest. He moved on again.

He whined on about some people saying the entire world would die and temperatures going up 40 degrees Celsius. I pointed out none of the sites or institutions I had shown him said anything remotely like this. I pointed out the consensus was the world is not going to implode, there would still be life, but it could turn out to have very adverse effects on humans. He moved on again.

I compared his evasions an how a creationist debates. For some reason our debates turn to the definition of the scientific method. He definition was ridiculously retarded. He was claiming that it was only a guide on how to collect evidence, not interpret it. I literally got the dictionary out and showed him the definition
Quote:
Main Entry: scientific method
Function: noun
Date: circa 1810
principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses-Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
He maintained he was still right.

He then went onto claim that theories were meant to prove things. I pointed out theories in science can not be "proven", a theory can only only be shown to be highly accurate (not my exact words, but he understood what I meant) and they must be falsifiable.

This is the biggest whopper of the lot. He claimed that theories were meant to prove things and can only be disproved, and therefore somehow the theory of gravity was actually only a hypothesis. I literally could not think of anything to say to that. He wandered off after that, I guess he assumed that he 'won' after I went quiet (I simply had no idea what to say to his last comment.)

Note: When I say "He refused to answer", I mean he didn't answer my direct questions. It would either be a nitpick in the way that I had worded it or a previous statement, or an evasion. Then again, my recollection of how things went down could be biased. I'm sure that most of my questions were not directly answered. They were evaded. This made me angrier and more annoyed as this debate went along.

He kept making out the all the scientists endorsing the idea that man was impacting climate change were apart of some "movement" with an "agenda" and were cherry picking their data to support their "agenda". He never actually provides any evidence for this. If someone were to destroy my position using evidence and logical arguments, honestly I would be annoyed, but I would accept that I was beaten in the debate. The way he argued the debate........well it reminded me of how politicians debate. I can't imagine making numerous claims without knowing their source or an easy way to verify the claim. To me, it's just dishonest.

How would you guys have approached this? As you can tell I'm a pretty shit debater. Most of you experienced guys would have easily beaten him. I think I let this guy control the flow of the debate, every time I countered, he simply changed the topic. He demands a scientific institution that claims that climate change is partly caused by man, I produce it, he then claims they don't the ability to analyse the topic, I show that they do. He claims they are "biased" and part of some conspiracy. I point out how ridiculous and the sheer scale it would have to be, he says it could occur etc.

Sorry in advance, for mistakes. I have checked my post, but I'm tired at the moment.



"This statement, in its utterly clueless hubristic stupidity, cannot be improved upon. I merely quote it in admiration of its perfection." - Garibaldi in reply to an incredibly stupid post.
"Even if you could prove that a "gay" gene exists; it would only further prove that homosexuality is unnatural." - Ruben
"Problem is, while the Germans have had many mea culpas and quite painfully dealt with their history, the South is still hellbent on painting themselves as the real victims. It gives them a special place in the history of assholes" - Covenant

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 Post subject: Re: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-14 11:39am
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Sith Lord
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Theories are meant to MODEL things and their performance at that task can be evaluated empirically. They are not meant to PROVE anything; such a statement is completely absurd and betrays total ignorance of scientific method.

As for your performance as a debater, you will never get better without experience. Consider this experience. Every time he backpedaled or changed the subject, you should have ideally pinned him to the wall about it. Every now and then, you should go back to square one and review what happened in the debate, thus forcing him to explain his own conduct. He did not change the subject accidentally or incidentally; he was being very obviously evasive and shifting goalposts constantly.



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 Post subject: Re: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-16 01:15am
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This reminds me of a similar debate I had about global warming. I went to the EPA website to justify my position, and I get "It's biased because the government wants us to believe in global warming." This debate literally ended with me still looking up sources and mentioning what they say, and he went to bed.

I'd also mentioned that global dimming has had the effect of cooling the planet, which has been largely masking some of the effects of global warming. His counter was that the Earth can't be cooling down and heating up at the same time.. It seemed pretty obvious to me that this is plausible..

Anyways, sorry for the hijack. I really like Mike's advice of retracing your points and calling out when and where he evaded the question. Perhaps a second round with this person would help. You could mention specific instances where he evaded questions and call them out, and maybe have some "unbiased" sources handy. If you planned a second round of this debate and were prepared with evidence, it makes his inevitable "bias" whining look pathetic.



"Have you ever been fucked in the ass? because if you have you will understand why we have that philosophy"
- Alyrium Denryle, on HAB's policy of "Too much is almost enough"

"The jacketed ones are, but we're talking carefully-placed shits here. "-out of context, by Stuart

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 Post subject: Re: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-16 05:03pm
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I have a friend who spouts bullshit like this occasionally. Backpedalling while shifting goalposts is his favorite move when I actually bother taking the bait.

Otherwise I just sort of stare uncomprehendingly at him until he gives up.

I know it's probably not the best debating advice, but some people just want to argue. Either back up your argument with outside sources or don't let them pull you in in the first place.



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Yo mama so classless, she's a Marxist utopia - Proof that not all general chat is totally devoid of intelligence.

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 Post subject: Re: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-23 08:13am
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I don't plan on debating this individual again (unless he initiates it). There is simply no point debating a person who makes things up (conspiracies, definitions, etc.)

Sorry for the late reply, I didn't realise more people than Darth Wong replied to this thread.



"This statement, in its utterly clueless hubristic stupidity, cannot be improved upon. I merely quote it in admiration of its perfection." - Garibaldi in reply to an incredibly stupid post.
"Even if you could prove that a "gay" gene exists; it would only further prove that homosexuality is unnatural." - Ruben
"Problem is, while the Germans have had many mea culpas and quite painfully dealt with their history, the South is still hellbent on painting themselves as the real victims. It gives them a special place in the history of assholes" - Covenant

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 Post subject: Re: How to pin down a bullshiter PostPosted: 2009-08-23 08:54am
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bobalot wrote:
I don't plan on debating this individual again (unless he initiates it). There is simply no point debating a person who makes things up (conspiracies, definitions, etc.)

Sorry for the late reply, I didn't realise more people than Darth Wong replied to this thread.


From what I have learned so far, one of the best way is to simply break his argument down to a level where a lay person would be able to spot how stupid the person who deny global warming is.



People debate against me, to help me.

Still having a huge problem with reflex posting. Got to think twice before posting a reply and creating a thread :banghead:

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