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:
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.
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
He maintained he was still right.Main Entry: scientific method
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 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.