Friday, March 29, 2013

More About Stossel's Set-Up

Watching the Stossel show again, I have to say, I thought both scientists did a good job of explaining where they're coming from.

Gavin Schmidt clearly had the tougher job, and knew he was going to be attacked from t=0 in a way that Roy Spencer never would be.

So this, from Gavin, was spot-on:
"I'm not interested in doing this because it's good TV.... I don't need to be arguing with people just to make good TV."
Good TV, of course, is really all Stossel cares about. (And isn't his faux 'astonished-that-anyone-could-ever-disagree-with-me' schtick pretty old by now?)

Like I said, this is a very good example of why scientists routinely decline these kind of "debates" (quote-unquote). Stossel's biases were very, very clear, and the scientist who appears gets bombarded with a series of interrupting, staccato questions -- what about India? What about hurricanes? What about the economy?? -- that simply do not allow for reasoned discussion.

They're only about, as Gavin said, "good TV." And TV has (sadly) never had anything to do with the scientific debates of our time.


Les Johnson said...

Its not just TV. Its about public debates. And there are two axioms on this debate:

1. Most AGW proponents flee from any potential debate.

2. In the rare instances where they don't, they most often get slaughtered.

Point 1 probably flows from point 2

Anonymous said...

Scientists are limited by having to stick to the facts. The other side is not constrained by those niceties. They toss out a Gish Gallup of nonsense and the scientist can only respond to one or two points, thus giving the less-than-knowelgable audience that the scientist could only refute a few of the points.

M D Smith said...

The scientists DO stick to the facts. The other side (alarmists) tossing out the "Gish Gallup" of nonsense, (like this year's cold weather was caused by arctic ice being at 96% of normal, and so was last year's warm weather) is what gets them into trouble, because they are always corrected by the scientists. The less-than-knowledgeable audience can check the facts. This is the mechanism by which alarmists lose the debate.

Les Johnson said...

anon: recall that in this "debate", both participants are scientists.

Unless of course, you don't think Spencer is a scientist?

David Appell said...

nonsense, (like this year's cold weather was caused by arctic ice being at 96% of normal, and so was last year's warm weather

Why, in your opinion, is this "nonsense?"

EliRabett said...

There is some science about this years weather and it is not comforting

Unknown said...

Scientist don't debate with deniers for the same reason biologists do not debate with creationists - it confers a false respectability, and the deniers always spin it as a "victory". As if sceince work by rhetoric, debating points and votes.

I am surprised Schnidt bothered. Of course, Spencer was not asked about his membership of the lobby group Cornwall Alliance.

Unknown said...

Les, Spencer is a creationist and a member of the fringe anti-environmental religious-fundamentalist group Cornwall Alliance. The CA propound the view that God gave us the planet to rape and abuse as we please. Spencer's credentials as a scientist rather than a religious activist are suspect IMHO.

Unknown said...

Roy Spencer's definition of his role as a scientist:

“I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

Between his religious activism and obvious political affiliation, Roy Spencer is possibly teh worst example of a real climate scientist.