“Skepticism about climate change comes with a particularly rich irony. Many doubters cite the earth’s past cycles of glaciation and warming to discount what we are seeing today as nothing but natural variation. How do the skeptics know of that climate history? From the very scientists whose conclusions they now doubt!” Jeff Schweitzer




Knowing that many climate change skeptics have been paid to dredge up whatever warmed-over arguments they can find to confuse and misconstrue the issues is annoying, but what annoys me the most is what I call “muddy the waters.”    It goes something like this. Alice says to Sam, “I think this is one of the coldest mornings we have had this year.”  But instead of agreeing or disagreeing and citing alternative evidence to support a negative response, Sam says, “Oh but I’ve seen colder.”  Therefore, Sam’s response deflects and changes the point raised and forces an affirmative response. So now,Alice may choose to just let it go or start over.  After a couple of further exchanges Sam has in effect obtained agreement on his point and nullified Alice’s original point altogether.

Another favourite prevarication is to ignore the point and spend time establishing the validity of a side issue.  This may be called “skirting the issue.”  Similarly, the skeptic may pull you away from the point you are trying to make by refusing to respond about your point at all and making statements about a different point that lead you to agree. Then you find yourself agreeing but not about your point.  Then often the skeptic will refuse to continue along that avenue leaving an affirmative in the air so to speak.