Recently I have had the great misfortune to attempt civilized debate with Bloviators.
I found, unsurprisingly, that it is quite impossible.
These Bloviators are generally decent, law abiding people. They are well educated and economically at least "comfortable". I've also noticed that many of them are also around retirement age.
For me debate means the following:
1. State your opponents position as factually as you can.
2. State your position as factually as you can.
3. Present evidence, facts, and data that supports your position and undermines your opponents position.
4. Let your audience decide for themselves based on the arguments presented.
Bloviators on the other hand, immediately question your ability, your right and educational qualifications to ask the question/question their position.
When I point out that here in America, just about anybody can question just about anything they tend grumble but usually concede that the question can be asked or the position challenged.
Next, having failed turn back the opposition they demean and insult you, your education, your background, etc. hoping that by belittling you that you'll just go away.
I'm just a little stubborn, if you ask Mrs. Hamilton's Pamphlets she'd say ALOT stubborn, so the verbal barrage typically doesn't phase me.
The next phase is name calling. They still have failed to produce a single scrap of evidence that supports their position, so they go Kindergarten on me. Usually it is some screed about being a heartless, right wing fascist. Still no coherent argument.
Finally, when playground bully tactics fail, they throw some jibberish out citing an extremist website or publication that supports their position and hide behind that.
NEVER, NOT EVEN ONCE, DO THEY ACTUALLY PUT ANY POINTS FORWARD THAT WOULD CONVINCE ANYONE WITH MORE THAN A THIRD GRADE EDUCATION TO SUPPORT THEIR POINT!!!!
Need proof? Check out this bloviator on Global Warming from the Kitsap Sun Newspaper:
PAUL MIDDENTS: Global Warming Critics Lack Climate Science Expertise
It’s enough to make an old science teacher despair!
In a single day I was accosted by a friend of many years who expressed skepticism of my global warming concerns. Then I watched two talk show guests ridicule global warming and environmentalism in general. The next morning what should I find on my favorite paper’s Opinion page? There, from the local columnist who consistently raises my blood pressure, yet another screed pooh-poohing global warming. (Oh how I miss community columnist Heidi Evans)
My friend noted that he had read the recent novel by Michael Crichton who posits that global warming is an eco-terrorist conspiracy to undermine the free (as in western free enterprise) world. He thought the book might be authentic because it had lots of footnotes and “references.”
On “The Daily Show,” John Stewart had as a guest Christopher Horner, author of a politically incorrect guide to global warming. This was followed by Jay Leno with Dennis Miller, who was off on a rant that included a fair amount of ridicule for global warming as a concern and Al Gore as its poster child.
Crichton made a bazillion dollars on two page-turners and the subsequent movies; “The Andromeda Strain” and “Jurassic Park.” He has an M.D. from Harvard and has actually done some academic work in anthropology. His latest novel doesn’t measure up as either a page-turner or serious critique of global warming. The references, so impressive at first glance, are highly selective and in at least one case, doctored to support Crichton’s thesis that because climate science doesn’t know everything, it must not know anything. He does acknowledge that the earth is warming a tiny bit, but not enough to do anything about it.
Christopher Horner is a lawyer employed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank/lobbying outfit funded in large measure by automobile, petroleum and drug interests.
Dennis Miller is an abrasive, unabashedly right-wing comedian now appearing as a Fox News talking head. I was surprised to learn that he not only graduated from high school but managed a journalism degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
The common thread among these three climate contrarians is their complete lack of background in anything resembling climate science. Our local community columnist bemoans the plight of the poor Oregon state climatologist, George Taylor, who supposedly is being fired by the governor because of his contrarian climate views. Actually Oregon has no position designated by statute, “state climatologist.” Taylor is on the faculty at Oregon State University and assumed the title based on some of his duties there.
Since the position does not formally exist, the governor, quite reasonably in my estimation, has asked that Taylor not use the title. Taylor is a darling of the climate change denial community because he is a rare bird indeed — someone with an academic background in a related field who denies anthropogenic climate change. Taylor is actually a meteorologist (M.S. University of Utah 1975).
Washington has not only a state climatologist (Philip Mote, PhD. in Atmospheric Sciences U.W. 1994) but he has a staff of three other well-qualified individuals working for him. They don’t agree with Mr. Taylor in Oregon. Maybe Gov. Kulongowski is trying to keep Oregon out of contention with Kansas for the lead in state-sponsored scientific illiteracy.
So what can concerned citizens do to inform themselves on this critical issue? Climate science is complex but not beyond understanding with some effort. Do your own research by listening to scientists in the field; climatologists, oceanographers, meteorologists, climate modeling specialists. Reliable Web sites exist: RealClimate.org, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control Web site (www.ipcc.ch) are just two.
Use SourceWatch.com to check the credentials of anyone speaking authoritatively on this issue. Read the book “Global Warming” by John Houghton, until recently Britain’s head meteorologist. Take a class in meteorology at Olympic College. Better yet, take a class from Cliff Mass at U.W. He just happens to be the best weatherman I’ve ever listened to. Check him out on KUOW every weekend. Silverdale resident Paul Middents is a community member of the Kitsap Sun editorial board. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the board.
Now read Thomas Sowell's articles from February 13, 14 and 15. Sowell presents his case and lets you make up your own mind. That's quality debate over a serious issue. Here's the line I like best:
The very attempt to silence all who disagree about global warming ought to raise red flags.
I'm not really sure about global warming. I think that us humans are having an effect, but are we bringing on the end of the world? I doubt it. There seem to be lots of really smart people that are having the same conflicted thoughts. What I do know is that the article in the newspaper wouldn't convince even my six year old, assuming we would let him read such trash.
That quote goes for all Bloviators and their attempt to silence or censor any and all who dare disagree with them on a multitude of topics other than just global warming.