Regular readers will already know that arguing with climate-of-doom True Believers is pointless. Don’t bother. A for instance. When my piece appeared at Crisis on the Pontifical Academy for Science’s climate theater, a certain reader said, in effect, “Don’t listen to Briggs. He’s not a scientist. He’s a nobody. Only listen to scientists.”
Skipping the obvious genetic fallacy, I wrote providing evidence of my (extensive) bona fides, not so much for him, but for others. My interlocutor then said that, in his eyes, I don’t qualify. He said my background was in “weather” and that I didn’t hold a tenured job (he always left out the majority of my experience). Only listen to “real” scientists, he said.
His grasp of the genetic fallacy would not be weakened. So I decided to tease him and pointed out that he was not a scientist and that nobody should listen to him. He wrote back saying, “Frankly, you don’t know what I am.” I replied that I’d call his bluff and asked to see his qualifications.
He took his time replying but finally said, “My bona fides are not in question. I have never claimed a expertise.” But he did claim he could repeat the claims of “real” scientists.
Several other readers had a go, but nothing could shake the poor fellow. Real scientists were those who told him what he wanted to hear, and pretend scientists were those men who told him what he didn’t. And he knew the real scientists were real because they told him what he wanted to hear.
This man represents the state of debate. Absolutely pointless. Dick Lindzen was right. Global warming belief is a (democratic) cult. Let me be a Martian slug with an IQ of 2, and let Martian slugs be famed for lying. Whatever claims I, the slug, made would still have to be tackled one by one. They could not be automatically dismissed because of my slugness. Logic 101.
If wasn’t credentials, it would have been something else. If I had said (which I did) that contrary to what the PAS claimed, there has been no increase in extreme weather, this man, or some other True Believer, would have said rainy days in this particular location in the month of May had increased from last year. If I rebutted that the claim of non-increase applied to strong storms and not rainy days, and that in any case changes in rainy days was consistent with non-increases in strong storms, the True Believer would have either have insisted his observation was sufficient, or he would have shifted his discussion to some other irrelevant point.
Pointless points. On and on.
Two ways you know you are dealing with an ideologue. One: he will never admit a point made by his opponent. If he knows, on a point, he is wrong, he will pass by it in silence. We saw this the other day in our discussion of the purposeful lowering of physical standards for women, something we were promised would never happen. It did happen. Did any of those who were for lowering standards comment on this failed promise? No, sir. They did not.
And we had two examples: lowering of standards in the military and in the fire department. Lowered standard proponents shifted the argument to “The feminized military here is doing well, in this small metric.” Another non admission. Most sorrowful was that the lowered standard for the woman in the fire department was passed by in utter silence. Don’t be in a fire in a politically correct city.
The second point, and perhaps the best single test: the ideologue will never be able to say what evidence would convince him he is wrong. This is because the ideologue starts from his belief and conforms the evidence he discovers to the ideology. The ideology is mother, the ideology is father. It is true and can only be true. It is so true that the victim is certain sure he is no ideologue.
Backing up this point (on a day of points) is, if you can believe it, Nature magazine. Somebody rejoicing under the name Oliver Geden (himself a minor True Believer) wrote the article “Climate advisers must maintain integrity” in which he said, “Everyday politics is therefore dominated not by evidence-based policy-making but by attempts at ‘policy-based evidence-making’.” Conforming facts to their ideology is what ideologues can’t help but do.