The season of disinvitation continues: Chico State University can't handle a slideshow

I wrote back on September 28th about how Dr. Roger Pielke Senior and Dr. Bob Carter had been invited to present their views on climate science, then after the organizers found out what might be discussed, redacted the invitations to these scientists.

We also recently saw another example of how a “great debate” on climate had been staged by a Hollywood heavyweight, director James Cameron, who backed out of a debate with Climate Depot’s Marc Morano at the last minute, after Morano was already in the air and en-route to the debate. He’s now been dubbed “Titanic chicken of the sea” for saying things like James Cameron boldly slammed global warming skeptics as “swine” on the day he was supposed to be debating them. “I think they’re swine” Also see: Director James Cameron Unleashed: Calls for gun fight with global warming skeptics: ‘I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads’ then not having the guts to actually follow through with a debate that he set up in the first place. All bark, no bite.

After all that…. guess what?

I was invited by Chico State University to the Great Debate Oct 28th in the City council Chambers on the topic of the Proposition 23, delay of California Prop32, the “global warming law”. I accepted with a caveat, but due to that caveat I’ve now joined the club of the “disinvited”. My crime? Wanting to show some slides to go along with my oral presentation.

I figured this would be OK because when the city sustainability committee presented their “Climate Action Plan” they got to use their own slide show, but silly me, apparently science slide shows are only for those who believe, not those who want to challenge the belief.

This started way back when I was critical of our local city council and the city sustainability committee’s Climate Action Plan which is heavily opinionated by people from the sustainability cabal of our local university. I was criticized for my stance by sustainability guru Dr. Mark Stemen who said I was ducking debate:

“There are a series of debates scheduled on AB 32/ Prop 23. Do you want to crawl out and play? Or is it too scary in public?”

As I explained to Professor Stemen then, one of the reasons I don’t do a lot of public debate is that I have an 85% hearing loss, and it makes following a live interchange difficult, sometimes impossible. When I was on the local school board, having public meetings in the very same council chambers, the only way I could follow dialog was with a  hearing assistance device. It was difficult, and sometimes embarrassing, but I did my public duty the best I could.

I do better when I give a presentation, interaction where I have to hear others and respond on the fly is tough. Most people don’t understand that a hearing loss requires using a lot of brainpower to pull meaning from context when you can’t hear well. This means forming a rebuttal can be tough when you have to think on the fly.

So when this invitation showed up in my inbox…

Name: Thia Wolf

Email: cwolf@xxxxxx


Dear Mr.  Watts:

I am writing to ask if you would be interested in participating as a debate team member in the “Main Event” community debate in City Council Chambers on October 28.  The debate subject is “AB 32: To Suspend or Not to Suspend?”  We are working to put together three-person teams on each side.  Teams will  meet with the CSU, Chico debate team for tips on debate strategies.  This meeting can be virtual.  At present, Larry Wahl has confirmed he will be on the team.  We are hoping you will be the second member and a business person concerned about AB 32 will be third.

Please let me know if this is of interest to you.  The debate is webcast live and may also be televised.  We emphasize civil discourse.  I would like to send you the general invitation and more information if you are interested. Many thanks for considering this.

thia wolf


Director, First-Year Experience Program

Time: Friday October 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

IP Address:

….I had to give it some serious thought. I read the letter carefully, and looked over the website link she gave. I asked initially if she’d be able to control the venue, since the last time I spoke at the podium in the city council chambers on an environmental issue, I was heckled, called names, and shouted at. The venue can be ugly. She said she could help control the debate, and I responded to her assurances with:

On 10/5/10 1:17 PM, “Anthony Watts” wrote:

Dear Ms. Wolf,

Thank you. I’ve looked at the materials provided, and unfortunately I cannot determine:

1. Where the event you are inviting me to would be held (in Council main chamber or in a side room)

2. What time it would be held and the duration.

3. The actual format, length of presentations, etc.

Given my hearing disability, the only possible venue for me is the main chamber. There is a hearing assistance system there, and I can bring my best headphones to plug into the receivers used.

Also, given that disability, I likely won’t be able to pick up well on others presentations and make rebuttals, the only circumstances that I would consider participating would be to be able to provide a slide show while I speak. This would allow me to make a strong factually based presentation without relying on hearing skills to rebut others.

This can easily be accomplished by connecting my laptop to the VGA port on the left side desk. I did this when I was on the school board, and the scan converter made it also transmit to the cable TV channel.

To be fair, others should be able to present a short slide show if they wish. I certainly encourage it, and it would keep the debate factually grounded. I’ll make my laptop available to anyone who wishes to put a PowerPoint presentation on it and help them test it beforehand. Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards, Anthony Watts

She responded with:

From: “Wolf, Thia”

Date: Tuesday, October 05, 2010 1:26 PM

To: “Anthony Watts”

Cc: “Peterson, Sue”; “Justus, Zachary”

Subject: Re: Invitation to the Great Debate

Dear Mr. Watts:

Thank you for getting back to me!  I am forwarding this information to the Communication Studies faculty who organize the evening event.  I feel they are best positioned to decide if they can incorporate this technology into the evening debate.

The event is in the main Council Chambers.  The format has been developed by the debate experts in Communication, so they can go over this with you.  The Main Event starts at 6:30.  Again, the faculty should be able to give you a good estimate of how long the student debate will take, prior to the community member debate.

I have copied the two lead faculty members for this project on this email. I am sure they will confer before getting back to you, so please give them a day to do so.

I appreciate your willingness to consider participating.

Thank you,


I thought the response was rather odd, because virtually every city council meeting has a slide show, and there’s a system in place to make it happen and broadcast the slide show live to the town for anyone who wants to use it. There’s really no “technology to incorporate”. Besides, neither the Great Debate Invitation sent to me, the letter Great Debate Letter AB 32 nor the web site had any caveats against using a slide show.

This is the response I got back:

From: “Wolf, Thia”

Date: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 10:43 AM

To: “Anthony Watts”

Cc: “Peterson, Sue” ; “John Rucker”; “Justus, Zachary”

Subject: Re: Invitation to the Great Debate

Dear Mr. Watts:

There is agreement that we are happy to make sure the the hearing assistance system is working well in Chambers before the debate so that you will have the benefit of its use.  The debate does not, however, include visuals.

That would require a different format from the one we use.  It is possible to place you in the debate team line-up so that rebuttal is NOT your responsibility–for instance, you could open the debate for your team.

Please let us know if you feel you can participate under these conditions.



I was puzzled. Why could we not use visuals? This made no sense, especially since the room is set up for it, and the Climate Action Plan people made a slideshow when they pitched it to the city council and the public. So why can’t I?  I sent this reply:

From: “Anthony Watts”

Date: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 11:13 AM

To: “Wolf, Thia”

Cc: “Peterson, Sue” ; “John Rucker” ; “Justus, Zachary”

Subject: Re: Invitation to the Great Debate

Hello Ms. Wolf,

Thank you for your reply.

I spent my whole adult life making and presenting visuals to help people  understand scientific points on television, and now via blogging and  scientific literature. You are inviting me to participate because of who I  am and what I do. To deny me the ability to practice my craft, combined with  my hearing disability, puts me at an extreme disadvantage compared to others  there. I don’t work from a script, I don’t use a teleprompter, and I never  have. I wouldn’t write a script or statement for this either. The visuals  are my guide for the oration. I gave hour long talks in Australia this past June all over the continent and never once gave a prepared statement.

This is a technical argument that I would be making about climate and CO2,  which is the root of the issue for Prop 23 and the GHG law. It is impossible  to convey it without some visuals. People can’t see science in their heads.

Without visuals, my presence is pointless. In this day and age of visuals,  especially when there is easy and ready presentation access at the city  council chambers, I find your argument against using them weak and quite  frankly, a cop out, especially when the same opportunity can easily be  shared by others. This is sad, and out of touch with today’s reality,  because the Prop 23 battle is being fought on television with visuals and

innuendo, I would think you’d welcome factual debate with visuals, unless of  course the point of this debate is not about facts, but about feelings.

To deny visuals in a public debate is in my opinion, a sad commentary on  CSUC’s program. Even in a court of law the prosecution and the defense are allowed visuals. How else would they explain forensic science to a jury?  Get with the times!

Given the disadvantages I will face, and unless there is some sort of  accommodation for me to present at least some visuals, I see no other option  but to decline your invitation.

I await your reconsideration.

Best Regards, Anthony Watts

The reply I got back was pretty curt:

From: Wolf, Thia

Date: Thursday, October 07, 2010 8:50 AM

To: Anthony Watts

Cc: Peterson, Sue ; Justus, Zachary ; John Rucker

Subject: Great Debate

Dear Mr. Watts:

The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.  There are various kinds of presentations during the day, some of them technologized, but we are invoking a traditional style of civil exchange in the evening.  We do thank you for considering our invitation, and we regret that the format is not to your liking.  We are committed, however, to a traditional debate format for the “main event” debates.



thia wolf

First-Year Experience Program, director

California State University, Chico

“Let your voice be heard.”

(530) 898-xxxx

Wow, some debates get “technologized” but mine can’t be?

I sent this in reply:

From: Anthony Watts

Date: Thursday, October 07, 2010 1:07 PM

To: Wolf, Thia

Cc: Peterson, Sue ; Justus, Zachary ; John Rucker

Subject: Re: Great Debate

Dear Ms. Wolf,

Thank you for your cordial reply. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m going to respectfully call BS on your position.

In your invitation to me,

Name: Thia Wolf

Email: cwolf@xxxxxx


Dear Mr.  Watts:

I am writing to ask if you would be interested in participating as a debate team member in the “Main Event” community debate in City Council Chambers on October 28.  The debate subject is “AB 32: To Suspend or Not to Suspend?”  We are working to put together three-person teams on each side.  Teams will  meet with the CSU, Chico debate team for tips on debate strategies.  This meeting can be virtual.  At present, Larry Wahl has confirmed he will be on the team.  We are hoping you will be the second member and a business person concerned about AB 32 will be third.

Please let me know if this is of interest to you.  The debate is webcast live and may also be televised.  We emphasize civil discourse.  I would like to send you the general invitation and more information if you are interested. Many thanks for considering this.

thia wolf


Director, First-Year Experience Program

You make no caveats on presentation style of any kind. You also highlight the webcast nature of it and the televised nature of it.

Let’s recap: You invite a television person, me, and then deny him his normal tools while at the same time promoting the television and webcast nature of the entire event.

My work has been television for years, and now on the web. I operate the most visited climate science blog on the planet, now with 57 million visits. So yes, I’m fluent with both TV and web presentation. In fact I built, designed, and donated the first live webcast system for the city council chambers in 2005.

So to deny me the tools of that venue that I am fluent in using, while promoting the venue using the same tools you deny me, is a paradox. Do you see how incongruent your position is? I think you’d lose that debate.

I’m going into what I see as a hostile environment, at a disadvantage due to my hearing disability, only asking to present some slides as is normal for my work on television and web, and yet your tagline proudly says:

“Let your voice be heard.”

Well I’m sure trying, but they won’t let me use TV tools on a public TV program. As they say in the news business: “That won’t play well in Peoria”. I urge you one last time to reconsider.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards, Anthony Watts

Yes my response was a little strong, but really, how can a couple of slides cause any trouble? Especially when other portions of the day long venue get to use slide shows? I asked them to reconsider in my last sentence, surely, they’d come to their senses? But days passed, nothing. So I sent this:

From: Anthony Watts

Date: Monday, October 11, 2010 11:01 AM

To: Wolf, Thia

Subject: Re: Great Debate

Hello Ms. Wolf,

It has been four days since I sent my last message and I have received no reply from you. So that I’m not bothering you anymore please clarify. My presentation is not welcome and there will be no further response.

Is that correct? Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards, Anthony Watts

And this is the response I got back:

From: Wolf, Thia

Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 7:02 AM

To: Anthony Watts

Cc: Justus, Zachary ; Peterson, Sue ; John Rucker

Subject: Re: Great Debate

Dear Mr. Watts,

I am sorry for the delay in my response.  We do not want visuals during the debate, but we thank you for your input.


So I’m thinking to myself, “I’ll give it some time. Maybe they’ll reconsider.”.

But here it is, the day before the “Great Debate” and I’m still waiting. [Update: I checked the program just after writing this to see that I’m truly disinvited, see graphic below -Anthony]

Given that today’s debates are fought visually in electronic media, it would have been an opportunity for CSUC students to practice debate as it is done in the real world today, rather than the debate structure of times gone by,  such as the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debate of 1858.

I suppose if you want to debate in the style of that period using only words to describe technological and science issues, more power to you, but really, this is the 21st century.

Here’s an example of how the Prop 23 debate is being waged in California on television:

The kid with the inhaler is a nice touch, don’t you think? No science here, AB32 it’s about limiting CO2, not particulates! And I used to think the Lung Association was a straight shooter.

They are off my list of charities now.

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October 27, 2010 1:02 pm

“The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.”
Just WOW!!!

October 27, 2010 1:03 pm

Says it all doesn’t it!
How pathetic.
thia wolf
First-Year Experience Program, director
California State University, Chico
“Let your voice be heard.”

Robert Morris
October 27, 2010 1:09 pm

Pffff, little people playing little games. Don’t let them get to you, Anthony.

October 27, 2010 1:09 pm

You should have (instead of email) sent a carrier pigeon to deliver your last correspondence….in the name of “older discourse”…..

October 27, 2010 1:10 pm

I suspect they don’t want you ‘confusing’ the audience with all that “sciencey” stuff. It is my experience (I’ve done the debate thing) that the pro-GW side likes “appeals to authority” and similar arguments which go over in a word-only debate.

Crispin in Waterloo
October 27, 2010 1:10 pm

Anthony, can you pull a Jon Stewart and organise your own debate? It might be very well attended. Maybe Obama would show up…

October 27, 2010 1:15 pm

“Let your voice be heard.” … but only if it says what we want to hear.

October 27, 2010 1:15 pm

That’s justifiable!: That is like inviting a merciless prosecutor: He will demonstrate that “we were lying all the time” 🙂

October 27, 2010 1:19 pm

I also have significant hearing loss. I detest debate, and I hate meetings with more then two others. I spend so many mental machine cycles and time, signal processing intelligence out of the speech that I do not have any time to think things through to contribute. That whole debating thing is non-sense any ways. Winning has nothing to do with the validity of the position.

Mark Wagner
October 27, 2010 1:20 pm

it’ll be interesting to hear from someone who attends as to what format, topics, heckling, etc actually occurs.

October 27, 2010 1:20 pm

Crispin in Waterloo says:
October 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Just to begin with: What are they after NOW:
5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
a. Adopt at all levels sustainable development plans and regulations that make environmental conservation and rehabilitation integral to all development initiatives.
b. Establish and safeguard viable nature and biosphere reserves, including wild lands and marine areas, to protect Earth’s life support systems, maintain biodiversity, and preserve our natural heritage.
c. Promote the recovery of endangered species and ecosystems.
d. Control and eradicate non-native or genetically modified organisms harmful to native species and the environment, and prevent introduction of such harmful organisms.
e. Manage the use of renewable resources such as water, soil, forest products, and marine life in ways that do not exceed rates of regeneration and that protect the health of ecosystems.
f. Manage the extraction and use of non-renewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels in ways that minimize depletion and cause no serious environmental damage.

John Whitman
October 27, 2010 1:22 pm

It is not nice to fool with Mother Natureskeptics.
Keep on posting the stories of the dis-invitations Anthony.

Keith G
October 27, 2010 1:39 pm

I’m having trouble deciding what the main purpose of the debate was. To actually discuss Prop 23, or was it just some kind of experiential learning thing for the Debate Team? Regardless, if you were going to be there, it was going to be a big deal! No doubt some are going to spin this as you chickening out, so thanks for the clear explanation.
BTW, did you mean to publish that lady’s e-mail address? You normally X those out. Most of us here are well-behaved, but you never know what kind of cranks will do something regrettable.
REPLY: thanks, I’ll fix the email address, it was not intentional. – Anthony

Duke C.
October 27, 2010 1:39 pm

thia wolf
First-Year Experience Program, director
California State University, Chico
What exactly is a “First-Year Experience Program Director”?
A college freshman functioning as an intern? Very likely in over her head,. and probably jumped the gun extending an invite without understanding the format.
“The founders of the Chico Great Debate are dedicated to restoring civility, reason, and rhetorical argument into our public forums. Seeking to reinvigorate the public sphere as a healthy site of democratic practice, this project presents contentious issues in an arena that follows orderly rules of speaking and listening. We aim to “lead by example” and ignite a revived interest in our national tradition of constructive, civil discourse and argument.”
If this is the case, you might want to lighten your stance a bit, Anthony.

October 27, 2010 1:40 pm

It’s mighty poor business practice to disinvite those who could draw funding sources your way, especially in a political climate that might soon turn sour on the universitys current stance.
Smarter management would steer a more safer route… don’t you think?

George E. Smith
October 27, 2010 1:44 pm

So do you have any good feel for what level of technologistication they were contemplating for their Traditional Style of Civil Exchange ?
Does one eventually gather a reputation based on how many open discussions they have been disinvited to ?
You’ll be soon on a collision course with Lord Monckton for leadership of the club.

Malcolm Miller
October 27, 2010 1:58 pm

After all, THEY have said, “The debate is over!”

October 27, 2010 2:04 pm

Oh well. This is a better speaking platform anyway. Bigger audience and and a better record of the proceedings.

Joe Olson
October 27, 2010 2:04 pm

If your intention is to recreate the DARK AGES then why bother with electric lighting ?
Even compact fluorscent lights PALE in Earthiness to oil lamps and candles. We are all aware of the scientific defects of the AGW hypothesis, but the ‘other’ greenie agenda items are equally outrageous. Read “Green Prince of Darkness” and confront the Eco-freaks with the truth about solar cells and electric vehicles. How many condors have to be WACKED BY WINDMILLS before the Clima-clownologists can finally see the big picture ?
(This entire agenda is insane)

Greg Redeker
October 27, 2010 2:05 pm

@ Duke C,
Dr. Wolf is a professor in charge of a specialized program for first-year students at the university. She may be many things, but she’s not an intern.

Esther Cook
October 27, 2010 2:15 pm

I think this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and possibly a use of public funds to promote one side of an issue. If so you need to file your lawsuit in a timely manner.
You did mention, however, that a traditional debate is NOT suitable for you due to your disability. Perhaps you should help choose someone else who would be in a better position to use the format.
On the other hand, I think I spoke to you in Chicago this May, asking you whether we even could be sure the climate had warmed at all, given the irregularities your team uncovered with weather stations. I had no idea you had a hearing disability, and you gave me an appropriate reply. Intelligence can be FORMIDABLE in overcoming obstacles.

October 27, 2010 2:17 pm

The Chico state collage? Since when did Chico become a state? No wonder they can’t handle 20th century technology even.

October 27, 2010 2:18 pm

I appreciate your handicap, and regret that it will not allow you to participate in the Great Debate. Many in town will expect to see you up on stage, and will be disappointed by your absence
That said, you are not being singled out because of your beliefs.
The Great Debate is put on by the CSU, Chico Speech and Debate team, and is intended to improve civic discourse, i.e.. talking, among first year students. With the advent of smart phones and tablet computers, someday we may be able to show visuals to support our points in casual conversation, but at present that is not the case.
So, the organizers of the event are making this like a classic debate; no props, just words. It seems fair to me.
My tone on the last thread was hostile and confrontational. I deserved the response I got.
Thia Wolf was kind and cordial in her responses. She does not deserve the comments your fellow posters are dishing up. I hope you will agree, and reply to the same.
Thank you.

October 27, 2010 2:21 pm

Had you just wanted to speak, eventually they would have disinvited you for intending to open your mouth.
These folks aren’t interested in the truth–they might just as well stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and yell “La La La La La” until they keel over from exhaustion.
That’s the current state of “climate science”. (I don’t know why they even have debates–after all, such things are so passe.)

October 27, 2010 2:22 pm

Since the enviro exremsits are losing on all fronts but still control too many venues, there will be more of this sort of wafflilng and bs’ing for the forseeable future.
Hang tough.
If this was an academic or work environment, you would have a tremendous ADA claim to pursue against this.

October 27, 2010 2:24 pm

Anthony they only want vioces heard nothing visual as it might actually start to change a few minds. Sad really some ther might actually learn about real science!

October 27, 2010 2:26 pm

Yup, this is a common pattern. Several years before he died, Michael Crichton made an open offer to debate any and all “scientists”, with the proviso that BOTH sides must be allowed to use charts and graphics. He got PBS interviewer Charlie Rose to offer his show as venue, but none of the “scientists” ever took up the Rose/Crichton offer.

Zeke the Sneak
October 27, 2010 2:34 pm

Ms Wolf: “We are hoping you will be the second member and a business person concerned about AB 32 will be third.”
I wonder who that business person will be?

October 27, 2010 2:35 pm

Ancient debate forms. Do you have to wear a toga and sandals?

October 27, 2010 2:36 pm

Although I sympathise, I don’t think it entirely unreasonable that no visuals is a debating rule. There are many debating chambers all over the world where these aren’t allowed. Do they use them in the House of Commons, or at the Oxford Union? I don’t think they do.

October 27, 2010 2:37 pm

I’m with meeting organizers — they esptablish the rules. Can you imagine boxing match where one of participans complaints about his opponent physical advantage and asks if he is allowed bringing a hammer to level the playing field?

Rocky H
October 27, 2010 2:39 pm

Thia probably got a talking to. She seems a little naive. Anthony Watts is extremely knowledgeable, can’t have that in Chico. People might actually think for themselves.
Something else is bothersome about this: why does one party get to select the debate teams for both sides? That is stacking the deck.
Each side should choose their own debate team. Hey, if they let me pick all the participants, I’d be able to predict the outcome of the debate with 100% certainty.

October 27, 2010 2:43 pm

Seriously, Anthony, you didn’t really believe that you’d be given anything in the way of a ‘fair’ shake, did you?
Well, even if you did, your perceptions have now been ‘corrected,’ : This whole matter is one of deception.
They wanted you to debate in the ‘old-style’ fashion if only that in order to communicate with the minds of others, you need to ‘connect.’
Face it: You aren’t likely to ‘connect’ with someone whose mind is already made up.
Old saying: You can’t talk someone out of something he wasn’t talked into to begin with. Translation: Self-deception is the worst sort of deception.
The use of illustration to get a point across to someone is often helpful in making that point, especially when other facts are to be presented as well which will help in a corollary way.
Lincoln and Douglas were the essence of two blind men describing an elephant to the crowds in each his own way. Who could evoke more emotion? Lincoln’s elephant was more ‘pretty.’
You have words, and your opposition has words. Which will be able to effectively persuade the listener?
Science is seldom fully understood by the many, and being deprived of the ability to present the facts as they are in a readily perceivable way, is the essence of nothing less than appealing to the emotions of the crowd.
Debates are –in the absence of positive evidence– the essence of the art of ‘whose emotions are more convincing’, i.e., appealing to the subjective.
The opposition is appealing to the subjective, i.e., the frozen teddy bear, et al.
Perhaps it is well that you didn’t attend, as people will come to understand that you didn’t want to soil your reputation with the sundry, the superfluous, and the emotional.
If science is anything, it is entirely impersonal, isolated, and the essence of the distilled: It contains nothing of the impurities referred to as ’emotion.’
But then you see? The whole reason of depriving you of your ability to communicate with facts, is to deny you any voice at all.

October 27, 2010 2:49 pm

To use your hammer analogy, he’s not asking to have a hammer and the other side to have none, he offered to have everyone be allowed to use the technology and even offered his own computer to run the presentation for anyone who wanted to do one.

October 27, 2010 2:50 pm

“The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.”
They mean like fire, throwing rocks and clubs and screaming???

Eric Anderson
October 27, 2010 2:53 pm

In fairness, I think this may have been a simple misunderstanding blown out of proportion. This is not the same situation as the Cameron-Moreno debacle, where no debate was held and Cameron came up with a lame excuse about being above debating Moreno.
I have no problem with the idea that there is value in students learning oratory arts, which could even include Q&A and on-your-feed responses to questions. If that is the format they use and have traditionally used, then fine, I don’t think a valid complaint can be made. Indeed, it might be the case that they wanted Anthony to present, but — to them — it seemed he was demanding changes to their long-standing format. Any complaint by Anthony would be much stronger if it turns out someone else uses visual aids tomorrow night, or if they have permitted it in the past.
At the end of the day, Anthony thought this was a great chance for people to get into the science of the issue, which needs some visuals. In fact, it seems, this is a debate experience, which happens to be using Prop 23 as a topic. They are less interested in a detailed scientific educational experience on the issues, as they are in the debating experience. Nothing inherently wrong with that — just unfortunate that it didn’t coincide with what Anthony does best or the approach he would have preferred to take.
REPLY: If they made it clear in the invitation and all of the materials they sent me with the invitation that it was an older format, no visuals, just oratory only, then I would have declined right away. But they put it in a room where visuals are the norm, put it on live TV, and webcast it, while inviting a TV person to that venue. It seems unreasonable to me to expect that I would not get to use the tools of my trade to help my disadvantage. If they want to teach, that’s for the classroom, if they want to put it on live public TV, that’s a whole different animal. – Anthony

October 27, 2010 2:58 pm

I agree with what Mark said. If the debate format has long been oral discourse only, then you can lament that the format is not conducive to getting your ideas across but it’s not necessary or proper to take a further step and assume that you are being singled out unfairly.
I think the tone of the emails deteriorating was mostly due to misplaced indignation on your part over something that was beyond Ms Wolf’s control.

See my previous reply in another comment above. -Anthony

October 27, 2010 2:58 pm

If Obama was speaking < I assure you the teleprompters would be welcome. Of course the audience would be actors.

October 27, 2010 3:03 pm

It was the same format as last year.
It is regrettable that they were not clear about the format in the invitation but not changing their format to accommodate you is not discrimination.
If you like, I would offer you a spot at the conference the following week to make a presentation of any sort you wish, and if we can agree, I will be happy to advertise it from the Great Debate stage. We welcome your participation.
I understand your disappointment about the Great Debate, and I am disappointed we will not have the opportunity to spar, but please be honest.
Dr, Thia Wolf did nothing wrong.
REPLY: Mark, there you go again, calling me dishonest. The last time we sparred here you called me a liar. If you expect any headway, stop that sort of thing. Ms. Wolf made no caveats, I’d never heard of this before I got the email. – Anthony

Eric Anderson
October 27, 2010 3:03 pm

I should add that statements that Anthony is being denied his voice are over the top. Look, he was invited, but unfortunately his desired approach did not fit their format. They filled in the slot with someone else. Yes, perhaps they will not be as good as Anthony, but the skeptic position is being given equal time — at least on paper and in the debate time itself, if not in spirit (which we can’t ascertain on this little information). The science — which Anthony is so keen to convey — is secondary. First and foremost, this is a debate experience and the organizers want a good debate experience for the kids, and they want it in a particular format — that is their call.
Is it unfortunate that Anthony was not able to participate? Sure. Did he get disinvited? That is much less clear — from the emails one could just as easily argue that Anthony refused to agree to the debate format guidelines. Could all this have been turned into something positive? Yes, by handling it behind the scenes with the school, Anthony very well may have been able to get himself scheduled for another event that allowed for visual aids.
Hopefully the email exchange and this post hasn’t poisoned the well against a possible future relationship with the school.
REPLY: See my reply upstream. – Anthony

October 27, 2010 3:04 pm

The e-mails looked to me as if Ms. Wolf was extending a legimate invitation to Mr. Watts to be part of a previously decided upon debate structure. I suspect they have held other debates with the same format and as such no implication of trying to stack the deck should be inferred.
In fact, I take the existence of the debate to be a hopeful sign. I suspect that as little as a year ago it would not have occured to the Chico State Debate team that CAGW was a legitimate debate topic. After all the science was settled. So the mere existence of the debate says that the science is, prima facie, not settled. Where is the negative in that?
Especially when they tried to invite our eminent host. They clearly weren’t trying to get nut cases on the skeptic side.

October 27, 2010 3:05 pm

Wonder if another of the first year experience programs at CSU is a math contest with slide rulers?
With all due respect to Ms. Wolf, seems like a better approach to engaging first year students would be with a format that is in keeping with the 21st, not the 19th, century.
The “Great Debate” = An Epic Fail

October 27, 2010 3:05 pm

Assuming there are no legal repercussions attached if two adults duke it out at high noon in a consenting manner, isn’t this a great idea? Isn’t there a capable gunslinger around? I mean, it is an open invite, isn’t it? Or will there be an un-invite in the last minute again?! 😉

Robin Kool
October 27, 2010 3:08 pm

Duke C. says:
October 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm
“The founders of the Chico Great Debate are dedicated to restoring civility, reason, and rhetorical argument into our public forums. Seeking to reinvigorate the public sphere as a healthy site of democratic practice, this project presents contentious issues in an arena that follows orderly rules of speaking and listening. We aim to “lead by example” and ignite a revived interest in our national tradition of constructive, civil discourse and argument.”
It looks like they are well-intentioned, a little self-important and a bit silly people who have this nice idea about promoting civil debate.
And they are so very, very fond of their cute, little idea about their format.
Let’s face it, they are not interested in serious scientific debate, which as you point out cannot be done without visuals.
At the same time, it doesn’t look to me like they disinvited you for your opinions; it’s just that they are doing their little exercise in civil debate, while you are interested meaningful debate.
Personally, I would expect them to jump at the chance of having you do a real scientific presentation on climate – maybe offering you another venue or format.
But at least I applaud them for promoting civil debate.

Douglas Dc
October 27, 2010 3:08 pm

As another who has hearing loss, I hate meetings, and noisy crowds (Too many years flying and working on four-engine Douglas propliners, ). But this stinks to high heaven.
One other thing, have you looked into the Bell Method of lip reading, lost art, as sign language has taken over, but had a Granma who was partially deaf,due to being struck
by lighting avoiding a Kansas tornado, she learned it effectively, and could carry a conversation with most anyone…
Even a whispered:”hey, she hid the cookie jar under the cookstove”…

Duke C.
October 27, 2010 3:10 pm

Greg Redeker says:
October 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Duly noted, and thanks for the clarification.
However, I still don’t feel that this invite-disinvite raises to the level of some sort of conspiracy.
Anthony jumped the gun with his criticism, IMO.

Whoa, I never said anything about conspiracy, only that they shoddily handled what could have been a win-win situation had they not been so entrenched. – Anthony

October 27, 2010 3:14 pm

If Dr. Wolf is a Professor, then this was not out of her control.
Watts asked for a reasonable accomodation to a well recognized disability.
He specified his need for this reasonable accomodation from the start.
As we keep hearing about in other reports (such as the one from SciAm0 considerable pressure is brought to bear by AGW true believers to squelch voices of dissent.
This is just a sorry example where an academic did what she knew was wrong and would not have been allowed if whe was diong this in a formal setting.
The idea that this was an ‘old format’ was obvious fabricated tripe to rationalize her position.

John Whitman
October 27, 2010 3:18 pm

I think Ms Wolf was playing this in the background as she emailed you:

I want you, (for my great debate)
I need you, (for my great debate)
But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you, (for my great debate)
Don’t be sad, cause two out of three ain’t bad.

With apologies to Meat Loaf.
I love that song . . .

Layne Blanchard
October 27, 2010 3:20 pm

If you are certain you will not participate Anthony, perhaps you can help find a worthy stand in. Someone who hears well and does this kind of venue on the fly.

October 27, 2010 3:21 pm

u won’t be invited on aljazeera either, anthony:
unfortunately, there appears to be no link available to this unbelievabe (believable?) half-hour of propaganda against Prop 23 which is showing on Aljazeera English multiple times this week .
it associates any funding for Prop23 with evil, but google/silicon valley’s massive funding against Prop23 (how many trillion were lost in the dotcom bubble, guys?) is just fine. footage of young people protesting against Prop23 to save the world and Dan Logue portrayed as some old guy owned by the oil companies in texas.
i actually enjoy some in-depth progs on aljazeera, but this was so one-sided, my jaw dropped.
depending what comes up at this link, u may have to click on a country to get the schedule to appear with the following summary. i clicked on Australia, but the program seems to have been broadcast in a number of countries:
Aljazeera English Schedule: People and Power People & Power exposes the connections between Proposition 23, the emboldened Tea Party movement in the US and two secretive billionaires who are backing both.

October 27, 2010 3:27 pm

et al:
Do you not see the irony? Does it not seem to you that a debate sans visuals on a topic as scientifically important as climate change, basically called the Great Climate Change Debate, is an oxymoron?
It’s a bit like Stevem Jobs launching Apple’s next product with a speech without visuals, isn’t it?
Hard to take such an event seriously. To me, the event, and the sponsors, have no credibility given the complete disconnect between the topic and the format.

Duke C.
October 27, 2010 3:29 pm

Robin Kool says:
October 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Our Junior high school Debate Team (circa 1960’s)-
We used 3×5 index cards for outlining the topic. No other aids were allowed. Rebuttals were spontaneous and on the fly. This is traditional debate, IMO.
All in all, an invitation was extended to Anthony, there was a format conflict due to his special requirements, the sponsors did not want to alter that established format, so the invitation was retracted. and, it is likely that Dr. wolf was not aware of his hearing loss. Much ado about nothing.

October 27, 2010 3:30 pm

chico in the news….and in the money!
27 Oct: MSNBC: Jennifer Alsever: Innovations to boost airborne energy have wind at their back
Scientists explore benefits of harnessing wind energy by using tethered devices
Kites and blimps may be the next big thing in wind energy and may even power your home one day – and we’re not talking decades from now. Think years….
“The jet streams are like a river of free, clean, and concentrated energy flowing above us, waiting to be tapped into,” says Cristina Archer, a California State University, Chico, assistant professor of environmental sciences who has written research papers on the topic…
The darling of this nascent airborne wind industry is Makani Power, which landed a $20 million investment from Google and a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy…
Google has invested more than $85 million in renewable energy projects and companies, including an investment earlier this month into a 350-mile offshore wind project. “We’re always looking for compelling ideas that make economic sense and will help create a clean energy future,” says Google spokesman Parag Chokshi. …

October 27, 2010 3:32 pm

Add my name to the list of readers with a serious hearing impairment – mine is comparable to yours (in my case Meniere’s Disease) and if nothing else is accomplished by your frustrating experience with the Chico powers that be, you have stirred me to have less fear of exposing my impairment to others. I salute you for finding the courage to participate in a public debate. I had to give up my academic career (no regrets there) and, like other eloquent commenters, I go to great lengths to avoid conversations involving more than 2 or 3 people – I can’t imagine getting up in front of a room full of possibly hostile antagonists. My deepest respect and admiration to you.

Phil M2.
October 27, 2010 3:33 pm

Mark says:
October 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm
Sorry Mark, I’m with Anthony on this one. Anthony has mentioned his hearing problems on several occasions on this blog. Liberals are so committed to supporting anyone with disabilities except of course when they are intelligent and disagree with you.
Reminds me of the not the nine o’clock news sketch where some well meaning lefty invents a big flashing light phone for deaf people so that they know that there is a call coming in and can pick up the phone … Ring, Ring, Flash, Flash ……… Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello …… etc.
You have an audience of 1000 times the town hall Anthony, post the presentation you were going to give here and I will allow you to use your own graphs on your own site, I promise.

October 27, 2010 3:46 pm

Unfortunately, according to an LA Times poll (Oct 25, 2010), Prop 23 appears to be headed for a defeat by a ratio just shy of five to three. The paper seems to be characterizing it as the ‘Big Oil’ proposition.

October 27, 2010 3:46 pm

“The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.”
Ah I see…Ave! Te moritu salute!
Pathetic, but in some ways a compliment…if they weren’t afraid of you they wouldn’t have disinvited you. If you were some bumbling buffoon who didn’t have a clue what he was talking about you’d have been in, but a competent expert, no way!
BTW, I both sympathize and empathize completely with your hearing issues. About 10 years ago I lost complete hearing in one ear. The other one’s still fine thankfully, but losing one ear costs you more than half your hearing ability. The brain takes both ears to do complex filtering on sounds, one thing I noticed that in addition to what I expected, that is loss of directionality cues, I could hardly make out speech in noisy environments at all, even in not so noisy environments it’s an issue. From the sounds of it (no pun intended) your ears are a lot worse, sadly.

October 27, 2010 3:57 pm

There seems to have been some misunderstanding from the start of the email exchange. It sounds like this was a educational experience and you’re a well known skeptic for the slated debate. I can’t speak for Wolf, but I can bet she had no idea of your hearing disablity when she first sent the email. She was probably given your name by students or while asking around about knowledgable people for the debate.
Clearly the debate format was set. Whether you think it dated or a poor platform for a scientific debate really doesn’t matter. The debate might have been more focused on public policy and less on science. In the exchange once you stated you wouldn’t be able to attend without the format being changed, then you declined at that point. Your tone with Thia Wolf seemed somewhat negative. Her ability to change the format of the debate is questionable. But as the purpose of the debate was educational for the students, I don’t see why they would.
I am a AGW skeptic. But I think you’re being a bit unfair on this issue. It is unfortunate that your disability does not allow you to enter into this type of debate. I doubt the format was specifically tailored to put your at a disadvantage. Clearly the debate organizers didn’t pick their topic well for this event. But I guess they wanted something contraversial that is on the ballot.
REPLY: And my point is that they made no indication of format, and made no caveats in the invitation of any kind. If they wanted to be fair, owing up to the mistake of not specifying format with the invitation, they could have simply allowed visuals for everyone. I even offered to make that happen. It would have been a win-win situation – Anthony

October 27, 2010 3:58 pm

You don,t need these people anyway, its more like they need you…. the AGW dogma is going.. and it (debate) will be pointless in a year or two. LOL

John Game
October 27, 2010 4:00 pm

Concerning prop 23 itself, there is a strong environmentalist argument in its favor that is not being heard: currently, huge solar thermal arrays are being planned and approved in fine areas of the Mojave Desert. They will ruin much native habitat and fragment the finest desert ecosystem in the world. The approvals are being RUSHED through reveiw, by passing some of the normal requirements, because of the need to meet the requirements of AB32 by 2020. I am not against solar power per se, but these are the WRONG kinds of Solar power (solar thermal, not solar voltaic) and are sited where they are because it is quicker to permit them in BLM lands etc. and speed is seen to be of the essence. I made this argument myself in a KQED Quest Blog article by Jen Skene (see Green Power, Pristine Deserts) that was unfortunately otherwise anti-prop 23 – I myself am in favor of suspending AB32 for several reasons, butI am trying to get across to conservationists that AB32 is hurting rather than helping our cause. If Prop. 32 is suspended, the hugely damaging desert solar arrays in many cases will not be approved.
Please WUWT, do what you can to support Prop 23!
John Game.

October 27, 2010 4:02 pm

OT but maybe relevant to topic. AMSU 600 mb now at average 0.0C. must be one of the most pronounced declines in global temps for a long time? (since August?)

October 27, 2010 4:02 pm

They are running scared. How about running off a few hundred dvd’s with your presentation on Anthony? I’m sure you have some local volunteers willing to hand them round at the debate.

October 27, 2010 4:03 pm

I’m first amused that anyone, even a formal debate society, believes that something as complex as climate science can be articulated one way or the other with words alone. One winds up with nothing but two teams citing strings of references that back their position and they become meaningless. Can you imagine explaining the simplist of physics to students with no whiteboard? Heck, I challenge you to explain the “bar and rail” problem with just words, and that’s only 3 lines and an imaginary magnetic field yet tales a whole semester to work through. 3 lines!
As for the invitation to present a week later, I’m curious as to why they would think you would even consider it. You run the most widely read climate science blog on the planet, they should have been over joyed that you would accept under ANY circumstances, and if you’re not insulted by the offer of a consolation prize side show, then I shall endeavour to be insulted on your behalf.
I note with amusement however, that you have a powerful alternative to their consolation prize offer. Since the debate is supposedly to be telecast, I assume that a transcript will be available. I suggest you post it along with the graphics you had intended to present with perhaps one or two bullet points for each slide, and invite ALL the participants to do the same. No words, just graphics with one or two bullet points each. Your venue, your debate, your rules.
Puts them in a tough spot. If they decline, they look like fools and cowards. If they accept… Well let’s just say in this forum, make a mistake in regard to the science, and you get your ego handed to you sliced and diced in short order. Might be a lesson or two for the debate society in how to properly debate science, and they might just learn a little science too.

Zeke the Sneak
October 27, 2010 4:04 pm

You can’t blame them for wanting to draw an enormous crowd though. 🙂

October 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Sounds like they don’t want any facts to intrude on their seance.

October 27, 2010 4:19 pm

You make statements that are not true. What would you call them?
Your statement: I’ve now joined the club of the “disinvited”
Your actual quote to Thia: “unless there is some sort of accommodation for me to present at least some visuals, I see no other option but to decline your invitation.”
You declined in writing, but are now telling everyone that Thia “disinvited” you.
That does not seem to be honest to me.
REPLY: They made an open invitation to me with no restrictions of any kind. At that point you cite it, the issue of hearing assistance had been resolved, and the new restriction on visuals they added post facto was still up in the air, note my later correspondence. What does not seem honest to me is that you make an invitation to somebody with no presentation format restrictions of any sorts in the invitation or supporting documents, then afterwards make it clear that there ARE restrictions. The honest thing to do would be to admit the mistake and accommodate your invited guests.
And this is all because they don’t want some slides? All because they want to practice an outdated format but didn’t make that clear up front. The whole thing is silly. They could have had a win-win on their hands here, but they fumbled the ball.
You whole issue seems to be that you don’t want this embarrassing episode aired publicly, but as you pointed it people will wonder why I wasn’t there, and like you, people will say I “ducked” the debate. For me it is a damned if I do and damned if I don’t situation. The best I can do is get my side of the story out first.
Maybe they’ll learn something from this and next year make the invitation clear, and maybe, just maybe, bring the debate into the 21st century. The kids in this class aren’t going to be prepared for the real world today if they don’t know how to run an effective visual as well as oral presentation. To limit them to an outdated methodology is silly. – Anthony

George E. Smith
October 27, 2010 4:20 pm

Well in reading all the chit chat about who was expecting what; I can sort of understand what the Chico State people had in mind.
When I was in University (College was high school); we also had a “Debating Club” (to which I did not belong); which called itself; “The Society for Independent Intellectuals.”
They certainly were an eclectic bunch of folks and folkesses; and as near as anyone outside could discern; they spent all their time debating; what the purpose of the club should be; a subject which never led to a definitive conclusion; but certainly guaranteed my non membership.
So this does not look like the proper forum for you to participate Anthony. Debating clubs are about winning debates; as in scoring points according to the Marquis of Queensberry rules; well the debating equivalent thereof.
Scientists don’t traditionally get up and debate the information they have prepared for peer review. They make a presentation to inform an appropriate audience of the nature of their research or study; and the results they have obtained; and their conclusions about what THEY think it all means.
It is not like they are trying to edit on the fly; with somebody at the end deciding what to print.
It would seem to me that if the school is interested in your work and your results; and believes their students could benefit from being exposed to it; then they should simply invite you to present a seminar to that effect.
Isn’t that about what you did over there on the crusty side of the pizza; and I didn’t read that a bunch of irate Aussies ran you out of town. I’m sure they had some comment and criticisms (hey Aussies will comment about anything) ?
That seems like a better format Anthony. Debates seem too clinical to me Anthony; like law trials; you can win the debate and lose the case; or obfuscate the issues in the cae of a scientific report.
If Mark has so much pull in that location; perhaps he can get you an invite to present a seminar along the lines of your down-under tour lectures.
Works for me !

October 27, 2010 4:28 pm

1, “Climate Depot’s Marc Morano ” was invited to a debate, and then disinvited when he was already in the air.
2. That means he spent money on an airline ticket.
3. For nothing.
4. Therefore, he has grounds for a lawsuit, haveing suffered clear financial harm.
5. And he should do so, because otherwise, these disinvatations will continue, and others with suffer harm.
6. And he should sue him for all hes got and then some, do to him what he and his crowd due to others, when envornonmentalist groups sue people with the intent to put them out of business permanently. After asll, HE is the one calling for shooting them (“incitement to riot”?), he is the one being ruthless, show him what ruthless means. Do to him, financially, what he wants to do to you.
7. And then make sure the trial gets plently of publicity, so that he is destroyed not only financially, but made a laughing stock.
Criminals should be punsihed.

October 27, 2010 4:30 pm

To help people not from Chico:
Last year the topic was medical marijuana. This year it is Prop 23./AB 32. They chose controversial topics to model civil discourse, not to settle the issues.
While I understand why everyone on this blog wants to see the science debated, that is not the purpose of this event. Student debates will be going on all day long in the auditorium as teams of students from freshmen communication classes square-off. Later, the event moves downtown for a series of higher profile debates between advanced students, culminating in the community debate. All speakers are locals. No outside experts. The team was excited they had an “expert” in town in the person of Anthony, but in this class-based event, format is paramount.
I hope Anthony takes the offer to speak at the This Way to Sustainability Conference Nov 4-6th.

October 27, 2010 4:39 pm

She didn’t come back with “no visuals” until her 2nd response email. Looks like she didn’t know the format either.
They have every right to control the format, but I don’t think prohibiting visuals is an improvement. They could have kept the old-school part of the debate and added a visual component.
That being said, to debate this topic without the visuals might indicate that there agenda isn’t science, but emotion.

October 27, 2010 4:42 pm

I’m saddened to see my undergraduate alma mater behaving so badly in this matter. My BA in Biological Sciences from Chico State prepared me well for graduate school and my career as a professor. But I’ll mention this incident in my next reply to a Chico State fund raising request – it might have an impact on my future donations to the school.

Sarf of the River
October 27, 2010 4:44 pm

How many of these damned media luvvies poking their noses into everything that might give them a fast buck and (unwarranted) media exposure are really needed in the world?

Bill Illis
October 27, 2010 4:50 pm

This is really bad.
Why wouldn’t one make every allowance for the one of the most well-known “objective” people on climate science in the world – especially when he lives right in your town.
And we don’t live in 1790 anymore. Oral debates are a “fossil”.
Everything is now multi-media and electronic. Even paper is quickly becoming a thing of the past. And I have always believed that one cannot get their head around the climate without graphics and visuals. It only adds 100% to anyone’s understanding of the issues.
“CO2 is a greenhouse gas and the world will heat up by several degrees and this will have dangerous results”. “No, it won’t” – what kind of a debate is that – how can anyone be more informed when they have to just pick sides with no understanding.

October 27, 2010 4:51 pm

For what it’s worth, I will be presenting on the same topic in Benicia, CA on the 28th. Location will be 1175 Church Street (across from the high school). I go on around 7:00 and will have visuals. It will be a concise “Science, History, and Politics of Climate Change” presentation noting that the premise of AB32 is deeply flawed and Yes on 23 is more than reasonable.

Reply to  P.F.
October 27, 2010 4:56 pm

[Can you present, or release, your notes and graphics for discussion afterwords? Robt]

George E. Smith
October 27, 2010 4:51 pm

“”””” John Game says:
October 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Concerning prop 23 itself, there is a strong environmentalist argument in its favor that is not being heard: currently, huge solar thermal arrays are being planned and approved in fine areas of the Mojave Desert. They will ruin much native habitat and frgment the finest desrt ecosystem in the world. “””””
Well John; you certainly have hit on a point; but you also have missed the point of AB-32; whcih has nothing to do with the environment .
It is simply a tax scam in the name of environmentalism; making “big Texas oil” the cause of all of California’s environmental problems; and promoting the financial interests of Kleiner Perkins, and other “Venture Capital” enterprises; who have former Veep Al Gore as their standard bearer; and who see public tax dollars as funding their rape of sensitive desert areas; that both CA Senators Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein, went to great lengths in the Congress to protect; from destruction.
A recent newspaper article on the subject describes a large number fo permits being issued to build these monstrous eyesores on “public lands”; amounting to some 23 million acres of the Desert Southwest. In one instance four Desert Tortoises are going to be relocated to who knows where; to stop them from interfering with these money grubbing venturers; who want the taxpayers to assume the risks for them.
23 million acres is a whole lot of land; for comparison the entire Arctic National Wildlife Reserve; that pristine arctic desert wasteland in Alaska is a mere 19.2 million acres (30,000 square miles); so rather silently; the Obamanistas have given away a whole slew of rare public property for the permanent exclusive use of friends of Al Gore and folks like him.
What do you think is the chance you might get to drive through one of those desert wasteland solar farms in your pickemup truck one Saturday night; well without getting your head blown off by armed guards; who will be needed to ensure that the Native Americans who currently inhabit those lands don’t sneak back into what was once theirs.
Prop 23 simply throws the spotlight on the AB-32 sham; which is already public law in California.
I think I am going to take off next Tuesday; and either go on a wine tasting trip to Salinas Valley or Monterey; or maybe just go to a bar; to get drunk.
I haven’t actually observed anybody commit Hara Kiri; and frankly I don’t really want to stay sober and watch a whole State do it.
But if the polls are on the mark; and Californians do to themselves what the polls say they will do; then I’m not likely to stay around.
If I wanted to live in a backward third world country; I would pick one of my own choice, and move there.
Recent studies show that at least eight countries on earth, are now regarded as “more free”, than is the USA; and I’m sure that such studies of the situation for the 57 States of the USA; would put California as #56 or #57 place.
And luckily one of those countries; I already understand the language; and for its nearest neighbor; I can actually translate with a fair rendition of what they mean.
As they say; be careful what you pray for ; You may get it.

James Sexton
October 27, 2010 4:56 pm

Anthony, I’ve tried several times and different ways to express what I want to, and have failed. So much so, I haven’t tried to post and explain the misperceptions. So, here’s the brass tacks……….
I sympathize(in the truest sense of the word), your indignation is righteous. You’re exposing your flank. Stop it. You’ve a hearing deficit. It sucks. Your adversaries will attack it. Suck it up and fight through it. Make it a strength if you can. Minimize it if you can’t.
For what its worth, advice from someone squarely in your corner.

October 27, 2010 4:59 pm

REPLY: And my point is that they made no indication of format, and made no caveats in the invitation of any kind. If they wanted to be fair, owing up to the mistake of not specifying format with the invitation, they could have simply allowed visuals for everyone. I even offered to make that happen. It would have been a win-win situation – Anthony

I think this is a perception issue: You had a perception of what the debate format was to be, and it wasn’t like that. I can’t actually say that I have ever seen a debate that had powerpoint and other visuals, so my perception would have been different from yours. So they didn’t put it in the invite? Looks to me like the invite was a tester to see if there was interest up-front. Did they note how long each person would be speaking for? Who the moderator would be? How rebuttals would be handled? etc etc. They did agree to the hearing assistance system (although they didn’t mention the availability of that in the invite, either).
Yes, its disappointing that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) accommodate your ideas for the format of the debate, but I think you’re being a bit harsh on the organizers.
REPLY: As I pointed out to Mark Stemen, the last time I was invited to a debate by CSUC the visuals were encouraged, and I was complimented for my use of them. Without any indication of restrictions, how would I know? I’m a TV person, invited to do something that will be carried live on TV…yet I can’t use visuals? Its absurd. Now if they said classroom on campus, I’d have no issue. But this was writ large for TV presentation and live webcast. Without visuals, we may as well do AM radio – Anthony

October 27, 2010 4:59 pm

They are now OFF MY LIST, also!

October 27, 2010 5:07 pm

Maybe you should have accepted the invitation and doggedly mimed the entire event 🙂

October 27, 2010 5:08 pm

“when you control the mail, you control information…”
Newman, in Seinfeld.
Replace “mail” by “format”…

October 27, 2010 5:14 pm

John Game
I put this on the tips thread yesterday, but since you bring it up, maybe it will be ok for me to back you up here.
Interesting article on conflict between local tribes and large solar projects being fast-tracked in California desert at:

October 27, 2010 5:18 pm

“There are various kinds of presentations during the day, some of them technologized, but we are invoking a traditional style of civil exchange in the evening.”
Although you probably burned that bridge, it may have been worth seeing if they could have brought you in for a presentation during the day instead.

Gil Dewart
October 27, 2010 5:19 pm

Anthony, you have my sympathy. For sure they would never want me and my personal photos there — shots of tropical rain and monsoon forests, savannas and temperate grasslands, deserts and semi-deserts, woodland and scrub, mid-latitude and boreal forests, marine west-coast environments, tundra, ice sheets, ice shelves, sea ice, glaciers, mountains. Someone might think this dude knows as much about climate as those guys playing computer games in air-conditioned offices.

Sarf of the River
October 27, 2010 5:24 pm

p.s. My comment was aimed at James Cameron!

Pamela Gray
October 27, 2010 5:56 pm

I’m a special ed teacher who is making progress with my students using cutting edge (“but we don’t do it that way here”) teaching strategies that work. I have data that proves it. Doesn’t matter. Because I am using these strategies (and doing many other things that are new to the district), I have been called on the carpet for writing IEP goals that relate to these strategies. I have also been written up for several other things (like questioning whether or not we have enough information to label a student as being mentally retarded). I was also written up because last year I was unable to get in 100 percent of my I’s dotted and my T’s crossed on my IEP’s due to my own H1N1 illness and the death of my father. But even then, my students made substantial gains, and some even met grade level standards while suffering from learning disabilities.
I am clearly the odd man out, new comer, and rowing in a different direction against the current. All of that is to say:
Belief trumps data. If you are the holder of the belief and the power, you can exclude those with the data, regardless of how accurate or well presented your data is.

R. de Haan
October 27, 2010 6:19 pm

Typical signs of downfall

October 27, 2010 6:25 pm

“The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.”
You should definitely check out whether this is true – have someone go there and look if there really no one is working with slides.

October 27, 2010 6:26 pm

If this event is simply to practice debating, for the life of me I can’t understand why they would waste Anthony’s time by bringing him in. I’m quite certain he doesn’t need any practice debating.
Now if they were actually interested in learning something, then what the heck is wrong with a slide presentation?
These people are bush league…

October 27, 2010 6:26 pm

To me the dumbing-down of the world due to overuse of PowerPoint is a greater threat than global warming. The tipping point for me will be when Parliament and Charlie Rose both final cave in and start using slides!
Not to say slides aren’t useful – just that oratory still has a place in the world I think.
Regular reader – appreciate the blog. Gotta say this post seems a bit… Rommnian and I sympathize with Ms Wolf.

October 27, 2010 6:43 pm

Mark says:
“To help people not from Chico: …format is paramount.”
Really? If the format is so paramount, why didn’t they mention it up front?
“I hope Anthony takes the offer to speak at the This Way to Sustainability Conference Nov 4-6th.”
OK Mark, if you’re sincere, and if Anthony’s hearing handicap should cause any kind of a problem, what do you say to a second? There are plenty of knowledgeable skeptics who would easily make mincemeat out of anything with the word “sustainable” in it. [Beginning with: Quantify “sustainable,” while trying not to sound too silly.]
So, do you have any objection to Anthony choosing a stand-in? Or, as in the past, will the modus operandi be to pull the rug out at the last minute – like Doc Thia and her handlers did after their four day huddle?
These Chico shenanigans have only one purpose: to avoid enduring the public spankings that climate alarmists routinely receive from knowledgeable skeptics like Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., Mark Morano, Dr. Bob Carter, Anthony Watts, Lord Christopher Monckton, Dr. Michael Crichton and others. This is just one more example of avoiding a debate by hook or by crook, unless the deck is stacked.
Finally, who will take Anthony’s place, now that the goal posts have again been moved, ex post facto? And who will select Anthony’s replacement? You? Joe Romm? Gavin the Juggler? Or an appointed, ad-hoc committee that meets behind closed doors to strategize over the best P.R. spin to explain how they simply had no other choice but to pull the rug out?

Leo G
October 27, 2010 6:45 pm

Anthony, I thought I was on this website – – when I read your blog post. My Lord, do we not teach how to prepare invatations anymore? Or is that too quaint (as in an oral only debate!)

James Sexton
October 27, 2010 6:51 pm

Pamela Gray says:
October 27, 2010 at 5:56 pm
“Belief trumps data. If you are the holder of the belief and the power, you can exclude those with the data, regardless of how accurate or well presented your data is.”
Pamela, I too, was once in a very similar position. And the progress displayed dearly cost me, to the point of vilification for a short time. Power can’t be held long when it doesn’t also hold truth. An easy test. Push truth towards power. If it doesn’t gravitate then power holds no truth. The resolution is simpler, yet much more difficult. Push truth closer to power. The storm is wicked and resolve is requisite. It isn’t quite enough to speak truth to power. It will fall on deaf ears. Push truth to power.

François GM
October 27, 2010 6:56 pm

Sorry Anthony, I think you’re being paranoid on this one.
REPLY: Paranoid? Where did that come from?- A

October 27, 2010 7:01 pm

Smokey (and others)
The debate teams have input to selections. I assume Larry Wahl requested Anthony. You can see from Anthony’s original post who the other two speakers are. I assume Larry was consulted. One of the speakers dropped off the No on 23 side, and we were asked for some names the organizers could call.
While it is unfortunate that the organizers were not clear about format, they have no agenda other than modeling good debate strategies.
Again, Anthony was not excluded or disinvited. The format simply did not allow for his participation in a manner that would work for him.
I have made an offer for another venue. If Anthony agrees before Thursday, I will announce it at the beginning of the debate.

October 27, 2010 7:01 pm

Yes, it’s a BS reply. But the thing is they know that any discussion about it will be bad for you since the topic is the debate format only. That’s a hard thing for people to really invest in. In fact, it makes you look like you had an autistic tantrum where you think the world is against you. A better response would have been to decline and let it be.
I’m reminded of Nichelle Nichols when she got the part for Uhura on Star Trek. It was a small part with virtually no lines. She considered quitting midway through the first season and actually submitted her resignation to Gene Roddenberry. She was a guest at a NAACP fundraiser where a fan wanted to meet her. It was Dr. Martin Luther King. He went on and on about what an important role she is playing and how much it means to everyone. She said it’ll be sad to leave her costars. King said “NO!” He said that this was not a black role, not a female role, not a menial role. It was a role that could have been filled by anyone. She had to stay, said King. And she did. She went back to Gene and told him the story. Gene said, “Thank God someone understands what I am trying to achieve.”
I’m not comparing that to getting the facts out about AGW. That simply cannot be done. What I’m getting at is that sometimes you take what is presented, not because you think it’s the best way to go about it, but because it presents an opportunity. King saw that. I think many of us see a missed opportunity. Yes, it would not be what you wanted. But if you really want to call their bluff, you be there.
Go hard or go home. Don’t screw around with this kind of nonsense.

Ian L. McQueen
October 27, 2010 7:27 pm

The Lung Association here in New Brunswick is also a promoter of AGW and the risks of CO2. Perhaps policy was decided at the (inter)national level? Just to rattle his cage I once sent a message to the head of the NB Lung Association. Naturally it had no effect.

Eric Anderson
October 27, 2010 7:54 pm

OK, one last comment and then I’ll leave this be. Anthony wrote:
“As I pointed out to Mark Stemen, the last time I was invited to a debate by CSUC the visuals were encouraged, and I was complimented for my use of them. Without any indication of restrictions, how would I know? I’m a TV person, invited to do something that will be carried live on TV…yet I can’t use visuals? Its absurd. Now if they said classroom on campus, I’d have no issue. But this was writ large for TV presentation and live webcast. Without visuals, we may as well do AM radio – Anthony.”
Was the other debate you were invited to with the same group and the same debate series? Presumably not. The classroom vs. live TV is a red herring. There is absolutely no reason they couldn’t broadcast a live debate so that people could *see the speaker and hear their voice and their responses*. The existence of a live broadcast in no way whatsoever implies that there should be visual aids for the presentations. It is not absurd — just not what you expected.
Anthony, I’m a huge fan, but I am hoping after the disappointment of not being able to participate in the debate dies down everyone can learn a lesson. I’m sure they will be more careful and fulsome in their communications in the future. And on the other side, here’s hoping that next time you will quietly ascertain behind the scenes what their format requirements are and if it makes sense to decline leave it at that and walk quietly away, not having made enemies in the process. Credibility is lost if “wolf” is cried too often. There are plenty of legitimate PR battles out there and instances of bad behavior. This one just doesn’t rise to that level, based on the email exchange.
REPLY:Thanks. I will say that’s your opinion from afar, I live here, I know the venue, I know the room, I know the people. So my view differs.
If you invite somebody to a live on TV debate, I and most anyone else would expect to present some visuals. Political candidates in debates often use placards on an easel to get complex points like finance across.
Without visuals, like I said, anything else is just AM radio. The problem could have been simply solved by saying “yes”, and I would have taken care of the rest for them and I know the AV setup there. A win-win for everyone.
I’ll point out that I’ve done hours of debate in that room while on the school board. Without the aid of visuals, many issues would be fully lost to the public. – Anthony

October 27, 2010 8:04 pm

I understand the time constraints. The offer was a slot in our community center talks. I would give you the time slot that worked best for you (between 10-3, 12:00 would be ideal. You can talk about whatever you want about climate change, and the facility is set-up for projection.
I can guarantee a large crowd but we will do everything in our power to make sure everyone knows about your talk. Last year we had both pro and anti nuclear speakers and it was really nice to hear both sides.
If it does not work out, I understand. Just know you have an open invitation from the Institute of Sustainable Development to speak on campus, and they are willing to accommodate your needs.
Take care,
REPLY: Check your email – Anthony

October 27, 2010 8:09 pm

That should read “I can’t guarantee a large crowd . . . ”
But I will truly try.

Frank K.
October 27, 2010 8:10 pm

Let’s face it – the “debate” organizers don’t want the kids seeing pictures of climate monitoring stations next to barbeques, asphalt parking lots, sewage treatment plants, A/C exhausts, etc. The truth could be damaging to their fragile minds. Better off showing them “funny” climate change awareness videos with children getting their heads blown up by a teacher if they don’t believe in global warming.

Nolo Contendere
October 27, 2010 8:13 pm

My apologies to any graduates thereof , but “Chico State University” makes me laugh. Is there a Groucho State too?

Chris Thorne
October 27, 2010 8:19 pm

I seem to recall a certain piece of federal legislation called the Americans with Disabilities Act. Which has occasioned many, many expensive legal actions since its enactment.
Anthony Watts is, I am sure, too much of a gentleman to threaten an ADA invocation.
I am equally sure that, were the tables turned, and if a proponent of the AGW hypothesis were to have been kept out of a debate based upon a refusal to provide facilities to accommodate that proponent’s disability, legal counsel would already have been retained, and a very large settlement figure would have been bruited.

Eric Dailey
October 27, 2010 8:23 pm

I looked over some of the previous interactions of Chico State and the Chico City council folks with Anthony on this subject matter and it appears to me that Anthony was set up to refuse an invitation that the “hosts” knew or should have known that he could not accept due to the interactive format. In which case some might say that Anthony had ducked the debate. Bad faith offers and civil discourse don’t mix well. That’s my take.
Also it seems like this Mark Stemen is a regular prince of a guy.

Claude Harvey
October 27, 2010 8:35 pm

I tuned into this one late. Sorry, Andrew, but you’re not coming across well on this one. They invited you knowing of your skeptical viewpoint. They readily agreed to accommodate your hearing impairment. Refusing to alter their established rules (not the first time they had imposed those rules) to accommodate your preferred presentation format was not unreasonable in my view. The lady was cordial and courteous in her exchanges. I imagine she was shocked at the broadside attack that followed. WAY out of line.
There are gracious plenty plots and schemes out there to stifle AGW opposition, but this does not look to me to be one of them.
REPLY: But the rub here is, they didn’t make the “established rules” known to me with the invitation nor the supporting documentation. They invited me to a televised TV debate, in a room where visuals are the norm. Denying visuals when discussing a complex scientific issue that screams for them in that venue is just silly. Like I said, if it was a classroom at Chico State, where they have every right to dictate rules, that’s one thing and I would have acquiesed, but this is the city council chambers, where they have a special AV system setup to allow visuals during public debate. I and many other people have used them in this room. I can’t rebut anything, all I can do is make a statement, they offered to let me do that. But they wouldn’t let me do it using my visual skills. If the tables were turned, there would be squalling all the way to Sacramento.
Two years ago I handled a live weekly community forum at the CARD center where the local observatory curator, Kris Koenig, invited Dr. Mark Giampapa from the National Solar Observatory to speak on the sun. He mentioned the fact that the sun has an influence on earth’s climate in a few slides. Some of CSUC’s groupies in the audience got all bent out of shape and demanded “equal time” to counter what they said was “bad science” from the NSO scientist. They made a stink and got want they wanted – and ENTIRE HOUR LONG PROGRAM ALL TO THEMSELVES. They brought in CSUC Prof Jeff Price (an IPCC author) who told us how wrong and stupid we all were. And then the next week our series on astronomy went on like nothing had happened. But I never forgot this. In retrospect I should have told them to shelve their concerns, but we accommodated them anyway. So what do I get when I ask for a similar accommodation? Zilch.
So please, don’t lecture me about the sorts of things that go on in Chico when when green groups feel their message and dominance may be disadvantaged.
And, it is Anthony, not Andrew. – Anthony

October 27, 2010 8:42 pm

My sense from your comments is that you feel wronged and your explanation is sincere. Perhaps, perhaps not, but just in case it is (sincere I mean) please understand why you are getting so much static from Anthony’s supporters.
This blog is inhabited by a great number of people who have a passion for science. Every day they are subjected to main stream media articles on science that are more fiction than science. Every day they see climate alarmists making pronouncements about the dire fate of humanity based on science so shoddy that one can only ascribe it to deliberate malfeasance for no level of mere incompetance could explain it. The “scientists” have been caught communicating with each other, proudly announcing that they have completed the “trick” to “hide the decline”, and when exposed, have the audacity to represent that they meant “clever” and that nothing was hidden. Above all however, these pretend scientists have pronounced their views, but when asked to defend them, they announce that the science is settled, that there is a consensus, that only the stupid and the crooked would say otherwise, and, above all, they refuse to debate.
The fact is that anyone who explores the issues with any sort of an open minded approach soon learns that the science is NOT settled, that there is NOT a consensus, and that what is represented as science is driven by a political perspective. The proponents wrap themselves in the flag of morality while making it clear they have made up their minds and would rather not be confused by the facts.
If you wish to host a debate in which the format is “traditional” for the sake of the purism of debate itself, then choose another topic. The climate debate is comprised of arguments suggesting the death of billions is inevitable if we nothing, and the death of billions is inevitable also if we implement the draconian mitigation measures suggested. In an environment where the proponents of global warming theory refuse to honestly debate the science while calling for such measures, I think you can understand the frustration unleashed when the opportunity to honestly debate the science in a public forum is snatched away, deliberately or otherwise.
My advice to you is this; You have chosen a topic that has the potential to destroy more lives if handled incorrectly than any war in human history by orders of magnitude. You have also chosen a topic that simply cannot be meaningfully debated without the use of diagrams, charts and other visual aids to illustrate the various elements and the relationships between them, as well as to summarize data. It would be no more meaningful that debating the distance between two cities and refusing to allow the use of a map.
If what you want is the purity of a traditional debate, then make the topic the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. But if you are going to take the trouble to make the debate about an area of science which may well impinge on the lives of every human being on the planet, then you have a responsibility to choose a format suitable to the subject matter.
At this late date I would not be surprised if Anthony declined to participate due to lack of time to prepare if you accept his need for visuals. But even if your position is sincere, and the inability of Anthony to participate nothing more than a series of unfortunate misunderstandings, you have done yourself a great disservice by choosing a topic of grave importance to the world and imposing upon it rules of debate that would render the process meaningless. That may not be as egregious conduct as blithely claiming that a “trick” to “hide the decline” is standard scientific practice, but for those that want to see the real science brought before the public, it is reminiscent of that immoral behaviour.

October 27, 2010 8:49 pm

1. Joel says:
October 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm
There seems to have been some misunderstanding from the start of the email exchange. It sounds like this was a educational experience and you’re a well known skeptic for the slated debate. I can’t speak for Wolf, but I can bet she had no idea of your hearing disability when she first sent the email. She was probably given your name by students or while asking around about knowledgeable people for the debate.
Clearly the debate format was set. Whether you think it dated or a poor platform for a scientific debate really doesn’t matter. The debate might have been more focused on public policy and less on science. In the exchange once you stated you wouldn’t be able to attend without the format being changed, then you declined at that point. Your tone with Thia Wolf seemed somewhat negative. Her ability to change the format of the debate is questionable. But as the purpose of the debate was educational for the students, I don’t see why they would.
1. Eric Anderson says:
October 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm
In fairness, I think this may have been a simple misunderstanding blown out of proportion. This is not the same situation as the Cameron-Moreno debacle, where no debate was held and Cameron came up with a lame excuse about being above debating Moreno.
I have no problem with the idea that there is value in students learning oratory arts, which could even include Q&A and on-your-feed responses to questions. If that is the format they use and have traditionally used, then fine, I don’t think a valid complaint can be made. Indeed, it might be the case that they wanted Anthony to present, but — to them — it seemed he was demanding changes to their long-standing format. Any complaint by Anthony would be much stronger if it turns out someone else uses visual aids tomorrow night, or if they have permitted it in the past.
The above contributors have explained the situation well. I add my 2 cents for what it is worth.
You made an assumption that many people make that activities sponsored by a university that they are not what they seem to be. The Chico web page clearly spells out the agenda, the format is defined, and the expected results are that a debate was held. I don’t think you understood that purpose. The debate is not intended to inform anybody about the issues AB 32. Debates are held to emphasize rhetoric skills and as means to convince the listener. You made the assumption that the intension was to inform because you know something about the subject. AB 32 is a proposed law and the debate is about a law and not about whether it should be a law. Lawyers debate meaning and interpretations of laws.
As former faculty member in the CSU System for 27 years I spend a lot of time on faculty committees. Perhaps I am too cynical but I always felt that the decisions we reached about the merits of some academic program was not based on critical reasoning or ethics but upon rhetoric. Those most skillful in verbal discourse were heard because of the way the spoke and not because of what they said. That is how universities operate.
After your second letter, they owed you a phone call to explain that the nature of the debate and that it is an academic exercise in communications. Unfortunately, the question of your participation should have stopped when the university understood that you are very hearing impaired. I doubt that Dr. Wolf knew that you were hearing paired before and then was stuck having realized that her invitation had created a problem. I don’t know whether you are familiar with signing but I wonder what she would have said if you demanded an interpreter. Of course you wanted visual aids which are generally not allowed in debates
While I was teaching at the CSUN, we had the second largest population of hearing impaired students in the United States, second only to Gallaudet University. I know how difficult it is communicate with these students in the scientific terminology. I had to use a lot of visual aids because the vocabulary in the sciences is so different from the common meaning of words. I know how much the students suffered in trying to communicate in class through an interpreter or in writing.
It is ironic that the CSU system that prides itself in helping students with disabilities did not have the sensitivity to call you and explain what was really going on in the debate. My take on this whole misunderstanding about the Great Debate is that the university owes you an apology for their lack of sensitivity to your disability because they failed to be sure you understood the ground rules of debating in the first place. Shame on you Dr. Wolf.

October 27, 2010 8:59 pm

Mark says:
October 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm
“To help people not from Chico:”
To help people from Chico out [other than sane ones such as Anthony]…we could care less.
You think you are cutting edge, but, in actuality, thanks to zealots like Mark, you have accomplished nothing.
If you want the truth, you might want to drop a little bit of your politics. But I am sure that won’t happen.
I am sure that an Inconvenient Truth, without its visuals, would have been an immediate flop.
[That’s OK….even with the visuals…it flopped itself into error-ridden oblivion.]
Are you telling me, that you are now afraid of the visuals? And why?
The “why” questions always uncover the truth.
Why no visuals?
21st century inquiring minds….want to know.
Norfolk, VA, USA

October 27, 2010 9:02 pm

I really wish that Anthony’s Prop 23 commercial example by the Am. Lung Ass. had caught some attention here. [The YouTube vid at the end] and his comment: “The kid with the inhaler is a nice touch, don’t you think? No science here, AB32 it’s about limiting CO2, not particulates! And I used to think the Lung Association was a straight shooter.
“They are off my list of charities now.”
Here is their contact link. Maybe we could do some good directing our energy to letting them know what we think about it.

David W
October 27, 2010 9:04 pm

I can only say that the organisation of this event/debate seems to leave a lot to be desired.
Firstly it would seem they did not have a sufficient grasp on the subject matter they chose for the debate. To consider holding a debate on a subject such as this without the use of visual aids dooms that debate to mediocrity. If they were locked into the format before choosing this specific subject then they certainly screwed up.
They then compounded this by sending out an invitation that did not mention the nature of the restricted format, to a person for whom they should have known the format was highly unsuitable.
Finally, they allowed a number emails to go back and forth before eventually communicating to Anthony that the format was fixed from the beginning.
A very poor effort on the part of the organisers IMHO.

October 27, 2010 9:09 pm

davidmhoffer says:
October 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm
Extremely well said.

October 27, 2010 9:17 pm

Some of the “corrections” from people on this thread are ill-informed, because you do not live there.
Please. Reserve your “higher criticism” to another topic where local knowledge and history of events are not important.
I back Anthony here. He has produced a stellar site. He lets opposing views state their case….sometimes to a fault.
And he has a valid point….a point that Thia and definitely Mark…have not handled well.
Don’t waste your time trying to offer better-than-thou advice because it will be disregarded…as it well should be.
Norfolk, VA, USA

Pamela Gray
October 27, 2010 9:19 pm

One of the hallmarks of those with a penchant for accurate data is that we care too much for some folks. I am a data freak. I don’t say it unless I have the data to back it up. One of the things that I was criticized for was writing and reporting data that demonstrated a lack of growth towards grade level benchmarks and that the student was at risk of not graduating with a standard Oregon diploma. I was told to be more positive. Was I being encouraged to lie or just tone down my concerns? Don’t know. The comment was to “be more positive” so as not to “upset the parent”.
But for me, if I were the parent and I read positive reports year after year that my child was making progress (measured how?) and was a pleasure to have in class, and then find out in high school that my child had no chance in hell of passing the benchmark standards now in place (thus no forthcoming Oregon diploma) I would be looking for a lawyer.
Parents need to be honestly informed using hard data for obvious reasons. I had better be accurate in what I say and I had better have the data to back up what I say. Folks, this climate stuff involves people’s pocket books. Traditional debate be damned. Show me the data.

October 27, 2010 9:24 pm

Anthony – these guys (Mark, Eric, and a couple others) are hacks. But why not post your proposed presentation regarding California’s suicidal law? The election isn’t until next Tuesday. Maybe you can help defeat (or is it just delay?) this stupid action.
Mark – you make me want to puke. If I had a college-age kid, after reading your entries above, Chico State would be the last place I would allow him to take his college education. You, sir are a worm.

October 27, 2010 9:28 pm

Really, Anthony! Why did you bother to request the use of visuals? You should just show up with them. If they “disinvite” you on the spot they really look bad. As you say, it is the norm today, so it’s not like you’d be trying to sucker them or anything.
I’ve done this before, showing up to a speaking engagement in a pair of nice jeans and polo style shirt when I knew that somebody was, for silly reasons, expecting a suit and tie (but they never stated so). When the inviter approached me with concern, I just said, “Oh, it’s okay. I don’t need one”, as if I thought it was me he was concerned for, rather than for his own silly preconceived notions of “proper”. I then opened by saying that the words I would speak were either right and true and worthy of acceptance, or they weren’t, but what I was wearing was inconsequential; if you came today to see someone wearing nice clothes perhaps you should have gone to an upscale department store instead.
I kept their attention all the way to the end, too 😉

Claude Harvey
October 27, 2010 10:18 pm

“And, it is Anthony, not Andrew. – Anthony”
Well scuuuuz me, Antonio. I thought you knew I was dyslexic.

Ted Dooley
October 27, 2010 11:21 pm

I believe that invoking the ADA may be justifiable here, to make a point.
If Chico was hosting a debate on theoretical physics and dis-invited Hawking because he could not address the audience or moderator directly…..

Ted Dooley
October 27, 2010 11:31 pm

[snip] Not that the thought doesn’t make me grin, but I think it unwise to go there. ~ Evan

Patrick Davis
October 27, 2010 11:54 pm

I was at a celebration at The Opera House in Sydney, Australia recently after completing a rather large project over the last 8 months or so. I asked one of the organisers/project managers if it was ok to take a camera. He responded by saying “It’s better to beg for forgiveness rather than beg for permission.”
As it turned out cameras are banned from use inside The Opera House, obviously to sell their products, however I was able to use mine to record the event for my team mates and I. So alittle begging goes a long way sometimes.
“Don says:
October 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm”
I hear ya (And Anthony too), I too suffer from that and had years of aggro from friends and work mates etc about it.

October 28, 2010 12:01 am

As it was said when I was a child, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
A debate is no way to attempt to decide things of a scientific matter, and public debate would be folly.
Debates speak to emotional issues not to issues scientific..
It really annoys me when weather forecasting on the Internet is done by video, without the printed text and printed visuals also available to scrutinize, however convincing or attractive the presenter is or looks. I like to understand the “mechanics” or “scientifics” of it. I want to be able to determine, best as I am able, what other than the forecast might happen.

October 28, 2010 12:01 am

All bark, no bite – Try – ‘All mouth, no trouser’s’ or for my state side friends ‘All mouth, no pants’.

Brian S
October 28, 2010 12:39 am

Anthony, in your spare time (is there any?) you might enjoy “Deaf Sentence” by David Lodge. There aren’t many things about hearing loss that onyone could term funny, but this is one of them.

Ted Dooley
October 28, 2010 12:42 am

Understood, no complaints – just didn’t know the pre- protocol… 🙂

Alan Wilkinson
October 28, 2010 12:48 am

My take is also that this is a simple miscommunication. Formal debating has its own rules which they assumed Anthony knew would apply but he didn’t and he expected it to be content focussed rather then presentation focussed. Then when the disability problem was raised they addressed that but still didn’t explain their formal rules expectation. So Anthony got cross that they were unprepared to facilitate the best process for discussing content and establishing truth but that was never their primary purpose.
The art of formal debate is to entertain and convince no matter what case you are alloted to support. Whereas scientific debate seeks to establish incontrovertible truths. IMHO, just a case where chalk met cheese with mutual incomprehension and dismay between their two different worlds with no interpreter.

stephen richards
October 28, 2010 1:20 am

I sympathise totally with you Anthony; I’m deaf in one ear and much inhibited in the other. People that can hear well simply don’t understand our problems. Even round the familly dining table debating is nearly impossible. One misses the subtlety of what’s being discuss and can’t reply and the right moment or in a way that demonstrates understanding.
As a councillor here I find I have to listen intently at all the meetings because we have no aids what so ever.

Mike Williams
October 28, 2010 1:29 am

quote:”Do you want to crawl out and play? Or is it too scary in public?”
Seriously, who trains the warmists..they fudge the science…and talk like 14 year olds..
Very sad state of affairs..

Mr. Toad
October 28, 2010 1:43 am

As a fellow sufferer with a very similar hearing loss to yours, I just want to say that I know just how difficult it is to take part in large group discussions. I only wish my brain could cope as well as yours!
Bets regards

October 28, 2010 1:46 am

Mark 2.18
Nice email. I don’t know the ins and outs but understand from your comment that this is intended to be a traditional style debate. Let’s leave aside the fact that not letting someone use ‘teaching’ aids who needs to use them could be considered discriminatory, I think the idea of a discourse in the way you describe is a good one.
However it seems to me that there is a need for people such as Anthony to properly counter the thrust of the previous debate which was held with full use of technology. So someone, somewhere, needs to organise a rebuttal in which Mr Watts could properly take full part.

George Lawson
October 28, 2010 2:04 am

When all is said and done, they invited someone with an 85 per cent loss of hearing to participate in the debate, and said ‘No’ when the invitee asked to use his aids, to compensate for the hearing loss and present his case. How unreasonable can you be?

October 28, 2010 2:18 am

I can see both sides of this argument but there’s an element that hasn’t been touched upon. When those students sit down to watch the debate many will already have the alarmist visuals in their minds. Since Al Gore’s movie is almost compulsory in many schools, few people won’t have seen those very emotive images and graphs that he used to illustrate how the planet is in peril and man is responsible. To deny Anthony the chance to put those graphics into perspective using the same medium is to pretend that the debate is truly balanced, regardles of any additional disadvantage or advantage.

October 28, 2010 2:23 am

California State University (CSU)
Access to Electronic and Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities
The California State University (CSU) has an ongoing commitment to provide access to information resources and technologies to individuals with disabilities. This commitment is articulated in the January 2005 Executive Order 926, the CSU Board of Trustees Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations
“It is the policy of the CSU to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the ‘general public’ regardless of disability.”
Chico State University are breaching their own policy on access to technology for people with known disabilities.

October 28, 2010 3:14 am

I think the discussion has made the point that the underlying purpose of the debate is to expose the kids to forensic rhetorical skills. A worthy goal, surely. Afraid I don’t know much about forensics, but somewhere I picked up the idea that in these formal competitions, both teams would argue both sides of the resolution, switching at midpoint in the event.
Perhaps if this tradition were implemented in Chico, some of the present confusion about the purpose of the event would dissipate. And it could make for some amusing argument…. : > )

October 28, 2010 3:31 am

jon shively:
AB 32 is a proposed law
Would that it were so! AB32 was enacted into law some time ago. Which is why Prop 23 is so important–if nothing is done, the consequences, good or bad, will soon be evident to all. This issue is more important than academic debating demonstrations, fun as they are.

stephen richards
October 28, 2010 4:52 am

I think I have finally understood the format of this ‘debate’ and it looks like the old english university debate. This is a game, nothing to do with reality, that pits two debating teams against each other. It’s about debating skills not knowledge. I was a member of such a debate on several occasions during my education. They were great fun because the subject of the debates was always ridiculous and funny and the debates followed that theme. This debate was never for you Anthony and as you have said had you known the format at the outset you would have know that immediately.

October 28, 2010 5:07 am

Lets be clear what Chico State University are stating. Participating in The Great Debate is only open to the able-bodied. That is fundamentally a breach of university policy.

October 28, 2010 5:20 am

From the beginning of the article and invitation, I saw it as an invitation to an acedemic debate, rather than one of substance. I saw it in terms of oraority exercise. 1.e., old style debate. The format is that of a stand up and think on one’s feet, presenting ones point while engaging the others weaknesses.
I can understand how your hearing loss would put you at a severe disadvantage in that format, and that merely shuffling the order of presentations would not mitigate that disadvantage.
I can also see that by being televised and webcast one week before the elections it belies the acedemic nature of the debate. That is where the bias creeps in. Yes, it is important to debate current issues, but a debate that extends beyond an acedemic exercise, does not seem to be a proper form of political discourse in this day and age.
All that being said, they can set the format and rules, whether it being a modern debate meant to educate the audience with the help of visuals, or an old time bare-knuckle type of verbal sparring of the traditional form.
As knowlegable and prepared as you are, you were the wrong person to invite, not because of your views, but because your style, method of communication, does not fit the format.
As for who debate team members should be, honestly, I’m not sure news anchors would be good debaters (in the traditional sense) without their earpiece. And, not to put you in the same class, but to demonstrate that some very intellegent people are not prime debate team members, I offer as evidence Admiral Stockton during the vice-presidential debates however long ago that was.

October 28, 2010 5:22 am

Chico State University events, including events that are open to the public, are subject to the university’s policy of equal access and participation for students, staff and the general public irrespective of a person’ abilities or disabilities.
You cannot bar a disable person’s participation on the basis that a particular event is only for the able bodied. That is discrimatory and a breach of university policy.

October 28, 2010 5:42 am

Although I love this blog, and normally agree with everything you post, I’ve got to say I think you threw your toys out of the pram a bit with this one.
You were invited to a debate, not a presentation, and it seems the invitation was issued in good faith without prior knowledge of your hearing condition. It is a shame that your condition prohibits you taking part in such debates, since you could offer a lot of valuable factual information, but you don’t really have a right to send impolite emails when they say they cannot change the format of the event to accommodate you.

Ziiex Zeburz
October 28, 2010 5:46 am

a woman in our office has dyslexic problems, she has an exceptionally high IQ but when she reads or writes all the letters to her do not make sense. She has a voice software with a a spell check that takes care of her problem as such that I worked with her several months before I knew that the slight stutter had a deeper companion, I do not know if this would help you, or if it exists, you have tried it and it don’t fly, but would not the system above working in reverse solve your problem, if more than one person is talking at once voice recognition software might help sort it out. Anybody out there know what I am talking about ?

October 28, 2010 5:46 am

Well, antique debates exhaust an awful lot of carbon dioxide, which of course is a poisonous gas so you are better of not going there.
Nice try, thought criminal!

October 28, 2010 6:39 am

It is a shame that this video that Anthony posted has recieved no discussion while we beat a dead horse to death.

October 28, 2010 6:53 am

The Great Debate is all about civic engagement. Chico describe it as an event to restore civility, reason and rhetorical argument into public forums. Importantly helping students to learn about the values that underly democracy, interrelations between communities, fostering ideas of morality and social justice, and the active participation of citizens in society ………………………………….. but only if you are able-bodied.

Lon Glazner
October 28, 2010 7:05 am

People not familiar with Chico might not understand how the local university and green movement drive our politics. But you can guarantee that a debate on Prop 23 prior to an election would not be a simple “educational” affair (regardless of the organizer’s intent). Anthony would likely face a hostile crowd in a politicized environment.
In our town Anthony has been called a weapon of mass destruction, a screaming mercury monkey, and one letter writer to the local paper suggested he kill himself. The crowd he would debate in front of, as a majority, would hold those viewpoints.
While the email exchange above should have had a softer tone, Anthony has earned the priviledge to seek adjustment to the debate format. Regardless of hearing loss, he’s the big fish in the little pond when it comes to the topic of climate. I think that bothers local people who disagree with him. They want to diminish him, cut him down to size, and force him away from this blog where he guides the content. When people provoke you by suggesting you “crawl out to play”, they aren’t doing so because they’ve arranged an environment hostile to themselves. The implicit message is that he’s hiding behind this blog. When they don’t accomodate his desire for slides, it’s in part because they don’t believe he’s worthy of special treatment. They don’t see his success with this blog as valid.
Here’s my suggestion to some of our local folks.
Anthony should probably send a note to Ms. Wolf along the lines of “I took an overly harsh tone with you in our email exchange, good luck with your event.” And then he should ignore requests for local debates and continue to produce this informative and effective blog.
Mark, who’s already acknowledged this, should know better than to goad people into these venues. That’s like me suggesting that he crawl out from under the safety of the university and publish a blog on sustainability to challenge Watts Up With That. Why not do it? Are you scared? Of course not. You should continue to teach your students what you believe, and maybe pass on some lessons in diplomacy, which I know is a strong point of yours.

October 28, 2010 7:26 am

As the father of an asthmatic child who long ago grew to healthy manhood, I was once persuaded to chair a local Asthma Association. I backed away and limited my own efforts to providing healthy opportunities for my son to take part in vigorous physical sport and training when I discovered many asthmatics who attended the local meetings were keen to play the role of health victim rather than do something positive for themselves, such as undertake a sensible exercise and diet regimen.
I am angered that the American Lung Association doesn’t know the difference between the plant food known as CO2 and the particulates that may trigger Asthma. This type of political and totally dishonest advocacy is a disgusting example of jumping on a bandwagon without knowing who is driving the horses.

October 28, 2010 7:40 am

Lon Glazner
I thought Chico was in the business of turning undergraduates into model citizens.
So it would appear that The Great Debate is not about civility, reason and rhetorical argument, but simply indoctrination.
Very revealing!

October 28, 2010 7:49 am

So The Great Debate hides The Great Lie – there is no debate, except for sermonising to undergraduates. Very little educational value in that process for first year students.

October 28, 2010 8:11 am

Late to this party, but Anthony is right that the initial invitation should have specified what the ground rules of the debate were. That would have stopped it right there.
Anthony, not to pry, but would you be a candidate for a cochlear implant? My IT guy struggled for years with hearing aids and TTY phone calls, but now does much better with an implant. And of course Rush Limbaugh has one, too. He does say, though, that crowds in large rooms overwhelm it.
/Mr Lynn

October 28, 2010 8:12 am

Gee maybe a second, like dueling, you could have Willis or someone stand in for you. They probably would have frowned on that too.

October 28, 2010 8:37 am

You’re right about the Lincoln-Douglass debate. That’s what they are looking for. I’m a veteran of a number of these and by “civil” discourse they mean that no one participant should have any extra advantage to making their points. Visuals, especially professionally produced ones, might give the presenter an advantage in the eyes of those judging the debate. They believe it wouldn’t be “fair”. There would probably be other stipulations, as well, such as directly referring to your opponents in the debate in any way.
I’m not saying this debate style is right or wrong, but it is traditional, and yes, possibly archaic.

October 28, 2010 8:54 am

Anthony, your university college in Chico has some weird strategies for teaching first year students the mechanics of debating. Their ambition to teach debating skills is commendable, but muddling that aim with the different aim of educating students about the issues currently in the public eye is both wrong-headed and poor teaching practice. A traditional debate is an entertainment in this day and age, and the winner of such debates may have wonderful speaking ability but little actual subject knowledge. I suspect the university staff thought they could get away with muddling their educational aims, but their own obvious ignorance of good teaching practice and their desire to ‘celebretise’ their debate tripped them up; correctly, Prof Thia Wolf should have kept the debate in-house and low key for teaching purposes and run a second event with speakers invited to present their views in whatever way those invitees deemed suitable. To not make the restrictions of the debate clear to Anthony, who has never made a secret of his hearing loss, is also very poor form for a teaching university.

Tim Clark
October 28, 2010 9:47 am

Anthony, I find it ironic that the ad grouping under your thread heading contained the following ad:
Powerpoint Slideshow
Create Voice-Enriched Presentations to Promote Your Expertise/Business!

Wow, is that a coincidence or what? Maybe Dr. Mark can click on it.

October 28, 2010 9:53 am

Just think, if even half the comments here had been directected toward the Am. Lung Assoc., people here might have made an impact on something.
[And the dead horse would still be dead.]

October 28, 2010 11:43 am

Any bets the AGW side is going to do exactly what you were told you could not do?

October 28, 2010 4:18 pm

have to say you are being a bit OTT on this, no need, calm down, you are in danger of coming across as a smartass/bullyboy/primadonna.
don’t blow the hard work by you & others here by paraniod/ill thought out replies.
REPLY: Well, all I wanted to do was show slides. Watch the live debate (see main page of WUWT for story) and then tell me if you still think so. – Anthony

Paul Coppin
October 28, 2010 4:54 pm

Mark said: “civic discourse, i.e.. talking, among first year students.”
Bush league sophomoric event. Anthony, stay home, you’ve gone far past that second rate institution… Mark, that’d be: civil discourse… What exactly, are the students going to learn…

Jeff Alberts
October 28, 2010 6:45 pm

Anthony, you should have just accepted once you knew where it was being held. Then when it comes time for your turn, you hook up to the projector and off you go. Then, if they say you’re not allowed to do that, you have a complaint.

Andrew P.
October 29, 2010 12:00 am

I’ve come to this late but have to say I am with Anthony on this. If the event was a traditional “no visuals” debate then this should have been made explicit in the invitation. And given Anthony’s 85% hearing loss they should have made an exception for him.

October 31, 2010 12:41 pm

I love Chico State’s agitprop email note…”Let your voice be heard”. Just not with slides!
State Universities want the drones to regurgitate, not to think critically. Memorize, recite. Memorize, recite. Same old garbage. I applaud you Anthony, keep up the great work!

Brian Macker
November 1, 2010 11:32 pm

“The Great Debate is meant to provide space for citizens to practice an older discourse form.”
Yeah, they want older forms that violate the disabilities act. I guess they just don’t want to accommodate the disabled at their facilities, even though they are already installed. If Stephen Hawking were skeptical of climate change they’d block off the wheelchair ramp.

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