Claim: 'One Guy With A Marker Just Made The Global Warming Debate Completely Obsolete.'

Greg Craven, the guy with the marker

Guest Posting by Ira Glickstein

My granddaughter just sent me a link to a video that claims: “One Guy With A Marker Just Made The Global Warming Debate Completely Obsolete.”

I watched the video with interest. He starts off saying he has: “… An argument that leads to a  conclusion even the most ardent skeptic and most panicked activist can agree on. No one I’ve shown it to so far has been able to poke a hole in it. …”


GW Dichotomy

As the image from the video indicates, he divides the Global Warming debate into two dichotomies:

  • Global Climate Change (GCC) is “False” (Top Row) or “True” (Bottom Row), and
  • We take Action “Yes” (Column A) or “No” (Column B)

Here are the results he gives for his four boxes:

  1. GCC is False but we unnecessarily take Action. The result is a high “Cost” that results in a “Global Depression”.
  2. GCC is False and we take No Action. The result is a happy face.
  3. GCC is True and we take Action that stops GCC dead in its tracks. The result is a happy face.
  4. GCC is True and we take No Action. The result is “CATASTROPHES [in the] ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, SOCIETAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, [and] and HEALTH” areas.

He ends with the inevitable: “The only choice is Column A” – we must take Action!

“All or nothing”, “Camelot or Catastrophe” arguments have great emotional power in political discourse, where the (usually hidden) assumption is that some things are perfectly TRUE and others are perfectly FALSE. But the real world is mostly in shades of grey. He studiously avoids that complication, because, when shades of grey are considered, his argument, IMHO, falls apart.

Let us take a closer, more realistic look at his four boxes:

  1. GLOBAL DEPRESSION: This box is included to make it appear he is being “fair” to Skeptics. He assumes that taking Action to stop GCC will be so costly that, if it turns out to have been unnecessary, the result will be a “Global Depression”. Certainly, maximum environmental spending will damage the world-wide economy, but I doubt that type of spending, alone, will trigger a “Global Depression”. When we get to box #3 we will see that he doesn’t really think so either!
  2. HAPPY FACE: GCC is “False”, we take No Action, so all is well! But, is it? Does his “GCC” include NATURAL PROCESSES and CYCLES that have caused Global Warming (and Cooling), Floods (and Droughts), and Violent Storms (and Blessed Rain) prior to the advent of Humans on Earth, and before we Humans had the capability to affect the climate? Apparently not, else “GCC” could not be totally “False”.  Therefore, by “GCC” he is referring ONLY to the HUMAN-CAUSED variety, totally ignoring the evidence from the geological, ice-core, and historical records of NATURAL Global Climate Change and some Catastrophes.
  3. HAPPY FACE: This box is totally inconsistent with box #1! If Action to stop Human-Caused Global Warming is so costly as to cause a Global Depression in the first box, would it not also cause such a Global Depression in this box? So, why the Happy Face? Realistically, even if we in the US and other nations in the Developed World take maximum Action to reduce our CO2 emissions, it is totally unrealistic to expect those in the Developing World to do the same. Indeed, China, India, and other countries will continue to build power plants, nearly all of them coal-fired. CO2 levels are bound to continue their rapid increase for at least the coming several decades, no matter what we do.
  4. TOTAL CATASTROPHE: This box is filled with terrible consequences and is intended to scare us into taking maximum Action. He assumes the worst-case Global Warming of several degrees predicted by Climate Models despite the failure of those Climate Models to predict the past 17 years of absolutely no net Global Warming. (The most realistic prediction is continued moderate change in Global Temperatures, mostly NATURAL but some small part HUMAN-CAUSED. As standards of living continue to improve world-wide, populations will stabilize which will allow reasonable action to be taken to moderate CO2 emissions, and Human Civilization will ADAPT to inevitable Natural and Human-Caused Climate Change as we have throughout history.)

Bottom Line: This “One Guy With A Marker” DID NOT MAKE “The Global Warming Debate Completely Obsolete.” His failures of logic:

  • He assumes HUMAN-CAUSED Climate Change is the only kind we need to worry about, which flies in the face of the fact that most Global Climate Change has been and continues to be NATURAL, and not under Human control or influence.
  • He assumes costly Action to prevent GCC will cause a GLOBAL DEPRESSION (box #1) if GCC is “False”, but the same costly Action will cause a HAPPY FACE (box #3) if GCC is “True”. Box #3 contradicts box #1.
  • He ignores the fact that GCC models have way over-predicted Global Warming. For example, taking 1979 (when worldwide Satellite temperature data came available) as a starting point, the average of 102 Global Climate Models predicted warming of 0.9°C (1.5°F) by 2013. Actual warming from 1979 to 2013 has been less than a quarter of that, and there has been no net Global Warming since 1997.  During this time period, CO2 levels have continued their rapid rise. (See
  • He assumes “All or Nothing at all” and “Camelot or Catastrophe” which is the characteristic of irresponsible EMOTIONAL argument. He ignores the shades of grey in-between. He brings POLITICAL rhetoric to what should be a rational SCIENTIFIC discussion.

Ira Glickstein

[UPDATE 18 May 2014. In a comment:

John Coleman says May 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm)

Ira, please make a video that presents the counter argument so I can put the two videos together for a You Tube “gotcha”. This guy is getting lots of hits and needs to be answered on You Tube.

Thanks for the suggestion John! I’ve done a video Titled: “One Guy With a Marker – DECONSTRUCTED”. It is on You Tube at Comments are welcome. Ira]


Related: See Craven Attention, where Steve Mosher reports on Greg Craven making a buffoon of himself at AGU.


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Mark Bofill

An argument that leads to a conclusion even the most ardent skeptic and most panicked activist can agree on.

How peculiar then, that I disagree.

Shawn in High River

Waste of time even watching it

Michael D

I have little patience for people who think everyone else is stupid.

Peter S

My conclusion is that either: A) He has not shown it to many people
or B) The people he has shown it to are thick.


This presentation with all the happy faces probably works perfectly with first graders.

It’s an example of Bertrand Russell’s ‘Excluded Middle’ theory which doesn’t allow for uncertain inference but treats everything as a dichotomy. If you start with a false premise then expect garbage out no matter how well you argue it.

Ira, please make a video that presents the counter argument so I can put the two videos together for a You Tube “gotcha”. This guy is getting lots of hits and needs to be answered on You Tube.
[John Coleman: Thanks, I am not really set up to do videos but will consider it. Meanwhile, you or anyone else is welcome to use my text above as a rough draft for a video script. Ira]
[UPDATE 18 May 2014 – John Coleman: THANKS for the suggestion. I’ve done a video and uploaded it to You Tube at Comments are welcome. Ira]


Why is nicer weather and more abundant crops a catastrophe again? I keep forgetting. Thanks.

I have seen this argument before. His attire in the photo is most appropriate.

this is about control …the climate hoax is the club we are beaten with.
it is AGENDA 21 and the reduction of the human population.

Colin Richardson

This is just a variation of the ancient logical fallacy of the false dilemma with a little jazz to try to confuse.

Follow the Money

He’s got as good a shot as any to be the American public relations “face” of the AGW money. James Hansen was for years until he was curtly pushed aside for his anti-cap and trade comments. Michael Mann was being prepped and tested, but became mired in legal claims. Bill Nye the Science Guy looked good, but was destroyed in every debate. His end was marked in that recent HBO skit about with the 97 “scientists” making noise, while Nye sat quietly. He looked like he was ordered to remain quiet, and knew this meant his handlers had no more confidence in him. Defeat was written all over his face. So mass comm now has a place for a new fake face for the banks and energy companies, so why not this guy?

I believe this video has actually been around for a few years now. There is also a piece of comic satire that is floating around which some like to use in public comment threads and forums to prove their point. Here it is:
This one really bugs me because it paints a picture that just because you believe the “science isn’t settled” that you can’t be eco-friendly or a true conservationist.

Code Monkey Wrench

This video was posted years ago. It’ll work on people with little or no critical thinking skills. Not surprised it’s a hit on Upworthy.


His game theory analysis is incredibly sophomoric – even if it had been done correctly. Most of us already, intuitively, understand the simple matrix.
And it’s 50x more expensive to prevent CAGW than to adapt to it – according to the IPCC’s own numbers. His matrix doesn’t align with that fact.

James Strom

This is a sort of inversion of Pascal’s Wager, where you have one box representing an infinite negative instead of an infinite positive.
Diagram about 1/3 down the page.


That was not even wrong.
If you’re unwilling to check your assumptions, don’t waste your time challenging others’.

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” ~ H. L. Mencken


This is very much like leftist arguments for government intervention in the economy. Full of false assertions and fallacies.

Trevor Casper

Meh. Too clever by half. The major flaw I see in this type of “we might as well do something since the worst that could happen is we reduce economic activity a little bit, and we might just save the world and all of humanity” argument is that the actions that are “required” will necessitate that citizens of developed countries accept reduced standards of living. Worse than that, arguably, is that the citizens of developing countries will be expected to abandon their aspirations of ever achieving the living standards we currently take for granted in developed countries. The poorest people of the world will be the most affected, and they will suffer and die because of it. These “necessary actions” will exact a huge cost in real human lives, right now, today, if they are enacted. The brainiac (so he thinks) with the whiteboard might have a different take if he were to view the pile of bodies that his actions had condemned.


The impact of a large asteroid would be even more catastrophic, ending human life on earth, so by his logic we must commit to spend all our money creating the means to identify and destroy any such asteroid, This, of course, would not leave any funds available to combat CAGW, but the number 1 priority has to come first!!!!!


“Global Climate Change ”
In politics, people instantly identify themselves by word choices.
By the way, he’s using the exact argument CS Lewis proposed: The consequences of not joining the religion are too high to risk, and the benefits are socially good. I wonder if this guy goes to church on Sundays?


This is the clown that did the meltdown at the AGW a couple of years ago. He has been peddling this naive version of Pascal’s fallacy for years.
He is literally a climate clown, if you watch his videos (his is very tedious and dereivative work, by the way). At the end, after he talks himself out (long winded) he falls back to the appeal to authority- if you don’t agree with me, get out of my because we climnate obsessed are morally superior.


I propose someone makes the same grid but instead of using “global climate change” use “huge meteor impact” as the relevant question. then proclaim the “inescapable conclusion” that we should begin preparing for a huge meteor impact.

Welcome to the intellectual (largely) wasteland that is Facebook. These types of videos get posted followed by users posting their “2 minutes of hate.” It’s helping create an uber-emotional, anti-logical and scientifically illiterate society.


An even slightly meaningful chart would include effective and ineffective action, corruption, and whether there’s an actual warming trend (or cooling, long-term), and whether it’s natural or man-made.
The uncertainties aren’t just what the temperature will be, it’s the cause, the trend, the length of the trend, and the “solutions” are highly uncertain.
The very argument itself is on the order of “How do we get out of this pit? Let’s assume we have a ladder…” Additionally, you have to accept the assumption that you’re in a pit.

Eric Anderson

This is pretty old and it is a failure.
Faulty reasoning employed to reach his conclusion.


Those were my first thoughts almost exactly. It parallel’s with C. S. Lewis thought when he said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
This is also known as Pascal’s Wager. Mr. Lewis cribbed the concept from Blaise Pascal.

Tom O

You know, basically he IS telling the truth, but he doesn’t realize it. His underlying assumption is that GCC is ONLY global warming, as is everyone else here. The underlying truth is that if GCC is sliding into a mini ice age, and we don’t take the actions that we need to take to protect us from it, then it’s catastrophy, so change the yes to warming and the no to cooling, and he is telling the truth – but it is WHAT is taking action that matters. The sad part is that if we take the action to insure we aren’t clobbered by global cooling, it will cost, but it actually won’t much matter should we be wrong. The world, and we, will adapt. If we take the action to insure we aren’t clobbered by global warming and we are wrong, life on this planet as we know it will be forever changed. And, by the way, global depression versus global catastrophies doesn’t sound like there is any real difference for civilization to me.


(Warning: Star Trek reference ahead.)
Just for fun, in that video substitute the phrase “Global Climate Change” with “Borg Invasion”.


Retired and system engineer equals organized drivel. Does he really think adaptation is not relevant, such as the case of spending to a depression-level outcome? Well, he has been right to the extent that political leaders have done a good job of ignoring the growing evidence of gross prediction error underlying the policy recommendations. A chaos theory of policy failure and abundance of unintended consequences would be a better approach than oversimplifications with a 2 by 2 matrix.


……….common core

george e. conant

Take Action Now! The mantra of CAGW or CCC or Climate Weirding is all that matters now to the warmista’s. Again I am forced to ask “How do THEY know, for certain, as fact, that all the claims of catastrophy due to CO2 is / will happen(ing)??? The geopolitical machinations are ongoing dynamics perpetrated for thousands of years now by one civilization after another, so it is safe to assume that will continue regardless of climate change or climate stability. As for draconian actions, exactly what kind of actions and who will be winners and who will be losers? Again our geopolitical history will demonstrate what we can expect, that is, the privileged elite with their private armies will remain the dominant force while the masses are herded like cattle by brute force into internment camps for “processing”. The job and duty of freedom and liberty loving people requires work to keep tyranny in check. Like any good crime, we need to “follow the money”. Who has to gain from such gross acquisition of power and wealth? I am not saying by any means that thoughtful caring stewardship of our home planet is unnecessary , surely we should be employing the best of our knowledge and technology exactly toward that end. But done soberly. With truth in science and truth in politics. Perhaps the biggest pollution machine there is is the War Machine. This mans chart and argument I find devoid of facts on the ground. The complexity of our human behavior and the chaotic nature of weather can not be reduced to four squares and an ultimatum for action that is not defined or based on certainty. Making decisions based upon untruth and uncertainty is not only illogical but blatantly endangering our world civilization. This Man with a Marker is yet another attempt to shut down discussion and discovery of DATA and TRUTH regarding our planets climate health.


A variation of the god/no god argument. Totally lame.

David Walton

Must be a CSUC educated professor.

Prog “logic” seldom is.
The sad thing is, this weenie thinks he’s being very clever. I’d bet London to a brick he’s actually convinced he’s making sense and isn’t just some watermelon appraratchik spouting the party line.

Jaakko Kateenkorva

Using his own chart, the column B has the only box that doesn’t involve $.

Gunga Din

He assumes “All or Nothing at all” and “Camelot or Catastrophe” which is the characteristic of irresponsible EMOTIONAL argument. He ignores the shades of grey in-between. He brings POLITICAL rhetoric to what should be a rational SCIENTIFIC discussion.

Yes he does AND he ignores the negative political consequences (massive loss of freedoms for the masses and massive concentration of power for the few) the “actions” would require.
His “Global Depression” wouldn’t just be economic.


“No one I’ve show it to so far has been able to poke a hole in it. …”
This video has been around for many years. If this guy has not seen any holes poked, he has not been paying attention.
At the very least, box 3 needs to be divided into:
a) the money spent to mitigate warming actually stops warming.
b) the money spent to mitigate warming does not stop warming.
And box 4 should be divided into:
a) warming is bad.
b) warming is good.

Ken Harvey

Might be useful for teaching very young pupils what sophistry is.


And in the bottom left, he assumes all that money will actually fix a problem that doesn’t exist except in the crazy world of climate modelling.
Sorry, but you cannot fix the climate models. !


Obviously this person doesn’t have the capacity to comprehend the complexity of what he tries to simplify. He is not worth the PCO2 footprint he just left in the net.
Next up, Bozo the other clown! 》


JPS says:
May 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm
I propose someone makes the same grid but instead of using “global climate change” use “huge meteor impact” as the relevant question. then proclaim the “inescapable conclusion” that we should begin preparing for a huge meteor impact.

Might I humbly suggest a set of shovels and a miner’s cap as props?
“We know stats wise an ELE impact is inevitable…so get to digging 8 hours a day….
as your sign off?

F. Ross

A Boolean type truth table requires “true” or “false” values to be of any use.
The guy with the marker is using values which are open to dispute and his so called “truth table” is, in a word, garbage.

Joseph Murphy

Hard to take him seriously when he begins by claiming no one disagrees with him. I did watch it and it is fairly well reasoned if you are quite naive in several subjects. First and foremost, if what the most ardent alarmist are claiming is true, then it is already to late. That means box 3#, the so called happy face with global warming being true should in fact be a worse case scenario than box #4. Box #3 will result in a combination of climate catastrophe and economic induced catastrophe. I’d rather just have one of those thank you.

Applying the Precautionary Principle equally, instead of selectively, requires in this case that all historical examples of economies being “remade” by a “paradigm shift” by some progressive intellectuals (say in the 1900’s) be taken into consideration.
Examples include China’s Great Leap, Russia, pre-war Germany, North Korea, Romania, Cambodia, and Cuba.
The Precautionary Principle would then show that these intellectuals rarely if ever get good results from “remaking” economies. Therefore, the Great Transformation to a decarbonized economy plainly has far too many potential deadly consequences that will come with it. Remember that Bill McKibbon has praised Cuba’s rationed, disgusting diet as “semi-sustainable.”

Obviously it’s the PROBABILITIES of each scenario actua lly happening as well as our proven ability to provide reasonably efficient remedies. What is the probability that earth will get hit by a huge meteor that will wipe out all life on earth. What is the probability that we will be involved in a fatal car accident. Should we go back to horse and buggy?

Theo Goodwin

It is the very same reasoning that is found in Pascal’s Wager. The conclusion of Pascal’s argument is that every rational person will be in church on Sunday. (Pascal stated the argument for Christians.) I have often wondered when the Head of the EPA will require all of us to attend some appropriate religious service regularly.

A key failure also is that the first quadrant happens if A is chosen regardless. If it is happening and we can stop it, we still have a global depression.
So column be is the only real answer as everyone loses in Column A.

Dave L

I attended a local talk on ‘climate change’ recently. It was very elementary. Sadly, it went completely over the heads of the general-public attendees — their comprehension of the subject matter was zilch. This is the problem: the average American adult hasn’t a clue what the climate debate is about; their science skills are woefully deficient. Hence the bozos in Washington can continue spinning lies, and the general public will absorb them if they are Democrats and reject them if they are Republicans.