"One Guy With A Marker …" DECONSTRUCTED

The guy with a white board marker

Guest Posting by Ira Glickstein

John Coleman (Co-Founder of The Weather Channel) made a comment on my: earlier WUWT posting  “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.”

Here it is! 

Comments will be appreciated.

Ira Glickstein


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May 18, 2014 9:41 pm

Well done. I’m sure a lot of people are taken in by the clown in a hat. But really anyone presenting himself like that has to be … well a joker.

May 18, 2014 9:53 pm

1. You should take him at his word in box 1, and emphasize that box 3 then means global depression, and should have no smiley face.
2. You also need to mention that the current expensive solutions won’t stop the catastrophe. Not only will they not stop the catastrophe, they will cripple the ability of future generations to defend themselves against catastrophes.

May 18, 2014 9:54 pm

Thanks Ira, he reminds me of the guy at a tailgate gathering cheer leading his team although most fans already know their team is in last place and all they are there for is? Is the BBQ.

John Coleman
May 18, 2014 10:06 pm

Wow Ira. You did it and you did a great job of debunking the marker nut. I hope you get a lot of hits on You Tube. It is a huge job to debunk the bad science. We should all keep on trying every day. I am writing a daily blog, but maybe I need to make some new videos as well.

May 18, 2014 10:12 pm

What are the credentials (if any) of the marker guy?

May 18, 2014 10:35 pm

Thanks Ira.- It is good to see you back here on WUWT

Cynical Scientst
May 18, 2014 10:39 pm

Personally I think the logical flaws could have been much better illustrated by presenting a parody of his argument. I’d present the exact same analysis for some other proposition such as that aliens might be using dangerous mind control rays to take over the human race, and that we should therefore mandate the wearing of tinfoil hats for protection.
The rows would then be true or false on the whole alien mind control ray thing. The columns would be true or false on whether to require people to wear a tinfoil hat. Use the same silly smiley faces for the off diagonal options, and have the consequence of getting people to wear unneeded tinfoil hats being “people look a bit silly”. The box where the alien mind control ray hypothesis is true and we choose not to wear “protection” can be filled with scenarios of doom with the human race being rounded up into alien extermination camps or whatever horrendous outcomes your imagination can contrive. Then end with the same ultra sincere speech about needing to avoid the catastrophic outcome at all cost leaving no option other than the mandatory wearing of tinfoil hats.

May 18, 2014 10:59 pm

Well done, Ira. Thank you.
One thing that immediately came to mind is what scarletmacaw pointed out about boxes 1 & 3. It’s possible he did not want to pollute his favored smiley-face outcome with unpleasant thoughts. It’s also possible he did not even see the contradiction (his self-important demeanor suggests he’s not as bright as he thinks he is). Then there is a third possibility: Gaia will be so pleased with us that she will use her powers and prevent a global depression. A goddess planet that is capable of punishing us for our sins—as some global warming nuts of my acquaintance believe—may also be willing to rewards us for our righteous worship.

May 18, 2014 11:18 pm

Oh yes, The Marker Guy (TMG) has been demarked. But unfortunately these kind of “Clowns” keep on coming up to the surface. – – –
Only yesterday the BBC (in the UK) was showing a program, in which they by now are admitting that CO2 is being “pumped” into ‘commercial’ greenhouses (because – they said – after all CO2 is a greenhouse gas) to promote the growth of cucumbers.
The thing, however that got me, was that – once upon a time – The Polar Bear (TPB) which is an animal that very few people have ever seen (apart from captive ones in a Zoo) was an animal that was facing death and extinction because of “Global Warming” (GW), but as we now know form various reports, there are now more polar bears in the world than there was 50 years ago – because we (human hunters) have stopped shooting them.
So now, in yesterday’s program, they (the BBC) featured a little bird, some kind of “Warbler” which I have never seen, or heard of before, was “moving further north” as it could not stand the increased heat in it’s old habitat.
Why is it, I wonder, that those who cause “excessive CO2 emissions” (The top guys at the BBC are not happy unless millions of people turn their ‘tellies’ on to watch their programmes) are the staunchest advocates for the need to shut down the economy????

May 18, 2014 11:39 pm

Any evidence of said catastrophe? Miami flooded yet? How about those climate refugees? Oh. None. How are a few tenths of a degree, plus or minus a degree, such a big deal? How did the slow, gentle warming form the depths of the little ice-age ever constitute a crisis. Really, I want to know.

Anders Valland
May 18, 2014 11:46 pm

His #1 and #3 stuff goes against the “consensus”. So far we’ve been told that investing in “green” technology and putting up with high taxes and energy bills will be a positive thing even if it turns out that CAGW was not real. His #1 is telling us that such investments are very costly, and by way of the fabled precautionary principle we should not go there…..
This stuff calls for absolute certainty- maybe he is on a 97+ %-diet……..

Steve Case
May 19, 2014 12:45 am

Thanks for pointing out the Box 1 vs Box 3 disconnect. A classic example of misdirection.

Bill Halligan
May 19, 2014 1:54 am

Two other points that could be made: 1. Even assuming GCC is absolutely correct, spending X trillions of dollars and shutting down all our fossil fuel plants will not prevent the model-predicted catastrophies because China, India, etc. are going to be producing enough CO2 to ensure a continuing rise. All that our efforts will accomplish is to impoverish the developed world, making us poorly equipted to cope with the disasters that the models say will happen with the increasing CO2.
2. The real catastrophe that is not addressed at all is if we spend X trillions of dollars to control the climate, and get global cooling instead. Now we have a true diaster with decreased ability to grow food, increased energy needs, and an impoverished economy that is unable to deal with this real castrophe. The result would be mass starvation and chaos. A perfect setup for those who want radical social/political change.

son of mulder
May 19, 2014 2:03 am

How does the original commentator know in Box 3 that you solved disaster (because disaster didn’t happen) whereas in Box 1 you did the same things and there was no disaster. The original Box 3 should be the same as Box 1. ie you don’t know whether it wouldn’t have happened or that you prevented it.

May 19, 2014 2:41 am

You may be able to beat him on his own terms. The idea behind this graphic is that you can decide whether or not to do something, simply by eliminating the worst case scenario, without needing any idea of whether or not what you are studying is real.
In other words – the premise of his case is that even not knowing for sure that GCC is real, we should act anyway because by picking box A, i.e. ‘Yes’, you eliminate the prospect of the worst case scenario – box 4, column ‘No’.
However, one needs to add a third row so that the rows read as follows: False (no GCC), True (AGW), True (Natural). After all this is surely a more accurate representation of the global warming debate. In such a case, by far the worst case scenario is the one where it is true there is GCC, but it is largely natural, and we have spent a load of money trying to solve it.
In this case we get the catastrophe in box 4 AND global depression in box 1, having spent a whole lotta of money on it, which did nothing, because it’s largely natural, but we are still suffering its impacts.
Therefore, you are better choosing the ‘No’ column, because the ‘Yes’ column contains by far the most catastrophic scenario, the very thing he claims to want to avoid.

May 19, 2014 2:46 am

Great video, but I see several points missing. A big, big failure in the original video is assuming that, if we go with “total action” or a full YES against anthropogenic climate change, we stop it. For that to be true:
1) “The clown” needs to specify what he means by “total action”. Because anything short of convincing China and India of not burning any more coal will not stop a shit. And this simple point is not even in the agenda of the ecofascists. He needs to prove that all the actions that are CURRENTLY in the agenda have any possibility of stopping anthropogenic CO2 emissions from continuing to rise. What skeptics are mostly against at this moment is the actions CURRENTLY in the agenda. Because, be CAGW true or not, they will have ZERO effect appart from causing the “big depression” and making the poor poorer.
2) He needs to specify which is the model or the GRAND GURU he is trusting when he speaks of the possible future outcomes. Because it looks to me that he is using different predictions depending on our actions to suit his message. If he uses the same predictions that cause the box 4 to become an absolute catastrophe… well, those predictions also say that we are already doomed no matter what we do. Those predictions say that even if we stop at our current 400ppm, the world is doomed, and that it will take millenia to remove all the anthropogenic CO2 from the atmosphere. So with such predictions, exactly how do we end up with a happy face, in case we did indeend manage to stop our emissions, something that even if the current ecofascist plans were to be aproved would not be achieved? If no action ends in catastrophe, total action, meaning total current plans, will necesarily end in a catastrophe as well, PLUS depresion.

Tim Hammond
May 19, 2014 2:52 am

It’s good stuff, but isn’t there a simpler way to show the problems – use numbers and then assign probabilities to generate risk weighted outcomes.
That is what the real world does all the time and it also show clearly how the assumptions are key to the outcomes.
Thus for Box 1 (False, Yes), the value could be say -100 (cost of taking action). Box 2 (False, No) would be a value of say +50 (global growth if we take no action). Box 3 (True, Yes) would also be -100 (cost of taking action) and Box 4 (False, No) would be say -100 as well (cost of catastrophe), but also +50 for the global growth we do not forgo for a net value of -50.
Then let’s say the chances of False/True are 50:50. The risk weighted value of Column Yes is 0.5x-100 + 0.5x-100 = -100.
The risk weighted value of Column No is 0.5×50 + 0.5x-50 = 0
Et voila, Column No is a clear winner.
Now I’m not suggesting taht these numbers are “right” but they illustrate clearly how the decision on what to do is entirely based on the starting assumptions about the numbers. And with this, you can have the Excluded middle too,

May 19, 2014 3:36 am

What is “Total Action” anyway? Is someone going to try to force China and India to stop burning coal and driving cats? Good luck with that one.
I am surprised he put a frowny face in the top-left box. I thought we were all going to benefit from these bird-mincers anyway? History tells us that we will find a better way, and probably pretty soon. As soon as fusion is cheap enough and safe enough, it will probably take over all power generation, and then we just need to make that energy transportable and we can leave oil & coal for more important things, like making plastics. That (or something else) is destined to happen long before all the catastrophes he is having nightmares about.

May 19, 2014 3:38 am

pascal’s wager has newer been true. And this is pascal’s wager right out of the textbook.
If we are going to take pascal’s wager seriously we can not do any activity that have any risk.

May 19, 2014 4:20 am

Excellent rebuttal. I know I made one of the points in your video, and I have read others making some of the others, but you summed it all up in one short video.

David L.
May 19, 2014 4:23 am

1. You should take him at his word in box 1, and emphasize that box 3 then means global depression, and should have no smiley face.
2. You also need to mention that the current expensive solutions won’t stop the catastrophe. Not only will they not stop the catastrophe, they will cripple the ability of future generations to defend themselves against catastrophes.
Excellent points!

May 19, 2014 5:20 am

Mr. Glickstein,
First a quick operational note: the voice volume changes dramatically between voiceover and camera segments. I’d suggest wearing a microphone; as it is the volume ranges considerably and provides an unnecessary distraction
2) Great effort. My suggestion is to reframe the argument to show the hollow nature of the assertions made as follows:
Box 1 and Box 3 = tens of millions of 3rd world lives blighted by energy poverty, diseases not eradicated (like Malaria), education not completed due to lack of infrastructure and food security, etc.
Box 2 = All the above, mitigated by some portion of the spending NOT devoted to avoiding climate change
Box 4 = No evidence whatsoever of the catastrophes asserted by the funny hat guy.

Gail Combs
May 19, 2014 5:44 am

O H Dahlsveen says: @ May 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm
“…So now, in yesterday’s program, they (the BBC) featured a little bird, some kind of “Warbler” which I have never seen, or heard of before, was “moving further north” as it could not stand the increased heat in it’s old habitat….”
So why has a Snowy Owl, an Arctic bird shown up on my farm in the piedmont of North Carolina? Another WUWT commenter mentioned seeing them in Florida this winter too.
They are desperately scrambling for new crisis to support CAGW which has become a big YAWN.

May 19, 2014 5:56 am

This guy-with-a-marker’s “logic” can be used thus:
It is possible that an army from another universe will come through a portal over New York City and destroy civilization, killing billions of humans in the process. It’s also possible that if I get a government grant that pays me a million dollars a year that won’t happen.
Therefore the government needs to pay me that million a year because I might be able to prevent the end of the world as we know it. (I feel fine.)

Mark Hladik
May 19, 2014 7:14 am

Well done, Dr. Glickstein. Hope you get twice as many hits as Clown Boy.

May 19, 2014 8:47 am

I hope another video is posted incorporating some the the commenters’ suggestions.

Gunga Din
May 19, 2014 2:47 pm

Dare we hope Marker Guy puts up a rebuttal?
It’d be fun fun to see him handed his butt again.

May 19, 2014 3:26 pm

Thanks for this analysis. 🙂 I especially enjoyed the observation that box 1 and 3 are contradictory.
However, I don’t think the people who will be taken in by this video will care about the logical fallacy. The people who accept this video KNOW the middle is being left out…and they don’t care. They believe that by comparing only the extremes, and ignoring the odds, they can make valid decisions.
When this video was posted by an FB friend, I just played the game they way they understand it.
The thing is, Mr. Marker has a limited imagination. Box 4, with all the disasters, is not extreme enough. The real extreme is that with all these disasters, and desperate people starving and warring and fleeing and fighting for survival, some looney is going to toss a nuke…and then everyone tosses a nuke…and the world becomes a seething, lifeless husk.
But, this is also the extreme of box 2; the planet falls into a worldwide depression, people are starving and warring and fleeing and fighting for survival, and some looney tosses a nuke, etc.
If you substitute the true extremes into both boxes, the technique tells you exactly the opposite of what Mr. Marker claims. Since the bad extremes are equal, the only other difference is whether we spend a ton of money or not. In that case, the technique tells us not to spend the money.
Anyone who argues that we’re not as likely to encounter global destruction from box 2 as we are from box 4 can be reminded the this whole exercise is based on the concept that we can ignore the odds and compare only the extremes.
There was no response to this observation on FB; maybe that means it was effective.

Tsk Tsk
May 19, 2014 5:21 pm

Others have pointed this out in the original posting and here. This is nothing more than Pascal’s Wager. Want to really parody it? Just point out that applying the exact same “proof” can be used to show that God exists (or at least that you should believe in Him). So if Pascal’s Wager exists to “prove” religions to be true, then what does that make CAGW?

May 19, 2014 8:26 pm

Marker guy makes a big assumption when he assumes ‘public action’ will be effective. By this I’m sure he means voting for the kind of politicians who talk about ‘climate action’. These types don’t have a very good track record. From pushing ethanol subsidies, to green cronies and bankruptcies. They even block things that do work like fracking and nuclear. Clinton (with the Goracle as VP) pulled the plug on fast breeder pilot plant.

May 20, 2014 2:02 am

The video is partly a presentation of page 186 of the publication, ” What’s the worst that could happen? “,(Perigree,July,2009). entitled ” Estimating Consequences: Filling in the Boxes of the Grid”.
The author tries to meet the objection identified by Ira ,at page 203, ” There aren’t enough Boxes! There aren’t enough Boxes! What does Action mean?”
He states,” There are of course intermediate cases of action between the two columns. And intermediate possibilities for rows. And we haven’t really detailed what Action means- are we talking a fascist state in a New World Order or are we talking just encouraging people to buy A/C to ride out the summer heat waves? This can get as complicated as you like, which is why there are thousands of highly trained professionals slugging it out in literally tens of thousands of peer reviewed articles……
If you think the 2×2 grid is too oversimplified to be at all useful and you want to increase its resolution by adding columns and rows , that’s fine. ( I produced a version with 45 boxes in one of my videos, and each box contained 25 cases ! Good times, good times……). But if you are like most of us , you won’t end up following through on that , and you’ll be left with nothing instead of an oversimplified something”.
[Thanks, Herbert, but the marker guy can add all the boxes he wants, but that will not correct his presentation. The contradiction between box #1 (Global depression)and box #3 (smiley face) will remain. If extreme spending to prevent GCC causes Global depression in box #1 it MUST do so in box #3. Also, his box #4 GLOBAL CATASTROPHY is based on FAILED CLIMATE MODELS and his box #2 is based on the phony idea that Human-caused GCC is the only kind. To fix his argument, he needs fewer boxes, not more! Ira!]

May 23, 2014 7:07 am

Ira, your name is spelled “Glickstein”, but you pronounce it “Glickstien”. Odd.
[Jeff, you are correct, in German pronunciation, the “ei” and “ie” pair is always pronounced as the second letter. But, though my name is derived from that language, I’m not of that nationality. Ira]

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