Agreeing to Disagree

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Over at “Digging in the Clay” Verity Jones has an excellent graphic summarizing the different levels of disagreement. The graphic deserves wider circulation. The types of disagreement range in a spectrum from the strongest, refuting the author’s central point, all the way down to the weakest, name-calling. Here’s the graphic:

grahams hierarchy of disagreement

 

The graphic is based on How to Disagree by Paul Graham, which is well worth reading.

One thing I’d like to highlight is that in the linked article the author says (emphasis mine):

DH5. Refutation.

The most convincing form of disagreement is refutation. It’s also the rarest, because it’s the most work. Indeed, the disagreement hierarchy forms a kind of pyramid, in the sense that the higher you go the fewer instances you find.

To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken. If you can’t find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

I bring all of this forward to encourage both myself and others to up our game, to aspire in our comments to the higher levels of the pyramid shown above, and to eschew the lower levels. Oh, and also to encourage people regarding my usual postscript.

Regards to everyone,

w.

My Usual Postscript: If you disagree with someone, please quote their exact words so we can all understand just what you are disagreeing with.

Further Reading: Verity Jones’s article is here.

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April 5, 2015 8:04 pm

Sorry Willis, but I find this entire post disagreeable!
/grin

george e. smith
Reply to  JohnWho
April 6, 2015 12:01 pm

Obviously, Willis is not a trial lawyer. It seems that whenever a trial lawyer asks a witness a question, and does not receive the answer he wanted, the next thing from the lawyer is : “In other words; blah blah blah !”
In OTHER words, lies OTHER meaning.
That is exactly why we choose the words we use. I would tell the lawyer that ” I choose to NOT use OTHER words. ”
So take him at his word. When Willis says to cite HIS words, that you disagree with; DON”T cite other words, that he did NOT use.
g
PS. So called journalists, reporters, NEWS persons, are the same sort of pests, as trial lawyers, and want you to tell them what they want to hear.

April 5, 2015 8:05 pm

Is there some reason Willis why you bring this up at this time. I mean, to me it seems pretty clear all the time, and it is what you always tell us to do in your postscripts, so has something happened that make this more important now?

Malcolm
Reply to  Tom Trevor
April 5, 2015 10:26 pm

He perhaps saw it in a recent post over at Judith Curry’s site – someone in the comments put a link to someone else’s site which discussed it. Well, that’s where I saw it just the other day. It could be a coincidence that Willis saw it at the same time it appeared at climate etc….

michael hart
April 5, 2015 8:05 pm

Then there’s the Argument Clinic 🙂

Joel
Reply to  michael hart
April 5, 2015 10:53 pm

No, there isn’t!

Reply to  Joel
April 6, 2015 3:47 am

Oh yes it tiss

KevinM
Reply to  Joel
April 6, 2015 5:27 am

You’re not even arguing with him, you’re just gainsaying.

Brian
Reply to  Joel
April 6, 2015 12:33 pm

It’s not just saying “No it isn’t”.

TobiasN
April 5, 2015 8:07 pm

I appreciate this. but if the other guy’s career and/or ego is at stake what I write (where on your pyramid) won’t mean jack.
And there’s a whole worldview question (sometimes called “epistemology” or other things). which means our debating points will never be appreciated by the other side.
The warmists aren’t playing chess, where we can make a move and, suddenly, they realize they are lost,. The reason the whole thing is so far gone is because they are wrong at multiple levels. And It is very, very difficult to reach people who are wrong at multiple levels.

RockyRoad
Reply to  TobiasN
April 5, 2015 9:02 pm

More to the point–they don’t care one bit they’re wrong because it wasn’t about the science to begin with. They just needed an excuse as thin as air (pun intended) to justify their thievery. Truth is the victim along with anybody in their path.

Reply to  TobiasN
April 5, 2015 9:04 pm

Epistemology is theory of knowledge. A worldview need not include any explicit epistemology, but will almost certainly include a lot of other things.

george e. smith
Reply to  RoHa
April 6, 2015 12:04 pm

And just what is “knowledge.” ?

Reply to  RoHa
April 6, 2015 9:54 pm

george e. smith
That’s a good question. Information theory provides us with mathematical means for defining “knowledge.” It is the quantity that is called the “mutual information.” It is the information that is available to us for the purpose of controlling a system. For the current crop of IPCC models the mutual information is nil.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  TobiasN
April 5, 2015 9:37 pm

TobiasN: our debating points will never be appreciated by the other side.
This is all too frequently true. But it doesn’t follow that the effort is valueless. Because the discussion is public, there is a sizeable audience of people who are open to rational discussion. It’s that open minded group that will be influenced for good or ill by the level of our dialogue. WE’s comments are right on target.

skorrent1
Reply to  Juan Slayton
April 6, 2015 10:48 am

Exactly! A public debate is never about convincing the opponent, but rather those in the audience who are open to persuasion. The pyramid represents those arguments (ascending) which are most persuasive to those who are interested in and open to the facts of the argument. Unfortunately, most of the general public will not rise above the lowest 3, or at most 4, levels of argument.

joelobryan
April 5, 2015 8:10 pm

yellow font on white background is horrible. Otherwise, nice graphic.

Hugh
Reply to  joelobryan
April 5, 2015 11:00 pm

And that is, because yellow-white distinction is done purely with short-wave cones, which are rare, among healthy eyes, compared to long and mid wave length cones that distinguish black from yellow.
Never use a single color channel to distinguish as it makes some color blind people really suffer.
Climatists really like to use the rainbow scale, though we see rainbows pretty differently.

Reply to  Hugh
April 6, 2015 12:40 am

Sing ’em differently, too, especially when like The Git you can’t sing in tune. When it comes to listening with my eyes I get completely lost…

CodeTech
Reply to  Hugh
April 6, 2015 2:50 am

In my experience, climatists use less of a rainbow scale and more shades of red.

AnonyMoose
Reply to  Hugh
April 6, 2015 7:52 am

Climatists like to use many rainbows and unicorns.

george e. smith
Reply to  Hugh
April 7, 2015 9:10 am

There’s also another reason.
The human eye response to EM radiation, which we call “light” and measure in units that are not energy, is highly variable in many ways.
One of the ways that our perception varies, is how sensitive we are to desaturation of a monochromatic wavelength hue.
We are most sensitive in this respect, at the yellow wavelengths around 585 nm. The average human eye can recognize only five distinct levels of desaturation, between the monochromatic yellow at 585 nm, and the “white point.”
Greens and reds give us many more distinct desaturated levels.
So don’t use yellow text / lines in graphs.
My reference is “The Science of Color”, published by the Commission on Colorimetry of the Optical Society of America; one of the founding groups of the American institute of Physics.

chris moffatt
April 5, 2015 8:14 pm

It would certainly help if so many threads here, and on many other skeptic sites, didn’t turn into mindless diatribes against “liberals” and “Obama”….from the other side I expect ad-hominem because they have nothing else.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  chris moffatt
April 5, 2015 9:42 pm

“It would certainly help if so many threads here, and on many other skeptic sites, didn’t turn into mindless diatribes against “liberals” and “Obama”….”
Not all such diatribes are mindless because after all, Obama and the majority of liberals do indeed support the CAGW meme.

Reply to  chris moffatt
April 6, 2015 10:46 am

Sure. We should say “some people” are trying to use the EPA to shut down coal power by citing CO2 as a pollutant and “some people” signed a hopeless treaty with China. Not Obama.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  chris moffatt
April 7, 2015 7:25 am

If those arguments are non-sequitur, then I would agree. However, in the case of CAGW, these arguments are often germane.
In the past, an academic debate was one that meant nothing to anyone except the principles. The greater public could safely ignore the debate and the science behind those muddy issues, because they could. Now we have an academic debate, mired in science that is completely muddy and unproven, using in many cases, highly questionable statistical methods, unproven (or already falsified) models, whose authors are beneficiaries of government funding and employment, who control the brainwashing of elementary school students, who drive the corrupt and useless “publish or parish” doctrines at research universities, whose administrators typically rake 50% off the top of every research grant to pay for their own bloated administrations. The people we’re talking about are an important interest group within the leftist coalitions in Western nations. And that is a fact.
I find it extremely ironic that the people benefiting from unsustainable economics of long-term deficit spending, unfunded promises to the public, runaway welfare state commitments, uncontrolled immigration, hopelessly underfunded public pension systems, who have little appreciation of the risks in artificially driving up the cost of energy, are the same people creating graduate level schools of environmental sustainability.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Mickey Reno
April 7, 2015 7:27 am

This post was a reply to Chris Moffat’s post.

Tucci78
Reply to  Mickey Reno
April 7, 2015 3:20 pm

I find it extremely ironic that the people benefiting from unsustainable economics of long-term deficit spending, unfunded promises to the public, runaway welfare state commitments, uncontrolled immigration, hopelessly underfunded public pension systems, who have little appreciation of the risks in artificially driving up the cost of energy, are the same people creating graduate level schools of environmental sustainability.

Spot-on. quant. suff.

April 5, 2015 8:20 pm

Willis E, are you by any chance in real life a Swede? You sound like a Swede:
* “we” Swedes discuss and discuss to reach an agreement.
btw. “we” is due to the fact that my “bestemor” grandmother on my father’s side was Norwegian. That’s not the same as being a Swede. From bestemor’s side I learnt: You don’t own land. You look after the land to next generation; All men are equal but unique. It’s better to stand up for your own views and opinion than standing up for someone else’s.

Yngvar
April 5, 2015 8:21 pm

After Willis Eschenbach’s savage attack on a poor woman, that in good faith commented on one essay Eschenbach wrote, I have nothing to say about this mans input. I’m not gonna read anything Eschenbach writes before Eschenbach apologizes for that hateful attack.

Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 8:33 pm

Ad hominem and name calling with a strawman thrown in for misdirection.
If you don’t read, don’t comment! Especially without substance.

James Fosser
Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 8:39 pm

As this post of yours appears to be addressed to all of us readers and not just to Willis Eschenbach whose work you are not going to read without an apology, could you pleases quote exactly what this savage attack was? (And you have said a lot when you say that you have nothing to say).

Yngvar
Reply to  James Fosser
April 5, 2015 8:56 pm

Willis Eschenbach:
“Janice, you using my father-in-law’s death as an excuse for proselytizing for your religion is disgusting. I have no problem with Christ’s message, but your actions here represent one of the most despicable parts of Christianity” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/18/my-friend-billy-2/)
That was it. A kind christian woman (Janice) commented on his story as a christian would. I’m an atheist and even I recognize a uncalled for savage attack for what it is. Willis Eschenbach must apologize.

Ben Of Houston
Reply to  James Fosser
April 5, 2015 10:18 pm

No, Janice was the one out of line by attempting to use his grief as a method of conversion. The words she used were not an attempt to console or help (though in her mind it probably was), but to try to”draw him towards Christ. Sorry, old tactic that I was taught back in my devout childhood. However, it’s not helpful, it’s exploitative.
It’s as cringe-worthy as Shylock’s forced conversion at the end of Merchant of Venice

David Chappell
Reply to  James Fosser
April 5, 2015 11:03 pm

Having taken the trouble to read the original interchange, I fully agree with Willis’s reaction and words. You, Yngvar are out of order, as was Janice

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  James Fosser
April 6, 2015 12:58 am

I’ve said this to Janice in my own exchanges with her; religion is (or should be) a personal thing. As a devout atheist myself, I don’t take kindly to being told stuff that I think is pure crap (because it has no basis in evidence), and would much rather the religious person keep it to themselves, i.e. personal. I don’t want to hear it because it’s meaningless, puerile drivel. I place belief in a god, Jesus, on a par with Father Christmas. If YOU need to believe in something then that’s all fine with me. I don’t go ’round door-to-door trying to get people to become an atheist. If you want to believe something, then believe it…but keep it to yourself. I have just lost my father-in-law (a month ago), who was like a dad to me. Woe betide anyone who speaks any religious nonsense to my wife at the moment! We’re both feeling our lives are empty – given that a man who never did anyone any harm, was generous, and caring, is gone, and we’ll never get to see him again.

Reply to  James Fosser
April 6, 2015 6:48 am

Notes that Willis doesn’t use quoted words.
Probably attacking strawman.
He is definitely misrepresenting the incident with
Janice

Jquip
Reply to  James Fosser
April 6, 2015 9:55 am

Willis:
“1. Janice used the occasion of my giving a decidedly non-Christian eulogy for my father-in-law as an excuse to try to convert me to Christianity, …”
Had I not seen the link to a comment thread I would have assumed that an ‘occasion’ was a wake for the deceased and not, as it turns out, in the open comments section to a public posting on a public website that doesn’t focus on grief management rituals. The context seems rather important as the general notion behind a public posting with public comments open is to permit discussion of the post in question.
“… and to tell me that my deeply held beliefs have no lasting value.”
I’m not sure what the point of this clause might be. Is the objection here that there was chutzpah involved in acknowledging that our personal set of beliefs last only as long as our person does? Or is the objection here that there was chutzpah involved in mentioning what seems to be a rather painfully obvious observation in the public comments to a public posting on a climate site?
“The tone of it was clearly over the top, and I admitted it, but then I was grief-stricken and delivering a eulogy, not full of rainbows and light.”
This seems a bit off to me. The ‘consensus’ of proper human behaviour in the West is that an apology is ‘I was wrong’ and that a rationalization, excuse, or pretense at an apology is ‘I was wrong, but.’ And indeed, if you were grief stricken to a degree that you were incapable of having a conversation about it, then the appropriate answer was not to invite public comment by making a public posting on a climate site.
” Her actions were wrong. If someone went to a Christian eulogy … [rationalization skipped] you’d consider that person an unpleasant boor, and rightly so. That kind of action is uncalled for and intrusive at a eulogy. It’s not a time for pushing your own brand of religion, no matter how much solace it might bring you personally.”
There’s several claims here and several problems. First, you imply that Janice was a gate crasher at a mortuary service. But so far as I understand the only death managed on this site is the ostensible death of climate alarmism. And while someone may be ‘boorish’ that does not imply that they were ‘wrong.’ It *does* imply that they violated the ‘consensus of social functioning.’ And, indeed, if Janice had simply bust into a room at a funeral parlor and started causing a ruckus then I think we could all agree on the wrongness of it. But then, this was a public post with public comments about climate. And there’s certainly no need to state that it must *always* be *solely* about climate. But certainly the culture on this site is to encourage and endorse strong argumentation on subjects regardless of what the ‘consensus’ might think about it.
“Kind Christian women don’t try to sell Jesus at a Muslim eulogy. Kind Christian women just offer their sincere condolences and offer their Christian love and support without any attempt to convert the grieving or to quote verses from their holy book to show that Islam is wrong.”
This argument only works on the idea that this was a Muslim funerary service in an appropriate mortuary facility. Given that this is not the case, the rest certainly does not and can not follow from the premise. And this is quite aside your naked and unbacked assertions about what a ‘kind christian woman’ would or would not do. From what I understand of your philosophical standpoint you are not a Christian, so you’ll forgive me for requiring some actual argument on your part before I blindly believe your statements about what ‘kind Christian’ anythings may or may not do.
“Here in this imperfect world, I was upset and I lashed out … and then I sincerely (and repeatedly) apologized to her for the unpleasantness of my answer …”
Two considerations here. The first, as already noted, an apology coupled with a ‘but then’ is never sincere. The second is that if you acknowledge that this is an imperfect world then it is somewhat entertaining that you do not acknowledge Janice as a mere imperfect part of this imperfect world. Which, if such were the case, would rather excuse her actions in the same manner that you are asking excuses for yours. — “Sorry, but…”
“All of the outrage was then manufactured by folks such as yourself, who seem to take pride in being outraged on the behalf of others.”
You make these statements as if having an outrage based on what you witness is somehow beyond the pale. But your entire argumentation relies on the idea that ‘other people’ would be outraged beyond the pale at the behaviors of Janice. But if we accept that then you are *also claiming by necessity* that other people’s outrage at your, let’s call it ‘boorish,’ behaviour in response to a public commenter on a public post in a community that encourages strong argumentation is entirely justified.
If this is so, then your behaviour is in the wrong here. No “Sorry, but” — simply an unforced error. But if your behaviour is not in the wrong, the Janice’s cannot be either, and so your accusations are an unforced error. I see no other way out of this snarl that doesn’t have you on the wrong side of your own argumentation; but you’re free to disabuse me of any oversights on my part.
“Let me repeat what I said to Janice at the time. If she wants to make her case that my apologies were inadequate, or that her actions were appropriate, I’m more than happy to have that discussion with her.”
Should we assume that this will be a public discussion with public comments on a public site about climate change? For certainly if discussion about this subject were ever inappropriate to begin with then so to was your original posting. But if it is not inappropriate here then your stated grievances about the conversations that arose are inappropriate themselves.
Best wishes to you and yours.

whiten
Reply to  James Fosser
April 6, 2015 11:46 am

Willis Eschenbach
April 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm .
Hello Willis.
Maybe this is not proper but just for the sake of saying it.
I think the problem with what Janice said or tried to in that particular point is that she is a kind person, as far as I can tell.
I could be wrong, YES, but from what I have seen here Janice is a kind person.
Some times even a kind person may end up to say the right and the proper thing but in a wrong and unaccepted manner. That is life Willis, no one is perfect.
I went to read your great post then and the Janice’s comment.
I don’t think she was trying to preach or convert any one to her belief or faith.
Maybe she overstepped in her approach but I think all intention was for the good and kind.
In the end she resonated very well with you, due probably to her belief, that love rules above all, for us humans, even rules faith and what we individually believe on, what ever that is according to our belief and faith.
That was what actually I think you too were trying a say……
I have read a good deal of your work here but that particular post of yours is one that is lead by feeling mostly than rationale….
It was lead, as far as I can tell, out of your love for the most dear people or persons in your life, and believe me, it was very touchy to me, honestly.
Please do not be so harsh to Janice, as far as I can tell she tried at that time her best, but no any one of us is perfect, and I am confident that she has learned a lot from it, but I think you have to relax your judgement on her, if I am not wrong that is, especially after so much time has elapsed.
Trust me I do not mean to upset you.
I am sorry if I may have overstepped too.
cheers

joelobryan
Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 8:42 pm

Name calling.
Yngvar, you are an asshat, IMHO.
But what do I know, since you already obviously read what he wrote (at least some, if not all).
(BTW mods, just what exactly is different between and “asshat” and an “asshole”? Inquiring minds want to know. Is one more likely to get one’s post into moderation?)
[An asshat is the hole covering an empty head. And verse visa. .mod]

Yngvar
Reply to  joelobryan
April 5, 2015 9:07 pm

Didn’t read it. Name was mentioned in the headline. 🙂 But agree; this ‘asshat’ or ‘asshole’, whatever is agreed upon ; when will he apologize?

Yngvar
Reply to  joelobryan
April 5, 2015 9:25 pm

Damn, I forgot this;
“Me, I’d prefer it if you didn’t post again on this thread. However, people’s preferences obviously matter little to you, otherwise you wouldn’t try this kind of unpleasant witnessing. This can’t be the first time you’ve had your face slapped for exactly this behavior. And yet here you are again …
I hope that’s clear enough. If not, I’m happy to tell you how I really feel.”
Willis? This will not stand.

Tucci78
Reply to  joelobryan
April 6, 2015 2:59 am

Well…

“Yngvar is a louse!”

— shouted inaccurately each hour by a demented prisoner in Surt’s dungeon (“The Mathematics of Magic,” de Camp & Pratt, Unknown, August 1940)

FrankKarrv
Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 9:43 pm

Well he’s been at the bottom of the pyramid on a few occasions but to give him his due he admits it also applies to him. So he gets an ‘early mark’ as we used to call it in the school room.

Brute
Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 9:52 pm

@Yngvar
Could you please explain what exactly is “hateful” and what exactly Eschenbach needs to apologize for?
Also, could you please explain exactly why you don’t need to apologize to Eschenbach for qualifying his words as a “savage attack” and a “hateful attack”?
I’m trying to understand where you are coming from here.

Tim Groves
Reply to  Brute
April 5, 2015 11:38 pm

From here it looks like a clear case of a concern troll/drama queen attempting to hijack a thread by using an ad hominem attack against the author. Please let’s remain on topic and not keep feeding it.

Menicholas
Reply to  Brute
April 6, 2015 2:12 am

I am rather new here, do not know any of you folks very well if at all, and am neither an atheist nor a devout Christian, although I was raised to be one by a father who was, for a time, a Trappist monk. This whole conversation is news to me, so perhaps my view can be seen to be objective.
Janice was out of line, the author had every right to say what he said, he committed no savage attack, at least not that has been revealed here, and Yngvar has no right to troll a comment section demand a redress of past wrongs* that have nothing to do with the subject at hand.
*And no past wrongs were demonstrated to have occurred to any convincing degree.
Settled.
Can we move on?

Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 11:11 pm

I read her polemic. She was lecturing him at length on how to deal with his loss by using her religion. Insensitive proselytising at best.
He was not the only one in the comments to tell her she was out of order.
Yes she responded using her faith but I would not have gone so far as to say it was “in good faith”.
As an atheist I get pissed off by people telling me that god is smiling on me when things I have worked for go well or that they are going to pray for me when things get tough.

Reply to  Yngvar
April 5, 2015 11:44 pm

Good old straw man political correctness?

cedarhillr
Reply to  Santa Baby
April 6, 2015 3:02 am

The lower three win political elections in the Late Holocene.

Alex
Reply to  Yngvar
April 6, 2015 2:01 am

Yngvar
Just wondering if your reaction is such because Janice is a woman and ‘nice’.

April 5, 2015 8:24 pm

The Strawman Argument deserves its own layer between Contradiction and CounterArgument.
The Strawman is not an honest CounterArgument for it purposely misstates the primary one and then refutes that pale imitation with reasoning and evidence. But it is slight of hand, misdirection. It is a perfectly valid and truthful argument against a replacement target.
The Strawman is not a Contradiction because it does use evidence, facts, and truthfulness.

Reply to  Stephen Rasey
April 5, 2015 10:11 pm

Stephen Rasey April 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm
The Strawman Argument deserves its own layer between Contradiction and CounterArgument.

Not sure where exactly it goes, but yes, it is a layer that has been left out.
The other thing missing from this model is any measure of background knowledge. You can have all the facts on your side, if the technical discussion is over the head of the person you are debating with, they do not matter. This in my mind is the real issue in the climate debate. To explain to many people why their suppositions are wrong, I first have to explain their side of the argument to them. Ten seconds into the physics, they “tune out”. All that is available at that point is appeal to authority and other tactics of the bottom end of the pyramid.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 6, 2015 11:30 am

Indeed! See DR. DEV BAHADUR DONGOL elsewhere on hydro-power and the lack of understanding of head loss through devices. (in pipelines, not guillotines.)

joelobryan
April 5, 2015 8:26 pm

Responding to tone

“If you disagree with someone, please quote their exact words so we can all understand just what you are disagreeing with.”

Ditch the preposition altogether.

If you disagree with someone’s statement or words, please quote the exact statement or words so we may all understand the disagreement.

Tom
Reply to  joelobryan
April 6, 2015 8:03 am

Good point! A preposition is something you should NEVER end a sentence with. Of course, this is right on topic, too.

joelobryan
Reply to  Tom
April 6, 2015 2:17 pm

funny…

April 5, 2015 8:27 pm

Seriously, I would think that in a “real science” discussion involving disagreement, the participants would begin at the “Refutation” level.
What this says about the “climate science” arena, where all too often the Alarmist/Warmist folks prefer to start at the bottom level quite often, is perhaps the point of the OP.

Reply to  JohnWho
April 6, 2015 9:32 pm

Also, the skeptics folks prefer to start at the bottom level quite often.

George A
April 5, 2015 8:29 pm

“I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”

Tanya Aardman
April 5, 2015 8:58 pm

There’s a level missing – censorship. Not onlt not bothering to ‘attack’ someone, but making it as if they never existed in the first place.

Reply to  Tanya Aardman
April 5, 2015 11:26 pm

That’s not the only thing missing. Has anyone noticed a central point recently? Where is there a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of anthropogenic global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, as it stands in April, 2015?
Perhaps when Brandon’s done mentally masturbating on the other six threads, he can let us know.
Joking aside, is there one ? … does the AGU have one, or the other posters on here who, despite the fact that they should know better, still proclaim with convoluted fancy language that it’s simple physics?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 12:08 am

philincalifornia,
Is it really six threads? Yeesh, I think you’re correct.
Well let’s see, AGW is pretty much where it has been since 1896 in terms of falsifiability. The details have been fleshed out quite a bit. If you’ll pardon the pun, ECS is a hot topic this week …
https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/ecs-2k-again/
… as it pretty much always has been since FAR went to press. So from my POV, it’s mostly about getting the fine details less wrong. From your perspective I imagine it looks like something akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 3:49 pm

Brandon:
From your perspective I imagine it looks like something akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
When you can show (as you couldn’t in our previous discussion) hard scientific evidence for any global climate parameter being caused by CO2 going from 280ppm to 400ppm CO2, you still won’t have standing to use Titanic analogies.
From my perspective, it looks like people who can’t get productive jobs digging ditches and filling them in, with the filling in part beginning to get underway.
…. and your failure to present “a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of anthropogenic global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, as it stands in April, 2015”, is noted.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 4:31 pm

…. that would be “any change in” any global climate parameter

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 7:15 pm

philincalifornia,

When you can show (as you couldn’t in our previous discussion) hard scientific evidence for any global climate parameter being caused by CO2 going from 280ppm to 400ppm CO2, you still won’t have standing to use Titanic analogies.

You didn’t ask for evidence, you asked for a falsifiable hypothesis/theory. Arrhenius (1896) was my answer.

From my perspective, it looks like people who can’t get productive jobs digging ditches and filling them in, with the filling in part beginning to get underway.

Fair enough. Is that your final answer?

…. and your failure to present “a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of anthropogenic global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, as it stands in April, 2015″, is noted.

Hmm, ok. How do you define falsifiability in this context? How is it specifically that Arrhenius (1896) does not meet that definition?

…. that would be “any change in” any global climate parameter.

The size of that list is quite dependent on which observational data series you consider valid. Penny for your thoughts.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 8:44 pm

Please cut and paste Arrhenius’ falsifiable hypothesis/theory (from Arrhenius 1896) that states what effect atmospheric CO2 going from 280 ppm to 400 ppm will have any effect on any global climate parameter.
Yes, I know this is an impossible task, so why don’t you state your own updated 2015 version, and please feel free to cut and paste anyone else’s, and that would be any climate scientist’s or, indeed, any other human being on the planet’s version, or succinctly distill something down as you see fit …..
It’s like touching the third rail innit ? Sizzle sizzle ouch ouch.
You could always run away, while dropping some pathetic attempted deflecting comment too ……
…. as if.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 9:39 pm

philincalifornia:
There is no falsifiable hypothesis/theory. In his response to you, Brandon Gates fails to cite one though implying that he is doing the opposite..

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 11:31 pm

philincalifornia,

Please cut and paste Arrhenius’ falsifiable hypothesis/theory (from Arrhenius 1896) that states what effect atmospheric CO2 going from 280 ppm to 400 ppm will have any effect on any global climate parameter.

I have two pending questions you have failed to answer:
1) How do you define falsifiability in this context?
2) How is it specifically that Arrhenius (1896) does not meet that definition?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 12:17 pm

Brandon:
Which statement in Arrhenius (1896) do you have in mind?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 6, 2015 11:34 pm

Terry Oldberg,

There is no falsifiable hypothesis/theory. In his response to you, Brandon Gates fails to cite one though implying that he is doing the opposite..

I have asked philincalifornia to define terms. He has not.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 12:06 pm

Brandon Gates
It might be fruitful for you to read my response to philincalifornia and react to this response.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 9:15 am

Terry Oldberg April 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm
…. and also that the Pyramid has no facility for dealing with “weaseling out of the argument while simultaneously trying to pretend it’s the other’s fault”.
Maybe this post’s a bit too old, but on other threads there’s sometimes the additional person to join in (might be Brandon’s Mom) to announce that Brandon is winning the argument because he’s way cleverer than the opponent.
Maybe a 3D pyramid could handle it?
My last two interactions with Brandon have actually been quite an eye-opener for me. A priori, I would have honestly thought that given the wealth of AGW, ACC and CAGW comments in the blogosphere, together with the peer-reviewed literature and statements from Scientific Societies, it would be possible to either cut-and-paste, or cobble together a real falsifiable hypothesis or theory of where the hypothesis or theory stands in 2015.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 12:02 pm

There is a methodological error in global warming climatology that accounts for Brandon’s inability to cite a falsifiable hypothesis. This is that the events underlying the models do not exist. It follows that when a claim is made by one of these models it does not have a truth-value. That it does not have a truth-value makes this claim non-falsifiable. For brevity I’ve left out some steps in a proof of this conclusion. If you’d like, I’ll supply the missing steps.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 12:59 pm

philincalifornia,

…. and also that the Pyramid has no facility for dealing with “weaseling out of the argument while simultaneously trying to pretend it’s the other’s fault”.

Is that what kids these days are calling “bait and switch”?
Arrhenius (1896) was my original answer to your original question. It meets my definition of falsifiability because it makes testable claims. His central thesis — here’s your copypasta — was:
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
This is still in conceptual use today by what the IPCC calls “simplified expressions”:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/c/2/a/c2a0e92291f118a8258a19b8fa58bb07.png
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/2/c/f/2cfca9ed59cb49f7b68570481ee87f53.png
The argument in literature is about the value of the coefficients, which I alluded to in my original reply to you by referring to ATTP’s blog post about ECS: https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/ecs-2k-again/
I would be happy to discuss the range of those estimates with you, but first there’s the small matter that you continue to insist that I’ve not yet provided you with a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of AGW. So I have challenged you for your definitions of those terms, and asked you to explain how Arrhenius (1896) does not satisfy your requirements. In dismally predictable fashion, your response is to pretend I am the one who has moved the goalposts in this discussion. As an added bonus, you’ve tossed into that mix some spicy speculations about me soliciting Mom’s help to astroturf for me. So charming.
As is often the case here on WTFUWT, I’m reminded of George Carlin’s take on an old Samuel Clemens aphorism: Never argue with stupid people, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
So congrats my dear Phil. Not only did you beat me to the bottom — having started there with your master baiting technique — I have now brought the fight to your level knowing full well that it’s to your advantage to do so and that I’m very likely to get clobbered. You’re a Winner!

A priori, I would have honestly thought that given the wealth of AGW, ACC and CAGW comments in the blogosphere, together with the peer-reviewed literature and statements from Scientific Societies, it would be possible to either cut-and-paste, or cobble together a real falsifiable hypothesis or theory of where the hypothesis or theory stands in 2015.

Exactly. Speaking of being exuberantly pleased with oneself, the other script you’re running is called JAQing off, where JAQ stands for “just asking questions”: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions
“Just asking questions” takes over [from the Socratic method] when the answers are already well known, where the question embodies a point refuted a thousand times, or where the questioner exhibits willful ignorance.
JAQ-offs are ridiculously easy to spot …

… because they’re fond of saying things like, “Runnin’ away aye? Come back ‘ere you yellow bastard and take what’s comin’ to you. I’ll bite your legs off!”
Such buffoons can be a lot of fun, all it takes is a certain amount of not giving a shit. There again, I expect I you have me at a disadvantage. I will say this though, you’re an awfully good tutor in that particular art. Ta.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 1:17 pm

Terry Oldberg,

It might be fruitful for you to read my response to philincalifornia and react to this response.

Phil’s a big boy and doesn’t require an apologist.
I already know where you stand as we’ve discussed it several times before, without satisfactory resolution to definition of terms. My view of it is that, not unlike Phil, you stand on definitions and won’t budge from them even when I have pointed out where I think they fail. Which I find tedious and non-productive. So thanks, but no thanks.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 1:22 pm

It would be appropriate to read your non-response as a capitulation on the falsifiability issue.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 2:21 pm

Unless one is disposed to conclude your argument is sophistry.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 6:26 pm

I’m going with capitulation too, maybe even evisceration given his Black Knight projection, but he can always carry it on further as Willis has added some comments starting here:
Willis Eschenbach April 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Steve Garcia
Reply to  Tanya Aardman
April 8, 2015 4:50 pm

Tanya – If you are still around, I agree. And I’ve added two myself, though someone might think they are much the same – mischaracterization of the opposition and Straw Man arguments. The former is done a lot in politics. The latter in all sorts of debates.

Steve Garcia
Reply to  Tanya Aardman
April 8, 2015 4:54 pm

In my comment I failed to quote Tanya and what I agreed with. Tanya had said:
“There’s a level missing – censorship. Not only not bothering to ‘attack’ someone, but making it as if they never existed in the first place.”

April 5, 2015 9:04 pm

From the article:
To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken.
I almost always quote the words that I disagree with. Usually by writing something like, XYZ says: [ … ] (their comment cut and pasted, in italics).
Quoting them verbatim avoids lots of confusion. Something I learned from Willis a long time ago.
[And that practice is STRONGLY recommended by the site moderating team. For improved accuracy, and to “tie together” replies from comments often many hours or days old, further separated by other answers in the thread. .mod]

Konrad.
Reply to  dbstealey
April 6, 2015 12:07 am

Quoting verbatim may avoid confusion, but it also avoids addressing what is assumed or intentionally unsaid. The insistence of some contributors on being directly quoted allows avoidance of debate or discussion of assumptions a contributor is making, but not stating.
A case in point would be recent discussion over several threads of Viscount Monckton’s “simple” climate model. The attempt to corral or ring-fence the debate to discussion of the applicability of the Bode equation in feedback modelling only, was used to suppress “OT” comment on the underlying assumption that the radiative gases in our atmosphere had a net positive warming effect.
Essentially this reduced discussion to a pointless theoretical exercise debating the applicability of the Bode equation to modelling that has absolutely no relation to actual atmospheric physics. How many theoretical angels can dance on the head of a theoretical pin in a theoretical alternate universe?
Cleaning the elephant dung from the carpet without acknowledging how it got there is not going to solve anything.

Reply to  Konrad.
April 6, 2015 12:19 am

Hi Konrad,
You can do both. I’m certainly not saying my way or the highway. Quoting verbatim, then responding to it avoids unnecessary confusion, that’s all.
I was agreeing with the Refutation part of the pyramid. I think your comment applies to other parts.

Konrad.
Reply to  Konrad.
April 6, 2015 1:25 am

dbstealey,
I do understand the “avoidance of confusion” issue both you and the moderators have raised.
However, being an empiricist, I too am solidly on the Refutation end of the argument.
I’m not being belligerent here, as I do value your comments, but on many occasions you have stated that you believe CO2 will cause some warming. I am one of the happy few who ask “Why?”. (Happy because the Internet holds a permanent record of who was who on St. Crispin’s day).
I believe it is not enough for sceptics to be “less wrong” than alarmists. I believe we have to be right.
This AGW inanity has been the greatest assault on science, reason, freedom and democracy in human history. Sceptics self censoring and ring-fencing debate to the “acceptable” lukewarmer positions simply allows the perpetrators to flee, recoup and attack again. This is the inevitable price of being “less wrong” rather than right.
I do not ask that you respond on thread, but I do ask that you question why you think adding radiative gases to our radiatively cooled atmosphere reduces it’s ability to cool the surface of our planet.
I would suggest that “warming but less than we thought” is not a winning argument, but “AGW due to CO2 is a physical impossibility” is. In terms of what as at stake, not just now but in the future, there is nothing to be gained from the lukewarmer position. That’s why I say it is not acceptable to just debate lukewarmers on their chosen ground of battle through direct quotation. They must be taken to task over what they intentionally avoided saying.

Reply to  Konrad.
April 6, 2015 9:20 am

Konrad,
I suppose the best answer I can give you is that Prof Richard Lindzen, Anthony Watts, and many others who know more about the subject than I do are convinced that CO2 adds a little warming. Not much; I tend to agree with Lindzen that it’s in the neighborhood of ≈half a degree per doubling. Radiative physics also predicts a small amount of warming on a diminishing log basis.
That said, you could be right. The reason I say that is because we don’t really know. With the rise in CO2, there should be at least a very tiny bit of warming. But there isn’t. And if cooling begins, that will support your argument. Real world evidence trumps all speculation.

Jquip
Reply to  Konrad.
April 6, 2015 11:11 am

Konrad:
“Quoting verbatim may avoid confusion, but it also avoids addressing what is assumed or intentionally unsaid. The insistence of some contributors on being directly quoted allows avoidance of debate or discussion of assumptions a contributor is making, but not stating.”
Your unstated assumption, that I will address here, is that unstated assumptions are not also part of the *understanding* of the verbatim text. Now it is certainly true that any individual can refuse to address anything at all, at any point in time. But this is easily dealt with, which I will use your case study for:
“…was used to suppress “OT” comment on the underlying assumption that the radiative gases in our atmosphere had a net positive warming effect.”
For any such given discussion there are two approaches. The first is to explicitly denote and call into question the background assumption that there would be a ‘net positive warming effect.’ If this has been addressed appropriately in other works then the person making fact claims on the back of this assumption must assuredly have the ability to answer the issue. By making fact claims they have placed themselves in the role of a teacher and the onus is on them.
It is only if they cannot produce this background work, or refuse, that we may *properly* note that the entire discussion is based on false premises and so has no legitimacy as rational though. However, it is *perfectly proper* for them to restate their background assumption as a hypothetical only, and then proceed from there. It is still on their head that they didn’t make the hypothetical explicit, but this is easily rectified. And so long as the conclusions are likewise constrained as being dependent on the success of the background hypotheticals then there are no issues.
But if (hypothetical statement here) they cannot produce the background facts, will not produce the background facts, and neither produce their argument as a hypothetical (see this sentence) that we can then state that they have left the boundary of sanity for the warm fuzzies of illogical statements of dogma.
Hope this helps.

Michael 2
Reply to  Konrad.
April 6, 2015 1:51 pm

Konrad asks “How many theoretical angels can dance on the head of a theoretical pin in a theoretical alternate universe?”
One. If another one comes along they will fight over who gets the privilege of standing on a pin.

Steve Garcia
Reply to  Konrad.
April 8, 2015 5:13 pm

2 days late in this conversation, so this may not contribute much to the give and take…
Konrad: “I would suggest that “warming but less than we thought” is not a winning argument, but “AGW due to CO2 is a physical impossibility” is.”
Not sure I’d make that argument myself. I’d go for “Catastrophic AGW due to CO2 is a physical impossibility” is. Without the “catastrophe to come“, they’ve got NOTHING. It is truly unbelievable how many people on the street really accept that the world for their grandkids is going to be an oven and approaching unlivable. THAT is what they are selling, not just any old garden variety AGW.
dbstealy: “Not much; I tend to agree with Lindzen that it’s in the neighborhood of ≈half a degree per doubling. Radiative physics also predicts a small amount of warming on a diminishing log basis.
That said, you could be right. The reason I say that is because we don’t really know. With the rise in CO2, there should be at least a very tiny bit of warming. But there isn’t.”
I have to come in with that silly old thing called the Little Ice Age and what happens at the end of cool or cold periods: The climate warms. I am a pretty big fan of Lindzen, and am glad he is on our side. He is a great voice of calm on a hillside full of banshees, screaming across the vale. But the TREND since the early 1800s is clearly a slight upward trend. And upon that tilted slope are 30-year ups and 30-years of slightly down or flat periods. There have been 3 full cycles like that, and we re in the fourth. That 60-year full cycle keeps on happening. Ask Judy Curry about that cycling. Without us coming out of the LIA, does the cycle still exist but on a flat trend? Is “The Pause” simply the current 30-year down-slope?
At some point the warming coming out of the LIA will end, and then what? In the Holocene we’ve come out of several nosedives in the record shown in the Greenland ice cores – severe 13°C or 14°C drops and just about the same near-immediate rises, ones much more severe than what we have today. Since the end of the Younger Dryas, we’ve had a REMARKABLY stable climate, with the very best chance for humans and other life forms to “live long and proper”. Since we don’t have a CLUE about what those severe downs and ups were from, do we have any idea what our future holds? Can we use the history of the Holocene and ignore the rest of the Pleistocene?

April 5, 2015 9:09 pm

Dec 2013 Don Aitkin used that same graphic in a post explaining how Eco-bullies continually strive to drive away critics from internet debates, his example being how Alarmists try to take over the debate site called The Conversation (which is ultimately funded by UK and Australian governments)
http://donaitkin.com/how-not-to-argue/
March 2015 : his blog told how they had succeeded in driving him away.
http://donaitkin.com/what-sort-of-conversation-do-you-get-on-the-conversation/

April 5, 2015 9:09 pm

I am pleased to see recognition of the fact that “refute” means “prove wrong”. All too often I hear people – usually politicians – say “I refute that” when all they do is deny. (Of course, for a politician the fact that he has said it is sufficient proof.)

u.k.(us)
April 5, 2015 9:14 pm

This dog might be too old for new tricks.
If those spankings it took at a young age didn’t take…..I doubt it will change now.
Which is not to say the point was entirely missed.

Doug Proctor
April 5, 2015 9:45 pm

As someone who has recently entered the fray disagreeing along the “tone” level, I find this verry interesting. And I agree. What I might add, thought is that these categories are not necessarily in a vertical level of value at any giventime, and they are not isolated. Legitimate points can be made in combination as well as in singularity, and one point may be most signficant at one moment while some other point is most significant at another.
Skepticism requires disagreement. Someone has to disagree and be allowed to disagree otherwise we are talking about a consensus. Any positioning that attempts to stop the disagreement through bullying or condescension or other intellectual or “clever” means, is a strike against skepticism in general. “Tone”, in this regard, is a non-legitimate argument, especially when it is used in a poor-victim sense, i.e. I have been attacked unfairly, so I shall not take additional push-back well.
Using the term “denialism” is a way to introduce extreme, negative tone to the conversation. Attack defense uses negative tone – even if in the background good technical arguments are being used. As social creatures we recognize these negative cues: we are supposed to sit down and be quiet because our “betters” have spoken. Again, this goes against the basis of skepticism.
Regardless of provocation, the leaders are supposed to accept disagreement. Emotionalism may be our primitive, knee-jerk response, but the higher level participants are supposed to – yes, value judgement here, as thousands of years of philosphers would attest – “rise above”.
Tone is important. It facillitates or suppresses discussion, especially when there is a dispute. Wars start and continue based on tone.
Pulpit and preachers exist because the laymen need to be reminded of things. The importance of tone might be one of those things. I don’t say this because I am think I am “smarter”, but because I have seen the effect of tone over many years of personal and private market life. It counts.

benofhouston
Reply to  Doug Proctor
April 5, 2015 10:25 pm

Well, argument on tone does have some valid use, mostly as an ad-hominem rebuke.
When you state your position and are then accused of being a conspiracy theorist, paid off, or insane, you really don’t have any position to work with. I have in the past said outright “if you cannot debate politely then I shall not continue this discussion” and then left. It’s not optimum, but it’s better than beating your head on a brick wall.

rah
April 5, 2015 10:01 pm

Having successfully and convincingly accomplished refuting the central point at the top of the pyramid without acknowledgement of such from the opponent can quickly lead to the type of argument described near or at the base.

joelobryan
Reply to  rah
April 5, 2015 10:20 pm

Alinsky’s Rules for radicals #5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

April 5, 2015 10:05 pm

[And that practice is STRONGLY recommended by the site moderating team. For improved accuracy, and to “tie together” replies from comments often many hours or days old, further separated by other answers in the thread. .mod]
Which is what people did a lot better job of before that silly “reply” button got introduced. Just sayin’.

FeSun
Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 6, 2015 12:14 am

David…..what to do?
Without the reply button you would never read THIS but with it following the threads feel like we’re lost in a universe of infinite universes.
I must admit that I believe I’m slowly leaning back towards the old single thread calling out timestamps and quotations. (At least that way I know I’ve actually finished a thread.)

Juan Slayton
Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 6, 2015 6:34 am

+1

Joe Born
Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 6, 2015 12:35 pm

Yes, the “reply” button was appealing in theory, but I find that I dislike it in practice. At least for me it makes it more likely I’ll miss something I didn’t intend to.

Paul Westhaver
April 5, 2015 10:16 pm

Nope. This is not the way normal dialogue works. This is the way an obsessive compulsive tries to manage everyone in the universe into conforming to his delusional wacky POV.
WTF??? I mean really.

joelobryan
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 5, 2015 10:22 pm

Strawman combined with ridicule, name calling.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  joelobryan
April 5, 2015 10:33 pm

utter bewilderment….This is like a bad David Lynch script.

Duster
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 12:29 pm

Dialog frequently does not work, precisely for these very reasons. If your interlocutor makes assumptions about what you (a hypothetical “you”, not you) mean, because perhaps your phrasing might have been superior with a little less Bushmills on board, and argues against what he understands you to have said, rather than what you meant, there will be problems. If you presume that the words you utter have a crystalline clarity of meaning, and that your audience could not possibly misunderstand, problems multiply. The results are not pretty.

Gary Hladik
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 4:35 pm

Paul Westhaver, how does “normal dialogue” work?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Gary Hladik
April 6, 2015 8:05 pm

Ok…you got me.

April 5, 2015 10:34 pm

This is missing the one from the grammarian without self control e.g. that reads, “asshat is one word” and its cousin that finds a correctible nonfatal error and then evermore states in responses to that writer that the writer has no credibility because of that since corrected error.

donaitkin
April 5, 2015 10:59 pm

Willis, I think Graham’s pyramid is worth bringing out every little while, and did so myself a year or two ago, at
http://donaitkin.com/how-not-to-argue/

April 5, 2015 11:08 pm

There is another type of argument.
It is refuting the proposition not by finding mistakes in the proposal, but by outflanking the proposal and address flawed hidden assumptions. This is an argument that applies to proofs via different coordinate systems or tensor analysis. No one must dissect a proposed perpetual motion machine — argument from the foundation of the 1st Law of Thermodynamics should be sufficient.
Berkley Earth’s scalpel is refuted in my mind because I object to the harm done to low frequency signal as viewed in the Fourier Domain. I don’t need to know the ins and outs of their regional homogenization on thousands of 2-10 year segments. The low frequency climate signals have been obliterated by slicing records and no massaging of the high frequency weather noise will restore it.
There was a book called The Black Hole War, which was a tussle between Stephen Hawking and Leonard Susskind. This was one of those arguments approaching a problem from different modelling concepts. Susskind was using traditional Quantum Mechanics, Hawking wrecking everything with an unsettling conclusion about the entropy of black holes. There resolution required finding hidden assumptions in both models.
I don’t know an accepted name for it. For the time being I’ll call it “CounterPoint or CounterView”. It should fall at the level of Refutation, but it is close to CounterArgument.

Reply to  Stephen Rasey
April 6, 2015 7:04 am

There is no change.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 9, 2015 2:18 pm

That reminds me, there is the Steven Mosher Argument,
so far under that pyramid if falls off the page.
The Drive-By, Non-sequitur, “What ARE you talking about?”

pat
April 5, 2015 11:11 pm

the MSM is not into refuting even the most outlandish of CAGW ***claims:
6 April: Yomiuri Shimbun Japan: Ryuichi Otsuka: Global warming more dangerous than N-plants
During a recent visit to Japan, Sachs (Jeffrey Sachs, U.S. economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University) spoke to The Yomiuri Shimbun about what it would take to achieve sustainable development. The following are excerpts from the interview:
Q: The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) list many challenges. What are the most serious challenges?
A: ***The most basic challenge is that our economic system is not compatible with our environmental safety. The climate is being changed by our energy system. Scientists say ***we are reaching planetary boundaries…
Q: It’s difficult to feel threats of climate change.
A:***It requires lots of scientific knowledge to understand a full detail. ***But I do feel that people are intuitively grasping that the climate is changing. I would emphasize that the risks are not only about the future. ***Last year was the warmest ever recorded, and ***all over the world there were huge typhoons…
Q: Some people are afraid that the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) will not be transparent enough or will not meet international standards.
A: Outside worries and commentaries had an effect in China ensuring that this institution will be high-quality. I met with the leadership of AIIB in Beijing and they reiterated to me their commitment that the bank itself will follow very high international principles, ***it would follow sustainable development concept and clean technology. So I was very encouraged by what I heard…
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002059677
Nov 2014: Reuters: For India, China-backed lender may be answer to coal investment
By Manoj Kumar and Tony Munroe
A senior Indian official told Reuters the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sponsored by China, is expected to allow funding of coal-fired power plants that the World Bank has almost totally blocked.
“When you have 1.3 billion people starved of electricity access and the rest of the world has created a carbon space, at this point denying funding is denying access to cheap energy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
India sits on the world’s fifth-largest reserves of coal, and the commodity generates three-fifths of India’s power supply. But the demand for electricity far outstrips supply, and according to data compiled by the World Resources Institute in 2012, proposals have been made to set up 455 new coal-fired plants in the country…
Since 2013, the World Bank’s energy strategy limits the financing of coal-fired power plants to “rare circumstances”, making it part of a push by U.S. President Barack Obama to fight climate change…
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/06/us-india-aiib-insight-idUSKBN0IP2S020141106
Wikipedia: 2014 Pacific Typhoon Season
The season began with the formation of Tropical Storm Lingling on January 10, 2014; and ended after Tropical Storm Jangmi which dissipated on January 1, 2015. The season was not as active and costly as the previous typhoon season.

indefatigablefrog
Reply to  pat
April 7, 2015 9:03 am

Re: “Scientists say…we are reaching planetary boundaries.”
And on and on we hear the same thesis reinvented under differing guises.
Who could ever have imagined in the days of Malthus, that here we would all be nearly two centuries later living prosperous and fruitful lives (by comparison with 1815) and surrounded by great technological wonders.
When I was young the intellectuals of the day were obsessed with the club of Rome and limits to growth.
Some wise people referred them back to the failure of the predictions of Malthus.
And, we had the peak oil predictions, the scare of the 1970’s and Hubbert’s, now broken, curve.
And on and on we go, one failed prediction follows another.
Constantly failing to understand that we cannot imagine the situation in which future people will find themselves. And certainly not prepare for a world 100 years hence.
If we prepare now for 2100, then the people of the future will not thank us for it.
Because our current vision of the problems that they face will inevitably look short-sighted and bizarre. Even a decade seems to be able to throw up massive surprises.
Just as, the people of 1915 had no way of preparing us for the problems that we face today.
For example, the people of 1915 would never have imagined that a group of people called environmentalists would be obstructed the advance of technological progress and access to affordable low-carbon energy.
Nobody could have imagined that environmental pressure groups and academics would have, over several decades, obstructed the expansion of large scale hydro-electrical power generation.
Leaving many of the world’s poor dependent on coal and gas generation and locally sourced wood.
Not only is the future unpredictable, but it takes years of work, just to figure out what is really going on, right now!!!

Steve Case
April 6, 2015 12:15 am

Hmmmm, “Appeal to Authority” seems to be mostly missing in this discussion.
davidmhoffer April 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm mentions it only in passing:
Ten seconds into the physics, they “tune out”. All that is available at that point is appeal to authority and other tactics of the bottom end of the pyramid.
Yes, “Appeal to Authority” is at the bottom or the pyramid.

Editor
Reply to  Steve Case
April 6, 2015 1:28 am

From the original article (Graham’s):

“Saying that an author lacks the authority to write about a topic is a variant of ad hominem—and a particularly useless sort, because good ideas often come from outsiders. The question is whether the author is correct or not. If his lack of authority caused him to make mistakes, point those out. And if it didn’t, it’s not a problem.”

Tucci78
Reply to  Steve Case
April 6, 2015 4:21 am

Sy 12:15 AM on 6 April, Steve Case had observed that:

“Appeal to Authority” seems to be mostly missing in this discussion…

…to which Verity Jones had replied with a quotation from Graham’s article cited above:

Saying that an author lacks the authority to write about a topic is a variant of ad hominem—and a particularly useless sort, because good ideas often come from outsiders. The question is whether the author is correct or not. If his lack of authority caused him to make mistakes, point those out. And if it didn’t, it’s not a problem.

…missing the point that claiming validity for a recognized authority figure’s pronouncement on a subject only because said source is recognized as an “authority” is a species of argumentum ad hominem perhaps even more invidious than uttering a Semmelweis reflex dismissal when confronted with an “outsider’s” critique of the orthodoxies.
I have a helluva lot of difficulty crediting the notion that any physician or surgeon could possibly get gulled by the great [snip . . mod] “man-made global fill-in-the-blank” climate catastrophe fraud.
In the first year of medical school, we get a “History of Medicine” course in which the story of Ignaz Semmelweis is prominently told. Then in Obstetrics during the second year, we again get the story of how iatrogenic puerperal sepsis – “childbed fever” – killed thousands of women while the “consensus” in obstetrics & gynecology deliberately blanked-out the warnings uttered by Dr. Semmelweis, who was anything but a member of the “establishment.”
Especially because the guy was right, and the big mahoffs in OB/GYN were spreading infectious diseases through the wards. Arrogant sons of bitches.
You tell a physician that he should believe and act upon what “the authorities” say for no other reason than that “the authorities” have said it, and he’ll punch you in the nose.
We have a technical term in medical jurisprudence for a doctor who refuses to maintain a high degree of skepticism with regard to “the authorities,” and thereby abdicates his responsibility to exercise perspicacity and good judgement in each clinical situation.
The word is “defendant.”

Steve
April 6, 2015 12:58 am

You forgot the straw man fallacy, which seems to compose the bulk of political arguments against reason.

Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 1:26 am

Willis,
Thank you for posting this article. I first came upon Graham’s hierarchy a year or two ago and recall laughing because it’s such a true story of how the Interwebs work — and indeed how IRL arguments work — and seeing it distilled to its essence this way was rather powerful. I never did read his original essay though, and the bit you quoted here caused a stumble:
DH5. Refutation. The most convincing form of disagreement is refutation.
I immediately thought, no, DH6, refuting the central point is most convincing, because …
Even as high as DH5 we still sometimes see deliberate dishonesty, as when someone picks out minor points of an argument and refutes those.
So in my view he calls it correctly, I just had to keep reading. Someone who argues at the DH6 level consistently is quite rare. They truly are the best sort as they tend to understand what it means to agreeably disagree.

Alex
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 6, 2015 2:46 am

Brandon
I agree with you. Unfortunately you state your points and questions in an aggressive manner, like you are spoiling for a fight. That is rather off-putting and people probably note and react to your manner , rather than to your words.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Alex
April 6, 2015 3:42 pm

Alex,

I agree with you.

One of my favourite online debate partners is a fellow from the UK who shares your first name. I was specifically thinking of him when I wrote that post. I’m not superstitious about such happy coincidences, but I do think it’s fun when they happen.

Unfortunately you state your points and questions in an aggressive manner, like you are spoiling for a fight. That is rather off-putting and people probably note and react to your manner, rather than to your words.

I thank you for your critique and the spirit in which it is given. Sometimes I’m abrasive without knowing it, which is distressing. Other times it’s quite intentional. I reiterate my appreciation of Willis’ call for elevating the debate. On top of others’ recent calls for me to tone it down — which did not make me at all happy — I have been consciously attempting to heed them.
Which is NOT to say I promise to always be “nice” under any and all circumstances. Driessen’s essay yesterday is an example of me choosing to express my ire in no uncertain terms.

Reply to  Alex
April 7, 2015 11:12 am

Gates says:
Sometimes I’m abrasive without knowing it…
Since it’s been pointed out by more than one reader that Gates totally badmouths both WUWT, and commenters that he disagrees with on the other alarmist blogs where he posts (and in a much more vicious, insulting manner than here — if you can imagine), that comment is just not credible.
Gates knows exactly what he’s doing, and why. A lot of WUWT readers know that, too.
It is amazing the amount of time it takes to comment literally thousands of times here, and an untold number of times on other blogs. Those comments are posted around the clock, during work days and on weekends. What’s the point? I’ve seen no indication that Gates has convinced a single reader to change their view from skeptic to alarmist. A lot of wasted effort there.
‘Fixation’ is not nearly strong enough to describe his rigid belief system. The rest of us observe what is happening to the global temperature, and compare it with the endless predictions by the alarmist crowd, made before global warming stopped — and frightening new predictions made since then, as they re-direct their scare into more predictions of climate doom.
It’s all preposterous nonsense. There is nothing unusual or unprecedented happening. Anyone can see that. In fact, temperatures and every other global parameter are completely normal. So why do Gates and his ilk try to convince us there is a problem?
There are several reasons. First, there’s money and fame. That is the motivation of the eco-stars of the climate scare, like Mann, Trenberth, etc. They love to travel to holiday venues at the expense of taxpayers and others. In school they were nerds, and they never dreamed they would be the equivalent of rock stars.
Then there’s the motivation of those who took a position early on, and having argued that position for many years, they cannot change their minds. They view that as a climbdown. So rather than admit that they were flat wrong, they argue incessantly, on lots of blogs — some of the more fixated ones posting thousands of comments in a failed effort to convince people that the climate hoax is valid. Guess who does that more than anyone? As Leo Tolstoy wrote:
I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.
At some point it stops being a debate, and devolves into borderline insanity. When someone cannot convince a single person to change his mind, after years of effort and thousands of attempts, only abnormal people will keep digging that hole. As Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor and student of human nature wrote two thousand years ago:
“The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
We’re surrounded by insane alarmists. Our job is to understand that, and to avoid being one of the lemmings who blindly accept the media’s narrative. Fortunately, most scientific skeptics think for themselves. All we are really saying is: prove it. Or at least, produce convincing evidence that there is the great cause for concern that you believe in.
But to date, they’ve got nothin’. That explains their hate, and their cross-posting to other blogs, and the incessant name-calling (deniers, denialists, contrarians, etc. cf: Michael Mann), and their arguing from the bottom of the pyramid. But as they die off one by one, only the truth remains. So after wasting $billions and more, eventually we will get back to normal — just like the climate.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Alex
April 7, 2015 4:01 pm

dbstealey,

Sometimes I’m abrasive without knowing it…
Since it’s been pointed out by more than one reader that Gates totally badmouths both WUWT, and commenters that he disagrees with on the other alarmist blogs where he posts (and in a much more vicious, insulting manner than here — if you can imagine), that comment is just not credible.
Gates knows exactly what he’s doing, and why. A lot of WUWT readers know that, too.

Let’s rewind, shall we?
Sometimes I’m abrasive without knowing it, which is distressing. Other times it’s quite intentional. I reiterate my appreciation of Willis’ call for elevating the debate. On top of others’ recent calls for me to tone it down — which did not make me at all happy — I have been consciously attempting to heed them.
Protip: quotemining works best when the full context of what you’re spinning isn’t on THE EXACT SAME PAGE.
Word of the day:
cred·i·ble
ˈkredəb(ə)l/
adjective
adjective: credible
able to be believed; convincing.
“few people found his story credible”
synonyms: believable, plausible, tenable, able to hold water, conceivable, likely, probable, possible, feasible, reasonable, with a ring of truth, persuasive
“only one of the so-called witnesses could provide a credible story”
capable of persuading people that something will happen or be successful.
“a credible threat”
synonyms: believable, plausible, tenable, able to hold water, conceivable, likely, probable, possible, feasible, reasonable, with a ring of truth, persuasive
“only one of the so-called witnesses could provide a credible story”

YMMV, HTH, though I’m mindful of the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” One wonders if attack poodles are an exception to the rule … thus far it ain’t looking that way.

Menicholas
April 6, 2015 2:34 am

Hey, just wanted to let you all know, some of you are really very funny to read.

Alex
Reply to  Menicholas
April 6, 2015 2:47 am

Funny, amusing or funny, peculiar?

menicholas
Reply to  Alex
April 6, 2015 6:41 am

Funny as in witty and entertaining.
(Some, not all.)
So no need to go all Joe ” What, I amuse you?” on me.
🙂

Menicholas
Reply to  Alex
April 6, 2015 7:01 am

Ugh. Phones!
Joe Pesci that is.

Menicholas
Reply to  Alex
April 6, 2015 7:09 am

Tucci78
April 6, 2015 2:41 am

In my experience with left-of-center disputants online, there is a reliable tendency to whine about adventitious insult (which I consider nothing more than entertaining efforts at parsimoniously and accurately categorizing the average progtard’s idiocy and moral character), tendered in addition to on-point critique of their positions, as being “ad hominem.”
This reveals the fact that many (probably most) of these friggin’ schmucks are as the beasts that perish when it comes to knowledge of formal logic, emphasis on the nature of the fallacy called argumentum ad hominem, which is the use of an “attack on the man” to evade the responsibility to provide an “attack on the position” under consideration.
I strongly suspect that these blitheringly uneducated jackwads use the expression “ad hominem” simply because they think – if they can be said to think at all – that by peppering their spew with latinate polysyllables, they can appear erudite.
Or even, perhaps, speciously literate.
Wrong!

April 6, 2015 3:16 am

Thank you to Verity Jones! Too long since i have heard from her 🙂
Very useful graphic, and thank you to Willis for bringing it to our attention.
Good to have in the toolbox for climate debate.
Kind Regards, Frank

Brian
April 6, 2015 4:47 am

Oh … I get it. This is an efficiency chart! The width of each colored region is roughly the ratio of the “personal satisfaction gained” to “effort expended.”
Well, with this in mind, the person who came up with this graphic is obviously an ass hat. There, I just achieved maximum efficiency in Internet confrontational discourse. 😉

rgbatduke
April 6, 2015 4:53 am

Too busy to say much, except that this pyramid, while useful as a visual “bite”, is inadequate and overspecific to describe the range of discourse in a debate. IMO the Logical Fallacy Bingo site presents a much broader and more useful overview of ways one can argue badly. A second point that is omitted is that the figure presupposes that it is possible to e.g. refute/disprove the central point (assuming that there IS a “central” point and not an entire spectrum of points). But in most cases of interest, the reason that there is an argument at all is that there is disagreement at a more fundamental level than the argument itself. Arguments concerning religion are an excellent example. What constitutes “good evidence”? How do you argue with someone who holds different axioms as a basis for their arguments than you do for yours?
If humans were rational enough to be convinced by simple logic and evidence in combination, would any world religions exist at all? They are supremely illogical and are completely unsupported by anything like sound evidence. The definitions of the religions themselves are basically long, self-contradictory polemics that reduces to the “logical” argument “This sentence is true because I say it is true”, and by the way, invisible pink unicorns are the basis of Universal Gravitation.”
One cannot prove or disprove an axiom (or proposition, or postulate). They are the assumptions upon which “proof” of any sort relies. If two individuals have different axioms, they can argue all day and strongly disprove each other’s assertions with the very best of logic, and yet one will never convince the other because the disproof of one isn’t valid for the other.
The very first step, in other words, the “fundmental prior” to having any sort of reason-based discussion of some hypothesis, is to agree on the set of propositions that constitutes a “worldview” (or ontology). If those propositions disagree — for example, if one set allows for “evidence” in the form of hearsay concerning an invisible world where infinite/eternal punishments and rewards are meted out and the other doesn’t — argumentation is just a waste of time.
rgb

Joe Born
Reply to  rgbatduke
April 6, 2015 2:20 pm

rgbatduke: “[I]f one set allows for “evidence” in the form of hearsay concerning an invisible world where infinite/eternal punishments and rewards are meted out and the other doesn’t — argumentation is just a waste of time.”
I can’t resist observing, though, that Dr. Brown’s own silver-wire proof was based on his unfounded assumptions about what physical laws would prevail in a parallel universe that features non-zero equilibrium lapse rates.
Oh, I agree that in the thermodynamic limit the equilibrium lapse rate is zero. But it can be demonstrated that Dr. Brown’s unfounded assumptions lay at the base of his attempt to prove it by showing that the contrary assumption leads to perpetual undriven net heat flow. Worse, defending that argument led him to adopt bad physics.
Theologians are not the only ones who base their arguments on invisible worlds.

Jquip
Reply to  rgbatduke
April 6, 2015 3:08 pm

“How do you argue with someone who holds different axioms as a basis for their arguments than you do for yours?”
It is always possible to accept the set of axioms as hypotheticals. But of course, without agreeing on the set of grounding propositions for the rest, we don’t even begin on a chain of logic.
“One cannot prove or disprove an axiom (or proposition, or postulate). They are the assumptions upon which “proof” of any sort relies.”
This is only correct within the limit of what we consider a valid axiom. Classically, if the axiom could be generated as a consequence of further and deeper axioms then it was necessarily a logical consequence and so could not be used as an axiom. Though, as a practical matter, it’s simply enough to accept a grounding proposition hypothetically whether or not it meets that strict criterion. Regardless to either, you certainly cannot ‘prove’ a valid axiom. But there remains the possibility in all cases to disprove it experimentally. And, for a set of axioms, to demonstrate a contradiction arising from the set; which disproves the soundness of the set itself. Where ‘contradiction’ can be a purely logical contradiction (by the rules of logic) or by a claimed consequence arising from the axioms that is contradicted by experimental evidence.
Without meaning to put the vise to you, this is all basic logic itself. Which has nothing to do with what educational institutions promulgate or whether people have sussed through texts that have a history older than the point at which we flipped the calendar from BC to AD on the basis of pink unicorns.

Reply to  rgbatduke
April 6, 2015 10:14 pm

The existence of god is not dependent on religion. There is an intriguing argument for such made by Richard Swinburne in a book called, oddly enough, The Existence of God. Basically, it’s a Bayesian argument that establishes god’s existence is more likely than his/her/its [delete whichever is inapplicable] non-existence. Much to The Git’s amusement, the probability of god’s existence falls to zero in the absence of a mind to believe in god’s existence. This casts creation in quite a different light than usual 🙂

Truthseeker
Reply to  rgbatduke
April 8, 2015 11:22 pm

Wow … I did not know that about Universal Gravitation …
You learn something new everyday if you want to …

Alan McIntire
April 6, 2015 5:08 am

Refutation can work when arguing about science, or concrete facts. Most arguments, are political in nature, and all that’s being argued is personal perference.
Note that AGW fits into the “political” category. Will the earth warm ! C or more with a doubling of CO2?
Even if the answer was yes, “science” doesn’t answer the political question, “would this warming be good or bad, and if so, should we be doing anything about it? It’s these POLITICAL arguments using “science” as a crutch that drive me nuts.

April 6, 2015 5:28 am

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

Worth noting. Also worth taking the time to do your homework and develop a good refutation. Otherwise, many people would rather be wrong than corrected. Just let it go.

David, UK
April 6, 2015 6:05 am

The first post of Willis’s I’ve actually enjoyed reading. Succinct and to the point, without any waffle.

Coach Springer
April 6, 2015 6:38 am

Applying this model to Michael Mann or the Archbishop of Canterbury, it is possible and very satisfying to combine all the levels.

Steve Oregon
April 6, 2015 7:25 am

Refutation.
Often the alarmists argue by claiming to refute with a link they provide. Yet when the link is read there is no authentic refutation at all. When one returns from their recommended link and points out the vacuous nature of their suggested refuting the conversation stalls.
wotts, SS & TP are typical links.
BTW look at this pathetic reaction to EPA head.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/03/3642142/gop-wants-to-learn-climate-models/

daved46
April 6, 2015 7:30 am

A couple of points. First, I don’t post much here, mostly because I’ve seen it all and don’t need to re-post what is common knowledge here. As to Willis’ usual postscript, I’ve adhered to it for a couple of decades + now. I used to hang out on David Wojick’s (sp?) Climate Debate (proto)blog, back before there was an internet. I always quoted the things i was arguing against and demanded/encouraged others to do the same.
Second, I’m a devout Christian, and while i don’t proselytize much these days, I will say that having done so in various places, attracted the attention of a lady who has now been my wife for nearly 20 years so doing so is not without value even if it doesn’t seem to bear fruit on the surface.
But since this subject has arisen (no pun on yesterday being Easter), I want to make an attempt at a “refuting the central point” argument, This refers to the gentleman stating that “As a devout atheist myself, I don’t take kindly to being told stuff that I think is pure crap (because it has no basis in evidence)”
It seems to me his main point amounts to: “the Christian godhead cannot be a God because a God would do miracles and therefore the many miracles attested to in the NT and OT must be false because there cannot be a God.” This is circular reasoning and therefore invalid. QED

Reply to  daved46
April 6, 2015 8:49 am

A perfect example of the straw man argument.

daved46
Reply to  oldfossil
April 6, 2015 1:09 pm

So are you talking to me or the devout atheist? In either case, your micropost is a perfect example of why one should quote what you’re arguing against..

Gary Hladik
Reply to  oldfossil
April 6, 2015 5:01 pm

Indeed. The phrase “It seems to me his main point amounts to” is another version of the “in other words” straw man mentioned up thread:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/05/agreeing-to-disagree/#comment-1898984
If the “amounts to” argument is circular, it’s because Daved46 (who wrote it) made it so, meaning he just refuted his own argument.
Dang, I learned something today! Thanks, Willis, George E Smith, and Daved46!

HankHenry
April 6, 2015 7:42 am

There is no central point. There is a thesis with many points and a conclusion. If you disagree with the conclusion you’ll be accused of being anti science. If you go to the points the journalists won’t follow you complaining that the story is “going into the weeds.”

April 6, 2015 7:49 am

I like this logical fallacy poster.
I’d like it on a t-shirt so that when people are droning on I could point to the fallacies as they make them.
http://www.franklinveaux.com/venn-poster-large.jpg

Reply to  Max Photon
April 6, 2015 7:50 am

You can click on the poster to enlarge it.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 6, 2015 8:18 am

This is pretty cool. I’ve downloaded it. Willis’s graphic has been around forever. I was hitting warmists over the head with it on FB threads three or four years ago already.

logos_wrench
April 6, 2015 8:10 am

I agree this post for the most part. The pinnacle of the pyramid should be the main goal and focus but the bottom of the pyramid can be hilarious. So come on how about a ratio of say every 5 “pinnacle points” we get a bottom sarcasm. ☺

Steve Oregon
April 6, 2015 8:11 am

Just watch the comments here and witness a poster child debate.
Wesley Clark, retired general speaking at Lewis & Clark Monday, calls for carbon tax to boost national security
http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/04/wesley_clark_retired_general_c.html
Climate change will be catastrophic to national security unless countries address it with measures such as a U.S. carbon tax, says retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who will speak Monday in Portland.
Clark, a former Democratic presidential-primary candidate who remains influential in policy circles, believes climate change helped cause the war in Syria and conflict across East Africa.
Speaking in a telephone interview Friday, Clark said a carbon tax could be made palatable by boosting U.S. oil and gas production as a start, thereby uniting left and right political wings.
“If we don’t take serious methods in the decades to come to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, we’re building catastrophe in national-security terms,” said Clark, who led NATO forces to victory in Kosovo. “Not only in the United States, but worldwide, we’ll see pestilence, famines and revolutions.”

Alan McIntire
Reply to  Steve Oregon
April 6, 2015 11:16 am

I wrotne General Wesley Clark off as an idiot when he was running for president several cycles ago, and stated that the American Revolution was based on a desire for a more “progressive tax”.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
April 7, 2015 11:43 am

Alan McIntire,
Back then we called him ‘Weaselly Clark’. He hasn’t changedf.

Craig Loehle
April 6, 2015 8:12 am

I would distinguish a couple of other types of interaction:
1) With poor reading comprehension, someone attempts to refute a confused idea of what they read. It is not a strawman because a strawman is often a deliberate debating tactic.
2) Picking out a minor or irrelevant part of the argument to refute.
3) Writing such an incoherent reply that no one knows what you are saying.

Craig Loehle
April 6, 2015 8:19 am

Another type of argument is by assertion. For example, when you call the fit of GCMs to data “excellent” when other people looking at the same data are bewildered how you could say that. If the “data” going in to the debate is defined as excellent, this is an attempt to subvert any dissent. In this case what is lacking is any agreed criterion as to what “excellent” means or how to judge. If the advocate gets to judge the quality of the models than skeptics clearly must just be using motivated reasoning.

Reply to  Craig Loehle
April 6, 2015 8:43 am

Point irrefutably proven by Craig Loehle’s excellent comments! But seriously… or perhaps not so seriously… those guys who post pics of their wives who look like they went under a road roller and captioned, “My gorgeous wife Xxxxx.” Stupid, but it’s at the same level as the debater posting a link to an extremely weak argument. You thought I was a damfool for marrying this creature or for believing that polar bears are going extinct but see, here’s another damfool who agrees with me! What would you call this fallacy, Craig?

Craig Loehle
Reply to  oldfossil
April 6, 2015 9:39 am

Whatever we love is beautiful–our kids, our wives, our theories. Rose-colored glasses.

Reply to  oldfossil
April 6, 2015 9:55 am

@ Craig Loehle
Or perhaps we love those who love us. And love has nothing whatsoever to do with the physics, it’s metaphysics all the way down 🙂
Incidentally, most of the argument about climate is not deductive, or inductive; it’s abductive (aka Inference to the Best Explanation).
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abduction/

April 6, 2015 9:11 am

Good post Willis, thank you.

pouncer
April 6, 2015 10:02 am

There is, also, disagreement about unstated premises. Let me quote (summarizing) economist David Friedman:
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/My_Posts/My_View_of_Oughts.html
“[I]t is very hard to come to an agreement on the assumed facts surrounding the situations we are judging. My imaginary capitalist has capital because he worked hard clearing part of the boundless forest … His imaginary capitalist inherited his capital from a father who stole it. ”
Beginning with the same word for a nearly identical concept — here, “capital” / a pile of wealth — the argument between two people diverges before it takes the first step, based on individual perceptions of what sorts of people hold it and what sorts of actions can be fairly assumed about how they arrived at that condition.
And I don’t see where or how differences of this sort show up in the pyramid. I consider Hansen’s projections about climate — some of which are based on what he calls “Business As Usual” — are intentionally critical of free-market and business-like approaches to human problems and allocation of resources. Fairly quoting here, an example is here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/29/332369/nasa-hansen-the-southern-u-s-will-become-almost-uninhabitable/
I concede the possibility this word choice might be unconscious on his part but I believe an anti-business, pro-control philosophy biases his entire approach to the problem, if any, and the possible solution, also if any. Others may see the phrase “business as usual” as non-judgemental synonymous terminology for “ceteras parabis” — if nothing else except this is considered as the changing factor — and therefore suppose Hansen’s biases, if any, arise from non-economic roots and more from his personal morality — if any.
It makes objective discussion difficult.
I note, by the way, that the Texas drought conditions Hansen and Romm discussed in the quoted story have been substantially though not completely alleviated by recent rains.

Michael C. Roberts
April 6, 2015 10:13 am

Willis – Thanks again for the post, food for thought. Also, just an observation – this may qualify for the most terse submission that you have ever posted!!
Regards,
MCR

Kevin Kilty
April 6, 2015 10:25 am

The pyramid diagram ought to be organized with respect to color better. For example, if we colored the diagram starting with flaming fucsia at the bottom, and work our way up through cooler and more pleasant colors, ending with mint green at the top, then we could just color code arguments.

William Astley
April 6, 2015 10:27 am

In a private industry there is a process and an appointed neutral moderator/lead investigator to ensure technical problems (for example the investigation into what caused a plane crash) are resolved, scientifically without prejudice, with no hidden agendas. There is a defined process for private industry technical investigation that always includes deliverables such as documentation of observations, analysis, arguments and counter arguments to enable any knowledgeable person to understand/verify the central issues, arguments, and counter arguments, and conclusions. The lead investigator and the investigating team must ensure the investigation is complete and unbiased.
In private industry paradoxes and anomalies are not ignored, as they logically indicate there are one or more fundamental issues/errors with the based theories, assumptions, and conclusions. In private industry hiding a paradox or anomaly in an investigation (for example a plane crash investigation) is grounds for firing and possible prosecution of those involved in the ‘cover up’. In private industry hiding or changing data is grounds for firing or possible prosecution.
As Ad Hominen and Responding to tone is purposeless and counterproductive, in private industry it is strictly forbidden. There are seminars in private industry that teach employees how to resolve problems effectively. In private industry a technical person (employees) must change their mind when observations and logic support the counter theory.
In private industry a person would be fired for name calling or appealing to an absurd non logical pillar such as the statement that an assertion must be correct as 97% of a group of people believe it to be correct and then adamantly avoiding any discussion of the details to support the specific assertions.
The IPCC team was/is a handpicked group of biased believers with direct influence of NGOs and political special interest groups. The IPCC mandate was to develop ‘sciency’ looking documentation to support a foregone conclusion. The IPCC is not an independent investigation of the issues.
What makes this surreal mad scenario more interesting is it appears there will be in your face observation evidence (planet significantly cools, atmospheric level CO2 significantly drops, and ocean level significantly drops) that all of the IPCC assertions were incorrect.

RichardT
Reply to  William Astley
April 6, 2015 2:27 pm

The practices you ascribe to private industry have accountability as one of their roots. unfortunately, academia not so much.

tadchem
April 6, 2015 11:06 am

The ‘food for thought’ pyramid 😉 and the Venn diagram are excellent graphics, but they convey more information than is necessary. The classic dichotomy between Logic and Rhetoric covers it all for me.
Logic is used to prove a proposition using facts with the rigor of abstract algebra; Rhetoric is used to persuade an audience with emotion, regardless of the facts.
Nearly all of the Logical Fallacies find their utility solely in the domain of Rhetoric.
Unfortunately, once a mind has been ‘made up’ (subverted) by rhetoric, it is maintained with the strength of Faith marked by an unquestioning loyalty to ‘what is’, an aversion to novelty, and an unwillingness to even consider concepts that may threaten established doctrine. The Faithful will only abandon Error upon their individual deaths. Thus Truth can only prevail over Error in the long run due to it’s longevity.
It is important for Truth to present itself to uncommitted minds as soon as possible so they are equipped with a reference when Error first tries to sell itself. It is important for young minds to become Enlightened before they join the Faithful.

Tucci78
Reply to  tadchem
April 6, 2015 12:21 pm

At 11:06 AM on 6 April, tadchem had posted:

The classic dichotomy between Logic and Rhetoric covers it all for me.
Logic is used to prove a proposition using facts with the rigor of abstract algebra; Rhetoric is used to persuade an audience with emotion, regardless of the facts.
Nearly all of the Logical Fallacies find their utility solely in the domain of Rhetoric.

That’s a helluva construe on the word “rhetoric,” which is the art or study of using language effectively and persuasively, “an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.”
The evocation of emotion might be employed in the art – the better to get and hold an audience’s attention – but it’s the information and persuasion that matter. To use language in peddling lies….
Well, that’s not rhetoric per se. Better to use the words “propaganda” and “fraud” and “political language,” which last is
:

…designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Or so said the estimable Mr. Blair

April 6, 2015 11:23 am

The lead post’s ‘pyramind’ graphic may be a way to bring out discussion of argument rhetorical modes although it does not enumerate all rhetorical modes. Without referencing the ‘pyramid’ a simple articulation of the rules of logic (correct thinking) during a dialog seems the most direct method to achieve closure.
John

April 6, 2015 11:26 am

Here’s another pyramid:
http://postimg.org/image/5zsn8e963

Editor
Reply to  dbstealey
April 6, 2015 12:09 pm

I’ve just eaten (BBQ) but still loving that pyramid 😉

Reply to  dbstealey
April 6, 2015 6:40 pm

It’s all renewable. What’s not to like ?

Trevor
April 6, 2015 12:21 pm

You are an ass hat, Willis.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 6, 2015 2:27 pm

Essential to this topic is that the “central point” one is arguing must be on such a pyramid – anywhere that could be addressed.
Belief – religious, climate, CO2 – is not on the pyramid. It can’t be argued. You can attempt to convert belief, but that is a completely different matter and usually a failing matter. IMO

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 6, 2015 3:24 pm

It would be easy to be a good Christian
if it weren’t for all these people.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 6, 2015 3:43 pm

But it’s more fun being an idiot:
http://www.sturmsoft.com/Writing/Images/leunig_idiot.gif

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 6, 2015 6:26 pm

Willis, while understand your point, your remarks about Jesus would be extremely offensive to a Muslim. Jesus is a Muslim and a Prophet in Islam. No Muslim would ever refer to Jesus as a liar. Quoting you:

And Jesus is sometimes a l1ar, gleefully whispering in your ear about the peace he can bring. Jesus, per se, will not bring peace, for the soul lives on…. somewhere. And Jesus will not be going along with it to comfort it. Jesus has no interest in a soul released from the body. At that point, Jesus washes his hands of the soul.

Please note that I am not offended, for myself or on behalf of anyone else; I am agnostic. But I do note that Muslims are rather touchy about remarks regarding their faith.

Michael 2
April 6, 2015 2:01 pm

All of these argumentation techniques exist for good reasons.
Consider transactional analysis, TA, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” (book by that title). The idea is that you communicate only when people are taking complementary roles.
If a person signals that she is at the bottom of this pyramid, the only meaningful response is also at the bottom. You could go up or down one level and still be comprehended but even that’s a guess.
But since we are debating in public, you guess at the comprehension level of the public and make your pitch to them.
The person that responds to “You are an idiot” (I don’t like you) with an explanation of how adenosine triphosphate is regenerated in human cells (look how smart I am) is going to be seen as seriously debate challenged. A better response might be “At least I am not your idiot!” (I don’t like you, either).
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/biology/atp.html

April 6, 2015 3:29 pm

We Just Disagree

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Max Photon
April 6, 2015 6:04 pm

Max 57-62?
you sure them 70s tunes.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:34 pm

53 at the end of this month 🙂
I find one of the great joys of the internet is being able to effortlessly pull up ‘blasts from the past’ … music and memories just seem to go together.
But I also really enjoy contemporary music. For example, I was just listening to this beauty as I came across your post:

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:35 pm

I hate when that happens.
Just search YouTube for:
Loz Contreras – Sarajevo (Blackmill Remix)

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:43 pm

Here, I’ll try again …

Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 3:43 pm

This is a Procrustean Bed.
A Procrustean solution is the undesirable practice of tailoring data to fit its container or some other preconceived structure.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:38 pm

Now it’s called Common Core.

Zeke
April 6, 2015 5:14 pm

someone says,

“…the point at which we flipped the calendar from BC to AD on the basis of pink unicorns.”

We must place a new pinnacle on the top of the diagram. The Pink Unicorn. Everything beneath this assertion is Pink Unicorns. 😀
On the question of BC/AD terminology, I suggest we leave intact the notation conventionally used for generations, BC and AD, with a simple additional AB at c. 1960.
AB is short for “After Boomers.” In order to acknowledge that the Cannabis Generation arrived, and declared their own personal unicorns (which are many) are all unvarnished, unbiased, pure-as-the-driven-snow white (definitely not pink), and in order to show our gratitude for their authority and clarity on unicorns, we surely must designate time since Baby Boomers as AB.
So now I also want a new base for the argument triangle – “fun with another communicator’s sincerely held analogies.”

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Zeke
April 6, 2015 5:44 pm

you mean trolling for sport 🙂

Zeke
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 5:52 pm

Inability to let a flippant remark simply lie, and making a flippant remark in kind and according to measure, is more of a character weakness than anything else.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 5:56 pm

what?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:03 pm

“So now I also want a new base for the argument triangle – “fun with another communicator’s sincerely held analogies.” Wouldn’t you agree that that is essentially trolling?

Zeke
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 6:31 pm

No, I retain the right to refute a pink mythological creature with a white mythological creature, without being called a mythological creature!

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
April 6, 2015 8:00 pm

oh whew… I was making a funny….I was too brief. Cheers

April 6, 2015 10:14 pm

I offer my thanks and congratulations to Willis Eschenbach and Verity Jones for hitting the philosophical nail on its head. In debates about global warming, logical discourse is a rarity.

Dave Wendt
April 6, 2015 11:32 pm

I have had this on my this on my bookmarks list for about eight years
http://blog.createdebate.com/2008/04/07/writing-strong-arguments/
And although my memory has become significantly less reliable lately I seem to recall linking it in comments here at least 2 or 3 times over the years. It is often argued that unless you have specific scientific knowledge and skills you can’t reasonably criticize the work of the work of “climate scientists”, particularly those affiliated with the IPCC, but from my point of view an analysis based on argumentation types is sufficient to discredit most of the “science” produced in re the CO2 demon. I’m thinking especially of the numerous efforts at statistical jiggerypokery put forth in support of the 97% notion in one form or another over the last several years. And while the ad hominem attack has become the preferred mode for the climate alarmists I must admit that even those who I would like to agree with are hardly immune from this kind of shoddy work.
As for myself, I have always freely admitted that I haven’t a clue about what the climate will do over the next 85 to 100 years, but after wasting way more of the last decade of my rapidly declining remainder of life than any real smart guy would consider prudent rummaging through what passes for science on this topic I have yet to come across anyone who is convincingly better situated than me in that regard.

Casey
April 7, 2015 10:09 am

One got missed:
Every time I post an article or information of a forum, all the ACC numpties come running in with “WUWT is a known denier website – of course it’s going to have the sceptic’s lies on it”
They don’t attack the site or you, they don’t even bother to read the articles – just being on a “known denier website” auto-invalidates anything you post.

Reply to  Casey
April 7, 2015 11:50 am

Casey,
That one is pretty easy to counter. When someone writes that WUWT (or similar) is a ‘denier’, ‘denialist’, etc., call them to account. Point out exactly what they’re doing, and add that their comment shows that they have no credible argument. You post facts — but they respond with ad hominem name-calling.
Make them argue facts. If they continue name-calling, then continue to point out that they’ve got nothin’. Even if they don’t see it, everyone else will.

Reply to  dbstealey
April 7, 2015 12:47 pm

There is not a logical way in which a derogatory characterization of a person or institution can result in a valid conclusion about our climate. Thus, it would be better were participants in this blog to refrain from posting derogatory characterizations.

Reply to  dbstealey
April 7, 2015 7:14 pm

Terry Oldberg,
Thanks. I agree, and I would add that commenters here should refrain from defending those name-callers. That makes them pretty much the same, IMHO.
As for WUWT earning its reputation, it has, and deservedly so. Its reputation is as the internet’s premier “Best Science” site. No other blog comes close — and all the alarmist blogs trail far behind. Most of them aren’t even in the running. They couldn’t make the playoffs.
People want to read all sides of the debate, and not be spoon-fed alarmist pablum. That’s what they get from realclimate, tamina, ‘skeptical’science, and hotwhopper. Here at WUWT the truth gets sifted from the pseudo-science through uncensored conversation and debate. That’s why WUWT has such a great reputation — despite the odd, nasty comments that pop up here and there.

Reply to  dbstealey
April 7, 2015 8:41 pm

Hear hear!

Reply to  dbstealey
April 7, 2015 8:12 pm

Ron House:
WUWT won the “Best Science” category three times running. Therefore, by the rules WUWT cannot run again. It is the undefeated champion — but you can be certain that if it were allowed to run again, it would wipe the floor with every alarmist blog there is, and all your favorites would go down in flames, just like they did before.
Now, why don’t you explain why you never have anything good to say about WUWT?

Reply to  dbstealey
April 9, 2015 7:50 pm

Ron House asks:
Why did the Bloggies discontinue the category?
Now you want me to do your homework for you? As if.
Go ask them yourself. If you’re not capable of doing that, then just sit in front of your monitor in slack jawed wonder.
With that, we can agree to disagree, as the title says. Fair enough?

Reply to  dbstealey
April 9, 2015 9:02 pm

Ron House says:
… it was discovered that the voting was being “gamed”
Bunch of carp from sore losers like you.
Prove it.
We get it: you’re a hater. You hate the fact that WUWT won the Weblog Awards for “Best Science” site every time it was entered. So now you’re trying to feed us your load of horse manure, claiming that every year WUWT cheated.
Projection, no more and no less: I recall reading on realclimate and on SkS comments by their readers during the voting, saying that they had programmed computers to cast multiple votes. Other readers said they had multiple computers, and used sockpuppet names to cast multiple votes.
They still lost.
And in every contest, Anthony posted warnings to readers, saying he absolutely discourages anyone gaming the system. Anthony repeatedly told his readers that if WUWT couldn’t win fair and square, that we would lose fair and square. WUWT won. Those posts are still in the comments, anyone can find them.
So we have Anthony telling readers not to cheat — and alarmist blogs openly encouraging cheating.
WUWT still won. Three times running.
WUWT has exploded in popularity, going from nothing eight years ago, to almost a quarter BILLION unique views. That means a lot of lurkers here. And there have been far more than one million unique reader comments. Do the math: WUWT has more than enough potential votes to swamp any alarmist blog. So they lie about it — because they’re sore losers. You know what? That makes them losers.
Therefore, Ron House, either someone is lying to you, and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker — or you are lying.
Which?

Reply to  dbstealey
April 10, 2015 6:24 am

Ron House,
Now you are just trolling — imputing evil motives onto our host, with no evidence whatever. You have run out of arguments, so you fall back on your hating.
Go away. You add nothing to the conversation except your bile. This is a science site; the internet’s “Best Science” site. It isn’t a blog for haters.

John Shade
April 7, 2015 2:29 pm

The poor quality of the case for acute alarm over our CO2 emissions has been increasingly accompanied by poor quality argumentation. Perhap that was inevitable. Eschenbach, on the other hand, strikes me as someone who enjoys good debate, and who has set himself high standards. This pyramid graphic is welcome, and should encourage us all to emulate him.

terrahertz
April 7, 2015 4:40 pm

Perhaps Verity Jones could have made his point with a little less visual plagiarism?
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs.png
[img]http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs.png[/img]
Also, the original diagram (after Maslow) at least has the sense to use shaded outlines on the low-contrast colour combinations.
Where does “Your argument demonstrates poor photoshop skills, therefore your reasoning is suspect” go on the pyramid?

Reply to  terrahertz
April 7, 2015 8:15 pm

terrahertz,
Just FYI: Verity Jones is a woman. A very intelligent woman. You could even look it up.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2015 6:19 pm

Thanks Willis,
Brandon, you said:
Is that what kids these days are calling “bait and switch”?
Here’s what I asked originally Brandon:
Where is there a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of anthropogenic global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, as it stands in April, 2015?
Comments don’t get surreptitiously modified here so anyone can scroll back up to there to see what I wrote originally. So you see there was no bait and switch, except in your cognitively dissonant/deceitful head.
Thankfully Willis has falsified your falsifiable 1896 conjecture/hypothesis/theory, so please do try again in real time (2015).

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2015 6:45 pm

Willis,
(Again thanks. With science and its funding being such a jealous mistress, I shouldn’t really be on here).
Your Arrhenius quote is also an eye-opener. The Beer-Lambert Law (might have had other names then) originated at least five decades before 1896. Geometric …. arithmetic … wow. It might not be exactly first-order logarithmic from 280 – 400, but still … wow.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2015 7:16 pm

Willis,

So if that’s Arhennius’s falsifiable prediction …

That’s the question at hand. I say yes — it’s a testable proposition. What’s your answer?
Let’s not conflate “falsifiability” with “falsified” and pretend the goalposts didn’t move. Since this is a thread about debate and upping our game, I’ll take the opportunity for a teaching moment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_question
I consider it a foul, and try to only do it when my interlocutor is acting like an arse. Which is, well, a lot. So it’s gotten habitual for me as well.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 7:25 pm

That’s a new one Brandon – it doesn’t count because it’s off-topic, waaaaah.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:16 pm

Try again, Phil. I didn’t say “it doesn’t count”. I’m making two points of order there according to my conception of higher-level debate … which, by the way, IS the original topic of this post.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 7, 2015 7:28 pm

In the quote from Arrhenius, is the “temperature” a quantity that can be measured by a thermometer? If so Arrhenius’s contention is falsified by the fact that this “temperature” sometimes declines as the CO2 level increases.. Perhaps Arrhenius’s “temperature” is the equilibrium aka steady-state temperature. In this case, Arrhenius’s contention is not falsifiable for the equilibrium temperature cannot be measured. Either his contention is false or it is not falsifiable.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 8:11 pm

It’s steady state, Terry, and yes I figured that was going to be your objection, as I alluded to below.

April 7, 2015 7:13 pm

Would anyone care to share with me what Arrhenius’s falsifiable hypothesis is?

Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 7:21 pm

Well I think Willis had a shot at it. Brandon is the self-proclaimed expert on this, so maybe you need to be patient (the goalposts on this thread are getting a bit too heavy for him to move methinks, or he could be sleeping. Is he in Australia ?).
I also have a post in moderation that I don’t think he’ll file in his 2015 faves folder.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 7:24 pm

I see he just answered Willis, sort of

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 8:08 pm

philincalifornia,
I’m still awake … attentions were simply elsewhere for a while. The only goalpost moving I’m doing is to put it back where you staked it in your first post. The next time you ask someone for a falsifiable hypothesis/theory, it behoves you to be prepared to demonstrate an understanding of what those terms mean to you. Which opportunity is still very much available to you.
I am NO expert. I will gladly give you or anyone my opinion or understanding of what I read in literature, and tell you what my conclusions and beliefs are based on what I read … and here’s the key … when I think the question has been asked honestly. Since I cannot always tell, I tend to err on the side of answering the first one. My behaviour after that is very much contingent on the response:
1) I don’t suffer bottom-feeding bullshit “debate” tactics gladly.
2) If you wish to discuss science like an honest truth-seeker and a rational adult without the cheap shots and insults, I’m happy to do so.
Pretty simple ROE, if you ask me. I invite you to test me on (2) and see how it goes for us.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 7:43 pm

Terry Oldberg,
Nothing you and I haven’t discussed before, but I did bury it above in my longish reply to philincalifornia earlier today:

Arrhenius (1896) was my original answer to your original question. It meets my definition of falsifiability because it makes testable claims. His central thesis — here’s your copypasta — was:
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
This is still in conceptual use today by what the IPCC calls “simplified expressions”:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/c/2/a/c2a0e92291f118a8258a19b8fa58bb07.png
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/2/c/f/2cfca9ed59cb49f7b68570481ee87f53.png

A copy of the 1896 paper is available here: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/18/Arrhenius.pdf
The introductory modern-day editorial makes this interesting point:
Contrary to some misunderstandings, Arrhenius does not explicitly suggest in this paper that the burning of fossil fuels will cause global warming, though it is clear that he is aware that fossil fuels are a potentially significant source of carbon dioxide (page 270), and he does explicitly suggest this outcome in later work.
The 1896 paper gave an estimate for ECS between 5-6 K per CO2 doubling, which he revised down in a 1906 paper to 3.9 K: http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Arrhenius%201906,%20final.pdf
IIRC, your core argument — or at least the one I recall best — is that since the system is never in equilibrium, the proposition as stated isn’t falsifiable.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:28 pm

Brandon:
That’s it except that what Arrhenius means by “temperature” is ambiguous. If he means the quantity that is measurable by a thermometer then his contention is falsified by the evidence. If he means the equilibrium temperature then his contention is not falsifiable. In either case, Arrhenius’s contention is scientifically and logically improper.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 12:20 am

Terry Oldberg,

That’s it except that what Arrhenius means by “temperature” is ambiguous.

I’ve written several other places on this thread already: equilibrium surface temperature.

In either case, Arrhenius’s contention is scientifically and logically improper.

I declare by similar fiat: you’re wrong.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 7:19 am

Brandon
You’ve mislabeled a concept. Rather than being a fiat, that the equilibrium surface temperature is insusceptible to being observed is a fact.

April 7, 2015 8:14 pm

This is getting super-tedious, but I’ll try again:
Where is there a falsifiable hypothesis/theory of anthropogenic global warming, or anthropogenic climate change, as it stands in April, 2015?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 8:17 pm

[facepalm]

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:25 pm

Truly your best answer.
There isn’t one.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 8:25 pm

Not significantly changed since 1896. Look up: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/05/agreeing-to-disagree/#comment-1900282
If you don’t agree that Arrhenius provides a testable, and therefore falsifiable, hypothesis, it is incumbent on you to explain why you don’t think so.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:30 pm

I’ve explained that for you. Do you capitulate or do we have to continue this farce?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:32 pm

Willis showed that that one has been falsified, so you need a new one.
Why is it so difficult ? Seriously, why is it so difficult ?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:34 pm

Phone a friend. Is Nick Stokes up ?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 8:43 pm

The really strange thing about this particular farce Terry, is that I could probably write 6 or 10 alternative falsifiable hypotheses in an hour that would pass muster with you and Willis. There would be caveats, such as the 280 – 400 ppm thing is all anthropogenic, and that global temperature anomaly is a real metric (I know that’s a stretch), but WTF ? …..

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 8:54 pm

philincalifornia:
Well said. It is easy to state falsifiable hypotheses. One could state a dozen of them in an hour. However, it is hard to avoid falsification of them when they are tested. If one’s falsifiable hypothesis were to be falsified one might lose one’s sinecure. The solution (if one is unprincipled): avoid making falsifiable hypotheses while seeming to make them!

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:41 pm

philincalifornia,

Willis showed that that one has been falsified, so you need a new one.
Why is it so difficult ? Seriously, why is it so difficult ?

Because it’s like trying to explain the colour purple to a blind man. You know the word “falsifiable”, but don’t demonstrate an ability to define it for yourself. When Willis conflated “falsifiable” with “falsified” you didn’t pick up on the fact that he’d dodged YOUR question about “falsifiability”. Nor does it appear to have occurred to you that Willis implicitly defined his own hypothesis and provided “evidence” of its “falsification”.
Why is it so difficult for you to understand how to have an orderly, rational dialog with someone? Seriously, why is that so difficult? Are you still beating your wife?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question
Am I getting through yet?

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:55 pm

Nope Brandon. Phony passive aggressiveness ain’t gonna do it.
You really need to f**k off and stop trying to pretend you’re a scientist.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:59 pm

Temper, temper.

Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:00 pm

Terry Oldberg,

I’ve explained that for you.

I explained to you that I reject your role as Phil’s mouthpiece and will await an answer from him.

Do you capitulate or do we have to continue this farce?

I disagree with your position, have told you why several times in the past, and that I’m not inclined to pursue that discussion further. You can call that capitulation if you wish; I don’t control you. My opinion of your argument on this topic is that it’s sophistry which doesn’t hold up under further scrutiny.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:06 pm

Brandon Gates:
Your “sophistry” is what a philosopher would call “logic.” You’re attempting to reverse 2300 years of intellectual progress by turning logic on its head!

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 9:46 pm

Yeah, well I’m not the one wandering talking about “proof” in a conversation about inductive and/or abductive reasoning: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/05/agreeing-to-disagree/#comment-1899907
I really like how the fact that I gave an answer you didn’t agree with constitutes a “failure” on my part to give an answer at all. That was a particularly nice touch. If that’s where we’re at after 2,300 years of intellectual progress, I fear for our species.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:57 pm

You failed to give an answer to the question of the identity of Arrhenius’s falsifiable hypothesis.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 9:58 pm

It’s testable, therefore falsifiable.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 10:07 pm

My patience is worn thin. This dialogue has gone on for many iterations in which you have not yet identified Arrhenius’s falsifiable hypothesis. If there is such a hypothesis, please identify it now. Otherwise, kindly signify your capitulation so we can avoid further fruitless discourse on this topic.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 11:52 pm

Terry,
Same answer it’s been all along:
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
You not agreeing that it’s falsifiable is not my failure to give an answer. Bad form to chase your own tail and say I’m the one leading you on it.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 7:36 am

Brandon:
I’ve PROVED my assertion. If you don’t like the conclusion of this PROOF then the proper course for you is to try to refute it. If you find what you think is a bullet proof refutation try it out on this audience. We’ll give you a critical review.
The tack you are now on is the logically illegitimate one of applying the fallacy of proof by assertion: one asserts that the conclusion of his argument is true and ignores the contradictions. In doing so you are wasting our time. Rather than being an asset you are making your self a pain in the neck..

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 8, 2015 2:33 pm

Terry Oldberg,

I’ve PROVED my assertion.

So you SAY.

If you don’t like the conclusion of this PROOF then the proper course for you is to try to refute it.

According to YOUR definition of proper.

If you find what you think is a bullet proof refutation try it out on this audience. We’ll give you a critical review.

I maintain that there is no such thing as “bullet proof” when the subject under consideration is a vastly complex system which all but precludes deductive logic as a method for determining truth propositions about its multitude of physical parameters. We — humanity — use mainly use inductive and abductive reasoning to study such phenomena. I hold that the concept of a logical axiomatic proof does not apply when the underlying reasoning used to form and test hypotheses relies on inductive and/or abductive reasoning.

The tack you are now on is the logically illegitimate one of applying the fallacy of proof by assertion …

Irony. Your first words in this subthread: philincalifornia:
There is no falsifiable hypothesis/theory. In his response to you, Brandon Gates fails to cite one though implying that he is doing the opposite..

… one asserts that the conclusion of his argument is true and ignores the contradictions.

Yes, I know this behaviour well — I am weary of your habit of doing it.

In doing so you are wasting our time.

I am not compelling anyone here to respond to me. I do not have that power.

Rather than being an asset you are making your self a pain in the neck..

Your opinion is noted, with the additional detail that the feeling is very much mutual. For example, this exchange above:
Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 at 1:17 pm
I already know where you stand as we’ve discussed it several times before, without satisfactory resolution to definition of terms. My view of it is that, not unlike Phil, you stand on definitions and won’t budge from them even when I have pointed out where I think they fail. Which I find tedious and non-productive. So thanks, but no thanks.
Terry Oldberg
April 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm
It would be appropriate to read your non-response as a capitulation on the falsifiability issue.

Where did I “capitulate” Terry? I stated very clearly that I disagreed with your conclusion, why I think so, and why I am disinclined to take it up further.
By your own stated standard …
If you don’t like the conclusion of this PROOF then the proper course for you is to try to refute it.
… your strongest possible response to my stated disagreement would have been to … [drumroll] … post the proof you had already claimed exists. Yet you didn’t. You asserted capitulation on my part when the words I wrote are entirely inconsistent with the words that I wrote.
I look forward to your proof about what goes on in my own head.
I will also point out that your posting of your own proof is not at all contingent upon whether or not I have asked for it, or if I have expressed interest in reading and discussing it. Please do not hold me accountable for your own failure to provide substantive support for your own arguments and rebuttals. I consider such behaviour highly annoying and counter-productive, as very much evidenced by my frustrated and therefore intentionally ironic argument by assertion directed toward you:
You’re wrong.
Which, if you rewind tape, ought to find is a concise distillation of your leading argument:
philincalifornia:
There is no falsifiable hypothesis/theory. In his response to you, Brandon Gates fails to cite one though implying that he is doing the opposite..

Perhaps it is clearer to you now why I ended the cycle where you started it, and wish to withdraw from further discussion with you on this topic.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 2:47 pm

Logic stands in contradistinction to sophistry. I observe that you use the latter and not the former whenever this suits your purposes.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 8, 2015 2:35 pm

Errata: Yet you didn’t. You asserted capitulation on my part when the words I wrote are entirely inconsistent with the words that I wrote.
Yogi Berra would be proud.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 8, 2015 2:56 pm

Terry Oldberg,

Logic stands in contradistinction to sophistry.

Only when logic is applied to the substantive issue. What’s substantive here is subjective, and very much a matter of personal choice. I have made mine, and it is quite obviously at odds with yours. I call that an impasse. When I find myself in a situation I deem intractable, I choose to withdraw.

I observe that you use the latter and not the former whenever this suits your purposes.

See again: I look forward to your proof of what goes on inside my head.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 7, 2015 9:13 pm

Capitulation it is then. Sold to the lowest bidder.
Brandon – you are so far away from knowing what you don’t know it’s a joke.
Go back to school. Work your way up to a Ph.D. program in Chemistry or something. You’ll still be a failure, but at least you’ll know why.

Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 9:20 pm

…. maybe

Brandon Gates
Reply to  philincalifornia
April 7, 2015 9:57 pm

philincalfornia

Sold to the lowest bidder.

Irony: Perhaps when Brandon’s done mentally masturbating on the other six threads, he can let us know.
You had it locked from the get-go.

You’ll still be a failure, but at least you’ll know why.

You’re Doing it Wrong. When the auction is over, you no longer need to bid. Now about that payment; will it be cash, charge or check? I’m easy, but not cheap.

April 7, 2015 10:06 pm

On the thread level, sorry Willis, although there’s probably a Symposium Series in here somewhere.

johann wundersamer
April 8, 2015 1:47 am

there’s no bridge, no ferry from clouded views to clear landscape as long as the shores of ‘clouded views’ mark the boundaries of ‘escapism country.’
Hans

Reply to  johann wundersamer
April 8, 2015 2:16 am

johann wundersamer on April 8, 2015 at 1:47 am
– – – – – –
johann wundersamer,
That is poetic styled and profound remark.
John

April 8, 2015 8:47 am

Reblogged this on Finding Confluence and commented:
Stop calling me an “ass hat”… 🙂

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 8, 2015 11:38 am

Willis:
The rules for making claims falsifiable do not depend upon what these claims are. Thus, it is sufficient to state these rules once.
When claims made by a model are falsifiable, they reference a set of events. Each event has an outcome. In testing the model the observed values of the relative frequencies of the outcomes of observed events are compared to the predicted values of the associated probabilities. If there is not a match, the model is falsified by the evidence. Otherwise it is “validated.” For brevity, I’ve glossed over the problem of sampling error.
Beginning with Arrhenius and continuing up to the present day, global warming climatologists have failed to identify the events underlying their models. Consequently, the claims made by these models are not falsifiable. Another consequence from the absense of the events is for the models convey no information to a policy maker about the outcomes from his/her policy decisions. Thus, after the expenditure of several hundred billion dollars on research the climate remains uncontrollable.
The study of global warming climatology that began with Arrhenius has been an abject failure. That this is true is not apparent to enough people for needed changes to be forced in the design of the research. In a study that I conducted at the request of the chair of Earth Sciences at Georgia Tech, I traced the cause of this phenomenon to applications of the equivocation fallacy on the part of climatologists. My most recent peer-reviewed article on this topic is available at http://wmbriggs.com/post/7923/ .

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 8, 2015 1:10 pm

Willis,

I had not “conflated “falsifiable” with “falsified”.” I was not claiming that Arrhenius had been falsified at all. Instead, I was asking a simple question—if Arrhenius’s hypothesis is indeed falsifiable, then what would it take to falsify it?

That wasn’t your original question to me. I quote:
So if that’s Arhennius’s falsifiable prediction, would it be falsified by e.g. 18 years of increasing “carbonic acid” with absolutely no concomitant increase in temperature?
I’m going to let Wikipedia speak for me. Very broadly that form of questioning falls into these buckets:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_question
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leading_question
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question
To me, “simple” questions are open-ended, do not contain any presuppositions or implicit assertions, and do not contain any conditionals. Example: What is your definition of a falsifiable proposition?
Your immediately following question to the above is “better”: If your answer is no, eighteen years of no temperature increase wouldn’t falsify Arhennius’s falsifiable hypothesis, then perhaps you could enlighten us as to just what would falsify it.
My answer to the first question is, indeed, no. By my reading of Arrhenius (1896), he does not give an estimation of the time it would take to reach a new equilibrium temperature following a perturbation in CO2 concentration. Which brings us to …

Me, I don’t think it’s easily falsified because it is too vague.

Yes, I agree. However that raises the question: why then did you introduce the observed GAT trend over the past 18 years into this discussion?
One thing which has gotten lost in the shuffle is the final salient point of my initial response to philincalifornia:
So from my POV, it’s mostly about getting the fine details less wrong.
I cited ongoing research to constrain the value of ECS as one example of that.

Regarding Phil’s contention that I’ve shown that Arrhenius is falsified, sorry, Phil, not so.

Your words to me above: So according to all of those good folks, the Arrhenius hypothesis is already falsified. We did NOT see “rapid warming in the next 5 years” as forecast. We did not see warming resuming “in the next few years”.
I find it very difficult to read the statement in bold any other way than an attempt to falsify Arrhenius (1896).

I’m just pointing out that there is no agreement on what it would take to falsify Arrhenius, and that even those who set a falsifiability test now don’t live by the results of their own test … which is why it is not inherently falsifiable.

Yes, that’s what you’re explicitly arguing now, which is great — I think that’s an important discussion. I chose the bolded words VERY specifically.
I’ll lead with some opinions: Given that there is no universally acceptable or applicable definition of falsifiability, arguments which seek to impose such a definition are counter-productive.
Yes, there is an implicit a priori in that previous statement, but I note that there is ample anecdotal evidence on this thread suggesting its veracity. All I need to falsify the proposition “All swans are black” is to observe the existence of one and only one white swan. The climate system is not so starkly binary, and I contend that it is folly to discuss it as if it is. /opinions

u.k.(us)
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 2:00 pm

Has anyone ever seen a battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale ?
Brandon vs Willis must be the literary equivalent.
I certainly ain’t gonna get between those two heavyweights, just yet.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 3:18 pm

Call me Ishmael.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 9:45 pm

Excellent. Unfortunately, one Paul Kamen of Berkeley, CA has dibs: http://www.well.com/~pk/resume.html
Many who have sailed with me call me Ahab, but that’s been many years. Quixote is probably more fitting.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 10:03 pm

What’s the relevance?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 8, 2015 1:30 pm

Willis,
The astute reader will notice I still haven’t directly answered your question: what would falsify [Arrhenius (1896)]?
There are two reasons why I have not:
1) I want do some reading and thinking about it so as to compose reasonably comprehensive answer.
2) At present I’m more interested in the “meta” issues of the AGW debate — well, conflict I think is the better term — which I think is fitting given the topic of your OP. I reiterate my appreciation and thanks to you for writing it.
It will take some time for me to compose my response … something on the order of a workday.

Steve Garcia
April 8, 2015 3:19 pm

Huh? Not one of those addresses Straw Man arguments and other false logic? And not one of them includes one side characterizing the other side in a false way? The latter is NOT the same thing as a Straw Man argument. It is when they just make stuff up about the opposing side – stuff that has nothing to do with any of their arguments or general positions.
That pyramid needs 2 more levels, Willis.

April 8, 2015 5:00 pm

This is to note for the record that Brandon Gates continues to fail to produce Arrhenius’s falsifiable hypothesis for inspection. Though claiming its existence he fails to produce it.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 8, 2015 6:26 pm

This is, and has been, my answer to that request several times now:
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
Terry is free to contend that it is not falsifiable. He is not at liberty to suggest that I have not provided an answer to the request and be seen as truthful.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 7:20 pm

Brandon:
The sentence that you’ve rendered in bold font is an hypothesis. It is not, however, a falsifiable hypothesis.
If Arrhenius’s “temperature” is observable, it fluctuates rather than increasing monotonically with the CO2 concentration as Arrhenius hypothesizes that it does; in this case, his hypothesis is falsified by the evidence. If his “temperature” is the equilibrium temperature, it is not observable; thus, Arrhenius’s hypothesis is not falsifiable. Either Arrhenius’s hypothesis is falsified by the evidence or not falsifiable. In neither case is it falsifiable.
That’s a logical conclusion. Do you accept this conclusion as true or will you continue to pursue an illogical conclusion through application of one or more fallacious arguments?

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 9:31 pm

Terry,
I will continue to recognize the utility of inference and inductive reasoning in the sciences, and not further attempt to decompose the planet Earth down to its component axioms. As much as I’d like science to be based solely on deductive reasoning, present human capabilities preclude us from doing it. I consider pragmatism a virtue, and hold that it is entirely rational to make considered choices between the normative I want and the positive I can get.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 9:55 pm

Brandon:
What is the logical basis for your claim that “As much as I’d like science to be based solely on deductive reasoning, present human capabilities preclude us from doing it,” your claim that “I consider pragmatism a virtue” or your claim that you “hold that it is entirely rational to make considered choices between the normative I want and the positive I can get.” There is no such basis. These claims are pretentious nonsense.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 8, 2015 11:54 pm

Terry Oldberg,

What is the logical basis for your claim that “As much as I’d like science to be based solely on deductive reasoning, present human capabilities preclude us from doing it” …

Well, that’s got to be split into parts. The clause of my statement prior to the comma is normative, making a logical defence difficult. I stand on my own will to decide what my values and desires are.
I take the latter part as so blindingly obvious as not to require much discussion. Considering the entire planet and its interactions with other bodies in the solar system, I would think it an absurd notion to conclude that we could study the whole system on the basis of deduction alone. To do so would require knowledge of every component interaction AND the ability to process and comprehend the data. Thinking in terms of atoms and fundamental forces alone, this might be logically feasible. Newtonian physics suggested a deterministic system was a possibility, yet Einstein himself was deeply bothered by the implications of quantum theory he himself helped pioneer.
That leaves us with inference by such things as deduction or abduction, which are NOT logically robust in the sense that deduction is. I get it that doesn’t sit well with some folks; I don’t always care for it either.

These claims are pretentious nonsense.

Nonsense may be logically demonstrable, but I defy you to write a proof defending the use of a qualitative adjective. That’s two you owe me now. The previous one is: I look forward to your proof of what goes on inside my own head.
In response to my “capitulation” as well as: I observe that you use the latter and not the former whenever this suits your purposes.
One wonders about the integrity of a commenter who demands a logical basis and/or proofs for statements of personal opinion, yet leaves multiple quid pro quo calls for same unanswered.

Steve Garcia
April 8, 2015 5:17 pm

sonofab_____ – my comment to Konrad and dbstealy went into the void and never got put up on here. Dammit!

Steve Garcia
April 8, 2015 5:19 pm

Testing 123… My comments are not being put up. WUWT, Anthony?

Steve Garcia
Reply to  Steve Garcia
April 8, 2015 5:20 pm

One was lost completely, and now it is working again.

Brandon Gates
April 9, 2015 1:54 am

Willis,
You ask: … if Arrhenius’s hypothesis is indeed falsifiable, then what would it take to falsify it?
The hypothesis as quoted by me comes from Arrhenius (1896): http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/18/Arrhenius.pdf
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
The question is difficult for me to answer for two reasons:
1) It presumes Arrhenius (1896) is falsifiable without explicit stipulation.
2) The phenomenon in question involves a massive and complex system within which the putative effects of CO2 are not the sole factor.
Given that you have reserved explicit opinion on falsifiability, but asked me what would falsify it, I conclude that falsifiability is not a point of contention between us. I would therefore be disappointed to see the issue raised between us in the future.
As I do not consider other readers bound to your statements, I think a discussion of falsifiability is in order. I am preparing a second note to address it.
The question now becomes, how can an investigator falsify any given hypothesis about a physical system? I submit the following:
1) Provide an alternative explanation which better explains the observed phenomenon.
2) Show that it is based on faulty premises such that conclusions drawn from them do not necessarily follow.
3) Demonstrate that it is internally inconsistent with itself.
4) Wait until any predictions based upon the hypothesis fail to materialize.
This is not an exhaustive list, however they are the ones I most commonly associate with this debate. Significantly, I have ranked them in order of strength according to my own system of values. Much like the pyramid in the head post, what I consider “best” is at the top. Implicit in that ranking is that the most difficult and potentially rewarding, method is at the top. What follows is a discussion of how I would attempt to falsify Arrhenius (1896) by each method, in reverse order.
4) Wait until any predictions based upon the hypothesis fail to materialize.
Difficult if not impossible based only on what I have thus far quoted. The reason being is that my quoted excerpts lack the necessary specifics to do so, namely the component of time. A more careful reading of the paper may reveal text which implies a prediction of the time component, but my own reading has not found one. At best, Arrhenius (1896) only provides estimates for an equilibrium surface temperature for a doubling of CO2 falling in the range 4.95 – 6.05 K/2xCO2 depending on latitude, with the tropics being least sensitive and the higher temperate and polar zones being the most.
3) Demonstrate that it is internally inconsistent with itself.
If such a discrepancy exists, I have not found it. It’s boilerplate “greenhouse” effect so far as I can tell, and explanations of modern theory on that point are legion. I leave it to others to challenge me on this method of falsification; however, I request that for purposes of this discussion that those challenges be limited to the text of the paper itself. I’m genuinely interested what other eyes and minds may find.
2) Show that it is based on premises such that conclusions drawn from them do not necessarily follow.
The easiest, most obvious rebuttal here is that the entire paper relies on a very limited set of observations relative to modern times, taken with instruments now well out of the state of the art. The next attack would be to note that one single paper then or now cannot possibly address the multitude of confounding factors which all but the most naive investigator would be able to reasonably suppose without great effort, and therefore that making strong conclusions on the basis of this study alone is dubious at best and pure folly at worst.
That’s not falsification, it’s reserving judgement pending further study. It bears mention, however, that this paper was roundly dismissed by the at-large scientific community when it was published.
1) Provide an alternative explanation which better explains the observed phenomenon.
The strongest and best for last. Near the end of the paper we find the following text:
As the question of the probability of quantitative variation of the carbonic acid in the atmosphere is in the most decided manner answered by Prof. Hogbom, there remains only one other point to which I wish to draw attention in a few words, namely: Has no one hitherto proposed any acceptable explanation for the occurrence of genial and glacial periods? Fortunately, during the progress of the foregoing calculations, a memoir was published by the distinguished Italian meteorologist L. De Marchi which relieves me from answering the last question. He examined in detail the different theories hitherto proposed — astronomical, physical, or geographical, and of these I here give a short resume. These theories assert that the occurrence of genial or glacial epochs should depend on one or other change in the following circumstances:
(1) The temperature of the earth’s place in space.
(2) The sun’s radiation to the earth (solar constant).
(3) The obliquity of the earth’s axis to the ecliptic.
(4) The position of the poles on the earth’s surface.
(5) The form of the earth’s orbit, especially its eccentricity (Croll).
(6) The shape and extension of continents and oceans.
(7) The covering of the earth’s surface (vegetation).
(8) The direction of the oceanic and aerial currents.
(9) The position of the equinoxes.
De Marchi arrives at the conclusion that all these hypotheses must be rejected, however he is of the opinion that a change in the transparency of the atmosphere would possibly give the desired effect. According to his calculations, “a lowering of this transparency would effect a lowering of the temperature of the whole earth, slight in the equatorial regions, and increasing with the latitude into the 70th parallel, nearer the poles again a little less. Further, this lowering would, in non-tropical regions, be less on the continents than on the ocean and would diminish the annual variations of the temperature. This diminution of the air’s transparency ought chiefly to be attributed to a greater quantity of aqueous vapour in the air, which would cause not only a direct cooling but also copious precipitation of water and snow on the continents. The origin of this greater quantity of water-vapour is not easy to explain.”

The numbered points are the main attraction here, I included the surrounding narrative for context.
I believe that (1) is essentially a statement of the now discarded (falsified?) luminiferous aether theory.
It’s (2), stupid. Well yes, clearly that cannot be discounted.
(3), (5) and (9) should jump out at anyone familiar with Milankovitch theory.
(4) is still speculated about in some quarters, but not by anyone I consider serious.
(6) is much discussed in present-day literature.
So is (7), though associated with that I would have included ice sheet and snow cover albedo feedback.
(8) Is presently all the rage, it seems to explain everything to almost everyone.
There are things missing, but it’s a fairly comprehensive list. While De Marchi concluded that they must be rejected I first must reiterate what he and Arrhenius were mainly attempting to do: explain the ice-age cycles.
On that basis, I think pretty much everyone would consider Arrhenius (1896) as a whole falsified. However this statement, again …
If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
… not so much. Certainly not me. As you have already pointed out, it’s broad and vague, therefore all but impossible to falsify. But I think not completely impossible. My answer to your question is:

If temperatures had declined since 1896 in line with Milankovitch-predicted insolation OR had plummeted due to the “CO2 cooling” proposition I see mentioned on and off again, THEN I believe a strong case could be made that the 120 year interval would be sufficient to cast Arrhenius’ hypothesis into very serious doubt, if not outright falsification.

That isn’t what has been observed. Now we enter that zone where modern-day theory and observation come into topicality, and extremely contentious dispute. Basically, to shake my own beliefs on the matter would require an alternative mechanism by some combination of the above listed parameters and/or some as yet unknown force(s) — which combination provides a better correlation to observation than these formulae describe:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/c/2/a/c2a0e92291f118a8258a19b8fa58bb07.png
http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/2/c/f/2cfca9ed59cb49f7b68570481ee87f53.png
As well, I would look for an AOGCM-like suite of models which outperform the present state of the art CMIP5 ensemble. It’s a tall order, but one I would very much like to see filled — it would be seriously inaccurate to say that I want CO2-driven AGW to be true.

Reply to  Brandon Gates
April 9, 2015 8:22 am

Brandon Gates:
Were you to play by the rules you would have to address the proof already presented by me that “Arrhenius’s falsifiable hypothesis” is not falsifiable before proceeding. If you have no intention of playing by the rules please exit this blog FOREVER.

Brandon Gates
Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 9, 2015 9:46 am

Terry,
Falsifiability is not an apparent point of contention between Willis and myself. I consider myself within “the rules” on that point of order. I discuss that with him in the beginning of my post; you may wish to review that section again for some other salient details.

Reply to  Terry Oldberg
April 9, 2015 12:58 pm

Brandon, do you really believe that real scientists reading this can’t see you for the evasive, passive aggressive, supercilious bullsh!tter that you are.
Terry was not speaking about your response to Willis. Terry was addressing your non-response to Terry.
… and unless I missed it while skimming through your mega-hand-waving, you still haven’t provided a modern day falsifiable hypothesis for any of CAGW, CACC, AGW, ACC dangerous AGW, dangerous ACC. Take your pick.