• How to argue LIKE STALIN

    …and why you shouldn’t:

    I think Hannah Arendt said that one of the great achievements of Stalinism was to replace all discussion involving arguments and evidence with the question of motive – Christopher Hitchens




    You’ve all read something like this, or heard something like this, I am sure.  Something like…

    – Oh, you’re only talking about the oppression of women under Islam because you’re a wayycist! (Pope Myers)

    –  Oh, you’re only talking about how environmental policies immiserate the poor because you’re being paid off by the Koch Brothers! (David Appel)

    – Oh, you are only concerned about the ninety-two Sobibors because you want to control women’s bodies!  (certain comentators here)

    –  Oh, Mandela only opposed apartheid because he was a filthy commie! (certain lice you can find in WND and similar outlets; excellent response here).

    This stuff is a kind of mental crack.  It gives a quick high, makes the user aggressive and pointless to deal with, and is ultimately completely toxic.

    So, here is why you should leave that stuff well alone.

    Motives do not affect the correctness of the argument

    Suppose Person A makes an argument for the distribution of condoms in sub-Saharan Africa, and though he says his motive is to counteract the spread of AIDS, his real motive is a fear of too high birthrates among black Africans.  How does his motive affect the effectiveness or otherwise of such a program when it comes to combatting AIDS?

    You cannot always be sure what the motive is 

    Take the above scenario, and assume Person A makes it to Person B who believes A is sincere and so goes on to make the argument himself.  I present the argument to you, and I don’t tell you from whom I have received it.  How can you possibly tell?

    Having a stake in an issue cuts both ways

    The ad hominem argument isn’t completely invalid.  If someone has spent ten years working in the field of climate science; chances are, he is more knowledgeable than the man in the street.  However, no such truth applies to having a stake in an argument.  We should try to see where someone is coming from, sure, but that does not make them more likely to be correct.  The principle negative effects of global warming will be on the equatorial peoples; it does not follow that they have better climate science than the northern ones.

    Similarly, I’ve been informed that no man should discuss abortion because he does not have the same stake in it as a woman does (this is a variant of the ‘check your privilege’ meme).  One could just as easily say that no woman should discuss abortion because her stake in the matter makes it less likely that she will objectively analyse it.

    Which of these arguments is right?  Neither.  Both.  Who cares?

    It makes you stupid, because being wicked isn’t the same thing as being wrong

    No matter how rancid a person is, it is unlikely that he is 100% wrong about everything, and it is worth noting the things he does get right.  You think you could learn nothing from Holocaust deniers?  Well, Raul Hilberg, who wrote the seminal study on the Holocaust, The Destruction of the European Jews would disagree, and says he’s used stuff from neo-Nazi publishing houses.  Similarly, it was David Irving who showed that Oswald Mosley was receiving direct payment from the offices of Goebbels, and dug up a great deal of information on Churchill that is both factually accurate and not in most histories.

    Would it surprise you to learn that there was an author who accurately predicted the rise of Japan and its war with America, and that the Wahabis would emerge as a major menace – way back in 1920?  Well, that man was Lothrop Stoddard, as poisonous a racist as you might like, but it was precisely because he was a poisonous racist that he was able to intuit that well.  Orwell wrote, at a time when polite society was blase about the rise of fascism, that the only people who understood the fascist menace were those who had felt its lash on their own skins, or those who had a touch of the fascist mindset themselves.  It is precisely because Stoddard was so obsessed with race and blood and destiny that he understood the effects those ideas would have in others.

    Argue like this, and you are going to lose

    Take a look at the guy at the top of this post.  Where is he now, where’s the system he defended?  Who reads his lies now?  But people still read Solzhenitsyn and even under the absolute rule of Communism, everyone understood that the system and its pronouncements were lies.

    When Nelson Mandela was banged up in Robben Island he managed to convince even some of the hardened racists they sent to guard the place, simply by being rational and explaining themselves as best as possible.  There were laws against printing Mandela’s name, and everyone in the country knew who he was, and in the first free election, Mandela got the clear majority of the white vote.

    When you decline to argue a point, you leave the bad bits of your opponents case supported by the good bits of your opponents arguments.  So he will make converts, and you will not.

    Let me note that the two examples are some scary customers.  You, my dear practitioner of this method, are a guy with a blog, if that.  You don’t have a secret police, you don’t have armies, you don’t have a state, you probably can’t even get someone fired.  You are going to lose.  Those of us who keep our rational-argument-fu in good shape will not just beat you, though we will, not just break you, though we will, we will completely annihilate you, to the point where your views are no longer read or reviewed by anyone outside of the dustiest corners of the historical profession.

    After all, we’ve already seen off this guy:



    What chance do you have?



    Category: Life and ReasonSkepticism

    Article by: The Prussian

    17 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

    • ncovington89

      Great post! I will be back referencing this in the future.Too often I’ve seen arguments about motive and have felt the same way, but it will be nice to have a blog post that makes all my points for me to show the folks that say this…

      • ThePrussian

        Sweet of you to say. :-) Please feel free to reference this as much as you like, and maybe a bit more…

    • Speaking of which: my mailbox has never seen a Monsanto check :'(

    • Pingback: Are Islamic jihadists justified? | The Prussian()

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      Quite to the point. I’ve had to deal with such people a good deal-and since perhaps a younger age than you. The Islamic clergy dismissed any international outcry against their atrocities as “imperialism”, and accused their critics for hypocrisy for failing to condemn abuses in, say, Israel. Even if true, the rejoinders were completely irrelevant and flawed, but at the time I wasn’t well versed enough in logic to see that.

      • ThePrussian

        Glad I could help. :-)

      • ColonelNeville

        Ah, but you’re only saying that because you have negative attitudes to Islamic Sharia Jihad beheading videos. I have the same intolerant bias. Can’t stand the blood and screaming, but who am I to judge, eh?

    • Shadow of a Doubt

      Well said, I would add that another side benefit is that if you do not go straight to demonize your opponents or question their “true” motive, it is possible to disagree on one thing and still be allies, or even friends, when it comes to other issues.

      • ThePrussian

        That is absolutely true; I should have added that. When you assume that anyone who hold position X must be a fiend, it makes it much, much harder for your to change your mind.

    • guerillasurgeon

      The idea that motives to not affect the validity of the argument is a little bit disingenuous. Technically it doesn’t, but it does affect the way people argue, and use and interpret evidence. And in real life it affects the conclusions people come to. So you might not be paid by the Koch brothers, but you will almost certainly would think like them. So you would spout the same sort of crap.

      • Ulyssees

        Nice ad hominem, unsupported side-swipe attack on the Koch brothers. What is it about highly successful, politically conservative entrepreneurs that makes otherwise reasonably articulate individuals like guerillasurgeon lose all ability to think and argue rationally?

        • im-skeptical

          Guerillasurgeon makes a good point. Motivation makes people lie. It doesn’t make a true argument true or a false argument false, but it does make people produce false arguments. Look at the climate science denial in the US Congress Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Those Republican congressmen are bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and the energy industries. Anyone who thinks motivation has nothing to do with the arguments they make is living in a dream world.

          • Ulyssees

            Actually, you’re not very skeptical at all, bud. If you were, you’d read something outside of your own echo chamber about climate change–like the congressional testimony of this IPCC lead author, John Christy: https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/hearings/ChristyJR_written_110331_all.pdf

            • im-skeptical

              You don’t know a thing about me except that I don’t live in the right-wing bubble. I suggest that you go outside your own little right-wing echo chamber, and make some effort to learn the facts.


            • ThePrussian

              This is all good knock-about stuff, but I’d like to ask the two of you – whom do you think you’re convincing with this? Did you read the above post at all?

              Whether someone is right-wing, left-wing or whatever doesn’t actually have any bearing on whether or not they’re right.

            • im-skeptical

              If we were having a Socratic debate, I’d say let’s examine each argument on its own merits.

              If you’re buying a used car, do you believe whatever the salesman on the lot tells you?

              If we’re talking about whether creationism should be given equal time with science in a biology class, forget it. The creationists’ goal is to undermine scientific education, and it has no place in a science class.

              If we’re talking about climate science, it’s a similar situation. The anti-science crowd is not interested in science. Their goal is to discredit legitimate science for the purpose of advancing their own political/religious/economic interests. They have a right to free speech, but people who are concerned about learning the truth should be highly suspicious of the claims they make.

              I don’t say this lightly. I don’t say it because of my own political leanings.

            • ulyssees

              I’m Skeptical (who isn’t, actually) thinks that calling someone a “right-winger” is an argument. And an all-sufficient one. The only science he knows or will consider is that which he thinks supports his view. He’s totally unable to conceive of the possibility that someone else may be more willing to look at a broader range of views on climate science than he is for any reason other than political bias. And he is completely blind to the possibility that his favored scientists may have political motivations of their own as part of of the Stop-Global-Warming-Before-the-World-Ends crowd. All he knows to do with those who disagree with him is stamp his feet and call his opponents “Anti-Science Right Wingers!!” Frankly, he needs to open his eyes and grow up.

            • im-skeptical

              Got your goat, did I? It’s OK. Just keep slinging those ad hominems.

          • ThePrussian

            Well, as I say: argue like this and be prepared to lose.

            • im-skeptical

              I was trying to present an opposing view to your post. Motivated reasoning is real. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to discuss the motivations people have for believing bullshit.


              But if you think discussing motivations is the way to lose, then you lose.

              Who was it that said “Right-wing anti-science is annoying – left-wing antiscience is positively lethal.” Oh, right – you have perfectly good reason for bring that into the discussion.

              Who was it made a full post decrying “party-heads” like me for disagreeing with your unfounded accusations against Obama?

            • ThePrussian

              I honestly don’t remember saying the second, and the first was a historical observation. Creationism versus Eugenic & Lysenkoism. Historical record.

              Investigating _why_ someone believes bullshit is not the same thing as showing _that_ it is bullshit in the first place. You can’t just dismiss reference to peer reviewed studies and the demonstrable record of Michael Mann with #kochdenialmachine. Anymore than people can dismiss climate science with #climateagenda.

            • ThePrussian

              Wait, now I remember. In that post I previously put up some truly horrifying evidence – and I found people singularly unwilling to confront it. So having shown that a certain line was b.s., I was interested in why people held it. I did _not_ say that the line was b.s. because people held it for partisan reasons.

            • im-skeptical

              You passed along accusations from some anti-Obama conspiracy nut website. I looked up the facts and gave you information from the IRS (and other sources) that proved your accusations were provably, factually wrong. You could have done a little fact checking yourself, but your own political bias prevents you from seeing the truth.

              I also did my own fact checking on Mann. As I said, I’m not qualified to judge whether he was in error, but the consensus opinion seems to be that he was not dishonest, and he was not doing anything fraudulent in his work. The people saying that are the (obviously biased) groups associated with the energy industries and their political allies. These people have a strong interest in discrediting climate science. The fact that McIntyre failed to reveal his ties to the energy industry when he published his peer-reviewed work should give you pause.

              But OK, I get it. It’s acceptable for you to talk about why people say things that you believe are wrong – It’s just not OK for me to do that. And don’t try to tell me there’s a difference, because there isn’t.

            • ThePrussian

              The difference is that you need to show that something is wrong in the first place. As regards the anti-Obama conspiracy nut, maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. This doesn’t change the fact that the pictures of Obama’s brother, sitting along an organizer of two genocides, is to be found on the website of his foundation, the Barack H. Obama foundation.

              I’m really not sure what to make of the idea that a bureaucracy with vast powers like the IRS is impartial and above racketeering, so I imagine that I will just leave it there.

              As regards Mann, what do you say then to the fact that he lies about his record, about being exonerated, and produces a different graph for each audience he speaks to?

            • im-skeptical

              “This doesn’t change the fact that the pictures of Obama’s brother, sitting along an organizer of two genocides, is to be found on the website of his foundation, the Barack H. Obama foundation.”

              Get this through your head: This foundation is not affiliated with the president in any way. It merely exploits his name. Nor has it received any positive treatment from the IRS. It does not have tax-exempt status, as these conspiracy nuts have suggested. It has not even applied for it. Therefore it’s hard for me to understand how there could have been any favorable treatment.

              “As regards Mann, what do you say then to the fact that he lies about his record, about being exonerated”

              Step outside your own ideological bubble for a moment and listen to some facts:
              Penn State Inquiry Report: http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/documents/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf
              Penn State Final Investigation Report: http://live.psu.edu/fullimg/userpics/10026/Final_Investigation_Report.pdf
              House of Commons Science and Technology Committee: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387/387i.pdf
              UK Government response to the House Committee: http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm79/7934/7934.pdf
              University of East Anglia International Scientific Assessment Panel: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/SAP
              University of East Anglia Independent Climate Change Email Review: http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
              US EPA investigation: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/56eb0d86757cb7568525776f0063d82f%21OpenDocument
              US Department of Commerce Inspector General independent review: http://web.archive.org/web/20110330133202/http://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/2011.02.18_IG_to_Inhofe.pdf
              National Science Foundation inquiry: http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/NSF-Mann-Closeout.pdf

              I’d say Mann’s case is much better than yours. But hey, I’m only looking at the evidence.

            • ThePrussian

              This is certainly a step up in that you are at least trying to show what I have argued is incorrect.

              To the first point, as I understand it, you assert that an institution with large amounts of arbitrary power like the IRS will not have any ideological or political reason to abuse that power, and never take any such action. Further, that on receiving a request for special treatment from the brother of the most powerful man on earth who happens also to be their boss, the members of this organisation say “Who cares who he is? He get’s the same treatment as anyone else”. Well, if you believe that, I suppose that’s what you believe, and we should leave it there.

              Now, as regards this matter of Mann’s exonerations, the trouble is that your facts are either dubious or, not to put to fine a point on it, not true.

              It is entirely true that Penn State did exonerate Michael Mann. That is, they conducted an investigation of one of their own, a superstar who brought in serious financial gain – and he was exonerated by the same administration that was happy to cover up decades of child rape. I will happily concede all of that.

              As regards the first of your posts, let me note it is a review of two investigations of the Climate Research Unit. The two investigations are by the Oxburgh panel and by the Independent Climate Change review.

              The Oxburgh panel did indeed clear the Climate Research Unit of wrongdoing. It said nothing about Michael Mann, nothing at all. Indeed, though Mann claims that he was exonerated by Oxburgh in his court filings, he claims Oxburgh didn’t refer to him in his own book.

            • ThePrussian

              Doing this sequentially, since this browser keeps crashing…

              The House Committee doesn’t examine the science, but the practice. And what it says is that: “In the context of the sharing of data and methodologies, we consider that Professor Jones’s actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community. It is not standard practice in climate science to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. However, climate science is a matter of great importance and the quality of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data that support their work (including raw data)
              and full methodological workings (including the computer codes).”

              In short it found that concealing data was happening and that if this is SOP, then that SOP needs to change.

            • ThePrussian

              Crashed again. Let me note that Skeptical Science, as it likes to call itself, doctored the above quote, so I hope you are not relying on them overly much.

              As regards the UK gov’t response, my current lousy browser won’t access that page (I’ll deal with it tomorrow), you will find it dealt with very ably here:


              In short, Mann hasn’t been exonerated by that either.

              As regards the first of the UEA documents you post, you will not find any mention of Michael Mann or the hockey stick in it. That is because it is there to review the CRU, not Michael Mann. What it does say, however, is this:

              “For example, CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined”

              In short – the CRU emphasized that proxy reconstruction could not be taken as absolute or at face value, but the IPCC preferred to sex things up. Goodness knows, Mann likes to sex things up…

              I have already reviewed the other UEA report.

            • ThePrussian

              Crashed again.

              Just to finish this off, the EPA report you cite does not mention Michael Mann, only the IPCC and the CRU. I have said I have no quarrel with the IPCC, but I do have a quarrel with Mann.

              The Chamber of Commerce’s letter discusses the NOAA review, and only mentions Mann in a reference to the Penn State investigation that I have already mentioned. As regards NOAA, while NOAA is exonerated by this, Michael Mann isn’t a NOAA employee, and so has nothing to do with this investigation. However, Mann has indeed worked with them, and during that time engaged in conduct that lead the Deputy Director of NOAA to warn NOAA researchers not to let Michael Mann “push you (us) beyond where we know is right”

              As regards the last one, the fact is that is simply reviews the earlier Penn State investigation. See above. It says, for example, that Mann has provided his data, but he has not.

              But this specific allegation is secondary. The fact is that Mann claimed to have been exonerated by Oxburgh, by the UEA – and no such thing has taken place. I’m sorry, but these are indeed the facts.

            • Brad Keyes

              You’re far too kind to the Oxburgh show-trial.

              Lord Oxburgh, an alternative-energy millonaire many times over, was in charge of the Science Appraisal Panel,whose findings are generally thought to have “cleared” “the science” of the CRU.

              One small problem: as the Science Appraisal Panel chairman casually admitted to Steve McIntyre, “the science was not the subject of our study.”

              Get that? The science was not the subject of the Science Appraisal Panel’s study.

              It would be hard to outdo these people for sheer contempt for the ordinary British citizen’s intelligence.

            • Brad Keyes

              it was you, wasn’t it?, who tried to tell me Steve McIntyre had no “credibility” because of “unreported links” to some energy company whose name now escapes me, right?

              That’s the kind of abortive argument the Prussian is talking about.

            • im-skeptical

              There’s a reason for disclosing financial ties to peer-reviewed journals. Conflict of interest is a source of bias. In the case of these climate science deniers, it appears to be the primary cause of their denial of the mainstream science.

              In your own case, you have refused to even read material I linked to that disagrees with your unreason: “Why should I bother reading John Cook’s opinion?” This is what Peter Boghossian calls “doxastic closure”.

            • Brad Keyes

              1) Steve McIntyre is not a climate science denier; he corrects errors in the “scientific” literature, including in papers by Mann that don’t even meet the definition of scientific documents.

              2) I’ve read volumes of John Cook’s unscientific opinions already so I found it silly and pointless to let a link to his output divert me from an exchange of opinion with you, particularly as the link wasn’t even accompanied by a request to read a specific section.

              3) I describe John Cook as unscientific because he is intellectually incapable of the realisation that consensus is meaningless in science.
              Here is his attempt at scientific epistemology:

              “So I’m writing an article for a Christian magazine – in that one, I start by referencing scripture about how truth is established by two or more witnesses and showing how science runs on the same principle.
              I’ve also drafted something I’ll send to the ABC where I start by
              quoting some skeptics demanding evidence, complimenting that attitude.”

            • im-skeptical

              The page I linked contains a list of reports on the findings of the various “climategate” investigations. These reports directly refute what you and our illustrious host have been claiming. They were not written by John Cook, and do not express his opinions. They are cold, hard facts that are directly relevant to your claims. You can ignore them if you like, or try to explain them away, as our host has done. I don’t care.

              I agree that consensus alone isn’t what makes good science. But I do believe that the scientific process in general works. Science will sooner or later weed out the hacks and the charlatans. I agree that skeptics and non-consensus views play a very important role in the advancement of science. But what I see going on here appears to be a very one-sided view, and it appears to be largely the consequence of a concerted effort on the part of certain individuals to cast doubt on legitimate science that may pose a risk to the profitability of their enterprises.


            • ThePrussian

              “The page I linked contains a list of reports on the findings of the various “climategate” investigations. These reports directly refute what you and our illustrious host have been claiming. ”

              Except that they do no such thing. Not even slightly. Not at all. Did you bother to read my responses below?

            • im-skeptical

              Yes, I read your responses. The only evidence you cite is from the same people who make it their life’s work to discredit Mann and climate science. This is like Christians using the bible as evidence for what the bible claims. Care to show me any independent evidence? Are there unbiased scientists who think Mann was dishonest? Are there other investigations that back up your claims?

              Of all the reviews that I cited, there is nothing that indicates any wrongdoing on the part of Mann. Yet you claim that they do not exonerate him. Do you think they simply overlooked this alleged wrongdoing? Or perhaps they were trying to sweep it under the rug, as you suggested is the case with Penn State? If so, then show me some facts – not just the accusations from climateaudit.org.

              As far as I can tell, the real dishonest ones are the people who illegally obtained private communications, and misrepresented what they say in an attempt to create a scandal where there was none.

            • Chic Bowdrie

              Where do you expect to find any independent evidence? Are you aware how many scientists have already lost academic positions for daring to speak out or publish findings contrary to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) views.

              Has Prof. Mann made any admission that his methods were improper? Before discovering problems with them, McIntyre and McKittrick would have been considered independents. If you want to prove that their accusations against Mann are false, you need evidence that his methods were valid. If his methodology was correct, why has no one on the AGW side come to his legal defense with an amicus brief?

              IMO, your argument, that an AGW opponent’s source of funding a priori biases his findings, makes the exact point of ThePrussian’s post. You lose.

            • im-skeptical

              “Are you aware how many scientists have already lost academic positions for daring to speak out or publish findings contrary to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) views.”

              How many? Show me the facts.

              “Before discovering problems with them, McIntyre and McKittrick would have been considered independents.”

              No way. They have strong financial motivation to discredit AGW. They are biased.

              “IMO, your argument, that an AGW opponent’s source of funding a priori biases his findings, makes the exact point of ThePrussian’s post. You lose.”

              And here you are, telling me that 97% of the climate science community don’t dare to speak out or publish findings contrary to AGW views. What a hypocrite.

            • Chic Bowdrie

              Your ignorance of scientists who were fired or had to leave positions because of their views on AGW is your opportunity to get informed. Try Murray Salby, Caleb Rossiter, Henrik Moller, Trevor McDougal, Mitchell Taylor; Lennart Bengtsson, Nick Drapela for a start.

              Do you have any proof that McIntire or McKittrick were paid to do any of the work that initially led to their discoveries of statistical irregularities in Mann et al. 1998? See http://climateaudit.org/faq/

              “What a hypocrite.”

              LOL. Do you think I’m part of the climate science community? I never said 97% are afraid to speak out. Obviously we don’t know how many, since they’re not speaking out.

            • im-skeptical

              “Your ignorance of scientists who were fired or had to leave positions because of their views on AGW is your opportunity to get informed.”

              OK – here goes:

              Murray Salby:

              At the University of Colorado: “The National Science Foundation investigation report issued on 20 February 2009 found that Salby had overcharged his grants and violated financial conflict of interest policies, displaying “a pattern of deception, a lack of integrity, and a persistent and intentional disregard of NSF and University rules and policies” and a “consistent willingness to violate rules and regulations, whether federal or local, for his personal benefit.””

              At Macquarie university: “Macquarie University stated that he was dismissed for refusing to fulfill his teaching responsibilities and for inappropriate use of university resources including a corporate credit card.” (Wikipedia)

              “The decision to terminate Professor Murry Salby’s employment with Macquarie University had nothing to do with his views on climate change nor any other views. The University supports academic freedom of speech and freedom to pursue research interests. Professor Salby’s employment was terminated firstly, because he did not fulfil his academic obligations, including the obligation to teach. After repeated directions to teach, this matter culminated in his refusal to undertake his teaching duties and he failed to arrive at a class he had been scheduled to take.” (Macquarie)

              Caleb Rossiter:

              Not a climate scientist. Still works in academia, as far as I know. He wasn’t fired from academia, or from the government. He was fired from a private think tank organization (IPS) for publishing an article that undermines their policy position. So what? They were within their right. He can go to work for a right-wing think tank and continue to spout his ideas on the payroll of the Koch brothers.

              Henrik Moller:

              Fired from Aalborg University for reasons that have nothing to do with climate science denial, as far as I can tell. It was about the sonic effects of wind turbines. Whether his dismissal was rightful or not, I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this discussion, because it wasn’t climate science denial.

              So far, you’re 0 for 3. That’s enough for me. I think you just spout whatever you hear on the science denial blogs. I’m not going to waste any more of my time on you.

            • Chic Bowdrie

              You found what you wanted to find. No surprise there.

              “I’m not going to waste any more of my time on you.”

              I’m relieved.

            • ThePrussian

              Except none of that is true. For example, the Oxburgh panel doesn’t exonerate Mann, and the CRU says, as I show, that the proxy reconstructions aren’t up to snuff.

              ‘Unbiased’ huh? I can name you plenty of scientists – Hans von Storch, John Christy – who says Mann’s stuff doesn’t stack up, as well as plenty of scientific bodies (the National Academy) – but you’re going to just dismiss them as ‘biased’ and applaud all that agree with Mann as ‘unbiased’.

              Like I say, argue like this and you are going to lose.

            • im-skeptical

              And you would do well to listen to the arguments I make. I said a few times that I’m not making any judgment about the quality of Mann’s work. But this discussion stemmed from your accusations of dishonesty. There were no such findings from any unbiased source that I know of, and I’d say he has been exonerated. Now you’re moving the goalpost. That’s not the way to win an argument.

        • guerillasurgeon

          What is it with “you people” (now that does come close to ad hominem) that you simply do not understand what ad hominem means. Please look it up. It’s very easy. You let my example, which was admittedly political stand for my whole argument which is not. This comes very close to strawman. Or if you’re English, Aunt Sally. :-)

          • Ulyssees

            Your swipe at the Koch brothers was “ad hominen” as an attack on them–not the person you were debating here. You refer to spouting the “same sort of crap” as the Koch brothers as if invoking their name is an argument rather than a personal attack on them–“at the men.” Ironically, the average person who does this is unlikely to be familiar with anything at all that the Koch brothers have said, but simply accepts the mythical premise that they somehow fund all the conservative bogeymen in a dastardly and underhanded way–unlike, of course, the even more political and lavish way that George Soros and other left-wing rich donors support political views and action they espouse. Basically, you’re objecting to the First Amendment.

            • guerillasurgeon

              Please look it up. It is an attack on the character. Not the argument. That their arguments are crap says nothing about their character. And I’m quite familiar with their arguments thank you.

            • ulyssees

              It’s pretty clear you don’t have a clue about their arguments. All you know is they’re the Big Bad Right Wing Bogey Men! Try to be a little more rational, friend. They’re not as scary as you think.

            • guerillasurgeon

              It’s pretty clear you don’t know how to argue at all. All I’ve said is their arguments are crap. From this you conclude that I don’t know anything about them? This is not scepticism. And this thread is not actually about the Koch Brothers, but even so if you refuse to look at the motivation behind specious reasoning about any subject whatsoever you are not sceptical. Any historian knows this, as does anyone trained in any of the social sciences- and psychology. Which has led me in the past, because you guys ignore all this – to question whether you have any academic training at all. Certainly none in logic.

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    • Ari

      While I’d agree that you should engage with arguments regardless of motive,
      wouldn’t it still make sense to discount a coca cola funded study that shows that cola is healthy, and you should drink more?

      An ideological vegan arguing against eating any animal products for health reasons.

      Or when a writer, who believes guns are a natural right, argues why more guns are better for society?
      (Not to say you should simply disregard his arguments- but I would definitely assume a greater inclination to interpreting studies differently than someone interested only in utility of more/less gun, cherry picking studies, and faulty reasoning.)

      So what I’m really asking is: why would you ignore motive? Of course that shouldn’t usually be the only point of contention, but it seems naive to ignore motive.