Just a light, entertaining post on some puzzling “contradictions” in the Alice-in-Wonderland paper. In the two previous posts, the focus was on table 1 in which contradicting arguments were set side by side. I wrote that these were generic, without nuance and without much context, therefor those arguments could even be not contradictory, depending on the context they are used in.
However, there were four examples in table 1 that were really puzzling. From three of them, I couldn’t see how they are contradictory in the way they are stated. I think I know what they probably meant, but the way these examples are put is prone to misinterpretation. I will also add a fourth. It are two contradictory claims, there no doubt about that, but is a rather funny to see how it is stated (for the same reason as the three others).
This is the first example with “contradictory” claims:
It’s not bad vs. There’s no such thing as an ideal climate
Which, as stated, can be both true and there is no contradiction. Even if there is no such thing as an ideal climate, it can be good, it can be bad or it can even be the same. One doesn’t exclude the other. Probably they meant something very specific, but failed to mention the context and therefor put two seemingly non-contradictory arguments side by side.
This tells us something about the quality of the examples. It should be clear what is meant, the readers of this paper should not have to guess what the authors could have meant with this example.
The same with the following “contradiction”:
CO2 is plant food vs. CO2 is just a trace gas
As it is stated here, there is nothing contradictory about this. Photosynthesis also works when CO2 is a trace gas. Most plants like higher levels, but will do fine with the current level.
Also here, it is not clear what they actually want to demonstrate with this example. Readers should not have to figure out what the intention of this example is.
My best guess is that they meant that the impact can not be big because it is plant food (it is in the category “Impact denial”). But then what is the contradiction with the fact that it is just a trace gas?
Or when they meant that the impact can not be big because it is just a trace gas, then what is the contradiction with it being plant food?
This is even more puzzling:
My country should not cut emissions vs. Global warming is natural
As stated, these two arguments don’t contradict each other. If global warming is natural, then there will be no good reason why my country (or any other) should cut emissions, at least if the intention is to cut emissions to prevent anthropogenic global warming…
The funniest however was this one:
China needs to cut emissions vs. Global warming is unstoppable
The second argument is hilarious. If they really are talking about, ahum, contrarians or people who deny global warming, then those people will – by definition – absolutely definitely not claim that global warming is … unstoppable … 🙂
I think I know what they probably meant, but this is not exactly how a skeptic or a “contrarian” would put it. Climate alarmists on the other hand …
That it can also mean something different only adds to the fun.