Believing one impossible thing before breakfast: skeptics claim that global warming is “unstoppable”

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.


9 thoughts on “Believing one impossible thing before breakfast: skeptics claim that global warming is “unstoppable”

  1. TinyCO2

    Lew is trying to make out that the sceptic side is some kind of campaign, in the way political parties have a manifesto, which is ludicrous. Even the warmist side isn’t coherent outside the narrow band of CO2 causing some warming. It’s like saying that because UKIP, the SNP, Labour and the Greens don’t agree, therefore all the Conservative policies and actions must be right. He also thinks that because of this unbalance the public must be persuaded, which just doesn’t happen in reality.

    In the Brexit Referendum, the Remain side refused to tackle the issue of immigration. They used the warmist tactic of belittling the concerns, which didn’t make them go away, it just made people fume out of sight – eg the internet. People recognised that refusing to talk about the issue meant it wasn’t going to be solved. Similarly the public are becoming aware that the warmists refuse to acknowledge the big holes in the science and the solutions. They quickly realise that the warmist bullies are trying to hide that they not only don’t have answers, they don”t even intend to look for them.


  2. TinyCO2

    A trap of their own making that warmists regularly fall into is ‘climate change’ by which they mean ‘dangerous man made global warming’. They ask silly questions like ‘is climate change real?’ To which the only right answer is ‘yes’ if the person asking the question actually means what they’ve said. But how do you respond if you suspect the question is being set by an idiot?


  3. Barry Woods

    ref this – CO2 is plant food vs. CO2 is just a trace gas

    the author of this contradiction, in none other than co-author John Cook, founder of Skeptical Science – where this Table 1 reference comes from..

    Thus we have evidence of sceptics contradicting themselves, as supplied by John Cook’s assertion that they do, provided by a link to his own website, where he asserts this statement is a contradiction – even though it is factually not contradictory – with no evidence/references for any skeptic actually saying this, or the context of a skeptic saying this…

    did somebody say peer review is dead………..


    1. trustyetverify Post author

      Yes, I saw that too.

      The problem that I have with it is not that he helped compiling the list, but that he doesn’t give a source where it comes from. This indeed leaves the door open to think that he invented it himself.

      In general, it is my impression that these examples in table 1 (that should represent the mind-set of the skeptics), didn’t come from skeptics, but from people who thought they knew how skeptics think. In that case, the found contradictions don’t show that skeptic views are incoherent, but show that those who impersonated the skeptics did’t understand these views and therefor came up with some incoherent looking examples.


  4. TinyCO2

    Almost certainly at some point, somebody has expressed a daft view that Lew could point to. I’ve seen some weird ideas, particularly at the bottom on news articles. By and large they’re not names I recognise. All this points to is that there are a lot of confused people out there – but whose fault is that? I’m sure the ‘climate change is all a hoax’ is most often voiced by a warmist than a sceptic. Is it our fault if bystanders believe it? There is so ittle solid, memorable climate sience, no two people have the same idea of what is official and what’s not. I’ve seen someone read from the IPCC report and be decried as a denier. Some of the issues are very complicated on both side, it it any wonder people get the wrong idea? Lew himself clearly hasn’t a clue.

    But are sceptics with zero funding responsible for educating the masses?


  5. Barry Woods

    LOL – Paul Matthews observes

    Curiouser and curiouser.
    I have just noticed that the paper users the word “denialist” four times.
    The first three are:

    “…views in the “community” of denialists…

    “….No such corrective processes can be observed in denialist discourse…”

    “…incoherencies manifest in denialist discourse…”

    The fourth is in a footnote, which states that:

    “We use denial as a noun that describes a political or discursive activity but we avoid labels such as “denier” or “denialist” that categorize people.”

    They seem a little confused about who are the people who are incoherent and contradictory.


  6. poitsplace

    Well they’ve been trained for years to think deflection from a valid point is a valid defense. Well even if this isn’t a problem, that is. It’s like that cartoon about climate change that says “Yeah but what if we make the world a better place for nothing.” They’re so certain of it all…that our ability to harness energy is on the brink of collapse unless renewables are used…that pollution (in the developed world at least) is as bad as it ever was…that most species will be killed if something isn’t done…that warming would kill billions of people.

    They deflect from one point to another, forgetting that each has been disproved or at least shown to be questionable at best…until they forget it all and can repeat them anew, often within the same debate.

    I was noticing a comment from someone a few days ago in a forum…spouting the idea that the older generation was simply greedy and selling out a future they would never see. What a poisonous mindset we’ve filled our children’s heads with. For just a moment I snapped their head out of that loop, making them realize how utterly ridiculous their idea of the previous generation selling out their own children and grandchildren. But they quickly slid back into it.

    Just like a religion, this movement has evolved over time…building on what was. Overly extreme worries of pollution and of species going extinct because they can’t withstand trivial changes. Each step along the way built the foundation…injected idiotic ideas into the public’s mind. How stupid are we that we can believe there’s not enough room to stack the garbage? How foolish is it that many can be led to believe that aluminum or cultivated trees could somehow run out? And then even the scientists began to build on those already incorrect ideas as if they were fact.

    I get the feeling that even after this movement finally collapses, we’ll be left with a nature cult that persists for centuries, built on those same foundations of wrong assumptions and blatant lies.



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