Dear Willard: Who Needs Words When One Has Letters and Operators?

[Just discovered this post by Ron Broberg dedicated to me. Reproduced with slight editing.]

Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis (Feb 2013)

Regarding ad homininum (circumstantial) [1]

Let X be AGW

  1. Person A makes claim ~X.
  2. Person B asserts that A makes claim ~X because it is in A’s interest to claim ~X.
  3. Therefore claim ~X is false.

If Person B’s assertion is that ~X is false simply because the persons surveyed are petroleum engineers, I agree that argument is fallacious.

But there is a deeper problem.

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Rounds of Pussyfooting


Thank you for your comment.  To answer your question about why I am doing this, I could reply that I like to solve puzzles, that I earned enough money and could indulge in an excentric hobby, or find another line already used by the Auditor. I could also epilogue about philosophical scepticism.  Instead, I’ll simply return to the first sentence I quoted from Judy:

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The Tale of a Trickter’s Trick

I wasn’t assuming a “model” at all.

This is a common trick, chris. As far as I can tell, it fulfills two important functions.

First, it deflects the discussion on a theme the trickster, in this case Mr. Pile, needs to inject to gain the upper hand. Second, it burdens his adversary, in this case you, chris, with the gruesome task of either dissociating yourself from what the trickster attacks, or discussing how these attacks are baseless. In either cases, you end up falling for the trickster’s bait.

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The Story of Richy Lot

[A guy told Martin this unreal story.]

There was a guy, always standing around at the street corner. His name was Richy Lot, and he was a goon: rather than exhibiting the expected behavoir, he bopped everybody he didn’t like on the head, even if they approached him with the best intentions. And when my friend learned about him, Richy really had a reputation for this.

But something very very strange was going on, my friend told me: people got completely obsessed with Richy.

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A Comedy of Menace while Waiting for Godot

While I find merit in Dan Kahan’s position, I believe it downplays an important asymmetry in the strange game ClimateBallers play. Once upon a time, I tried to capture this with the help of an analogy:

Imagine a football game with many teams. There are more than two teams, but each teams has two roles. (We do not need the concept of team, only the concept of role, but I think the teams are imposed by the role. More on that another time.) A team can play offense or defense. When a team plays offense, it has to move the ball forward. When a team plays defense, it has to prevent the ball to move. Ideally, it needs to get the ball, but that is not necessary. (We could argue that it must, but not now.)

Here is another important point: offense cannot grab, defense can. Like in American football, so it’s not hard to understand. So the roles are not symmetrical, both in the ends and in the means.

To see this in strategical terms, suppose a game of Chess where one of the two players has a big edge. What should he do? According to the usual algorithm, he should seek to simplify, which in principle diminishes the dynamical possibilities from his adversary. The player who has a bad game should do the opposite, i.e. create chaos. His only way out is if his opponent makes mistakes: there are better chances if things get a little bit irrational. A very good book on this is Chess for Tigers, by Simon Webb.

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Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass

On Squirrels

> But isn’t that precisely what this whole “Calling out climate change deniers in Congress” is all about [squirrels]?

Saying “look, squirrel!” is just another way to refer to what is called an_ ignoratio elenchi_. Even if a webpage accomplishes little in the grand scheme of things (it’s about time Denizens acknowledge this about our weekly hurly burly), it still should be about what it is.

Topicality is a fuzzy concept and aboutness is even worse:

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On Double Negation


Thanks for this. I don’t have much time this week-end, but let’s return to Judge Judy’s rhetorical question:

Recall all the flack I took last year for talking about the ‘pause’?

We can agree that she took flak, but was this flak really for talking about the ‘pause’? This rhetorical question does seem to hint that Judge Judy received flak because she deemed to talk about the flak.

Not because of what she said exactly, nor because to whom she said it, but because she deemed to say it.

And what she said is not supposed to be unlike what Hansen, Trenberth, Pierrhumbert, or Santer said.

And yet we don’t have a link to what she said nor to the flak, so we have no means to verify what was the critical basis for this flak.

And yet all the flak we have comes from the Dittoheads, whereas Judy declared her interests, which excluded the Dittoheads, except perhaps to dismiss them or use them as flak throwers. How is the flak from the Dittoheads relevant to Judge Judy’s purpose?

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Res Ipsa Loquitur

Bart R,

Showing that Peter Lang armwaves unsubstantiated accusations thread after thread suffices. There’s not much else he could reply, at this time of the exchange. Unless, of course, he was bound by the INTEGRITY ™ he put himself on the table.

We could wonder about Peter Lang’s lack of INTEGRITY ™. But as far as I am concerned, his recurring armwaving speaks for itself. See how this works.

First, demands that we do all the work for him.

Second, verbal abuses to motivate that we do all the work for him.

Third, baseless rejections of ALL THE WORK.

Fourth, gloating about his favorite pet peeves.

Fifth, rinse and repeat, using his buzz words of the moment.

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