Between Scientists & Citizens

Morano Analysis #9: Lessons learned

with 9 comments

All right!  If there are any readers who have followed along this far, maybe it’s now time to draw some dividends from all the work of closely analysis?  Going back over all the posts on the Maslin v. Morano exchange, here are some tips & tricks, in case you end up facing off against an advocate like Marc Morano.


Here’s Rule One:  Know your opponent’s case as well as you know your own, if not better.  Study his “game tapes,” so you can understand his moves:

Prepare your own case by identifying some commonplace arguments of your own–especially those that will respond to your opponent’s most likely arguments, or ones that may draw him out in directions that will favor your case.  Take every opportunity to use these arguments by practicing them on anyone that will listen.  Aim to get these arguments compact, and in language that is as strong as the evidence allows.

During the debate

Listen carefully for your opponent’s attempts to change the issue.  Make sure you know what issues you want to argue, and openly resist if your opponent tries to lure you into debating something else.

You are going to be held responsible for whatever you say, so you might as well be assertive.  Be an advocate;  take a stand.  Don’t apologize, and eliminate the “I think”s and “I believe”s that we all use in ordinary conversation.

“Assertive” about your own ideas does not mean “aggressive” towards your opponent.  Treat him with civility.  There are a lot of ways of accomplishing this:

  • Mildly ironic terms of slightly excessive respect, like Morano’s “professor.”
  • Bemused friendliness, like Ronald Reagan’s “there you go again.”
  • Conspicuous respect, demanding respect back;  I think Obama pulls this off.

Find your own personal style, and stick with it.

Finally, try to have some fun, and see if you can laugh once in a while!

Debating global warming

So:  what if you’re debating climate science?  If you’re defending the existence and seriousness of AGW, I’d suggest caution in using extreme weather events as “proof” of climate change, and caution too in insisting too much on the authority of science.  There should be ways to pull these arguments off–but we haven’t seen them yet in this debate between Mark Maslin and Marc Morano.

Good luck!

Written by jeangoodwin

March 24, 2010 at 8:03 am

9 Responses

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  1. Language plays a very important role in the life of human beings. We use language from the moment we wake up in the morning till we go to bed at night.

    hair salon plano

    March 24, 2010 at 8:53 am

  2. I’ve noticed how the issue of “how good people are at communicating and debating” comes up a LOT in warmist circles. It doesn’t seem to be a feature of discussion in sceptic circles at all.

    Maybe it’s not the communication that’s the warmists problem. Maybe it’s the content.

    In the Maslin/Morano scuffle, the warmist states that the science is solid, and then backs up this claim with a bunch of feeble comments about rising sea levels, and melting ice. These comments are utterly trivial for the sceptic to address. “The sea is rising at an infinitessimally slow rate, and total ice coverage is stable.” These are trivially true facts.

    So it’s not really about communication. It’s about content.

    James Evans

    March 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    • If you’d like to refer me to an example of a debate or argument where the “skeptic” side did relatively poorly, I’d be happy to analyze it!


      March 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      • Clearly I’m extremely poor at communicating, as your reply to me has absolutely nothing to do with my intended meaning.

        What I meant to communicate was that this isn’t a fair debate. Morano has a vast advantage. He can quote simple easy facts. His opponent doesn’t have that luxury.

        My point is that Morano isn’t a better communicator than his opponent. He simply cheats, by using the truth.

        James Evans

        March 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm

  3. They’re around Jean, but they’re rare.

    Monbiot beat Plimer on I think it was the BBC.

    There was one at a geological conference. I think it was in Australia. Bob Clark was one of the participants. The warmist side won largely because of this American politician. A young woman. I forgot her name. She played the precautionary principle card, and played it well. Bob Clark is a great lecturer, but a lousy debater.

    There was one other, I’ve seen. It’s not worth mentioning really, but I will. It was fixed. It’s from Australian television. I don’t know the participants, although I think Bob Clark was there also. The other guys they found to represent the skeptic side were no-name whack-a-doodles, they must have raided the local asylum to find. There was a lot of shouting over the warmist side from the moderator as I recall. He had his winner picked before the debate began.

    Mike Chance

    March 30, 2010 at 1:39 am

  4. If you want a debate watch the IQ2 debates between Chriton, Lindzen, Stott, and someone esle vs. Gavin et. all. It was a drubbing. Gavin doesn’t do to well when he doesn’t get to control the debate by moderating single little thing like he does at realcliamte.


    March 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

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