I have often wasted an hour or two following tortuous exchanges of opinion which sometimes erupts into a flame war! There are some people who determinedly hold fast to their beliefs in defiance of rhyme or reason.
To justify their point of view they could recount the facts and figures; they could outline historical events, but no! All they do is state their opinion and then seal the deal by typing the word ‘FACT’ after it – as if that ends all discussion.
And of course it does with most reasonable people, because that is a statement of logical deafness. It says that I am going to maintain my opinion regardless of logic, regardless of reason and regardless of whatever it is that you believe. So what is the use of debate?
Topics which bring out this kind of response are usually those with high emotional appeal. People who are ‘emotionally’ commitment to a point of view do not want to have that connection disturbed by ‘inconvenient facts and figures.’
And I used that term deliberately – one of the most emotionally divisive topics today is ‘Global Warming’ or ‘Climate Change’ – take your pick. The existence of Global Warming was presented to the public by Al Gore as an “Inconvenient Fact” and supported by what appeared to be logical, reasonable and overwhelming evidence. The case, it was believed, was cut and dried and even the BBC – that so-called bastion of fair and unbiased reporting – decided that the science had been so proven so that any coverage of an opposing point of view was unnecessary.
The only argument seemed to be what should we do about it.
Unfortunately, it now appears that the science is neither cut nor dried. It is claimed that the positioning of the GISS weather reporting stations were deliberately chosen to produce the ‘correct’ rise in temperature; the ‘hockey stick graph’ so beloved by supporters of Global Warming appears to have been totally debunked; Information which has been relied on even by the UN is now said to have been manipulated by the scientists at East Anglia University and the indisputable evidence provided by dendrochronology (the science of tree rings) apparently now rests on one tree somewhere in Siberia.
As AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) or as some prefer to call it MMGW (Man Made Global Warming) comes more under scrutiny those who are emotionally attached to their point of view become more and more strident in stating their opinions as facts.
Now, I think I have pointed out before, I am a bit of a rationalist; I am going to try and understand your point of view and assess its possibility against the justification, reasons and facts that you present to support it. Of course, with this approach if there appears to be logical reasons for both sides of the argument I am going to get confused!
In my present state of confusion about the reality of a planetary change of climate which is reputed to be an outcome of human activity, I am not helped by emotionally charged comments like “Global Warming is caused by man- FACT!” Is it? And can I now give a sigh of relief because, as a woman, I am obviously not to blame.
Or can I depend on your logic and rational justification to sort out the confusion in my mind?
And seeing that for every one who states, categorically, that AGW is self-evident there will be someone else who will claim that it was warmer in the medieval period and what was man (I take it they actually mean ‘human’!) doing then to create the dramatic rise in temperature – where can I go for clarification.
If you seriously believe in your point of view, then you should have evidence which you can offer to support it. Give me the justification that, in your opinion, proves your point of view. I am then going to give that a degree of consideration that I will withhold from obvious fanatics who tell me that ‘This is my opinion and it is right– FACT!’
In fact, I am getting so fed up with opinions being presented as facts – FACT; that my New Year Resolution is going to be immediate disbelief of anyone who indulges in this irritating debate tactic – and that is a fact!!
Michele @ Trischel
Which is also a fact!