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December 19, 2012

Watts Up With That?

Guest post by Dr. Tim Ball

A common fallback position when losing an argument is to assault your adversary personally. Known as ad hominem, it involves “attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.”

In climate science, those who employ this rhetorical tactic attack individuals who ask probing scientific questions. The attacks indicate that they know how inadequate their science is. It often works because of a deliberate campaign to exploit basic sensitivities: fear the sky is falling, guilt about not protecting the environment, guilt about the damage already done, fear and embarrassment of showing ignorance.

People who challenge the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are often labeled “global warming skeptics”. Skeptics do not deny that warming occurred in modern times, but, sensibly, questioned the cause. The IPCC said it was due to human production of CO2. This…

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