A Debate: And Dick Lindzen takes a Beating

Mon, 2010-10-25 15:19Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

A Debate: And Dick Lindzen takes a Beating

Debate enthusiasts will love this long, but worthy video showing Texas A&M atmospheric scientist Andy Dessler mopping the floor with his increasingly out-of-touch colleague from MIT, Dick Lindzen.

The fact of Dessler’s victory is a value judgment that you may not trust without watching the video yourself. But speaking of value judgments, Dessler got off a great shot during his rebuttal, in which he commented on how often Lindzen had said that climate change presents “no cause for alarm.”

That, Dessler pointed out, is also a value judgment - not a scientific finding, adding:

“Before the lecture, he (Prof. Lindzen) was smoking. That’s a risk. He’s decided that’s a risk he’s willing to take. But not everybody would take that risk, so when he says there’s no cause for concern, he’s giving you his value judgment.”

Proceeding beyond the degree to which Lindzen has bad breath - as well as bad judgment - the lecture hosts at the University of Virginia School of Law jumped in with two policy presenters, Jonathan Cannon, making all kinds of sense, and Jason Johnston bending over backwards to argue that because economists can’t accurately put a cost on the coming climate armageddon, we shouldn’t bother taking out any insurance to prevent it. (Pass that man a pack of Camels. It’ll make it easier for him to blow smoke in the future.)

Previous Comments

I was intrigued by your headline comments, so I watched the video. I thought that Lindzen made a number of interesting points in his presentation, and that Dessler’s “rebuttal” was weak. He took issue with errors in Lindzen and Choi’s paper and Lindzen indicated that the errors had been corrected, and had not affected his conclusions. I did not see that Dessler disputed that. Second, Dessler’s citation of Sherwood’s paper deriving temperatures from winds was bizarre. Measured temperatures don’t support your hypothesis so you turn to an indirect measure? I think Lindzen was justifiably scornful.

I thought Lindzen’s presentation style was deliberate and relaxed and Dessler was a bit worked up. His citation of Lindzen’s smoking was petty and unprofessional. I don’t think the video supports your opinion.

Just watched the video and for me Lindzen won the debate hands down. Strange that you should see it the other way and to the extent of being a “beating”.

I simply can’t imagine anyone thinking this debate was a clear win for either side. I’d be happy to watch a second debate to see how this progresses.

I’d also be happy to read a detailed explanation of how this was a clear win for Dessler.

The reference (to the debate) came from the AGW proponent side of the climatedebatedaily website page, and as such the debate is introduced as being a complete overthrow of the skeptic (Lindzen) by the AGW proponent (Dessler). I quote: “In a recent debate the atmospheric scientist Andy Dessler mopped the floor with his increasingly out-of-touch climate-skeptic colleague from MIT, Dick Lindzen” .

How anyone could arrive at such a conclusion after watching this is totally beyond me! If the debate “competition” criteria were speech velocity, decibel level, emotional level, or anxiety level, then yes the AGW proponent side wins. But if we select our winner by taking the debater with the most credible arguments, I would have to say that Lindzen wins hands down.

Unfortunately, too many of the high profile discussions that I come across these days on this subject revolve around the myriad ways to measure and interpret evidence with various statistical methods and inferences, or worse yet, too many discussions rely upon the distracting politics of it all……………………….a sore lack of the underlying scientific logic to either support or refute the AGW hypothesis.

Note that I say “hypothesis”, since AGW proponents don’t even have enough to warrant calling it a “theory”.