Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How atheists should debate William Lane Craig

It's probably obvious that I enjoy debate. One of the perks of my current job is that it allows me to do my work while listening to sermons, podcasts, music sometimes, webradio shows, and yes, debates, most of the working day while I go about my tasks (mostly silently, except I type loud).
One of the most prolific and famous Christian debaters out there is William Lane Craig. In fact, his debate with Peter Atkins of Oxford was the first theist/atheist debate I ever watched/listened to, and I was enthralled. It probably helped that it was one of the worst blowouts of an atheist debater that I have ever witnessed, but my interest was nonetheless permanently piqued in these kinds of debates.

Anyway, while dorking around the other day and clicking on a few of the sites in my "Antagonists" bookmark folder, I came across this interesting blogpost wherein the Uncredible Hallq (which, I agree, is an outstandingly clever Internet handle and blog name) shares his thoughts on the best strategy for atheists in debate with Dr. Craig. The Hallq is an interesting character, in my estimation more of a freethinker than most Internet atheists and antitheists. I understand he is well-regarded among the Internet atheist community as well. I agree with much of what he says in the article, particularly in the way he characterises the way that Craig's opponents usually employ very ineffective time management in their opening speeches and rebuttals. To me, it appears that they don't typically do so much as listen to even one presentation from Craig before the debate; they just show up and expect to steamroll Craig. And in turn, they themselves get flattened. James White has experienced this over and over again, to name another prolific debater - see his most recent debates with Bart Ehrman and Dan Barker (I wouldn't describe the Ehrman debate as a "flattening", just a victory for White, but it's obvious Ehrman didn't study White at all, is all I mean).

So, after the stimulating analysis of the first 2/3 of the post, I was interested to see what the Hallq would say in the section entitled "FINALLY: WHAT I WOULD SAY IN A DEBATE WITH CRAIG". Given my impressions of him up to this point, I was very surprised at the shallow argumentation he employs here. It's really a seriously bad initial presentation. Let's take it point by point. I can't promise that my responses will resemble all that closely how Craig would respond. For one thing, the man is a professional. For another, he's a classical apologist, and I generally take the presuppositional approach, but we certainly have our common ground as well. So for each of these points, I'll give my own reply and What I Think William Lane Craig Would Say (WITWLCWS). Please note that I usually agree with WITWLCWS, but I often prefer to emphasise different aspects of the case.


--Richard Dawkins is famous for saying, ‘We are all atheists with respect to most of the gods humans have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.’ “This isn’t just a slogan: it’s good advice for how to think about this issue.

My friend Vox Veritatis very ably deals with this argument here. It amazes me that this argument is so prevalent and popular. Consider his response my own.

WITWLCWS: The weight of the evidence, as I've laid out in my opening presentation, supports the Christian God. I have a great deal of material on other competing religions and would be happy to debate their truth any time. Also, you need to present positive evidence for your position.

Notes: After a whole post haranguing us on the importance of taking WLC's initial presentation (which almost never changes) into account, and then the buildup of "Here's how I'd open against WLC", Hallquist's first point is not promising. How does this even get close to responding to WLC's presentation?


--Similarly, if the Christian god existed, we would find lots of evidence for him that we do not find:
1. Genesis says God created the heavens and the earth from a chaotic void a mere several thousand years ago. But our best evidence from geology, paleontology, and astronomy contradicts this. If the heavens were a mere few thousand years old, we wouldn’t be able to see most of the galaxy’s stars because their light wouldn’t have had time to reach Earth.


The best evidence for God's existence is that w/o Him, there is no reason or intelligibility. The "evidence" you refer to from those fields is data that must be interpreted thru a worldview grid, to see how well the data fit. Maybe alot of the data fit your worldview, but my worldview is able to explain them just as well, and quite often a lot better. Your challenge is to find data that DON'T fit in my worldview consistently but do fit in yours, and that would count as evidence for your position against mine. I haven't seen much of that in my time.
If God created the stars ~10K years ago, He could just as easily have created the light beams stretching from the stars to the Earth as well. And yes, He could have easily created the light event of a supernova that's dated to millions of yrs ago (on modern assumptions) that would only be ~10K light years away. Let's be serious here - does Christianity believe in an omnipotent God or not?.

WITWLCWS: My presentation is about whether God exists, not whether the Bible is infallible, and I have offered several very compelling lines of evidence for the existence of God. My arguments are forceful and substantive whether or not the modern iterations of the theory of evolution are true. Fine, the Earth is several billions of years old. Now, how about my arguments? Plus, what Rhology said about the light beams.

Notes: OK, I was kidding about Craig throwing me a bone there, but I think he'd agree with that limited point. Note again how Hallquist's point does not touch Craig's typical opening presentation.


--2. Genesis said rainbows are a sign from God given to Noah. But we know they’re a natural phenomenon.

And they can't be both...why? God uses means to accomplish His ends. He usually works providentially rather than via miraculous intervention.

WITWLCWS: Ditto.

Notes: See above - how does this touch Craig's initial presentation? Hallquist might not be wasting time here with windbag verbosity, but he's wasting the little time he's using, since this argument is virtually irrelevant to Craig's arguments.


--3. Genesis says the world’s many languages are punishment for building the tower of Babel. But we know new languages develop naturally, without divine intervention.

Congratulations, you know NEW languages develop naturally. How precisely does this rule out a miracle in the past?
Also, how do you ground the induction you're using?

WITWLCWS: How, again, does this deal with any of my arguments for God's existence?

Notes: The Bill Craig in my head is right - this is irrelevant to Craig's layout of the case.



--4. The Bible, along with post-Biblical Christian tradition, says God has sent a variety of prophets, apostles, and saints to work miracles on his behalf. But today, whenever we investigate urban legends of miracles or supposed miracle workers like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn–and real investigations have only become possible recently–the claims turn out to be bogus. The reasonable inference is that all such claims are bogus.

The reader will hopefully pardon me for not finding ignorance about biblical doctrine a very compelling argument against God's existence. There were plenty of eyewitnesses in NT times who had a vested interest in NOT believing what they believed and testified about, b/c they were getting tortured and messily killed, de-synagogued, fired from their jobs, etc for becoming and living as followers of Jesus Christ. And many of them were in a position to know for sure that the teaching about Christ was not true, which is a scenario that few other religious traditions I'm familiar with can claim.
The case against the continuation of what are typically called sign gifts is pretty strong, but even most continuationists don't think that the gifts exercised today are of similar quality and power to those exercised in NT times. Further, ain't too many people around who think that Benny Hinn or TBN are legit. Is that really the best example Hallquist could come up with?
So, let me get this straight. Hallquist would have us investigate people that everyone knows are scam artists and conclude that the real thing doesn't exist anywhere?

WITWLCWS: Quite so. The existence of counterfeit currency doesn't invalidate the existence of real currency. In fact, it bolsters the case for the existence of real currency - why fake it if the real stuff weren't out there?
And a big part of my case for God revolves around the very strong evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Forget Hinn - how about dealing with the evidence for Jesus's resurrection?


--5. The Bible attributes the rise and fall of nations to God’s will. But historians and political scientists have been unable to find much use for that way of explaining historical events.

Note the naturalistic presupposition. You need to argue for naturalism's truth before you bring it in as your overriding interpretive grid like this. See #2 and #3.

WITWLCWS: As a historical discipline, it's true that God's influence might be difficult or even impossible to ascertain in such events as you've cited. You don't get to just assume that history is atheistic, though - you need to make your case. This is an argument from silence.
Also, I'd note that every naturalistic attempt to explain the historical facts surrounding the resurrection of Jesus is fatally flawed, so again, the best evidence strongly favors it. And the obvious inference from the resurrection is that God raised Jesus from the dead.


--6. The Bible affirms that God answers prayer. But attempts to verify this scientifically have failed, and what’s more, most Christians realize deep down this doesn’t work. That’s why they recognize it as a tragedy when religious parents try to use prayer as a replacement for medicine when caring for their children.

God has done plenty to testify about His existence. He's not obligated to perform like a circus monkey when you want Him to. All men know God exists, but they suppress that truth in wickedness b/c they love darkness. And then, in that very suppression, they want to study prayer to see if God will jump thru their hoops? This reduces God to some impersonal Force that can be manipulated thru the right incantations, physical or not. It's paganism, and God isn't a pagan god.
I'd love to see Hallquist's survey data to support the claim that "most Christians realize deep down this doesn't work".
See #4 - this is more ignorance about Christian doctrine. The purpose of prayer is to make ME more like Jesus through communication with Him, not to bend God's will to fit my own. God also uses some prayers as part of the means to accomplishing His will.
'Tisn't Christians who use prayer as a replacement for medicine, or better said, that's not part of the Christian worldview. Word of Faith-ers, may God have mercy on them, whose ideas are strongly influenced by Gnosticism, and Christian Scientists and religious scientists, who are even Gnostic-er, fall into this category. But I thought we were talking about Christianity, not "religion".
Finally, I see no argument as to why we should limit verification to what can be scientifically verified. It's not like Hallquist's own worldview can be scientifically verified. Maybe that's why most naturalists realise deep down that this naturalism thing doesn't work.

WITWLCWS: How does this affect any of my arguments for God's existence?
Further, since we're talking about answered prayer, I prayed when I was in high school that God would save me, and He did! I have had a true experience of Jesus Christ, and absent a good reason to doubt its truth, I am fully justified in believing it. That's an answered prayer right there, and since your argument is inductive, only one example is sufficient to overturn it. Consider it done.

Notes: I'll stop here and address the rest of the post next time. But that's the 1st section of Hallquist's proposed opening statement in a debate against William Lane Craig. Did any of these arguments address Craig's typical opener? No. Were they even very relevant to building a case against Christianity? No. So, my recommendation to the Hallq is: Yes, please, pretty please, do bring this kind of argument to any and all debate you do with a Christian. The Christian debater could share the Gospel, preach a biblical sermon, or read John Piper books aloud during the entire debate and still emerge victorious.

37 comments:

David said...

I don't think you're doing well if you have to resort to suggesting God could have made the light already stretching from the stars to us. It's akin to arguing God could have put fake dinosaur bones in the ground, etc. For that matter, it's like arguing that most of the stars don't even exist, we are just seeing the fake light from non-existent stars that God put in space. From there it's only a small hop to arguing we all exist in a Matrix of God's mind, and nothing is actually real.

Rhology said...

But given that my presupposition is the God of the Bible, there is no reason to Matrix and plenty of reason not to, b/c He has told us this world is real.

OTOH, the naturalist can present no evidence but only blind faith that HE doesn't live in the Matrix. That's the astonishing turnaround.

justfinethanks said...

In fact, his debate with Peter Atkins of Oxford was the first theist/atheist debate I ever watched/listened to, and I was enthralled.
This is a poor way, I think, to be introduced into these kinds of debates, just because it was so lopsided.


And yes, He could have easily created the light event of a supernova that's dated to millions of yrs ago (on modern assumptions) that would only be ~10K light years away.

When you say "10K light years away" are you saying that the supernova itself is only 10K light years away? (remember light year is a measure of distance, not time) If so, you aren't just going against modern astronomy, you're going against math, since the distance of celestial objects is determined via triangulation.

Let's be serious here - does Christianity believe in an omnipotent God or not?

It also believes in a God that doesn't lie, and if YEC is true, and we see a supernova that is 160,000 years away, then that supernova never actually happened, even though we can see it happening.

And if God creates things for us to see that aren't actually there, what else could you call that but deceitful?

Another big problem with Omphalos is that it renders the world unintelligable. If something can appear exactly like X conistently and uniformally, and still NOT be X, then I can't trust my senses.

OK, I was kidding about Craig throwing me a bone there Heh. I was a little startled for a second that you thought that Craig would back up your Omphalos hypothesis. He's actually an Old Earth Creationist, and he has to be, since a couple of his arguments rely upon our modern understanding of physics.

Did any of these arguments address Craig's typical opener? Not really, and since it's just an opening statement, it doesn't have to. An opening staement is to present your personal case. One of the better debates I've seen was Craig vs. Austin Dacey. I think they fought each other to a draw, but maybe I'm biased.

Craig presented his typical case, and Dacey laid out the case for atheism (evolution, the problem of evil, divine hiddenness, etc.) And then they responded to each other's arguments during the "rebuttal" period. That's how debates are supposed to work.

That is what it looks like Chris is doing in that first section.

Rhology said...

jft,

Well, I can't change the past. It's just how it happened. I had no idea about such debates before then. And I rather liked the utter intellectual beatdown deposited on Atkins, to be honest, since Atkins is such a pompous blasphemer.


-are you saying that the supernova itself is only 10K light years away?-

No. I mean that, if the light just now reached us, then the light of the event was ~10K yrs away at creation.


-It also believes in a God that doesn't lie-

He already told you how creation went down, and you're not listening.

2 Thess 2: 8Then that lawless one (S)will be revealed whom the Lord will slay (T)with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the (U)appearance of His coming;

9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of (V)Satan, with all power and (W)signs and false wonders,

10and with all the deception of wickedness for (X)those who perish, because they did not receive the love of (Y)the truth so as to be saved.

11For this reason (Z)God will send upon them a (AA)deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

12in order that they all may be judged who (AB)did not believe the truth, but (AC)took pleasure in wickedness.

There comes a time when God gives the unrepentant over to the Devil, removing some of His common grace, so you'll love untruth even more than you did before.



-Another big problem with Omphalos is that it renders the world unintelligable. -

This coming from an atheist. That's rich.
It is perfectly intelligible b/c we don't base it on evidence or the observable but rather on God and His unchanging Word.


-He's actually an Old Earth Creationist-

Yeah, I know, and doesn't really bother defending that position in debate. I can see where he's coming from, but I disagree as far as what the best strategy is, for a few reasons I don't care to get into. But you can hopefully see why it was useful to have my own thoughts and then WITWLCWS.

Thanks, I'll watch the Dacey one.
The one with Shook was also pretty lively. Shook is a great public speaker, maybe even better than Craig. I just finished watching that one yesterday, actually.
And yes, you're right about the rebuttals. One would think, however, that someone like Hallquist who just digested Craig's methodology in a whole post, would come up with sthg better than what he did. Craig's opening NEVER changes. Well, I take that back - at his recent debate against Hitchens, he used a diff form of the moral argument, which surprised me. But other than that, same ol same ol. I just figure if you're gonna write it out, at least show some basic familiarity with SOMEthing that would actually undercut Craig's opening.

justfinethanks said...

11For this reason (Z)God will send upon them a (AA)deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

I was waiting for you to bare your Calvinist fangs. The idea that people who hold to an ancient universe are reprobates hated by God is firstly, false, (unless you want to claim that Craig is an unsaved reprobate), and secondly its problematic because it means God apparently is more likely to send you this "strong delusion" the more education that you receive. Why exactly does God set aside so much wrath for Geology students that he doesn't feel the need to bestow upon, say, Business students?

This coming from an atheist. That's rich.

It's just a counterpunch to the "Only Christianity can provide the conditions to an intelligible Universe" argument. I would argue if the world is in fact 6000 years old, and not the millions and billions that is detected by sense an reason, then I have no reason to believe that sense and reason are reliable, and no reason to believe that a "Bible" exists. Or even if we were to grant that it exists, then the human ability to reason is so obviously frazzled that it could be a nice story about a man who loved to make hats for snowmen for all we know. So what you THINK is God's personal account of creation actually isn't. That's just your terribly weak, human ability to reason misguiding you.

But you can hopefully see why it was useful to have my own thoughts and then WITWLCWS.

I do. He's a vey diplomatic in his debates. In fact for the longest time I thought he was a theistic evolutionist, just because of his pat answer for the evolution question ("It's a miraacle and evidence for God!")

Dr Funkenstein said...

In the live debates I've seen (both in person and on youtube and the like), the quality of argumentation is pretty much secondary compared to how said arguments are presented - which is apparently what Craig is very, very good at.

I far prefer the written/blog format for this reason - in the live format it's far too easy for someone to throw out a series of weak or just plain crap arguments so that if there's enough of them, the opponent can't realistically rebut them all in the allotted time so it comes across as if the argument is valid because it's unanswered, or rely on the audience's unfamiliarity with a topic to make factually inaccurate comments or comments that rely on withholding more recent evidence that sound very plausible to a lay audience (examples that comes to mind are the 'fine tuning' argument or the claims of irreducible complexity regarding biological systems).

However, the main thing I have noticed is that whoever is arguing for theism tends to have done their homework far more often than the atheist opponent - ie, they know what their opponent will talk about, they know stock responses that the audience will like for specific points etc etc - as I've said before, I saw Michael Shermer completely fail to do this, Dan Barker didn't seem especially well prepared for his debate against Paul Manata, the Bahnsen-Stein debate etc (although I thought George Smith did reasonably well against Bahnsen in the radio debate they had, since he stuck to simply pointing out the utter nonsense claims Bahnsen was making - it's amazing Bahnsen was able to get away with a non-argument like TAG so many times, since it basically makes an argument from ignorance then switches the burden of proof for defending his claims onto the opponent. To my mind it's the weakest argument I've ever seen presented for theism (EAAN is probably the most effective and hardest to provide a direct rebuttal to in my opinion))

David said...

"there is no reason to Matrix and plenty of reason not to, b/c He has told us this world is real."

Maybe he didn't tell you. Maybe someone in the Matrix implanted that in your head. (Or perhaps we should switch to BladeRunner to get our sci-fi analogies right).

Again, a God that puts images in space of super-nova explosions that never took place, sounds like a God who is deceiving us anyway. So if God told you whatever he told you, I wouldn't see a reason to believe that. Maybe the supernova are real, and the other data is God's deception.

Anonymous said...

Rho == YEC Idiot == evilotution denier == global warming denier == Cosmology denier == {put your science here} denier == God Freak == End of Civilization as once known by humans.

NAL said...

Rho:

Your challenge is to find data that DON'T fit in my worldview consistently but do fit in yours, and that would count as evidence for your position against mine.

To find such data is, of course, impossible. All Rho has to say is God could have easily created that data to look like it satisfies any arbitrary interpretation. Coming up with the interpretation first isn't quite as easy.

justfinethanks said...

Rho == YEC Idiot == evilotution denier == global warming denier
I don't know Rho's positon on Anthropogenic global warming. But to be fair, denying Al Gore style sensationalism of the effects of global warming is far dfferent from denying an Old Earth and Evolution. I think a solid scientific case could be made that global warming is hardly the apocolypse bringer that people made it ot to be.

Rhology said...

David,

He did tell me, in the Bible.
My fundamental presupposition is that the God of the Bible exists, which rules out what you've said here.
If you think all this stuff about the Matrix, you need to provide some way to know that even that very thought is true. There's a lot of work ahead of you. Good luck.

About the supernova, see my comment above. He's deceiving the already-self-deceived.


NAL,

It's not my problem that the data is unfindable. It's yours.
But don't worry about it - you don't even have a coherent worldview in terms of presuppositions. Never mind the evidence - your problems run deeper.


jft,

Agreed. But obviously Anonymous is not making serious statements.

NAL said...

Rho:

It's not my problem that the data is unfindable.

It's not just that the data is unfindable, it doesn't exist. There exists no data that you can claim is inconsistent with your worldview.

You have a worldview that is so amorphous that there exists no data that cannot be incorporated into it. But it is a consistent worldview, for whatever that's worth.

Rhology said...

All the same, naturalism is the same way. No matter what, the ardent naturalist can always posit some natural explanation, even one that has yet to be discovered.
"But we will! Give science a chance."

NAL said...

Scientific explanations are powerful.

The scientific explanation of the universe is so powerful, theists have had to modify their ideas of how God created the universe to accommodate the science.

Theists have to invent hypotheses about creating light waves from supernovas. They have to invent hypotheses about the "appearance" of age. But God is not obligated to perform like a circus monkey according to their hypotheses.

Medical science is so important, that our host readily incorporates it, and its naturalistic explanations, into his worldview.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Rho: "To me, it appears that they don't typically do so much as listen to even one presentation from Craig before the debate; they just show up and expect to steamroll Craig. And in turn, they themselves get flattened. James White has experienced this over and over again, to name another prolific debater - see his most recent debates with Bart Ehrman and Dan Barker."

That's pretty funny. It amply shows the arrogance and foolishness of atheists.

"So, my recommendation to the Hallq is: Yes, please, pretty please, do bring this kind of argument to any and all debate you do with a Christian. The Christian debater could share the Gospel, preach a biblical sermon, or read John Piper books aloud during the entire debate and still emerge victorious."

I like it when Rho is on a roll with his humor! You go Rho!

Dr Funkenstein said...

To find such data is, of course, impossible. All Rho has to say is God could have easily created that data to look like it satisfies any arbitrary interpretation. Coming up with the interpretation first isn't quite as easy.It's not - this is the crux of the evidential problem of evil/suffering - can an all good, benevolent, loving God realistically exist in the face of vast amounts of evil/suffering?

Stephen Law has quite a good essay on this on his blog, where he sketches out a scenario that shows the evil God explains the world just as well if not better than a good God does.

Seth said...

theists have had to modify their ideas of how God created the universe...
You are clearly confusing theists in general with certain brands of creationist.

...to accommodate the science.
If only Lavoisier would have had more time to develop the 'caloric', he really could have stuck it to those pesky religious alchemy-types. What a shame his head was lopped off prematurely by athiests.

Anonymous said...

justfinethanks,

Regarding :

"Rho == YEC Idiot == evilotution denier == global warming denier
I don't know Rho's positon on Anthropogenic global warming. But to be fair, denying Al Gore style sensationalism of the effects of global warming is far dfferent from denying an Old Earth and Evolution. I think a solid scientific case could be made that global warming is hardly the apocolypse bringer that people made it ot to be."

You are quite wrong, Rho is quite an idiot about Global Warming. It is not an apocolypse. No one in the scientific community is describing Global Warming as an apocolypse. It is just a mess that we should avoid. The consequences are well documented. Perhaps you should do some investigating on your own. Ignorance of science is deplorable, please learn. We are all doomed otherwise, if ignorance and reliance on religion are the choices we make.

NAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NAL said...

--2. Genesis said rainbows are a sign from God given to Noah. But we know they’re a natural phenomenon.

And they can't be both...why?

Because Noah, or any human, couldn't discern the rainbows that are signs from God from those that are not signs from God. Unless all rainbows are signs from God, or unless rainbows that are signs are somehow differentiable from rainbows that are not signs.

Please provide the aspect(s) of rainbows, that are signs, that differentiate them from rainbows that are not signs.

David said...

"About the supernova, see my comment above. He's deceiving the already-self-deceived. "

So... everybody who believes the supernova actually happened is self-deceived?

justfinethanks said...

He's deceiving the already-self-deceived.

Again with the self deceived business. Some Christian psychologist should really break down the particular psychological mechanisms of this "self deciet" and test them. They could prove the existence of God AND create a breathrough in apologetics in one swoop.

Just curious, from a Biblical perspective, what all does the nonbeliver ACTUALLY beleive in their heart of hearts?

1) That God exist?
2) That it's really the God of the Bible?
3) That they are sinners?
4) That they can become blisfully immortal if they repent?
5) That they are doomed to hell?
6) Do they think exactly like this?

and one more quesiton:

If they know all these things, WHY do they deceive themselves?

It can't be just because they don't want to be judged for their actions or be held responsible. Because if Christianity is true, then the way to avoid God's judgement and avoid the punishment we deserve is to BECOME A CHRISTIAN. It's the Christians who are ultimately not held to be responsible for their actions if Christianity is true.

All the same, naturalism is the same way. No matter what, the ardent naturalist can always posit some natural explanation, even one that has yet to be discovered.

This complaint isn't really relavent when you are when you are trying to discern the most likely explanation for a data point.

Supernova is 160,000 light years away, therefore:

1) It took 160,000 years for the light to reach earth.
2) The light was magically transported to Earh at the creation of the universe and the Supernova doesn't exist.

I think it's fair to employ Occam's razor to eliminate 2.

No one in the scientific community is describing Global Warming as an apocolypse.

Some are and some aren't. Don't tell me you haven't heard doomsday scenarios about DC or New York under water.


Perhaps you should do some investigating on your own. Ignorance of science is deplorable, please learn.

Me, on the tail end of scientific snobbery? I guess that's poetic justice for you.

I have done investigating of my own, and here's what I concluded.

1)Is the globe warming? (Unquestionably)
2) Did Humans do it? (You could put 9 out of 10 odds on it)
3) Should we put massive controls of businesses right now, otherwise we can expect nothing but famine, Hurricanes, and coastal cities plunged under water? (Uhhhhh, not quite )

In fact, here is a scientific, peer reviewed article from just last year that determined that typical climate predicton models are miserable at, you know, predicting the climate.

http://www.itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/864/

Here's the abstract:

Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

Like I said, denying catastrophic global warming is worlds away from denying evolution or an Old Earth.

Anonymous said...

Hey,
justfinethanks,

"Some are and some aren't. Don't tell me you haven't heard doomsday scenarios about DC or New York under water."

This is hardly doomsday, flooded out coastal regions while undesirable are not an end of humanity or anything even close to it.

You seem to be confusing the ability of accurate weather forcasting with climate change.
These are two very different topics. You should know this.

Denying global warming is the same as denying evolution or an Old Earth.

Humans will ultimately fail with this mindset.

Anonymous said...

justfinethanks,

Try getting your climate science from here:

http://www.realclimate.org

instead of ITIA.

justfinethanks said...

You seem to be confusing the ability of accurate weather forcasting with climate change.
These are two very different topics. You should know this.


Uhhh, please point out where, exactly, I confused meteorology with climatology? Or are you going to keep pulling accusations out of your ass?

Care to read they key point of the abstact I cited again?

The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale.

That means that the CLIMATE (not weather) prediction models that we ARE STILL USING TODAY are hopelessly flawed.

And this isn't the findngs of some sort of insane, right wing, global warming denying community, this is an article published in the scientfic, peer reviewed Hydrolologial Sciences Journal. I should also point out that the Hydological engineers who publish in and rely on this journal very much WISH that climate prediction models are accurate, because it would make their jobs easier, but the data isn't there.


Denying global warming is the same as denying evolution or an Old Earth.

Holy hell, you dirty hippie. Did you even see me deny global warming? Or even deny that it's at least in part anthropogenic? All I'm saying is that we don't have sufficient justification to slap government greenhouse gas regulations on businesses, thus lowering the standard of living for everyone, on the off chance that our CLIMATE prediction models, which have not proven accurate in their last century of use, suddenly magically become accurate.

If you want to lower your own standard of living (or if you prefer the common euphamism: "lower your carbon footprint") in order to increase the standard of living for polar bears, be my freaking guest. Just don't think politicans have the right to FORCE people to live that way.

This thread has veered WAY off topic, and considering that you have accused me of:
1) Confusing meteorology and climatology.
2) Denying global warming.

When I have done no such thing, I am going to declare myself done dicussing global warming until you pick up some basic reading comprehension skills.

Anonymous said...

justfinethanks,

Your ignorance is astounding. Please read the rebuttel on realclimate in regards to the hydrologists you think know something that climate scientists do not.

"So what did Koutsoyiannis et al do? They took a small number of long station records and compared them to co-located grid points in single realisations of a few models and correlate their annual and longer term means. Returning to the question we asked at the top, what hypothesis is being tested here? They are using single realisations of model runs, and so they are not testing the forced component of the response (which can only be determined using ensembles or very long simulations). By correlating at the annual and other short term periods they are effectively comparing the weather in the real world with that in a model. Even without looking at their results, it is obvious that this is not going to match (since weather is uncorrelated in one realisation to another, let alone in the real world). Furthermore, by using only one to four grid boxes for their comparisons, even the longer term (30 year) forced trends are not going to come out of the noise."

Jurkweed I am not a hippie, you seemed to have gone off the deep end. Oh, excuse me your name is justfinethanks, sorry. You have absolutely lost your mind. It is clear that you are also a global warming denier. I am not advocating any mandatory government rules of any kind. However, I wish to point out the ignorance of the masses, clearly demonstrated by you, this is a serious problem we should face and ultimately conquer.

I never started this, you are the fool who challenged me. My beef was with Rho. Due to your lack of reading comprehension you chose to attack me.

Paul C said...

It is clear that you are also a global warming denier.Actually, it's very clear that he's not a global warming denier. The big clue was when he wrote:

1)Is the globe warming? (Unquestionably)
2) Did Humans do it? (You could put 9 out of 10 odds on it)
He merely disagrees about the best response to climate change, and that's fine because that question is more about politics than science.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Anonymous said...

Paul C.

You are quite wrong. He (justfinethanks)searches the internet to try to support that GW is not affected by the actions of humans. You now support him. Shame on you.The big clue of being a global warming denialist is the link to the ITIA article.

Anonymous said...

Paul C. you are quite wrong about this also with regard to "justfinethanks":

"He merely disagrees about the best response to climate change, and that's fine because that question is more about politics than science."

No it is all about science. If we do not act responsibly we will make a mess. Many people will be affected by our choice of action, if we fail to understand the principles of climate change and how humans have effected the situation.

Rhology said...

Anonymous,

And we *should* act responsibly and *should* avoid making a mess...why?

Paul C said...

Anonymous:

He (justfinethanks)searches the internet to try to support that GW is not affected by the actions of humans.He specifically wrote that he believes that it is 90% odds that humans are responsible for global warming. That hardly sounds like somebody who thinks that global warming is not affected by human action.

No it is all about science. If we do not act responsibly we will make a mess. Many people will be affected by our choice of action, if we fail to understand the principles of climate change and how humans have effected the situation.Yes. However the choices that need to be made are political choices, not scientific ones.

And now, back to Rhology trolling his own blog!

Rhology said...

It would appear that we can add "trolling" to the list of words of which Paul C doesn't know the definition, joining "infinite" and "should". But good times.

And yes, just for anyone who cares, I find the idea of anthropogenic global warming to be probably really stupid, highly sketchy and suspicious at best.

Paul C said...

It would appear that we can add "trolling" to the list of words of which Paul C doesn't know the definition, joining "infinite" and "should".Brilliant satire. I point out that you deliberately misuse words, and magically that means I misuse those words. You're a troll, mate - an attention seeker with almost nothing to contribute. Have you not noticed how discussions on your comment threads are actually civil and engaging when you're not involved?

And yes, just for anyone who cares, I find the idea of anthropogenic global warming to be probably really stupid, highly sketchy and suspicious at best.*Tumbleweed drifts across the main street as Rhology realises that nobody cares that he ticks all the boxes of his cultural peer group*

Rhology said...

Not all, Paul C. Calvinism isn't too popular. I'm no full-blooded evangelical, nor a "rah rah America!" type.

Anonymous, I don't think you're angry enough. You need to read this.
http://www.climatedepot.com/a/961/Skeptical-French-Scientist-Rebukes-Climate-Critics-We-are-not-in-the-Soviet-Union-we-can-contest-a-scientific-thesis

Anonymous said...

Rho,

Climate Depot. Haha. Thanks for keeping me abreast of wackaloon developments I was not aware of. Many thanks, keep up the good work.

Rhology said...

Hold on a second. This guy is a renowned geophysicist. Are you?

He is a member of both the French and U.S. Academies of Science. Are you?

Just curious about your qualifications to call someone like that a wackaloon. Or maybe you're giving me tacit approval to call any scientist, qualifications be damned, a wackaloon for believing sthg I think has very little evidence to support it.

Then ask yourself how far anyone will get in conversation if we're constantly calling "wackaloon" across the divide.

Anonymous said...

Rho,

Ignorant as usual aren't you.
You're not a climate scientist are you ? Then why do you make such claims ?

Your ignorant geophysicist is not a climate scientist and not renown, except in wackaloon circles. Just one of many fools you admire .

The association of this knucklehead with the Oklahoma idiot, Jim Inhofe, cements the case.