ClimateBall ™

The Only Losing Move is Not to Play

Pricks, Jerks, and Wisconsin Polites — 3 February 2019

Pricks, Jerks, and Wisconsin Polites

[A note on sealioning based on an old comment at AT’s.]

It should quite obvious everyone make assertions based on insufficient evidence all the time. While this may be how stereotypes are being reinforced, this is also both how we communicate how we feel and how we do science. So it’s easy to conflate or to switch between the different modes of communication.

If someone tells you you’re an asshole (or alternatively, “i will bite my tongue and not respond to your most recent insult — at least for now.”), will you ask that person for his evidence basis? I know I won’t. Why? Because (1) it’ll redirect the discussion about me and (2) in a ClimateBall exchange it’s usually not my job to cater for that person’s feelings.

This is one reason why the “please, do continue” meme exists.

Now, we all make assertions that lack sufficient evidence. Sometimes, they look like conclusions. This is a blog. Commenters comment. What the hell do you expect?

Just look at this exchange:

[A] Both sides think the otter’s the worse.

[B] It’s quite obvious the otter’s the worse.

[C] Not a good idea.

[D] Take Clisep.

[E] Take SkS.

[A] SkS has its share of problems.

[G] My name is G Montoya. You offended my family. Prepare to die!

[C] Not a good idea.

[G] Not you too, C! My name is G Monto…

[C] Here you go: […] I don’t know where you learned to swing that sword that way, but it wobbles strangely toward your own chest.

[G] I’ll bite my tongue for now, but prepare to die!

How do you think this exchange will end?

This illustrates one problem with sealioning – asking for evidence is all well and good when there’s a point to it. How exactly are we going to establish a metric that will help estimate the level of civility of comments? Worse than that – how do we establish blog in-group relationships? Just take JohnH and me – do we illustrate an in-group or an out-group fight?

One easy way to measure civility in this very thread would be to look for the smileys ;-P As a guest appearance at the Auditor’s once said:

Lose the smileys – they don’t become you.

My own hypotheses regarding blog interactions follow Haidt’s research: libertarians are pricks, liberals are jerks, and conservatives are Wisconsin polite. If you can’t annoy someone, there’s little point in writing.

Et Tu, Tu Quoque? — 10 January 2019

Et Tu, Tu Quoque?

An argument is or isn’t a tu quoque, but not every tu quoque is fallacious. There are roughly two big conditions for a tu quoque to be valid – it needs to be relevant to the point it counters, and it needs to be strong enough to make the point it is conveying.

Compare and contrast:

[J1] Junior seldom criticizes contrarians, if ever.
[J2] Junior often rips off his shirt when dispensing ClimateBall criticism.
[J3] Junior’s ClimateBall concerns look like ways to claim victimhood.
[J4] Junior is a poor ClimateBall referee.

I think the steps from 1 to 3 are somehow valid and relevant to the point he makes, but not the 4th. Junior’s concerns are ways to play the ref, in this case the audience – people are being mean to contrarians. That point doesn’t stand on him being a (good) ClimateBall referee. However, the third point is a valid way to counter his, because it undermines its plausibility.

In other words, the observation that Junior is constantly whining is more relevant to his concerns than the fact that he’s not an honest broker.

And that’s besides the possibility that he may be special pleading with his “not newsworthy,” which may be a more direct way to counter his point. The only problem I see with paying due diligence to Junior’s concept of newsworthiness is that unless one is interested in becoming an editor or a journalist, it is of little use. It thus becomes a squirrel for ClimateBall amateurs who could not care less about what newspapers (should) do.

There might be a more formal way to say all this, but that’s what I got for now.

All CO2 are not Made Equal — 3 December 2018

All CO2 are not Made Equal

Theory and empirical data both support the paradigm that C4 plant species (in which the first product of carbon fixation is a four-carbon molecule) benefit less from rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations than C3 species (in which the first product is a three-carbon molecule). This is because their different photosynthetic physiologies respond differently to atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

(Reich & al, 2018)

An Ethological Art — 4 May 2018

An Ethological Art

As long as you let contrarians turn the conversation about you, you become the ball.  This puts you on the defensive. As long as you defend yourself, they will keep attacking. As long as you accept it’s all about you, you allow them to have their fun and they have nothing to lose. Hence why contrarians always personalize.

It’s part of socialization:

ClimateBall is an ethological art.

Hope for Reason — 13 September 2016

Hope for Reason

Suppose I offer, at no charge, to drop a drug in the water supply that would cause almost everyone in the country to vote like you this November. You would probably feel at least a little bit tempted to take the deal. Presidential politics is a matter of grave import, after all. Still — many of us would hesitate, and rightly so. There seems to be something really wrong with manipulating people to believe things even when the stakes are high. We want to convince our opponents, yes, but we want them to be convinced by our reasons. [Michael P. Lynch]
What About the Little Ice Age? — 26 August 2016
What About Other Chaotic Factors? —
What About The Warm Periods? —
Between a Debate and a Quarrel — 18 April 2015

Between a Debate and a Quarrel

Dialogue models are normative frameworks and are used to describe and evaluate everyday dialogical interactions. Real dialogues are much more complex and articulated than the six typologies presented. Often they present characteristics belonging to different dialogue types. In (Walton 1990) debate is for instance analysed as a persuasion dialogue having some features of an eristic confrontation. The participants’ goal is to persuade a third party, but in this process of persuasion the rules are quite permissive and direct attack and moves similar to a quarrel. However, debate has rules, unlike a quarrel. These rules can be more or less strict, depending on the institutional context in which the debate takes place. For instance, in a university debate certain kinds of personal attack allowed in a political debate are not permitted. Debate is one of the three mixed dialogues analysed in (Walton and Krabbe 1995, pp. 83-85).

[Douglas Walton, Types of Dialogue, Dialectical Relevance, and Textual Congruity]

Note. ClimateBall is a quarrel where the players pretend they’re having a debate. This pretense is useful to blame rivals for refusing to debate.

Public (non-) apologies: The discourse of minimizing responsibility — 11 April 2015

Public (non-) apologies: The discourse of minimizing responsibility

The frequent realizations of apologies in the global arena since the beginning of the 1990s, has turned the speech act into a common device for image restoration. In spite of the advantages that public figures can benefit in contemporary politics of trust from apologizing, the speech act still poses a threat to the public figure’s image. Apologies can undermine the public figure’s desired face, and project an image of a person who is lack of professional capabilities. The aim of this paper is to examine how public figures realize creative forms of apologetic speech in order to minimize their responsibility for misdeeds, while calculating the costs and benefits in producing apology utterances. Based on the analysis of 354 apologies made in the Israeli public discourse between 1997 and 2004, I demonstrate tactics which range on four main categories of minimizing responsibility for misdeeds: compromising the apology’s performative verb (e.g. using the verb sorry or regret instead of apologize), blurring the nature of the offense (e.g. by apologizing for a specific component, rather than the entirety of the offense), questioning the identity of the offended (e.g. claiming that no one should be offended by the act) or questioning the identity of the offender (e.g. explicitly denying direct responsibility for the offense).

Zohar Kampf, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 41, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 2257–2270.