“But Semantics”

Every single square involve concepts over which one can quibble. What do words mean exactly? Asking for definitions is as old as Plato. It’s boring. Don’t fall for it.

See #ButWordChange for concerns about word choices.


Objections and Replies

Acidification. ‘Ocean acidification’ is incorrect and used to frighten
☞ “Acidification” has been used for years by scientists studying ocean chemistry (not climate scientists) and pH is only a measure of acidity.

Agreement. Evidence is relevant only given an agreed-upon definition of
☞ It’s the other way around: we agree on what are chairs by looking at specific chairs {1}.


Change. How many people deny that climate changes
☞ As many as those who argue against these people, which is near zero. Denial of AGW implies something else than climate does not change.

Climateball. The concept of “Climateball” presumest that
☞ Congratulations! You have discovered the secret square.

Conspiracy. The expression “conspiracy theory” is weaponized to
☞ If you really want to entertain a storyline turned into News Corp red meat, it is your personal responsibility to distance themselves from such ideation.

Contrarian. “Contrarian” is deliberately disparaging and seeks to discredit
☞ Tell that to Warren Buffett. There’s a Wiki entry for scientific contrarianism. There is only one rule for contrarians: no whining.

Control knob. CO2 cannot be meaningfully called the “control knob”
☞ According to Bill, Without greenhouse gases, Earth would be a lifeless snowball with all water frozen. How’s that for a control knob?

Definitions. Without clear definitions, we
Machine learning disproves the idea that we need definitions first. Language is a social art.

Dictionary. Here is the definition from my favorite on-line dictionary
☞ Dictionaries are useful to track common usage, not technical terms. We don’t need a definition of contrarian, only better contrarians.

Forcing. Adding CO2 to a system is NOT a radiative forcing
☞ According to the EPA, carbon dioxide accounts for by far the largest share of radiative forcing since 1990, and its contribution continues to grow at a steady rate.

Global Warming. They changed “Global Warming” to “Climate Change”
☞ See #ButWordChange.

Greenhouse. To speak of greenhouse is a misnomer
☞ It could be called the Tyndall Gas Effect, or better yet the Foote effect. I personally prefer Greehouse: more evocative, and less personal.

Predict. The IPCC used the word “Predict” in its 1st report—
☞ The IPCC learned very early on that arguments about evolving semantic choices are almost always in bad faith.



{1} Cases. Whoever plays definition games needs to find cases.

{} Better. We need better contrarians.

{} Interaction. The point of these games should be to interact, not to distract.

Technical Terms. Most technical terms have not been created for public consumption. They are clunky, but somehow efficient enough to have become popular among scientists.


Further Readings

2019-11; Contrarian Models

2004-12; Imprecision of the Phrase “Global Warming”