Sunday, June 25, 2006

Framing the Argument

One trick often used in debate is "framing the argument." To frame the argument is to take a position that assumes certain facts, then building on those. The old trick question of "How long has it been since you quit beating your wife?" fits into this category.

Many times when I’m arguing a point with someone, they will use this tactic, and when I challenge the basic assumption, they act outraged, resorting to epithets, comments on my intelligence, etc. I’m a chessplayer, however; I understand that my position, whether in a game of chess or a debate with a political foe, must be as strong as possible if I am to win.

Which brings me to global warming - or more precisely, climate changes caused by mankind that carry negative consequences. (When I use the term "global warming" from here on out, this is the definition I mean.)

In his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore says (or so it has been reported; I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t think I will.) that "the debate in the scientific community is over."

Not true. As former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

A key point to remember, regardless of what you hear or read: Global warming is a theory, not a fact, and it has been disputed by many, many qualified scientists. One example is a petition organized by Frederick Seitz (

Global warming alarmists want to start the debate just after the "no longer a debate" comment. I move the debate back one step - and make them admit that their whole stance is based on a disputed theory.

The proponents of "global warming" insist on tighter governmental controls on even more aspects of our lives. I oppose this. Contrary to what has been suggested, this does not mean that I’m for dirty air, dirty water, or that I want to kill the planet.

However, what is happening is that someone else’s eccentricities are being forced on me, in the name of an unproven theory. I reject this outright, and insist that those who would impose themselves into my life provide a more convincing argument.

The environmentalist whackos’ position is hypocritical. They insist on doing away with our use of fossil fuels in favor of so-called "clean" energy, while on the other hand they oppose nuclear energy, a proven clean energy source. How do they reconcile these two opposing stances? Could it be that their goal is not a clean environment after all, but is instead to force me to alter my lifestyle in favor of theirs?

I challenge their basic assumptions, and every point after; however, I’m open-minded, and willing to change my position.

But they better have a good argument.

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