“Debating” the Issues

I always get amused and sometimes angered when someone insists on “debating” questions or issues that have been settled, especially those settled by science [and yes, I know, some science issues turn out not to be so settled, but those issues get re-settled by evidence, not debate].  For example, like it or not, global warming is happening, and like it or not, there is absolutely no genetic basis for “racial superiority.”  When people insist on “debating” those issues again, especially without new evidence, and either the politicians or the media give into them, it gives air time and publicity to bad ideas.  Just look what has happened time and time again, even under democratic regimes, when various bad ideas were debated, such as “racial purity” in the Weimar Republic that became as result of such issues the Third Reich, or, for that matter, segregation in the United States after the Civil War, by which racial superiority was resurrected through “debate” over the worth and capability of black Americans and ensuing legislation and then an infamous Supreme Court decision.

Here in the United States, I understand fully that the federal government cannot continue to run massive deficits indefinitely, but giving publicity and debating time to Ted Cruz so that he can espouse the idea that the United States should not pay its bills because the deficit is too high?  Not paying your bills is a bad idea, especially when the world’s economy rests on our currency.  This shouldn’t have to be debated.  Not paying our bills shouldn’t even be considered.  That’s not a debate; it’s demagoguery.  So is the always-resurrected idea that an income tax is somehow unconstitutional. 

Evolution is not speculation.  It’s a theory that has literally hundreds of millions of years of evidence behind it, not to mention some recently documented cases of evolution among current living species.  For Texas state legislators, and others, to insist that “creationism” be given equal time in the states’ high school curriculum, as if there is any factual basis to debate, isn’t debating the issues.  The issue is scientifically settled.  It’s just not religiously settled, and that’s not something that should even come into the content of textbooks in a nation founded on the idea of separation of church and state.

Debate on the basis of belief alone is a fool’s game, because it inevitably degenerates into a contest resolved by some form of power, not on the evidence or facts, and the most powerful fool wins.

As I’ve noted before,  at times there are not two equal sides to some issues, at least on a factual basis. There are times to say, “Enough.  Until you have new, real, and tangible evidence to demonstrate conditions have changed, this debate is over.” But, of course, that seldom happens, because true believers are never convinced by facts that don’t agree with their beliefs.

7 thoughts on ““Debating” the Issues”

  1. Wine Guy says:

    Throwing facts in the face of faith only reinforces the faith and frustrates the knowledgeable.

    And saying “Enough. Until…” only encourages them to keep shouting in your face because as we all know, when making policy, repetition and volume overpower fact and probity.

  2. cremes says:

    I like how you just avoided using the word “default” when discussing our massive deficit and debt. I think we can easily say that this is a true debate. It only descends into demagoguery when, well, when you say it’s demagoguery to even discuss it.

    Let’s be clear on something here. The only way to DEFAULT is to fail to pay the INTEREST on the debt.

    “The federal government raked in a record of approximately $2,472,542,000,000 in tax revenues through the first eleven months of fiscal 2013, which ran from Oct. 1, 2012 through the end of August, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for August.” – cnsnews.com

    That is well above the interest on the current debt. The Executive could CHOOSE to default on our debts by not paying that interest, but that would clearly show this administration for the political farce that it is.

    The $3.8 TRILLION we spent (so far) in 2013 includes many items that are not really “bills” that need to be paid. Armed forces, SS, Medicare/Medicaid, SNAP, etc. are NOT bills that need to be paid.

    Please recall that today’s Congress may not bind a future Congress (i.e. legislative entrenchment). Congress has changed the law to adjust payments from these welfare programs and it is entirely reasonable to DEBATE whether or not they should make those changes now or in the future.

    These are facts. Would you care to debate them?

  3. Revenues are indeed above payments on debt already incurred. But it is demagoguery to say that “Armed forces, SS, Medicare/Medicaid, SNAP, etc. are NOT bills that need to be paid.” They are obligations set forth in law, and “legislative entrenchment,” notwithstanding, there is an obligation to pay them. As for the revenue numbers, you’re arguing oranges and apples. The government pays bills largely as they comes due, which means that the sums you mention were not available to cover those debts without additional appropriations, a fact you’re ignoring.

    I’d fully agree that Congress can indeed change the law, and that is definitely open for debate, but that’s not the same thing as “debating” default.

  4. Brian K says:

    The recently published AR5 or the fifth Assessment Report on global warming, amid a fair amount of fanfare but nothing compared to what it would have been like in the glory years of climate alarmism, clearly shows that the con game that is the Alarmist Global Warming Religion is cracking under the strain of trying to hammer square pegs into the round holes of their deeply flawed computer models.

    What was published was a summary of the underlying yet unpublished science papers for policymakers. It essentially glossed over or ignored a number fundamental problems with the science driving the conclusions in the report.

    There’s been no significant increase in global temperature for nearly two decades, a fact conceded by the warmists, and yet the report fails to come up with a reason for this beyond vague unsubstantiated conjectures that the missing heat may be hiding under the seas somewhere. More tellingly, it glosses over the fact that carbon emissions, which are supposed to be driving temperatures, have actually increased in this period.

    Their lame explanation is a deceitful dismissal that the pause as too short a period to detract from some longer-term upward trend in temperature. Just give them another twenty years or so and they’ll be proved right. A far cry from the ‘science is settled’ arrogance in the last decade.

    This pause was not predicted by any of their ‘the science is settled’ computer models and so one would naturally expect some sort of explanation for this failure. None is given, none at all. Instead, it assures us the models are even better now. This deliberate omission is childish. They must think people are still the ignorant dupes they were when the con game started. People have caught on that the crap that went into the computer models has produced crap from the beginning.

    When the results predicted by any theory, whether programmed into a computer or not, diverge from real world observations, the theory is wrong, which is why they had to refuse to address the discrepancy. Such attempt to hide the fact that science was being trumped by politics.

    Dr. Richard Lindzen’s thoughts on AR5 sum up the situation nicely. “I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.”

    In short, it is not just another flawed document but a fundamentally dishonest one. In fact it reinforces the fraudulent nature of the Alarmist Global Warming con game.

  5. We’re not going to settle this by “debate.” I would only note that, as predicted by those you call the Alarmist Global Warming types, we are seeing more truly violent tropical storms; the ocean levels are higher; the Arctic ice cover has diminished and continues to do so; and over 90% of the world’s glaciers have diminished markedly in size and a significant fraction of former glaciers don’t even exist. Debate the models all you want.

  6. dcody says:

    Brian K, that whole tirade was hilarious, you do realize that 97 out of 100 climate scientists are in agreement about climate change yes? The same sciences and computers that are backing them up, are the same sciences and computers that run the internet and phones, and print out the paper that makes up whatever vehicle of “the truth” you are no doubt so rightously clutching right now.

  7. David I says:

    Just a way to measure whether a debate is about facts.

    Many debates are indeed fact based or reasoned base, but many of these debates on fact based subjects veer off into the realm of religious and emotional political(my team)feeling debates.

    That is to say that if one side would lose the debate based on facts or overwhelming logic, it would be emotionally very upset. This is so for both sides of these “logical debates.”

    I find myself repulsed by some of the religious ardor that invades these debates on the side of logical science even if I really may agree with the point of view. The “scientific” side almost starts to feel like an inquisition like orthodoxy which is self defeating and contrary to an honest quest of truth.

    If the side of good science could leave the religious passion behind, it might be a more persusive and true to its own merit.

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