Septic arguments

Thanks to R for pointing out a list of every skeptic argument encountered online as well as how often each argument is used. Clear winner is “the sun” but its nice to see that old chestnut of 1970’s cooling still in there at number 7.


  1. #1 guthrie

    I have run into a denialist who claims that the radiative transfer models used to explain the warming due to increased CO2 are rubbish. I shall post excerpts at some point, if you would be interested. It was something about the Chandrasekhar equations, and one dimensional models etc.

  2. #2 bigTom

    That must have been a freudian slip “SEPTIC arguments”. Seems to be a pretty accurate description though.

  3. #3 Ex-drone

    Not only do climate change deniers argue with all the deceptiveness of creationists, but the above website list seems like a climate change version of An Index to Creationist Claims.

  4. #4 John Mashey

    I’ve found that website useful many times.
    In particular, when someone posts a load of babble, or writes a letter-to-editor like that, it usually takes more words to create clarity than to create confusion, which puts us at an inherent disadvantage, especially when faced with wordcount limits.

    I find it much handier and I think more convincing to simply say: here’s a website that lists standard arguments that have been debunked many times, see items 1, 5, and 7. The idea is to remove the appearance of an active debate in favor of “Dumb arguments, Been There Done That, ho-hum.”

    That often stops a confused discussion in its tracks, or at least slows it down.

    For example:

  5. #5 csrster

    I assumed the misspelling was a deliberate dig at the preponderance of Americans amongst climate deniers.

  6. #6 P. Lewis

    I missed this when it appeared, since when I see “that name” mentioned I now avoid his discourse like the plague. Having now been directed there, though, I note that the buffoon that is the caricature called David Bellamy has changed his argument slightly on glaciers. Still wrong of course.

    And as to grapes and Romans! So what if the Romans grew grapes: the temperature anomaly (cf. WMO baseline) was likely negative at that time anyway. So what does it prove that the Romans grew grapes in Britain? Nothing.

    I once commented on the grapes aspect at RC, pointing out some contemporaneous Roman weather/climate and agriculture/viticulture descriptions and pointing out that grapes had been grown in Britain during the LIA!

    Septic tripe indeed.

  7. #7 Adam

    For bigTom & csrster the “misspelling” is based on the fact that they aren’t sceptic in true sense, so calling them sceptical is a slur on those who are. I think.

    Anyway, this looks like it’d only need a few tweaks to be very relevant to climate change:

  8. #8 David B. Benson

    Were the grapes for ice wine?


  9. #9 Dave Briggs

    25. Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions

    I don’t see how anyone could use this one. I have seen graphs that show the CO2 emissions increases since the industrial revolution, charted with the increase in heat and they are exactly the same!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  10. #10 guthrie

    William, your page on the Newsweek scare in the 70’s, (WHich somehow all the old denialists have perfect memories of, despite being children or, for all we know, drunk, at the time) is very useful, however it is a bit hard to find. Any chance it can be linked to more widely?

    [Hmmm, those pages are all very badly in need of updating, and who knows when that might happen -W]

    Dave- they’d just say it has nothing to do with humans, then when you throw the isotope ratios at them, they will backpeddle to but CO2 doesn’t cause warming, at which point you have to spend several days attempting to explain radiative physics to them, but unfortunately all the denialists I have met are actually too stupid to understand it. Sad really.

  11. #11 John Mashey

    For P. Lewis and other (British?) oenophiles:
    I recommend the delightful book “The Winelands of Britain”

    bu see especially the map of viniculture’s ebb and flow

    “Richard Selley is Emeritus Professor of Geology and a Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College, London. He has used the opportunity provided by a lifetime spent travelling the world exploring for natural resources to study the geology of winelands, with all the collateral conviviality that such demanding research necessarily entails.”

    Among the most amusing observations is that the right sort of soil on the North shore of a lake gets good sun, so after 2100, he looks forward to the fine Loch Ness wineries: “Refreshed tourists will report more sightings of the Loch Ness monster than ever before.”

  12. #12 guthrie

    John, is there really enough good soil on the north side of Loch Ness? Plus I imagine the vast amounts of rain might have some effect. Nevertheless, the map is useful, thanks. Plus, I understand that there are wineries in Yorkshire these days:

    As for my pet denialists, the latest stupidity one has come up with is a 50 year series of measurements by one Dr Alexander MacDonald in Wester Ross. Allegedly it shows no local temperature change. SOmehow one temperature record, almost certainly in an area beside the sea, negates the entire global temperature sensing network…

    I would be amazed at how people who can be intelligent at times manage to switch their brains off when it comes to global warming. Except that I have argued with Creationists, and they exhibit the same symptoms.

  13. #13 John Mashey


    On page 93, Figure 7, Selley gives a geologic cross-section of the Loch area (compleat with Nessie), and says the geology is similar to the Cape vineyards (Stellenbosch) of South Africa [whose goodness I can attest from on-site experience, reminiscent of our local Napa & Sonoma.]

    Anyway, given that the book is about geology history of wineries in UK, and why they were where they were, and where they could be, I wouldn’t bet against his idea of prime wineries in the Lochs {Ness, Lochy, and Linnhe}.

    Selley has words to say about creation scientists as well, and the book includes droll humor on such topics as Terroirs, EU terroiristes, Franglais mixed with sediments and “moine Series metamorphics.”

  14. #14 Gareth

    Good link, John, thanks.

    Interestingly, last night I shared a glass or two of local pinot with a friend who is something of a pinot guru (consults with Stags Leap, Chateau Palmer, Antinori, as well as making his own wine), and it appears that the wine industry – particularly in Europe – is very concerned about the pace of change they can already see in their vineyards. Many are already buying vineyards in cooler sites – some of the expansion in England has been funded by champenois…

    There might be a good book in “wine in a warming world”, but the worry is that it would be out of date before being published…

  15. #15 John Mashey

    1) We live about an hour and half South of Napa & Sonoma. Yes, an issue of concern here as well.

    2) We have ski property (at Big White) in British Columbia, near Lake Okanagan which “has” its own equivalent of Nessie called Ogopogo, but also has been developing a reasonable wine industry, which we sample several times on every trip up.

    3) A few months ago, the Wall Street Journal had a nice article about the growth of Okanagan valley wineries, discussing with wine growers how their bets on warmer temperatures had paid off over the last several decades. [This was in news, not in OpEd obviously, since the latter knows that AGW is a hoax.]

    4) This is about 50N latitude, and doesn’t have the Gulf Stream for help in keeping climate mild.
    In 1984: 13 wineries in B.C.
    In 2004: 90 wineries in B.C, Okanagan is 92% of B.C. wine production.

  16. #16 Gareth

    I know some people who are trying to grow PĂ©rigord black truffles in the Okanagan valley. A few years ago I would have said that they were being climatically optimistic (in fact I did say that), because BC wasn’t really warm enough. Now I’m not so sure…

  17. #17 Hank Roberts

    > when you throw the isotope ratios at them, they will …

    The less scary ones backpedal (or -peddle, depending on whether they’re freelance or paid, presumably).

    The more scary ones point to the book from which, using Logic, they have been able to deduce that there must have been 1% carbon dioxide in the pre-Deluge atmosphere, and therefore it’s clear to them taht most of that got buried during the Flood and turned into coal and petroleum deposits, and this works out to explain why all those pesky carbon-14 dates work out to be earlier than creation. Seamless logic. No openings.

  18. #18 guthrie

    Hank, if they do that they are Creationists, and therefore you can switch to the well worn cretionist bashing tactics and evidence. They won’t listen, but its fun to bash them about. I wouldn’t say it is scary. That various Creationists/ID’ers are against global warming merely indicates their lack of scientific knowledge.

  19. #19 Adam

    > when you throw the isotope ratios at them, they will …

    I’ve seen one claim that the isotope ratios don’t show that it’s all “man made”. I’ll try and dig out the argument when I get a chance.

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