Falacy of the 97%

The article is from 2015.
Maybe some things have happened in climate science since then?
The author is a libertarian fossil fuel advocate.

Maybe he is 97% or 100% wrong?

I’ll listen to scientists, not operatives with an agenda!


I notice you didn’t try to refute any of Alex’s points.

#billinin… I think it’s always a good idea to check sources before I take the information seriously.

Turns out that Alex Epstein, the guy you feel has it all together on the subject of climate change, makes his living writing and speaking as an advocate for the fossil fuel industry.

He is in fact not a scientist but a philosopher and computer geek who embraces the practice of Objectivism. That’s probably why his ideas wander so far from the reality most of us live in. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It shouldn’t be too hard to debunk the things he says then. Right? Right?

Nope. Waste of time. Years of scientific data, analysis, and consensus vs. a libertarian “I want to mess things up and nobody is going to tell me what to do or make me clean up my mess” teenage mentality. You assume that his political agenda has equal merit with decades of scientific data. The two are not on equal footing at all. Why refute him with scientific evidence, which he doesn’t believe? Nope.

Ayn Rand, sigh.
I read her in my late teens/early 20’s. And while her books are badly written, the philosophy is something to think about…and then move on from as one matures and lives in the real world. She makes some very interesting points about selfishness and individuality and capitalism that are worth evaluating, and I don’t totally disagree with her.
But some young people adopt this almost as a religion, become libertarians, and that’s it for them – they are 50 years old with the same ideas they read when they were 19.

I read somewhere that when Ayn Rand was older, she actually collected and lived on Social Security. Hmmm…

The unproven story goes that she received SS through her husband’s account. But, according to the first tenant of objectivism, acting in one’s own self-interest is a noble endeavor. :roll_eyes:

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That’s easy… He uses his own hypothetical scenarios to “prove” to his believers that he is accurate in his assessment of a particular point.

Begin excerpt from Epstein’s rant —>Here are two questions to ask anyone who pulls the 97% trick.
1. What exactly do the climate scientists agree on?
Usually, the person will have a very vague answer like “climate change is real.”
Which raises the question: What is that supposed to mean? That climate changes? That we have some impact? That we have a large impact? That we have a catastrophically large impact? That we have such a catastrophic impact that we shouldn’t use fossil fuels?<—End excerpt from Epstein’s rant

Then Epstein goes on, not to argue real facts, but to discredit his own made-up Q&A’s.

And if you were to diagram his logic throughout his rant, you would find many “then a miracle happens” bubbles in the sequence.

People like Epstein make a living telling people what they want to hear, regardless of the facts of the matter.

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Calling it rant doesn’t really help you debunk his point in the way you may think it does. The very next sentence after the one you excerpted gets right to the point:

“What you’ll find is that people don’t want to define what 97% agree on–because there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use.”

I’m not sure why this qualifies as a rant in your mind, or how the rest of his article discredits this. Are we reading the same article?

I don’t see that in his article, but I do see it in your post.

You know that’s what the news industry is, right?

You oughta check out sources before you jump onto their bandwagon, you are backing a phony “philosopher/scientist” who’s also a dyed-in-wool racist.

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I’m not backing him. I’m just pointing out what his argument is and that no one seems to have refuted it. Even if you believe all the horrible things written in hit pieces about a person (which you shouldn’t, but that’s another post), you ought to be able to explain the flaws in the person’s argument. The person making the argument is irrelevant to the point.

The reason I won’t spend the time required to refute this guy’s biased rhetoric is because I am not an expert in the analysis and classification of peer-reviewed scientific documents.

I’m willing to take the word of multiple expert sources who have done that work. If you choose to ignore those sources and believe an unqualified guy with so obvious a bias and motivation to color the facts to suit the fossil fuel industry, that’s your choice, it’s a free country, have at it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Real hard facts are best evidence to refute Epstein’s “expert analyses”, here they are:

CO2 vs Temp

All you really have to do is point to the expert source that explains the error in his point.

It kind of looks like you’re proving his point.

I suggest you look at the graph I just posted. Global temps have increased along with CO2 since his Jan 2015 article.

Do ya really think next year will be cooler?

That’s not even the same topic. The topic is whether and about what “97% of scientists agree.”

It is his political and personal opinion (from 2015). So nothing science has to say will refute it in his eyes. Are we supposed to refute it for your benefit and to your satisfaction (ratbert2k)? I’m not sure who we are supposed to refute his points for.

You know, I just can’t get too excited about the validity of the 97% agreement. If only 90%, 85.6% or 75% agree, that’s good enough for me. And if man made change is responsible for only 30% or 50% or whatever the change, that’s way too much and will lead the planet to disaster within a relatively short period. And climate change isn’t the only danger of continued and expanding use of fossil fuels. There are a lot of other byproducts of fossil fuels that are dangerous to the health and well-being of the animal and plant populations on this planet. Any short or long-term plans or policies that don’t support the eventual elimination of the use of fossil fuels need to be put on the shelf.

#1. Your buddy, the philosopher/scientist appears to have purposefully misled you and like-minded pro fossil-fuel enthusiasts. When he wrote “there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use.” That statement is true… BUT… Epstein presents that statement while implying that the report’s supporters are making what is his own fabricated premise. Then he goes on to discredit his own made-up false argument… and you fall for it… because he is saying what you want to hear.

#2. More and more evidence is piling up that supports the facts, and those facts are starting to make a difference in our lives. The main worry I have is that the delay (latency) that is inherent in the cause-and-effect cycle of the thing swings in the favor of climate deniers who insist on a “show-me” scenario. That natural human tendency for physical proof beyond a reasonable doubt could prove to be the demise of life on earth.