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Blogs - Clock - Anatomy of a "Debate" With a Global Warming Denier and 9/11 Truther (Part I).

Author: Clock (Show other entries)
Date: Jun 28, 2013 at 15:03

Written by Muertos

So, most people who know me know that I really hate conspiracy theories. I mean, I really hate them, to the point where I feel morally compelled to argue with them on the 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 chance that I might actually be able to change their minds. (Contrary to popular belief, it does happen--many prominent debunkers are former conspiracy theorists who realized the idiocy of their beliefs and turned their attention to arguing the other side). But when you get into the conspiracy debunking business you are bound to encounter some truly remarkable people. I encountered one such person this morning on Twitter, and it turned into one of the more entertaining exchanges I've had with the conspiracy crowd in quite a while. I thought I would post about it just to show you an amusing example of just how far out there conspiracy theorists really are, and how quickly they resort to their stock tired arguments about why the rest of us just don't get it.

This exchange was started by a re-tweet of a friend of mine, let's just call him "The Dude" (as in The Big Lebowski), who's one of my favorite posters on Twitter. So far as I can tell, The Dude is an outspoken Libertarian, which is fine, and he is as amused and appalled as I am by some of the crazier conspiracy theories out there, such as HAARP (supposedly a secret beam weapon that causes earthquakes). Evidently he does not believe in anthropogenic global warming, a subject we've disagreed on before in relatively good humor. He was the one who re-tweeted this, early this morning:

RT @[Name Withheld]:

man made global warming is a fraud look into it.

In Twitter parlance this is a "re-tweet," where essentially you re-broadcast something you want others to read for whatever reason (not necessarily expressing agreement). My anti-conspiracy instincts kicked in here, so I did an @ reply to both, also as a RT. {Clock Comment:The green represents the Theorists tweets.} (if it were not, only those people who follow me and who also follow The Dude would have seen it, with a simple statement:

RT @[The Dude] @[Name Withheld]:

man made global warming is a fraud look into it.

<-I have looked into it, and it's not a fraud.

[Name Withheld], who I'd never heard of before this exchange, who doesn't follow me and whom I don't follow, replied within a few minutes:

@muertos yes it is

Uh-oh. Sounding the call to battle! Well, I probably shouldn't have taken the bait, but I did. So, I did the first thing any good debunker does: ask what evidence the conspiracy theorist relies upon. This is a good move for a couple of reasons. First, it separates the men from the boys, so to speak; most of the lightweight CTs (conspiracy theorists) bug out at the mere mention of the word "evidence," and they won't be around for long. Second, the answer will tell you what kind of CT you're dealing with--whether they're an Alex Jones groupie, a tax protestor, an NWO/secret society believer, or (a rare breed) a non-conspiracist conservative who disagrees on global warming. Almost all CTs are Alex Jones fans, and Old Leatherlungs is a notorious source of lies and obfuscation on climate change as well as every other conspiracy theory under the sun, so I sort of begged the question in my reply:

@[Name Withheld]

@muertos yes it is [global warming a hoax]

<-What's your evidence for believing so? Hopefully not Alex Jones!

[Note: the way you will tell in this blog who's talking to who, is the person to whom it is addressed is referenced at the beginning of the tweet with an @ symbol.]

@muertos id love to hear you opposing thoughts and why it is not a fraud. It is a fraud seriously. Welcome to global government, wake up!

"Wake up!" is one of those phrases you hear a lot from CTs. It goes along with "sheeple," their favorite word for people who don't believe conspiracy theories. Both buzzwords play into the concept which is the very bedrock of conspiracist belief: that the majority of people are "asleep" or unaware of what's really going on, but they, the CTs, are enlightened enough to understand the true nature of the world, and altruistic enough to try to bring this "truth" to the rest of us. This is the classic roleplay of conspiracism: the valiant, picked-on, everyman (or woman) theorist who boldly refuses to accept government and media "disinformation" and is out there fighting the good fight against the dark forces who supposedly control the world. At the mention of the words "Wake up!" I knew I had a live one on the hook.

So, I replied with a barrage of links. You don't need to click them all but of course I encourage you to do so, especially if you're a global warming denier yourself; they're generally links to scientific peer-reviewed studies of climate change data, blogs and online articles by scientists explaining them in plain language for non-scientists, and numerous other examples of the overwhelming scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real and a urgent problem. Note specifically: not a single one of these links has anything to do with Al Gore. I also fashioned all of these as RT's, again so my followers could see them whether or not they were following the CT.

RT @[Name Withheld] "Where's the evidence for global warming?" Try here and here for starters...

RT @[Name Withheld] "Where's the evidence for global warming?" I suggest you look at this & this

RT @[Name Withheld] "Where's the evidence for global warming?" You should also read this and this

RT @[Name Withheld] "Where's the evidence for global warming?" Don't forget this and this

She replies:

@muertos no its not just Alex Jones its all the other evidence. Al Gore is full of shit and has NO scientific background

As usual whenever AGW deniers argue with debunkers, Al Gore is quickly trotted out and just as soon shot down. AGW deniers to a man (or woman) believe that Al Gore is the source of most climate change data--except when they believe that the East Anglia Climate Resource Unit is the source, for other reasons (see later on)--and attacking Al Gore's scientific credentials is usually a first step. Well, thanks, but Al Gore is not a scientist, he's a politician, and I don't think anyone would seriously maintain otherwise, so this is a silly objection.

@muertos ok first off FYI NASA is owned by the government and is a part of this scandal which is being confronted first off know ur facts

One of the links in my barrage did reference a NASA study, and NASA has been on the forefront (especially on Twitter) of combating AGW denial online. But note again the instinctive play to conspiracist orthodoxy. NASA, as part of the government, is evil and automatically distrusted. [Name Withheld] also brings the word "scandal" in--which is a clear telegraph that eventually she'll bring up the CRU emails--and ends with "know [yo]ur facts," another CT meme meant to establish the inherent superiority of her information.

@muertos i think there has been a lot more actual and factual scientific data collected since 2001. Look it up.

Yes, there has been, and all the scientific (not opinion) evidence collected since 2001 validates the conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change, whose 2001 report was one of my first links. The IPCC released a second report in 2007 confirming their initial conclusions. There has been no change in scientific consensus on AGW since 2001, and if anything it's gotten even more pronounced. What few peer-reviewed studies that have come out since 2001, such as the infamous 2007 paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner that claims (hilariously!) that global warming violates the second law of thermodynamics, have been roundly denounced as pseudoscience and quackery, and their perpetrators exposed as fronts paid by large corporate interests to desperately create the illusion that AGW is scientifically controversial. Gerlich and Tseuschner is a very dull topic, but if you want to read about why they're quacks, go to this link and knock yourself out.


Well, this certainly looks definitive! However, let's just take a couple of the names on this list at random and see how they pan out. Sourcewatch (, a watchdog website of AGW denial front groups, is a good place to check out the credentials of scientists who oppose AGW:

Robert M. Carter (claims AGW is not happening at all): not a climatologist; member of Australian think tank funding "research" to impeach IPCC conclusions.
Sallie Louise Baliunas (claims climate change is natural): astrophysicist funded by the Western Fuels Association, a consortium of coal industry leaders.
Tad Murty (claims AGW is a hoax): outspoken member of an organization called Friends of Science, an oil industry-funded group that was recently under investigation in Canada for electioneering without registering as a political lobby group.
Need I go on?


Whenever you argue with a CT, you know Ron Paul is going to come into it somewhere, as he's basically the only politician CTs like (although most of them have no idea of the 30-year history he has of hawking conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia in his infamous newsletters). This link is to an article pushing the "Oregon Petition," which was an online petition dating from 1998--yes, that's right, 1998, twelve years and two Presidential administrations ago--of "scientists" claiming to oppose AGW theories. Mind you, this was before the IPCC report, and since 1998 very few of the "scientists" whose names appear on the petition still support it, or are even verified to be scientists. The Oregon Petition is, quite simply, a fraud. Don't take my word for it. Collected debunkings of this ancient turd are here, but don't count on the infallible Representative Paul to tell his thousands (millions?) of gullible followers that what he's pushing is, from start to finish, a sham.

@muertos hmmm more and more evidence because 31,000 scientist are totally wrong right! Get a clue

The "31,000" number is right off Ron Paul's website, and refers to the Oregon Petition which I've already shown to be a fraud. Note again the use of "get a clue," as if I'm the one who's misinformed.

This argument has already turned into more entertainment than I ever hoped to have when I signed on to Twitter this morning, but it got better when I clicked on [Name Withheld]'s profile just to see what else she was talking about. In the "information" section of her profile she describes herself thusly, omitting irrelevant details:

"Bio... 911 Truth Activist, and I expose the N.W.O."

9/11 "Truth" is, of course, the so-called "movement" that wants to try to convince you the World Trade Center towers were destroyed by [fill in the blank--George Bush, Israeli intelligence, Larry Silverstein, the Illuminati, or all of the above] as a "false flag" operation to justify...well, exactly what I'm not sure, because the story changes all the time. Only the most lunatic of the lunatic fringe believes 9/11 "Truth," a movement whose leaders include serial wife-batterer Charlie Sheen, former trash TV host Rosie O'Donnell (who lost her show The View in part because she couldn't shut up about nutty conspiracy theories) and the infamous Steven Jones, who we'll get to in a minute. In case you know little of the conspiracist underground, "N.W.O." means "New World Order," supposedly the totalitarian society a shadowy group called "the Illuminati" is trying to imprison us in. Never mind the fact that the Illuminati, a secret society that never had much influence anyway, has been defunct since the 1780s. No, that doesn't stop CTs from insisting that we're this close to total world domination by...well, again, not sure who, though you can be reasonably certain George H.W. Bush has something to do with it, because he used the words "new world order" in a speech in 1991. We're really zooming off into nutbar territory here, but that's what we signed up for.

I'm not even including the link to [Name Withheld]'s Myspace page which was included in her bio. Let's just say it involves lots of American flag and Statue of Liberty graphics along with impassioned pleas to expose pedophiles in the White House among other shocking things, and contains video embeds of the infamous packed-with-lies conspiracist film Zeitgeist, which itself spawned another whole creepy subculture of paranoid nonsense. We won't go there.

There's more to the story. Stay tuned for the hilarious conclusion!

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