“But Evidence”

Asking for evidence looks easier than it seems.


There is no convincing evidence that carbon dioxide causes temperature warming beyond natural cyclical limits long observed and recorded.


What hard evidence should convince a rational person that the weather and/or climate are any worse now than 10, 100, or 1,000 years ago?


Objections and Replies

Gimme. Gimme evidence of AGW
☞ Here you go: climate.nasa.gov/evidence.

Harm. Give me evidence that CO2 ever harmed—
Harm is a judgment, not an observation.

Future. Give me evidence that CO2 will harm—
We do not have evidence about the future.

Laboratory. Give me laboratory evidenceI’d welcome actual testable evidence and argument to the contrary.
Experiments give empirical results. You can use them as evidence for some other judgment, but only in an indirect way.

Metric. I’d welcome actual testable evidence and argument to —
☞ If you’re to ask me for a sammich, you should at the very least tell me what you want in it.

Real-Life. Give me real-life evidence—
As opposed to what? Srsly, I have no idea what you’re asking or why it would matter for the price of tea.


{Interpretation} Sometimes, different people see different things when they look at the evidence.

{Proof} Contrarians seldom ask for an engineer-level formal deduction, but sometimes they do. Such deduction does not exist in empirical sciences. Proofs belong to formal sciences.

{Sammich} The “give me” gives away that the square is about sammich request.

{Sealioning} Asking for evidence is the purest form of sealioning. Requesting evidence can be felicitous. It can also be a form of abuse. All depends on the relevance of the request. Is it related to a claim you committed? If not, let your opponent scratch their own itches.

{Theory} Evidence always trump theory. In theory, at least. The history of science is littered with contrary evidence.

Further Readings

2010-07. The Amazing Case of Back-Radiation.