“But Semantics”

What do words mean exactly?

Examples

Objections and Replies

Acidification.

Agreement. Evidence is relevant only given an agreed-upon definition of—
☞ It’s the other way around: we agree on chairs by looking at specifics.

Backradiation.

Contrarian. Audits aren’t contrarian, it’s science—
☞ Contrarians can help improve science, in fact they often do.

Control knob. CO2 cannot be meaningfully called the “control knob”—
☞ According to Bill, Without greenhouse gases, Earth would be a lifeless snowball with all water frozen. How’s that for a control knob?

Dictionary. Here is the definition from my favorite on-line dictionary—
☞ Dictionaries are useful to track common usage, not technical terms.

Global Warming.

Greenhouse. To speak of greenhouse is a misnomer—
☞ Quite right: it should be called the Tyndall Gas Effect, or better yet the Foote effect.

Notes

{} Better. We don’t need a definition of contrarian, only better contrarians.

{} Cases. Whoever plays definition games needs to find cases.

{} Cf. Every single square involve concepts over which one can quibble.

{} Interaction. The point of these games should be to interact, not to distract.

{} Machines. Machine learning disproves the idea that we need definitions first.

{} Parsomatics.

{} Socrates. Asking for definitions is as old as Plato. It’s boring. Don’t fall for it.

{} Wordology. See #ButWordChange for concerns about word choices.

Resources

Further Readings

2019-11. Contrarian Models.

2004-12. Imprecision of the Phrase “Global Warming”