I have been actively engaged on social media for the last year, challenging climate alarmism and forced energy transformation. My opponents begin with a particular argument on climate science to which I respond with a different view. (For example, here at MasterResource, I promote the benefits of CO2 fertilization from the peer-review literature summarized by Craig Idso.)
As we go back and forth, inevitably the ‘argument from authority’ is resorted to. For example:
But the IPCC reports are compiled from the work of hundreds of independent scientist’s peer reviewed works. The views your organisation are expressing are not. In effect you/your organisation is the one playing politics and spreading misinformation that doesn’t stand up to peer review.
Then, when I rebut the shortcomings of the peer review process and how our side has opted out (‘Atlas Shrugged’), my critics then go ad hominem. One Philip Huerter goes so far to state:
A man cannot know what getting paid requires him not to. As an oil man, you would have no reason to support anything else besides oil.
Wrong and inappropriate on a number of grounds. First, ad hominem. How is that persuasive?
Second, incorrect. I am a classical liberal who argues the moral and practical case for private property, voluntary exchange, the rule of law, and civil society.
I am thus pro-freedom, pro-consumer, pro (free-market) entrepreneur, and pro-taxpayer. And that gets one right to the energies of choice: dense, reliable, affordable mineral energies.
I guess you could say I am a ‘free market energy man’. The causality goes from belief to positions, with funding what-might-come. Been doing this for decades.
He did not respond, but there will be future repeats that I can link this piece to (a reason for writing it up).
Another common retort from my critics is to quote Wiki on the Institute for Energy Research:
IER is often described as a front group for the fossil fuel industry. It was initially formed by Charles Koch, receives donations from many large companies like Exxon, and publishes a stream of reports and position papers opposing any efforts to control greenhouse gasses.
To which I respond that IER is a classical liberal think tank with literally thousands of financial supporters. I add that Wiki is wrong on the facts and link to my rebuttal here.
So why do I engage on LinkedIn and go through the same routine with my opponents who go from the issue to ad hominem to … even ugliness?
The answer is that there are many open-minded folk who are following the exchange. They respect politeness and humility. The alarmists are often angry with controlling personalities who want to reorder society to their specifications. And this unfortunate trait comes out in public.