Argument from gut (argumentum ad gastrum)

Good old Gribbit is at it again, railing against the idea of climate change and invoking his obligatory far-less-than-clever insults (e.g., “Church of Global Warming Idiots”).
One thing you notice about these scientifically illiterate, anger-driven ideologues–none of whom have any inherent issue with the idea of global warming, hating it only because they view it as a wholly liberal cause–is that when they’re not referencing pseudoscience or long-debunked myths, they’re arguing from the simple position of “Because I say so.”
I mean this (almost) literally. Check out this post (Gribbit has blocked incoming links from this site because he doesn’t want to know when he’s being lit up again, so you’ll have to right-click, copy, and paste into your address bar rather than click directly). Look how many times Gribbit tries to bolster his case with hollow bluster: He’s got an “All I’ve claimed is that man had very little to do with [global warming],” an “I assert that man’s contribution is insignificant,” and several other statements that reference nothing more than a personal belief system.
As is almost always the case with morons, the article Gribbit links to doesn’t say what Gribbit thinks it does. The researchers who did the study it references are not claiming that anthropogenic climate change is nonexistent; the study is nothing more than an effort to determine natural cycles. Like too many simpletons, Gribbit sees no shades of gray in anything. So he sees climate change as being all-human generated or all-naturally occurring–and hilariously, posits that Al Gore and climate scientists do as well.
Gribbit and others typically mention what a small fraction of the atmosphere actually consists of carbon dioxide by way of “proving” that carbon dioxide introduced into the atmosphere by human industry can’t possibly make a difference, to wit:

CO2 is a minority greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. THE MOST ABUNDANT GREENHOUSE GAS IN THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE IS WATER VAPOR. But I don’t hear Gore or any of his minions suggesting the asinine idea of draining the world’s oceans.

Never mind the fact that it’s added CO2, not the total amount, that is believed to have an impact. My body consists of about 45 kilograms of water, but I bet that if I ingested one one-billionth that amount of botulinum toxin or plutonium, it would disrupt my internal homeostasis more than a couple more kilograms of water would. That’s a less-than-perfect analogy, but hearkens to the fact that not all chemicals–even those labeled “greenhouse gases”–are created equal in terms of their net effect on their environment. Anyway, a genuine debunking of this meme is here.
Then there’s this stubborn canard:

Seeing how the earth has failed to warm since 1997, their statement about the shift occurring about the year 2000 seems to confirm what we’ve been saying.

The whole idea that the planet has been cooling since 1997 (actually, 1998 is the year normally used) is another crock. 1998 was an El Nino year, and is the warmest on record. But the fact remains that the planet as a whole has continued to warm. Of course, you can trust Gribbit’s word over that of New Scientist if you like.
Watching people who have no understanding at all of earth science–and no interest in an honest understanding–try to argue against climate change is really no different than watching a six-year-old jeer at the girls in his kindergarten class because they have “cooties.” In other words, it’s so unsophisticated it is almost quaint. although when adults are the ones doing the jabbering it’s mostly pathetic, and annoying.

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  1. #1 by _Arthur on March 18, 2009 - 7:25 pm

    The New Scientist tells me Darwin is wrong, and I believe it.

  2. #2 by eNeMeE on March 18, 2009 - 8:24 pm

    “(Gribbit has blocked incoming links from this site because he doesn’t want to know when he’s being lit up again, so you’ll have to right-click, copy, and paste into your address bar rather than click directly)”
    Or just click the link then hit enter in the address bar. Not worth the brain cells I lost reading the material contained in the link, though.

  3. #3 by eNeMeE on March 18, 2009 - 8:24 pm

    “(Gribbit has blocked incoming links from this site because he doesn’t want to know when he’s being lit up again, so you’ll have to right-click, copy, and paste into your address bar rather than click directly)”
    Or just click the link then hit enter in the address bar. Not worth the brain cells I lost reading the material contained in the link, though.

  4. #4 by humorix on March 19, 2009 - 4:31 am

    I think that to bring a credible answer on the trade of the worldwide temperature, it is enough to ask has how much is negotiated the hectare of earth in Canada or in Africa. And if it is going down or in increase. And to what the food investments go.

  5. #5 by Sam C on March 19, 2009 - 5:05 am

    What is the thing about producing cod latin forms for any style of debate which merely highlight the coiner’s illiteracy with Latin?
    ad is a preposition meaning “to” or “towards” or “against” (but not quite our usual English sense of “against”). ad never means “from”.
    “from” is more likely to be rendered as a or ab (they’re the same word, but the ab form is used when more mellifluous, like a/an in English). Or ex if it “from” more in the sense of “out of”. Both take the ablative case for the following noun.
    I never encountered the word gastrum in the little Latin I read (yes, I know the English word gastric) but I suspect it means “the stomach” in a literal sense rather than what you want which is “guts”, which is viscera (whence we get our word visceral).
    The original ad hominem is correct (in argumentum ad hominem) – it means directed towards the man (rather than towards the topic of debate), so ad is appropriate.
    Your silly phrase would be understood by a Latin speaker (after some confusion) to indicate that your debater is avoiding the argument saying “my, don’t you have a pretty belly button?” or perhaps that they’re talking (and staring) at your stomach and ignoring your face.
    What you want, is probably argumentum ex visceribus, “an argument from the guts”, as viscera can convey that metaphorical sense. If you substitute a for ex, your sense changes to an idea that the guts themselves are doing the argument.
    The moral of this story (if anybody has got this far!) – why arse around with a language that you don’t understand rather than using plain good old English? Bad Latin looks ignorant, not clever. It looks as bad as pseudo-scientists talking about “quantum” stuff and “energy fields” just to add a gloss to their woo.

  6. #6 by Kevin Beck on March 19, 2009 - 5:54 am

    Sam,
    I appreciate your purism and obvious passion for linguistic accuracy, but believe it or not I have had five years of Latin, and even received something called the Kirby Flower Smith Book Award in college for “excellence in intermediate Latin.” I shit you not. (It was a long time ago, though.)
    Now, I admit I slipped up here by falling prey to convention (most of the Latin versions of logical fallacies do include an “an,” and not always appropriately).
    I actually debated what word I would use for “guts” and went with “gastrum” because I knew that people unfamiliar with Latin would get it. Fuck, give me some props for using the accusative case with “ad.”
    Had the post title been central to my point, my scholarship would have been better, or so I like to think.

  7. #7 by Ian Pattinson on March 19, 2009 - 9:16 am

    I’d forgotten I was banned from Gribbit’s world. His insight isn’t worth the minimal effort it would take to change my IP address and get round the block.
    Very early this morning, on the way back from a night out, I had an encounter that reminded me of Grib and his ilk. A scruffy, unshaven and very drunk man took the seat in front of me on the bus and demanded to know my age. He had the look of the loon, so I humoured him hoping it would shut him up. It had the opposite effect. Based upon my age he jumped to the conclusion I was an academic (flattering for a drop out such as I) and labelled me a waste of space.
    He claimed to have been a major in the Paras and started pacing up and down the bus, repeating the waste of space accusation and lecturing me about how people had died for my right to be a waste of space. Or something. I didn’t exactly ignore him, just in case his violent rhetoric should change to actual violence, but I didn’t try to engage him in debate because that would have been pointless.
    In the end the bus driver threw him off a few stops before mine.
    If the drunk remembers the encounter, which is unlikely, it will be as him giving a waste of space academic a deserved dressing down before being unreasonably ejected from the bus. Gribbit and the like are the drunks on the bus, but at least it’s only virtual so you don’t have to put up with the drizzle of spittle as they foam at the mouth.

  8. #8 by Ian Pattinson on March 19, 2009 - 9:16 am

    I’d forgotten I was banned from Gribbit’s world. His insight isn’t worth the minimal effort it would take to change my IP address and get round the block.
    Very early this morning, on the way back from a night out, I had an encounter that reminded me of Grib and his ilk. A scruffy, unshaven and very drunk man took the seat in front of me on the bus and demanded to know my age. He had the look of the loon, so I humoured him hoping it would shut him up. It had the opposite effect. Based upon my age he jumped to the conclusion I was an academic (flattering for a drop out such as I) and labelled me a waste of space.
    He claimed to have been a major in the Paras and started pacing up and down the bus, repeating the waste of space accusation and lecturing me about how people had died for my right to be a waste of space. Or something. I didn’t exactly ignore him, just in case his violent rhetoric should change to actual violence, but I didn’t try to engage him in debate because that would have been pointless.
    In the end the bus driver threw him off a few stops before mine.
    If the drunk remembers the encounter, which is unlikely, it will be as him giving a waste of space academic a deserved dressing down before being unreasonably ejected from the bus. Gribbit and the like are the drunks on the bus, but at least it’s only virtual so you don’t have to put up with the drizzle of spittle as they foam at the mouth.

  9. #9 by felgi chromowane on March 19, 2009 - 10:06 am

    I think this is the best chose. I like it.

  10. #10 by felgi chromowane on March 19, 2009 - 10:06 am

    I think this is the best chose. I like it.

  11. #11 by Art on March 19, 2009 - 10:08 am

    I have noticed that most of the denialist stands and conspiracy theories are rooted in some immediately obvious event signal or cause that they feel, at an entirely visceral level, didn’t do what they expected.
    The climate, from an entirely gut level estimation, has stayed the same or, possibly, gotten colder. the later part gaining credibility in their eyes because it is winter, and cold. Saying otherwise is assumed to be both an insult to their abilities and an underhanded test that seeks to undermine their self-confidence.
    911 violated a lot of assumptions so it, therefore, must be a lie. Everyone knows we have a mighty air force protecting our shores, and besides, the idea 19 guys with box cutters cold cause all that is, on its face, ridiculous. And then the buildings didn’t fall down like a tree pivoting at the bottom like they do in Godzilla movies when he stomps Tokyo. They fell down like they do in a controlled demolition. Never mind that buildings are almost impossible to push over or that gravity and design both conspire to make cascade collapse the most likely failure mode.
    Chemtrails and the related conspiracy theories are centered on the fact someone looked up and saw a plane creating a contrail. Which, by their estimation looked like a plane spraying something and it seemed to stay around longer than they thought it should.
    The anti-vaccination movement is centered on the fact we really don’t know much about autism and the fact that the first the first clear signals of the disease happen to coincide with when a kid gets vaccinated.
    In each case the assumption of what is right and real has been made on the basis of someone with minimal education, no technical expertise, seeing or hearing something for the first time, and drawing conclusions based on a full ten seconds of honest contemplation. Then, once the call has been made considering the discussion over and refusing to consider any inputs that do not coincide with their beliefs.
    They have made the call and will not revisit the question for any reason but reiteration and reinforcement of their original gut level decision.
    Many of them see this as manly and decisive. A virtue. Reconsidering or having to deal with nuance and taking time to come up with an answer is seen as effete, wishy-washy, unmanly. Real men know right from wrong. Testicular level knowledge is swift, sure and metaphysically right.

  12. #12 by Kevin Beck on March 19, 2009 - 10:24 am

    “I think this is the best chose. I like it.”
    Gee, thanks, felgi.
    Comment spammers are about the only blog contributors who can give fundies a run for their money when it comes to illiteracy, although the spammers typically have the excuse of being based overseas.

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