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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Munk Debates done - UPDATE

I just finished watching and listening to the Munk Debate. The poll results are still coming in, so the numbers are continually changing, but it looks like the pro side got a higher precentange, and the best debaters were rated as Monbiot, Lomborg, Lawson and May, in that order.*

My thoughts on the debate itself:  I can't say I was satisfied with it, but then, I'm not happy with the debate question in the first place, which was "Be it resolved that climate change is mankind's defining crisis, and demands commensurate response."  Personally, I would have prefered a debate on the science behind AGW/climate change.

Lawson wasn't particularly articulate, which was a bit disappointing.  Lomborg, as usual, was quite articulate.  He knows how to put his thoughts out understandably.  Monbiot did, too.  May was... well, her usual self.  There was a bit of a shouting match between her and Lomborg at one point.  Lomborg had cut her off to argue against something she had just said and the moderator had to shut them both down and give them a time out.  Lomborg sat down again, but May kept shouting, with that infamous finger pointing, long after her mic was shut off.

In general, the debate went over all right.  The moderator did his job and kept things going.  The speakers all went a little off topic.  I felt Lomborg kept things tightest on target.

What I found the most interesting, however, was the live discussion beside the screen.  There were several people commenting, plus people watching could send in comments, which may or may not get posted.  There was an obvious bias to the pro side going on!  A couple of commentors were constantly sending belittling remarks (did they really think climategate wouldn't be mentioned??) against Lawson and Lomborg.  Of the allowed viewer comments, if the ones I made where any example, they were extremely selective and biased as to what they allowed to be shown. Again, biased to the pro side.  There were a few people that I think were supposed to represent the balanced other view, but if they were, they didn't do a good job of it.

There were a number of claims made that I found questionable, such as May's data claiming catastrophic results if CO2 levels and temps were allowed to go any higher.  Monbiot told of a rather harrowing event in Kenya that he blamed on drought caused by global warming, which I find questionable to the extreme.  The assumption would be that, if there were no drought, people wouldn't take AK47's and murder entire villages.  Who knew that ending atrocities was as simple as controling the earth's temperature? :-/

Lomborg was very clear that he believed that climate change is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but that there are other things that would more useful to attend to first, like food scarcity, education for girls, etc.  Lawson, I'm afraid, I couldn't make out very well.  I have trouble hearing words that aren't articulated clearly (there's even a name for it, I've found out - Auditory Processing Disorder), and I'm afraid most of what he said, my brain heard as little more than gibberish.  I literally could not hear what he was saying (I had the same problem, though not as severely, when May spoke).  I'm going to have to see if there's a transcript later on.

* regarding the poll numbers, they stopped collecting them very quickly - and I noticed that it was stopped when the pro side was at a higher, rather than lower, point (it was fluctuating from about 63% to 74% pro).  At closing, it's at 72% pro, 27% con.  Interestingly, the running tally under the player reads 59% pro, 41% con.

I'll probably post more on this later, but I need to get off the computer.

UPDATE: Okay, something is fishy here.  I went back to the Munk Debate site to look something up and noticed the running tally votes have changed.  Now they read:
Pro: 922 votes (60%)  Con: 612 votes (40%)

At the end of the debate, when I originally posted, it had read:
Pro: 680 votes (59%) Con: 470 votes (41%)

Is the vote is still open (since I voted during the debate, I can't see if it is or isn't)?  It was strange enough that the running tally was accepting votes before the debate even started, but they're still taking votes while the debate is long over?


  1. toryninja1:37 AM

    Well, those new statistics show a 9-10% decrease in the Pro side which is a BIG decline. But your first update says that the pro side went up 3%. I find that very weird.

  2. Anonymous10:15 AM

    if you look ay who munkdebate follow on twitter - they are all almost exclusively on the PRO side - very damning bias there.

  3. Well, I've gone back today and on the front page, it now reads:

    PRO: 61% CON: 39%

    PRO: 56% CON 44%

    votes cast: 1,050
    ...on the main page.

    When I go to the livestream page, the running tally now reads:

    PRO: 973 votes (60%)
    CON: 654 votes (40%)

    So the numbers have still changed from when I last looked at them before turning in for the night. Perhaps now it's the final count?

  4. Anon: I don't have a twitter account, and don't plan to get one, so I can't see the link. I think I've seen the list posted on the Munk facebook page, though.


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