If there is one thing I am really bad at, it’s holding my own in a debate. Well, actually, singing and drawing should probably top the list, but debating would definitely make the top 10.
When talking to people on the opposite side of an issue I care a lot about, I get…upset. I get flustered and red-cheeked. I don’t like confrontation, and when people try to turn something I’ve mentioned into a debate I’m not prepared for, I freeze like a deer in headlights.
I’m not dumb or uninformed, but I guess I don’t consider myself “an expert” on any topic — even those topics that I know quite a lot about. But I think the biggest problem for me is that I refuse to spit out facts and figures that I’m not 100 percent sure are accurate.
I know a lot of people — and they tend to be the same ones who always want to argue — who will have read an article about something one time a month ago, and then tell you what they think they remember from the article as pure fact.
I don’t do that — I guess I’d rather look ignorant than be wrong. But there’s finally something out there for people like me! A new iPhone app from John Cook of the Skeptical Science website lets you use an iPhone to view a list of skeptic arguments as well as what the science says on each one.
The app includes rebuttals to 90 often-heard arguments from climate change skeptics — including “The climate’s changed before,” “Antarctica is gaining ice,” “It’s just a natural cycle” and (my favorite) “It’s the sun.”
I can’t tell you how many times this app would have saved the day. When someone says that man-made climate change isn’t really because the Earth has warmed and cooled before, I know that current climate change is a different phenomenon, but I wouldn’t have been able to recite from memory the reasons why. Now, I could just show them this.
Sure, I know that this app isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Nor would it change anyone’s mind if I could recite these rebuttals without having to look up the information. But it sure would be nice not to let the next loud climate change denier get away with it just because I can’t articulate an appropriate response.
Maybe for once I’ll get to look like the winner in an impromptu climate change debate.
Now all I need is an iPhone.