Monckton vs Denniss Press Club Debate

Currently watching the debate. Monckton is more entertaining. Questions about his status as a Lord. Denniss is solid too. Generous applause for both. Good to see.

Gillard: “Coal mining has a great future in this country.” She is so unconvincing. The liar label has stuck.

Monckton played the three characteristics of persuasion: Pathos (emotion), logos (reasoning), and ethos (character)–for persuasion, these three; but the greatest of these (according to Aristotle at least) is ethos.

I would say Denniss ranked lower on all of these, mainly because he used them less, not because they were of lower quality. I doubt Monckton would be regarded as Jean’s fair umpire though:

This raises the hope that some of our bitter public disputes over science might be resolved, if only we could find the right messenger; a scientist whose conspicuous dignity, integrity and authority would make him (or her) trusted by all sides in the dispute.

UPDATE: See JoNova for insights by people present.

Overall Monckton won the debate, made his point, referred to the literature, while Denniss spent some time belittling the skeptics on being economic Sceptics as well, admonshing us for not criticizing the Liberal direct action policy.

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0 thoughts on “Monckton vs Denniss Press Club Debate

  1. I listened to the debate.
    Monckton had facts and figures at his finger tips, all of which are easliy confirmed by referring to scientific publications. He correctly pointed out that consensus is not a scientific method, and there certainly isn’t scientific consensus about catastrophic global warming. He also pointed out that there is scientific evidence that doubling CO2 (which isn’t a pollutant) could eventually increase temperature by about 1 degC, the combination of which would accelerate plant growth.
    Denniss offered motherhood statements about insurance, and believing the scientists, but had no real substance. The questions asked revealed a lack of understanding of the science by the press, and reinforced Monckton’s point that the media needs to get out and do their homework, rather than just follow the popular line.

    Overall, we need a lot more debate like this at a scientific level to increase our (and our politician’s) understanding, before we plunge ahead with things like a carbon tax. People are dying of hunger, while politicians throw our money at their
    useless projects.

    • Very fair summary.  Denniss did not respond to the peer-reviewed economic argument that the cost of doing nothing is a lot less than the cost of doing something, particularly a tax.  As an economist, the taking out insurance argument came across as very lame.  

      • Yes – he was very strong about CO2 not being a pollutant. I checked, and found that the Australian Government doesn’t list it on its register. Gillard needs to drop this term and talk about CO2 emissions instead.

    • I don’t think Denniss did himself any favors by arguing that should trust experts like doctors (unquestionably?), and that people who seek herbal cures are adolescent or immature. I thought, well a lot of people do seek herbal cures and don’t trust doctors, so calling them names is not going to win the argument. It speaks of a high level of condescension that he would put it that way.

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