The Spirit of Inquiry

Do this, please. And please spread this video around.


  1. Some thought-provoking suggestions but I find it hard to reconcile much of what she recommends with the reality of debate, on climate change in particular.

    She talks of visualising the debate as a collaboration, where we are trying together to reach the truth. Does this remain helpful when there is no possibility of such collaboration? Of course I have to have reached the conclusion that there is no possibility of such a collaboration for ths to be an objection, but I think it's fair to say that I often have reached that conclusion and that I'm justified in doing so.

    She also talks of the value of conceding a point, of 'banking' this sign of good faith. I concede that this is worth doing, and often hard to do. However, a form of argument that seems to dominate the climate debates relies on such exaggerated accusations that you are forced into defending where you would normally be conceding (e.g. Gore, or, more topically, Gleick). Concessions that are made have little bankable value, which is not to say that they sholdn't be made, just that they are rarely even noticed.

    I do like what she says, but am I wrong to think that it's rare that we get the opportunity to debate in circumstances where much of this is relevant?

  2. I've tried to discuss with one friend (possibly ex-friend now, because of this climate stuff!) and it's made me wonder whether you're right, OPatrick. Our frames of reference are so different, there's just been a complete failure to find common points of discussion. There should be common ground to be found: I know neither of us are trying to deliberately wrong-foot the other. I do, however, feel like we don't talk to each other on the interwebs the same way we would in person. I worry that the interwebs naturally turns it into combat when it should be collaboration.

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