My friends who advocate for increased beneficial use of nuclear energy often engage in discussions about techniques for responding to critics who frequently make up their arguments as the go along. We were taught in school that it is impolite and ineffective to engage in “ad hominem” attacks during a debate and to keep our comments focused on the arguments, not the person presenting them.
The above is a clip from the recent Australian Broadcasting Company documentary titled I Can Change Your Mind About … Climate that illustrates a discussion tactic worth thinking about. Instead of responding to arguments or engaging in a shouting match, Anna Rose employs silence. Her restraint in failing to rise to Mark Morano’s spew of nonsense seems quite troubling to Morano – he is apparently used to being able to get a rise out of people.
I would have a difficult time employing this technique myself. I’m not a formally trained debater; I am more of a “sharp elbows” kind of guy who believes that sometimes it is more effective to aim at the archer, not the arrows, especially when engaging with an opponent who does not allow a fact-depleted quiver to stop him from firing more sharp objects.
What do you think? Is pointed, calculated silence a response tactic worth considering?
On a related note, I was pleased to see that Southern California Edison has decided that Arnie Gundersen’s professional qualifications and credentials are topics worth discussing in light of his recently published “study” about their steam generators. That “report” was commissioned by the avowedly antinuclear group named Friends of the Earth – the same group where Amory Lovins cut his antinuclear teeth in the early 1970s. NEI Nuclear notes has some additional information about the topic of the report and Mr. Gundersen’s role in criticizing the industry that once employed him.
If you want to learn more about steam generators and about steam generator technology improvement programs, I highly recommend the following two articles from Atomic Power Review: