Just like boxing and fight club, rules are handy to have and would be handy in bullshit debates. These are informal debates conducted with information off the top of one’s head without taking time to consult google. For example,
Proposition: “If a significant % of the citizens of countries that did not sign the Kyoto Treaty became vegetarians, maybe they could offset their carbon enough to make up for the obligations they would have had under the treaty.” The reasoning is that animal husbandry and the energy used to enable it put a lot of carbon and other green house gasses into the atmosphere.
My BS retort, was, “Well, in most poor and middle income countries, omnivores aren’t eating a lot of meat cause they can’t afford it.” (Not saying that it was a bad idea, just saying the magnitudes sound off)
Response, “That’s interesting but irrelevant”
So trying to be polite, I say “Well, maybe I’m not following because I don’t know who didn’t sign on with Kyoto”
Google says, everyone in the world except the US, Australia and Kazakhastan have signed on. The third world countries have signed on, but don’t have to follow the rules, namely India, China, Brazil, so my remark was entirely relevant. If we exclude India, China and Brazil, then really we are speculating if the US could offset it’s carbon by not eating cows or so many of them. Again, it’s a good idea, but the magnitudes sound off. Could India, China and Brazil offset their carbon by becoming vegetarians? Well Indians are mostly vegetarians, many Chinese and Brazilians are ‘economic’ vegetarians, meaning they put meat into everything, but can’t afford a lot of it. Giving up what little meat they currently eat probably wouldn’t offset the new coal burning electric plants being built there– but I’m doing BS estimates.
Maybe if BS contests were to be resolved by arm wrestling at conversational impasses, or if each participant is allowed to make up one fact on the spot.