Humans are causing earth's climate to get warmer.

No, they're not. The climate goes through natural cycles over time.

Human activity puts carbon into the atmosphere and that's affecting life on our planet.

No, it's not a problem. Or to the extent it is a problem, we'll find technological solutions.

The rainforest is being destroyed.

So what? The land that's cleared makes it possible to raise more food for people -- beef cattle, wheat, and so forth.

But that causes species to become extinct.

Spare me the sad music. Yes, some species are becoming extinct. That's a natural process. Species have always come and gone.

... and on it goes.

I wonder if an aspect of the debate and seeming inability of the debaters to find common ground might be different starting assumptions. Here's one: "Growth is always a good thing. We have to grow our economy and culture and value and wealth and worth. More and bigger is always better. More technology, more money, more food, more of the things we want."

Here's another: "Unlimited growth cannot be sustained indefinitely. The well-being of the system as a whole depends upon being in balance. Not too much of this, not too much of that. If we don't limit ourselves, eventually reality will do it for us."

Starting from different assumptions, the same evidence may be interpreted in wildly different ways.

In considering the various on-going debates, it might be most productive for each of the debaters to examine their own assumptions and consider how their assumptions drive them. It seems to me unlikely that this will happen, however. It seems much more in keeping with human nature for each debater to assume certainty and plow ahead, seek to devastate their opposition with clever, compelling arguments. So much for saving the planet and making peace.

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