Today is all about Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump, but a possibly even more interesting meeting of the minds has seemingly been locked in between a federal senator and Australia's most beloved scientist.
One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts came into parliament as a loud and proud sceptic of climate science. This week he presented a report he had compiled, claiming that the CSIRO had not done due diligence on the climate data it used. He has been vocal on Twitter since, challenging critics and spruiking upcoming public events that some of his climate sceptic supporters will be hosting. On Tuesday night, he tweeted this:
Climate Seminar— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) November 8, 2016
TIM BALL: 95% of greenhouse gases is water vapour
Then Dr Karl popped up to reply.
Less than one hundredth of 1% of your body weight is an "effective" dose of antibiotics or arsenic - very small, but very powerful. https://t.co/5U5KENuT9L— Dr Karl (@DoctorKarl) November 8, 2016
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is arguably Australia's most recognisable scientist; a regular commentator and panellist on television, with regular slots on radio including Triple J, and a published author with a whole swag of successful books, he has built a career out of making science accessible and fun for Australians. He seemed unwilling to let Roberts' climate scepticism go unchallenged.
Roberts then challenged Dr Karl to a debate.
.@doctorkarl And irrelevant.— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) November 8, 2016
Would you like a public debate on climate science?
He initially hesitated.
How about a private conversation, just you and me? https://t.co/VFRFypwWst— Dr Karl (@DoctorKarl) November 8, 2016
Then entertained the idea.
Public debate? Mmm. Most debates are about scoring points, not accuracy. Can we do it in a way that allows verifiable facts to predominate? https://t.co/VFRFypwWst— Dr Karl (@DoctorKarl) November 8, 2016
And then, suddenly, just 50 minutes after Roberts first floated the idea, the debate was seemingly locked in.
Sure, can you ring my office at the Uni of Sydney tomorrow? Let's get the ball rolling on this Debate. And now, to bed. Night all. https://t.co/pNjSSdwtXe— Dr Karl (@DoctorKarl) November 8, 2016
Roberts snapped it up, and then put out the question to his own followers on how the debate should go.
Thanks @doctorkarl Speak tomorrow— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) November 8, 2016
What would be an open and transparent way in which @DoctorKarl and I could debate climate science?— Sen. Malcolm Roberts (@SenatorMRoberts) November 8, 2016
Of course, some responses weren't exactly what he was looking for....
No word yet on when exactly this debate will be happening, but it's not the first time Roberts has challenged a well-known scientist. On Q&A, Roberts took on Professor Brian Cox live on air, but Cox came prepared:
Roberts also took on Australia's chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, during a Senate estimates hearing. Roberts asked why he believed that carbon dioxide affected climate. Finkel gave a pretty clear explanation.
We'll let you know when we hear more about this Roberts vs Kruszelnicki debate is on.