29 February 2012

More Bad Arguments from Environmentalists

First off, this is a false dichotomy.  It doesn’t matter which theory makes more sense, as it is entirely possible that neither theory accurately describes reality.

In the second place, environmentalism isn’t exactly hurting for money (just ask Al Gore!).  The amount of money that gets poured into researching global warming is pretty massive.  The federal government has handed out at least $50 billion to global warming research  since 1997.  From what I can gather (and this is by no means conclusive), it appears that pro-warming researchers have received more than twice as much as skeptics (counting all sources of funding, not just the federal government).  Thus, presenting the issue as “poor, honest scientists” being pitted against “big (profitable) oil” is simply dishonest, and there is no excuse for it.

In the third place, massive conspiracy is both misleading and accurate.  If the East Anglia scandal is any indication, there certainly have been some global warming apologists that have conspired to mislead.  On the other hand, it doesn’t appear that there is a massive conspiracy as much as there is simple correlation of interests, which is mostly a case of self-selection.  So it’s not so much that the apparently vast majority of environmental scientists are all secretly colluding with one another as much as they have coinciding interests and are thus acting together.

In the fourth place, the implication of intentions is irrelevant.  It seems likely that most global warming apologists are well-intentioned, albeit ignorant, illogical, and not given to introspection.  Thus, they don’t intend to destroy the global economy.  Unfortunately, that will certainly be what happens if they have their way in setting environmental policy.  And so, their intentions are irrelevant; drawing attention to them is a false flag.

In all, this amusingly illogical and counterfactual “infographic” feels more like a piece of propaganda than a legitimate argument.  And if the greens are resorting to propaganda, you can bet the movement is on its last legs.


  1. This is what we get when we resort to letting kids read graphic novels instead of parsing actual English sentences to derive meaning from them.

    This infographic would be a valuable classroom tool, actually. Not so much as a means to discuss the pros/cons of the climate change debate, but to point out logical fallacies and the ways and means of propaganda. Thanks for sharing.

  2. @Cranberry- Don't knock graphic novels; some of them are actually decent reads. The real failure is that no one is taught formal logic anymore (or English, apparently).

  3. Some of them are, I agree. There are some adaptations of Shakespeare I used with kids with very low (like 5th grade level at age 17) reading comprehension. But more and more often, they are being used in the regular curriculum instead of traditional books to teach literature and reading skills. It didn't work for me.

    I did enjoy Watchmen immensely, and Sin City before it was a pretty decent film.

  4. As was described in "1984", if you can control the language by removing complex words and sentence structures, you can prevent even the thought of rebellion. People won't be able to form those thoughts because they won't have the language to do it.

  5. @Cranberry- I'm glad to hear you're an Alan Moore fan. I found both Watchmen and Sin City to be enjoyable (especially the latter's film version).

    @Prof. Hale- that's probably what's happening now. Most people don't seem to be good at thinking or reading, and so they often say and write things that simply make no sense once you take a few minutes to actually consider the implications of their assertions.