Friday, October 26, 2007

A Second Defense [UPDATED]

I originally posted a link to a speech by Michael Crichton on Global Warming, saying that it basically represented my view. I was excited to receive a comment from Fris, which I responded to. Fris replied to that response, and I here interact with that reply. He says
Fris spoke to Crichton's book The State of Fear as... Crichton's speech's position... is based on the same information.
Fair enough.
The review... is... an examination of the information... The point of the review is that Crichton has cherry picked facts... This is what the article's author Chris Mooney's question "but are they?", in response to The State of Fear's epigraph saying it's footnotes are real, was in reference to.

That Crichton uses facts provided by legitimate scientists out of context validates only his facility for spin.
This is a fair representation of the article's point. And it's true that Crichton pulls facts out of their contexts.

But the context of a fact doesn't have anything to do with whether the fact is true or false.

There are two components to an argument: its premises and its logic. If the premises are true and the reasoning is "valid", then the argument is "sound" and its conclusion is therefore true.

Since Crichton uses facts that are granted even by his opponents, we can generally accept them and move our attention to Crichton's reasoning.

If his facts are cherry picked and spun, it should be easy to demonstrate the fallacy in his argument. So why not do it?

A compelling criticism of Crichton's novel would have been an undermining defeater of his logical analysis of the facts, rather than a shameless red herring.

Another way to critique Crichton would be to present a rebutting defeater of his argument, by furnishing even stronger evidence for a conclusion that is contradictory to his.

The review attempts neither. It simply calls attention to the fact that Crichton's opponents, who provided Crichton's very premises, happen to maintain different conclusions. I am still in search of the reasons why they hold such positions. I already know that they do.
Fris cited... the REFERENCES in the "Literary significance and criticism" section of the Wikipedia entry... [which was] more efficient...
Fair enough. Honestly, I do not mean to be antagonistic - I'm sorry if I come off that way. I do appreciate interaction and I am thankful for commentary on my blog.
Fris mentioned his discussions with his science minded friends conversationally as one reason he is not himself a climate skeptic. He did not realize his anecdote would be treated as sworn testimony and cross examined. As Fris sipped his coffee and hunt and pecked his keyboard, he knew neither that he was trying to persuade or that hearsay wouldn't be accepted to that end. This is probably why he began his closing paragraph with, "My feeling is that...", and not "One must conclude that...".
Again, fair enough. I don't mean to drag Fris into an argument he does not intend to have himself dragged into. Again, I am genuinely thankful for the interaction.

I would like to provide the caveat that casual propagation of the major claims of the Global Warming theorists only serves to further convince the general public that there is reason to panic, direct major funding toward the mitigation of carbon emissions instead of toward the developing world, prevent the developing world from developing so that they don't "pollute" the atmosphere with carbon dioxide like us, purchase carbon credits that will likely line the pockets of the biggest carbon emitters in society, initiate unnecessary policies that will stifle the economy, split million dollar peace prizes with politicians who get criticized even by Global Warming theorists, and support such politicians whose campaigns are based on the speculated state of a world 3-9 degrees warmer 100 years from now (an issue they conveniently can't be proved wrong about in their lifetimes) instead of on major issues in the here and now.

Don't get me wrong, I hate real pollution. My wife and I recycle. A lot. The Virtuous Consumer is my wife's favorite book. We ride our bikes. We buy local, organic, and fair trade. But if a policy comes at a severe cost and it's based on a false belief, then we should say "no thank-you". I would be more than willing to fund and legislate up the wazoo to mitigate a genuine "looming catastrophe".

Lastly, I appreciate the link to Fris' friend's blog. I read every post on Global Warming, and it was very informational. The blog as a whole is pretty cool too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.