Monday, May 29, 2006

I call it propaganda

Because that's what this is. All three videos are factually challenged (also see here), but the "Energy" video is laughably bad. If one didn't know better, you might think you were watching one of those parodies of 1950s propaganda.

"CO2: They call it pollution, we call it life."

They can call it life all they like, but that wouldn't change the fact that elevated concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere contribute to global warming, which could potentially threaten life. As Jon Henke points out, water is also essential to life, but one would not say that a flood is equivolently essential to life.

This is of course the point, CEI does not want you to deliberate on the issue at hand because the facts of the matter are not in their favor, so they instead create a preposterous scenario by suggesting global warming proponents intend to eliminate CO2 .

Update: Reading this Washington Post article linked to at Think Progress, I came across another doozy from CEI's president, Fred Smith:

"Wilderness is the least natural part of this planet."

What Smith is trying to say is that the "natural" order of the Earth is for man to change and manipulate the environment, but even were that the case, it does not entail the conclusion that wilderness is the least natural part of the Earth. Smith's statement is non sequitur, actually. It is possible for wilderness to be natural even if it is natural for man to destroy it.

Smith means to say that it is unnatural for the environment to not be manipulated by man, but Smith is also falling into the is/ought fallacy. What is the case is not necessarily what ought to be the case. If it is the case that man has traditionally changed and manipulated his environment that does not mean it necessarily follows that it ought to be the case. We can assume Smith's premises to be true and his argument would still not be valid.

The Think Progress entry also contains another logically challenged statement. Dismissing Gore's environmental views, meteorologist Bill Gray stated, "Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews." The error of this is quickly illlustrated by the following sentence: Gore believed 2 + 2 = 4 almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews.

Gray's statement is rhetorical, but not logical. He means to say that like Hitler, Gore believes a proposition ardently despite that proposition being false, yet what he actually said only compares levels of belief, not the truth values of the respective beliefs.


Alex Horovitz said...

I'm not sure I see the is/ought fallacy in play with respect to the environment. The nature of interaction is that by definition we cannot be in an environment without manipulating it. While you or I might not agree with the necessity of each and every manipulation, the sum of manipulations is exactly what were needed to achieve the success we have had to this point as a species. This is not to say that we might not be doomed, it is simply a recognition of how far we have come in terms of our population and our ability to sustain ourselves over the short run.

Hume's Ghost said...

The fallacy is in assuming that because we have manipulated the environment that any future manipulations are automatically justified, that they ought to be the case.