In discussing Global Warming Alarmism (GWA), I have begun to see a pattern of evasion emerge among GWA proponents. It is an alarming (pun intended) anti-reason, anti-intellectual tactic that is often engaged in by those in the majority position of an argument. These tools for evading reasoned discussion are the logical fallacies of fait accompli and false analogy.
1. Fait accompli
This French phrase is used to represent “an accomplished, presumably irreversible deed or fact.” The way this is used as a logical fallacy is to say that everyone who matters agrees on one position – “it’s already settled among smart people” goes the rhetoric.
Any significant objection from people who obviously DO matter (like fellow scientists, or those who formerly held the favored position) is rejected as spurious and marginal. Any new or controversial data coming from dissenters is not addressed directly, but rejected out of hand as from insignificant sources with personal axes to grind (another typical evasion , ad hominem)
2. False Analogy
The second fallacy commonly used by the arrogant, unreasoning majority is a specious comparison to something that really is established – phrases such as “evolution is as proven as gravity” are often used. Or in the case of global warming, “the link between human CO2 and global warming is as sure as the link between smoking and lung cancer.”
When the majority refuses to engage in reasoned discussion when its talking points are threatened by new or contradictory data, it is now involved in the political battle to maintain the status quo, rather than science and reason. If it spews out canned answers which have been countered, and it refuses to address the counter arguments, it has ceased being responsible and reasonable. It has become committed to a specific ideology, not reason, science, and truth.
Both of these logical fallacies could be considered an appeal to authority rather than reason, just like the religionist who says “the inerrant bible says so” – GWA’s say “the inerrant scientific consensus says so” – even while the consensus is being challenged by many well-credentialed scientists who USED to be GWAs – they didn’t change for personal gain, but often at significant personal loss, because they were scientists who looked at the data without the bias of eco-fear alarmism.
Welcome to modern eco-politics. It’s going to be a long, hot summer. But GWAs already knew that ;)