Tag Archives: logical fallacies

5 Big Reasons Why “Global Warming Is A Fact” Is A Lie

burningearthIs man-made global warming occurring? Despite what you may read or hear from the media, man-made global warming has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt. Here are five big reasons why:

1. Many experienced and credible scientists with good character do not believe that man-made global warming has been proved.

2. Proponents of man-made global warming claim that warming is a fact because of “consensus”; i.e they say that a majority of scientists agree that man-made global warming is happening. But consensus is a logical fallacy, and a sign of junk science. There have been numerous instances where a minority of scientists have ultimately been proven correct, regardless of the prevailing consensus of the day. Science is based on fact, not on a vote of scientists.

3. Proponents of man-made global warming, if they truly believed in their research and analysis, would welcome the views of skeptics, because only by such challenges does science eventually converge on the truth. Instead, many proponents of man-made global warming do not welcome criticism or skeptical inquiry, and instead wage personal attacks on the skeptics. (Personal attacks are an example of the “ad hominem” logical fallacy.)

4. Proponents of man-made global warming base their beliefs on data that cannot be replicated by other scientists.

5. Proponents of man-made global warming are continually adjusting the “models” they previously created and used for predicting today’s weather, when today’s weather is not what was predicted by their earlier models. And rather than admit failure, the proponents try to obscure that fact by making up excuses and continually tinkering with their models.

A couple of interesting and thorough overviews of the junk science underlying the proponents of global warming can be found here (both by Robert Wagner):

Global Warming ‘Science’; What Investors Need To Know, Don’t Just Trust The “Experts

Climate ‘Science’ Bombshell May Be Getting Ready To Burst

The following recent article is also of interest:

The game is up for climate change believers” by Charles Moore.

(Be sure to check the comments at the end of the article by Exton, “Word of the Environmentalist.”)

p.s. I’m finding less time to compose in-depth posts, so am trying to provide brief updates of interesting news bites through twitter, which you can follow here:

-Ed Walker


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A Pernicious Logical Fallacy: Government “Investment”

By teaching us to avoid emotional blockages and logical fallacies,
Engineering Thinking helps us make optimum decisions.

Today’s Principle: Comparative Analysis
Quick Summary: Intuition tells us that a decision that creates a desirable outcome is the best decision. This is not necessarily correct. To ensure the best decision, alternatives must be considered.

A Pernicious Logical Fallacy: Government “Investment”

Is the investment really a gain, or could it be a loss?

One of the most pernicious fallacies is the idea that because money was “invested” (spent) by the government, and some benefits were purportedly achieved, the benefits prove the worth of such expenditures. For example, President George Bush said, “My administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hydrogen fuel cells…” And more recently, President Obama has claimed that government investment is responsible for “…creating the Internet that allowed Microsoft and Google and Facebook to thrive.”

Assuming that these investments were worthwhile is a fallacy, because alternatives were not tried.

Claiming that government investments are good, without considering
alternatives, is like claiming a grade of D in school is good because
you never considered the possibility of anything better.

What would the outcome have been if the government did not spend those funds on the Internet or batteries or fuel cells? What if they had been spent elsewhere, or not spent at all? Because no alternatives were tried there is no basis for concluding that the investments were a success. Maybe some apparent good resulted, but it’s possible that even more good may have been achieved if the government had been completely uninvolved.

Because the government does not have competition, and typically does not set up alternative programs for comparison purposes, there is no way to know for sure whether or not a government expenditure was indeed wise. However, there is a way to make an educated guess: look at the track record.

The federal government has spent, and continues to spend, billions of taxpayer dollars on science and health research, space exploration, alternative energy, and many, many other endeavors. An investment, by definition, is supposed to provide a return. But have you, the taxpayer, ever received a check back from the IRS, for example, and been told that the investment of your tax dollars in NASA has resulted in a profit, and here’s your share?

Well then, how about indirect benefits? Has cancer been cured? Are there no more homeless on the streets? Have the ghettos been eradicated? Have our immigration problems been solved? Has the “War On Drugs” been a success? Have government-sponsored “green energy” technologies been successful?

Unfortunately, no.

By contrast, when decisions to spend money are made on a comparative basis, as in the private marketplace (e.g. you can spend your own money as you choose on Option A (Target) or Option B (Walmart)), then eventually you can decide which is the better choice. And if you donate your own dollars (or time) to  civic associations, churches, or charities, you can observe for yourself their effectiveness, and if they’re not effective, then you can donate your money and time elsewhere.

When you truly invest dollars in successful private companies, not only does society benefit from the goods and services they provide, you — as an investor — obtain an additional benefit (because of the risk you took in making the investment) by seeing an appreciation in the value of your stock, and oftentimes cash dividends as well.

Would you rather invest in the federal government (which is,
with proper accounting, bankrupt), or in Apple or Microsoft or Google?

Bottom Line: If a politician praises the benefits of a government expenditure, ask a simple question: what alternatives were evaluated? If the speaker does not know the answer (or does not even understand the question), then the speaker’s views are not worthy of your valuable time.

-Ed Walker

p.s. Politicians are prone to committing the fallacy described above, because they define success only as money spent, rather than the proper measurement, which is benefits obtained divided by money spent. For more, please see “An Essential Rule For Not Being A Fool.”


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Are the Poorest U.S. States Poor Because Of Republican Policies?

No, the claim by Jack Cafferty of CNN is based on incorrect analysis.

Please see: “Are the 10 Poorest U.S. States Really Republican?” by Mark Hendrickson, 7 June 2012, Forbes.

Why ET recommends this article: It’s factually-based and demonstrates how logical fallacies can lead to wrong (and even ridiculous) conclusions.

-Ed Walker


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3 Reasons (At Least) To Disregard The Tampa Bay Times Editorial On Fluoride

The Tampa Bay Times Wins Our Silliness Award 

The Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) does great investigative work, but its editorials can best be ignored, unless one is looking for good examples of illogical and sloppy thinking.

A recent manifestation is the Times‘ crusade in favor of fluoridation. In its 18 March full-page editorial, “Reverse the decay of common sense” (a plea that ironically can be applied to how it composes its own editorials), the Times spewed out violations of reasoned analysis in a gusher of polluted newsprint:

1. The editorial starts with a blend of grade-school appeals to emotion and ad hominem attacks: “Defining moment,” “Midwestern sensibilities,” “extremism,” “tea party followers,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “tiny antifluoride group.” This pompous puffery is irrelevant to whether or not fluoride in our drinking water is beneficial.

2. The editorial then states: “The evidence that fluoridated drinking water is safe and prevents tooth decay is overwhelming and widely embraced,” followed by a list of two federal agencies, a state agency, and two dental associations.

This is a great example of the fallacy of naming an expert or two, or even a consensus of experts, to support a claim. Citing experts, however, neither supports nor refutes a claim. Experts make claims that are often wrong. Brilliant people, even Einstein, have said dumb things. Plus, experts can be biased or corrupt. It is the science and analysis presented by experts that are important, not the experts themselves.

Although the editorial listed pro-fluoride evidence (the flaws of which I will not dissect here), no informed contrary views were expressed. Not one, in the entire full page. Since it doesn’t take much digging to find some credible professional opinions opposed to fluoridation, this seems inexcusable if one expects a newspaper to hew to the journalistic standard of being fair and balanced.

3. Fallacious economic analysis: “The annual savings [of no fluoridation] per resident works out to 29 cents.” First, viewing the 29 cents in isolation makes it seem like a trivial sum, which is a fallacy of context: numerous government expenditures, when viewed individually, look like trivial sums, although they may accumulate into a mountain of headache for the taxpayer. Second, even assuming that fluoridation is not harmful and is beneficial (not proven anywhere in the editorial), the actual economic question is, is the expenditure of taxpayer money appropriate, particularly when individuals can obtain fluoridation via toothpaste or mouthwash? The Times seems to think that it is fine to force everyone to pay for those few who may not be able to afford fluoridated toothpaste. To properly determine the worthiness of fluoridation, however, would require a review of government spending priorities; e.g., perhaps that 29 cents would be better spent on community policing.

I could continue, but hopefully my point has been made. Also, although my research indicates that there are credible folks with anti-fluoridation viewpoints, please note that I am not taking a position one way or the other with regard to fluoridation. What I am doing is demonstrating that the Times editorial on the issue is rife with logical fallacies and devoid of a balanced scientific discussion. The editorial’s harsh attack on county commissioners opposed to fluoridation was therefore inappropriate.

How can this be? How can the Times crank out such shoddy work, while still claiming to be a clear-thinking community leader? I will try to answer that in a future post.

-Ed Walker


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