Thursday, November 01, 2007

Today's lesson: The Strawman

Hi, Readers - I'm Arachnae, the sub. Eliza left me the keys to this place to keep you entertained while she's out gallivanting around. She told me I didn't have to write reviews, which is good, because I did one for her once, and it's a lot of work. And I already have a job. So think of me as like the 'cool sub', the one who throws the lesson plan away and let you write that paper on Tattoo Art Through the Ages for a history credit.

So let's talk about the recently aired Planet in Peril documentaries. It's interesting to me to see the reaction from the environmental-denialists on the Right. Here's an informative example from Rush Limbaugh, Dean of Bombast, who didn't bother watching because:
RUSH: Nope. I know what it's going to be; I know what it's going to say; I know how they're going to lie; I know how they're going to get things wrong. I know what Anderson Cooper did the other night claiming 40% of Greenland is melting, when it's not. So no, it's a propaganda series. It's no different than a Michael Moore movie.
Wait. What? Anderson said 40% of Greenland is melting? I don't remember that. For those of you similarly perplexed, here's what he really said:
COOPER: You have to be very careful when you're walking on a sheet of ice or a glacier in Greenland because there can be hidden crevices that open up. You could fall right through, and that will be the end of you. The thickness of the ice in Greenland has been changing over the last few decades. It's of great concern to scientists who are studying it. They found that in some spots, ice thickness has diminished by as much as 40 percent in the last 40 years.
Do you read that to mean that Anderson is claiming that Greenland is forty-percent gone? No, I didn't either.

This is a fine example of the Strawman logical fallacy - when you can't refute facts you dislike or positions you disagree with, misrepresent them until they become something you can attack and then refute that.

Of course, the only use Limbaugh has ever had for logic was to provide Professor of Logic Ray Perkins with examples of every logical fallacy ever defined. Sadly, pointing out the faulty logic in Limbaugh's reasoning will not alter a dittohead's opinion one iota - they believe because they want to believe; don't confuse them with facts. (See: Fox News. In fact, more on them later.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical thoughtless crap from Limbaugh and Fox.

6:06 PM  

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