Mind Games of the Big Green Scare Machine

Lord, what fools these mortals be - Shakespeare
With each passing day, Americans are increasingly behaving as though Al Gore's mantra "the debate [over man-made global warming] is over" were true.  Warming folklore is deserving of incredulity as the extreme left's latest armament in its ongoing battle against capitalism and globalization.  But instead it has found insinuation into virtually every corner of our culture.

Not by any occasion of scientific merit. Certainly not by outcome of an imaginary debate whose time never came, let alone ever concluded. But rather by the actions of ideologues who have successfully gagged the opposing voice in that very discussion while widely dispensing the resultantly accepted tenets of their own.

And while the gags used held no corporal form, but were instead woven from a variety of longstanding reason-skewing techniques (aka logical fallacies), their effect was scarcely diminished.

Consider these recent events.

Frustrated by the Bush Administration's submissively proposed market-friendly voluntary measures, Congress is now earnestly considering elsewhere disastrous mandatory Carbon emissions abatement legislation and consumption-penalizing tax policies.

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), who believes the U.S should reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60-80% by 2050, is looking to levy a 50 cent per gallon additional gasoline tax on an already pump-price-shocked America.  For good measure, he'll further threaten the struggling airline industry by including jet fuel. On top of that, he'll require all energy companies to pay $50 per ton for carbon released by burning coal, petroleum or natural gas. He'll also phase out mortgage tax deductions for homes over 3,000 sq ft and eliminate them altogether for homes exceeding 4,200 sq feet.

On the Senate side, Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) have introduced their own "pollution permit" bill, amusingly dubbed America's Climate Security Act [1], to "reduce global warming pollution."  It proposes both carbon cap-and-trade and monetary transition assistance to current carbon slobs.

Never to be outdone, Democratic White House frontrunner Hillary Clinton -- no political dummy -- is promising she'd broker and sign a globally binding post Kyoto emissions treaty, a full 2 years before the current failed accord is set to expire.

And closer to people's homes, NBC dedicated last week to "green" programming which, amid its silly how to be a good little greenie tips, spotlighted both Democrats and Republicans vowing to save the planet from "global warming pollution." Automaker Ford wasn't alone in hysteria capitulation when it released a commercial wherein a little girl asks her dad to drop her off a block short of her destination to avoid the humiliation of being seen in a non-hybrid SUV.

It's becoming painfully apparent that the public is buying into this rubbish.

An October CNN/Research Corp. poll found 56% of respondents believing that "the phenomenon of global warming has been proven, and can be largely blamed on human endeavors, such as power plants and factories." And a Harris poll that same month revealed 71% believing that "increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere will, if unchecked, lead to global warming and an increase in average temperatures." 

Mind you, while science attests that the planet is, indeed, at an apex of a historically natural vacillation of cold and warm phases, there exists absolutely no proven influence on climate by man-made CO2 emissions.

And yet, the Big Green Scare Machine (TBGSM), its MSM cogs, and Gorebot drones have managed to convince enough people otherwise to successfully engrain this nonsense into the very conscience of society, primarily by silencing dissent with ploys of flawed reason.

Clearing the Corridor to Clouded Correlation

We've all seen them present evidence of an undeniable upward cycle, then label anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics as "warming deniers" who rebuff the proof right before their eyes. This dishonest little dodge is an inverted Straw man argument [2] as it blatantly misrepresents a position, proves its own distortion, and then concludes that the real position has been affirmed.

The upshot of this fraud is a population that largely believes skeptics doubt the warming trend itself, not its anthropogenic influence, and that thereby lies about the"debate."  Moreover, this implied association blurs that distinction, leaving many with the very false yet very real impression that they have witnessed convincing evidence of both.

Pretty neat trick -- turning a skeptic questioning the impact of manmade greenhouse gases into a boogieman denying the planet is warming to imply all cynics are obviously wrong about both.

However, as with stage magic, logical illusions require audience receptivity preparation. Here, instilling an assumed connection is paramount.

In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore sermonized before a graph he claimed depicted both unprecedented modern temperatures and startling correlations between temperature and CO2 fluctuations over eons of time. In truth, even were the representations honest -- they were based upon the so-called "hockeystick" graph produced by Dr. Michael Mann which has been proven inaccurate, particularly in its record heat claims -- viewers had no way of discerning the key issue of whether temperature increases followed or preceded rises in CO2.

Of course, had the CO2 increases trailed those of temperature -- as many believe to be the case (solar and/or volcanically warmed oceans emit more CO2) -- then the entire GHG theory crumbles.  Indeed, without such temporal reference, Gore is employing a common correlation versus causation confusion trick called Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (with this, therefore because of this).

The absurdity of such illogic was cleverly lampooned by Bobby Henderson, who wrote in a May 2005 letter to the Kansas School Board:
"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."
Pirates and global warming

Gore's flamboyant overtures notwithstanding -- correlation does not imply causation.

Of course, nor does it disqualify it.  Take, for instance the obvious correlation between global temperatures and sunspot cycles which is entirely ignored by the "solar deniers."  From the Maunder Minimum's parallel to the Little Ice in the 17th century (chart) to today's Modern Maximum's place in perfect harmony with our higher temperatures, one would expect this, not hypothetical GHG theories, to have been declared the "debate ender."

Instead, through the chicanery of inverted arguments and the deliberate confusing of cause and effect, TBGSM has imposed the illusory assertion that skeptics deny rising temperatures while science has proven that man controls the thermostat. 

This false Fait Accompli lends solace to an equally counterfeit disregard of remaining doubt.  

Loaded Questions and Quack Quandaries

So what are we (or you) going to do to save the planet from manmade global warming? 

The problem is posed ad nauseum in varying forms to politicians, talk show guests and audiences, students and climate change summit attendees. And most eagerly respond, despite having been asked something equally prejudicial to the classic law school conundrum "so, when did you stop beating your wife?"

Compelling anyone to address AGW remedies is likewise dishonest, as it implies concurrence with the unproven premise that mankind stands as guilty as the accused wife-beater. 

This devious ploy of flawed reasoning is known as a Complex Question, as it deceitfully rests on an arguable assumption; any available answer would appear to endorse that assumption.

The complex question is actually a subtle form of False Dilemma, which is an alarmist staple, created by coercing someone to choose between 2 options when others are readily available.  For instance, we either act now to reduce global warming or face untold cataclysm later.  How often have you heard that nonsense?

And no wonder.

Before they might accept outlandish solutions, it is imperative that the public at large be terrified by AGW's primary false dilemma of action versus planetary calamity.

And once again, logical fallacies prove to be the stuff that green dreams are made of.

Fear and Loathing in the Troposphere

Without hyping the purported consequences of global warming, misrepresenting its cause would be of no particular political or economic value.

Fear refined yields a powerful motivational fuel, and without it, the public would quickly grow inured to doomsday scares and trendy liberal reflexive remedies.  That's why, as an adjunct to baseless catastrophic projections, Misleading Vividness is so vital.  You've seen the pictures of snow-barren mountaintops, blazing forests, reputedly doomed to extinction Polar bears ostensibly stranded on floating ice sheets (in fact, the species has evolved to swim between sheets) and huge chunks of ice falling to the water in Greenland (a normal summertime occurrence).

Alarmists are well aware that by flashing these visually striking images as backdrop to vividly descriptive exaggerations and lies, anecdotal evidence can be used as the basis for remarkably hasty generalizations. Indeed, audiences of such spectacle are apt to engage emotionally and, consequently, willing to suspend whatever skepticism their better judgment implies.

More despicable still, manufactured images of even greater horrific impact are routinely interspersed to further agitate the easily impressionable.  Remember Gore's dreadful depictions of New York flooding  and ground zero disappearing under water?

But surely there are those possessed of highly cognitive and expertly trained minds destined to ultimately save us from our own frailties of logic, aren't there?

Yes there are, but no, they won't.

We've previously revealed many of the myriad scientists who dare challenge the "settled science" of AGW,  bravely risking ridicule, defunding, demotion and accusations of both lack of care about future generations (another straw man argument ) and being an "oil shill" (circumstantial ad hominem). 

A Circumstantial Ad Hominem attacks a position by asserting that the person taking it is doing so simply out of self interest. While there's generally little or no proof proffered, weak-minded observers often disqualify the accused nonetheless. 

At the 2007 Oscars, Gore smugly told the audience -- and an estimated 1 billion television viewers:
"that resolving the threat posed by a warming climate is ‘not a political issue, it's a moral issue.'"  
In other words, if you don't agree with him, you're immoral.

It's not hard to surmise where the drones acquire their penchant for broad ad hominem attacks on heretics. Nor why it's considerably easier for those same skeptics to remain mum.

Tricks of the Tirade

actually devoid, alarmists compensate with a seemingly bottomless armory of fallacious arguments.  Behold but a few more of their sleights-of-thought.

  • Ad hominems are the falsely negative form of Genetic Fallacy, a logic flaw committed when an idea is evaluated on its source, rather than its merit. Conversely, similar mind trickery can be played to assert an idea which is falsely positive.  We see this irrationality in Gorebots who lecture that if their hero says the planet has a fever and it's our fault and only he knows how to save it - it does and it is and he is.
  • Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (after this therefore because of this) is a similar tactic to Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, but here the implication is that if one event follows another, the first event therefore caused the second.
    • "Temperatures have been rising since the start of the industrial age.  Therefore companies like Exxon Mobil are melting the polar ice caps"
  • Affirming the consequent is an asininity which asserts the "then" of a conditional (consequent) first, and concludes with the "if" (antecedent).
    • "If GHG were making the Earth warmer then we'd have less snow.  Therefore, if we have less snow then GHG are making the Earth warmer."
  • Appeal to Consequences of a Belief is to suggest a belief to be true simply because if people didn't accept it there'd be negative consequences.
    • "We must treat Anthropogenic Global Warming as real because if people refuse to embrace it there'll be no hope for our children"
  • Argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument to ignorance) is a fallacy of assuming something is true simply because it has yet to be proven false.
    • "Global warming is certainly caused by greenhouse gases because nobody has demonstrated conclusively that it is not"
  • And the incessant "scientific consensus" claim is a combination of Appeal to Authority,  Appeal to Popularity and, of course, Appeal to Bravo Sierra.
Further favorites include appeals to fear, to novelty (newness of an idea is somehow evidence of its truth), and of course, to popularity (an idea must be true simply because it is widely held).  There's also The Relativist Fallacy, in which the arguer claims that while something might be true for others, he or she is exempt.  Any ideas on this one (hint - think Limo Libs)?

The Debate is NOT Over When the Fat Man Sings

Given the cache of weapons TBGSM wields to shut-down debate, its obvious they've no misconceptions of prevailing should one accidentally break out. Indeed, Gore, himself, has recently refused to debate every AGW challenger tossing the gauntlet (Avery, Lord Monckton, Singer, Ball, etc).

But last week, Gore appeared on the Today Show and was asked about a WSJ op-ed penned by IPCC member and co-Nobel Prize winner John Christy which challenged Gore's dire analysis of global warming's impact and origins. The ensuing response was astounding.  After calling Christy an "outlier" who's "way outside the scientific consensus" (Ad Hominem Tu Quoque), he chided journalism's provision of equal-time to opposing viewpoints on the subject:
"Part of the challenge the news media has had in covering this story is the old habit of taking the on the one hand, on the other hand approach. There are still people who believe that the Earth is flat... you don't search out for someone who still believes the Earth is flat and give them equal time"
Okay, so he didn't actually invent the internet, but he did manage to concoct his own logical fallacy -- The Flat Earther Argument -- X disagrees with Y. Y proclaims debate over. X therefore adheres to 600 year-old geological misconceptions and is to be shunned. 

Now, the same alarmists who'll follow this charlatan debate-aphobe anywhere speak of an impending "tipping point," at which the Earth's destiny will be calcified. And, while they're dead wrong about the nemesis we face, their concerns are sound. 

The Big Green Scare Machine has met no burden of proof whatsoever.  To the contrary, they refuse and evade every opportunity to take on their dissenters in any open, objective and analytical forum.

And yet, by way of their fraudulent tactics, they're undeniably winning the clash for public opinion. Should this trend continue, rather than prepare for the consequences of naturally shifting climate patterns, we'll risk untold wealth, progress, resources, and yes -- capitalism itself, in a popular but fool's quest to tame an immutable force of nature.

The imperative to arrest this proliferating cognitive plague through unremitting rebuttal and steadfast refusal to assimilate with its foolish collective mindset or be diverted by its puerile mind games cannot be overstated.

Nearly 20,000 scientists have signed a petition disputing AGW and denouncing Kyoto. This must be loudly shouted at those sluggishly slipping into the green stupor to reinvigorate debate and assure that reasoned voices are heard over the irrational drone of this ultimately political machine.

[1]        Friends of the Earth abhor this bill. Rather than directing auction proceeds to wind, solar and other untenable "renewable" energy companies, it would subsidize the coal industry's efforts to develop carbon capture and storage mechanisms.  Considering that base load electric requirements will likely be met by coal-fired plants indefinitely, this green objection to helping "clean them up" certainly speaks volumes to their actual motives.

[2]        In her February 9th column, Ellen Goodman combined misleading vividness, blatant ad hominem and stunning ignorance when she wrote that "global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers." Ms. Goodman might be pleased to learn that most links used to clarify logical fallacies used by AGW alarmists herein launch The Nizkor Holocaust Educational Resource Project where they are described alongside other Techniques of Holocaust Denial

Marc Sheppard is a technology consultant, software engineer, writer, and political and systems analyst. He is a regular contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your feedback.