I saw this question today on Quora and immediately shared it here . .

What are the common fallacies used in arguments for and against AGW?


Edit: I let the Quora folks know this question was here, so you may see some new posters

Edit by Bo: "AGW" = Anthropogenic global warming, overall warming of Earth's climate caused or produced by humans.
asked on Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 02:17:25 PM by DrBill

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The many ad hominem attacks against Greta Thunberg are cases in point.

But mostly this is a matter of whether people do or do not have the facts. Being ignorant of scientific research is bad, but it's not a logical fallacy. It's just bad.
answered on Tuesday, Oct 01, 2019 03:45:25 PM by Bill


On the anti- side, there is a lot of moving from specific to general, exemplified by the senator who brought a snowball into the senate chambers.

P1. Global warming suggests the temperature of the earth is increasing.
P2. I'm holding a snowball.
C1. It's cold enough to snow.
C2. The temperature of the earth is not increasing.

This is statistics 101: individual variation is present in all systems; we are concerned with long-term temperature changes.

Some people might say the pro- side is seeing correlation and claiming causation when it isn't there:

P1. The earth's average temperature took a sharp spike up at the turn of the 20th century.
P2. The Industrial Revolution started in earnest at the turn of the 20th century.
C. Global warming is caused by increases in industry.

If that were the end of the argument, I would agree. However, studies have continued and said that the temperature increase is caused partly by greenhouse gases. Factories emit greenhouse gases at a rate much greater than naturally-occurring processes (e.g., people breathing). Therefore, we can conclude that increased manufacturing is responsible for global warming. In other words, global warming is man-made.
answered on Wednesday, Oct 02, 2019 09:13:30 AM by Jim


Steven White
The biggest fallacy is to think this time is somehow unique, and that man must be the cause of the warming. This despite Antarctic ice cores which show that about every 125,000 years the earth goes into a warming period.
The fallacy from the other side is just as profound in that they argue there is no warming, when warming isn’t the issue, it’s what caused it.

Certainly not man since it happens every 125,000 years.
answered on Friday, Oct 04, 2019 07:52:39 PM by Steven White


David Blomstrom
First, they argued that global warming was a myth. A common piece of evidence was the occasional severe snowstorm that was exhibited as evidence of cooling. (In fact, it seldom snows in Antarctica, the coldest place on the planet.)

When the evidence that climate change is real became overwhelming, they changed tactics. Suddenly, it was natural climate change versus human climate change, the latter being scoffed at.

So we're getting warmer - climate change is more widely accepted now. The big question is whether it's natural or an artifact of human civilization.

To really put things in perspective, it helps to learn a little about human history (and prehistory) and ecology. Is it really possible for a global population of seven billion people to change the very atmosphere above us?

The answer is YES. In fact, many scientists believe humans were beginning to alter the climate thousands of years ago.

That's the other element that right-wingers are ignoring - science.

There's no shortage of scientist sellouts and pseudo-scientists who will make bogus claims (Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill "The Science Guy" Nye come to mind, though their focus is more on the supposed safety of GMO). However, the broad scientific consensus is that climate change is real. Scientists have been telling us about a wide variety of phenomenon related to climate change for a long time now. Scientists have also been telling us that people are driving climate change.

The claim that we're experiencing an inevitable natural climatic shift is hard to disprove, since such things do occur. However, it's quite a coincidence that this natural shift just happened to coincide with the industrial revolution and the subsequent population explosion.

One could compromise and suggest that maybe we're in the midst of a natural shift that's exacerbated by human activity. But don't expect the corporate sector to even accept that. The last thing they want is a global activist movement that diminishes their profits.
answered on Sunday, Oct 20, 2019 03:25:39 PM by David Blomstrom