The Thin Gruel of Anti-Climate Change Logic

By David L. Brown

The anti-climate change morons are hitting hard on the idea that the average global temperature hasn’t gone through the roof. They manage to ignore melting sea ice in the Arctic, thawing tundra, and many other signs of climate change.

Here’s the problem with their position: They are looking at “average” worldwide temperatures and concluding that since the averages haven’t changed much, that means that global warming and climate change do not exist.

The problem is that climate scientists have never even once suggested that the Earth’s temperature would rise by equal increments in every place. To the contrary, in fact. But nay-sayers have long made the leap of illogic by saying things such as: “It’s really cold in (fill in name of place) on (date) so there cannot be any global warming.” This goes beyond ignorance to full-bore stupidity, and yet you hear this kind of thing all the time.

Sometimes they even try to convince themselves that global warming would be a good thing, for example, by stating they would have less snow to shovel, or that they could grow coconut palms and bananas in their Minnesota yard.

Okay, let’s play their game. Here we go: I am going to create a plausible climate model that will prove, absolutely prove once and for all (on the basis of the illogic used by global warming nay-sayers) that there absolutely is no global warming. Here are the parameters of this model (keep in mind that this is being presented as an example of reductio ad absurdum, Latin for reducing an argument to the absurd in order to reveal its internal contradictions):

  • The mean temperature of the Equatorial region rises to 527 degrees F.
  • The mean temperature of the Arctic falls to Absolute Zero, −459.67 F.
  • The average global temperature remains exactly what it was in 1953, and therefore no global warming or climate change have taken place.

I told you I was going to take it to the limits of the absurd. But, well, this kind of makes the point that simple-minded conclusions based only on averages don’t quite seem to hold up under scrutiny, do they? But according to the arguments put forth by the anti-climate change nay-sayers, as long as the average temperature has not changed, there is no global warming. Never mind that in this absurd model there might be rivers of molten lead flowing across Brazil, or that the entire oceans have frozen into vast ten-mile-high glaciers in the polar regions. The (illogical) argument states that there is no climate change, period.

Well, perhaps not because any argument based on false logic leads inevitably to a false conclusion. False logic is a favorite tool of pseudoscience and propaganda. It can be boiled down to something like this:

  • 2 = A number
  • 1 = A number
  • Therefore, 2 = 1

Other examples of false and misleading logic include such as: “Einstein did poorly in school; I did poorly in school; therefore I am as smart as Einstein.” Another: “Science cannot explain this; I can explain this; therefore my explanation must be correct.”

So, the fact that it is cold and snowing here in New Mexico today doesn’t mean that there is no global warming. The chain of illogic that nay-sayers might use to claim otherwise goes something like this:

  • Some scientists predict that global warming is taking place
  • It is cold and snowing here in New Mexico today
  • Therefore, there is no global warming

This is pretty thin gruel on which to base an argument against global warming and climate change. The melting tundra, dying coral reefs, receding glaciers, spreading desertification and a host of other signals clearly demonstrate that climate change definitely is taking place. Those who do not wish us to recognize and act against this threat have pretty pathetic arguments to present, and yet it is an inconvenient truth that all too many people are ill-informed and cannot see through the false arguments.

Here is one more example of logic, this time sound and crafted to illustrate the problem at hand:

  • Climate change deniers claim there is no global warming and climate change
  • A vast and growing body of evidence says that global warming and climate change are real
  • Therefore, the climate change deniers are wrong.

There, that should fix it.

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