Archive for the ‘Appeal to Ignorance’ Category


Nothing to See Here

February 3, 2010

Looks like Michael Mann and the climatology community at Penn State got an all (a mostly, largely, nearly, ninety-nine percent, practically) clear from the panel investigating them. [Props to JimR for keeping me accurate.] Read the report from Penn State here.

Actually, if you’re not associated with a university that pays a university subscription to climate wire, you may not be able to read that. Even still, I’m fairly sure I can quote this without copyright infringement:

An internal inquiry has largely cleared Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann of scientific misconduct, but the university said yesterday that it will continue to probe whether the researcher undermined public trust in science.


Newsflash: Beck Guilty

November 9, 2009

Glenn Beck loses his court battle with Mr. Isaac Eiland-Hall, who started a website that employed Beck’s beloved Argument from Ignorance:

Beck is guilty of losing the court case after Eiland-Hall raised significant questions about Beck’s involvement in the sordid rape and murder of a young girl in 1990. As a door-prize in this affair, the owner of the aforementioned URL, Mr. Eiland-Hall, has graciously forfeited his unwieldy domain name to Glenn Beck. He has instead shifted all content over to a new, easier to type, domain:


Reaching No Consensus

November 3, 2009

The New York Times wrote today of a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences [original study here] on how the Mt. Kilimanjaro ice cap has declined 26% since 2000. The author of the NYT article, Sindya N. Banhoo, goes on to say the following in the second paragraph:

Yet the authors of the study, to be published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reached no consensus on whether the melting could be attributed mainly to humanity’s role in warming the global climate.

The pretty green is my contribution. Even after prettying it up, I think the language remains deceptive and fallacious. To that, then, I dedicate this post.

I don’t usually go to the source on news articles, but for some reason I felt the urge to do so in this case. One thing the NYT article doesn’t emphasize — it is mentioned later in the piece, but it isn’t the focus of the story — is in the abstract of the NAS study. To quote the authors:

The Northern Ice Field has persisted at least 11,700 years and survived a widespread drought 4,200 years ago that lasted 300 years. We present additional evidence that the combination of processes driving the current shrinking and thinning of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields is unique within an 11,700-year perspective. If current climatological conditions are sustained, the ice fields atop Kilimanjaro and on its flanks will likely disappear within several decades.

So first, it is important to note that the original NAS study is limited in scope to a discussion of the Mt. Kilimanjaro ice cap. What I think got me to look at the source was the implication by the NY Times that the authors of the study “reached no consensus” on whether the melting could be attributed to humanity’s role in global warming. It would strike me as outrageous if the authors of a narrow study on Mt. Kilimanjaro ice caps did reach such a consensus, so I had to see for myself.

Here’s what the original piece has to say on anthropogenic forcing…

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