A few days ago I blogged about fuzzy thinking in the debates over global warming. As if on cue, there was an editorial in my local paper on the subject of global warming, and voila! fuzzy thinking. I swear that this guy was not my straight man, and that I didn't pay him to set me up for this blog.
The writer was taking a religious leader to task for denying global warming. However -- Here's what happened. The religious leader (henceforth RL) had in a speech declared that he did not believe that COtwo emissions influenced climate change. Then the writer (henceforth W) said something like, "That means RL doesn't believe in global warming."
Hold on there, W. RL, who, by the way, is a brilliant jurist and past Dean of the Law School of the University of Chicago, had said nothing of the sort. He said that he didn't believe that COtwo was responsible for climate change. Now, that statement may or may not be true. But to say that one believes that COtwo is not the culprit is not to say that one doesn't believe in climate change. And RL is certainly smart enough and well-read enough to know that climate does change.
Having set up his straw man, W goes on to knock it down. I note that he doesn't really add any data to the argument, just flails away at RL.
I have two options about this situation. I can believe that W truly can't discern the lapse in his logic, in which case he is stupid and shouldn't write editorials, or I can believe that he can discern the lapse and thinks that his readers can't in which case he is a charlatan and shouldn't write editorials.
Am I really cynical when I suggest that it might be the latter case, and that W's assumption about his readership is probably accurate?