Monthly Archives: January 2014

Climate Change Skepticism and Argumentum Ad Baculum

Consider this recent blog post by Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker (Jan. 6, 2014), “Polar Vortex Causes Hundreds of Injuries as People Making Snide Remarks About Climate Change Are Punched in Face.” Ask yourself whether it is an example of argumentum ad baculum.

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—The so-called polar vortex caused hundreds of injuries across the Midwest today, as people who said “so much for global warming” and similar comments were punched in the face.

Authorities in several states said that residents who had made ignorant comments erroneously citing the brutally cold temperatures as proof that climate change did not exist were reporting a sharp increase in injuries to the face and head regions.

In an emergency room in St. Paul, Harland Dorrinson, forty-one, was waiting to be treated… Continue reading

Dispensing With Facts

“If your faith is big enough, facts don’t count.”

It is tempting to dismiss this sort of claim as nonsense. But suppose it isn’t nonsense, i.e., that there was some attempt at thought involved in making this claim. What could that be?

One answer is suggested by a post earlier this month on where the author proposes a “critical thinking framework” for evaluating truth claims called the ASK framework.

The basic assumption of this framework is that there are no uninterpreted facts.

You may have heard the saying “the facts speak for themselves.” But stop and think for a moment: do they really? If you walk along a creek and notice some fossils in the rocks, do the fossils tell you how old they are or how… Continue reading