Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Logic envy

It is fortunate that Josh Rosenau's blog is titled "Thoughts from Kansas," otherwise it would be hard to identify the exact nature of the verbal effusions emanating from it. But he assures us that the utterances he makes there are indeed "thoughts," and so we are bound to weigh them using the criteria one would normally apply to rational speech, although Rosenau's posts would probably fare better if we applied some other, much less demanding standard.

His most recent post is similar in almost every respect to his other frequent posts that target this blog for verbal abuse. In fact, we are fairly certain that he has a template post from which he just cuts the malignant text from some original boilerplate and pastes it into a new post every time he sees something on this blog he does not like, which occurs approximately once a week. In fact, we question whether his purpose really is, as he says on his blog, "battling creationists." There is no question he doesn't like creationists. In fact he seems to hate them as much as he hates the proprietor of this blog. And no doubt, in expressing his hateful "thoughts" toward creationists, he gives them, like he always gives us, a simultaneous lecture on the evils of hate.

Rosenau is nothing if not ironic.

But his real purpose in life seems to be to closely monitor this blog in hopes of finding something he can twist into a shape which he can then use to induce in himself the appropriate indignation, which he them proceeds to express with all the subtlety of a rabid wolverine. No doubt it's hard, when you're foaming at the mouth, to notice that you have committed the very transgressions you are accusing someone else of.

His most recent post begins in much the same way as all his posts about this blog begin: by calling me a Holocaust denier (despite the fact that I don't deny it), that I'm a bigot (because I think marriage means, well, marriage--among other things), that I write for the "Disco' Institute (they occasionally run pieces from this blog with my permission), and work for the "Kentucky affiliate of Focus on the Family (which is false, not that that seems to matter much to him).

The hurling of epithets--although they have gotten not only hackneyed, but rather dull--will undoubtedly subside as maturity sets in, although this process seems to be proceeding rather slowly for Rosenau. In has last post, immediately after the schoolboy name-calling, he turns around and accuses me of ad hominem attacks. It's one thing for your enemy to bend the barrel of your pistol back toward you, but it takes some ingenuity to do it to yourself.

Fire away, Josh.

Rosenau's most recent case of dyspepsia was the result of my post remarking about record snowfalls in an age of global warming. It got him pretty fired up. You would have thought I had exaggerated and concealed data, or corrupted the peer review process or something. This was an example of tu quoque argumentation, according to Rosenau. Now tu quoque is a Latin expression meaning "you too." Rosenau is not familiar with Latin, of course, but that is not really his problem. His problem is that he doesn't seem to understand English too well.

The tu quoque fallacy involves making some blunder and then, in your own defense, accusing your opponent of making it too. Good examples can be found on Rosenau's own blog where, every time I point out a logical blunder, he accuses me of the same blunder, the only difference being that he actually committed it and I didn't. I had pointed out the record level of snowfalls (something Global Warming advocates said there would be less of because of Global Warming--when they're not saying the complete opposite) and I pointed it out as a subtle way of mocking their own process only using opposite evidence. And when the Warmers began lecturing me about weather not being the same thing as climate, I simply pointed out that if it wasn't for me, then it shouldn't be for them.

But then we have already established that Rosenau does not get subtlety, haven't we?

In fact, Rosenau not only didn't get the subtlety, he completely missed my point. So let me put the implicit argument of my post in the form of a logical syllogism (And I should probably issue a warning, in doing so, about the possibility that Rosenau might once again try to imitate this exercise himself on his own blog with the usual amusing results):
  • If individual warm weather events are confirming evidence for Global Warming, then individual cool weather events are disconfirming evidence for Global Warming
  • But cool weather events are not disconfirming evidence for Global Warming
  • Therefore, individual warm weather events are not confirming evidence for Global Warming.
Now this is not tu quoque argumentation, it is the logical process called modus tollens. But then we are speaking Latin again, aren't we? To someone who doesn't know Latin--or logic. Rosenau's logical vocabulary extends only to a few informal fallacies which doesn't really understand.

Oh, and that clicking you hear is Rosenau looking up Wikipedia article on modus tollens. It's worked for him before.

Or has it?


One Brow said...

This post was low enough I crafted a response to it.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Anyone (well, about anyone, excepting maybe evangelicals) can use the modus tollens/ponens argument forms, but obviously the argument's only as good as the premises, and the first premise---""If individual warm weather events are confirming evidence for Global Warming, then individual cool weather events are disconfirming evidence for Global Warming--"" while plausible, is hardly a necessary truth, or really even a matter of logic, but requires a great deal of knowledge of the science of AGW. Let's see a cite/or article which would confirm that premise.

That said, Al Gore, or even IPCC should not be considered the final word (especially in regard to C02 claims, which is just one GHG), but the Foxnews types who think the harsh winter disproves AGW are just engaging in the usual know-nothing pundit BS (or helping out oil corps).

I don't pretend to be an expert on AGW, but I have read that erratic weather patterns--massive storms, hurricanes, droughts, etc-- might result from global warming, and that might include winter storms, presumably. However some research does suggest a slight cooling trend over last decade, but still a substantial warming trend over 20th century.