Moving the Target
Everett PiperEverett Piper's Blog
- 2011 Feb 09
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In challenging my recent sarcastic reprimand of Al Gore a pastor sent me a note chastising me for using "global warming" as a description of the Vice President's position. He said I should have said "climate change" because this is indeed what Mr. Gore is claiming happens as the result of human behavior and CO2 emissions.
Well, without knowing it my pastor friend has stumbled across the key point I'm trying to make in my admitted snarkiness?
Changing the target is indeed not something that has escaped my attention. In fact it is exactly this academic dishonesty that I am confronting. If I had used such terrible logic and methodological slight of hand in my doctoral research at Michigan State I would have been laughed out of the room.
Venture this: My hypothesis is that human behavior is causing temperatures to rise. My data shows the exact opposite of my hypothesis. Therefore my conclusion is that the data proves my hypothesis because what I meant to say was climate change not global warning?
This is simply absurd. Trying to cover one's research errors by changing the language from global warming to climate change is akin to saying whatever happens (cooling or warming, draught or flood, clouds or sun, darkness or light) proves my hypothesis because the "climate is changing"!!
This faulty reasoning should be obvious to everyone in the academy and yes even in the church but unfortunately political correctness and desires for popularity are proving to be more powerful than sound research and intellectual honesty.
CS Lewis' scold of the young scholar in The Great Divorce comes to mind: "Our opinions were not honestly come by" he said. "We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful…"