December 03, 2014

Yes, But Stephen...

You shouldn't go calling it "world hunger" when you miss a meal or two, either.
Apart from the fact that I haven't ever heard someone argue (except in jest) that global warming isn't real because one person was cold one time, this is just kind of stupid. He's using a "begging the question" fallacy (among others), where one assumes the very thing one is trying to prove has already been proved. Here, he's attempting to prove global warming exists by comparing it to the already established problem of world hunger, hoping we'll conflate the two. It's like if I tried to say "Bigfoot isn't real because I haven't seen him. Also, my dog doesn't exist anymore because I haven't seen him either." I already know that the dog exists, so I can logically guess that my failure to find him at the current moment doesn't mean he's blinked out of existence. On the other hand, since it's the actual existence of Bigfoot that's at question, the burden is going to be on those who claim he exists to produce the evidence.

Another problem I have with this is reflected in my line above the pic. Clearly, Colbert is insinuating that one single person's experience for one day is not enough to invalidate what he feels is a global problem. If one person is not enough to do so, then are a few years of rising global temperatures in the grand scope of the age of the Earth enough to declare a Global Warming problem? Is missing a meal and declaring "I'm famished" enough to declare world famine? And just how many cold people/days does it take to invalidate the Global Warming theory? There must be a number that would satisfy him, right? After all, to use his own analogy, if everyone "just ate" day after day after day after day, then world hunger would be over, wouldn't it? A theory must be falsifiable to be a good theory. So, I ask again: how many cold people/days (think of it as a unit of measurement, like foot/pounds) would it take? Everyone in my neighborhood? In New York? In the U.S., where recently all 50 states were below freezing? But that's just the U.S. What about Russia, which has been seeing some record cold? And how long? According to some, there's been a pause in global warming for a while now. If true, how long of a pause will be enough?

Sure, Colbert is witty, but wit has little to do with scientific accuracy.