I too gagged when I saw this nonsense story from the Center for American Progress listing 100 things we’ll lose with global warming. Sheril takes it apart for us, and I’m thankful.
Wow. The denialists will be talking about this stuff for years. Look at how they go on about one Newsweek article from the 1970s. In 2027 they’ll say “Hey, baseball still exists, so this global warming is obviously a socialist plot.”
And therein lies the problem. When folks like CAP offer up the truly ridiculous, everyone gets tarred by the same brush. Because science is challenging and subtle in many respects, a rhetorical debate is ill-suited to determining the veracity of a theory.
The religious right found this out with their maniacal hyperbole and the folks genuinely committed to managing our environment risk falling into the same category.
By the way, it doesn’t help to constantly label folks denialists! Would it not be better to constantly poke holes in arguments and discuss the facts and their interpretation?
The mistake in thinking that the ideal debunker should constantly poke holes in the nonsense from the denialists is the assumption that your opponent is an honest broker in the debate. However, when they repeatedly use the dishonest tactics of denialism, which you can read in our “about” section, there is no point in repeatedly bashing their nonsense since there is no effect on the debate.
At a certain point you have to point out the deceptive practices, the unreason, and the repetition of these tactics. This ideal of perfect Aristotelian debate is naive. When you are dealing with cranks and liars at some point you have to expose the campaign they wage against science, rather than merely react to every piece of nonsense they can spew out. It also evens the playing field, as a denialist can endlessly recycle the same nonsense over and over again without much effort, while debunking requires a great deal of effort and time. Knowledge of denialism arms the people with a rapid bullshit detector, that should allow one to identify valid sources of information, and rapidly dismiss nonsensical psuedoscience without having to have an advanced degree in every damn science there is.