Posts filed under ‘stupidity’

The Gish Gallop (or “baffle them with bullshit”)

Real Climate is spot on the money, as usual. Good mix of “real” science, by people at the coal face, and those who’ve got the scars on their backs from trying to communicate the science to the public and policy-makers. Here’s something I was familiar with but didn’t have a name for… [excerpted from a Jan 6 2011 post]

Bell uses the key technique that denialists use in debates, dubbed by Eugenie Scott the “Gish gallop”, named after a master of the style, anti-evolutionist Duane Gish. The Gish gallop raises a barrage of obscure and marginal facts and fabrications that appear at first glance to cast doubt on the entire edifice under attack, but which on closer examination do no such thing. In real-time debates the number of particularities raised is sure to catch the opponent off guard; this is why challenges to such debates are often raised by enemies of science. Little or no knowledge of a holistic view of any given science is needed to construct such scattershot attacks.

Yep, you end up playing whack a mole, and that’s if you’re lucky. And by the time you “win”, you’ll have lost the audience, who’ll have taken home the message that there’s still a real “debate” going on about the science. Either way, the denialist nutjobs win…


February 5, 2011 at 10:13 am 3 comments

Saving your own skin is a middle-class affectation?

Help me out here.

Cycling along in the dark (lights on, hi-vis jacket, helmet) I see three pedestrians step out onto a fairly busy road without looking.

Me, approaching “You’re not even looking, are you?”

One of them “We don’t need to look; we’re not that posh.”

Huh?  Since when was taking steps to not be roadkill something only the class enemy does?  No wonder the proles are losing, eh?   Is this some deep comment about alienated anomie and the fact that poor people’s lives count for less?  Is this the reckless bravado of your nineteenth century Irish labourer on the railways – well-paid but likely to die?

Or is this just laziness and complacency bred of a welfare state gone rancid?


January 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

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