Logical fallacies and inaccurate claims
This column seemed to me to be pretty pointless, other than as an example of how to argue by obsfucation and logical fallacy.
Mr. Goddard slams something called the National Snow and Ice Data Center
pretty heavily, but there is no indication that he contacted that organization to get their side of the story. Why? Isn't that a standard journalistic practice?
What was the motivation for making an issue over whether this year or last year had the smaller amount of sea ice? 2008 will at the worst have the second smallest amount of sea ice in the "satellite era". Drawing generalizations based on 2 years of data is an example of a Hasty Conclusion fallacy. If you go to the University of Illinois site that Mr. Goddard cited, you will find a graph of the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area anomalies since 1978. There is a distinct trend towards smaller areas. Mr. Goddard chose to ignore these data which contradicted his position. This is a good example of Confirmation Bias.
Marco pointed out a classic Strawman Argument. Nobody has claimed that the
North Pole will be definitely be ice-free this year.
Mr. Goddard was also comparing apples to oranges with his discussion of NSIDC's statistics. According to their website, NSIDC tracks sea ice EXTENT,
not sea ice AREA. These 2 quantities are not the same. This might be another
example of a strawman argument, or perhaps Mr. Goddard just doesn't understand the difference. Regardless, Mr. Goddard attempts to calculate sea ice area by merely counting the number of pixels that have a greater than 0 percent sea ice concentration. Therefore, he is effectively assuming that pixels either have 0 percent concentration or a 100 percent concentration. Did Mr. Goddard not understand what the colorbars on the images mean?
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