Critical Thinking Cafe



there's a new report out on climate change I heard climate changed naturally of the past so what's happening now must be natural sorry to interrupt but actually that argument is misinformation who are you John cook I research how to stop misinformation well you're not doing a very good job fake news is everywhere but what can you do about it well the end of that effect news is just a little bit of fact news and a dollop of explanation what we can inoculate people against misinformation by explaining the techniques used to just thought the facts in other words explain the form reasoning in bad arguments and who are you Peter eliten we've developed a strategy based on critical thinking methods to analyze the nihilistic claims and I bet you're going to explain it to us if you insist the first step in analyzing a claim is to break up the argument into a starting assumptions or premises and its conclusion for example the argument you just mentioned has two premises the first one is that climate has changed naturally in the past the second one is that the climate is changing now and the conclusion is that current climate change is natural what's wrong with that well to find out we first check if the argument is logically valid does the conclusion follow from the premises in this case the answer is no the argument commits the fallacy of non sequitur just because the climate changed naturally in the past doesn't mean it's changing naturally now and that's it I'm just getting started if an arguments invalid it's often because there's a hidden assumption in this case a hidden the premise if something wasn't a course in the past it can't be a cause now adding this premise makes the argument logically valid so now the conclusion must be true not so fast the next thing we have to do is check that the premises are truth in this case the third premise is false it commits the single cause fallacy ignoring there can be multiple factors that cause climate so now we're done we're done well though it's worth pointing out the advantage of using critical thinking to debunk misinformation the computers talking no it's Dave where are you I'm in the Alps a simple way to expose bad logic is to apply a parallel argument ensure just how ridiculous the argument really is the past climate change argument is just like arguing because people died of cancer in the past cigarettes can't be the cause of any cancer now we took this critical thinking approach and applied it to the most common myths about climate change every method looked at had reasoning flaws and we listened more in this paper published in Environmental Research Letters if I take your paper will you leave us alone sure fine this article argues against vaccinations actually that commits the fallacy of cherry-picking

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