Ed Wiebe

at the UVic Climate Lab

Tom Fletcher Doesn't Understand Analogy

Tom Fletcher is wrong about climate change: Volume 8

written by me, twitter-->@edwiebe, 2016-11-19

My Tom Fletcher is wrong about climate change index page.

My main Tom Fletcher is wrong about climate change page.

In today's episode Tom Fletcher misuses an analogy.

Fletcher: Should we consider such screening? You’re not even allowed to bring that up in polite company. It’s like questioning the extent and causes of climate change. Shame on you.".

My issue with this sort of claim is that climate change isn't a question of moral or ethical judgement. It exists independent of whether or not we believe it's real (it is) or not real (then what? Has it been made up for some purpose inscrutable to everyone but Tom Fletcher). Questioning the extent and causes of an observed phenomenon is appropriate. We should all apply rational methods for questioning everything that science demonstrates. But that means that we have either to learn about the field in question, study it like the experts do, or ask the experts. It seems clear (see the previous seven discussions, link above) that Tom Fletcher doesn't understand climate change and hasn't even bothered to learn or ask the experts.

The place where moral and ethical considerations come into play is the process by which we determine a course of action to undertake given what we know about climate change. There is a real lack of interest in genuinely discussing this important topic in Tom Fletcher's writing. It does appear there, but only in the sense of doing nothing being the course that seems to be preferred. That's a result of knowing nothing and not caring about knowing nothing. This is disappointing for many that see his column in free local papers in BC but not for the audience he wants to attract. They love believing that mere contrariness is a productive method of argument. Read about agnotology here.

There are so many good, interesting, productive lines of inquiry a journalist could pursue with respect to the ethical and moral considerations around climate change let alone the science. Such inquiries are ways that a journalist could actually make a useful contribution to society. It's a shame this topic gets ignored in favour of base attention seeking.

Based on what's written in the rest of his opinion I believe one can construct an argument that he may be challenged by real questions of morality and ethics, but that's absolutely just my opinion.

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