John Cook and colleagues have new paper out about [d]econstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors. The basic idea is to
inoculat[e] against misinformation by explaining the fallacious reasoning within misleading denialist claims.
[o]ffer a strategy based on critical thinking methods to analyse and detect poor reasoning within denialist claims.
They identify a bunch of common denialist claims and then explain why each of these engages in fallacious reasoning. This seems somewhat similar to Willard’s contrarian matrix, although that is maybe more about a hierarchy of contrarian arguments, rather than simply a set of arguments that are fallacious.
However, I ended up in a brief Twitter exchange yesterday (as you do when bored while travelling) with someone who was complaining about this paper. Their complaint was essentially that the paper should have identified actual examples of each of these denialist claims, otherwise it’s simply a strawman exercise (supposedly knocking down arguments that noone has actually made). The one obvious problem is that if they had associated specific groups/individuals with these arguments, then the very same people complaining that they had not done so, would now complain that they had associated groups/individuals with fallacious reasoning and would probably be calling for a retraction.
The other problem is that I don’t think that the paper was aimed at knocking down arguments made by specific individuals/groups, it was more about highlighting a large number of potential arguments and then explaining why the reasoning in these arguments is fallacious. It’s a resource that might help those who could encounter such arguments.
However, I think I have indeed seen many of these arguments being (or, at least, ones that are sufficiently close to the examples presented in this new paper). So, I thought maybe some of my readers would like to highlight examples of such arguments. I’ll try and do some myself. The list is below.