Friday, May 30, 2014

Phoney claims

Are all round us.

One that particularly irritates me is that the oceans are acidifying. They might be getting less alkaline but they are never going to get acid.

This might be less because the global warmers are trying to fool you than because there is no convenient short word for becoming less basic. But it might also be because the warmers are trying to fool you.

English is a supple and magnificent tool but it is an historical accident and a convention, not designed to work well in every circumstance. George Bush sounded an awful fool because he was, but one famous instance -- when he referred to Muslim terrorism as a crusade -- was really the fault of English. 

That's the only word we have for that sort of campaign.

RtO has avoided engaging with some of the commoner forms of lunacy on Maui because some things are just too stupid and, so far as I can tell, believing in chemtrails does not have any fallout (pun intended) other than labeling yourself as a nitwit. Not so with some other fantasies, like harmful GMOs (see "About the GMO petition," May 18) which is already harming people and, now that the liars at SHAKA are on the verge of getting their nuttiness on a ballot, has the potential to do some real damage.

However, I have said enough about GMOs. I want to link to an interesting post, by Eric Hall, on the subject of checking claims. It is followed by a longish comment thread that expands on the point in interesting ways.

It is called "Trusting the Internet," and if there's anything I'm sure of, it's that the people who most need to read it won't.

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