A climate 'Gish Gallop' of epic proportions
Posted on 25 March 2011 by John Cook
If there's one thing global warming skeptics like to do, it's recycle. But alas, not "good for the environment" type recycling. Instead, they dig up old climate myths taken from the scrapheap of scientific history, sometimes debunked decades ago in the peer-reviewed literature. They dust them off and jettison them back into cyberspace. Another form of recycling is the adoption of misinformation techniques used in other areas of science. The tobacco industry mastered the merchandising of doubt - techniques that were readily adopted by climate skeptics.
Another misinformation technique originating from the creation/evolution debate is the "Gish Gallop", named after Duane Gish who in a debate spewed forth an endless torrent of talking points, rendering constructive debate impossible. You have to be crazy to attempt to answer all the points of a Gish Gallop. Crazy or Skeptical Science's own Dana "cyborg" Nuccitelli, who over just the last month tackled Gish Gallops from Lubos Motl, John Christy and Gregg Thompson.
A new Powerpoint originating in Australia, "Reconsidering Climate Change" (WARNING! 108 MB!), takes the Gish Gallop to new levels. Over the past 4 years, we here at Skeptical Science have been gradually accumulating the many skeptic arguments that propagate through the blogosphere. Nearly all of these arguments have been singlehandedly crammed into a single Powerpoint presentation. I read most of the Powerpoint, dutifully noting all the arguments it raised, although I confess I wasn't able to get past the extended rant about how those convinced that humans were causing global warming were akin to Nazis. Sorry, but I have better things to do with my time than listen to that nonsense.
Nevertheless, the number of arguments used up to that point were extensive. Here is a list of them all as well as one-liner rebuttals (which link to much more detailed rebuttals, often featuring multiple levels of information):
One last note: the Powerpoint mentions Skeptical Science in the middle of the presentation, but unfortunately links to the wrong URL, skepticalscience.com.au. However, as there are so many other errors to correct, I've registered skepticalscience.com.au and redirected it to skepticalscience.com. One less error to correct!