Bill Nye has recently released a video about climate change. In this video, he challenges Tucker Carlson to a bet. If 2017 isn’t one of the top 10 hottest years on record, Bill Nye will pay Tucker $10,000. That’s a fair chunk of change, but alas the bet is not fair. Why? Because logic.
Now, I don’t mean to mock Bill too much, as it was his schooling that failed him, but in challenging someone to this bet he commits a logical fallacy. Specifically, it is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent.
When Aristotle wrote out the basics of logic all those years ago, he wrote out this little gem: If X, then Y. If this statement is true, then from this conditional statement, you can make one move. You can affirm the condition X and therefore you necessarily have Y.
However, Aristotle points out to everyone that to go the opposite way is fallacious. If X, then Y. Y therefore X cannot function. Because there is such a thing as overdetermination. Meaning there can be more than one cause for the effect we see. If Chris goes to work, then Chris is riding the metro. Chris is riding the metro. But that does not necessarily mean that Chris is going to work. This could be a Saturday, and Chris wanted to go down and read at the monuments.
Bill Nye sets his bet up on a conditional statement that is of the same form. Bill says to prove climate change is real, he will bet Tucker Carlson $10,000 that this will be the hottest year on record. The operating logic behind this statement looks like this: If man-made climate change is real, then this year will be hotter than last year.
Bill has since gone out bragging about how this is the hottest year on record. Big deal. Tucker Carlson and climate skeptics never denied this. They merely offered a different antecedent term.
Tucker Carlson and Bill Nye discussed the question of ‘is man responsible for climate change.’ Like many free-thinking skeptics consider, the earth’s climate changes all on its own. There was an ice age, but we are warmer now. And, there was a Jurassic Period that was very hot, but man wasn’t there to cause it.
The problem is that nobody is questioning that the consequent is there. They are questioning what is the cause. The both concede that the climate is changing. But, the skeptic is not committing a blatant logical fallacy.
It’s not surprising that this farce would be allowed to stand by the scientific community, as they have continually allowed logical breaks and misdirection in order to get their way.
When discussing public policy, liberals love to use the following statistic: “97% of climate scientist agree that man contributes to climate change.” Ok, so 97% of climate scientists agree that there is man-made climate change, but that doesn’t mean that 97% of climate scientists agree on the amount that mankind contributes. More so, it doesn’t say anything about climate scientists agree on any policy that would fix the problem.
I know, logic is a touchy subject for the high-priests of science. But, we cannot hope to have answers to the problems of science, if they cannot follow basic logic. Here is another of Aristotle’s syllogisms: Either X or Y. You can deny either one, and therefore confirm the other. But you cannot start by confirming them.
So, Bill Nye, here is a logic puzzle: Either Bill Nye is ignorant of basic logic, or Bill Nye is a dishonest person trying to deceive people.
I would truly hope that Billy is not ignorant of basic logic. But, hey that’s not my call.