2011-01-25 06:47:13Monckton's Mythic strategies


Looking over the various write-ups (good work, by the way), I am struck that there seems to be a repertoire of logical misdeeds that Monckton applies again and again: cherry-picking time frames; attributing a general increase to a cyclical cause; misquoting the data or results from a reference; down to "just makin' it up." It seems to me that there is a fairly small set of tactics that he uses again and again and again.

I suggest that, when the MM rebuttals have been essentially finalized, it would be interesting for someone to:

- Go through these arguments and identify and enumerate this set of tactics; and

- Generate a little check-list/table for each of his Myths, identifying the specific tactics that he is using in that particular Myth; and

- Include the table at the end of each rebuttal.

The point would be to make the reader aware that Monckton is just trying to pull wool over the eyes with a consistent set of tricks. It could help bring to the awareness of the reader what Monckton is trying to do in general, and sensitive him/her as to where to look to de-construct his argumentation style.

That would train the readers to look for characteristic errors in argumentation, so they could locate likely problems in his articles even before seeing a rebuttal from SkS or anyone else. 

It would also enable the summarizing of the whole rebuttal in a simple form. For example, the recent rebuttal of MM#7, the whole argument could be summarized as: "Cherry-picking samples: Derives a trend by looking only at 3 months out of 40 years." Such a summary does not do justice to everything discussed in that rebuttal; but it clues in the reader immediately as to the nature of the particular dishonesty of this Myth. And it would help crystalize in the reader's mind what is wrong, and how it is wrong.

I would not mind doing this myself, but I cannot do anything requiring sustained concentration for at least 10 days.

2011-01-25 07:22:19summary page
Dana Nuccitelli
Good ideas, neal.  I'd suggest discussing incorporating them in the MM summary page thread.
2011-01-25 07:44:29Summary of tactics
John Cook

This is a good observation. When we launch the MM page, I want to do at least two things. Do a readable blog post launching the page but also including some analysis such as what you mention. Not getting too technical, more in a readable fashion - aiming for the Guardian (who seem to be a tough nut to crack).

Secondly, I'll suggest to The Climate Show that next time, our subject is Monckton, see if they're interested in that.

There is a very important cognitive principle here - when debunking someone, it's crucial that you don't just counter their arguments with ours. Otherwise, to the onlookers, it's just a case of they said versus we said. Instead, we have to provide an alternate narrative to replace Monckton's narrative. The narrative is that Monckton uses all these rhetorical techniques to lismlead people. We have to clearly expose his tricks, like exposing a magician's techniques.