Debatable Science? The fallacy of Steve "the Junkman" Milloy

Debatable Science? The fallacy of Steve "the Junkman" Milloy
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Many of the recent attempts to discredit the science of human-induced climate change have come in the form of challenging Vice-President Al Gore to a public debate . This, of course, is a big red herring when you consider that it is not “Al Gore’s science,” but instead the conclusion drawn through years of research by thousands of experts.

However, by tagging the scientific evidence that human activity in the form of burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is causing global warming as “Al Gore’s science,” right-wing think tanks and fossil fuel friendly front groups have effectively politicized an issue of science (at least in the United States).

The most recent campaign has been mounted by former tobacco company lobbyist Steve “the Junkman” Milloy and the fossil-fuel industry backed Business and Media Institute (BMI).

Here’s their latest posting. And here’s the definition of the scientific method for Milloy and the BMI. You’ll notice that the definition does not include public debate, and this is  where Milloy and the BMI fail to grasp (or conveniently ignore) the most fundamental component of science.

It is through research that scientists debate.

What Milloy and others have effectively done is convince a large portion of the public that scientific findings are nothing more than an opinion to be considered and debated in the same way one might debate whether Britney Spears deserves custody of her children. 

So if Milloy and the BMI want a “scientific debate,” I would suggest that instead of spending all their time and money on specious arguments, they instead fund actual research and begin to prove or disprove the evidence for human-induced climate change.

Or instead, I would suggest that Milloy and the BMI would be better off applying their skills in an arena of debate more suited to their way of thinking, namely the comment section on PerezHilton.com.

Debatable Science? The fallacy of Steve "the Junkman" Milloy

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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