Sunday, January 10, 2010

Godwin's Law, climate corollary

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I know efforts to slow the stupidification of society may seem a lost cause but it's still worth pursuing...

Last year, I learned about something called Godwin's Law. It's a phenomenon I'd observed for a while but never knew had a name.

It goes: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches."

A generally accepted follow up is that anyone who invokes Hitler or the Nazis automatically loses the debate.

I think a corollary should be added.

Anyone who claims that an unseasonably cold day/week/month/year "proves" that climate change is bogus or otherwise discredits the widely accepted scientific consensus should automatically be disqualified from any discussion related not only to climate change but science in general.

The ban shall remain in place until the violator learns all of the following:

1) The difference between climate and weather;

2) The difference between an outlier and a trend;

3) The rudiments of statistical analysis and the scientific method.

Otherwise, I have the right to say that my recent $7 win in the scratch off lottery (thus increasing my gross income by about 10% as compared to the previous day) proves that the economy is booming.

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