Archive for September 2nd, 2009

BPSDBPerhaps I give climate change Denier Anthony Watts too little credit for craft and and deceit. His clumsy handling of the Sinclair video incident suggests definite ineptitude, yet I detect a certain cunning in how he  handles topics on his web site. He certainly seems to be an avid student of Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame when it comes to being dishonest.

One consistent tactic that I have noticed is that of making some outrageous claim in the title of a blog post, and then to say absolutely nothing related to it in the post itself. This is straight out of Appleby’s guide to deception:

I explained that we are calling the White Paper Open Government because you always dispose of the difficult bit in the title. It does less harm than in the statute books. It is the law of Inverse Relevance: the less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it”

quoted in  Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Government of Canada



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BPSDBIf the only image we can hope to evoke by using certain references is that of the most cartoonish caricature of iconic figures, then we lose an important element of our ability to learn from history. Is is there any point to even trying? or should such analogies and references simply be avoided because they are more likely to be counterproductive?

That question comes about from an exchange that followed the first comment on my post Climate Deniers demand Stalinist style political show trial:

Argh! I don’t like it when people compare other people to Stalin, so please don’t do that.


From that came an agreement to blog back and forth on the use of particularly charged icons as analogies or metaphors, not as a debate, but rather asmeditations that seek to explore the issue fully.” (more…)

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