The Internet Gives Voice to the Fanatic

One thing that bothers me about the whole global warming debate is the way the Internet gives voice to the fanatics. The extreme fringes in this debate, or any other, get just as much say as the unbiased, balanced sources. The result being you don’t know who to trust, unless you’re willing to do a lot of legwork to sort it out.

Just do a search for Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth (an amazing movie, by the way, for a glorified slide show), a movie that tries to debunk global warming skeptics, and you get all kinds of fringe arguments. Refutations of refutations of refutations and you don’t know who’s refuting what anymore. Every source is suspect, even the user-controlled Wikipedia where you’re never sure whether a right- or left-winger last edited the article you’re reading.

It’s all the more reason why anybody trying to argue for a cause or idea needs to be transparent. They need to give clear point/counterpoint. And they need to give their opposition the best possible footing–no straw man arguments. (My philosophizing friend taught me that one, and I often kick myself for it because I want to go for the easy kill, but it’s just a strawman argument. All I accomplish is making myself feel better–I don’t convince anyone.)

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