Edward Baltzer
Grand Junction

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February 1, 2013
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LETTER: Konola column full of logical fallacies

Claudette Konola's opinion of Jan. 25, "Climate change is real, and Ray Scott is clueless" begs for editing.

In it she introduces her strong opinion about climate change, and states "despite all of the money flowing into universities to produce studies that deny climate change has...human causes, reality is finally rearing its head...". She then presents evidence of bias in hydraulic fracturing research. Climate change and hydraulic fracturing are unrelated. She presents a thesis not supported by the evidence, which is the writing error of a non-sequitur, or the logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis.

So, I guess her thesis actually is how big oil money is biasing hydraulic fracturing research, not climate change research. She states such bias resulted in "professors and department heads resign[ing] from American universities for agreeing to publish biased information," implying multiple resignations from multiple universities. In support of her thesis, she states that one professor retired and one academic head (Raymond Orbach) "lost his job." However, according to the University of Texas, Orbach resigned from his post as director of The Energy Institute at UT, but remains a professor, so he did not lose his job. What she wrote misrepresented the facts. In fact, one department head resigned his post at one university, which had nothing to do with climate change research.

Konola then discusses a drilling bill proposed by our State Rep. Ray Scott. The bill, HB-1122, is silent on hydraulic fracturing, global warming, AND scientific research. This is another non-sequitur.

Konola uses language such as "hyped as being true to science," "fantasy world of pro-oil and gas operatives," "flagrant disregard for truth and science," and "his pockets get filled." This is using biased or emotional language to coerce the reader to accept a position, rather than using logic or evidence. It is known as the Question-Begging Epithet, another logical fallacy. I have other comments but am out of space.

Such errors are not unique to Konola or Progressives. All of us need to think clearly and write carefully. Present a clear thesis and logically support it with undistorted facts. This is hard work, but is required for intelligent discussion, which is vital to the preservation of our Republic.

Thank you for your time.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 1, 2013 04:18PM Published Feb 1, 2013 04:17PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.