The Herald Sun’s War on Science #2: greens are by definition hypocrites

The HUN’s resident climate change denier Andrew Bolt has published a two page “demolition” of Earth Hour today. As usual it’s full of colourful language and laced with venom:

If I really thought man’s gases were heating the world so dangerously that, as Al Gore says, “the future of human civilisation is at stake”, I’d feel the call to do more than turn off some lights for just one hour a year…

…Here and there, the houses of green activists went dark. For one hour – and even then the fridge was left running, because we can’t let the peas defrost just to stop Armageddon. I mean, be reasonable…

…Reality check: anyone not already aware of the great global warming scare? Now, anyone doing much to actually “stop” it? Answer: bugger all. Judge that from Quantum Market Research’s annual social survey, undertaken to help advertisers understand what pushes consumers’ buttons. Quantum divided Australians into five groups, from “Ultra Greens” to Un-Greens”, depending on how they’d “embraced the Green culture”. No surprise, but the Ultra Greens, “the original tree loving hippies and green peace embracers”, turned out to be perfect specimens of our time. They were not only the most likely to vote Green and join green groups, but also the most likely to own a four-wheel drive and join frequent flyer clubs…

…What counts is how you seem, not what you do. Here are your modern read-the-label moralists, keen to give everything to their cause but sweat.”

The company whose research Bolt cites, Quantum Market Research is based in Melbourne. I’ve found a couple of reports on their website however they make no reference to “Ultra-Greens” and “Un-Greens”. Quantum seem to produce two large annual reports each year:

YouthSCAN
AustraliaSCAN

Most market research is available to only to those who pay for it: therefore I can’t say with any confidence what Quantum has to say about the “green market”. However, I would intimate that Andrew Bolt is misrepresenting their research. I’m very familiar with market research: it is often more nuanced than how Bolt is presenting it.

Indeed, I have contacted Quantum to clarify whether or not Bolt’s article is an accurate reflection of their research.

The obvious non-sequitur: Bolt’s faulty logic

Bolt hopes to imply that being green means you are by definition a “hypocrite”: this is an obvious non sequitur (a logical fallacy). It does not follow that one is a green and a hypocrite, just as it does not follow that one is a white Anglo-Saxon male and therefore (for example) homophobic because some are.

We can render this type of logic as follows:

  1. Men are human
  2. Patricia is a human
  3. Therefore Patricia is a man

To translate from the Latin, non sequitur, it does not follow that Patricia is a man.

However, I suspect Bolt understands this basic error in logic. What is important for his purposes is to “smear” the opposition with the charge of hypocrisy.

Once again, the HUN gives license to a rabid climate change denialist.

One thought on “The Herald Sun’s War on Science #2: greens are by definition hypocrites

  1. Rebekka says:

    Mr Bolt also seems dangerously ill-informed about how long it takes peas to defrost.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: