Quote: “I think we have a problem on global warming. I think there is a debate about whether it’s caused by mankind or whether it’s caused naturally, but it’s a worthy debate.” President Bush
Figure of Speech: fallacy of controversy.
“Teach the controversy.” The creationists use this ruse to batter evolution without having to prove their own case; now Bush uses it to sow doubt about the human causes of global warming. In each instance, scientific opinion is nearly unanimous, and the “controversies” are almost entirely political.
The fallacy of controversy is one of the most insidious weapons of illogic, because it cynically exploits our sense of fair play. There are two sides to every question, but only if you have a question to start with. Bush weighs a political argument against a scientific one as if they compose one debate. But politics is an apple, and science is an orange.
“It’s a debate, actually, that I’m in the process of solving,” Bush assures us, “by advancing new technologies, burning coal cleanly in electric plants, or promoting hydrogen-powered automobiles, or advancing ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.”
Well, that’s a relief! Of course, none of the technologies he names actually reduces carbon emissions, the chief cause of global warming. But they work rhetorical wonders.
Snappy Answer: “Worthy of what?”