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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Myth Deconstruction - Model (EN)


Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors
Cook, J., Ellerton, P., & Kinkead, D. (2018). Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors. Environmental Research Letters, 13(2), 024018. Link to PDF & Link to Supplement

Step-by-step deconstruction

The table below is inspired by the simplified supplement and may differ slightly from what is shown in the GIF. This is mostly due to make the text fit into the available space which made it necessary to reword some of it.

1 Identify claim Models are imperfect and therefore unreliable.
2 Argument structure Premise 1: Models are not perfect representations of climate.
Conclusion: Models are unreliable.
3 Inferential Intent


4 Validity INVALID
Non sequitur: mistakes made have no bearing on the broader results from models which are based on fundamental physics. In addition our understanding is based on empirical evidence also.
4a Hidden premises Premise 1: Models are not perfect representations of climate
Premise 2: Models should be perfect to be reliable.
Conclusion: Models are unreliable.
5 Check premises Premise 1 is true, although there is a hint of slothful induction in that it ignores all the correct interpretations that models have made.
Premise 2 is false. Impossible expectations. no model is perfect but they are useful tools that can reproduce the past and provide insights into the future.
6 Status of claim FALSE
The argument is made valid with an extra premise but the premise is false.
7 Summary of fallacies Impossible expectations: By definition, no model is perfect as they are simplified representations of reality. Therefore, expecting models to be perfect is an impossible expectation that can never be met. Models are useful tools based on fundamental physical principles that can reproduce the past and provide insights into the future.

Related material

How reliable are climate models?

Blog post with background information about the myth deconstructions: Myth deconstructions as animated gifs

To learn more about the fallacies used in the myth deconstructions: A history of FLICC: the 5 techniques of science denial

Other versions

Printable Version | Back to Graphics by Skeptical Science

Creative Commons License Skeptical Science Graphics by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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