How to make a really bad scientific argument, Part 6: Emotional Appeal

Make an emotional appeal.  We need to get every known pollutant out of our drinking water, to as low a level as we can measure.  No amount is acceptable for our children.  Of course we all like children, so any remote possibility of harm to them is unacceptable, right?  What?  You don’t agree?  Why do you hate children?  A good scientific argument would state: this chemical is a pollutant, it is present in this water supply at this concentration, and these are the possible effects of that concentration, with these particular effects (if any) on children.  Science is about the search for truth using facts and logic, not emotion.  Emotional appeals don’t put costs to society in terms that can be weighed and addressed against the costs of solutions.  Emotional appeals won’t prove a theory or help find a solution to a problem, but they seem to work great for politicians.  So pull on those heart strings!



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