Arguments and irrelevancies

Critical Thinking is an A level worth encouraging, if it helps discourage such flabby arguments as two I heard today on Tom Heap’s excellent Costing the Earth.  This was about peat and the way we’re still ravaging bogs, despite their being incredibly valuable carbon captors.

The first flab was from an Irish MP, who said that he would fight European legislation to stop peat-cutting, which he himself did – like many Irishmen.  His objections to the EU legislation were that they were a) foreign, b) trying to stop a Great Irish Tradition, and c) this peat-cutting was small-scale, anyway.  All of these arguments are completely irrelevant.

The second flab was from the manager of a firm which cuts peat for garden compost.  I am astounded and horrified that the garden peat industry still exists, but that’s another matter.  His argument for carrying on this appalling practice was that farmers around his mine had ravaged much more of the peatland.  Again, this argument is totally irrelevant.

Neither of these individuals can get away from the facts:

1) peat is a huge store of carbon and thus should be preserved for the good of humanity and all other living things

2) peat is built up over centuries and millennia and cannot be restored in the way that a wood can be replanted.

These men are misguided, and actually deep-down know that they are wrong.  All peat-cutters are idiots and need to be stopped.

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