Prof. Jerry Phillips
Prof. Harris Fairbanks
23 February 2012
Rhetorical Analysis, “ Global Warming – The Great Delusion”
Matt Patterson argues in “Global Warming – The Great Delusion” that the alleged scientific consensus surrounding the theory of global warming is based not on fact, but rather on a web of mass hysteria and deceit. Patterson contends that “In fact, global warming is the most widespread mass hysteria in our species’ history”, and that the beliefs of global warming proponents are the result of their own delusional imaginations and a subconscious apocalyptic yearning toward which masses of people tend to subject themselves. While Patterson worries that what he perceives to be the delusions of global warming proponents run amok could prove to be a legitimate threat to the progress of Man, he argues that there is a growing trend of dissenters to the theory among the scientific community that will break the supposed fever of global warming hysteria.
The author begins the piece by drawing a parallel between the actions of global warming supporters and the erratic behaviors of witch hunters and alchemists prior to the 20th century. He claims that Charles Mackay, 19th century journalist and author of “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, would draw the same conclusions today concerning global warming proponents that he did when observing popular susceptibility towards belief in with hunts and alchemy. In doing so, he attempts to illustrate his point that the proponents of global warming are simply falling prey to the madness fueled by those around them, rather than basing their actions and beliefs on facts or evidence. To support this assertion, Patterson employs a bevy of Devil terms to describe the commonality between the ignorance observed by Mackay toward witch hunters and the ignorance observed by Patterson toward global warming activists. Terms like superstition, guilt, hatred, and...