Global Warming Debate Settled

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The War on Science Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? That’s the question to which National Geographic turned its attention for the March 2015 cover story. We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge, from climate change to vaccinations faces furious opposition. Some even have doubts about the moon landing. Joel Achenbach delivers a thoughtful expose on the moving target that is scientific consensus. As he points out, the very basis of science is skepticism. Everybody should be questioning, he says, quoting the editor of Science magazine. Unless of course you are questioning science being used to justify a new government mandate or program, then you ought instead look to the experts when trying to figure out what to believe. Instead, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. It is on this doubting by the public, even in the face of overwhelming consensus within the scientific community that the author focuses. A noble endeavor: the general public’s general unwillingness to take scientists at their word is truly astounding.

As Achenbach points out, The science tribe has a long track record of getting things right… Overpopulation Global Cooling The end of oil Y2K Global floods Nuclear war to reverse global warming So, how is it that reasonable people can doubt the results of scientific inquiry? In particular for Achenbach, how is it that people can be so skeptical of the efforts of environmental activists lobbying for massive government intervention into the economy ala global warming? His ultimate conclusion: There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening. In the climate debate the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Anyone doubting that thesis is simply incapable analyzing the complex modern world, possibly being manipulated by their subconscious mind, likely lonely and trying to fit in with their friends, and definitely being paid off by the oil-industry. Reasonable people can disagree, you see.

And doubters are apparently reasonable, just also variously dim-witted, psychotic, shallow, and greedy. Across the articles intervening pages, Achenbach takes us around the world and back through time as he explores everything from GMOs and Ebola to flat-Earthers and evolution. He delves deep into the philosophy of curiosity and skepticism that is the hallmark of scientific inquiry. None of which, we are comfortingly reminded, applies to the climate change debate, because after all there aren’t really two side to all these issues. Climate change is happening, and doubting has consequences. Here is Achenbach: The world crackles with real and imaginary hazards, and distinguishing the former from the latter isn’t easy. [Except in the case of global warming, because There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening, and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring.

Yet just because two things happened together doesn’t mean one caused the other, and just because events are clustered doesn’t mean they’re not still random. [Except when there’s a tornado or a drought or more snow or less snow or it gets hotter or it gets cooler. Remember, There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Like the rest of us, [scientists] are vulnerable to what they call confirmation bias the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe. Except climate scientists. Remember, There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation. Scientists rarely proclaim an absolute truth or absolute certainty. Uncertainty is inevitable at the frontiers of knowledge. Except at the frontiers of climate science. Remember, There aren’t really two sides to all these issues.

Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Sometimes scientists fall short of the ideals of the scientific method there’s a disturbing trend toward results that can’t be reproduced outside the lab that found them. Except results produced in climatology labs. Remember, There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Science will find the truth, Collins says. It may get it wrong the first time and maybe the second time, but ultimately it will find the truth. That provisional quality of science is another thing a lot of people have trouble with. To some climate change skeptics, for example, the fact that a few scientists in the 1970s were worried (quite reasonably, it seemed at the time) about the possibility of a coming ice age is enough to discredit the concern about global warming now.

The science of the 1970s was provisional, but global warming is the truth. Remember, There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. Everybody should be questioning. Unless of course you believe in global warming. Then who needs questioning. Because, remember There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening and the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. And if you disagree with me, you are a communist..

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