October 26, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Climate Change: Don’t Elevate Opinion Over Deference For The Scientific Method
It seems climate science is the one science where it is acceptable for the average person to believe he or she knows better than the actual scientists working in the field. I mean, if your doctor says you have an ailment do you dismiss it because you know better? OK, maybe some people do this. But if you then get a second and third opinion and they all agree, is it still acceptable to deny the diagnosis? How about if you get a fourth or fifth opinion? — How about one hundred?
How many doctors will it take before your “opinion” is supplanted by medical consensus?
How many climate scientists will it take before your “opinion” is supplanted by scientific consensus?
No, this is not a recipe for how to remove skepticism from our reasoning, but it is a caution that we should not allow denialism to masquerade as skepticism. We need to recognize skepticism abounds within the scientific community because this is how scientists think and work. We should not elevate opinion over deference for scientists who have spent their entire lives working in the field of climate science.
Let’s do a quick exercise on human activity on planet Earth:
Can human activity impact the environment? — Yes
Can human activity contaminate rivers and streams? — Yes
Can human activity render large areas of land uninhabitable due to radiation (from nuclear accidents)? — Yes
Can human activity cause a hole to form in the ozone layer? — Yes
Can human activity pollute the air to an unhealthy level, particularly dangerous to those with respiratory problems? — Yes
Can human activity lead to expansive areas of concrete and steel (cities) that affect the local climate (urban heat island effect)? — Yes
Can human activity lead to CO2 build up in the atmosphere that causes a greenhouse effect (global warming) which then leads to a changing climate? — No way man, that’s a conspiracy by liberals and scientists to get more research funding from my tax dollars.
Why is it hard to accept that climate change is real? Why is it so difficult to accept that the globe is warming and we are the cause?