On Climate Change, from a forum:

Originally Posted by Alister View Post
What matters is, are the facts, statistics, data verifiable. Do they hold up to scrutiny, etc., etc.

We have developed, for better or worse, a system called “peer review” that largely juries these matters. Among other things, this system demands that someone — anyone — has to demonstrate their expertise in complicated topics, to people who have already done so.

These latter people’s credibility are far more important than any others in the process.

As far as the notion of ‘bias,” which is also very complicated, I have posted a link, way back in this thread, on “Confirmation Bias.” Most readers have ignored the link, while busy demonstrating its validity all along.

Here it is, again:


Hear, hear.

There’s a lot of valid criticism in this thread, to be sure. And science is based on constant reexamination of the accepted works and theories.


We’ve been through this scientific reductionism before. These are the same tactics used by opponents of vaccination and evolution. Attacking the minutia while ignoring the larger trends (“we need a perfect ‘missing link’ between monkeys and man but POLAR BEARS WALKED TO NOAH’S HOUSE”), trying to discredit specific studies while ignoring the greater concensus, and disproportionately ascribing the validity of unproven doubt to those who work to challenge established theories and hypotheses. Not to mention restating the argument and moving the goalposts – remember when the argument was whether or not the climate was changing in the first place, regardless of the cause? Now it’s “OK, it’s changing but it’s not our fault” and “it’s natural, we can’t do anything about it”, which is the LARGER context to this argument: regardless of the cause, is there evidence that man can change climate based on behavior? And the answer – as we have seen from other changes, both good and bad – is a resounding YES.

These same logical fallacies and disingenuous arguments are a bore, and designed to wear out the patience of those tired of debunking these claims.

Just because there are scientists who are skeptical of a theory doesn’t automatically mean their viewpoint is a valid argument against it. Until they have done the due diligence to present their own evidence and rigorous peer reviewed experimentation, it is scientifically worthless. The entire anti-vax movement was based on ONE STUDY, that was eventually COMPLETELY discredited, and yet in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence (or, I should say, a total LACK of scientific evidence to support their theory), people continue to cling to this failed idea.

The data pool we have on climate change is pretty wide ranging. One shady data collection method doesn’t discredit the vast amount of data that has gone into these studies. There are literally thousands upon thousands of researchers working on ever increasingly detailed models and forecasts, as well as analyzing more and more data from more and more sources. Plenty of money goes into both sides, and yet the overwhelming consensus remains on the side of man having a hand in climate change (has everyone forgotten about the ozone layer?). The “smoking gun” that the anti-climate change need to debunk the larger data pool just isn’t there at this point. To say that “it might be” as an excuse to ignore the science is scientifically and logically disingenuous. Is the Universe not made of matter because we can’t find the Higgs Boson particle?

And the idea that the whole idea is financially motivated is f***ing preposterous. Opportunists can and will make money on either side of this bet. GE is making money selling both incandescent bulbs and CFLs. They’ll take government grants to develop “green” tech, but they’ll sell the regular crap as long as they can. Really, they just don’t care. Corporate profits on “green” products are equal to or more than their older counterparts.

As for “your money”, can we drop this notion that we get nothing for our tax dollars? I for one am happy to invest in technology that – regardless of global climate change – gives me cleaner air, cleaner water, and maximizes our natural resources. Actual Green products (not crap with “green!” printed on the side of it from Wal*Mart) usually SAVE money, often enough to pay for themselves over the life of the product. WHY DO YOU HATE SAVING MONEY GUISE??

In the end, a lot of the dissent on views like this come not from skeptics with mad critical thinking skills, but intellectually lazy ideologues who have wrapped their egos around being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. “Oh, I’m not one of those _______ sheep that blindly follow that _______. I’m a Freethinker, and smarter than you!”. And they make just enough sense that it makes a case for well intentioned lay people.

I certainly hope that climate change is not as catastrophic as the doomsayers would have us believe – though I think that if we listened to saner warnings, everything in this country wouldn’t have to e a crisis to get us to act. I certainly do NOT want the scientific community to stop testing climate change theory, nor do I want people to stop challenging the data. Timinator and others have some VERY valid criticisms, and I don’t want to sound like I am just dismissing them. Nor is the OP’s post unimportant. Quite the opposite, I believe that the contentious nature of science is what gives it it’s validity.

But as lay people and policymakers, we have to act based on the larger consensus, without bickering over unproven claims and sophistic arguments. In this case in particular, the upside is independent of the issue – the lighter footprint we make, the longer we’ll have this planet’s resources. Period.

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