A couple of timewasting avoidance schemes when dealing with anti-skeptic Defenders of the Faith in Science:
(1) The Congealed Minds
Some people pop up in skeptic blogs commenting in a way similar to swashbuckling (or marauding), making statements such as “I believe the scientists doing the research are a much better judge of that than you are“.
That’s a very good sign that we’re dealing with people who:
- Worship mainstream scientific literature
- Are willing mouthpieces of somebody else
- Routinely misrepresent science as an organically growing process where past interpretations are cast in stone
- Act like those philosophers who would reply to Galileo continuously quoting Aristotle and the Aristotelians, rather than accept to reason by themselves
The only question to ask them is: Is there anything anybody could ever say, show, write, demonstrate, ask or explain in a blog or comment to a blog, that will make you change your mind?
The answer will of course be “No”. Therefore there is no point debating with them.
(2) The Deferrers
Another common anti-skeptic tactic is to invoke some Higher Authority, eg: “I won’t presume to substitute my non-professional judgment for that of someone who’s dedicated his career to a pursuit of unbiased scientific knowledge, just as I wouldn’t substitute my judgment for that of an oncologist or a neurologist treating myself or someone close to me“.
That’s a completely meaningless statement, because it is supremely illogical. If a person defers judgment to somebody else, obviously what that person writes has no value at all: we should always be looking for the opinion of “somebody else”. Anybody arguing “don’t listen to me, listen to somebody else” is a prisoner of twisted logic, as the first part of that sentence negates the second one. Therefore there is no point debating with them.
“Much of the contents of [Mann’s] book is old news“, according to Peter Gleick. In fact, an entire day spent at a website owned by somebody who interviewed the Man, has turned out nothing more than statements accompanied by “that’s nothing new” and “for those buried in the intellectual wastes of the Murdoch media – it will be brand new territory“.
IOW the general consensus appears to be that there is nothing in Mann’s book that has not already been mentioned, described or referred to somewhere on the web (and, I suspect, in the Climategate emails). Somebody tried to make the point that, according to agiographers, Mann’s book contains enough “to spark a dozen Master’s theses“. But that is not the point.
The point is, what would one find in Mann’s book that is nowhere else? Who knows…an insight, a revealing detail, whatever, anything as long as it is new. There has to be a reason to buy and then read the book, right?
According to Mann’s own supporters, the answers to those questions are still “nothing” and “none”. Well, no wonder Mann is ever so bothered about his enemies…with friends like Mann’s, no one needs enemies!
Environment reporting is a subset of professionalised scare.
Everything else, is a corollary….
From Bishop Hill’s “Nobel laureate on temperatures” (Feb 2012):
The question is not whether temperatures have risen or whether mankind has affected the climate. Temperatures have always risen and fallen and mankind has always affected the climate. The question is whether we have a problem on our hands. The poor performance of the climate models suggests that the problem is much less than we have been led to believe.
Summary of the latest email edition of “Science In The News Weekly“, “a digest of science news stories appearing in the mainstream media. It is delivered every Monday afternoon (or Tuesday afternoon in the case of a Monday holiday) as part of Sigma Xi’s public understanding of science program area, in conjunction with American Scientist magazine”
Another science-y news
Yet another science-y news
World to end(*)
More science-y news
More more science-y news
In particular the (*) bit is of the form:
Evidently reason takes a momentary leave of absence at American Scientist like in many other places, whenever carbon dioxide is mentioned.
BTW the link is to the study that used naturally-occurring CO2 seeps to try to figure out what might happen in 2100, an impressive collection of “might’s” if you ask me.
Crikey understands The New York Times will tomorrow reveal the identity of Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor”, an individual who has donated $13.7 million to the Heartland Institute since 2007 and at times has provided 60% of the institute’s funding.
The page says (in the code) it’s been published 2012-02-20T13:11:12+1100
Now as we know, the NYT has published nothing of the sort…actually, Gleick confessed sometimes around midnight GMT between Feb 20 and Feb 21, a little less than 24 hours later.
I wonder if this missed announcement has anything to do with Gleick being forced to reveal himself as the Gleickgate perp. BTW make sure you don’t miss out this thread at Climate Audit.