I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.
As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
I guess I'm through fighting about it.
I'm far more interested in finding out where we are going be able to live, what foods we are going be able to eat, how we will house and clothe ourselves, what kind of gov't will survive - all that.
I've heard that we've surpassed some kind of threshold and will be experiencing changes for decades to come. I'm just gonna focus on making sure that me and mine survive it.
Of course the denialists think they are thinking critically, based on evidence. Even creationists think that. They just don't notice that they apply their skepticism only to the consensus view, without being skeptical of the denialist view. They don't notice that they are cherry-picking only the evidence that supports their anti-consensus view. They're not weighing the evidence properly because they're ignoring or discounting huge amounts of it for invalid reasons.
Out of interest do the 'denialists' here think they are using reason and critical thinking and view based on evidence?
The ones I talk with (or rather, they stand on their soapbox and toss word salad at me) do.
But anymore, I simply ask them to produce the evidence. "I've given you my link to Scientific American, National Geographic, etc, where's your link?" And every time this either results in more word salad which curiously contains no such links or outright shuts them up.
I'm also getting real tired of the mantra, "Who is Al Gore to preach on this stuff? He's not a scientist!" Well, neither are you. Neither is the right-wing pundit you're getting your talking points from. Al Gore gets his information from real scientists. Where do you get your information from?
Maybe I do think that it isn't as cut and dried even with science. If you look through the history of science and recent events like Plate Techtonics and neurogenisis in the brain, science like all other human spheres also involve politics and entrenteched positions. The evidence didn't change the consensus by itself.
Then it gets even worse with social matters. Sex is one example of mainstream getting it so wrong -it wasn't that long ago that homosexuality and masturbation were symtoms of mental disease- and we both know that we disagree strongly on abortion. If there is a correct position one of us is wrong and cannot see it.
BTW one persons conspiracy theory can be anothers minority but still correct contrarian theory.
Conspiracy theories are almost never correct, and basically never if the proposed conspiracy includes more than a few dozen people. That mainstream medicine didn't understand that h. pilori caused ulcers did not constitute a conspiracy against the doctors who proved that it does. Institutional inertia is not conspiracy.
And while science informs the abortion debate, that issue is ultimately about values, which science has a hard time saying much about. Values are about what people want. Science is about how things work, and not so often about how things ought to work. Perhaps someday the soft sciences will become hard sciences, but until then, science can only say so much in certain arenas. We are on much firmer ground with the hard sciences, however, so I have much more confidence in the science on global warming.
And ultimately in science, the evidence does win out. Plate tectonics became the accepted explanation despite institutional inertia against it because of literal mountains of evidence. Obviously, science has politics and entrenched positions, like any other human endeavor. But there's no going back to explanations that are less good than Wegener's, Darwin's, Newton's, Einstein's, etc, even if they take a generation to take root.
Those who deny that Earth's atmosphere is warming, or that humans are a significant cause of that warming, are crusading against a burgeoning cascade of confirming evidence, despite the occasional data point that would seem to be swimming against the current. Upon examination, each of these supposedly disconfirming bodies of evidence has so far been found to be either a local phenomenon, or insufficient to counter the effects of other mechanisms, or simply illusory. In some cases, as with the increasing snowfall on the interior of Antarctica, the local cooling phenomenon is actually predicted by global warming models.
I'm sure many denialists are simply unaware of the overwhelming and rapidly accumulating evidence in favor of the consensus view. I'm also sure that if we had more time with which to deal with global warming, the denialists would eventually switch sides. I don't think we have the luxury to wait for the usual institutional inertia to be overcome, however.
A recent study came out that showed that in the abortion debate both sides consistently underestimated the strength of the oppositions concern for their key vales. Eg progressives thinking conservatives didn't highly regard or have concern for women. Personlly I have the highest regard for women etc and my views on abortion haven't changed that.
Secondly it doesn't have to be a full conspiracy just self interested collusion. Eg Psychiatry and Pharmaceutical companies pathologizing things just to sell drugs.
I don't want to derail this thread, but aside from painting an accurate picture, science can't tell people how much to value a fetus relative to the woman carrying it. And progressives and conservatives value women differently and for different reasons. I'm sure they both think they value women highly, but they're not doing the same accounting as each other. I'd have to see how the study was constructed, but I smell an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Psychiatric and pharmaceutical business decisions are also subject to eventual confirmation or disconfirmation thru repeated experiment, even if the experiments are conducted accidentally or cynically on whole populations. It's just not possible for a drug patent to skew the scientific view forever. Legitimate science eventually corrects itself, unlike, say, homeopathy and other quackery, where only fraud drives it at root, with gullibility and the placebo effect allowing it to be profitable.