Where this blog is heading (subject to derailment, of course)
I have been scouring through WtD to address some on the issues presented. Some of these are:
The science is settled.
The scientific debate ALWAYS remains open. It is a characteristic of science. If quantum mechanics were treated the same way climate science is, when the CERN researchers found a particle that they believed to be going faster than the speed of light, they would have shredded the data because the settled science said particles do not move faster than the speed of light. Science is ALWAYS an ongoing search for knowledge. If it’s “settled”, it it NOT science.
Equating “deniers” with conspiracy theorists is a logical fallacy and baseless. At best, it’s a shady marketing technique—like the tomato company commercial where a speaker tells the female shopper that other tomato brands are chemically peeled. While she may be horrified, the science says such a practice is safe. Still, using the word chemical frightens the woman and keeps her from asking if the chemical peel is safe. Now, when she looks at other brands, she sees CHEMICAL PEEL. Associating something bad to other tomatoes is in no way a valid, scientific process. It’s cheap shot marketing. So is trying to tie “deniers” to conspiracy theories.
Peer-reviewed scientists are the only authorities
I had a friend tell me I should not use certain soaps because the soap turned litmus paper dark. She had no idea what the reaction with the paper meant, just that it was bad. She based her beliefs on what authorities told her, in virtually every decision. I could explain something in detail, then a month later her doctor would tell the same thing and she would then believe it. A surgeon talked her into back surgery when she came in for something totally different. She refused to get a second opinion—her doctor was all the authority she needed. This is anecdotal but is does indicate my point—how you choose and authority has a huge impact of the outcome of your choices. The definition of authority directly affects the conclusion reached.
Your coworkers and friends are suspect
Who people know has nothing to do with the accuracy of scientific theory. Unless you are a hermit, you probably know a few people with some unconventional beliefs. Attempting to push “guilt by association” is NOT acceptable. For years, I did not put my name on my blogs because WHAT I wrote was all that mattered, not who I was. People who read my pages were expected to do research and see if the viewpoint or theory presented was correct. Ideas are separate from the speaker.
“Follow the money”
- I do not know any skeptics who get payments from “Big Oil”, though I do know several who would like to. This is falsehood designed to make people think all skeptics are in the pocket of some huge, mean industry. Most skeptics write for the same reason believers do—they feel they need to give voice to science.
- Environmentalists and climate scientists are funded. Yet skeptics are vilified on the basis of possibly be being funded. Not reasonable.
- “Big Oil” benefits from wind and solar subsidies, yet I have not read climate scientists to outlaw oil companies and oil money (anyone whose income or inheritance can be traced to oil companies) from receiving the subsidies. Why not?
Follow the money does NOT disprove or prove anything. It’s a rule of thumb for a place to start looking. It has been misused and abused by many, many people. There are many more factors that must be considered. (Al Gore sold his TV station to an oil nation—follow the money? He’s financed by oil. Right?)
I will address these issues in more depth in future postings. I do read your comments and check out the links presented. I want to be thorough in my research and that takes time.