ONCE TWO SCIENTISTS–it hardly matters what sort–were walking before dinner beside a pleasant pond with their friend, a reporter for the Dispatch, when they happened to notice a bird standing beside the water.
“I am a skeptic,” said the first scientist. “I demand convincing evidence before I make an assertion. But I believe I can identify that bird, beyond all reasonable doubt, as a duck.” The journalist nodded silently at this assertion.
“I also am a skeptic,” said the second, “but evidently of a more refined sort, for I demand a much higher standard of evidence than you do. I see no irrefutable evidence to back up your assertion that this object before us is even a bird, let alone positively identifying it as a duck.” The journalist raised his eyebrow sagely.
I got that chuckle thanks to an interesting post over at InItForTheGold well worth the read for Part 1, all about styles of climate septics.
The third kind is the “throw spaghetti at the wall” type, the one who will wheel out fifteen half-baked arguments for every one you try to refute. This kind seems the most thoroughly trained in political shenanigans. The approach is as common as it is frustrating. They refuse to play by anything resembling the rules of logic, instead resorting to pure polemics. If you score a point of any sort, they will pretend not to notice. Therefore Very Very not the IPCC.
(Bring any local contributors to mind?)
Anyway, and here is the point, when you have actual scientific knowledge, information from one source or topic can and should influence your thinking on others. Thus a coherent worldview arises. The naysayers on climate change lack a coherent worldview. Their claim is that climate has some magical properties making it unapproachable by science, and that thus very little can be known. But all they know for a fact is that they themselves know very little. Those of us who know enough are uncomfortable with bits of information that don’t fit in right. Our experience is that if we look closely enough, there is usually a difference in assumption or nomenclature, not inconsistent evidence. We don’t know everything, but what we do know tends to hang together, because we are practicing actual science, not as some philosopher of science would describe it, but as it actually works. Human minds collaborate to produce a robust and coherent view of the world.
Lack of coherence is the hallmark of the run of the mill psuedo skepticism we see so often around here. Anything goes as long as it is Not The IPCC.