ATTP has a post discussing Mapping the sceptical blogosphere (which I’m sure I read (the paper, I mean) and had the same reaction: “whaat? You mean they’re taking these jokers seriously?” But I don’t seem to have written it down anywhere). Anyway, ATTP then asks, of the septics:
So, why do these sites focus on the science (which isn’t really up for debate) and not on policy (which – in my view – is up for debate)? Is it because if one broadly accepts the science, it means that we should be taking some of the more unpalatable policy options more seriously?
Its a good question, which has been asked before. I was going to reply in the comments there, but then realised my answer was rather long and not at all snappy, and why should I waste a decent posting as a comment elsewhere ;-?
If you want to be charitable to them, the answer is that since they don’t believe the science, talking about policy is irrelevant. I’m not charitable though.
Another possible answer is that dissing the science is these sites’ ecosystem niche – they have nothing to say on policy, because they’ve never got that far. Their only opinion is “no”. And they can’t, now, go on to the interesting discussion of policy, because they wouldn’t carry their readership.
Further, this may reflect they and their readership buying a large part of the “green argument” if I can put it that way: they’re afraid that science implies policy. In fact the connection isn’t at all definite (in my opinion). As I’ve tried to say before, to no great applause.
A better one though is, I think, a variation of incompetence. They can’t interpret the science properly (if they could, they wouldn’t be taking the stance they are) and I think they are uneasily aware of that. So they have no certainty, no confidence. So they can concede or admit nothing, because their defence, so to speak, is multiple layers of fluff; not a single layer of iron. Its also a variation of what VV complained about Curry: the deliberate use of ambiguous language and the avoidance of making testable statements; because that’s the aim: chaff (or fluff), not certainty. But you need a thick layer of chaff, or people will see though it.
All this is nothing new. People have been saying it since sci.env.
But, given this is how the denialospheere is almost by definition, there’s not a lot of point complaining about it. There *are* people out there who are prepared to accept the IPCC science (or, if you prefer, take it as the basis for argument) and then discuss policy. For example Timmy; e.g. this one. And for the hard of thinking: no, you don’t have to agree, but if you want to discuss policy, you can.