Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Lengthy comment thread on global warming

with 3 comments

I thought other readers might find the thread to this post to be of interest.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 January 2010 at 5:13 pm

3 Responses

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  1. In a way, I can understand where climate-change deniers are coming from.

    We’ve all had the experience where there was some idea that scientists established & accepted, only to have them reverse their opinion. In particular, I’m thinking of hydrogenated fats. For many, many years I avoided eating butter because I was told margarine was healthier.

    My friend Ben told me way back in the 1990s that a nutrition scientist he met on a plane told him to avoid hydrogenated fats—that they’re very unhealthy and that we’re better eating natural fats such as butter. But I was so invested in what I believed that it was many years before I was finally convinced and changed my eating habits. And this is despite the fact I like butter better than margarine!

    So I can understand that an experience such as that could result in an attitude that dismisses whatever new ideas scientists come up with.

    But that would be missing the real lesson of the experience. The fact is that the strength of science is that evidence wins. When a scientist can demonstrate that some accepted idea is wrong (such as margarine being good for us or that humans are not having an effect on the climate), the community of scientists revise their ideas to use the available information to establish the best-possible understanding of the world. It is me, a lay-person, who does not have the time or inclination to keep up with the latest information who is stuck with wrong-headed ideas simply because I’m stubborn and wants to believe what I believe (and not be dexterous to believe what is most probable).

    There is actually a huge incentive for climate scientists to prove that climate change isn’t happening. Who do you think would be more famous & acclaimed scientist—the scientist who establishes yet more evidence that global climate change is happening or the scientist who proves it isn’t happening? Demonstrating that the accepting scientific belief is wrong is huge and something every scientist dreams of—so the absence of compelling (i.e., irrefutable) evidence that climate change isn’t happening (or is minor) is a big deal.

    Ethan

    2 February 2010 at 6:14 am

  2. Very good point. (I, BTW, stuck with butter during those years because my mother hated margarine and convinced me that butter was better.)

    LeisureGuy

    2 February 2010 at 8:29 am

  3. New member

    handzsmbolz

    27 May 2010 at 6:54 am


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