No-one gives a toss what you think

Of the many obvious things that I’m sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, is the fact that climate change is real, predominantly [but not SOLELY] man made and will cause irreversible, catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions. I will no longer bother trying to explain this and rebut long debunked myths and lies. They are not idiots because they don’t have all the information and just need to be informed, they are idiots because they consciously refuse to believe evidence. Once a person has reached the point where they won’t believe the facts because it doesn’t fit into their preconceived notions, it is a waste of time arguing. They think their ill informed “opinions” are as valid as those with deep training in the physical sciences, a long and distinguished track record of research and scientific output that has been rigorously subject to the scientific method and peer review process. They are arrogant and deluded in thinking they should be taken seriously.

It doesn’t matter one jot what anyone on here thinks of the science. None of us on here has a say in whether the science is right or not.  It’s not decided by a democratic vote, any more  than whether the world is flat, is more than 6000 years old, whether 15 is greater than 5 or whether DNA evidence is correct or not. Science done by practising scientists decide what constitutes the accepted science. They reach a “consensus” (which has a different meaning in science than in politics) which is the best that can be determined at any point in time given the available data and our understanding of it. Having established a consensus the burden of proof then lies on those that wish to falsify it, not on the “consensus” to prove it.

What is certain is that not a single scientist is going to change their views simply because you are unconvinced or post a “gish-gallop” of what you think are convincing arguments on a news blog or tweet apparently compelling arguments to a dedicated Self affirming following on Twitter. Typical denier arguments and tactics are described here:

Let’s be clear on something: it’s not me you have to convince. The people you need to convince have considered the claims you make, plus many, many other claims of climate sceptics (you can find these listed on many websites where literally hundreds of climate myths are refuted, including those you cite). They’ve almost certainly considered the “silver bullet” arguments you believe kill the manmade climate change theory dead in the water and either ruled it out, or it actually fits within the theory. In the unlikely chance they have missed something, they’d be delighted to hear from you. But trying to persuade me won’t achieve anything if you haven’t tried to persuade the scientists actually practising in their fields.

When faced with this near universal acceptance of the mainstream science (or consensus) the most rational position of all those who are not scientists in the field is to accept that science unless there is some compelling reason why not. Not included in those “compelling reasons” are such reasons as distrust of governments, distrust of scientists, cherry picked evidence already considered by those scientists, or simply not liking the predictions or consequences of the science.  To accuse those who do accept the science that they have been hoodwinked or drunk the “kool aid” or have some political reason for accepting it is to ignore what is rational.

Those you must convince include: All the climate centres in the world (including NASA, NOAA, Met Office, Japan, WMO etc), 194 governments around the world which span the political spectrum, the UN and the IPCC, all national science academies (which includes the majority of their members whose research and income does not depend on the validity or falsification of the mainstream climate science), the 97% (at least) of practicing climate scientists who support that mainstream, the scientists employed by oil and energy companies (some of whom are on the IPCC working groups), all professional science organisations (including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the last one to publicly support the mainstream), most economic think tanks, etc etc. Do you seriously think these are ALL engaged in some conspiracy to stop you and the rest of us indulging ourselves?

What might convince them is research based on new evidence, data or theoretical framework published in a peer reviewed journal. If you haven’t done that, or can’t point to a scientific paper that has, then your opinion, from a scientific sense, is irrelevant and isn’t even an opinion: it violates accepted scientific truth.
It is not legitimate and certainly of no scientific value (although there may be political value) to attack a prediction because you don’t like the consequences, or you don’t like the sort of people who are happy with the prediction, or you don’t like the people who made the prediction, or you don’t like the sort of policy responses that prediction might suggest or encourage, or even if you simply see yourself as a challenger of consensus views in the name of some ideal or other. It is only appropriate to criticize a prediction or theory based on specific criticisms of the data, methodology or the underlying theoretical framework. It is content-less to criticize a scientific prediction because you don’t like it. But that’s what you and the rest of the climate denier community are doing when you object to the science because of one or more of the above reasons. Deciding to trust the apparent, alleged or cherry picked views of a small and select community of contrarian climate scientists is also because of one or other of the above reasons, not because their scientific view is inherently more trustworthy than the “consensus”.

There are a (very) few ‘climate skeptics’ who criticize and question specific methodologies, assumptions or conclusions within the IPCC reports in a well-structured and precise way, and they are not to be criticized. They shouldn’t really be called ‘climate skeptics’ – they should be called scientists. Similarly the (overwhelming) majority, who also proceed in a careful and scientific way, shouldn’t be called ‘warmists’ or some such daft term. They are also simply scientists. Specific challenges are valuable and must be answered – in this way, scientific understanding grows. The scientific understanding is always growing and changing, and the latest snapshot, which contains the results of challenges from scientific ‘skeptics’, is summarized in the latest IPCC reports.

But what if the IPCC is wrong? What if these scientists are on the nail? The most convincing climate contrarian arguments are rooted in the idea that we’ll “get lucky”. In other words, that climate sensitivity will be at the lowest end of the range of scenarios. This line is nicely summarised by the climate contrarian’s mascot scientist Richard Lindzen in his contribution to the UK House of Commons Climate Change Committee hearing on the IPCC’s latest report: “It is entirely possible there is no problem.”

But, luck. Chance. Optimism. Hope. A bet. A gamble. A roll of the dice. How did that go with banking?In what other field of policy making are 20 to 1 odds against used to prefer the less likely outcome? Yes, It is entirely possible that there is no problem, but almost all the good evidence available to us points in another direction. Until compelling evidence shows us the current consensus is wrong, the only responsible course of action for all non-scientists is to presume it is right.

Science can be defined as the thought system favoured by the majority of scientists. If you think differently you are an independent thinker, not a scientist, and the papers that you write will probably be rejected by scientific journals, which have a censorship system euphemistically called “refereeing”. As in football, the referees are not necessarily good players but they do know the rules. Most independent thinkers are wrong and some are quite nutty. But some are  right and provide the framework for the scientific orthodoxy of the next generation.

So, go ahead and make your case. If you disagree with the scientific arguments for global warming, please submit your reappraisals to the appropriate scientific journals. I suggest: The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, the International Journal of Climatology, the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, and Nature, among others. Your arguments will be carefully and expertly peer-reviewed. Work that involves misleading or erroneous arguments or that does not properly cite its references will be rejected. Do not expect to be taken seriously until you show, using accepted experimental and analytical techniques, that you have a credible explanation for the data on climate change. The world’s scientific community awaits your response.