July 07, 2008

Confusion

Here is a screen grab from the BBC's Science/Nature news web site two days ago.

Is it any wonder that people are confused about what to believe on the climate-change issue?

"Believe" becomes the operative word. Faced with seemingly contradictory information, people tend to adopt one of two quasi-religious belief systems.

1. Human-caused climate change is an obvious fact, obvious just as it is obvious that the universe must have a Creator. "90 percent of scientists agree." ("All great religions agree.") And George W. Bush is the Devil.

2. Human-caused climate-change is just a political plot to force us to surrender our liberties to socialists and nanny-state big-government schemes. Ignore it. Keep driving your V8-powered 3/4-ton pickup truck with the duallies, even when you're not hauling anything.

2 comments:

Lonnie said...

Well... not really.

There is vast consensus among scientists that global warming exists, and is human caused. In fact, out of 928 abstracts published in scientific journals from 1993 and 2003 on climate change 100 percent support the conclusion that humans are causing global warming. If that weren't enough, there are hoards of major scientific organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, which stated, "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise" You can choose to discount the scientific process or chalk it up to some conspiracy, but that's what the consensus of our current science says. For myself, having worked in a research lab, I can tell you that most scientists are barely capable of liking each other let alone conspiring.

Sure, there are rogue scientists like Patrick Michaels who are overtly funded by the fossil fuel industry, but beyond the occasional editorial they have no peer reviewed publications in major journals, and are generally without much respect or support among their peers.

So, write or wrong, that's what science has to say on the matter. Everything else is, well... not science. The problem with some media is that they give equal time to "Scientists for hire", and they don't differentiate between peer reviewed and published research and preliminary data. I think that's where most of the public's confusion comes from. Well, that and a generally gross ignorance of the scientific process among most Americans (many of whom still think evolution is a quaint "belief" of some scientists).

As for myself, all it took was a single trip to Alaska to prove it to me. It's hard to physically see the rate at which glaciers are disappearing and tundra is melting without being affected by it.

Chas S. Clifton said...

OK, but when I said "people," I did not mean Americans. The BBC, after all, is not American.