Scientists Debate

It drives me crazy watching scientists trying to debate with climate change deniers. It is like watching an Olympic boxer up against a no-rules cage fighter. Even if something is true 99.9% of the time, scientists can’t assert it is true, without mentioning the apparently disqualifying exception. Deniers can assert whatever they please, regardless of the facts. Scientists must refrain from ad hominem attacks. Deniers can accuse scientists of being part of a giant conspiracy without offering any evidence for it.

Deniers have giant budgets funded by oil companies and religious cranks to spread FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). The scientists have none. Scientists need credentials and decades of study before they can speak. Deniers can pontificate knowing absolutely nothing about the topic — basing their beliefs on economic wishful thinking or religious prophesy.

Arguments sail over the heads of lay audiences because scientists are constrained to use unemotional language, understatement and technical and extremely precise language. Deniers are free to simplify and tell whatever story they imagine will appeal to the emotions and subnormal intelligence of their audience. Scientists play by Marquis of Queensbury rules. They are deeply ashamed and apologetic if caught doing anything not strictly on the up and up. Deniers play by Karl Rove rules. They have no shame no matter what they are caught doing.

The deniers are a far bigger threat to planet earth than Hitler ever was. We must take off the gloves in dealing with them.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)