15 February 2010

Climate Change

Scientist and Sci-Fi author David Brin analyzes the distinction between deniers and skeptics in his instructive post Distinquishing Climate "Deniers" From "Skeptics".

I was what Derek Sivers would call a First Follower in believing the urgency of addressing Human Generated Climate Change or HGCC. This was a gut reaction - a notion - grounded on ignorance of HGCC science back in the late 1970s.

My knee-jerk reflex was every much as dangerously ignorant as the Denier’s delusional afflictions.

From Brin's post:

The Skeptic

The Skeptic is no pushover! She knows that just because 100% of those who actually know about a scientific subject are in consensus, that doesn't mean the consensus-paradigm is always and automatically right!  There have been isolated cases, in scientific history, when all of the practitioners in a field were wrong at once.
The Denier

The Denier knows no history, knows nothing about science, and especially has no understanding of how the Young Guns in any scientific field... the post-docs and recently-tenured junior professors... are always on the lookout for chinks and holes in the current paradigm, where they can go to topple Nobel prize winners and make a rep for themselves...

Since my knee-jerk reaction, and since my First Follower days in the late 70s, data have come in. Time has passed. Reputable people - much smarter than me - have drawn conclusions. My understanding has also increased. My notions have been confirmed or dispelled.

This morning I Tweeted
The more intimate I am with data, the more difficult it is to deny the implications
This truism is applicable to rational people and truth seekers. Skepticism is part and parcel with the scientific method. Denial is a human defense mechanism.

Habitual and dogmatic Skeptics are tread-milling on the same irrational slope as Deniers. Skeptics and Deniers have made their claims in the HGCC discussion.  And,
Their claims are like flagpoles staked to a planet with no atmosphere.
Action by rational people is over-due.

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