Skepticism/Denial - GeneralRSS

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An honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts....

Bite"Skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method. But an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts. These deniers are largely impervious to facts — at least facts that contradict their worldview."
Joe Camel thinks he’s a science expert

BiteWould you trust Joe Camel to teach science to your children? Even lifelong smokers don't want Joe near their kids. The tobacco industry pioneered modern disinformation to discredit medical research. Now some "skeptics" use the same tactics to discredit climate science.
Psst...Want to get super rich and famous?

BiteIf you can find a way to scientifically debunk climate change, you can be rich and famous. Just beware that many scientists before you have tried. . . and failed.
To find truth, hire a detective.   To just win, hire a lawyer.

BiteIf you want to find the truth, hire a detective (or scientist). If you just want to win, hire a lawyer (or PR firm).
Would you believe a detective who pins murder on a ghost?

BiteSuppose you saw a dead body in a crime scene. Would you believe a police detective who says, 'A ghost did it!' when there's evidence everywhere that a particular person committed the crime?
Like like blaming a raccoon for going thru your trash

BiteBlaming Exxon "is like blaming a raccoon for going through your trash. They’re simply responding to available opportunities." Their "multi-billion dollar investment" in Arctic seabed exploration "is predicated on Exxon’s belief that the planet is warming. . . is one of the most powerful admissions...
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Bite"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." -- Mark Twain

"Call Me Cleopatra, 'Cause I'm the Queen of Denial"
-- country-western song by Pam Tillis
Nothing can be changed until it is faced.

Bite"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced."
-- James Baldwin
Science drags us 'kicking and screaming' toward truth

Bite"Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth, despite our best efforts to avoid it."
Reality doesn't go away when you stop believing in it.

BiteReality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Partial evidence:  Like blind men feeling an elephant.

BitePartial evidence can be very misleading. Remember the "blind men feeling an elephant" allegory? One feels a leg and says it's a tree. Another the trunk; i'ts a snake! Another pats the body and calls it a wall. The only way to figure out what's really going on is to look all the evidence together...
Skeptical of climate change?  So am I!

BiteI am skeptical we can keep burning fossil fuels with a business as usual mentality without harming the planet.
You can find someone to say whatever you want to hear.

Bite"We desperately want to believe that big problems are overblown or nonexistent. Whenever a group of people 'desperately wants to believe' something, there will always be someone willing to tell them what they want to hear, whether the opportunists are charlatans or simply nutjobs."
If 10 people said your house is on fire, you'd act.

Bite"If ten people told you your house was on fire, you would call the fire department. You wouldn’t really care whether some of them thought that the place would be incinerated in an hour and some of them thought it would take a whole day."—Elizabeth Kolbert.
I am skeptical of oil changes for my car!

Bite"Ok, but its going to get expensive real quick," responds my friend, Scott, a car mechanic. The science of climate change is very similar...
Distant danger:  Try warning a teenager to stop smoking!

BiteIt's hard to change habits, especially when the most harmful consequences lie in the distant future. Try convincing a teenager to stop smoking because he might get lung cancer... in 20 years!
My only tool is a hammer, so that screw must be. . .a hoax!

BiteWhen your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.

A corollary: Show me a problem that is obviously not "a nail" and I'll tell you why that problem is . . . a hoax! Since my only tool is a hammer.... "screws" cannot be real!
Scientific theories are like ropes with many strands

BiteQuestion: "What is the single most important piece of evidence supporting global warming theory?" Answer: "What is the single strand that is most important in holding a rope together? Finding one single strand that can be cut to break the rope is very unlikely." — Dr. Richard Alley
Your child has worrisome symptoms.   97 doctors say 'treat.'

Bite97 of 100 doctors recommend quick action to correct your child's serious abnormalities revealed by tests. One doctor says the child seems healthy, it could be a natural, so 'wait and see.'
"Now, suppose you're the parent. What would you do?"
Debate = contest of orators. Science = contest of evidence.

BiteDebate is a contest of orators; Science is a contest of evidence.
If common sense were enough, we wouldn't need science.

Bite"It may not be common sense, but if common sense were good enough, we wouldn't need science."
Skepticism vs. Denial

BiteSkepticism = looking at all the evidence before drawing a conclusion. Denial = rejecting any evidence that does not support your preferred, predetermined conclusion.
First they ignore you, then ridicule, fight . . . then you win

Bite'First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.'
'I hate surgery.  So I can't possibly have a tumor!

BiteImagine your radiologist pointing to a spot on your lung x-ray, which several top oncologists have agreed shows cancer.. Would you say, 'I don't believe in surgery. So that can't possibly be a tumor'?

Variation: ' that tumor must be a hoax!"
The worst pipeline:   from Wall St to K St. to Capitol Hill.

BiteKeystone XL pipeline is not the most destructive. The worst pipeline runs from Wall St. to Capitol Hill, via K St. It gushes money, not oil.
'Still want to debate if the earth is flat?'

Bite'Or if the sun revolves around the earth?' Climate Scientist Michael E. Mann's response to the statement that climate change is a hoax.
That iceberg looming just global warming

Bite100 years ago, Titanic's Captain Smith steamed ahead full speed, despite iceberg warnings. By time the fatal 'berg was visible, it was too late to turn the big ship. Today, the looming hazard is global warming. Will we heed the warnings in time to change course?
A few loose bricks don't bring the wall down!

BiteWhen you've built a great wall of evidence it takes more than a brick coming loose to bring the whole lot down.
Like pushing food around your plate...

Bite"Carbon offsets...are like pushing your food around your plate to give the impression you've eaten it."
Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

BiteIt is easier to argue for the existence of Santa Claus than argue against all the evidence of climate change.— a scientist at Washington University.
Not sure it's warming?   Just ask the plants.

Bite"If you question the numbers, just ask the plants."— Andy Extance, Simple Climate.
Conflating 'uncertainty' with 'ignorance'.

BiteSome skeptics conflate 'uncertainty' with 'ignorance'. This is the idea that because scientists are uncertain about some aspect [of climate science] they therefore know nothing about [that aspect], and any estimate of it is mere guesswork.
Continue drinking to avoid a hangover?

BiteContinuing to burn fossil fuels in order to maintain the growth economy is like keeping on drinking to avoid a hangover.
Dark last night, so the sun cannot not be real.

Bite"Saying climate change is not real is like saying, 'the sun may not be real because it got dark last night." - comedian Bill Maher
Science denial occurs when a group feels threatened.

BiteScience denial and politicization occurs whenever some influential group sees a new discovery as threatening to their worldview, values, status or income. Not unique to climate science, this has been going on for centuries.
Denial: we all do it!

BiteWho amongst us has not delayed opening a bank or credit card statement because we don't want to be reminded of the unpleasant news it contains?
The sky is blue... and the temperature is increasing!

Bite"I really, really deplore the politicisation and polarisation of this issue" [global warming]. "There are these increasingly unprincipled attempts to polarise the science when the science is fact—like the sky is blue, the grass is green and the temperature of our planet is increasing." —Katharine Ha...
Will this disaster movie end with a kiss?

BiteClimate change is like one of those Hollywood disaster movies that pit obstructionists against ordinary people who become heroes. Those movies often end with a kiss. We don't know how the climate change story will end—will our grandchildren enjoy some end-of-movie kisses?
No such thing as a free lunch

BiteThere is no such thing as a free lunch. If there is, you might get food poisoning.
'You can't wake a person who's pretending to sleep.'

Bite'You can't wake a person who is pretending to sleep'—Oromo saying, Ethiopia
Don't hang your science on upside-down hooks

Bite"When looking for a hat rack to hang your science upon, avoid those that have upside-down hooks." — Scott Mandia, tweeting about climate contrarian Joe Bastardi
Reject climate facts? Like smashing your bathroom scale to lose weight

Bite“You can’t change (climate science) facts by ignoring them. This is like trying to lose 20 pounds by smashing your bathroom scale.” — Mike Breen, Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project, and leader of the clean energy campaign, Operation Free.
Can't reject science data just because you don't like it

Bite"The one thing we know in science and life in general is that we can't just throw out the data we don't like just because we don't like it." – Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist at Texas Tech University.
Why do some people reject climate change? They can’t see the problem

Bite‘If someone has a certain worldview that does not allow them to see the facts of climate change, then they just won’t see it.’ – George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, UC Berkeley.