Lest my readers think I’m a “denialist”, I post here a link to a great article about interpreting the numbers on global warming.
But while these recent posts have ostensibly been about climate change science, they’ve really been about the nature of science itself. For example, I’m still troubled by the heavy political language. Here we have someone skilled in statistical analysis using the same kind of browbeating against any dissent that Paul Krugman uses in his recent article:
And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
Treason? That’s pretty strong language (but this is Prince Krugman—he can say whatever he wants and never be wrong, even as a non-scientist). I think all sensible people realize that things are warming up (even if there are local variations from year to year). The long-term indicators we can measure say that the globe is warming. We can accept that (though apparently some can’t—that’s fine too).
What is hard to stomach is the assertion that the near-universal scientific consensus about what is causing the warming to this this fantastically complex system we call Earth implies that there can be no more inquiry into the matter.
It is not science’s job to quash dissent through consensus. It is science’s job to welcome honest differences and to acknowledge places where we still lack data. A good scientist does the research, crunches the numbers, and gives the confidence intervals. Let the Op Ed writers push the policy.