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← Thank you, Matt Ridley

Nunbeliever's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Nunbeliever

If there’s one speech about the climate debate worth reading in your lifetime, this is it.

Erh? I did not read the whole transcript thoroughly but this whole speech is nothing but a collection of the same old straw-men or climate myths that have been debunked countless of times before. Note, that most of the time he just says things without providing one single scientific reference that would support his claims. No, we should believe a journalist like Matt Ridley because.... an ancient relative was burnt at the stake for heresy??? I mean, there really is no point in spending hours to refute every single argument he is presenting. He is doing exactly what the creationists are doing. He swiftly throws in as many arguments as he possibly can and hopes his listeners will be overwhelmed with how much "evidence" there is against AGW and that people who disagrees with his claims can't possibly deal with all topics or just don't bother to spend hours of their precious time to debunk arguments that have already been debunked countless times.

In light of all this his six lessons are very amusing to the point of being absurd.

1) "The gullibility of the media." Yes, he is right there. That is the big problem here. In the media the contrarians are often (in the holy name of balance) given equal time as mainstream scientists. Some networks like Fox News only present contrarian views. So, at best the media argument is irrelevant. But, I would say it actually can be used against him. It's quite interesting that a journalist highlights this as a lesson to be learned. What he is actually saying then... is that we should not trust him at all. Yes, I agree with him on that one.

2) "Debunking is like water off a duck’s back to pseudoscience." Yes, your speech is a good example of exactly that. You bring forth the same old myths and non-sequiturs. It seems like you are the duck after all.

3) "We can all be both. Newton was an alchemist." Yes, but no one claims that AGW contrarians are irrational in every other aspect of their life. Scientists just point out that in this regard they are simply wrong.

4) "The heretic is sometimes right." Yes, but most of the time the heretic is wrong. Especially with regard to modern science the lonely wolf type of scientist is becoming incredibly rare. Simply because collaboration is essential due to the very complex nature of modern science and the necessity of expensive equipment. Some just don't seem to realize science today is teamwork. This could not be more true with regard to climate science. It's not a tight little group of polemics who study the climate. The IPCC bases it's reports on the results of thousands of scientists.

5) "Keep a sharp eye out for confirmation bias in yourself and others." Yes, although Matt Ridely seems to have missed the "yourself" part.

6) "Never rely on the consensus of experts about the future." Ok, but then who does Matt Ridley think we should trust? Is it better to rely on single contrarians about the future? Or are lay men better equipped to forsee the future? Perhaps we should trust the guy who predicts the weather by studying copulating frogs (we actually have such a looney in Finland who the media loves to write stories about every now and then). Some might say that if we are uncertain about the future we should be conservative. What people fail to understand is that the statement that things will be as they used to be is just as much a prediction about the future as that things will change. Especially since there is so much evidence suggesting the future might look very different if we don't do anything about climate change.

I think this last lesson really demonstrates what the contrarian movement in this regard is all about. People dislike authorities. Ironically they have no problem regarding themselves as authorities or people who agree with them as authorities. Is this some form of god syndrome? This journalist honestly thinks he is more capable of evaluting the evidence than the great majority of all renowned climate scientists.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:25:09 UTC | #888677