I have recently become aware of two camps of thought with regard to global warming/climate change, niether one relating to religion vs science. On one side is the internationally recognized theory of rapid devastating change and on the other a token uncertainty of the actual changes occuring in terms of what effects we may be facing and how quickly they will emerge.
As a "regular sort" I don't really know a lot of the science involved with our changing conditions and so I guess that puts me in between the two in this arguement. They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
And another true believer is born. Except, of course, that you never were inclined to believe the side with scientific authority. Larry, the reason we put you in the camp of the AGW-deniers in the first place is because you never applied any skepticism whatsoever to the AGW-denial bill of goods you've been sold. You just asked questions parroted from AGW-deniers. You just questioned AGW. Since you only pointed your cannon in one direction, that pretty much places you on the other side as a simple matter of logic. If you don't like people making assumptions about which side you're on, then don't be so one-sided.
You know - I'm now looking at the last sentence of the initial question here and I see a hint of an uderlying issue:
They both have very valid points and the answer to this riddle is important- so what do you all think?
Can anyone sum up the 'valid points' of the camp that says we have either nothing to fear from climate change, it doesn't exist, or we can't do anything about it (or whatever it is they are trying to say)?
I mean - just some brief bullets of the 'very valid points' that this 'camp' has. No discussion of the 'other camp' and their motives. Just the key evidence and the key risks of 'ignoring' this evidence or the key risks of buying into the other camp's positions.
Many people are falling prey to the availability heuristic. There is clearly a strong consensus among scientists (and it is strongest among Earth scientists, see this survey http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf which shows that around 90% of Earth scientists agree that global warming is happening, and of those, 82% agree that it is anthropogenic).
The problem is that climate change is extremely complex, and much of the symptoms that we are experiencing aren't that extreme (we'll see if that changes in the future). It is therefore counterintuitive to think that climate change is happening and further that we're responsible for it. Additionally, the 'climate change skeptic' crowd is very, very noisy. Even though they represent only a small portion of scientists (and many non-scientists), they have a whole lot of media attention. This confuses people about how much support there is for climate change. This is reflected in the fact that only about 58% of the general public believe we are responsible for climate change.
Furthermore, most people are scientifically illiterate, and are easily convinced by rhetoric, debate, etc. when they should be convinced by good, solid peer review. Is it possible that all these scientists are incorrect? Certainly. However, I consider the probability very low that they are.
I heard on NPR this morning that a Pew Research center poll puts American GW deniers at over 50%. However, if you ask if they favor fuel efficient cars, renewable energy tax credits, green collar job creation, or getting away from buying oil from terror sponsors - over 90% of Americans are in favor. It's all about putting it in the proper context with the main concern right now - the economy.
In 1975, scientists were claiming that Ice Age doom was coming with all the similar consequences of global warming. Many of those scientists died off and it seems we had a paradigm shift in the spirit of Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) with a new generation of scientists.
Did the data change or did the people interpreting the data change?
Remember, Larry is a self-described anarchist. He's not interested in disrupting his day with the hard work of researching something. He'd rather disrupt your day with that. That's what anarchists do--they make other people work harder.