In March 2007, just about when I started this blog, another article appeared in Scientific American by G Musser (“Please Stop Talking about the Global Warming Consensus”) that made points very similar to the ones I started with here, about the perception of arrogance among legitimate scientists. Musser did not go so far as to discuss how the trap was baited.
We see many fine examples of denialists’ victims. I find this one most striking:
When I encounter believers of Anthropogenic climate change who wish to force me to accept point-blank the whole story of how humans are destroying the environment, if not the world, with their wasteful ways and greenhouse-producing lifestyles, I have to feel that it is my duty to stand in direct opposition to them. In fact, what choice do I have but to believe that they are afraid of my facts because they are likely closer to the truth than theirs are and stand a chance of subverting their campaign–whatever that might be.
I for one am willing to stand my ground and defend what I feel is the Truth in Science. I must say that no matter what position I have taken, and what I say about it, I am alway willing to be convinced otherwise. But to be convinced that climate change is taking place by other mostly natural causes, the AGW proponents have to be convincing. Brute force will not do the job. It amazes me that they continually resort to harsher tactics and more extreme exclamations of their points to berate non-believers. It just doesn’t work. Instead, it polarizes the debate into factions which more and more represent extreme positions on the issue and the reality is stuck in the middle with almost no one left to defend it.
Important things to note: 1) these people (victims of denialism) are not stupid 2) they are very interested in science and truth 3) if this person is indicative, and I believe he is, they overvalue their ability to detect truth on the basis of what is “convincing” and 4) they don’t understand the disadvantage scientists in an underfunded field have in competing against professional opinion swayers.
The tilt on the playing field is invisible to the public. This is how the press has failed us.