Here's Tom Toles' commentary, not re. this cartoon, but certainly along the same lines:
Who's the slow learner here?
I have been engaged here in the text equivalent of Ronald Reagan's talking oneself "out of voice and breath," arguing with my clattering collection of cantankerous commenters about the science of climate change. Occasionally someone challenges me to list the evidence for climate change, which I haven't done. GUESS WHY? It's not like the science is a secret! This subject has been studied, written about and essentially settled over the last two decades. Someone who claims to have only seen the arguments of the deniers simply ISN'T TRYING VERY HARD. Science? Scientists? Evidence? Wha? Huh? This weatherman over here says it's all a hoax! Let's call on the cartoonist to restate the encyclopedia-length case in his blog. We don't know how to do research by ourselves! Here's a hint! And another!
Is the American public simply incapable of absorbing facts it doesn't like? And, finally, over the weekend it hit me. YES! Roughly the same proportion of Americans who can't accept the science on climate don't accept THE SCIENCE ON EVOLUTION, EITHER. Duh. Okay, I understand now. And good luck, America, competing in the 21st century. Or even surviving it.
Yes, that's my worry about the American people, too. We just choose what we want to believe, refusing to accept any science - any reality - we don't like.
If you're a layman, like me, the only rational move is to accept, provisionally (as all science is accepted), the consensus of the scientists who specialize in these fields. They're the experts. They have the education, the experience, the knowledge to understand the evidence and correctly weigh it. We don't. They could be wrong, but they're far more likely to be right than any layman - politician, pundit, or otherwise.
And no, picking your own pet "scientist" who tells you what you want to hear is not the same. If you look hard enough, you can find a "scientist" who'll tell you almost anything. Scientists are human beings, too, you know. If you do anything other than accept the current consensus, on any scientific issue, you're just picking what you want to believe. That's not smart. It's not even rational.
And, obviously, most people don't have the slightest idea what the scientific evidence really is. They read arguments by people who agree with them, who present all these one-sided "facts," but they have no idea how those "facts" really hold up. That's not the way to choose a position. I just read a post by a committed Christian who claims that there's overwhelming evidence for a historical Jesus Christ, because he's read one book by another committed Christian who was very convincing (to someone who really wanted to believe it, at least).
We all do this. We tend to read what backs up our existing beliefs, and skip - or disbelieve - what doesn't. Well, when it comes to scientific issues, that's why we have the scientific method. That was designed deliberately to counter our normal human biases. And it works. The proof of that is that the scientific consensus is the same world-wide. Science isn't different depending on where you were born or how you were raised. That's the clear result of the scientific method.
So, for us non-scientists - and scientists, too, who are outside their own field of expertise - the only rational move is to accept the consensus of the scientists who are in the appropriate field. Re. climate change, that means the consensus of climatologists. Re. evolution, that means the consensus of biologists. So what if you don't like what they've decided? Grow up! Suck it up and deal with it! Are you an adult, or not?
I'm often terribly embarrassed by my countrymen, since all too many of us aren't adults, apparently. I tend to agree with Tom Toles. Good luck, America, competing in the 21st century. Or even surviving it.