Well, all this is interesting to me, anyway, and that's what matters here. The Internet is a terrible thing for someone like me, who finds almost everything interesting.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Unwinding "hide the decline"
I think this is the clearest explanation of that 'hide the decline' crock I've ever seen. Global warming deniers picked one suspicious-sounding phrase out of thousands of stolen emails and tried to convince the uninformed that it was reason to deny all of the science.
In reality, of course, it was the kind of ill-chosen phrase anyone might use in a private email to someone else who knew exactly what he meant. There wasn't anything nefarious in it at all. It was just a convenient short-hand for a situation all climatologists understood.
Frankly, this just shows the dishonesty in the deniers' camp. If they didn't know this, it was because they didn't want to know, and didn't bother to ask. Well, why should they? Their goal is to discredit climatological science, not to actually find out the truth.
After all, what's more likely, that the consensus of climatologists is right or that some politician or pundit knows more about the science behind this than the people with the education, background, and experience who work professionally in this field?
When it comes to science, you can find pretty much any individual opinion about anything. But choosing what to believe that way is just believing what you want to believe. The only rational way to behave is to accept - provisionally, as all science is provisional - the current scientific consensus.
And that's just as true about global warming as it is about evolution or the age of the universe or that the Earth revolves around the Sun. You may wish the Earth was flat, but if you believe that, when the scientific consensus says otherwise, you're simply believing what you want to believe.
Anyway, this is a very clear explanation of that "hide the decline" "trick." Will this convince a true believer conspiracy enthusiast? Of course not. Nothing will convince a true believer conspiracy enthusiast.
But if you're still rational, this should show you not only why it's not the smoking gun of a scientific conspiracy, but also why you shouldn't believe such claims in the first place. Climatologists have worked, and continue to work, very hard at determining the truth. They may be wrong, but there's absolutely no better bet than to assume that the consensus of climatologists is right.
After all, in the unlikely event they are wrong, they'll be the first to discover that. And then the consensus will change (and my opinion will, too).
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