What happens when a climate skeptic discerns reality

Partial transcript:

Richard Muller, Phd: I didn’t know whether global warming was real, whether it was completely bogus or maybe it was twice as bad as people said. So my daughter and I … decided we would set up a non-profit organization to study climate change ourselves. We brought in some really good people … who shared the same doubts that I had. So we wound up doing an enormous effort, completely rebuilding a program to use historic temperature records … and in the end, we got a nice curve, a curve that showed the temperature. And it was rising.

Now, we’d never expected to address the question of what caused it …  we went back all the way to 1753 … I was flabbergasted: not only was global warming real, and roughly consistent with what the previous groups had said, but the match to carbon dioxide, and the fact that solar variability was not responsible enabled us to rule out the primary alternative theory … in fact, we can rule out every scientific theory other than the greenhouse gas theory.

Now there are some people who … say “there’s something else going on”. And I say “what’s the prediction you make?” — “Oh, I don’t know, it’s random.”  And that’s not what we call a scientific theory. If you say, “Well, it’s something else and I don’t know what it is” my answer is “Something else that just happens, by accident, to perfectly match the carbon dioxide increase. Are you serious?”

Hat tip and thanks to Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

Read more here: Blown Away: 2015 Hottest Year by Far.

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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6 Responses to What happens when a climate skeptic discerns reality

  1. mikestasse says:

    Frankly, I don’t know how anyone with a PhD needs to do this! But thanks for posting all the same, nice read….

    • pendantry says:

      I admit to being puzzled… there are many folks with doctorates who are clueless in areas unrelated to their specialty field. I’ve met many of them; you must have done, too?

      The saddest part is how many of them act as though their doctoratedness in one subject entitles them to respect in others. Here’s proof: I have a Phd, too. It’s a doctorate in phlyarology, awarded to me by The Multiphasic Phlyarological University (of which I am the Uninaugurated Chancellor) — and yet I often spout loads of nonsense in fields totally unrelated to my expertise, and expect people to listen. It’s risible!

      Richard A. Muller has a doctorate in physics. Until fairly recently (see interview above), he considered himself to be a global warming sceptic. I agree that this may seem incongruous; however, I think it highlights how we may all be misled in our beliefs. A true scientist admits it when he’s got it wrong (cf deniers, who, having once declared that the sky is a pinky shady of yellowish grey are incapable of admitting its blueness).

      • colinc says:

        Also, there are many folks with doctorates who are similarly clueless in areas directly related and affecting, or affected by, their alleged specialty. Moreover, there are many people at every level of, ahem, “education” that are utterly clueless about a great many things including, but not limited to, their alleged “professions.” I think this relates directly to what I said in an earlier comment to an earlier post about “hats.”

        Furthermore, this should bring into question why the “education system” works as it does. For clarification, one can easily “pass” any given “class/course” with a low-C average and, having passed enough of them, receive a “certificate/diploma” attesting to their competence in the subject matter covered. However, just what is such a student’s level of competence when compared to another student who took the same coursework but consistently got straight-A’s? Shouldn’t one expect deference be granted more readily to the latter rather than former? Is this how any of today’s “systems” actually work? In my experience and observations, one’s ability to “succeed” or “thrive” more directly corresponds with who, rather than what, one “knows.” Ergo, we have a nepotistic system where “authorities” are not necessarily the sharpest pins in the cushion. The same goes for “wealth accumulation,” i.e. the “wealthiest” (and “most influential,” at least with regard to “politics” today) are not necessarily the brightest lights. Yet, so many of the people I’ve ever known always have the retort, “Well, if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Few, if any, truly understand that “wealth” (or “authority”) and “intelligence” (or “education”) have very little correlation. Well, sometimes, but rarely. As you’ve noted previously, this can hardly be construed as a “wise” or rational (or even “sane”) way to run a planet. However, it’s a damn good way to ruin one.

        Lastly, you wrote “… I think it highlights how we may all be misled in our beliefs.” (Emphasis on the last word added.) It is, if one considers it thoughtfully, belief that is at the crux of “our” planetary conundrums. I’m including social and financial “problems,” among many others, as part of that “planetary” thingy. There are too many conflicting, even abjectly contradictory, beliefs about most any subject and not only spread across the planet but also “within” most any given individual. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say (or seen them write) something in complete opposition to something they’ve stated even mere moments earlier, well, I’d have one hell of a pile of nickels. Too many people, as individuals, are not only “incongruent” but absolutely “inconsistent” with any and every belief they hold dear. Alas, believing is much, much easier than actual “learning” or “understanding.” The latter requires effort, experience and time, the former relies solely on “faith” and “fealty.” Again, not a good way to operate/run anything, including a single human life. That’s why I aver that people have been programmed, pigeon-holed and played to their own detriment, benefiting few others, and the really “sad” part, most seem utterly oblivious and/or complacent about this arrangement.

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