Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who to believe?

There is a debate tactic called 'appeal to authority'. This tactic is used quite frequently by the Gaia crowd or other credulous types when discussing AGW. "So-and-so the climate scientist from XYZ university says..." is supposed to make whatever so-and-so said gospel, because so-and-so has all of the right credentials from the right school(s) and is in the business of studying climate.

It is my opinion that the LAST person you ever want to believe with regards to AGW is the guy who makes his living studying it.

Think I'm nuts? Think again.

Who are you more likely to believe when a discussion of poverty in America comes up? The Director of HHS, whose livelihood depends on the existence of American poverty? Or an independent party without a dog in the fight?

Likewise the guy who has a choice between declaring that the sky is falling and collecting a fat paycheck vs. saying that nothing is amiss and having to go find some other way to make a living might, shall we say, tend to - how to put this delicately? - shade his findings somewhat.

It's not like science has the best track record when it comes to honesty. From the alchemists of ancient times to the Cold Fusion fraud 30 years ago to the Tobacco Lobby "scientists" who insisted that there was no link between cigarettes and cancer in the face of ever-mounting evidence, "science" has hardly distinguished itself. For every Isaac Newton there is a Michael Mann, with his ridiculous climate hockey stick graph that was risible on its face. For every Albert Einstein there is a clutch of grifters like the IPCC crowd.

You get my point. An 'appeal to authority' argument is the work of a lazy mind. And lazy minds tend to believe in AGW.