Christopher Essex: anti–wetenschappelijke tendensen in het klimaatdebat

Briljant essay.

Onder de titel, ‘Climate Science Doubts: Not Because of Payment, but Because the Science Is Bad’, schreef Christopher Essex voor ‘Breitbart’ een briljant essay over de anti–wetenschappelijke tendensen in het klimaatdebat.

Christopher Essex:

Members of the Scientific Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently criticized the Royal Society’s positions on climate.

Their clear, authoritative scientific objections to the Royal Society’s positions reveal the weak scientific foundation on which the great climate fervor has been based. The public must either become conversant enough to grasp this or step back and get out of the way of those who have. Scientists don’t need to be paid to oppose the ideas of climate orthodoxy, because those ideas are just so damn bad. ….

Accusing scientists of venal motives when they raise questions about climate has come to be what passes for scientific debate. Unlike the GWPF critique, this is not science at all. Al Gore recently renewed calls for climate deniers (as they are pejoratively called by the dogmatists) to be punished. This follows brazen political-style attacks on scientists because of their views on climate. In particular there has been an aggressive assault questioning our ethics, morality, competence, and even sanity. It has been amazingly coordinated, coming simultaneously from a number of fronts: activists, Congress, Hollywood, and even some psychologists.

This entire assault could not be more anti-scientific. The protagonists are political interlopers in science who do not understand or respect the nature of scientific truths and how they are discovered, let alone how they are justified. One of the greatest lessons from the history of science is that humans don’t only get things wrong, but they stubbornly hang on to the stupidest of ideas to the bitter end. I do not absolve myself from this; it is my legacy as much as yours.

Essex vergelijkt de extremistische aanhangers van de menselijke broeikashypothese (AGW = ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’) met de volgelingen van de Griekse godin Eris, die onenigheid en chaos in haar portefeuille had. Het waren de sofisten die zich bedienden van Eristische praktijken.

Aan Wikipedia ontleen ik de volgende beschrijving:

Aan de sofisten komt de eer toe om als eersten de wetten van het denken te hebben gesystematiseerd (logica). Zij waren ook de voorlopers van de socratische dialectiek en van aristotelische logica. Latere sofisten waren meer op materieel succes uit en benadrukten het belang van retoriek als de kunst van de overtuiging in de politiek, in de rechtszaal of in andere discussies. Tegen deze praktijk nam Socrates stelling, want waarheid kon volgens hem niet afhankelijk zijn van degene die het overtuigendst op gevoelens inpraatte en met alle mogelijke middelen zijn gelijk probeerde te halen. Op die manier werd een slechte zaak immers als goed voorgesteld. Vooral onder invloed van de dialogen van Plato kregen de sofisten een kwalijke reputatie, en werd sofistiek verbonden met een manier van redeneren waarbij drogredenen werden gebruikt (sofismen).

Essex:

Eristic tactics come to us from the ancient Greek sophists. Eristic methods manifest themselves today in the works of Saul Alinsky. As the goddess’s qualities suggest, they are inherently divisive. The objective is victory, not truth. This is foreign to the training and personalities of most scientists. I, like other scientists, go into debates with a collegial attitude, tolerant of contrary thinking, no matter how wrong it may seem. Freely doubt the ideas; respect the people. When confronted with eristic tactics though, which are often absurd, aggressive, and deeply irrational, we are left gobsmacked. …

It does not mean that experts are always even mostly wrong. It only means that when humanity does take a step ahead, that step naturally concerns something that prideful experts didn’t know before. Over the generations, this lesson has been gradually absorbed into the scientific world. The heretics and crackpots might just be right, and so there is an awareness (even if grudging) that tolerance of what seems wrong is essential—the scientific version of free speech. It is probably no accident that scientific advances tend to be made in the freest environments. Scientists must ask critical questions of each other about their works to move us all ahead. It’s their job. Opposition is necessary, but only opposition with a presumption of good will, where all agree that the objective is truth, not crushing your enemies. ….

De klimatologie is een jonge wetenschap. Deze bestaat uit talloze subdisciplines, zodat het niet altijd gemakkelijk is te bepalen welke wetenschappers wel en welke niet als klimatoloog dienen te worden beschouwd. Slechts weinigen hebben voldoende greep op het geheel.

Essex:

The response of some GWPF scientists to the climate orthodoxy shows that scientists do not need to be paid to have reason to question the climate orthodoxy. Its positions are scientifically very weak, not strong, and it is the dogmatists that are responsible for that weakness. If they want to employ the credibility of science to support their agendas, they must learn to treat scientists holding contrary views in a credible manner. Such scientists have an important and respected role to play in advancing science. Dogmatists, of course, don’t easily change, so this stalemate may well continue until intelligent laymen have had enough and push them off the stage. …

Aldus Christopher Essex.

Lees verder hier.

Voor mijn eerdere DDS–bijdragen zie hier.

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