A matter of trust?

In previous post it was all about the alarmist statement that rebutting one claim by “climate contrarians” is like a whack-a-mole game: an ever repeating job. Apparently the solution seems to be: let’s ban them skeptics, then we can continue to save the world. On his blog the author mentioned that he didn’t want to start a fight, but just end one (by excluding those who disagree in the media). Welcome to our world.

Via Twitter I came across a similar construction, but with a slightly different approach: Climate change science, the consensus, and a matter of trust by Graham Wayne (he also writes for, ahem, “Skeptical” Science).

The post started a bit long-winding that there is no trust anymore in this society, but hallelujah, this is the good news:

One of the things I find most attractive about the scientific method is that it doesn’t require me to ‘trust’ scientists. Instead, there’s a more amenable and logical way to approach the issue – trust the work, the process, peer-review, the results and the repeatability of experiments. Not without some irony, we can also trust the competitive nature of science, for no scientist with an eye to his or her own success, to their place in the history of science, to the long-term value of their work and its merit, will subscribe to a theory or cite the work of others, if there is a reasonable chance that citation is wrong, that subscription is worthless.

Also here, we have the argument that science (and at the back of the mind it is assumed: climate science), follows the scientific method and is completely trustworthy. It depends on how one defines the scientific method. If it is the process of “observation, hypothesis, prediction and testing”, then they are in for a surprise. Of course it is always a nice thing to be able to assess a situation without knowing much about it, but is this assumption really true?

Maybe, maybe not.

In an exact science this certainly could be working, but Climate Science is not exactly an exact science. Peer review is not necessarily the best tool in a small group. The repeatability could also be an issue in a chaotic system, especially when not much long term data is gathered yet.

Sure there is no need to trust scientists if we trust their work. But aren’t those scientists doing that work in the first place? Why hammering this “scientific method” when this has no real importance in a post-normal science? Why the emphasis on the competitive nature of science when the scientists avoiding the debate with those who are skeptical? Why hiding behind a 97% figure when there is unequivocal evidence?

The real irony is that there is no conclusive evidence yet that man is the dominant cause for the 20th century warming. But, but, doesn’t the IPCC have O V E R W H E L M I N G evidence that man is responsible? With a certainty of 95%! Coming from 90% in the last report. Isn’t that proof? That is an opinion of a group scientists. In the end that overwhelming evidence is circumstantial evidence, okay I admit, a lot of it. That overwhelming amount of evidence is needed because it is not possible to conclusively proof it. When there is clear evidence, why not just place it on the table for all to see? Why not facing skeptics head on? Wouldn’t that build trust?

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