Looking back at my trip to Bristol, it was a wonderful experience. Bristol is a nice city and I made several enjoyable walks in Clifton and surroundings. I also had the opportunity to be in the presence of other skeptics. I was humbled by so many prominent bloggers. Being able to experience that was a honor to me. Many thanks to Richard and Caroline for making this possible.
The lectures on the other hand were a weird experience. There was a strange lacking of science. I was expecting a bit more scientific backbone in both talks. They didn’t deliver on that one and stayed very superficial. “The debate is over” and all that.
The biggest thing I realized from the lectures is: this has nothing to do with the science anymore. The science is used to gain trust of the public. That is where the consensus comes in. If the public has the perception that there is a consensus between scientists, it increases their acceptance and support of climate policies. It is political in nature. There is no doubt that this was the goal of the Cook et al paper. They written it in the introduction as well as in the conclusion.
The pieces are falling into place. That is why the consensus is considered so important. That is why one-sided information is so important. That is why vilifying opponents is so important. That is why maintaining high confidence is so important. There isn’t backing down from this. We have been told in no uncertain terms that the scientists were right, it would ruin their credibility if the public came to know there is less confidence than displayed. After these high-confidence statements, nobody can safely say that they were wrong after all. So it takes repackaging the statements so the high certainty could kept intact.
If Bristol learned me something, it would be that it is all about perception.