I came across this article on Ars Technica “First, Kill All The Experts” and I was reminded of the importance of language.
The gist of the article is that people distrust experts leaving us vulnerable to the dangers of global warming, privatized health care, etc. The confusion is that of scholarship vs expertise. Seemingly if you can’t run tests or repeat the same experiments over and over you’re just well versed in the theories and literature. Seemingly one would give more credence the the predictions of a structural engineer about a structure than a climatologists about the climate (or a macro-economist about the economy) .
From Arnold Kling (emphasis mine)
I am a macroeconomics skeptic. I think that my background in the subject is deep enough that my reasons for skepticism are legitimate. See, for example, my memoirs of a would-be macroeconomist.
I am a climate science skeptic, but not based on a similarly deep background. I just look at the superficial similarities with macroeconomics and infer that skepticism is warranted. It is plausible to me that the climate “consensus” is way off. However, it could be off in either direction–maybe the temperature increase will be faster and sharper than the consensus forecast.
When it comes to the differences between macro and climate science, points (1) and (2) favor climate science. However, point (3) leans against climate science. Good ideas are persuasive. If you need to excommunicate unbelievers, you are dealing in religion, not science.
David Friedman links to this essay about climate change from mega-scientist Freeman Dyson. It’s quite interesting reading, and Dyson is a fascinating man. Check out the Wikipedia entry and the WikiQuote entry. I need to get some of his books.
I hereby dub Climate Change Activists “The coalition of the chilling”.
And here’s an article on public attitudes on Climate Change
The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults – interviewed between 14 and 20 June – found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.
There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.