Category Archives: How to talk to a skeptic

And then there was Michael

Judith Curry published a guest post by Matt Skaggs which was a discussion of “Root Cause Analysis” of the current warming. Michael, a particularly prolific commenter at Judith’s site, makes a couple of comments:

“‘For years, climate scientists have followed reasoning that goes from climate model simulations to expert opinion, declaring that to be sufficient….’ Matt

Not a good start.”

OK, it was a long post, we can’t expect everybody to read the whole thing before commenting, but then he says :

“Tend to gloss over the fact of a century of temp obs.

Given the claimed importance of collecting data, it seems an odd thing to start with.”

So wait a minute… The post is about the root cause analysis of the “century of temp obs,” it grants that in its very premise.  However; this post is not about Michael, per se, it is about ineffective defenders of the consensus who do more harm than good. When a person with a reasonable grasp of the logic can see the obvious shortcomings of the commenter’s argument, skepticism grows.

This is not “how to talk to a skeptic.”  Advocates for the consensus position on AGW should realize that they have a responsibility to maintain high levels of discourse because their advocacy is the lens through which many see the case for AGW.

I am a climate agnostic. I know it is a very hard problem and the fact that it is a hard problem does not mean that it is not happening. I am skeptical of the case made so far, but not skeptical of the idea that AGW may be happening, I don’t know enough to be skeptical based on the case made so far. I am agnostic.