Monday, December 7, 2009

"What an asshole."

I apologize for doing nothing but linking to YouTube videos, but I've found another great one while hanging around Pharyngula:

Besides being frustratingly hilarious, this video perfectly encapsulates the debate between climatologists and self-proclaimed skeptics*. Side A tries to describe the situation rationally and emphasizes the important topic: is the Earth actually warming because of human action? Side B shouts continually (volume is directly proportional to truthiness) and does not rely on evidence or reason. He depends on his ability to instill doubt in his opponent's arguments rather than building a case for his own.

The result of such ridiculous banter? The obfuscation of truth as driven by personal want. This trickles down to and confuses the non-experts, creating unnecessary obstacles for decision making. Case in point (because anecdotal evidence is the best evidence!**), my brother-in-law is a science teacher for whom I have great respect. When talking about global warming, he says that he cannot make up his mind given the arguments at the media forefront. Chalk this up as a great victory for the latter in the above video. Rather than elucidate his reasons for being a skeptic of climate change, he has muddied the waters. That's all he wants.

This tactic is seen everywhere- from the evolution "debate" to health care reform. The nay-sayers don't have arguments, they have confusion. And that's all they need to change public opinion. Reject it strongly and admonish it loudly when it is used on you, even if those employing it are doing so in support of your opinion. Instead, demand evidence and reason; it is the shortest path to the truth.

*Skeptics that rely on personal opinion and political motivators are not skeptical at all. Skeptics look for evidence to take them to the most reasonable conclusion, not arguments driven by confirmation bias that pads their pre-conceived beliefs.
**No, it's not.

No comments:

Post a Comment