Why I Trust Researchers More than Politicians

There are those who say that the 97% of climate scientists who agree that climate change is serious and caused by human activity are lying to us, that the science is suspect, and that we need not worry. I disagree. There are factors that make such a conspiracy impossible, one being peer review.

If I did research on climate change and came up with some credible and intriguing results, I could probably get them published somewhere. If the data were controversial enough, I could likely get a buzz going on the internet. But if I wanted to be published in a respectable scientific journal, it would be subject to peer review. Then, if no obvious flaws were found in my assumptions or my methodology and I got published, other researchers would try to replicate my findings. If none could duplicate my outcomes, we would have to go looking for what I did wrong. In any case, my funding is going to depend on the robustness of my work, not on how exciting the results seem to be, unless, of course, I am able to get paid by a gossip rag or other source who likes my flawed results, and wants to keep the rumors going.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what keeps the apologists for the fossil fuel companies going. People like Christopher Monckton and Dr. Roy Spencer don’t worry about peer review. They can get their funding in other ways that don’t require accountability.

Politicians, religious leaders, and corporations do not face the constraint of peer review. They simply use persuasive speeches or advertisements to convince the public that their position is better, or that opposing positions are somehow suspect.

I have heard it said that “Mann* made climate changers” (note the clever pun) want to wreck the economy or install a one-world government, or both. I am sure that there are people who want those outcomes, but I can’t see that climatologists would be likely to. I’m trying to imagine a bunch of researchers banding together to plot world dominion. Sounds like a bad movie.

Most people want the same thing, prosperity. What we need to do is determine the most effective way to avoid the financial ruin and human catastrophe that global warming could cause, while maintaining a reasonable lifestyle now. I would say that, to find our way, we must use facts, the real findings of scientific studies, rather than political or religious opinions.

*The pun is based on Michael Mann, the author of the “hockey stick” graph: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/michael-mann-the-climate-scientist-who-the-deniers-have-in-their-sights-6290232.html

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One thought on “Why I Trust Researchers More than Politicians

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  1. Thanks for this blog. I completely agree. Can’t people see the damage we do in our own little corners of the world due to pollution? How can anyone not believe we humans have not done damage to the protective layers around the Earth? Denial doesn’t make it untrue.

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