20
Oct
10

Zen and art of climate science

Here’s a nice post about people who deny global warming.

The point of the article is simple: the forces of public discussion are massively in favor of the long term triumph of understanding of climate issues. According to a recent report (from Yale, woohoo), many Americans want to know more about climate science and they trust scientists to give them this information. The real issue is getting the message out in a robust and controlled manner. The report also notes that extreme skeptics about climate change are a rarity and not the norm.

A lot of people spend time getting worked up about people who deny that global warming is real, but everyone should just chill out. I say this so much on this blog, but I’ll say it again. America has serious problems to deal with, and the sooner everyone can stop whining and playing back-biting garbage games about small potatoes, the better we’ll all be.

Of course, global warming IS a real issue, and people should be trying to change policy on this issue, but as I’ve also said a billion times before, sometimes the right response is a zen-like take-the-high-road attitude. And what I mean is that persuasion is  science. If you want large groups of society to come around to a certain position, then you better not be so naive as to think that SIMPLY BEING RIGHT on the factual matters at play is enough to come out ahead.

So you think to yourself, kind of dramatically, “the truth is not enough, there has to be aggressive campaigns to get those doubters to see the light.” Well not really. Sometimes the best way for one view to ascend in acceptance and popularity is to remain above the fray and to be serene and imperturbable rather than angry and reactionary.

One example is gay marriage. As far as I can tell, history is on the side of gays becoming substantially better off in the medium to long term. People who don’t like rights for gays are getting old, or are just plain dying. It’s important to work on behalf of gay rights, but people who get really angry about homosexual haters are really just doing a disservice to everyone by giving more grist to those who WANT politics to be about anger. Every extreme leftist that lets slip inflammatory (but often true) statements about military, spending, homosexuality, or welfare just further alienates even open-minded conservatives. In other words, society works on trust and not just on arguments, and for that very reason, the best policy is to ONLY TALK in terms of argument. The side of an issue that speaks in terms of facts, projects their moderation, their reasonability, and above all, CONFIDENCE.

Nothing settles arguments better than confidence, and the best way to project it in the case of climate science is just to keep stating the arguments and putting them forward in the best light possible. They may even be wrong. The final analysis will tell (after all science was Newtonian before it realized it should be Einsteinian), but the point is that to convince as many people as possible, one should be zen-like. In control of oneself and in control of the arguments.

As with rights for homosexuality, I believe that history is on the side of climate change, and the sooner we calmly acknowledge that fact and non-condescendingly (that’s a huge piece of advice that many liberals just can’t seem to take) spread the message, the sooner we’ll bring the future toward the present.

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