Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

A Climate Change Confession

with 6 comments

Despite Bill’s timely warning I confess I was completely unprepared for the ferocity with which my climate-change-denying family members would clamp down on the CRU hack and refuse to let go. I am, perhaps, naive, but I had thought the simple distinction between scientific claims and moral evaluations would be enough to return the discussion to rational, fact-based grounds.

I was, alas, deeply mistaken.

Read Bill’s site for an effective debunking tutorial, and then turn to some more recent posts: the RealClimate follow-up and the Daily Kos interview with Michael Mann. The Daily Kos interview is particularly instructive as it walks through the five or so emails (out of the thousand stolen dating back to 1996) that are being selectively quoted (and, I can now confirm, significantly misquoted)—and explains the situational context in which each was written. (The Nate Silver post linked by Bill does a particularly good job with the favored “hide the decline” email.)

Devote yourself to these refutations. The paranoid mindset that fuels climate change denialism guarantees that the CRU hack will be with us at family gatherings for a long, long time; while your Occam’s Razor may suggest we reject any hypothesis that requires a secret world-spanning conspiracy of climate scientists, politicians, and journalists, for their Crabtree’s Bludgeon such a conspiracy is the only possible explanation.

6 Responses

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  1. A second confession: I wish the neologism “Occam’s shit stick” had more currency, as this is actually closer to the point I wanted to make.

    Occam’s shit stick is the opposite of Occam’s razor. Occam’s shit stick is when a conventional explanation of something seems complicated and to explain away perceived inconsistencies one comes up with an even more complicated explanation which is filled with even more (usually profound) inconsistencies.


    November 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

  2. Thank god I didn’t see my family or Julie’s this TG.


    November 28, 2009 at 12:03 am

  3. “…my climate-change-denying family members…

    Curious: split along party lines?

    Headcount at our family Thanksgiving gathering was seven solid Republicans, two activist Democrats, and not a denier in the bunch.

    Sue Brown

    November 29, 2009 at 2:42 am

  4. Ours was about the same split, but all the Republicans insist that climate change is a hoax.


    November 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

  5. Our elderly GOPers are firmly convinced the climate’s warming because winters haven’t been as severe as they remember from their youth. Great-grandma even got out some old picture albums to prove her point.

    It’s mighty hard to disagree with eye witnesses.

    Sue Brown

    November 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm

  6. […] not that this would work; it’s that it’s already worked. Or haven’t you heard about the sinister machinations of C.L.I.M.A.T.E. scientists? Here’s Steve Benen: In previous generations, the American Right still had to contend with […]

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