We’re told that it’s impertinent to question “the science” and that we must think as we are told. But arguments from authority are the refuge of priests.
Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”
What keeps science honest, what stops it from succumbing entirely to confirmation bias, is that it is decentralized, allowing one lab to challenge another.
That’s how truth is arrived at in science, not by scientists challenging their own theories (that’s a myth), but by scientists disputing each other’s theories.
These days there is a legion of well paid climate spin doctors. Their job is to keep the debate binary: either you believe climate change is real and dangerous or you’re a denier who thinks it’s a hoax.
But there’s a third possibility they refuse to acknowledge: that it’s real but not dangerous. That’s what I mean by lukewarming, and I think it is by far the most likely prognosis.
I am not claiming that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas; it is.
I am not saying that its concentration in the atmosphere is not increasing; it is.
I am not saying the main cause of that increase is not the burning of fossil fuels; it is.
I am not saying the climate does not change; it does.
I am not saying that the atmosphere is not warmer today than it was 50 or 100 years ago; it is.
And I am not saying that carbon dioxide emissions are not likely to have caused some (probably more than half) of the warming since 1950.
I agree with the consensus on all these points.
I am not in any sense a “denier”, that unpleasant, modern term of abuse for blasphemers against the climate dogma, though the Guardian and New Scientist never let the facts get in the way of their prejudices on such matters. I am a lukewarmer.