Sunday, April 15, 2007

Is It Getting Warm In Here, Or Is It Just The Climatologists?

One thing that bothers me is when experts in a field disagree on something. It seems there's no real way for a layman like me to know the truth. Take global warming, for example. The experts can't seem to agree on it.

I think most scientists agree that the climate is warming. The question is one of cause. Are humans to blame, or is the warming due to natural changes and our contribution is merely a drop in the bucket?

A recent report came out that was put together by many scientists saying that we are indeed the cause. But there's still scientists saying we're not. This report was, apparently, pretty convincing. But then they found that global warming isn't localized to Earth. Apparently Mars is getting warmer. This implies it might not be our fault.

So, whom do I believe?

It seems to me that a lot of people, who are not climatologists, are pretty convinced one way or the other. I'm sure if I asked them who I should believe, they would tell me to believe the scientists who tell them what they already believe. If I ask someone who thinks we're causing the global warming, they'll tell me to listen to the scientists who say that it's our fault. If I ask someone who thinks we're not the main cause, then they'll tell me to listen to the scientists who say we're not.

And none of these people will be climatologists. Now, I know who most of my blog readers are, and I don't know of any climatologists reading my blog. If you're a climatologist, if you reply to me telling me what side I should believe, then you'll also have to tell me why I should believe you instead of the climatologists saying the opposite.

Since I claim ignorance, the confirmation bias can't really be applied to me here. One suggestion would be that I read the studies and decide for myself. But that seems like a waste of time. I'm not a climatologist, nor do I wish to go to school for the length of time it would take to become one. So I'll end up wasting my time reading stuff that I don't understand. And they could be pulling the wool over my eyes and I'd have no idea. Same thing if they were practicing bad science, I probably wouldn't be able to tell. In the end I'd still believe what I wanted to believe, or being just as confused as I am now.

(The confirmation bias is when you find evidence to support a belief of yours, and ignore evidence contrary to your belief.)

So, whom do I believe? Since I can't make an educated decision it seems my choice of whom to believe would be arbitrary, doesn't it?

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