Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Bother Trying to Reason with Climate Change Skeptics?

Why should I, or anyone else, spend our time arguing with climate change skeptics? The short answer is that we shouldn't. These are people that have rejected science and logic and there is no possible way you will ever change their minds. I use to try. I even had a reputation about it. Now, I simply ask two questions: "Is there anything I can say or do to change your mind?"; and "Do you think there is anything you can say or do that will make me change my mind?" If the answer to those is 'No', then I see no reason to go any further. I have never had anyone say 'Yes.'

I would like to think that I would say 'Yes' to the second question. I like to think that I base my beliefs on the scientific evidence and logical thinking. If someone were to produce evidence that manmade global warming is not real, then I would change my beliefs. That is how strongly I believe in the scientific method. Others, not so much.

Personally, I revel in dealing with the real world, but I’ve known lots of people that are just overwhelmed by it. I enjoy the obstacles, the challenges, the opportunities, the uncertainties, the twists. I love to wonder about what’s around the next bend in the road. I love even more going around the bend and finding out. I can’t look at a hill without wanting to go over it and see what’s on the other side. Sit me down in a field and I’ll be turning stones over to see what’s underneath. Isn’t life grand?

But, not everyone sees it that way. So, they deny the Nazis liquidated millions because it is too horrible to contemplate. They believe there is a face on Mars because that would mean there is a great civilization out there that put it there and they may provide us with answers. They deny we landed on the Moon because the concept is just so big to them they can’t deal with it, so they simply deny it ever happened. These are people that look at the bend in the road as a threat, something to worry about. Hills not only hide what’s on the other side from them, but hides them from what ever may lie on the other side. And, these people will never, ever, turn a rock over just for the fun of it. The world is a threat and they are looking for a safe haven.

Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I see it. There’s not much you can do for these people, they have rejected all logic and all science and nothing you can do or say will ever change their minds. So, why do I bother? Because, maybe I can prevent someone else from sinking into this disease. Maybe, I can get through to someone that has yet to become infected and convince them to check the facts and to think for themselves.

Some people say I’m wasting my time. To quote Thomas Paine “To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.”

Maybe so, but those that renounce the use and authority of reason today were at one time someone that could have gone down a different path. I may not be able to help the lost minds of today, but maybe I can help keep someone from becoming one of the lost minds of tomorrow.

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