I should probably start by apologising. This may be a bit of a rant. I’ve also got quite a busy week ahead, so probably won’t post much in the immediate future (although I have said that before). I’m teaching at the moment, so have to finish some lecture notes, am trying to get a first draft of a chapter for a book finished, and am trying to correct a paper (although, not so much correct as rewrite bits so that the referee understands what we’re saying – it’s fairly clear from the report that they do not, but that may be our fault for not making it clear enough). I also want to take a few days off next week and would quite like to be relaxed when I do so. I’m not finding this whole blogging about climate change/global warming the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done.
I have to admit that I’m also feeling somewhat disillusioned and probably just need to have a bit of a break. It’s fairly clear now that there really are just two opposing sides to this debate. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who’s simply uncertain and would like to know more. It’s either people who largely agree (not about everything, but about the fundamentals at least), and those who largely disagree and won’t accept anything put forward by the other side. Discussions with the latter people are, sadly, largely pointless and seem to end up focusing on the definition of fairly common English words, or something else equally irrelevant (which – it seems – is what happens if you don’t actually have a credible scientific basis for your views.). I do find it remarkably frustrating. I seem to end up in discussions – on Twitter mainly – where I end up having are to capitulate so as to avoid saying something like “What? Are you a f**cking moron?” (by the way, if you happen to read this and think the latter might refer to a discussion I may have had with you, it probably does).
So, although most of the discussions on this blog have remained reasonably civil and there are some “pseudo-skeptics” who do engage here in a reasonably decent manner, I’m yet to have a discussion that I’d regard as actually constructive. Given that I actually have a job and a family, I really can’t carry on spending my evenings in endless, pointless discussions. I’ve, therefore, decided on a few rules that I intend to follow. If the discussion ends up focusing on the definition of a word, I’m no longer interested. If the other party mentions doctored Nazi images or climategate, I’m no longer interested. If it turns into a discussion about the philosophy of science, rather than the science itself, I’m no longer interested. If it’s clear the other person is simply asking questions in order to get me to give an answer that they can then mis-represent, I’m no longer interested. If the other person suggests that they simply don’t trust a particular dataset (without an valid scientific reason), I’m no longer interested. And yes, if the other person implies that climate scientists/IPCC are intentionally trying to mislead people, then – yes – I think they’re promoting a conspiracy theory and, again, I’m no longer interested.
So, basically, talk about the science and the scientific evidence. I’m happy to have a discussion with anyone who’s actually interested in the science and the scientific evidence. I don’t even care if we do not reach some kind of agreement. Just stick to the actual evidence. If you can’t do that then I have to assume that either you’re incapable of doing so or unwilling to actually try. Why would I possibly want to spend my free time in discussions those who are unable, or unwilling, to focus on the actual science?
So, there you go. Apologies if this seems a little unpleasant, but I’ve really just about had enough. I now really understand those who just can’t be bothered in engaging with those who are openly sceptical and I’m even starting to get a bit irritated myself with those who try to excuse the typical behaviour of those who are openly sceptical. I know, however, that this is a complicated situation and maybe I’m just not appreciating some of the subtleties. I just can’t spend any more of my time engaging with those who are not only unpleasant but don’t actually seem capable of actually discussing climate science.