The Baloney Detection Kit. Narrated by Michael Shermer (a real skeptic). A very interesting video that can help us understand the world of climate denialists.
As the video shows, there are 10 questions to ask ourselves when someone offers a new theory or opinion.
1) How reliable is the source of the data?
The scientific consensus: Tens of thousands of studies published in the peer-reviewed literature and conducted by thousands of researchers over more than three decades of investigation by scientists at every kind of scientific organization (government, independent, skeptic, NGO, University, industry, etc.) all over the world.
The denialists: Bloggers and skeptic scientists associated with free market lobbying groups.
2) Does the source make similar claims?
The scientific consensus: Science is always open to new ideas. That is how science works. Obviously those new ideas have to pass the test of scrutiny.
The denialists: The phrase used in the video, "heretic for the sake of heresy," comes to mind.
3) Have the claims been verified?
The scientific consensus: All claims must meet the test of scrutiny - peer review, replication, many other experiments looking at the issue from many different angles.
The denialists: Any single "data" point is touted as the truth that upsets the established understanding, even long after the "data" has been shown to be misunderstood, misrepresented, or an outright lie.
4) Does this fit with the way the world works?
The scientific consensus: The idea that CO2 could have the effect that was discovered is entirely logical and consistent with how the world works.
The denialists: Some of the claims are so bizarre and so divorced from the way the world works that the logic is hard to follow, e.g., the claims that the greenhouse effect is false (Note: the greenhouse effect is well known and established).
5) Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
The scientific consensus: Scientists constantly are looking at alternative explanations. The author and/or every other scientist in the field will try to test whether other explanations would also explain the phenomena being observed.
The denialists: This is best summed up by a direct quote by one denialist: "I and all of skeptic science has cherry picked the facts that disproves that man made C02 is the cause of global warming. We don't need any others."
6) Where does the preponderance of the evidence point?
The scientific consensus: Tens of thousands of studies published in the peer-reviewed literature and conducted by thousands of researchers over more then three decades of investigation by scientists at every kind of scientific organization (government, independent, skeptic, NGO, University, industry, etc.) all over the world have led to the overwhelming conclusion that has become the scientific consensus on climate change.
The denialists: Bloggers and skeptic scientists associated with free market lobbying groups who suggest one study is enough to invalidate the preponderance of the evidence. [One red ball in a barrel somehow means the other 999 blue balls in the barrel aren't really there.]
7) Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
The scientific consensus: Science is all about using the scientific method, assessing corraborative evidence, testing, using logic, etc.
The denialists: Ignore any data that don't support their view, including all the information presented that demonstrates their "data" are false.
8) Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
The scientific consensus: Climate scientists have provided more than three decades of positive evidence in tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies, corroborated by observations of ice melting, glaciers receding, temperature changes, etc.
The denialists: Most of the evidence is of the one red ball type, where even if it is verifiable, it doesn't mean the other 999 blue balls don't exist. The rest of the evidence is not actual evidence, e.g., global warming is a hoax because cap-and-trade will cost companies money. [Sorry, disagreements over policy choices isn't related to the science.]
9) Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
The scientific consensus: As noted, climate scientists have compiled more than three decades of evidence that account for the changes we have been observing.
The denialists: Mostly focus on anomalies (the one red ball) and seem to think that these few uncertainties explain everything, when in fact they simply ignore anything that seems not to fit their predetermined ideas. [See the denialist quote at question #5]
10) Are personal beliefs driving the claims?
The scientific consensus: As the video notes, scientists are people too. Which is why we have peer-review and the scrutiny of other scientists who may view the issue from a different perspective. The data tells us which direction to go.
The denialists: Mostly begin with a distaste for one of the policy remedies and then decide to "fight the science" as a lobbying tool to avoid regulation. They then cherry pick to find any information that they think supports their crusade to avoid regulation (by denying the science). This is demonstrated by the fact that the most cited skeptic scientists are all associated with free market lobbying groups and from commenters who say things like "climate change is wrong because cap-and-trade is just a tax on business."
Thanks for watching the video and reading my comments.