Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why It Doesn't Matter if Matt Ridley is Wrong

A good point, which I'll use in relation to Matt Ridley's WSJ piece, which Media Matters calls a "dud":
"Another reason that arguing the politics through science is a poor approach to dealing with complex political issues is that such an approach has a disproportionately negative downside for scientific institutions and the process of science. Advocates for inaction on climate change who base their arguments on science (however flawed these arguments may be), being in the minority, can play David to the majority's Goliath. If David is caught exaggerating or simply making a mistake, the damage to science is small because not much is expected of an underdog, especially one repeatedly characterized as being out of the mainstream. But when those who present themselves as representing the science itself are caught, the damage can be dramatic. After all, if the "outsider" lies or makes a mistake, who cares? He can be (and typically is) dismissed as just a kook.... But if advocates who claim to represent the mainstream scientific establishment tell lies or make mistakes, they become an argument in favor of inaction. There is thus an asymmetry in the consequences of politicizing science that falls in the favor of those opposed to action."

-- Roger Pielke Jr., The Climate Fix, Chapter 8


Victor Venema said...

Matt Ridley in the WSJ of December 19, 2012 repeated a lie from WUWT by writing:

A recent paper from Colorado State University concluded that "we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data."

This recent paper could not say anything about a trend in vapor because they did not study the trend. I had already debunked the WUWT guest post on the 15th of December.

Thus we can conclude that Matt Ridley does not check his facts well or is not interested in the truth. Both options would be rather sad for the WSJ.

snorbert zangox said...

Junior has it backwards. Goliath never had a snowballs chance in hell. David was young, quick and lithe, there was no way Goliath was ever going to get close enough to smite David. Furthermore, most shepherd boys could kill a lion at a distance of 50 paces with their slings.

Alexander Ac said...

If? :-)