Rants – don’t bother arguing agaisnt climate change critics

My wife asked me to help find evidence and arguments to turn around a climate change critic in our family. He had some evidence that Arctic sea ice is re-freezing at record pace. That would be great news for a warming planet except Arctic sea ice has been drastically shrinking. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, "Arctic sea ice in 2008 was notable for several reasons. The year continued the negative trend in summer sea ice extent, with the second-lowest summer minimum since record-keeping began in 1979.  2008 sea ice also showed well-below-average ice extents throughout the entire year." According to this data, one winters record re-freezing will be undone by another summer's record thawing. So did I send these actual facts to the climate change critic? No. The problem is not his lack of scientific knowledge but a conundrum of social psychology.

Most all of these critics are not scientists or more importantly are not climate experts. I learned years ago working on legal cases with experts that in any given subject, they will know more than I ever will. There are many reasons (that I have observed) why good people refuse to believe an experts:

1. The expert challenges their pre-existing beliefs.
2. They don't like some "poindexter" telling them what to believe.
3. They have a $$ interest in the opposite point of view.
4. They believe they actually know more than the expert does.
5. They feel like the expert is accusing them of doing something wrong.

Basically, if a climate change critic admits that climate change is real, the critic has to feel bad. No amount of evidence or reasoning will change that.

So when a critic of climate change says things like "scientists are doing science all wrong" or "its all a liberal conspiracy", just tell them that whether climate change is real or not, they are good people.

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