Sunday, December 20, 2009

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Ricky Rood posted an amazing response to tribalism concerning the global climate change debate.
“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Yesterday I got into an exchange with a person who posted a comment wishing the curse of a pox to the students writing on the UoMichigan COP15 Blog . It reminded me of Joseph Welch’s question to Senator Joe McCarthy, “You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” (Welch-McCarthy Exchange from American Rhetoric)

In the United States we devolve into something that is more like tribalism with sides taken based on the color of your uniform or who pays you the most. Discussion is based not on ideas and solutions, but on who makes a statement. Issues are advocated, and ideas are placed into extremes that take on attributes such as good and evil, for and against. The other side is wrong, and their intentions are of hidden control or hidden profit. This threatens our credibility and our viability.
Read the whole thing, either in the original post at Weather Underground Climate Change Blog (the range of comments confirms his depressing assessment of the state of debate) or the American Meteorological Society Climate Policy Blog.  You must really read the whole eloquent piece.  He even invokes Shakespeare.  I think I have a blog crush.

I have been confronted by climate skeptics, both in performance of my soccer mom duties and at my paid job.  I really don't know how to respond or what their motivations are.  I chose science because I am naturally curious.  I just want to know what is going on.  Why, for some people, does that have to devolve into who is right and who is wrong?

A few months ago, this blog was attacked by a climate troll and I had to temporarily remove the posts about the polar ice caps until the attack died down.  I really don't know how to respond to people who don't understand the enthalpy of melting.  The whole episode taught me that I am no Judith Curry.  (But I am glad she took that challenge on.)

Science is hard.  People are intractable.

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