Just what is it, anyway?
I consider myself a skeptic, in general. I don’t really “believe” in anything, including deities, except the scientific method. Of course, that means that I also don’t actively disbelieve in deities. I simply have no opinion about them.
When it comes to science, I accept as a working theory that which best seems to scientifically explain the available data, which is why I think that evolution is the best explanation for the fossil record and the structure and relationship of DNA in life on earth. But I don’t “believe” in it. I don’t even “believe” in gravity. I simply view it as a useful invention of Isaac Newton, improved upon by Einstein, to explain a lot of empirical phenomena, like things falling when dropped, or bodies in space orbiting other bodies. And what makes it useful is that it is very predictive.
Which brings us to climate “science,” which seems to be anything but. Which isn’t surprising, because the models remain primitive, both in terms of the computer power needed to properly model such a thing, and our understanding of the interactions. So when asked if I “believe” that the earth is warming, or if that warming is being caused by humans, I don’t really know what to say, since I don’t “believe” anything. I certainly can’t “deny” it, since I have no idea, but (as I’ve often said), if the planet is warming, it would hardly be surprising, considering that we’re less than half a millennium from the Little Ice Age.
To repeat: Here is what I do deny:
I deny that science is a compendium of knowledge to be ladled out to school children like government-approved pablum (and particularly malnutritious pablum), rather than a systematic method of attaining such knowledge.
I deny that skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is epistemologically equivalent to skepticism about evolution, and I resent the implications that if one is skeptical about the former, one must be similarly skeptical about the latter, and “anti-science.”
As someone who has done complex modeling and computer coding myself, I deny that we understand the complex and chaotic interactions of the atmosphere, oceans and solar and other inputs sufficiently to model them with any confidence into the future, and I deny that it is unreasonable and unscientific to think that those who believe they do have such understanding suffer from hubris. To paraphrase Carl Sagan, extraordinary policy prescriptions require extraordinary evidence.
Nothing has changed in the interim to cause me to change my opinions in that regard.