Saturday, October 31, 2015

To the best of my knowledge

Sharing some thoughts about debate and developing understanding that came to me while putting together the post.

When a rationalist such as myself makes a claim, there's always an undercurrent of "to the best of my knowledge."  Meaning that, yes, I firmly believe this and this, for such and such reasons.  Yet, I appreciate there's more to learn.  Here is the place for one's constructive-debate opponent to add new information to my store of knowledge.  

Give me stuff I hadn't considered; point out my weaknesses; make me think through why I'm making my particular argument; make me question my own certitude, you bet I'll reexamine my understanding in light of new information.  And though I'm no scientist, I do know that this is also the scientist's way.

Being shown to be wrong may hurt my ego, so what!?  It's an opportunity to understand my topic even better.  That's why I've spent many hundreds (actually thousands all told) of hours chasing down and trying to understand contrarian arguments.  They've been fabulous learning experiences.

The tragedy is realizing that no such love for intellectual adventure and learning about the planet we depend on exists within my Republican/libertarian debate opponents.

Their only interest is in winning petty political goals, such as sowing confusion and out-screaming the evidence.  No room for rational constructive arguments, nah they resort to tearing apart their opponents, no matter how dishonest, dirty and ruthless they needed to get to win their political battle at the time.  

As for appraising the evidence they have an extraordinary ability to absolutely ignore what they don't like - it don't exist in their minds, thus it don't exist, period.  Hubristic and beyond.

They've shown countless times that they couldn't care less about learning from their own mistakes (as the disastrous state of global affairs makes plain).  Absolute self-certitude is their foundation backed up by ruthlessly confronting all opponents.

To make matters worse, the Republican/libertarian tribe believes they have a direct connection to the "God" of time and creation, seems a bit over the top, doesn't it?  But, so it goes.

It certainly reveals a lack of self-recognition, in that all of us people are petty to a certain extent.  All of us rather believe ourselves than others.  Along with our noble aspects, we possess varying degrees of vanity and insecurity, jealousy and greed.  More importantly we are only capable of viewing the world through our own individual filters (based on our own unique experiences).  

None of us is capable of understanding the "God" behind this eternal creation we reside within for our one fleeting moment.  Dream and wonder and worship all you want, at least admit we humans aren't capable of better than a shadow-play inkling of Thee Truth.  
{hold this thought, instead of one way to "god", there are as many as there need to be ;-) }

Science is all about formalizing human curiosity and our endless desire to better understand the world, while enabling better mastery of our surroundings.  It's rules are straightforward and have worked wonderfully for centuries and enabled this incredible world full of modern marvels. It's participants are self-skeptical.  The work of others is honestly represented and evaluated with integrity.  Fraud and mistakes happen, but are caught-out because it is a community of skeptical experts.  Furthermore, mistakes are used to improve understanding, rather than to bludgeon people for political policy ends.

Scientists and the weight of their evidence and the quality of their climate understanding deserves to be defended.  What are you doing?


citizenschallenge said...

Sorry about that Bill, I do know it's not 360, my bad. / What We do

Anonymous said...

"What are you doing?"

One thing anyone concerned with attacks on scientists by the right winger stooges of fossil fuel interests is to contribute to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

Adam R.

citizenschallenge said...

True enough -
Thanks for commenting.

Saturday, February 22, 2014
Can You Help The Climate Science Defense Fund ?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Scientists can also wear their citizen hats, Scott Mandia

Saturday, February 7, 2015
Defamation and lies are unacceptable part of the AGW 'debate' !