The manner of debate

David Whitehouse takes note of behaviors stimulated by his description of temperature data over the last seven years in When the data isn’t good enough. It is one thing to have an opinion and be willing to support it but yet another to go after opinions in the manner that has often become common.

Finally, there is another aspect to the debate that worried me far more than an environmental ‘activist’ getting the science wrong. It is one of double standards and it has become rather predictable.

Provide any criticism, even mild or supportive, or even suggest that we might be wrong and that we don’t know everything and one’s integrity is attacked.

The summary is another quote from T.H. Huxley:

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”

One needs to be very careful about one’s perceptions. It is one thing to note that temperatures have been flat for seven years. Trying to understand, explain, or rationalize that fact is another. What happens here is that those who have a lot invested in a particular viewpoint feel threatened by the observation. Rather than try to come to grips with it, they deny it, rationalize it, attack the person who took note of it, or otherwise demean, denigrate, deny, or pretend that it doesn’t exist. Not being able to deal with reality is usually not healthy.

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