Friends of Science? We gotta talk.

Hey FoS, let’s talk. You’ve got a problem. Probably more than one, but this is an important one:

You’re a bummer to be around.

Okay okay, I know that this doesn’t relate immediately to climate change but stick with me here for a bit.

I haven’t interacted with you much but I see a trend - you are always fixating on (what you perceive) to be negative: this doesn’t match that, you can’t model the other, so therefor the whole edifice is wrong. I’ve met people like you. I had one in my lab at grad school - brought down the whole lab. I’ve met people like you at parties - you try to convince people you are right, smugly waiting for your audience to acknowledge your greatness, totally oblivious to the fact that people are trying desperately to get out of the conversation without causing a scene.

Seriously dude - this is a problem.

More to the point, however, is that this is why people don’t take you seriously when it comes to your thoughts on climate change. I mean, let’s assume - you know, just for the sake of argument - that you’re not big-oil shills, that you have no economic dog in the fight, that you honestly believe that you are smarter than the thousands of climate scientists around the world who have concluded that climate change is happening and that its caused by humans.

It’s a stretch, but I’ll accept it for the sake of argument.

First off, the sheer hubris of thinking that you know more than all these real climate scientists is off-putting. I mean, the vast majority of scientists I know are humble and are the first to admit what they don’t know and what they feel they need more expertise in. It’s why scientists collaborate. But you… well, you come across as so convinced of your superiority that people dismiss you as a crank right at the start.

So that’s the first thing. Your sense of superiority over people who have been trained in the science, who have sweated blood over the science, who have dedicated their adult lives to climate science - well…. you’re not doing yourself any favours is what I am trying to say.

But it gets worse dude. It’s how you try to show this “superiority.” It’s not by coming up with good ideas, by working with others to solve problems. Nope. You try to show this superiority by being negative - by pointing out what you perceive as errors. By trying to come up with “gotchas.”

No-one, and I mean no-one, gains respect by poking holes without coming up with other explanations. Scientists…. well, sure, we live to pick holes. We look for all the possible ways that a theory or explanation can fall apart. And then we go on to test those possibilities. And then… well…. then we come up with other explanations. New things to test. Loopholes in our own tests and explanations.

You see the difference? Good scientists try to come up with solutions and are not afraid to be wrong.

I could go on and on. I really could. How good scientists look at all the data, not just cherry picked parts. How they accept uncertainty without feeling it negates a theory. How they go where the evidence takes them instead of defining an endpoint to begin with.

That’s not you.

So this is why I can’t take you seriously. Why the scientific community can’t take you seriously. Why when you say something it cannot be accepted straight up.

So don’t bother talking to me. You’re wasting both our time. You have no credibility and I have no respect for you.

But that’s okay. You still have those people you trap at parties. Assuming you get invited to parties anymore.