Flat earthers or real scientists?

Jo Nova writes:

Almost everything the media tells you about sceptics is wrong: they’re engineers and hard scientists. They like physics too.

In the mainstream media, skeptics are called Flat-Earthers, Deniers, and ideologues who deny basic physics. So it’s no surprise that they are exactly the opposite. A recent survey of 5,286 readers of leading skeptical blogs shows that the people driving the skeptical debate are predominantly engineers and hard scientists with backgrounds like maths, physics and chemistry. Which group in the population are least likely to deny basic physics?  Skeptics.

I asked Mike Haseler for more details:

  • around half of respondents had worked in engineering and a quarter in science
  • around 80% had degrees of which about 40% were “post graduate” qualified.
  • Respondents were asked which areas they had formal “post-school qualification”. A third said “physics/chemistry. One third said maths. Just under 40% said engineering. 40% said they had post school training in computer programming.

Furthermore, the media “debate” is nothing like the real debate. Four out of five skeptics agree our emissions cause CO2 levels to rise, that Co2 causes warming, and that global temperatures have increased. In other words, the mainstream media journalists have somehow entirely missed both the nature of the skeptics and the nature of the debate.

The so called “experts” (say like Stephan Lewandowsky, and John Cook) either don’t understand what drives skeptics, or they know but do their best “not to accidentally discover it” with irrelevant surveys, loaded questions, poor sampling and bad methodology. (I’m going with incompetence). Lewandowsky, after all, tried to figure out the motivation of skeptics by asking people who hate them if they believe Diana was murdered. Not surprisingly he didn’t find out that about half of skeptics are Engineers, but he did find 10 anonymous people on the Internet who said the moon landing was faked. This is the kind of result only government funded science could achieve.

The big question this survey doesn’t answer is why no government funded groups seem to have done this obvious research long ago. The climate is supposedly a high priority, so understanding skeptics would seem “sort of” useful. Then again, it’s only useful if you wanted to figure out whether there was a consensus, or if you wanted to reach one. I guess that’s not the aim…

Mike Haseler has done a great job here on a much needed task. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the results in future.

Full credit to all the other skeptics who didn’t need the hard science training to see the flaws. They sagely picked the correct side of the scientific debate. Congrats to those lawyers, farmers, doctors, taxi-drivers, and pool shop owners (I spoke to one yesterday) plus kids, and countless other sane brains who are not easily fooled.

Science, of course, is a philosophy, not a certificate.

There is much more in the full article


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