Science is key to denier arguments about climate change. They keep the denial debate vibrant by claiming the science isn’t settled. They embrace the any scientist who disagrees with some aspect of a climate report as if he or she was a messiah.
In response, like Pavlov’s dogs, we begin to drool. Environmentalists keep drooling and drooling, but there’s never any meat there. The deniers are just distracting us, and everyone else, from reality.
How about we try a different tack. Rather than have deniers keep us locked up in a debate about science, let’s talk about reality. Let’s talk about facts.
Everybody gets facts. Even a small child knows that an ice cube melts or that fire burns.
It’s hard to prove science, but it’s easy to prove facts. Try this: At your next debate with a denier, point out that fossil fuels are pollutants that can harm or kill us. As they start belittling you with some science, just take a small piece of coal, light it, and place it in front of them. Debate over!
Even skeptics and deniers get facts and reality. They may have no idea what the science is, but they know that burning things and breathing the fumes is dangerous. The classic suicide: burn gasoline in your car in a closed garage.
People get weather, too. Most don’t understand the relationships between barometric pressure, humidity, solar radiation, the jet stream, and ocean temperature, but they can tell you if it’s getting warmer or cooler. According to the American Climate and Environmental Values Survey, 84% of Americans will tell you that it’s getting warmer. And 67% of Americans think climate change is harmful.
So let’s please stop trying and trying to shove science down Americans throats. Arguing science drains us and our resources from more effective and important ways of thinking about and dealing with climate change. Let’s get real. Let’s lead with facts.