You don't convince me

 Oh dear. I appear to be stirring things up a bit.

I'm guessing that there are are some people who accept mankind's role in the current degradation of the natural environment. They are just not writing to me as often as those who do not.

What I find strange is that a few of these people appear to be labouring under the misapprehension that a few words, and not so few exclamation marks from them, will precipitate a 'Damascus moment' and I will begin immediately to write a column espousing the opposite view to the one I have presented here for some time.

In fact one gentleman even expressed his eager anticipation to read my offering this week in which he fully expects that, having read his letter, I will declare that there is no such thing as human-induced climate change and all is well.

This man said that if I have any 'conclusive proof' of man's involvement in climate change I was either to present it or stand aside and allow the truth to come forward.

Two things: 

First, I am flattered that anyone thinks my words are worth reading, much less responding to. 

Second, as I would hope some might have realised by now, I'm all for the truth, and long may its searing light be shone into the dull eyes of ignorance and prejudice wherever they lurk - but 'conclusive proof'? That's a bit of a tall order - not even God has to do that.

How about 'weight of evidence'?

Here's a working definition of that phrase: 'a systematic approach that scientists use to evaluate the totality of scientific evidence to assess if the science supports a particular conclusion', relying on 'expert scientific judgment to assess, review and integrate all of the results to form a meaningful conclusion'. 

It seems pretty obvious from that definition alone that scientists are always keenly aware of the possibility that they may be wrong, in fact they welcome the possibility as they navigate the often tortuous path towards truth.

Notice that word 'towards'. With regard to climate change it's not only possible but highly likely that we're not there yet. And yet one common denominator of the communications I get from the climate change deniers is that they all seem to be utterly convinced of their own rectitude. However, despite the fact that the denier's voice is often rather more shrill and indignant than that of the scientist, there is something vaguely compelling about the message. There is no doubt that I want to believe what they are saying. After all, their message is one of reassurance to those of us who have been worrying about our children's futures.

And so after giving the matter even more thought over the past few days than I usually do, and having followed a few of the links which have arrived in my in box, I have arrived at a conclusion: You're going to have to do better than that.

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