Lewandowsky and Cook Study: “Deniers” Cannot Provide a Coherent Alternate Worldview

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The increasingly frantic efforts to “medicalise” criticism of climate orthodoxy has taken a new turn, with a claim that theories cannot be disproven in of themselves. Theories can only be disputed by people who can provide a settled alternative theory.

The abstract of the study;

The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism

Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human economic activities are causing the global climate to warm and unless GHG emissions are drastically reduced in the near future, the risks from climate change will continue to grow and major adverse consequences will become unavoidable. People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting GHG emissions—such as regulation or increased taxation—threaten their worldview or livelihood cannot provide an alternative view that is coherent by the standards of conventional scientific thinking. Instead, we suggest that people who reject the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing due to greenhouse gas emissions (or any other body of well-established scientific knowledge) oppose whatever inconvenient finding they are confronting in piece-meal fashion, rather than systematically, and without considering the implications of this rejection to the rest of the relevant scientific theory and findings. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” Coherence between these mutually contradictory opinions can only be achieved at a highly abstract level, namely that “something must be wrong” with the scientific evidence in order to justify a political position against climate change mitigation. This high-level coherence accompanied by contradictory subordinate propositions is a known attribute of conspiracist ideation, and conspiracism may be implicated when people reject well-established scientific propositions.

Read more: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-016-1198-6

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous claims Lewandowsky has ever promoted. “Something is wrong” with the current theory is a perfectly valid scientific position. A demonstration that a theory is useless at prediction does not have to be accompanied by a settled alternative theory – simply demonstrating that the current theory is wrong is enough.

Source: WUWT

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