Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What we know

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has launched a website and put our a report on climate change. The authors write:
As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do or must believe about the rising threat of climate change. But we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action.
I would take issue with the second disjunct of the first sentence: As scientists, it is their role to tell people what they should believe, based on expert scrutiny of the best evidence available. No one can force people into belief, but science does provide the general public with beliefs that are (defeasibly) rationally required.

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