Perhaps believing means accepting our own role in climate change
I read with interest Mike Whitaker's letter to this opinion section, Aug. 1 edition, regarding climate change. Mike's understanding of the scientific method is a bit skewed. He wrote that, "Real scientific proof is established through experiments conducted that result in the same outcome 100 percent of the time." No mention of hypothesizing, observation, etc. and all the other processes that are involved. Those who understand these things will acknowledge that any analysis of chaotic, hyper-complex systems, especially on the scale of global climate and weather, will never produce the same results "100 percent of the time." Too dynamic and far too many variables involved. Nice example of a red herring though.
As for, "Google open source systems on climate change. You will find 31,000 scientists who were polled and say, 'no convincing evidence.'" OK, I'm very good at this sort of thing. Try as I may, I can find no such reliable return to my queries. I pulled out my better tools, using Startpage (open source, querys all major search engines, allows no biases beyond what the user inputs, conducts anonymous searches, etc.). What I did find was an oft-repeated and poorly-worded petition from 1998 produced by a four-time failed Republican candidate from Oregon that was later skewed and misreported by Forbes in 2012. Whitaker skipped the part where most of those supposedly cited were not scientists.
Many other surveys and polls have come up with different results. Perhaps Whitaker should apply his idea of "same outcome 100 percent of the time" to his belief in whatever fits his narrative on climate change. If 100 percent of climate scientists agree 100 percent of the time that "there is no convincing evidence," he’s good to go.
Me? I worry about what kind of world my grandkids will have to deal with and prefer to err on the side of caution. I know I can't change most people's minds about climate change, but I can certainly change my own behavior without much pain. I'm pretty sure that's why so many folks are afraid to acknowledge that climate change is a threat for the future and is, in large part, human-caused. If one admits it's a big problem, any caring person would need to admit they probably should change their behavior in significant ways. Otherwise they will suffer a bad case of cognitive dissonance (google it). There's a lot of that going around these days.