Thursday, June 02, 2016


The other day Megan McArdle published a column about how "global-warming alarmists" were mean to "lukewarmists" (her prefered name for people who don't want to do anything about climate change, because "denialist" is so mean).

Alarmists "can’t run experiments where they test one variable at a time," says McArdle, so their labors rely on "guesswork." Lukewarmists, however, are operating on the very solid premise that alarmists rely on guesswork! See how that goes? Also lukewarmists offer "constructive input," and their avatar of the moment is "calm, measured, very thoughtful" and his blogposts are "a model of how to talk about the subject," etc.

Also, alarmists are always talking about "the science." That can't be right, because "one does not believe in 'science' as an answer," sniffs McArdle; "science is a way of asking questions. At any given time, that method produces a lot of ideas, some of which are correct, and many of which are false, in part or in whole."

So how can one really know anything? By whether they're nice, that's how. Since this is McArdle, there is a thick larding of passive-aggressiveness, with "angry people on both sides," "these are not differences that can be resolved by name calling," etc. But it's all just a set-up.

A few days later, guess what:
A Sad Fact From Today's Bag of Hate Mail
Michael Mann called her column "the most intellectually bankrupt & misguided #climate piece yet." Which was mean! Also other people said mean things to her and to her editor about her! And after she was so even-handed.

Then McArdle gives us one last little both-sides wiggle ("long years of hurling increasingly angry imprecations has radicalized both sides"), which is probably meant to soften up anyone dumb enough to take it at face value before she rips into the alarmists again, harder than before: "the increasingly angry delegitimization of the skeptics" continues even though "skeptics have moved toward the activists" (no link, naturally) (wait, "skeptics"? what happened to "lukewarmists"? Wow, maybe they did write to her editor!). Finally:
A scientific approach would be to acknowledge that advocates' initial hypothesis -- that name calling will advance the cause -- has failed to be borne out by the experimental evidence. And to start looking for another hypothesis for how to move forward on climate change.
Hard times in the mill, indeed! At least she can console herself that neither words nor science will sort this out, but the market -- that is, the rich fucks who expect either to corner the market on alternative energy, or manage to afford a seat on a rocket to Elon Musk's space colonies when it all goes to shit.

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