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First, if job security in climate science is so tough to get, why not work for Exxon-Mobil? Somebody who is able to do an experiment that support the denier argument would be heavily recruited by the oil industry.
Second, the "level of critical reasoning" is at completely different levels on the two sides of this argument. The deniers cherry pick their data, use circular arguments, repeat already-disproven claims, pull in irrelevancies, and generally operate with a thin veneer of reason covering greed and religious fanaticism. The pro-warming crowd operates with the normal pettiness of the scientific community. There is no comparison.
I suggest that you attend a denier revival meeting or two to get an idea of how bad it is. Until you've heard these nutcases in person, it's hard to imagine it.
Regarding your the first argument. There is a plethora of reasons. I work in predicative science (I don't believe in it), but I still do. Why? Things are not that easy.
But let me engage some possible arguments:
First, Exxon-Mobil could not hire all the scientists in the world. And why would they? Would you believe results sponsored by Exxon-Mobil?
Second, most people involved in this might really have the best interest of the world in their hearts. And they believe what they do. But you do a little concession here and there...
But really I think it goes like this in most cases: bright kid out of undergrad/master is invited to do PhD. Comes from middle/upper-middle class, most of the time. Never really had much contact with the "world" at large. Life as been mostly inside the University, where ego-mania and small, closed groups are the norm. These sets of cultural background, where an "holistic" (broad) view of the world rarely exists. Publishing papers, conferences, fighting for grant/tenure is ALL YOU KNOW.
Just a anecdotal piece of evidence which I think reflects the broad reality: Portugal has lots of wind-power installed everywhere. Wind power kills bats. I have a colleague that defends the removal of all wind mills. Why? because it kills bats and from is point of view if it kills bats it is a bad thing, no more arguments need be made. His PhD topic: bats. This is anecdotal, but there is an underlying honesty to this description: many PhD students (kids in their early twenties, many of them with little awareness of the world around them) think that their topic is the most important thing in the world.
Sure, that is a common case. And if that person foolishly decides to get into climate research, and does some sort of experiment or develops a model or whatever, and the results show X, but X is not in agreement with his or her religious views, then what?
There is certainly the ego-mania, backstabbing, closed cultural group, etc. in play. But never-the-less, if somebody can come up with an experiment or data or observation or whatever that is NOT in accordance with the climate change model, they would still, in my experience, be listened to. Argued with, made fun of, ostracized, met with dead silence after their presentation at their society meeting. The problem is, such experiments aren't showing up. And with the whole thing so politicized now, if anybody COULD come up with some decent data, there are plenty of funding sources, publishing sources, etc. to get the word out.
It's like trying to prove that the earth is the center of the universe. After a while it gets to the point where it becomes clear that you just can't do it, even with the backing of the entire establishment.
Take, for instance, the marvelous papers that predict malaria elimination in 4 years. How could you derive an experience to rule them out? And even if you rule a certain model out. Immediately people would come up with a new one.
And even if a paper is proven wrong (papers with 4 years lifespan will suffer that), authors will say something did not happen has expected and that is the reason (poverty disease predicative modeling is sometimes disturbed by "minor" things like civil wars, mass starvations and so on).
I could say more, but I would have to kill you ;) . If we ever met, I can take some interesting evidence with me. For climate I only know stories second-hand, but for other areas I can dig deep and talk first-person.
And I entirely agree with asdf's assertion regarding the relative integrity between the "climate science" crowd and the climate change denier crowd. The climate change deniers do tend to show similarities to the "creation science" crowd. This is the basis for my concern about the lawsuit cited above where assertion of a "belief" in the imminent danger from climate change is defended as a "philosophy of life". Let us hope that we don't get to the point of having parity in nutcase affiliation.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
WTF? It is the exact opposite! I strongly believe in scientific inquiry (definition of which remains to be done)! What I am suggesting is that what is done in some "places of science" as very little to do with openness, enlightenment, sound reasoning and decent morality.
The problem is that in many research centres "scientific inquiry" become just a side.
To make it very clear: I am a strong believer in science. The current scientific environment (high competition, need to maximize one's impact at any cost) is anathema for good science. The cultural harm to the scientific community is done and it will take some time to reverse, if at all.
If you want to do good science, go to your garage. Avoid most universities and such. That is the drama. That is what stands to be corrected.
And blindly believing in whatever is done at universities (the basis of religious mentality is also blind faith), is not helping to starting cleaning up the mess.
Politics is an inescapable fact of life in any organisation with more than a couple of handfuls of people and a lifetime of more than a few days. I see no serious evidence that it's any worse in physics than in other communities of similar size.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
From what I hear Astrophysics is pretty bad.
En un viejo país ineficiente,
algo así como España entre dos guerras
civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda
y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
My impression is that in Copenhagen the experimental high-energy particle people hold the dubious distinction of being the most nepotistic department. And have held that trophy for at least a generation and a half by now.
Fortunately, it's not like particle physics is very important in the greater scheme of things.
WTF? It is the exact opposite! I strongly believe in scientific inquiry (definition of which remains to be done)!
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