Thursday, 2 May 2019

Today's so-called "Skeptics" are our Witch-finder Generals

First let me say that I agree with the underlying premise. It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise. Deference should be the default position
-- Steven Novella

Today, the so-called Skeptical Science community turn their backs on skepticism. They deny 'argument from authority' is a logical fallacy. By redefining its meaning so they can do it without thinking ill of themselves.

They are not true critical thinkers. Novella's basic argument is when in doubt: guess. The safest guess is the majority one. Side with the majority of 'experts'. This is both anti-critical and anti-skeptic idea. It is a betrayal of Western Philosophy, Science and the Enlightenment tradition. Immanuel Kant said that 'Enlightenment is thinking for yourself'. Dare to be open-minded ; to work it out for yourself. Socrates said that it made no sense to accept an argument on the authority of another person - because unless one is able to articulate why you think as you do - you are not actually thinking; you are echoing other people's words. Accepting argument from authority is to: to echo another person's thoughts without understanding much about the issue.

This is anti-skeptical. It legitimises self-lobotomy. Don't think for yourself. Don't do due diligence. Just side with the majority, burn the witches.

There are many reasons why we should reject the authority of self-styled experts in the climate debate:

  1. Many experts are not experts. These experts had a paper retracted because they were too lazy to check their primary school-level arithmetic. Some experts!
  2. Causes of climate change aren't really that hard to figure out for oneself. I managed it, and I'm no Einstein.
  3. Self-styled experts in climate science of the 97% persuasion refuse to debate their critics. Even were I to consider accepting their argument from authority on climate change, the fact they are too cowardly to debate is a certain sign they know they're wrong. It is a massive red flag. I notice Steven Novella did not publish my reply to his blog. He obviously does not believe in debate. He is a fake skeptic.
  4. Accepting argument from authority as a legitimate stance bows one's head to authoritarianism. It is anti-intellectual, tribal, and nothing good will come of it. It is profoundly anti-democratic.