Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; The Collegian, a Penn State University student publication, laments that there are still ageing contrarians and climate deniers who dispute the work of the great Michael Mann.

Penn State professor, climate scientist Michael Mann fights against climate denialism

Will Aguirre | The Daily Collegian
Apr 22, 2021

As the world changes and climate changes with it, one thing has stayed the same for decades — Michael Mann’s commitment to fighting the climate war.

Mann began studying quantum mechanics as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, with majors in physics and applied math. When he began work as a graduate student at Yale University, Mann said he was “lured away” from the physics department because there were still opportunities for young scientists to make “substantial contributions” at the forefront of climate studies.

Mann said he doesn’t want to blame fossil fuel workers for engaging in the “climate war.” Instead, he said he believes there are just a few corporate CEOs who serve as “bad actors” and make “cynical decisions knowing the devastating impact” they would have on the climate.

According to Nye, both him and Mann are frequently asked two common questions: “What can I do about climate change,” and “What can be done to convince someone who’s a climate denier?

Nye calls these the $10 trillion questions, because climate deniers are so “dug in” to their beliefs, which only makes it harder to convince them of what the science suggests.

The only definitive way to see significant action to prevent climate change is to simply wait for deniers and contrarians to “age out,” according to Nye.

There’s an old saying — ‘science proceeds one funeral at a time,’” Nye said, “but it’s not happening fast enough.”

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There have been occasions where scientists have persuaded their colleagues by providing evidence to back their theories, rather than waiting for their opponents to die.

My favourite example, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren overcame resistance to their theory stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection, by providing evidence to back their claim – they cultured the slow growing previously unknown bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, proving it existed, and successfully cured ulcers with antibiotics.

Einstein also had trouble convincing his peers that space and time are mutable, until the day Einstein famously received a telegram, from British scientists who had conducted an expedition to an island off the west coast of Africa, to view a total solar eclipse. The purpose of the expedition was to test Einstein’s prediction that stars which appeared close to the sun during the eclipse would be slightly out of position, because star light skimming close to the sun would be bent by the sun’s gravity.

Perhaps if Mann and Nye presented evidence that global warming is causing a significant problem, more people would accept their claim we are currently experiencing a climate crisis.

via Watts Up With That?

May 1, 2021