Ugh. I’m going to stop you right there.
Please tell me you’re not about to use the climate movement’s favorite argumentum ad emotionem. (You weren’t, were you?) Because if that’s what passes for reasoning in your universe, then listen… very… carefully. I’m about to save you some time and embarrassment.
You see, unlike you, I’m a skeptic.
Supposing—as you were about to wish, before I interrupted you—that ‘97% of doctors thought [I] had cancer,’ the first thing I’d ask is why: why did they think that way? (I’m sure you’d jump straight to “How long do we have left? What if we’re right, and we don’t act? What if we’re wrong, and we do?” But then, you couldn’t ratiocinate your way out of a wet paper bag, could you?)
If they replied, “because 97% of doctors think so,” and I asked why, and they said “because 97% of doctors agree,” “because 97% of papers written by doctors who expressed an opinion either way didn’t disagree,” and so on and so forth to the point of nausea, cachexia and hair loss, do you know what I’d conclude? I’d conclude—with some confidence, I might add—that it was Western medicine that was terminally ill, not me.
Meanwhile, in the actual universe, the one the rest of us cohabit, good news: the diseased misosophy preached by Naomi Turtles-All-The-Way-Down Oreskes and her idiot epigones has yet to metastasize to any field that matters. Climatology might be riddled with putrid cysts of consensualist psephomancy by now—anything resembling honest inquiry may have been displaced by tumors for all I know—but that’s OK: it’s not as if anybody needed a science of 30-year running average temperature anomalies (or whatever the definition is this week), did they? Happily, all the useful sciences are safe. It’s three hundred years and counting since anyone in physics, chemistry or biology tried to pass off majority opinion as an argument. And thanks to something called the scientific method —google it; it’s a sort of epistemological immune system—they probably never will.
Then again, never say never, as they say. If I were ever in the business of saying never, I would have bet real money against a bimbonic waste of carbon like Oreskes ever managing to claw her way out of the abortion bucket (as we used to call it on the playground), let alone insinuating herself into a chair at Harvard. My point is, anything’s possible if it gets Satan hard.
So by all means, do let us know when diagnostic oncology descends to the level of climate consensuology. Just so that we can, you know, start making funeral arrangements for the Western mind.
Until then, spare us your anencephalic “thoughts.”
UPDATE Below the line, Richard Drake eloquently gouges a whole nother hole in the cancer-diagnosis thought experiment, or lack-of-thought experiment, so beloved by the more vulgar type of climate dysangelist. So here’s my challenge to our little community: can you name the other 47 problems with the onco-analogy? Post your solutions below! ◼︎
This message was brought to you by CliScep’s exciting new ‘Don’t Blog Angry’ category, a kind of confused homage to the epistolary genius of Rich “Hatred Is My Muse” Matarese, M.D.