The response of biologists to creation theory as compared to climate alarmism

Biologists spent great effort over many decades to rebut creation science is a cold methodical manner designed to change minds through facts and reasoned arguments. Insults and conceit give peoples excuses to not listen.

Labels like denier and alarmist are not conducive for scientists to change their minds or decide they were right in the first place, and that such unpleasantness encourages many to choose other careers or fields of study.

It is better to ask your interlocutor to think more deeply about this or that point that is in debate. Look for common ground that already exists and for a growing number of important anomalies and puzzles their current way of thinking cannot explain.  Knowledge grows through critical discussion, not by consensus and agreement.

J.S. Mill pointed out that critics who are totally wrong still add value because they keep you on your toes and sharpened both your argument and the communication of your message.

If the righteous majority silences or ignores its opponents, it will never have to defend its belief and over time will forget the arguments for it.

As well as losing its grasp of the arguments for its belief, J.S. Mill adds that the majority will in due course even lose a sense of the real meaning and substance of its belief.

What earlier may have been a vital belief will be reduced in time to a series of phrases retained by rote. The belief will be held as a dead dogma rather than as a living truth.

Beliefs held like this are extremely vulnerable to serious opposition when it is eventually encountered. They are more likely to collapse because their supporters do not know how to defend them or even what they really mean.

J.S. Mill’s scenarios involves both parties of opinion, majority and minority, having a portion of the truth but not the whole of it. He regards this as the most common of the three scenarios, and his argument here is very simple.

To enlarge its grasp of the truth the majority must encourage the minority to express its partially truthful view.

Three scenarios – the majority is wrong, partly wrong, or totally right – exhaust for Mill the possible permutations on the distribution of truth, and he holds that in each case the search for truth is best served by allowing free discussion.

Mill thinks history repeatedly demonstrates this process at work and offered Christianity as an illustrative example. By suppressing opposition to it over the centuries Christians ironically weakened rather than strengthened Christian belief, and Mill thinks this explains the decline of Christianity in the modern world. They forgot why they were Christians.

Going on about how climate science is settled and the debate is over is bad tactics for the climate alarmists.

Attempts to close the debate this way provokes suspicion among those who expect some attempt to persuade them rather than to instruct them from on high.

Presumptuousness is never a good influencing strategy nor is dismissiveness. Listen here you stupid dupe of corrupt corporate lackeys converts few.

Most know that the defining feature of the growth of knowledge is knowledge grows and that is often by displacing the received wisdom. These instincts come well before any knowledge is required by the philosophy and sociology of science.

Darrow’s polite and careful cross-examination of Bryan in that great movie Inherit the Wind  persuaded many to reject religious-based opposition to the theory of evolution. He asked questions and was very polite. The movie was Spencer Tracy at his finest and in black and white.

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