They're Still Using The "Appeal To Authority" Ploy To Silence Dissent

As a follow up to yesterday's post, there's this by way of James Taranto where the usual suspects fall back on “appeal to authority” to justify their non-reality based faith in anthropogenic global warming.

Of all the silly things written on the subject of global warming, Marcus's and Lapidos's offerings are surely among the most recent. Apart from that they're entirely typical of the genre of global-warmist opinion journalism, in which ignorant journalists taunt politicians for their ignorance but have no argument beyond an appeal to authority. Lapidos: "Does Mr. Rubio think scientists are lying? Or that they don't know what they're talking about? Either way, what leads him to believe that the 'portrait' of climate change offered by scientists is inaccurate?"

Appeals to authority aren't necessarily fallacious, except in the realm of formal deductive logic, where they entail adopting the unfounded premise that the authority is infallible. In informal logic--such as political debate at its best--an appeal to authority can be a sound argument if the authority is both relevant and trusted. And when dealing with complicated matters in which one lacks specialized expertise. As Michael Gerson puts it in the Washington Post: "Our intuitions are useless here. The only possible answers come from science. And for non-scientists, this requires a modicum of trust in the scientific enterprise."

Do you see the subtle problem with Gerson's formulation? The injunction have trust after tossing aside your intuition is at best a contradiction in terms, at worst a con.

So we're supposed to ignore that little voice inside us that tells us “There's something that's not right with their claims,” and instead trust someone “in authority” that has already been shown to be untrustworthy in this regard?

Then there's the close-mindedness often shown by the AGW proponents, making sure to punish any who might stray from the faith, pressuring them to recant their blaspheme or to silence them, destroy their reputation. The most recent victim of the “Climate Inquisition”, Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a climatologist and former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany was so concerned with his work as well as his health and his life that he stepped down from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank whose purpose was to question the assumptions being made about climate change and promote open discussion about the issue. The climate Alarmists will brook no defections, no questioning of their orthodoxy, so the pressured the 'defector' to step down. So much for open discussion about a science that has far more questions than answers.