Monday, August 27, 2012

"That's the way we've always done it" is not a powerful argument.

History suggests that the argument that "the right way to do something is the way we have always done it" is not always right. It was the argument for slavery, for denying women suffrage, and for the divine right of kings -- and we reject all of those positions now. Yet it seems clear that many people don't want to do things differently because they believe we have always done them as we do them now.

In argument about climate change and the actions to ameliorate climate change. people advocating dramatic new action should of course show the evidence and theory as to why action is needed and why their proposed actions will correct the situation. Those who oppose should either show evidence that climate is not going to change (not simply that that was not a problem in the past, nor that some variation in climate is natural and that the changes now being seen are not the result of human action) or should show evidence that the proposed efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will not produce the effect claimed by their proponents.

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