There are no short cuts

20232265_1521496491248612_4856287107478719897_o The wit and wisdom of Gavin:
In any contentious science/policy issue it's easy to find people on both sides who resort to ad homs and poor arguments. Using that as a metric to judge any one sides' credibility is a fallacy.
in response to Ted Nordhaus:
In the face of scientific complexities that are difficult to parse, one easy heuristic as to where credibility lies is to what degree partisans resort to ad hominem, misrepresentation of opponents arguments, and sweeping, unqualified assertions.
People often want some simple heuristic to know who to trust, which side is right, in cases where they can't be bothered, or aren't capable, of working out the truth for themselves. To be more accurate, people often search around for a simple heuristic that allows them to choose the side they already know they want to choose, and ignore the inconvenient opinions and facts from the other side.

This is covered in Scott Adams is a tosser.


Victor Venema said...

There is. In case it exists accepting the scientific mainstream is a pretty good shortcut for those who do not have the time or expertise to go in depth themselves. Nothing is infallible. Also studying a topic yourself, isn't. But it is a very good heuristic rule.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I like Feynman's heuristic: form your opinion and then subject it to rigorous skepticism.

Russell Seitz said...

Inside the Washington Beltway, heuristics are intelligently applied to forming the opinions of tossers


William Connolley said...

If it exists, then finding and following the scientific consensus is a good heuristic. In the case of GW it exists, and I think can be plausibly argued that any reasonably intelligent and not-too-biased person ought to be able to find it, and identify it as the consensus (IPCC and NIPCC can be easily distinguished).

CIP: "subject it to rigorous skepticism" would be great, but people are very bad at that.

Russel: congratualtions on your appearance in Nature.

Phil Hays said...

Finding and following the economic consensus is a good heuristic.

William Connolley said...

Agreed: minimum wage bad, tariffs and protectionism bad, carbon tax good. Or were you thinking of some other economic consensus ;-?

Russell Seitz said...

Thanks, William but, which one? This my shortest to date.