George Will versus Science

I was going to write a post saying what Dylan put much more succinctly on his Twitter feed, but I thought the better of it.

I would like to add two things, though:

1.) The “scientists have been incorrect in the past, and therefore I can dismiss whatever theories I want as also probably being wrong” argument is almost as annoying as the “it is snowing outside and therefore global warming does not exist” one.

2.) In the global warming denialism piece Dylan cites, George Will writes (and without a hint of irony!):

Credentialed intellectuals, too — actually, especially — illustrate Montaigne’s axiom: “Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.”

I love the emphasis on the word “especially,” because it almost seems to say, “The more you study a subject, the more likely you are to hold false beliefs. That is why I, George Will, actually know more about climate change than Nobel Prize-winning physicists.”

Of course, if that clever little axiom were actually the case, then expertise in a subject would be a meaningless thing; someone could possess more credibility on any topic than a so-called “expert” simply by looking and seeming vaguely professorial.

Actually, that seems to be the principle which animates Will’s entire career.

UPDATE: Oops, did not realize that Dylan’s twitter feed was locked to non-subscribers. With permission, here’s the full text of that particular tweet:

Shorter George Will: I know more about science than a Nobel Laureate. Well, a lot of Nobel Laureates: http://snurl.com/bwyml

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