He really stepped in it.
And by "stepped in it" I do not mean he screwed up, or did something wrong. He simply stepped in the steaming pile of crap the whole pro global warming and the global warming deniers have left for all of us to wade through.
Many supposed "skeptics" attacked Randi on their blogs, or in comment sections of Randy's blog. They berated him for not being an "expert" in global warming. They blasted him for using his "status and influence" to support the global warming denialists. Some crowed about how Randi's chemotherapy was destroying his critical thinking because he dared question the "reality" that global warming is caused by humans.
Others seemed to trumpet on how even a skeptic can screw up.
A couple of days later Randi posted this clarification, reiterating what he said in his prior post about not being an expert, but that he is applying some skeptical critique to the subject.
"You should keep your mouth shut unless you are an expert in global warming" shouted some people.
"Leave the science to the scientists Randi, lets listen to what the climatologists have to say about the matter rather than the general scientists signing a petition." cry others.
You know what I find most interesting while reading about the whole global warming debate and Randi's addition to the subject? The way so called skeptics seem to attack Randi for stating his opinion. It seems that many of these "skeptics" equate being skeptical with being right.
Well, I have some news for those "skeptics", and a list of what being skeptical means. A bulleted list at that!
- Skepticism does NOT mean being correct.
- Skepticism is asking questions, and looking for evidence rather than blindly accepting what one is told.
- Skepticism will not always lead one directly to the right answer to any question, be it scientific, moral, political or what not.
- Skepticism does not constrain one to stating an opinion only if one is right.
- Skepticism allows one to change their mind in the face of evidence, not in the face of browbeating, political pressure or snarky comments and ridicule.
- Skepticism is not being afraid to ask stupid questions, and not being afraid to seem stupid to others while asking them.
- Skepticism about a topic does not require you to be an expert in that topic.
- Skepticism does not require a "science degree"
- Skepticism is not denialism.
I think many "skeptics" would do well by understanding these realities.