My biggest disappointment at the Freedom Fest was the great Global Warming Debate moderated by Michael Medved. While they brought up credentialed scientists to debate both sides, the format lacked seriousness and clarity.
How much that AGW is used for gaining political power is irrelevant. Some skeptics invoke religious themes, though they did not do that in this format where so many libertarians are atheists.
The only germane topic is whether there is or there is not a dangerous level of AGW and if there is, what is the best solution.
Most of us do not understand the science and thus depend on the authority of others and toward that end there is this ‘consensus’ we hear about. Specifically we hear about a 97% consensus, but now the subject leaves science and goes into the realm of statistics and the nature of knowledge.
The 97% number raises a lot of red flags. For such a field that is fraught with so many variables such a consensus causes skepticism. In the realm of social research it strongly suggests a self-confirming bias.
I have not received satisfactory answers to such questions as:
Who was included in the 97% number? How big a sample is that? What per cent of the scientists is that?
What determines the consensus? What questions were asked?
When these questions get asked this consensus falls apart pretty quickly. Is there any consensus that any of the proposed actions to remediate this problem will work?
When the consensus falls apart, then it becomes clear that the debate is not over.
The right falls apart when they make it all about politics, and the left falls apart when they discredit any serious questions as anti-science as if it is the equivalent of creationism, or when they discredit every voice as a tool of the oil industry. They do not advance the realm of science by sounding like religious fanatics. The less tolerant of dissent, the weaker the argument.