Eli is going on about incoherence of the denialists . Things Break had a sighting in the comments here recently:
In reading past comments at Dot Earth, or by either Spencer or Christy (I can’t remember which), I don’t understand where the myth that those who seek to avoid the worst aspects of climate change are callous towards the rights of those in poorer nations comes from.
A few years back, the smear was that we wanted to funnel the hard-earned tax dollars of white Christians to the brown third world as part of a massive Red Conspiracy. I’m curious as to when this newer meme started and why it seems to have taken hold despite it’s obvious conflict with the older one.
I have been doing some thinking about how to tell real experts from fake experts. A single sound bite (on a topic on which the listener is inexpert) reveals nothing. You have to look at the whole record of the speaker and the speaker’s close allies to determine who is an expert and who is playing one on TV. The “tell” is coherence. The core problem is that people who pay insufficient attention and people who don’t themselves understand coherence have influence, especially in a democracy.
Many people don’t seem to understand that ideas have to be tested for coherence and have to pass the test. Refusing to do interviews is not a laughing matter; it simply declares immunity from any coherence test at all.
Jane Smiley has a terrifying rumination about the incoherence of the American “conservative” movement here. For what it’s worth I don’t think it’s conservative at all. I’m a dyed in the wool Trudeau Liberal myself, (I’m a Montreal Texan and I ain’t fixin’ to start changin’ now) but I respect and draw upon conservatism that actually conserves things. One of the things it ought to conserve is intellectual rigor.
In the end, Ross Perot’s position on just about everything was the right one. “I don’t know everything. I’d just get the experts together and have them hash it out. Then I’d figure out how to get it done.” The trick is being able to identify the experts. So you have to be able to demonstrate that you yourself understand the coherence test, and the best way to do that is to be coherent.
Changing your mind is one thing; within reason it is a good sign, a sign that you don’t operate dogmatically. Saying two things simultaneously that can’t possibly both be true is another. Coherence is important because it is the sign of actual thought.