Why Ignoring Climate Scientists Is Illogical- An Analogy

If you are any one of the many people in this country who does not believe in climate change or the roughly 97% of scientists who support it, this article is for you. Before anyone gets in a huff and starts exclaiming “It’s my right to voice my opinion” let me start by saying, “Yes, you do have a right to your opinion”. You also have a right to be wrong, to have your opinion mocked, and to have your opinion challenged.

However, I’m not going to pepper you with facts and figures, graphs and charts. Chances are you will just dig your heels in even more being confronted with such evidence. No, instead, I’m going to present you with a simple analogy that many of you will have had first hand experience with.

When you get sick, have a chronic medical condition, or an exacerbation of a chronic medical condition, what do you do? You go to a health care provider of course. You go to a person who has the scientific and medical knowledge to treat your issue. And while you may go to your primary care provider when you feel sick and think you may have strep throat or pneumonia, if you have something more serious or rare, you see a health care provider that is a specialist like a cardiologist or nephrologist depending on the condition. A health care provider that has even more training and knowledge in a particular field of medicine.

A majority of health care providers agree on what causes disease and the best way to treat it today based on results from studies conducted via the Scientific Method. True, occasionally there will be slight differences of opinion between providers such as if treatment with medication is better than having a surgical procedure. In those instances you get a second opinion and you get that from another health care provider in the same field. And even in those instances, those providers usually still agree on the cause of your condition. They may or may not disagree on the treatment. You also would likely not side with the minority. If you were sitting in the ER and nine doctors said you had a heart attack and needed a stent and the tenth doctor said it was just heartburn, I highly doubt you would take prescription for Pepcid and go home. Finally, excluding patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, migraines, or congestive heart failure who know what their exacerbations feel like, you can’t just read WebMD and have an equivalent expertise to your health care provider.

What you don’t do (or shouldn’t be doing) is go to provider after provider after provider until you find one that gives you the answer you want hear. To see multiple clinicians until you get that unnecessary antibiotic for your common cold or told that you are sick when you aren’t, that’s either doctor shopping and bad medicine or a psychological issue.

What you also don’t do is seek care from a person who is not a health care provider. You would never go to a politician for your ingrown toenail. Even though your heart is a pump, you would not consult a mechanical engineer or plumber to fix it. It would never enter your mind to make an appointment with the CFO of a hospital to get your gallbladder removed. Despite working for the hospital, they deal in finances, not medicine.

So why in the world would you not believe the 97% of scientists whose job and expertise it is to study climate change? Why would you go outside of those experts, say with a politician or CEO of a fossil fuel company, to get your information on said topic? Why would you assume you know more than the scientists who have studied this for years? Why would you go with the 3% of scientists who disagree? It makes absolutely no sense. In doing so, you are doing the equivalent of doctor shopping. You don’t care what the actual facts are, you just want to find the person who will say your opinion is right and damn the facts. I hate to break it to you, that’s not how it works.