2012-02-19 07:23:48Someone advocating SkS should take the Craven approach
John Cook


Emailed suggestion:

In my share of this article on FB (http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skepticalscience.com%2Fmishmash-Monckton-misrepresentation.html&h=TAQGhjZkDAQHPeiWN0v57895GZmG_ye5ktZTnnKFPZrRtQw) I posted this note:

"There is a point to education, and I appreciate articles like this that don't expressly claim, but support the case, that evidence and peer review are necessary. However, I feel this fails because people can dispute whether the interpretation of the evidence is legitimate. And those with their bottom line at stake will (can't really blame em). I'm less concerned with fighting over whether an unknown is known... I'd rather discuss possible outcomes based on action. 

Rather than bother with who is right when we have no real way of proving who is right, we should learn to take the worst possible outcome from acting as if side A is correct, contrast that with the worst possible outcome of acting as if side B is correct and choose the course of action with the less terrible of the two worst possible outcomes. We don't know if the water is deep enough... shall we jump first and find out if we're paralyzed/dead after? I'd personally stay safely on the cliff."

I want the information to keep coming. However, I haven't had success convincing anyone who is skeptical of the science by providing evidence. In some ways, the magnitude of this issue is incomprehensible, and I think that leaves people feeling that there can't be a legitimate means of measurement.I've found that by trying to argue the evidence I just get into an argument over which position is correct, and this always leads nowhere. 

But, the end goal isn't to convince people that they are incorrect, it is to convince them that it's just smarter to choose the path of the least detrimental outcome. If we reduce this to an argument regarding a choice they may really make, I feel it has a much larger impact than all of the evidence, and it's an argument I've had success with. 

I give this feedback cause I really want you to keep the evidence coming, but I also believe that finding articles, scientific analysis of the differences in the worst possible end results should we act one way vs. the other would also be very helpful arguments for those of us trying to have a positive impact on those who cannot be reasoned with using evidence. 

I may just not have seen the massive amount of posts regarding this subject and tackling this exact idea, but if you can either point me to those articles or, if they don't currently exist on your page, if you might be able to find and aggregate, or even develop more articles like that, I'd definitely be appreciative. 

I love what you're doing and I find it all very helpful and illuminating. For those who are open to the arguments, I haven't found a better resource.