Appeal of the Masses

In Senator Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, he has often brought up climate crisis. He said something like 97% or 98% of scientists agree that climate crisis is a serious issue. Seth McFarlane endorsed Sanders shortly after the first debate and cited Sanders’ recognition of climate crisis as a primary reason for endorsing him. In democratic debates, it has been brought up several times that while the GOP still argues about how to deny climate crisis, that it’s “up to the democrats” to figure out how they plan to “sort this crisis out”.

I support the democratic process and I fully believe that an individual is free to support whomever they like for whatever reason they like. All reasons are valid. If you would like to support Trump because you think he’s a cool dude, that’s okay. If you would like to support Rubio for his winning smile and ever optimistic outlook? Go nuts. If you want to support Hillary because she’s a female, that’s okay. This is democracy. Others may not agree with your reasoning, which is perfectly fine as well. It is your responsibility and the responsibility of those you support to convince the public that they are the hope of the people. That’s not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about Senator Sanders’ justification of the issue of climate crisis. The statistic that 97% or 98% of scientists agree that it is happening and it is now. Understand that I am a graduate physics student, beginning my journey into the world of publication. Understand that I am one who believes in the scientific method. And if you understand these two things, you should understand why I have a problem with this justification.

What we’re running into here is a case of appeal to authority and appeal to the masses. Primarily the appeal of the masses issue. What needs to be stated is that regardless of whether or not climate crisis is happening, it does not matter how many people believe it is happening. It does not matter how many “decorated” people believe that it is happening. The validity of a theory comes from repeated experimentation and its ability to make predictions.

Side Note: Scientists are only now really getting into climate change as an issue. Climate change is also an unfortunate issue because of how frequently the data in experiments has been misrepresented.

And this isn’t a new issue. Today, on the issue of dark matter vs. MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) there are scientists, Ph.D. wielding scientists that suggest that an examination into anything other than the dark matter particle as an explanation for galactic rotation curves is a waste of time. And then snarkily adding, “Let them waste them their time, that’s more opportunity for me” is an insult to the scientific process. Barely 100 years ago, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. This theory has been tested extensively and it was used to make a prediction of the existence of black holes. The existence of which has been verified. This is a solid theory in comparison to what we call Newtonian Physics or Classical Physics in which if you had suggested to be incomplete or incorrect 150 years ago, and you wanted a career in science, you could be laughed out of the community. Maxwell Boltzmann was a scientist that strongly put for the idea of molecules. His ideas were not welcomed within the scientific community. He takes his family on vacation and commits suicide. By the way, a few years later, it turns out that there’s actually a lot of evidence for the existence of molecules. What I’m trying to get at here is that it’s a logical fallacy to accept something because “someone in authority” has said it, or because “several people in authority” say it. At best it opens up a debate. At worst, it can drive people to suicide.

So Sanders, to you I say this. I don’t mind you saying that 97% or 98% of scientists agree on a topic. Truly, I don’t. But it would be disingenuous to the art of logic and argument to cite that as the pure foundation to your claim. The argument is still going on; Today’s 98% can be tomorrow’s 9%-8%. Stick to the facts.

Artemis Hunt

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Appeal of the Masses

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