Then synchronicitously, George Monbiot wrote a piece for Guardian making a related point:It is idle to talk always about the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
Monbiot goes on to cite studies which appear to demonstrate that people tend to be impervious to rational persuasion on issues like climate change or Iraq's supposed possession of WMDs under Saddam Hussein. This probably applies to climate-change believers as much as to sceptics.The detail of modern science is incomprehensible to almost everyone, which means that we have to take what scientists say on trust. Yet science tells us to trust nothing; to believe only what can be demonstrated. This contradiction is fatal to public confidence.
So here's a (deliberately polemical) question for the professional scientists here: why should people believe you?