Studying the Climate Doesn’t Make You an Expert on Economics and Politics, by Ryan McMaken

Pure science may yield the conclusion that the earth is warming. However, pure science neither offers the most efficacious solution, if a solution is either desirable or possible, nor can it endorse present attempts at a solution, such as the Paris Climate Accord. From Ryan McMaken at

n response to the Trump administration’s announcement that it was pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, some of his critics declared that anyone who likes “science” would have supported the accord.

Not surprisingly, Neil deGrasse Tyson rushed to declare that Trump supported the withdrawal because his administration “never learned what Science is or how and why it works.”

But what does “Science” (which Tyson capitalizes for some reason) have to do with it? 

We know that Tyson is of the opinion that there is global warming. We also know that many other physical scientists agree with him.


But, it does not follow logically that agreeing with Tyson on the matter of climate change must necessarily mean supporting the Paris Climate Agreement.

After all, the Paris Climate Agreement isn’t a scientific study. It’s a political document that lays out a specific public-policy agenda. 

Agreement or disagreement with the accord might hint at one’s opinions about climate science. Or it might not. One can agree that climate change exists and that human beings have a large role in the phenomenon. Agreement on this matter, however, does not dictate that one must also agree with the political policies outlined in the Paris document.

The two are totally independent phenomena.

Science and Politics Are Not the Same Thing

An analogy might help illustrate further:

Scientific inquiry tells us that obesity is bad for one’s health. Let’s imagine then, that in response to rising obesity rates, a large number of politicians gather and sign an agreement — let’s call it the London Obesity Avoidance Deal (LOAD). The supporting politicians claim that the deal will reduce obesity and that failure to abide by the agreement will spell a health crisis for humanity.

Does this mean, then, that any politician who doesn’t sign onto the agreement is an “obesity denier”? Does a failure to approve of the agreement prove that the dissenters believe that obesity is not a real thing? 

Obviously not. 

To continue reading: Studying the Climate Doesn’t Make You an Expert on Economics and Politics


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