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It required me to revisit the debates (actually, did they ever really have debates, or do we just debate their ideas today?) between the French Rationalist thinkers with the Scottish Evolutionary thinkers. The Scottish thinkers understood the value of tradition and urged us to be humble when it came to the following of rules, most of which evolved from processes which we could not ourselves comprehend. That we cannot explain WHY a particular rule exists, or why a particular moral code exists does not mean we ought not use our reason to achieve the ends dictated by such moral codes. This is most definitely not what the rationalist thinkers believed. The most extreme version is perhaps best summarized by the idea from Descartes which “rejects as absolutely false all opinions in regard to which I could suppose the least ground for doubt.”

You see, in the Cartesian world, there simply is no room for doubt – so one has to promote the idea of 100% scientific consensus in order for their actions to have any validity. If those in the “consensus” community would spend some time reading Ferguson or Hume or Smith they would perhaps understand that they would still have a very persuasive argument to make without having to be so doctrinaire.

3 Responses to “I Finally Understand the Climate Consensus”

  1. Dan says:

    Scottish “Evolutionary”? You must mean Enlightenment.

    I’m not sure that you represent Descartes’ views very well. That particular phrase goes with his thought experiment that asked you to doubt all that could be doubted. But he moves away from that pretty quickly, and by the end of the Meditations concludes that we can rely on some types of inference, building up our beliefs from first principles using clear and distinct observations backed by divine guarantee in the form of innate ideas. But yes, his methods are pretty impractical even if that approach is possible.

  2. Rod says:

    Geeze, I thought we were all Stalinists now.

  3. Rod says:

    There is a nig difference between Reason and justification.

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