The Limits of Climate Scepticism

Occasionally The Economist gets it right:
I woke up the other morning to find that I would have to confront yet another headache-inducing attempt to phase-shift my perception of reality, and that this would require wading into historical accounts of the collection and homogenisation of temperature data. On December 8th, a climate-change sceptic named Willis Eschenbach posted what he called the "smoking gun" of climate change data manipulation: a series of graphs of the uandjusted historical record of the temperature-monitoring site at the airport in Darwin, Australia, plotted against the same data as adjusted for various error factors ("homogenised") by the Global Historical Climate Network, or GHCN. Mr Eschenbach claimed the adjustment was so arbitrary, it had to be evidence of intentional manipulation.
(and then, after a lengthy piece exploring the evidence and dismissing Eschenbach's claims)
So, after hours of research, I can dismiss Mr Eschenbach. But what am I supposed to do the next time I wake up and someone whose name I don't know has produced another plausible-seeming account of bias in the climate-change science? Am I supposed to invest another couple of hours in it? Do I have to waste the time of the readers of this blog with yet another long post on the subject? Why? Why do these people keep bugging us like this? Does the spirit of scientific scepticism really require that I remain forever open-minded to denialist humbug until it's shown to be wrong? At what point am I allowed to simply say, look, I've seen these kind of claims before, they always turns out to be wrong, and it's not worth my time to look into it?

Well, here's my solution to this problem: this is why we have peer review. Average guys with websites can do a lot of amazing things. One thing they cannot do is reveal statistical manipulation in climate-change studies that require a PhD in a related field to understand. So for the time being, my response to any and all further "smoking gun" claims begins with: show me the peer-reviewed journal article demonstrating the error here. Otherwise, you're a crank and this is not a story.
I couldn't have written it better myself. It's a pity that The Economist doesn't have the same sort of attitude towards Peak Oil.

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