To use Peter's analogy, I'm quite happy to take a doctor's advice when I'm sick, but I don't like it when two doctors give two different diagnoses and ask me as a layman to chose between them. (I know, one of them is obviously a quack and I should be able to spot him)
The thing is, it's more like 999 doctors telling you something is wrong and 1 telling you "you'll be fine, it's just part of growing old"
One of the problems is that the media, in their attempts to be 'balanced', give far too much voice to the very small minority of 'scientists' who put forward a different point of view. As a result, the general public gets a rather skewed perception of how much skepticism is out there.
There it is again - that strange characteristic we humans display, of always waiting to be told what we should believe, should think, should do by some vague higher authority, somebody whose 'job' it is to tell us what the next step is, some 'professional' (usually a scientist) who represents an important organization which is there to care about the world and what is happening to it. These mysterious figures don't exist in this abstract way! They are in fact men and women just like you and me - they go home from their work and cook their dinners and face the re-cycling question daily too. Why do we even need 999 doctors to tell us we're sick, when any human who has an ounce of awareness of his or her own body knows already? We cannot continue as we were, and wait for the 'scientists' to make the call - there is plenty of information avaliable to enable concerned people make their own diagnosis, the irony being that the (relatively) new and awe-inspiring techniques for accessing that information are part of our problem. The key is motivation I think.
No I don't hold the belief that smoking doesn't cause cancer (nor I suspect do the cigarette companies, I think it's just a position they have to take what with them selling cigarettes). I think this is about as good an argument as ner-ner-na-ner-ner.
Smoking doesn't give you cancer, but in enhances the chance that you will get cancer. Everybody knows the story of the grandfather of a friend of a friend that smoked all this live, and died peacefully at 98. You can also just say, that some people are lucky enough to don't get cancer from smoking. It's all in the percentages, if 1 in 3 persons, will get cancer. and smoking enhances your chance to get it by three times, you would have a big chance to get cancer, but you would also still have a chance, that you don't.
The same is true for theories in science. Until something is 100% percent proven, there is always a chance, that the theory is wrong, and somebody else is telling the truth.
To get back on topic: It is possible that we are just on a highpoint, and regard the changing climate as a natural accurance. But the chances of that being the truth, is getting smaller and smaller. If the Earth is warming as part of a natural fluctuation, would that exclude the possibility, that the Earth is also warming due to human caused warming? No, both can be the case. One does not exclude the other in this case.
Here is a statment made by the British Antarctic Survey about the program on Channel 4. These are acclaimed Climatologists, actually living in Antarctica who can see and study Global warming for themselves
BAS Statement about Channel 4 programme on Global Warming
Many viewers of the recent Channel 4 programme “The Great Global Warming Swindle” have been left confused as to whether or not humans are affecting the climate system. The programme claimed to demonstrate that climatic change is driven by solar influences and that the recent warming is not related to human greenhouse gas emissions. The programme also accused the science community of falsification of results and of a conspiracy of lying – or a “swindle” - about the cause and significance of climate change.
Here we shall clarify three key points:
The evidence for an unusual recent global warming is unequivocal, and it is very likely that this is due to human activity
Recent changes in solar activity bear no resemblance to temperature changes.
Channel 4 used seriously flawed data on which to base their programme.
To see the actual scientific arguments rubbishing the Channel 4 documentry go to: