I have just read that climatologist Dr James Annan, had a bet with Dr David Whitehouse a scientific adviser on whether temperatures would rise over a four year period. The bet was made on a BBC Radio 4 show, four years ago and the bet was won by Whitehouse who predicted temperatures would not rise.
Now this in itself it not newsworthy I suspect, but what is interesting is the fact that they have made another bet to see if temperatures rise in the next four years. Supposedly Annan was asked whether after this time he would change his mind about global warming due to CO2, if he lost again. He originally said yes, and then backtracked saying no it would not change his mind. So as one climate realist puts it, ‘I am wrong but I am right’ syndrome springs to mind.
That’s the problem we have with this world, a human being finds it so difficult to change a thought process he believes to be true, even after it is shown to be false. I believe it was mentioned in Dale Carnegies, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ about a certain President that once an idea is set in stone, even after you are proved wrong, humans overall find it difficult to give in to the new theory. Hence why religion is so strong in the human psyche, I think the great scientist Carl Sagan also discussed it.
Unfortunately we all suffer from it in some shape or form even if we realise it or not, and this makes us vulnerable to ridiculous and sometimes costly errors. It is shown throughout history the effects of believing falsehoods when more obvious answers were available. And the ones that do not believe in it, well that in a way is proof of the fact that’s its true.
I suppose the human condition on how the conscious mind controls and causes major issues in the lives of many humans, must have been an evolutionary advantage at one time. Will we ever be able to overcome this, who knows but this bet is an excellent example of someone who may look a total fool in four years time, still finding it difficult to readdress his beliefs. As beliefs are so strong in humans it takes an enormous amount of will power and strength of mind and character, to admit you are wrong and to do it in public also. It’s like the end of the world doomsayers, even when they have past the date in which the end is supposed to occur, like 21st December 2012 when some people believe the world will end they will find away to explain it in their minds, and some will even try to make excuses and say it’s another date and all kinds of nonsense.
Self delusion and false beliefs are killers, as is shown throughout history. I know I suffer from it, but whether I would know which beliefs they are, the ones which are falsehoods that I am unable to admit to, would be debatable if I am honest. This last two months has shown that to me at least.
This is why I find it amazing that we have survived as long as we have, because it is like some kind of disease that has infected us for millennia.