What Would Deirdre McCloskey Say?

The article’s online headline claims I “argue” that fossil-fuel burning is driving climate change. But communicating scientific facts is not arguing. Every national academy of science in the world, including our own, agrees that climate change is due to increased fossil fuel use. Only politicians and ideologues want to argue about basic, established science.

This paragraph is from a letter to today’s Wall Street Journal from Michael Mann, the noted meteorology professor at Penn State University, in response to a critical review of his recent book.

Actually, as McCloskey has pointed out [I can’t find a terse cite here], communicating scientific facts is arguing. And citing authority, as he does in the above paragraph, is arguing also. It’s just not a particularly good way to argue.