As regular readers know, I believe that the Earth’s climate is changing in undesirable ways, that this change is being driven primarily by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and that human activity (both carbon emissions and logging the rain forests that turn the greatest amount of carbon dioxide into oxygen) is to blame.
Not coincidentally, this is essentially the view of the vast majority of climate scientists, whose work, comprising more than 30,000 studies dating back decades, many of those studies confirming earlier findings, would seem to put this question beyond the range of rational dispute — the key word, of course, being “rational.” I waded into the discussion thread of one of Atlantic economics blogger Megan McArdle’s posts on climate change last week, and lemme tell you, for every halfway cogent criticism of the theory of anthropogenic global warming, there were 20 dittoheads who just wanted to repeat talking points and punch hippies. It was a Sargasso Sea of DERP.
Well, when rationality fails, I fall back on Occam’s (or, as my research textbook spells it, Ockham’s) razor, which sounds painful. But Occam’s razor is actually a principle of logic: In plain English, it means that all other things being equal, the simplest explanation for a problem is most likely correct.
And so it is in the spirit of Occam’s razor that I present the following graphic, created by Brooke Jarvis.
I know which of these I think is more likely, but set that aside for a moment and just answer me this: Which one is simpler?