Evidence is a strong teacher. Children will hear their parents tell them to wear heavy coats when it is cold outside but argue and refuse, only to find out that the advice makes a lot of sense. Based on the evidence when they feel the cold themselves.
Evidence is what we look to in order to prove a theory. Evidence is what can make or break models of complex systems as we learn more.
Therese Asplund, who recently presented her PhD thesis at Linköping University found evidence that Swedish farmers are very skeptical of climate change. This isn’t politically driven – this is based on evidence. The evidence that the Swedish farmers have themselves. The climate of course has previously gone through natural spells, and the farmers tend to think in terms of their experiences in recent decades. “Many have a lot of experience, for instance they recall the mild winters of the 1960s,” explains Asplund. The farmers also distrust climatologists partly on the grounds of what they perceive of as too much concurrence, “They think information about climate change is too uniform. Credibility would increase if more contrary perspectives were presented,” she says.
Maybe most of all – the farmers don’t see any evidence that the climatologists live or know the soil, weather and growth seasons.
Evidence is hard. Maybe those that are advocating for changes to various policies should take this into account. Maybe those who are zealous about the climate change debate should listen to some of these humble Swedish farmers and really do the science and find some evidence rather than adopting language like “post-normal science”.
Evidence is. Period.