As for why I weigh in here, it's this,
... in particular, I don't think misinformation should stand unopposed if it's being promoted deliberately. At least not on my turf.Harlan Ellison wrote:
You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed(*) opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
Analogously, like my political example with the crazy uncle. One can argue that national politics don't really matter much personally anyway (compared to steak) and therefore there's no incentive to learn even rudimentary civics. That's fair. However, without further insight one can not make the argument that national politics is irrelevant, period. Now, insofar one wants to have a useful rational debate about a given national policy issue, one should at least understand the basics about the issue. If the issue is "freedom of speech", the participants should at least go read the words composing the actual first amendment---that seems like a reasonable first step? But that rarely happens. Instead, everybody carries on like a bunch of crazy uncles based on some TV program they just watched trying to convince each other based on which channel the program appeared on and what they guess the Constitution might say because nobody can be bothered to look it up and read it. For climate science, I think one should at least understand the basic physical mechanism and the relevant physics so as not to base one's opinion on misinformed beliefs that contradict fundamental results in atomic physics or thermodynamics.
(*) I understand that subjects can be complicated and that people don't need to be an expert before having any opinion. However, I do think one's [strength of] opinion should be proportional to how informed one is. If one is more opinionated than informed (crazy uncle style), I think time is better spent getting informed than debating on an uninformed level. It's the reluctance to break that habit that creates Mt Stupid. If I don't know anything about something, I think my opinion has little weight and therefore I will not speculate, make claims, or have an opinion. That's good enough for most things. If I want to have an opinion, I will get informed. If getting informed requires too much effort, then I will look at who appears to be informed and go with the most informed as a proxy. If I can't tell the difference, then I will default to not having an opinion; otherwise I will learn enough to figure out how to evaluate those experts. This evaluation should not be based on who gets paid by who or who is the better speaker. I'm not hiring for the debate team. Most importantly, if I can't figure out who's the actual expert, it does not mean that the real answer is undecided or in the middle.