Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): This is a common question I get, so it's worth discussion how science actually works. A 🧵:

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): Every field, not just climate science, has foundational ideas. Biology (e.g., evolution), physics (e.g., quantum mechanics), chemistry, Shakespeare, every field. These foundational ideas were developed over decades and have been very very thoroughly tested.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): If you want to argue that one of these foundational ideas is wrong, you're going to get a lot of push-back from the field.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): The reason: Fields have a lot invested in their foundational ideas. These ideas were developed over decades and changing them means a lot of the field's previous research was wrongly focused. Researchers may be mad if they perceive it means their own research is now irrelevant.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): e.g., walk into a biology dept. and say that you don't think evolution is correct and see what their reaction is. Ditto if you walk into a physics department and say that quantum mechanics is wrong. Don't expect to have a civil conversation about your idea.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): But ... if you can show that one of the foundational ideas is wrong, it will make you FAMOUS. You'll instantly become a leader of the field. You may win a Nobel Prize, like the guys who worked on H. Pylori.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): But the key is YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD IDEA. If you show up disputing a foundational idea in a field slinging weak, easily disproven arguments, then people will be irritated and they'll conclude you're an idiot. It will definitely not help your career.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): When it comes to climate change, the last reasonable argument against a foundational idea was Lindzen's iris hypothesis, published in 2001. I give him credit for this b/c some parts of his idea are now viewed as correct.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): However, the key part of the paper, that this mechanism generates a big negative cloud feedback, is wrong.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): Today, the critiques of climate science are remarkable only for their weakness. See, for example, Roy Spencer's recent arguments. People who advance them are not taken seriously by the scientific community.

Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler): So here's the answer to your question, @MatthewWielicki: in any field you happen to be in, you should dispute a foundational idea ONLY IF YOU HAVE A GOOD ARGUMENT. If you don't have a good argument, keep working on it until it's bulletproof.