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This article by Michael Lewyn is part of a collaboration with Planetizen, the web’s leading resource for the urban planning, design, and development community.

Some of my acquaintances believe that climate change may end human life (or at least civilization) and that the only way to save humanity is to massively reduce economic growth and consumption. Other acquaintances believe that climate change is, if not an outright hoax, a minor problem — and that even the slightest attempt to regulate emission-creating industries will itself destroy American civilization.

Whole lotta head-shakin’ going on.Most of these people are not scientists (let alone scientists specializing in climate-related science), so I strongly suspect that their opinions come from Al Gore’s movie and Rush Limbaugh’s talk show, rather than from a comprehensive review of the footnote-filled scientific papers addressing climate change. Nevertheless, they are as certain in their opinions as real scientists are. How come?

A plausible explanation was supplied by a Harvard Law Review article I recently read. The article links disputes over technical issues ... Read more