"There is currently not a single technical society that has looked at the evidence and taken a position running against the consensus position that humans are behind the current warming epoch. The few contrarian manuscripts that are published in peer-reviewed journals are met with silence and go on to die quiet deaths as they provide no path to progress."Link
In the philosophy textbook I use in my course, it outlines five basic criteria for comparing competing theories in philosophy. These are similar to the criteria used in science, I would say.
A theory bears a heavy negative mark against it if it is found to be inconsistent. A self-contradictory theory cannot possibly be true because the fact that it is self-contradictory means that if one part of it is true, then necessarily another part of it must be false.
ii. Simplicity, the number of assumptions made by a hypothesis. (Occam's Razor)
Some issues are decided on the basis of simplicity. One explanation is simpler than another. It assumes fewer metaphysical entities, or it assumes fewer causes.
iii. Scope, the amount of diverse phenomena explained by the hypothesis.
Given a couple of competing hypotheses A and B, if each explains phenomena p equally well, but A explains more than B, then A would seem to be a better theory. A explains p as well as explaining other phenomena q, so A has more scope. It has more explanatory power.
iv. Conservatism, how well the hypothesis fits with what we already know.
This kind of conservatism has nothing to do with politics. It refers to maintaining present beliefs and resisting change in them. If you have two hypotheses h and i, and h fits in with your other knowledge but in order to believe hypothesis i you would have to revise much of your present beliefs, then hypothesis h has an advantage.
v. Fruitfulness, the ability of a hypothesis to successfully predict novel phenomena.
Sometimes theories, if adopted, are intellectual “dead ends.” This is a strike against them. If, of two competing theories A and B, each explains the same phenomenon, but A seems to allow for more promising avenues of explanation in the future, where B only explains the phenomenon in question but cannot go beyond that, then A has the advantage.
"The few contrarian manuscripts that are published in peer-reviewed journals are met with silence and go on to die quiet deaths as they provide no path to progress."
Those contrarian manuscripts died from lack of fruitfulness
, and perhaps other things as well.