Global Warming Skeptics

The global warming political juggernaut has gained so much momentum in recent years, that anyone who questions it is dismissed as a crank, on the same par with Holocaust deniers. But there are critics out there, with credentials that earn them the right to be heard. Unfortunately, according to Debra Saunders, there is an orchestrated campaign to keep them silent.

Politicians . . . have begun to stifle state climatologists who are not global-warming boosters — oddly with little complaint that evil politicians are trying to censor noble scientists.

On a similar note, Australia’s Quandrant Magazine editorializes that there are still so many uncertainties about the scope and causes of global warming that we ought to be at least a little skeptical about the rush to embrace “scientific consensus.”

It seems unlikely that a largish number of respectable and well-qualified scientists should be collectively wrong about such an important matter—except that there are very many in this consensus who are not climate experts or experienced in the very difficult art of modelling climate change. (They are comparable to those epidemiologists who confidently make assertions in matters of population and disease without ever having seriously studied statistics and demography.) And there are historical examples of the consensus of qualified scientists being wrong—Thomas Kuhn’s well-known work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the classic discussion of this issue. It is, after all, not so many years since the scientific consensus denied what is now known as the geological reality of tectonic plates.

If you’re not familiar with Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, you should be. Kuhn argues that science progresses in uneven fits and starts, burdened by a lot of prejudicial baggage masquerading as “scientific consensus.” It is often the lone skeptic who is willing to challenge the prevailing wisdom and consider different explanations, who ends up making the breakthrough discoveries.

Kuhn was required reading when I was in graduate school. Given the current politicization of the global warming issue, I wonder if that’s still the case.


One response to “Global Warming Skeptics

  1. An article in the WSJ this week also reports that poison ivy is now more potent due to global warming….so is my breath after i eat red onions……..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s