November 17, 2005
Thin Green Line Is Bad Science
There is a myth in the American media. It goes like this: The
good scientists agree that global warming is human-induced and
would be addressed if America ratified the Kyoto global warming
pact, while bad, heretical scientists question climate models
that predict Armageddon because they are venal and corrupted by
Open Forum piece in The San Francisco Chronicle, written by a
UC Berkeley journalism professor and a UC Berkeley energy professor,
provides a perfect example of this odd view that all scientists
ascribe to a common gospel: "The Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC), a U.N.-sponsored group of more than
2,000 scientists from more than 100 countries, has concluded that
human activity is a key factor in elevated carbon-dioxide levels
and rising temperatures and sea levels that could prove catastrophic
for tens of millions of people living along Earth's coastlines."
also cited research by "Naomi Oreskes, a science historian
at UC San Diego, who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles
on climate change published in scientific journals between 1993
and 2003 and could not find a single one that challenged the scientific
consensus that human-caused global warming is real."
then attacked best-selling author Michael Crichton because Crichton
accepted an invitation to testify from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.,
"who is heavily supported by oil and gas interests"
and who -- horrors -- dared to ask whether the global-warming
scare is a hoax. That is the sort of McCarthyist guilt by association
that one would not expect to encounter in the name of science.
spoke at an Independent Institute event Tuesday night with three
apostate scientists. It's odd that Oreskes couldn't find a single
article that didn't follow the thin green line on global warming.
Panelist and Colorado State University professor of atmospheric
science William M. Gray, a hurricane authority, announced that
he thinks that the biggest contributor to global warming is the
fact that "we're coming out of a little ice age," and
that the warming trend will end in six to eight years.
sagely, "Consensus science isn't science." No lie. In
fact, it's a bizarre argument. Why do global-warming believers
keep pushing this everyone-agrees line when consensus uber alles
is so, well, unacademic? The ideal should not be scientists who
think in lockstep, but those in the proud mold of the skeptic,
who takes a hard look at the data and proves conventional wisdom
Institute President David Theroux hailed that trait in this year's
winner of Nobel Prize for medicine, Barry Marshall, who believed
ulcers were caused by bacteria, when the establishment knew that
Marshall's theory was "preposterous" -- except that
Marshall turned out to be right.
focused on the many times that fad science has been wrong. Remember
Y2K? Ho-hum. The population-bomb scare? Yawn. Then there's Yellowstone,
the national park that declined due to rangers' misbegotten (and
often fatal for the wildlife) conviction that they knew what was
best for the animals -- in this case, they killed wolves and overprotected
elk until the whole ecosystem suffered.
Inhofe issued a statement from Capitol Hill that noted how scientists
with independent views don't get on too well with the IPCC. Witness
Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
who resigned from the IPCC this year because he believed an IPCC
top hurricane scientist wrongly linked severe hurricanes to global
warming. As a result, he wrote, "the IPCC process has been
subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost."
this when covering failed educational fads: Curriculum boards
chase out the free thinkers, then smugly announce that all the
experts agree with them -- so they must be right.
Gray think of the Oreskes report? "It shows you how we've
all been brainwashed."
2005 Creators Syndicate