Yes, but is it true?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Via Matt Drudge is a column -- by Timothy Ball, a dissenting climatologist from Canada -- that calls the idea that global warming is due to carbon dioxide emissions from human activity "the greatest deception in the history of science". Here are a few of the more interesting parts.

  • Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.
  • In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?
  • As [MIT meteorologist Richard] Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.
  • I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction. [bold added]
Read it all. We owe brave men such as this our thanks and our support. They are doing their best to stop the Lysenkoites of our time. We are in serious trouble when men can lose their scientific careers for asking, "Yes, but is it true?"

Thank you, Dr. Ball.

-- CAV


Myrhaf said...

The politicization of science might one day be seen as the most dramatic and important story of our time.

If the global warming hysteria ever collapses under its mountain of lies, will the environmentalist movement recover?

Gus Van Horn said...

As a means of selling leftism to people who would otherwise reject it, environmentalism would never recover.

But leftism will remain with us (and be repackaged) until we significantly reduce the potency of altruism within our culture.

This is why, in any struggle with the left, facts pertaining to whatever veneer of reason they have adopted, are only half of the battle.

Adrian Hester said...

Yo, Gus, as you've doubtless noticed by now, I emailed you the link to this article some time after you posted; there's a science newsgroup I sometimes browse, and I did that before reading you today. Still, it's a good sign that it's posted there too, and not just at Drudge.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank for mentioning that. Which group was it, though? I don't do newsgroups much at all and a google groups search has it all over the place.

Anonymous said...

By the way, "But is it True?" was authored at U.C. Berkeley -- not in New York. (I was one of the grad students who participated in the project.)

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the information.