The Science Channel begins many of their programs with the statement Question Everything. I fear the Question Everything notion may have been abandoned by too many people within the Climate Science community. Consensus says this, it must be true. Scientific consensus changes all the time. Defending what is presumed to be true today is not questioning everything.
When the International Panel on Climate Change IPCC) published their first Synopses report in 1992, it admitted the science was new and there was lots to learn. By the 2007 report, the verdict was in. Yep. the IPCC knew what the answer was. Question Everything was nowhere to be found.
Most pro global warming arguments I have seen either tout the consensus or attack the credibility of their opponent. Neither belong in a Question Everything business.
Al Gore has equated skeptics to people that think the moon landings were faked.
IPCC chairman Pachauri, has compared dissenters to members of the flat earth society.
NASA Goddard Administrator and well known global warming hawk, James Hansen has said oil company executives and political opponents are guilty of high crimes against humanity and nature. While testifying at a trial in the UK, Hansen used a Hitler reference, essentially equating skeptical scientists to the politicians who failed to recognize the threat that was Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.
I suspect Dr. Hansen abandoned question everything about 40 years ago when he became a political activist.
White House science adviser, John P. Cauldron has called skeptical scientists heretics while defending scientific consensus in the Times article discussed later in this post.
Just about everybody in the climate game tries to associate doubters with the oil business or the smoking lobby. Al Gore does both in his film.
Still doubt the political nature of the debate? Check out this 2005 Scientific American Article, attacking critics of the Mann Hockey Stick Graph. The article is extraordinarily one sided. It assumes the Mann study is correct and attacks it’s opponents by …you guessed it …linking them to both the oil industry and the smoking lobby.
Next give the March 10,2010 New York Times article titled Science taking steps to defend work on climate a peek. The title of the piece accentuates the problem. Dissenters are ridiculed, and advocates are allowed to complain about the politics of the climate game. Consensus is defended. Much of the article is complaining about the changed politics of the debate in a post climate-gate era.
Yep, politics and science don’t mix well.
In the Times piece we learn that:
Climate scientists are paid to do climate science,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, a senior climatologist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. “Their job is not persuading the public
But if you read the Scientific American article, you know that Gavin Schmidt has a blog that was started in 2004 at www.realclimate.org. Perhaps the Times should have noticed that Dr. Schmidt has long played the politics game and was being more than a little bit hypocritical.
Politics is all about creating winning arguments, science is supposed to Question Everything. Climate science has always been too much about politics. The entire Kyoto treaty debate keeps politics front and center. The Climate-gate e-mail scandal changed the political rules a bit, and changed who had control of the debate, but it’s still politics….blowing from a different direction.
Whenever politics takes over the scientific debate, Science loses.