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Monday, November 30, 2009

Global Warming Scandal and the Reputation of Science

I am angry. I am angry at these scientists who have undermined the very foundations of the best weapon humanity has against unreason. By falsifying data and conspiring to destroy those who didn't buy into the program on a subject as big as climate change, they have delivered a damaging blow to the reputation of science. Science is of course innocent, being a system of pure observation and reporting; the problem is that many many people who form and sway public opinion want science to be tarnished to forward their religious views. As I read what was coming out on this subject I could almost here the evangelical preachers shouting 'see, see what science hath wrought!'.
Whether there is a real problem of anthropogenic global warming is not the subject of this article and could be cleared up simply by opening up all data for public inquiry (something that reportedly has not been done). My complaint is with the dishonesty and it's affect on the never-ending war against unreason. I heard Rush Limbaugh talking on the subject and he was correctly saying that if the scientific community does not combat this and quickly it is going to turn on science as a whole. He then said that his faith in God makes him think that we cannot, as humans, destroy the earth. This sort of unreasoned stance, based on no evidence is exactly what we need unmarred science to combat.
I can only come up with a few scenarios as to why this fraud would have been committed. One, the scientists involved believe, truly believe that the situation is dire to the point where they have to conflate the numbers to force a public response in advance of a crisis and don't trust the people to actually respond without lies and threats of death and destruction. Two, they have been bought off by 'green' industry and are hoping for huge returns by creating a culture of fear. Three, they have a political agenda and see an environmental crisis as one thing that crosses all borders and therefore can be used a wedge to force the hand of nations regardless of their affiliations, relationships or politics.
Instinct tells me that the first option is not the case. A true scientist will put their faith in the data and see it as self explanatory. If this option were correct (sans the deceit), there would be scientists giving impassioned pleas and explaining the data. They would be freely providing honest data if they truly believed because the data would support the belief. Nay, they would not have to believe in anything, the data would be enough. If the data supported the claims, no lies would be needed.
That leaves two and three as options. Both are a disgrace to scientific inquiry and need to be investigated, outed and safeguards be made that this never happens again.
We cannot risk free and honest inquiry to be blemished and science to be questioned for fraud when faith is ever at the door providing happy little answers to the simple. It is much easier to believe that we 'can't' destroy the world because God won't let us than it is to work to be good stewards.

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About Me

I am a husband and a father of two. I work as a network administrator. I am interested in religion and philosophy, though mostly from an external perspective.