Thursday, July 16, 2009

"We" Were Not Wrong. The Global Warming Inquisition Just Might Be Over.

A recent article on USA Today asks: Could We Be Wrong About Global Warming? The answer? It depends on the meaning of the word "we".

True science has always been about the free flow of ideas. Today's so-called "science" of global warming has, however, come to more and more closely resemble the Inquisition of the Middle Ages. Fortunately, as more and more scientists rise above the crowd of politically motivated pseudo-scientific sheep to demonstrate what science--unaffected by politics--really points to, we may have happily avoided a modern-day Global Warming Inquisition.

If, like me, you belong to the side of the debate that is open to the free flow of ideas, then you can confidently say that "we" were not wrong.

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To the Spanish Inquisitors, everything was settled. A consensus had been reached. If someone violated the consensus, they stood to forfeit much of their property, and they might perhaps have been thrown in prison. As the Inquisition gathered steam, those who were found on the wrong side of the consensus suffered torture and often even death. Thankfully, the heavy handed side of the modern global warming debate has not progressed that far yet, but given time...who knows?

USA Today's Science Fair blog points out what many of us who take our science straight (i.e. not having been diluted by the cream and sugar of politics) have known for quite some time:
Could the best climate models -- the ones used to predict global warming -- all be wrong?

Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.

"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."
USA Today's blog article provocatively entitled "Could We Be Wrong About Global Warming?" I know what the article meant by stating "we" in the universal collective sense, but it is critical to remember that the "we" that really matters--the ones who prize science over politics--have NOT been wrong on the subject of how carbon and temperature are linked.

I've just begun reading the book The Inquisition: The Reign of Fear by Toby Green, which has opened up a surprising new vista to me. The infallible Inquisitors of yesteryear so closely resemble the upper crusts of the Green movement of today that it is shocking. But with USA Today asking the question, "Could We Be Wrong About Global Warming?" we have hopefully avoided the point at which the modern-day Global Warming Inquisition would have reached the superstitious heights achieved by its medieval predecessor. Here, from Toby Green's book is a description so hauntingly familiar as to nearly trigger a case of deja vu:
[The Inquisition] touched every aspect of society; people attending church had to look suitably devout... A secret police and a thought police, the Inquisition produced a permanent state of fear and invented an atmosphere of paranoia and institutional persecution that created a precedent for totalitarianism.
Meanwhile, the Inquisitors themselves were completely above the law, being well-known thieves and in many cases flaunting their adulterous affairs in public.

Sound familiar? Let's hope that we can avoid a redux.

I can hear it already: 'No article, including this one, which conflicts with the global warming consensus, has been properly peer reviewed.' Interestingly, during the Spanish Inquisition, the list of proper peer reviewers was purposely small.

As true science overwhelms the would-be Torquemadas of the 21st Century, perhaps we have avoided the onset of a 21st-century Environmental Inquisition. Yet the prize for the fascistic Inquisitors of the modern day is still monumental. Therefore, we have no time to rest on our laurels.



5 comments:

  1. We, as the global warming deniers, as they like to call us, will go down as the modern day Gallileos while the true believers will be seen as the grand inquisitors who persecuted the heretics who dare speak the truth.

    Who would have expected people who claim to be enlightened and progressive to be the very ones that would seek to silence all points of view that differ from their own?

    But, as the great Michael Palin proclaimed, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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  2. Let me know when they award a Nobel Prize to USA Today.

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  3. Richard

    You mean the prize they gave to Yasser Arafat?

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  4. Richard,

    Are you implying that Nobel gives prizes only for those who don't simply report the truth?

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  5. When you say

    "Could the best climate models - the ones used to predict global warming - all be wrong?"

    Did you know that observations have shown the poleward limit of the Hadley circulation, which marks the subtropical arid belt, has shifted as much as ten degrees poleward since 1975? This is many times what previous climate models have predicted, but actually agrees with paleoclimate models from the Tertiary? The consequences in Melbourne, where I live, have been terrifying. Dams that should be full are only at 25 percent. In addition, in northern Australia we have experienced year after year of super-monsoons which in southern Australia bring record hot weather in the summer.

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