December 13, 2008

More Than 650 Scientists Dissent over UN Global Warming Report

By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.

Honorable Friends,

Whenever any religion seeks to turn dogma into law, society should be wary. Inevitably, when dogma becomes law, liberty, reason, and true scientific inquiry all suffer. It is not hard to find examples. Just look at the disasters which befell the Catholic Church with Copernicus and Galileo. The Catholic Church learned its lesson though. It has since formed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to ensure that the Church is never again on the wrong side of the facts. The academy is more interested in truth than in dogma, and thus does not require its members to be Catholic. As a result, its membership roster includes some of the greatest minds of our time, such as Nobel laureate Dr. Steven Hawking, a man who believes more in mathematics than in the common conception of a creator being.

Contrast this with the nations under the sway of Islam. There, any scientific finding that does not fit with the Muslim dogma is either discarded or, worse, condemned. It is a common complaint among the expatriates of Islamic nations that, in order to conduct decent scientific research, they must first leave their native countries. To these people, the West has been a safe haven. However, when it comes to the issue of global warming, the West has its own problems.

In 2003, Michael Crichton famously criticized environmentalism as shifting from genuine scientific concern into the religious preference of urban atheists. In 2005, he continued his criticism of the zealous absolute faith our people seem to place in the idea of global warming, despite a great deal of uncertainty in the data. Certainly, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) displayed a dogmatic commitment to global warming worthy of any Islamic nation when it issued its recent report on climate change in June of 2008. It claimed to represent a consensus of scientific thought and pronounced that the debate over global warming had ended. They should have said that the debate over global warming would no longer be tolerated.

It seems someone forgot to inform the bureaucrats and politicians who assembled the IPCC report that “consensus” and “compromise” are words from the world of politics which have no place in the world of science. While useful for crafting policy, incontrovertible facts do not compromise no matter how much political pressure they may be under or how many people dislike them. Yet, since the publication of the report, we have learned that it was indeed policy—not proofs—which the UN and IPCC were expressing. Any study which did not confirm or support the conclusion that Global Warming was a real problem caused by human action was systematically excluded from the report. It is fiat science.

Fortunately, the Republican minority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), has sought to correct this egregious misrepresentation of scientific fact. The Committee’s Minority Report cites over 650 scientists who dispute the claims made in the IPCC report, which was authored by a mere 52 scientists. Among its 231 pages, you will find links to peer reviewed studies which claim that the sun’s increasing activity may be responsible for the warming we have recorded on earth, along with many other theories that did not fit into the agenda of the global warming advocates at the U.N..

The studies cited should make it abundantly clear that the debate over global warming is far from finished. The topic of climate change is still filled with a great deal of uncertainty and deserves far more study before we commit to climate policies which could damage both our liberty and economy without giving any guarantee of helping our environment. In the meantime, we should be wary of what to believe on faith alone. Though waiting on the scientific method may be tedious, history shows us the disastrous consequences of putting our faith in the wrong place. The modern Islamic world gives us a very good picture of what dogmatic science can do to a society. More to the point, though, if we cannot trust our own government to manage even basic fiscal policy responsibly, why should we trust an organization of many governments to issue scientific findings by political decree on something as complex and uncertain as the climate? I should think the current financial crisis would be more than enough reason to keep them away from anything more complex than acknowledging that the sky is, indeed, blue.

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