The "scientific consensus"

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on June 25, 2006

If you're not a subscriber to the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, then you may want to pick up a copy of Monday's paper at your local newsstand for this article by Richard S. Lindzen -- a professor of atmospheric science at MIT. The headline should do it for you: "There is no 'Consensus' on Global Warming."

Lindzen's summary:

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists -- especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce -- if we're lucky.

I also found this bit particularly revealing:

When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know… They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template -- namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

Call me cynical, but we wouldn't be having this debate if there wasn't money in it for Al Gore and his allies.


Why, one must ask, was the suit against Biden's student debt wipe “inevitable”?

Was it because the Biden admin is in flagrant violation of the law, and because *everyone* in America knows it?

Not in Waldman’s view, apparently. | @charlescwcooke

To put Bruen in context, we've now had about as many decisions striking down laws on Second Amendment grounds in the *3 months* since Bruen as we had in the nation as a whole in the *60 years* preceding Heller, according to research from @adamwinkler in 2006.

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June 2006



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