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Inquisition or scientific investigation?

By Thomas E. Brewton
web posted January 12, 2009

Is it in the spirit of scientific research to ostracize and to punish anyone who brings new and contradictory evidence to the table?

The Spanish Inquisition was not an effort to discover the truth.  It was a means to eliminate any dissent from orthodoxy. 

Today's ferocious reaction by the scientific establishment against any voice questioning the hypothesis of man-made global warming is remarkably similar in spirit to the Inquisition. 

On one level, none of this is surprising.  It's a reflection of human nature.  Everyone wants to protect his turf and to preserve his claim to recognition.  Science, however, is supposedly welcoming to revision of hypotheses to account for new evidence.  In the fields of cosmology and nuclear particle physics new evidence continually necessitates theoretical revisions. 

But not so in the prevailing orthodoxy of climatology.  People denying, even questioning, the man-made global-warming hypothesis are ousted from academic faculties, denied publication rights, and fired from jobs.

Historian and scientific theorist Thomas Kuhn famously wrote (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962) that scientists are often as close-minded as those in other fields.  When a scientist stakes his reputation on a particular hypothesis like man-made global warming, he will naturally fight tooth-and-nail against anyone who threatens his academic prestige, lecture fees, book royalties, or Federal research grants.

An earlier example was the thesis that movement of the earth's tectonic plates accounts for the configuration of continents.  For generations the idea was ridiculed by scientists.

Fierce defense of the man-made global-warming hypothesis is also understandable on a second, broader level. 

For more than four decades, Americans have been schooled by our colleges and universities to believe that the United States is an evil empire and that the Comtean and Marxian "laws of history" are moving humanity toward a homogeneous, one-world, scientific and socialist government.  Use of hydrocarbon fuels is attacked as one of our sins that must be expiated before entry into the new world order.

The man-made global warming hypothesis is eagerly embraced as a tool to lever the United States in that direction.  Acceptance of its implicit procrustean regimentation will gradually transfer political power from Congress to the UN and its IPCC, the consistory of global-warming orthodoxy.

A common reaction from liberal-progressives is that people questioning the validity of man-made global warming do not understand science.  Do they really mean that understanding science requires the abandonment of evidentiary inquiry? of the pursuit of truth?

It certainly appears that liberal-progressive true believers refuse to consider the vast array of evidence that contradicts the man-made global warming hypothesis.  The UN's IPCC report has been cloaked in the mantel of secular holy scripture. 

The UN, of course, is a body dominated by of the United States.  It is in the interests of both groups to see industry weakened in the United States, and American military and economic power along with it.  They want to enervate us, much as Great Britain was after the First World War, and to raise the EU and Middle Eastern and Far Eastern nations to preeminence.

American liberal-progressive-socialists welcome such a development. 

It is past time, if the United States is to survive in a hostile world, to reassess the hypothesis of man-made global warming.  New counter evidence surfaces frequently. 

Frank Madarasz forwarded one such piece of evidence from the Wall Street Journal's Notable & Quotable feature of January 5, 2009:

Harold Ambler, the owner of TalkingAboutTheWeather.com, writing at HuffingtonPost.com:

[T]he theory that carbon dioxide "drives" climate in any meaningful way is simply wrong. . . . Carbon dioxide cannot absorb an unlimited amount of infrared radiation.

Why not? Because it only absorbs heat along limited bandwidths, and is already absorbing just about everything it can. That is why plotted on a graph, C02's ability to capture heat follows a logarithmic curve. We are already very near the maximum absorption level.

Further, the IPCC Fourth Assessment, like all the ones before it, is based on computer models that presume a positive feedback of atmospheric warming via increased water vapor. . . .

This mechanism has never been shown to exist.

Indeed, increased temperature leads to increased evaporation of the oceans, which leads to increased cloud cover (one cooling effect) and increased precipitation (a bigger cooling effect). Within certain bounds, in other words, the ocean-atmosphere system has a very effective self-regulating tendency. By the way, water vapor is far more prevalent, and relevant, in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide -- a trace gas.

Water vapor's absorption spectrum also overlays that of carbon dioxide. They cannot both absorb the same energy!

The relative might of water vapor and relative weakness of carbon dioxide is exemplified by the extraordinary cooling experienced each night in desert regions, where water in the atmosphere is nearly non-existent.

A great deal, economically and politically, is at stake.  Governments have widely identified themselves with the issue, risking failure if measures like the ill-starred Kyoto Protocols are rejected. 

This has been particularly visible in the UK, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party has lost a string of by-elections as the public have become aware of the enormous costs - in higher taxes, curtailment of jobs, and in disruption of people's daily lives - attendant upon "green" legislation.

German industry and labor unions, recognizing the potential loss of several hundred thousand jobs if the EU's proposed protocols are implemented, have revolted.  Faced with this tsunami of disapproval, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now backing away and informing the EU bureaucracy that Germany cannot accede to its proposals.

Very little of such turmoil is reported in the United States by our mainstream liberal-progressive media, where the focus is on promoting the authoritarian socialist religion, rather than on economic reality.  The American public still is unaware of the weight of evidence against man-made global warming and of the enormous costs to business and to individuals in higher taxes, inflation, and loss of industrial jobs.

Public ignorance of the facts means that the outlook for common sense is not good.  President-elect Obama supports forcible implementation of Kyoto-style legislation, evidenced by his environmental agency appointments and by his campaign statement that he is prepared to bankrupt coal producers if they stand in his way. ESR

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is The View From 1776. Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com.


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