Scientists Right by Association

This line of reasoning is increasingly irksome, here from a Peter Lord column about University of California History and Science Professor Naomi Oreskes:

Oreskes said modern science has sent men to the moon, cured diseases and predicted tsunamis after the earthquake in Chile. Why do people believe science can’t get it right when it comes to climate change?

Frankly, it only makes me more suspicious when ostensible supporters of science speak of it as more of a philosophy than a process. Actually, what happens is the successes are attributed to the philosophy — Science has done great things, so you should believe in Science! — and wrong-turns are just part of the process.
Medical science has taken many wrong turns, as theories have been tested and tried. Expressing skepticism that a sick person just needed more of the earth element in his system, some hundreds of years ago, should not have been taken as distrust of the capacity of science to find the solution, but as a distrust that a particular group of scientists had come up with the right one.
Similarly, it isn’t a mark of theological fundamentalism to note that predictions of tsunamis (After a coastline earthquake? No way!) varied in their accuracy. A common phrase, after the last one, was that “Hawaii dodged a bullet.” Well, isn’t Peter Lord’s claim that science had told us where the bullet was headed?
Climate alarmists have been making claims about changes of a few degrees projected out over a century. The daily weather isn’t even that accurate. That’s not to say that the process of science doesn’t turn up generally correct answers in cases such as the weather forecast and the tsunamis, nor that scientists will never find a way to incorporate all of the necessary variables into their models in order to be close enough about the climate. But when globalist bureaucrats take up the torch of major manipulation of the world economy, “close enough” had better be pretty darn close.

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michael
michael
11 years ago

If you are old enough to remember the advertisement in the seventies that featured an American Indian standing on a once beautiful coastline now covered with trash, pollution and dead fish, then panning to the Indian’s face and a single tear flowing you wouldn’t need a bunch of scientists to tell you to pay attention to the world we inhabit and do a better job keeping it clean.
All the scientists and Al Gores combined never made me think twice about the environment, but I think of that old Indian every time I put something in my recycling bin, or see white, filtered smoke coming from a smokestack instead of the black tar that used to flow from them.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Oreskes is either stupid or employing typical Marxist sophistry. “Science” is not a monolithic group in which everyone agrees. In fact, there is a huge debate among thousands of scientists over whether there even is “global warming”, let along its causes. That debate is even larger now that the alarmists have been exposed as having fraudulently doctored their data and conspired to silence, rather than confront, their skeptical colleagues.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

“But when globalist bureaucrats take up the torch of major manipulation of the world economy, ‘close enough’ had better be pretty darn close.”
Yes, let’s leave that to the economists, who unlike scientists are always accurate and have predicted every major economic event for decades!
Glad to see you finally come out and directly state your anti-scientific bias. What do those eggheads with their “degrees” and “research” know that a blogger can’t easily dismiss based on common sense, right?

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Meanwhile back on this planet…

Nobel Prize-winning economists and scientists will deliver a letter to the U.S. Senate today, urging lawmakers to require immediate cuts in global warming emissions. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 prominent U.S. economists and climate scientists, including eight Nobel laureates, 32 National Academy of Sciences members, 11 MacArthur “genius award” winners, and three National Medal of Science recipients…
“In the economic emergency we are experiencing, some people think that we cannot afford to address the problem of climate change,” said another letter signatory, Elinor Ostrom, an Indiana University professor and a Nobel Prize-winner in economics. “It’s the other way around. If we don’t act now, we will run into even greater economic problems in the future.”

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Oops, here’s the link.

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