Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just how much is "global warming" established?

Far too often the doomsayers of global warming seem to be winning over lay people with their rhetoric. Far too many "letters to the editor" in quality newspapers start with an acknowledgement that global warming is upon us, that we need to do something, that it may take more than we can afford but we must still work hard to save the planet. Etc, etc.

Science is, in many ways, at a crossroads. Consider this: From the left we have the global warming crowd, claiming that good science backs their contention that something must be done about global warming. From the right we have the Intelligent Design (creationism in another guise) lobby demanding that schools give equal time to faith-based beliefs and scientifically investigated theories. (They don't want equal time, by the way, as their beliefs transcend such thoughts of promoted equality).

How do you combat both at the same time. It's difficult because few people are prepared to give the time and effort into understanding the underlying fallacies. It's so much easier to believe a scientist than to test his theories. It's also so much easier not to believe a scientist at all. What a conundrum.

I rather fear that a lot of people who could know better are quite prepared to believe in global warming simply because the alternative thought process is too difficult. In this day of the "soundbite" any proposition that requires time and effort to communicate is doomed. So perhaps science is doomed. After all, fewer children want to study science and fewer people feel the need to get involved in the debate.

In reality, contentious debates like global warming are easily won by those who will scare the layity into believing what is easiest to believe. Greenpeace know this better than anybody and, boy, do they know how to get their message across!


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