"I happen to believe in the people and believe that the people are supposed to be dominant in our society. That they, not government, are to have control of their own affairs to the greatest extent possible with an orderly society." - Ronald Reagan

Science without reason, reason without humility.

Posted: July 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: National | No Comments »

Acting on faith and conjecture can be dangerous. Acting on incomplete facts can be too.

Climate change is real. It was real before man walked the earth and, if the planet outlives the species, it will be real long after we have taken our final step. An anthropogenic impact on the environment is likewise indisputable. We have a demonstratively real capacity for poisoning our air and water and soil.

There however remain serious questions about our broader understanding of global trends. Existing models have thus far failed to accurately model past trends or predict emerging ones. Puzzling temperature maps published by the Goddard Institute of Space Studies last year uncovered significant errors in their dataset, calling into question diligence exercised in vetting data from a broad net of reporting sources. Many of the proposed positive feedback mechanisms that account for large temperature shifts lack any empirical grounding.

This is what passes for “settled science”. Paul Krugman of the New York Times spoke of “the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial” and accused those arguing against Waxman-Markey of “a form of treason”. Proponents of the anthropogenic global warming, such as Al Gore and David Miliband, often equivocate those that question their conclusions with flat-earthers, moon landing sceptics and occasionally holocaust deniers.

Perhaps most chilling in recent news was the leaked mail correspondence regarding an internal report expressing “concerns and reservations… significantly important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA before any attempt is made to reach conclusions on the subject [of endangerment analysis]“. Al MacGartland, director of the National Center for Environmental Economics urged the authors to cease any external communication and concluded the comments would have “a very negative impact on [their] office.”

The rightful place of science is as a tool, not a religion. Numbers and graphs and models provide only the illusion of precision and certainty. Before we, as a nation, take drastic measures that will impact the lives of millions, create vast federal bureaucracies, handicap us in a global market and strong arm our trading partners with de facto protectionist measures we should demands answers. Critical analysis of the IPCC report. Investigation into the politicization of the EPA. Science bridled by reason, and reason concious of our limitations.

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