Climate science and politics

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light….

___Max Planck, German physicist

An OP/ED commentary recently sent to the Washington Post and reprinted in the Wilmington, N. C. StarNews accuses President Donald Trump of “willful ignorance on the science of climate change.” Ben Santer, the author, is credited with being a “climate scientist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.” He’s also caught up in a political agenda.

After a dramatic opening paragraph about falling into the darkness of a glacial crevasse in France, Santer now, 40 year later, finds himself “in a different kind of darkness—the darkness of the Trump administration’s scientific ignorance.” See, Trump is his problem not his flawed theory.

One wonders if in past generations it was appropriate for scientists to publically accuse people skeptical of their favorite theory of being ignorant. I trained and worked with scientists most of my adult life, and this attitude would have been thought unseemly and unethical. It also indicates that scientists who demean and try to delegitimize those who question their unproven theories know they are on shaky ground—their case is weak or untenable.

Instead of making their case with irrefutable evidence produced by scientific methods (so far unavailable) “warmers” desperately go about accusing the skeptics of being “climate deniers” and ignorant. There is much ignorance about climate science, but honest scientists admit it.

The dishonest and politically motivated ones declare the theory of manmade climate change caused by CO2 is “settled science”—we must accept it because they say so. Yet no scientific theory is established until it is proven.

Worse it’s almost criminally irresponsible to speculate on great climate catastrophes years ahead and raise unreasonable alarms without proof. Manmade climate change has nothing to do with science and is everything about the politics of Marxism transferred to the religion of environmentalism.

Recently, I’ve noticed that the media promote a flurry of nearly hysterical articles by writers who condemn legitimate skepticism about manmade climate change theory. It’s as though they realize that many people are becoming suspicious of their wildly ignorant claims and are desperate to discount it: (The Trump administration) “fiddles while the planet burns,” writes Santer. No rational person believes that.

The primary reason for us all to be highly suspicious of warmers’ claims—aside from the fact that thousands of physical scientists are also skeptical of those who promote irresponsible fears about CO2 and climate change— is when they become political.

Santer writes about himself: “You speak not only to your scientific peers, but also a wide variety of audiences, some of whom are skeptical about you and everything you do (they have good reason). You enter the public arena (my italics), and make yourself accountable.” Accountable to whom?

Finally, Santer offers another clue about his priorities for the political arena rather than science. “But for my part, I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life in darkness or silently accepting trickle-down ignorance.”

I expect we’ll be hearing more from Mr. Santer and his media promoters—helping us ignoramuses “see the light.” But, remember, it won’t be about science, it will be about politics.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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