Consensus Still Isn’t How Science Works, but It Makes for Good Politics

Global WarmingStories like this truly irritate me (via Corey Dean Hall at NRO).

Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.

According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

This survey is as useless as Sheila Jacks0n-Lee at a Jeopardy! tryout. I don’t care what scientists “believe” about global warming. Sciencs does not operate on beliefs, or poll numbers, or consensus. Either global warming is happening or it is not. The questions of whether human activity changes the global climate and to what degree must be answered through rigorous study and application of the scientific method, not a poll of scientists who may or may not be actively trying to answer those questions.

Belief and consensus are matters for religion and politics, which is really what lie at the heart of those who cry most loudly about anthropogenic global warming. They believe, without conclusive evidence, that we are destroying the Earth and we must cede them political power so they can save us from ourselves. On the other hand, those who would use this poll against the climate change cultists shouldn’t get overconfident. What the story really says is, though well over 90 percent of the scientists polled believe global warming is happening, they disagree strongly on its cause the the size of the risk it poses. It does not say most of them wouldn’t be susceptible to yet another call for the government to “act”, and that’s the real danger to the rest of us. Regardless of how the numbers add up, the AGW cultists can still use “consensus” to force their way into vour lives and wallets.

Science isn’t likely to stop that any time soon. Only our own stubborn insistence that we live as free and responsible individuals can do that.

(Photo Credit: the meanMRmustard on Flickr)