Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times and winner of a prestigious banking prize (usually mistakenly called a “Nobel”), has said that those who criticize theories of global warming are immoral and treasonous. ¡Treasonous!
Scores of lesser luminaries, backed by IPCC boss Rajendra Pachauri, say that such criticism, when it is not purely ignorant, is motivated and organized by a conspiracy. ¡Conspiracy!
Global warming scientist James Hansen has said that oil executives and their supporters should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. ¡Crimes against humanity!
And now, childhood hero Bill Nye, The Science Guy, has said that to question the veracity of man-made global warming is to be unpatriotic. ¡Unpatriotic!
Treason. Conspiracy. Crimes against humanity. Unpatriotic. These are not words to use lightly.
And they were not. They were not spoken in the heat of the moment. They were considered.
They describe crimes historically punishable by imprisonment and death. We can only infer that their use is driven by bloodlust and a pathological inability to accept criticism.
These words are bludgeons; raw, brute-force weapons. They are threats meant to silence utterly any who would dare speak up.
They are also fighting words, slaps in the face.
But since I paid attention to my catechism, I will this time turn the other cheek. Instead of punching back, I make a plea.
I call on Gavin Schmidt, Kevin Trenberth, Tom Wigley, Phil Jones, and other top global warming scientists to repudiate the language used by Messrs. Krugman, Pachauri, Hansen, and Nye. Scientists—especially in the wake of “climategate”—should issue a public statement admitting that criticism is not treasonous, is not conspiratorial, is not a crime against humanity, is not unpatriotic.
They are free to say that any or all criticism is factually wrong, or likely to be. But it is not morally wrong to offer it.
Honorable scientists—and the vast majority are—should understand that their silence when such apocalyptic language is used only encourages more of the same. When you call somebody treasonous, or a criminal against all humanity, or unpatriotic, that person will shut up his ears and rightly think you are either a rock-headed zealot or a lunatic.
Global warming scientists should publicly announce that, while they appreciate the support of such eminences as Mr Krugman, it is possible to go too far and that such harsh words hurt more than they help.
In an attempt to restore some sanity to the debate, global warming scientists should admit that, however unlikely the possibility, they might be mistaken.
(Incidentally, when penning this statement, it is as well to leave out the call for “peer-reviewed” criticism, or to say that this is the only valid form of criticism, since part of the debate centers on the veracity of the peer-review process.)
I have been a critic of the man-made harmful global warming theory, mainly by showing what is and is not evidence of that theory, and how that evidence leads to a judgment of the likelihood of the theory being true. I say that it is unlikely. By doing so, I implicitly, and now explicitly, admit that I might be wrong.
I have also examined many studies which make claims of what will happen if, or when, global warming strikes. I have found these studies wanting, extremely poor, or worse. Their conclusions are stated with a certainty that is unwarranted. But my criticisms are not proof that these studies have reached erroneous conclusions (no such proof can exist). That is, I might be wrong.
Now, the latest IPCC document says (variously) that there is only a 90% chance—note that this is not 100%—that mankind is responsible for warming the planet. This implies that the authors of this document might be wrong.
However, that 90% is everywhere in the mainstream press and in “environmental” organizations ratcheted up to 110%. The possibility of error has been removed. Man-made harmful global warming theory (morphed into “climate change”) is ever accompanied with the words “unquestioned”, “settled”, “debate is over”, or the appalling “denier.”
Periodically, polls report that such-and-such percentage of people “believe” in the man-made harmful global warming theory, and that this percentage has been falling. Global warming scientists are right to insist that these polls are not evidence that the theory is false.
But neither is it evidence that the theory is true when Mr Krugman or The Science Guy spout off using absurd and unjustifiable language.
To my colleagues: Let’s remind everybody that the truth is not decided by a vote; neither is it a function of celebrity and political power.