Last week when linking to the website of Fourth Congressional District candidate David Sanders, I digressed into a discussion of the Bush administration’s War on Science. Dr. Sanders was kind enough to copy me on a letter to the editor he recently submitted to the Indianapolis Star with respect to a column they ran today representing George Will’s attempts to cast doubt on global warming.
George Will in “Journalism Takes the Heat” continues to be a willing foot soldier in the Bush administration War on Science. His assault on the scientific consensus on the effects of human activities on climate change is filled with irrelevancies and half-truths. The quotation from Science magazine (which Will has been using for years) stating that scientists in 1976 warned of “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” is a distortion; the full statement concerns “the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years” and explicitly does not include “effects as those due to the burning of fossil fuels.”
Meanwhile, I came across a Scripps Howard editorial in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on the Bush administration’s anti-science efforts. I had forgotten to mention the one about the 24 year old Bush administration flack who instructed NASA to make sure that “theory” appeared everywhere NASA talked about the Big Bang on the grounds that this widely accepted explanation of the origins of the universe was a religious issue. In addition, NASA’s public relations department had been instructed to restrict James Hansenâ€™s access to the press, sit in on any interviews and monitor his lectures and writings lest he express views on global warming that didn’t square with those of the Bush administration.
I’m not a huge fan of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, but I’m reminded of John Galt’s big speech in Atlas Shrugged where he talks about “A” equals “A.” I took that part of the speech to mean that there are objective facts which have to be dealt with and one fails to acknowledge those facts at one’s own peril. Burning fossil fuels either does or does not contribute to global warming. The scientific method is probably the best tool we have to determine the reality of the situation. If we deliberately ignore the information obtained through our observations, then we’ll pay the consequences. Reality will not change simply because we ignore it.