When Science Isn't

Paul Greenberg
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Posted: Oct 03, 2011 5:07 PM

You could almost feel the fear emanating from the official statement/caveat issued by the director of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Its scientists, it seems, had discovered something they shouldn't have. Uh oh.

It would have been different if CERN's experimenters had loyally backed up the conventional scientific wisdom/orthodoxy about Climate Change, formerly global warming. The name had to be changed when certain unfortunate facts kept turning up. As they will in real science.

Now the most embarrassing piece of evidence yet has made its appearance at that super-sophisticated physics lab over in Switzerland where they put atomic particles through their very fast paces.

This time CERN's researchers have found that nearly half of the global warming observed of late isn't traceable to man's activities after all but to sunspots, specifically the fluctuations in solar cosmic rays that promote cloud formation (I don't understand it, either, but I'll take the textbooks' word for it).

Whatever the scientific validity of the physicists' findings, it's dynamite politically. As CERN's director, Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, must have well understood. Because, even before the experiment's findings were published, he told his scientists to "present the results clearly but not interpret them" -- lest they find themselves entering "the highly political arena of the climate-change debate." Which, of course, is just where they now find themselves.

How could it be otherwise when you're overturning applecarts everywhere in the Global Warming industry? There are certain possibilities you don't even want to hint at if you intend to stay a member in good standing of the scientific establishment. For climate change isn't just a theory any more, it's an article of faith. And anyone who dares dissent is treated as a heretic.

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The prudent thing to do, if a scientist must blab, is to present the results of his experiments "clearly but not interpret them." Some things should not be noised about. An Italian named Galileo Galilei got much the same advice from his friends in the church when he was challenging scientific dogma some time ago. But the man just would not shut up, or stop peering through his new-fangled telescope.

Scientists, the real ones, are like that: incorrigible. A stubborn bunch, they believe all theories are to be tested by the evidence. No matter how sacrosanct they have become. These types have no idea how politics works, whether it's of the church or state variety.

The latest Nobel laureate (physics, 1973) to join these subversives is Ivar Giaever at Rensselaer Polytech, who's just resigned from the American Physical Society after it formally declared that the theory of global man-made warning is "incontrovertible." As if any scientific theory can be. Mr. Giaever was a fellow at the society, a rare distinction. He's certainly earned it now by speaking out.

Not that Ivar Giaever is the first to notice that the emperor's clothes may not be quite there. He's following the examples set by another Nobelist, Robert B. Laughlin at Stanford; the late Norman Borlaug of Green Revolution fame; and the late Harold Lewis, emeritus professor of physics at UC-Santa Barbara and another APS fellow.

Professor Lewis resigned from this outfit last year, having had more than enough of its herdthink. He described the theory of Man-Made Climate Change, née Global Warming, as "the greatest and most successful pseudo-scientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."

It's not that every one of these gentlemen believed or disbelieved the scientific theory/fad called Anthropogenic Global Warming. They just preferred to keep an open mind. But that's no longer allowed scientists in our advanced age.

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Remember Climategate? The most revealing aspect of that treasure trove of hacked emails was not how the evidence was being manipulated (as with the notorious hockey-stick graph and trick) but how the emailers were conspiring to blacklist any scientists who dared disagree with them.

If this latest scientific theory and fad really is incontrovertible, why devote so much effort and email traffic to censoring any dissent from it? To quote one of the emails on the necessity of keeping the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change free of any dissenting views: "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to define what the peer review is."

Whenever dissent is voiced, the high priests of Climate Change have a simple response. Shut up, they explain.

The ranks of Global Warming's true believers closed almost as soon as CERN's latest findings got out. The sheer number of scientists, UN bureaucrats and politicians-speaking-as-scientists (see Gore, Al) is often cited as proof of man-made climate change. As if scientific truth were determined by majority vote. And climate change has won by a landslide!

Recommended reading: "The Truth About Greenhouse Gases" by William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Professor of Physics at Princeton, that nest of subversives, in the June/July issue of First Things. He compared the worldwide enthusiasm for this oh-so-scientific theory with the crazes chronicled by Charles Mackay in his classic "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds."

To quote from the second edition of that work in 1852: "Men, it has been said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one." And one by one, our scientists seem to be recovering.