Politics and Science of AGW

Ran across Walter Russel Mead’s level-headed assessment of the interaction between Science and Politics in the AGW arena.  You may have seen it already, but if not, take a moment to look over Why Climate Science is on Trial.  Read the whole thing.

However absurd the skepticism in a particular case, in a general way a certain level of skepticism about the work of scientists is justified.  The ’scientific consensus’ has often been wrong in the past — and scientists are just as arrogant, dogmatic and condescending when they are wrong as when they are right.  Look at the many conflicting ideas that economists have brought forward over the last two hundred years.  Look at how medical ideas and treatments change over time.  Look at the science of ‘eugenics’ in the light of whose findings judges once condemned people to involuntary sterilization.  Look at the persisting fad for Malthusian catastrophe scenarios.  Homosexuality was once scientifically defined as a form of mental illness.  Trans-fats were made into margarine and promoted on scientific grounds as healthier than butter.  Skepticism about self-confident scientists with reams of data and arrogant attitudes is a very sensible attitude for laypeople to take.

Exactly so.  Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Leave a comment


  1. And this post is yet more political graffiti…this time pretending to “care” about rationality while denying it.

  2. Fred

     /  February 7, 2010

    I’m not sure how requiring extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims is denying rationality. Could you elaborate?


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