May 30, 2008
“Scepticism and the questioning of orthodoxies must be an integral part of the scientific process.”
A new book shows that some of those labelled ‘the deniers’ of global warming, and depicted as oil-funded crooks, are in fact sensible, respectable scientists. Why have they been made into heretics?
This short book shows how the mainstream view of man-made global warming has become an orthodoxy that cannot be questioned, its much-publicised ‘scientific consensus’ sustained in part by pressure, the sidelining of even authoritative dissent, and the politically-motivated machinations of the government-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Some of the shriller critics of environmentalism claim that it has become a religion. I think that goes too far — for a start, the green view of humanity is too toxic to offer anything like transcendence. But it is clear that those who question the orthodoxy on man-made global warming are now treated automatically as heretics. To be branded a ‘denier’ is to be accused of the modern secular equivalent of blasphemy.
We need not be scientists, or endorse any of the ‘alternative’ theories of climate change, to appreciate the importance of the ‘deniers’ debate. (Nor do we need to endorse Solomon’s own green notions, such as his view of the dangers of developing nuclear power to cut carbon emissions.) The expertise he presents demonstrates that climatology is a complex and multi-faceted science in which there is no genuine consensus, and indeed no real over-arching theory at all. But then, as one of the deniers, Dr Robert Carter, says, ‘science is not, nor ever has been, about consensus, but about experimental and observational data and testable hypotheses’.
Mick Hume is editor-at-large of spiked.
The Deniers, by Lawrence Solomon is published by Richard Vigilante Books. (Buy this book from Amazon).