Climate: The Article

That’s what’s boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers, and the rain bombs, and sucking the moisture out of the land, and creating the droughts, and melting the ice and raising the sea level, and causing these waves of climate refugees!” – Al Gore

There is a chronic lack of civil discourse in Western society in that people have become far less civil and rarely engage in discourse. Driven by the proliferation of bias-confirming social media, people are herded into corners of the internet where views they agree with are amplified and dissent is swiftly marginalized, shouted down, or canceled altogether.

Science, at least for now, is still practiced by humans, and thus the field is not immune from these forces. Groupthink, social pressures, adherence to authority, and the ever-pressing need to please those who decide what work gets funded can make the proper functioning of science—and the vital role of hypothesis nullification—quite difficult. The civilized exchange of conflicting views lies at the very heart of the scientific method, and even the most bedrock of theories is perpetually one well-designed experiment away from collapse.

The phrase “settled science” is, therefore, oxymoronic. No such thing exists. One might find evidence in support of a particular hypothesis convincing, or a particular theory so well-established that few scientists are interested in doing further work on the matter, but in the scientific pursuit, one can’t ever say something is settled. Once that word is uttered—or worse yet, shouted—you depart from science and swerve into something more akin to religion.

Who wants to tell them? | Sky News

Take the connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. The evidence in support of the notion that smoking causes cancer is extremely compelling, so much so that practically nobody doubts a strong causal relationship. But even here, the use of the word settled would be highly inappropriate. Scientists don’t currently agree on a universal definition of cancer, whether lung cancer is an inherently different disease than breast cancer, what the best treatment strategies are for the various ways in which cancer manifests, and whether cancer can ever truly be cured. In other words, little is known about the fundamental aspects of cancer.

For illustrative purposes, consider the following counter-conjecture to the current scientific consensus on the matter:

The placebo effect is real and difficult to explain. Patients routinely experience improved treatment outcomes based on nothing more than the belief that they are receiving treatment, even though they aren’t. If people can talk themselves out of a disease, perhaps they could talk themselves into one. Might some smokers – who have been bombarded with warnings that they are at risk of getting cancer – be merely succumbing to a reverse-placebo effect?”

Made ya think | Getty

Considering the trillions of taxpayer dollars spent (plus thousands of special interest groups formed, employees hired, advanced degrees pursued, infrastructure re-oriented, corporate initiatives prioritized, measurements required, and on and on) in a dedicated effort to abate “catastrophic global warming,” one would expect that the scientific investigations in support of the theory were performed with the utmost integrity, welcoming of a wide range of critique and data interpretation. After all, the decarbonization solution is no picnic, threatening the citizens of the Western world with degradation to their standards of living and condemning billions of others in developing nations to a permanent state of poverty.

A hushed secret of the scientific community is that many of the world’s top scientists have serious and legitimate questions about the entire construct. They believe much of the experimental and modeling work in the field to be shabby at best and find the efforts to censor alternative views abhorrent and anti-scientific. We’ve certainly heard such hushed musings countless times over the decades, although we suspect few who expressed them could have imagined the scale to which the carbon affair has subsequently bloomed.  

In recent weeks, an 80-minute documentary called Climate: The Movie has circulated online, causing quite a stir in the process. The film features something that has become vanishingly rare in today’s zeitgeist: scientists with otherwise impeccable pedigrees speaking openly and skeptically about human-induced climate change, presenting alternative viewpoints along with data to support them, and critiquing the cultural normalization of shutting down scientific debate. The movie is succinct and approachable, and we are surprised it hasn’t yet been scrubbed from the internet. Having snuck in a viewing before doing so is made illegal, we’d like to direct as much attention to the film as our audience will allow and contextualize its impact against recent political developments.


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