NAS Begins Global Warming Inquisition

Published July 13, 2010

A new “study” has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examining the credentials and publication records of climate scientists who are global warming skeptics versus those who accept the “tenets of anthropogenic climate change.”

It should be no surprise that the study finds scientists skeptical of the anthroprogenic global warming (AGW) crisis theory have fewer publications or are less credentialed than the marching army of scientists who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 20 years to find every potential connection between fossil fuel use and changes in nature.

After all, nature does not cause change by itself, you know.

The study lends a pseudoscientific air of respectability to what amounts to a blacklist of the minority of scientists who do not accept the premise that global warming is mostly the result of you driving your SUV and using incandescent light bulbs.

Assuming the Conclusion
There is no question there are very many more scientific papers which accept the mainstream view of global warming being caused by humans. And that might amount to something if those papers actually independently investigated alternative, natural mechanisms that might explain most global warming in the last 30 to 50 years, and found that those natural mechanisms could not.

As just one of many alternative explanations, most of the warming we have measured in the last 30 years could have been caused by a natural, 2 percent decrease in cloud cover. Unfortunately, our measurements of global cloud cover over that time are nowhere near accurate enough to document such a change.

But those scientific studies did not address all the alternative explanations. They couldn’t, because we do not have the data to investigate them. The vast majority of them simply assumed global warming was manmade.

I’m sorry, but in science a presupposition is not “evidence.”

A Scientific Faith
Instead, anthropogenic climate change has become a scientific faith. The fact that the very first sentence in the PNAS article uses the phrase “tenets of anthropogenic climate change” hints at this, since the term “tenet” is most often used when referring to religious doctrine or other beliefs which cannot be proved to be true.

So, since we have no other evidence to go on, let’s pin the rap on humanity, their thinking goes. It just so happens that that’s the very position politicians want, which is why politics played such a key role in the formation of the IPCC two decades ago.

The growing backlash against us AGW skeptics makes me think of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, which started in the 12th century. Of course, no one (I hope no one) will be tried and executed for not believing in anthropogenic climate change. But one of the five keywords or phrases attached to the new PNAS study is “climate denier,” which means such divisive rhetoric is now considered to be part of our mainstream scientific lexicon by our country’s premier scientific organization.

Equating a belief in natural climate change to the belief that the Holocaust slaughter of millions of Jews and others by the Nazis never occurred is a new low for science as a discipline.

The new paper also implicitly adds most of the public to the blacklist, since surveys have shown dwindling public belief in the AGW crisis hypothesis.

At least I have lots of company.

Roy Spencer, Ph.D., ([email protected]) is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama at Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. This article first appeared at Used with permission.