American Samizdat

Friday, February 16, 2007. *
Science Gets It Wrong
The best thing about science isn't that it finds the truth. The problem with finding the truth is we can think we've found the truth but be wrong and not know it. The best thing about science is that it identifies its own errors and abandons them. As an example of how very wrong science can be, here's what some trusted voices had to say about humanity's role in climate change in the recent past...

"Screened [by air pollution] from the sun's heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born." - Newsweek 26 January 1970.

"If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age. [...] We have about five more years at the outside to do something." - Ecologist Kenneth E. F. Watt, Earth Day 19-22 April 1970.

"An increase by only a factor of 4 in the global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age." - S.I Rasool and S.H. Schneider, Science v173, p138, 9 July 1971.

"The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population. - Reid Bryson, Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man, 1971.

"This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century" - Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976.

"This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000." - Lowell Ponte, The Cooling 1976.

The second best thing about science is the freedom that comes from knowing any argument that begins with "you cannot question the fact that... " is automatically false. In science, you can question anything and everything. You may not get any answer, or the answer you expected, or the answer you preferred, but you can ask any question you care to ask. And that's you as in you, because everyone is invited to play. Experience and expertise and equipment help but are not required. Science is waiting for you to show us all how wrong it is!


posted by Trevor Blake at 11:28 PM
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