It is not surprising that climate alarmists, who desire above all else blind allegiance to their cause, would demand all school teachers toe the “official party line” and quash any dissent on the subject of man-made global warming in their classroom. What is absurd is that any teacher, or free-thinking person for that matter, would listen to them. In the past, of course, those who would even suggest such censorship would have been ridiculed and viewed as enemies of intellectual freedom. But the times-they-are-a-changin.’ News outlets such as the BBC and LA Times may benefit from freedom of speech, however, they are among the first to push censorship on those with whom they disagree.

Like all who want to limit free speech, the alarmists claim they are doing a great public service. After all, since 97 percent of total scientists are in agreement with them, why give equal (or any) press to the pitiful 3% who remain deniers? Sounds reasonable, right? Well not really.

Putting aside the reprehensible term “denier,” an obvious reference to those who deny the Holocaust (which is even more offensive to climate skeptics who happen to be Jewish), is there any validity to 97% claim?  If skeptics made the same 97% pitch in reverse, would the media demand they produce a solid source or study to back it up? You bet they would! And it’s doubtful any study skeptics actually did produce would be simply accepted at face value – no, the media would scrutinize it and put it through the ringer to see if it passed the smell test. But alas, such inquisitiveness is lacking whenever a climate alarmist squeals “consensus.”

So where does this 97% mantra come from? Well one major source to be sure is an April 2013 research paper by Australian scientist John Cook [John Cook et al., Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024]. Now Cook did claim his research showed “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.” And others, eager to promote his study, used his research to claim that “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing at least 50.1% of the warming of the Earth in the last quarter of the 20th Century.” But a closer look shows something much different. Cook’s data actually showed only a lame 64 of 11,944 papers surveyed made this bold claim; the rest either ignored the subject altogether (two-thirds did not address the issue at all), did not quantify any percentage of warming they perceived to be caused by human activity, or flatly rejected the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) position. A consensus? Hardly.

Indeed, the gleeful distortion of Cook’s actual findings by the alarmists (with Cook himself one of the perpetrators) is just another example of the attempt to justify the canonization of pseudo-scientific dogma despite the real-world climate data. This near-conspiratorial attempt to declare an end to scientific research which might yield conclusions that are “inconvenient” for these dogmatists would be laughable were it not for the insistence that school children be indoctrinated with their propaganda.

The politicization of “science” in the public school system is just plain wrong, as is demonizing those who disagree or doubt the party line anywhere in society. Indeed, it is especially sad to see the press, even the National Journal itself, all too often mention “the 97% solution” as if it were the gold standard, the gospel that cannot be questioned by any sane person. They are being made look particularly bad, as polls indicate, as the public becomes more skeptical of alarmist claims. A recent Rasmussen poll found only 20% of the public thinks the debate about the science of climate change is over. Apparently the 97% mantra becomes meaningless to many when real-world climate data shows no increase in global temperatures over the past 17 years.

So what should children be taught? Well, how about both sides for starters. Yes, let the alarmists make their case. But what’s the fear that students should also learn that other, very credible scientists have published peer-reviewed papers attributing significant impacts on the Earth’s climate to solar activity (or inactivity). They can be taught that the Earth’s climate changes in cycles over long periods of time, and they’re impacted by changes in tides, ocean currents, winds, volcanoes, solar activity, meteors and comets, and of course to a limited extent, human activities. What they should not be taught is to parrot a political line, but for students to think for themselves, challenge ideas, and investigate every angle. Students should be taught that the scientific method demands that all scientists be skeptics – for it is by being skeptical that a number of scientific “laws” that stood for centuries have been disproven by better research.

If there is any national standard, then, it must be one that takes no position on the science itself, which is ever changing, but rather on the methodology for investigating the myriad scientific questions that have been and might be raised regarding how the Earth’s climate has changed all along.

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This article originally appeared at National Journal.

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Author

  • Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.