Sunday, October 14, 2007

Skeptical Scientist? Isn't that an Oxymoron?

No, actually--it's not. In fact, it used to be a commonplace. But this article from The Sydney Morning Herald quotes skeptical scientist Dr. William Gray saying, of Al Gore and his disciples:

It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong... But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants.

...And he sounds like a fringe lunatic. But hold the phone, Dr. William Gray can actually afford not to care about grants. He's 78, and he already made his reputation. If I'm wrong about global warming being an alarmist appeal to our ugliest susceptibilities, fine; Science can march on its merry, uncorrupted way. But if Dr. William Gray and I turn out to be right, I want to see a list of names in clear, sans serif font, of all the "scientists" who were so persuaded that the end was near. No one has ever been foolish enough to think that politicians were noble enough to resist the temptation of the almighty dollar, but for some reason we think scientists are exempt, above it all? I honestly believe that science is suffering a kind of meltdown, observable even in the short span of time between when I was in junior high school and now, that involves the influence of money. What is needed is, strange to say, something like a scientific reformation. Someone needs to stand up and get money out of science. If Martin Luther is reincarnated and living again today, I hope he's 22, wearing a lab coat, and about to graduate... but then, I wonder if he'll be able to resist that dangling fellowship for scholars interested in global warming?

Again, if I'm wrong (we'll reconvene here in 2025, say?), I apologize--someone had to play the skeptic. But if I'm right, can we please not reinvent another apocalypse myth just to keep us all fretting?


Anonymous said...

How about Global cooling, seeing as how it's winter and all.

Anonymous said...

Do you have your windows open...what a nice night!