Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By United Liberty (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Climate Change Consensus and the First Amendment

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Following the COP21 Paris Climate Conference last week, wherein, as Rich Lowery writes, an agreement was reached on the agreement — and not much else — I was reminded of a speech by author Michael Crichton (you may know him as the writer of Jurassic Park, but he was also a graduate of medical school and a rather accomplished researcher, so he was arguably a legitimate scientist in his own right) gave on the danger of “consensus” scientific inquiry and results. That is to say, believing something is true because everyone says it is. Crichton is much more eloquent in his speech, remarkably given at CalTech way back in 2005 and titled “Aliens Cause Global Warming”:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

The recent climate conference seems to embody this philosophy of consensus. Apparently, no real enforcement guidelines or compliance matrices came out of the discussions. Just an agreement by a large number of countries to address (through further expensive research and the passing of laws sure to affect the taxpayer) the issue of man-made climate change. A consensus to agree that man-made climate change is a problem worth addressing.

As absurd as that is for the high price tag of the climate conference (Obama’s motorcade alone was close to $1 million), there’s another element of the charade in Paris that relates directly to Chrichton’s speech about the very nature of scientific inquiry and what amounts to freedom of speech in the face of consensus science. George Will has a column on the subject that should be required reading because it incorporates the consensus science debate and the current battle the First Amendment faces on college campuses. It outlines why Purdue is one of a handful of universities pushing back against the assault on free speech that has been rife on campuses nationwide:

Why is Purdue one of just six universities that have now aligned with the spirit of the Chicago policy? Partly because of Daniels’s leadership. But also because Purdue, Indiana’s land-grant institution, is true to the 1862 Morrill Act’s emphasis on applied learning. It graduates more engineers than any U.S. university other than Georgia Tech. Purdue, tied with the University of California at Berkeley, awards more STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) undergraduate diplomas than all but two public research universities (Penn State and Texas A&M). Among such universities, a higher percentage of Purdue students graduate in STEM fields than those of any school other than Georgia Tech and the University of California at San Diego.

Scientists and engineers live lives governed by the reality principle: Get the variables wrong, the experiment will fail, even if this seems insensitive; do the math wrong, the equation will tell you, even if that hurts your feelings. Reality does not similarly regulate the production of Marxist interpretations of “Middlemarch” or turgid monographs on the false consciousness of Parisian street sweepers in 1714. Literature professors “deconstructing” Herman Melville cause nothing worse than excruciating boredom in their students. If engineers ignore reality, reality deconstructs their bridges.

The irony is, of course, that so many in the scientific community studying climate science do not tolerate deviation from the accepted speech that man-made climate change is a reality, data be damned. (And make no mistake, there are questions about that data.) And should you exercise your right to speak against the consensus reality, you will be deemed unscientific, hateful, certainly lacking in intellect, and perhaps not a little evil.

Which, really, isn’t that unusual for the great scientists who changed the world but were persecuted for their heresy, such as Galileo or Servetus. Here’s hoping that the enterprising and brave STEM students standing up for free speech in scientific inquiry at Purdue do not face an inquisition as brutal as the Spanish; and that, as Crichton suggests, we can one day have an independent research institute in this country, free from government strictures and oversight, but perhaps employing a similar system of check and balances. Or we may end up, as Crichton also says in his speech, with a rather odd set of circumstances:

…any scientist can be charged as Galileo was charged. I just never thought I’d see the Scientific American in the role of Mother Church.



Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.