On Climate, Conspiracy or Science?
I’ve been intrigued by the success of anti-scientific arguments in the debate over climate change. Just intrigued. I never thought I would witness a successful assault on any scientific consensus. Never thought that voodoo could triumph.
Geoffrey Barker captures this sense of bewilderment in his column in today’s Financial Review. He reminds us of the astonishing allegation implied by climate change deniers:
… [T]hey claim essentially that Western scientists are conspiring to spread the false, pernicious and frightening claim that global warming is a grave problem with potentially devastating consequences for life on earth.
That is they allege – implicitly or explicitly – a huge conspiracy by scientists. To this, Barker responds:
It is an unfalsifiable and paranoid claim. Why should scientists seek to propagate a vast lie if there is no evidence to support it? How has a consensus been reached separately in so many places if it is false?
You can apply this response to other conspiracy theories, of course, asking simply Why and How? As Barker continues:
Science is a publicly reported and peer-reviewed activity in which findings are subjected to searching expert examination. The prospects of a closed global conspiracy are therefore remote.
I agree. The assault on the scientific premises of climate change has been one of the most remarkable victories for obscurantism in human history.