the new science
**I wrote this post several weeks ago, (June 20th) but for some reason never posted it. So here it is, a bit late for commentary on small-town op-eds. But oh well.
The previous post here on TRC was about Michele Bachmann and scientific literacy. Today I read a few articles that bring the subject back to the blog. Here are two editorials on Climate Change, published in local MN papers.
The first is from James Roehrborn, in the Echo Press, from Alexandria, MN. He brings up a reasonable point. In 2004, the EPA said that methane was a much more serious greenhouse gas than CO2. But all anyone ever hears about is CO2. He says:
In 2004, the EPA reported that “carbon dioxide is not the leading source of greenhouse gas.” The EPA stated that methane gas is “20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than is carbon dioxide… Al Gore and many other liberals in science and in the government treat manmade carbon dioxide as a fact in causing global warming, in spite of the report published by the EPA in earlier years. Now they are trying to change the name to climate change, but their goal is the same, to tax us on the false premise that we are causing the problem.
I understand the anti-tax sentiment of Roehrborn’s argument. But must point out that the EPA does not say that CO2 is not a GHG, but that methane is a more effective heat trapping gas. This kind of blatant omission, I do not understand. Nor, do I understand the finale of the editorial:
Since God created a perfect world for us to live in, as Dr. Abraham states, why can’t we trust God to continue to sustain His own sovereign creation as He has done since He created it? See Revelations 4:11.
What does Revelations 4:11 say? Its a beautiful scripture about god’s creation having being only through god, but, to put it mildly, it is a dangerous foundation for interpreting scientific data.
The second piece is written by Jeff Reinartz in the Austin Post-Bulletin. Rienartz gets a weekly column. This week: Climate change is not the result of humans–Period. With such a bold title, what does the article call for? Debate over the science of climate change. Which begs the question: If Climate Change is not the result of humans–period, what is the point of debating the issue?
This whole thing boils down to whether you believe man’s activities are capable of altering the planet’s climate; essentially, whether or not you believe CO2, a naturally occurring compound necessary for life, is the pollutant it’s demonized as.I don’t. I think you can make computer models tell you whatever you want them to. I think that if weather experts can’t accurately predict the weather in two days, how can they expect me to believe they can predict it fifty years down the road?
Rienartz clings to the simple and most effective arguments against climate change, CO2 is natural (so is water, but that can kill you), science is not definitive, climate-gate proved that climate science is phony (what climate-gate really proved is that climate scientists, like any other group of people in the world, can have short fuses, and act like jerks), there are 30,000 scientists that signed a petition that climate change is not man-made. But then gets to the kicker at the end:
All we boneheads are asking for is a little discussion on the science; solid proof that CO2 is even a pollutant, especially since any corrective actions taken against it (read: wealth distribution) are so potentially damaging to an already fragile economy.
These are not major papers, and their authors are not scientists, and don’t have to be to engage in the material (Roehrborn recently wrote a letter titled It’s God, Constitution vs. Obama, Marxism, while Reinartz wrote about where Austin should locate a dog park). But today’s papers in MN demonstrate a narrow, and I’m afraid popular, anti-science worldview. One where research is only conducted by the snake-oil salesman working for one purpose: to get your money. Does science have any other purposes than to raise American’s taxes?