I must at the outset admit that I haven’t delved into the data that I am told substantiates the view that the earth is steadily warming. That is one reason why I have not said anything about Global Warming. I shall say that here in Wisconsin we just came off of a mighty cold spell with snows as late as April, and last year was about the same. As Wisconsin is part of the globe, I feel I can anecdotally chime in that to this point I am skeptical about the Global Warming argument. Moreover, there clearly are several different parts of the question: even if we establish that the earth is warming, it doesn’t follow that humans are causing it, and even if it is warming, it doesn’t follow that a warming earth would be all that bad (did I mention the cold Wisconsin winters?).
I won’t speak to the science of Global Warming, but I have been paying attention to the debate. In particular, I have been noticing how Global Warming proponents treat dissenters. Some Global Warming proponents have said that denying the ‘fact’ of Global Warming (or that humans are causing it) is like denying the holocaust. This is eerily reminiscent of Richard Dawkins taking aim at those who dissent with evolution with statements such as, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
There have been incidents where those who did not toe the Global Warming party line had their careers thrown in jeopardy. Hmmmm. That sounds a bit like what that Ben Stein movie, Expelled, was all about! Yes, in fact, contrary to atheistic secular rabid humanist evolutionists who watched Expelled seeking to have Intelligent Design explained and defended, the movie was not about that- it was about academic freedom and the freedom to hold differing views and perspectives and pursue lines of research (ie, have access to grant funds) that explore different thoughts. In that, it succeeded.
Now, while Global Warming is something I haven’t probed the data on (but evolution is, so I guess I’m wicked for rejecting it), I do see the same sort of bullying by proponents of Global Warming as I see in evolution, and that pretty much means that when I do finally approach that data I’ll be much more skeptical than I would otherwise have been.
Is it possible that in this modern era the scientific method should now be understood as something like: 1. Observe, 2. Hypothesize, 3. Experiment, 4. Rinse and Repeat, 5. Intimidate Dissenters.
Of course this lays bare the other similarity between Evolution and Global Warming science- no experiments can be performed. Both are comfortably outside the confines of hard empirical repeatability. In the case of evolution it resolves around the interpretation of fossils and the extrapolation of micro-evolutionary processes (which no one has ever denied, see Genesis 30:31-33) as sufficiently able to explain macro-evolutionary phenomena. Of course, it takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years for microevolution to produce something in that fashion, and we live a scant 90 years ourselves, so none of us will ever actually see the process alleged to be a ‘scientific fact’ play out from beginning to end. But trust them! It happened! It is a scientific fact, and you are stupid, insane, or wicked to deny it!
No, it is an interpretation of the data by people who are fallible. They may even have their own agendas.
Similarly, Global Warming we are told will have its most dramatic effects in decades, perhaps in fifty years. We have data that we are told stretches back eons showing numerous cycles of warmer and cooler earths. What experiment has been proposed that will be able to distinguish between such a naturally occurring pattern and a human caused warming? None that I am aware of. None seems possible. Moreover, fifty years is a long time for nature to operate on its pattern- if we make the changes demanded of us today by the proponents of Global Warming and it does become cooler, how do we know it wasn’t mother nature?
Global Warming seems to me at present as inherently unfalsifiable, just as evolutionary theory is. There is a silver lining, though: just thirty years ago the scientific community was blaring that the earth was heading into a new ice age. We’ve managed to go from ice age fears to global warming fears in living memory. If it swings back again it is possible that people will realize that skepticism, true skepticism, means even being skeptical of the so-called skeptics, and will note the similarities between the defense of Global Warming and the defense of Evolutionary Theory, and turn their skepticism towards it en masse.
If Global Warming proponents begin saying, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” but we continue to have cold winters or we learn that the data is not as conclusive as we are led to believe, it may behoove us to wonder about other so called scientific facts which have been presented in the same terms.
To establish something as an actual fact of reality, established by the scientific method, it shouldn’t be necessary to suppress dissenters and rely on openly mocking and deriding them, and even having their careers thwarted. When I see that happening I am skeptical.