The abandonment of the scientific method drives a Nobel laureate to act.
Another respected scientist took a stand in the worldwide debate over the source and importance of climate change. Last week, Dr. Ivar Giaever, professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, professor at large at the University of Oslo and a 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) in protest over the society’s rigid stance on climate change.
A part of the official APS statement with regard to global warming states that the “evidence is incontrovertible” that human activities have led to rising global temperatures through increased emissions of carbon dioxide. Like many scientists in a variety of disciplines, Giaever was offended by the implication that the science is settled and no further research or discussion about the issue is needed.
“In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of a proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?” Giaever said in an e-mail to Kate Kirby, executive officer of APS. "The claim...is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period."
The idea that global warming is such a critical issue that the kind of intellectual debate that is central to the scientific process should not be allowed goes back to the Clinton administration. It was then that Vice President Al Gore stated with finality that the “science was settled” and the supposed crisis was so acute that the traditional scientific process should be abandoned.
That pronouncement, especially coming from someone with no scientific training like Mr. Gore, offended and continues to offend many a scientist. Nonetheless, a number of scientific organizations like APS, the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, have definitively stated that dangerous global warming is real and that mankind is definitely the cause.
The result of such unprecedented pronouncements has been especially striking in terms of research, where billions of dollars flow toward research projects designed to prove what has supposedly already been demonstrated beyond any doubt. Yet, there still has been some competing research – sadly underpublicized in the mainstream media – that does cast a great deal of doubt on the theories that Mr. Gore and his friends espouse.
NASA’s AQUA satellite, for example, has been in orbit for about a decade. It’s studying atmospheric temperatures, moisture cycles, cloud formation and a host of other weather-related data. Dr. Roy Spence, the University of Alabama at Huntsville climatologist who heads up AQUA, has become increasingly convinced that while human activities have a small effect on global climate, that effect is relatively insignificant compared to natural forces.
CERN, the European research agency, recently published a study in Nature that suggests that cosmic rays play a significantly more important role in cloud formation than previously thought, and cloud formation plays a very important role in determining planetary temperatures. While it would be incorrect to say that the CERN study disproves the idea that mankind is significantly influencing planetary temperatures once and for all, it does demonstrate that the science is far from settled. As more researchers continue to build on CERN’s work – something that Mr. Gore and his friends insist there is no need to do – it is entirely possible that cosmic ray activity will be deemed far more important in determining climate patterns than trace concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Professor Giaever, like many scientists (yours truly included) cannot abide the way that global warming alarmists continually try to stifle the legitimate debate that is central to the scientific process. Without that kind of healthy skepticism, research like AQUA and the CERN studies would not happen. Organizations like APS and ACS are supposed to stand for the scientific method, rigorously and strictly applied in all instances. The fact that they have chosen instead to walk the path of political correctness is deeply disturbing. Ivar Giaever is the latest respected scientist to express disgust with the subversion of the process that occurs in the name of global warming orthodoxy, but he will not be the last.