Consensus doesn’t make it right…

I’d like to cover two things today:

The first is global warming. Recently, a gal from The Weather Channel decided to make some bloviations about global warming. One of the things that she said was that she believed that any weather broadcaster who did not believe in global warming should have their AMS (American Meterological Society) membership revoked.

This, I believe, is a prime indicator that the global warming debate is nothing but an absurd cacophony of opinion and politics.

One of the main defenses of global warming given by its proponents is that there is a supposed consensus among scientists that man-made global warming exists, and that it is a very real, very dangerous problem.

The problem with this line of thinking is that consensus does not make science.

Does global warming exist? Yes, the evidence bears this out. The average global temperature has risen somewhere in the neighborhood of one degree Farenheit in the past 100 years. Is this something we should be worried about? I don’t know. The global warming activists would have us believe that global temperature will continue to rise until the planet becomes uninhabitable. Some add on “unless we do something about it,” others believe it’s already too late.

My problem with the global warming debate is that there are other scientists out there who believe that these temperature changes are cyclical – that they are natural phenomena, not created by man. As yet, the issue is unresolved, due to simple lack of information: temperature records do not go back far enough to make a decisive judgment.

But the truth is that the “debate” about the existence of global warming is largely one-sided: the proponents of global warming control the money and power in the scientific community, and thus have gained control of the debate. This debate is very similar to the debate over evolution and intelligent design: scientists who question the existence of man-made global warming are shunned in the scientific community. Their articles are not published, and their research grants are revoked or denied.

This is the problem with science today: it is too tied to money and to the government. Instead of looking at all of the evidence inclusively, and, at the least, saying, “Well, we don’t know for sure, but we should probably take some measures just in case,” science has become political. He with the most money and power determines which theory is right. Governmental agencies dealing with scientific matters are stacked with scientists who adhere to the politically accepted beliefs of the time. Grant money is granted or withheld based on a candidate’s beliefs rather than their experience or the merits of their research.

Science should be about investigation. Any and all hypotheses and theories should be subject to question and investigation. But instead, science and politics are tied too closely together, and this has tainted the advancement of science to a horrible degree. Science is no longer a pure search for knowledge, it is a political endeavor.

The greatest evidence for the fallacy of consensus science lies in the history of science: which scientists are remembered? Which are looked at as foolish? Today, Galileo is lauded because he was willing to stand up against the consensus of his time to say that the world was round. Even Darwin is remembered because he stood against the consensus of Biblical creationism. The scientists who stood up in the face of “scientific consensus” are the ones whose names are written down in the history books, proving to anyone not blinded by politics that science is not a democracy: when the votes are cast and the ballots are counted, the majority may very well be entirely wrong.

When it comes to global warming, I am a skeptic. I just don’t know whether global warming is man-made or cyclical. I have seen evidence for both arguments. Both have merits, and both have questions that remain unanswered. But given the political factors surrounding the debate and the historical background of “consensus science,” I must say that I tend to lean more to the other side of the debate.

The second thing I’d like to talk about is President Bush’s latest poll numbers. The poll numbers released shortly before the President’s latest State of the Union speech were abysmal, to say the least – somewhere around 28%. Much of the media has tried to cast this disapproval of the President as a swell of support for the Democrats, but I believe that this is not true (and from what I have heard, the poll numbers bear that out – the Democrats’ poll numbers were not much better than the President’s).

Personally, I believe that the reason the President’s poll numbers are now so low is because of the question being asked: “Do you approve of the job the president is doing?” Now, many on the left do not approve because of the war in Iraq. Many on the right do not approve because the President has not done enough to secure the border, or to try and fix the illegal immigration problem. President Bush’s problem is not that the nation is leaning toward the Democrats, President Bush’s problem is that he has been trying so hard to be a moderate – and when politicians are moderate, instead of getting both sides’ approval, they tend to get both sides’ disdain. President Bush ran for president as a Republican, and that should carry with it an ideology much more conservative than the one the President has espoused. In his drive to moderation the President, and many Congressmen, have driven many away from the Republican Party, whose roles are made up of more conservatives than moderates – this is evidenced in the Republican’s losses in November’s election. By denying the people of his party the strong voice for conservatism that they crave, the President has driven his approval numbers down.

I believe very strongly that if the Republican party wants to win the next presidential election, they must run a candidate who will stand up strongly for conservatism, both in values and in government. Conservatives in America are tired of seeing wishy-washy RINOs in power such as Lincoln Chafee or Arlen Specter. If the Republican party wants to win elections once again, it must, once again, truly become the party of conservatism.

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