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Monday, July 30, 2012

Griper Blade: Global Warming 'Skepticism' or Willful Ignorance?

Blindfolded man
In 2009, Pew put out what should have been a wake up call for anyone confused by the politicization of science. In a study of the scientific community, Pew found that a whopping 6% of all scientists were Republican. And no serious person wondered why. Republicans had been anti-science for years; from evolution to global warming to Reagan's missile defense fantasy, conservatives have most always gotten reality dead wrong. For years, it was the argument of many on the right that there should no federal funding for HIV/AIDS research. Why? Because there has never been a "cure" found for a virus. This "we ought to just give up before we even start" attitude wasn't just proven wrong in the long run (AIDS isn't cured, but is not a treatable disease and not a death sentence), but it was deeply unscientific. At a certain point in history, there was no cure for rabies -- to name one of literally thousands of diseases. If we followed the right's line of thinking, no disease in history would ever have been cured, because no one would even have tried. "It's never been done, therefore it's impossible" is what passes for logic among conservatives, not scientists.

But there's still that 6% of scientists who are Republican. There seems to be one main difference between your average Republican and your Republican scientist -- a scientist is, by definition, willing to change their mind. For the rest of the GOP hive-mind, sticking to an argument long after it's been proven wrong is considered a good thing. And so it is that when a conservative scientist changes his mind, it's a case of giving in to reality's liberal bias.

Richard Muller, New York Times:

Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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