Suppress Climate Sceptics and Creationists

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Suppress climate sceptics and creationists, says Barry Brook, director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, University of Adelaide, writing in an article in The Australian, 30 April 2008. Brook claims that global warming sceptics, creationists and "intelligent designers" are "trolls" - an Internet jargon term defined by Brook as "people who intentionally post false or controversial messages to gain attention or foment a conflicting style of debate." Brook advises people not to “feed trolls” by engaging them on their terms. He claims they can be overcome by "good science - evidence and ideas that are repeatedly supported by observations, experiments and models - gradually emerges from the pack and moves from being hypotheses to theories, paradigms and laws."

However, Brian Macfie, also writing in The Australian, 7 May 2008 comments that "throughout history dissenters, sceptics, contrarians and innovators have suffered criticism, abuse and even persecution, but it is these people who have driven progress." Macfie comments "Today we are faced with a newer religion known as environmental activism which has insinuated itself into some aspects of science. It shares some of the intolerance to new or challenging ideas with the old. Immolation at the stake is no longer fashionable but it has been replaced by pillory in the media." He goes on to say, "Phrases such as 'the argument is over, the science is settled' are so much fatuous nonsense and should almost never be used in the scientific community."

This view is supported by Michael Duffy, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, 3 May 2008 who points out that according to British Met Office's Hadley Centre and America's National Climatic Data Centre, global average temperatures have not risen since 2002. Duffy writes: "Hadley expresses temperature changes in terms of deviations from the 1961 to 1990 average. In 2002 the rounded global temperature for land and sea was 0.46 above that average. In the next five years it was: 0.46, 0.43, 0.48, 0.42, and 0.40.

The figures for the Date Centre are calculated slightly differently, but they too show no trend over the period in question." Duffy goes on to comment: "Whatever the recent figures might signify, it's disturbing that they haven't received more publicity. If the trend had been different - if warming had accelerated, say - you can bet it would have been reported everywhere. But because the figures since 2002 might raise doubts about the orthodoxy, there has been a great silence. Most of those involved in public discussion of global warming simply ignored what was happening to the temperature record. The media have continued to interpret any minor weather event as proof of global warming. Political leaders have continued to crank up the panic."

Editorial Comment: The opinions expressed by these writers remind us that the current climate change debate is not about science - it is about how those in positions of power use and misuse science. It is interesting that Barry Brook wants the same exclusion tactics to be used against both global warming sceptics and evolution sceptics. He obviously recognises that if either group are right, then a lot of people in power have a lot to lose.

We agree there is a need for "good science" but that will not happen if any group is deliberately suppressed simply because they disagree with the current dominant belief. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul told us to "test everything and only hold on to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). (Ref. controversy, philosophy, journalism)

Evidence News, 21 May 2008

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