Letter: Science consensus is slow, methodical

Published: Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Regarding Tom Harris' opinion expressed in “Anti-science ruins the climate debate” (April 20):

Generally, scientists are careful to cover their conclusions by disclaimers and qualifications to an extent unmatched by other forms of inquiry. As Richard Feynman (Nobel laureate in physics) stated in his book, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman": "… scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought … corresponds to a kind of utter honesty. … For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid …."

Any reputable scientific panel takes this kind of stance, and that is why those panels make clear statements relatively infrequently. When scientific consensus eventually emerges, we can be sure that the scientists have considered all the evidence.

Tom Harris states there is a "doctrine (that) is a collection of now-familiar assertions made about climate, all of which must be accepted without question."

No, there is no "doctrine," and no part of the scientific consensus was arrived at by anything other than the deepest, most skeptical study. His favored climate ideas did not pass scientific muster and are not included in the current consensus. But readers should not be fooled by his whines, and should instead urge their congressional representative and senators to support climate change legislation.

Alan Weiss

Brookline, Mass.

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