Quantcast
Opinion

Michael Gerson: A need for trust in scientific enterprise

Comments

Return To Article
  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 15, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    @Kent C "Well, neither is anybody else."

    And the purpose for your proposed carbon tax is...what? To attach an extra cost to the production of carbon dioxide...why? To reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere...why?

    Just for the heck of it?

    No, you really think it will produce a significant effect on the climate. An "INFLUENCE," according to the airnaut, in all-caps. Contrary to your denials, you really think we humans can do this. It's hubris, that's what it is.

    That's why I laughed so hard when Tyler D accused me of thinking myself "smarter than God."

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    Alter Nate: "But we're not talking about the kinds of concentrations that make oxygen poisonous to humans... Do you claim that this concentration of CO2 is poisonous? Really?

    You are applying an overly restrictive definition of "pollution." Pollution goes way beyond human toxicity. As I stated in my original post, pollution is a substance in a location or concentration that causes a problem. The current debate over CO2 and climate has nothing to do with toxicity (and I never claimed it did).

    Alter Nate: "Think about it -- through a common miracle of nature, our current higher CO2 levels are producing more food for the planet. And you call this pollution?"

    Again, as stated my OP, even beneficial substances can be pollutants in the wrong place. Sure, CO2 is good for plant growth. That's not the issue. Phosphorus is a plant fertilizer, too, yet it is serious pollutant in waterways (precisely because it is is a fertilizer-- it causes algae blooms that ultimately remove oxygen from the water when they die off and decompose). Phosphorus, a "food for the planet" can be a pollutant and its use is appropriately regulated as such.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    May 14, 2014 8:42 p.m.

    It was so entertaining reading the comments that I forgot what the article was about. So many talking points and so little time! Oh, right, something about Americans not trusting science as much as we "should". Well, I think the problem is that the average person can't tell the difference between science and what is hyped as science. For example, everything is known by the state of California to cause cancer. How are Californians supposed to tell the difference between stuff that isn't dangerous and stuff that really is dangerous?

    And yes, it was a long introduction to, "Why don't Americans take global warming seriously?!?". For me, it's because the data and the hype don't match, and that makes it wrong. There is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature. Because there is no link, all we ever hear is anecdotal evidence. That isn't science.

    Richard Feynman famously stated that the best a scientist can ever say is, "I'm not wrong yet", but that's only when the data agrees with the theory. Unfortunately for those who continue to promote the runaway warming theory, the data and the theory disagree.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 14, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    Alter Nate:

    "I'm not the one claiming human beings can control the climate." Well, neither is anybody else. But you are the one denying that human beings can mess up the climate. That's a pretty wild assumption.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    May 14, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    Alter Nate
    Pleasant Grove, UT

    "...smarter than God."

    Hey. I'm not the one claiming human beings can control the climate.

    ========

    So,
    If man [Science] can heal the sick, cause the blind to see, deaf to hear, and restart a dead man's heart and lungs...

    Does that make one "smarter than God"?

    No - it does not.
    The same goes for us figuring out how this little planet we call "home" operates.

    FYI - No one has said humans 'control" the comment -- that is the lie your side keeps perpetuating.
    Humans INFLUENCE the climate.

    Big difference.

    Nice spin, play again some other time.

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 14, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    I don't know what inconsistencies you think you've found. It sounds as if you don't know, either. But to state things I've said before:

    Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a myth (the catastrophic part, mainly.) The earth seems to be warming gradually as it recovers from the last mini Ice Age. The causes are natural and cyclical. If man contributes at all to global warming, it is a negligible amount. Historically, warming has had a positive effect, coinciding with flourishing civilizations.

    For the past 17 years there has been no measurable warming -- the global average temperature certainly has not tracked with Mann's hockey stick graph. This indicates that the feedback loops built into his model either don't exist in reality, or are overstated. There is no cause for alarm, and man has only a minuscule effect on the earth's climate anyway.

    Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but rather is beneficial to plant life, and is part of a beautiful system which allows man to live in balance with other life.

    "...smarter than God."

    Hey. I'm not the one claiming human beings can control the climate.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    While there is a significant amount of fraud and conflict of interest in science, it is still superior to non-scientific opinions. Science is seldom cast in stone thus validation and replication studies are necessary. Sadly, the ideations against fluoridation and immunization, for most food supplements and accepting of alternative medicine is expensive and counter-productive. It transcends party lines and calling it a liberal or conservative issue is naive.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 14, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Nate,

    Just how many personalities do you have? You seem to be all over the map here and it’s hard to know what you advocating – or do you just enjoy being a contrarian and pot stirrer?

    So, is climate change a myth, or…?
    Is it happening through purely natural forces, or…?
    Are humans causing or contributing to it, or…?
    Is it simply too late to do anything about it and so we should try, or…?
    Are we causing it but it’s going to be awesome (more plants)?

    You seem to take any or all of these positions depending on… what… your mood?

    In any event, I’m glad it doesn’t trouble you in the least to take ideological gambles (altering the natural carbon cycle in a few decades) with a planet that alters its climate equilibrium over hundreds of thousands of years.

    Not only are you smarter than all the world’s climate scientists, but apparently you’re also smarter than God.

    I bow to your magnificence…

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    I was about to comment on Roland Kayser's use of the quote from Bertrand Russell regarding the certainty of "fools and fanatics" in the face of the doubt found in "wiser people", but Prodicus' point about Russell's certifiable foolishness beat me to the punch.

    Regarding the "debate" on anthropogenic global warming/change/disruption (AGWCD) specifically however, I would like to add that, knowing Kayser's stance, his use of Russell's quote is comically ironic since the role of the foolish fanatics filled with certitude is surely those pointing fingers at skeptics of the "science" of AGWCD as worse than being simple, though wise, doubters. They are "deniers". A term intentionally and derisively used in comparison to Holocaust "deniers". A use that conveniently ignores the crucial difference between someone who denies an event of historical and easily verifiable fact versus the very UNverifiable conjecture of a computer modeled future.

    My biggest problem with this whole debate on AGWCD is that so many who claim intellectual fealty to science in their increasingly zealous advocacy of adoption of the still shaky theories of AGWCD are some of the most guilty of corrupting science. That, for me, is shameful.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 14, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    Joe Blow -

    " . . . 97% of scientists have been bought off while their 3% are pure as the driven snow and their research and conclusions could never be tainted by corporate $$"

    Except it's just the opposite.

    Do you think it's only coincidence that many of 3% gathered data and made conclusions from studies funded by major fossil fuel companies like Exon?

    And the fossil fuel industry actually have a motive . . . The Profit Motive. They know that alternative energy really gains a foothold, then their fossil fuel products will be less valuable.

    What motive does the 97 percent have?

  • Alter Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 14, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    @Lagomorph "Oxygen, essential for our lives, can be a pollutant."

    But we're not talking about the kinds of concentrations that make oxygen poisonous to humans. We're talking about a few hundred parts per million. So, rounding to 400 ppm, we are talking about CO2 concentrations of 0.04%. Do you claim that this concentration of CO2 is poisonous? Really?

    Greenhouses are made more productive by increasing CO2 concentrations. This is a common practice. Increasing the concentration to 1000 ppm increases photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient levels of CO2.

    Think about it -- through a common miracle of nature, our current higher CO2 levels are producing more food for the planet. And you call this pollution?

    @JoeBlow "97%"

    If it's the Cooke study you're talking about, it has been discredited a dozen different ways. I can provide details, if you're curious. Or maybe you can do some outside reading.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 14, 2014 4:32 a.m.

    What is funny, is at the end of the day, both sides are siding with scientists.

    One side has 97% of them and the other side has 3%.

    The 3%'s just KNOW that 97% of scientists have been bought off while their 3% are pure as the driven snow and their research and conclusions could never be tainted by corporate $$

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2014 12:22 a.m.

    @kiddsport
    "the scientific truth that global warming comes from the sun, along with it's variability, and the distance and orientation of the earth to the sun, which is also variable. "

    Except that the sun and temperatures have been totally heading in opposite directions the past 30 years and that Milankovitch cycles take tens of thousands of years so they wouldn't yield a 1C change in 100 years by themselves.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2014 12:00 a.m.

    Nate (5/13 5:19 pm), responding to Tyler D's statement that CO2 is a pollutant: "CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas, essential to the process of photosynthesis. Plants dig CO2."

    A weed is just a plant out of place. A rose bush in an English garden is a lovely amenity. The same rose bush in a corn field is a weed. Similarly, even useful and beneficial chemicals can be pollutants in the wrong place or wrong concentration. Oxygen is essential to animal metabolism. Humans dig oxygen. But an atmosphere with an O2 concentration of 80% is hazardous. Oxygen, essential for our lives, can be a pollutant.

    On Forbes as a scientific reference-- the Forbes writers are lay people and do no original scientific research themselves. They only report on the scientific work of others (and interpret according to their own agenda). Why not cite the primary literature instead of the secondary report? It's the more credible source.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 13, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    Shane –

    Forbes is a Right Wing Publication with the same credibility Rush Limbaugh has when it comes to science.

    Why would you consider Forbes an authority on global warming and dismiss the opinions of the vast majority of climate scientists in the world?

    “Conservatives” look for any “Evidence” to support their prejudices and false beliefs.

    And Right Wing propaganda outlets are right there to service their needs.

    How nice.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 13, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    @Tyler D "Did you really just cite an article from 1929 as authoritative?"

    I cited it so you could see that none of this is unprecedented; that currents in the ocean change cyclically; that sometimes they carve away ice shelves; and that what you take as evidence that the world is coming to and end is only evidence that the world is doing what it has always done.

    "But go ahead, keep dodging my tough questions...."

    You haven't asked any tough questions.

    "...pollution (which C02 is merely a subset)..."

    CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas, essential to the process of photosynthesis. Plants dig CO2.

    "So what’s really the issue your side has?"

    The difference between truth and falsehood. We all believe in being good stewards. Destroying the livelihoods of people all over the earth because of a myth is not good stewardship.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 13, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    @Shane333 – “Forbes on the 24th of February reported that…”

    Really… Forbes?

    That’s like trying to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Jewish people and their contributions to human history by consulting Mein Kampf.

    @Nate – “(Geographical Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, Jan 1929, pp. 121-131.) It offers historical perspective to calm your panic.”

    Did you really just cite an article from 1929 as authoritative?

    But go ahead, keep dodging my tough questions and believe that you know more than thousands of scientists in many different countries (i.e., that could care less about U.S. tax policy).

    All this aside though, the really baffling part of the denier side is that with the exception of potentially ruinous taxes, all the things we could do to mitigate pollution (which C02 is merely a subset) is stuff that we should be doing anyway for a whole bunch of reasons conservatives used to support (energy independence, reducing influence of petro-oligarchs, being good shepherds, etc…)

    So what’s really the issue your side has? Or do you guys simply no longer care about anything other than getting rich (regardless of external consequences) and winning arguments?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 13, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    Shane333
    Cedar Hills, UT
    Scientists lost credibility when they allowed themselves to become political pawns.

    If "global warming" had been studied without government interference and government imposition, it would either stand on its own merits or have gone the way of the "global cooling" fad of the 1970's.

    10:58 a.m. May 13, 2014

    ========

    In the 1970's there was no such "Global Cooling" scare,
    It was a warning about Nuclear Winter.

    And all those TIME magazine covers in the 1970's used by the far right-wing showing "The Big Freeze" that was soming?

    Those all refered to the ENERGY crisis of the 1970's, as heating and cooling prices were sky-rocketing due to our dependance on cheap Middle Eastern oil [you know, the stuff we just spent 12 years and $3 Trillion trying to portect].

    But go ahead,
    Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck have made themselves multi-Millionaires scaring you people with their spin.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 13, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    @Tyler D and Kent C

    Did your alarmist blog tell you the rest of the story -- that both land and sea ice fluctuate cyclically at both poles, and this has been going on for ages?

    You may enjoy reading "Changes in the Oceanic Circulation and Their Climatic Consequences," by Otto Pettersson (Geographical Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, Jan 1929, pp. 121-131.) It offers historical perspective to calm your panic.

    You have to question either the sanity or the integrity of a scientists who sees a current trend line pointing downward, and automatically assumes that the trajectory can never change. What part of his experience with the earth and its natural processes has ever suggested this?

    "Actually, all the intellectual dishonesty aside..."

    Promises, promises.

    "You may be under water when you finally come up for air."

    Did you read the article you cited? The timeframe for the worst-case scenario is several hundred years, and the sea level change is about 4 meters. Further reading elsewhere would uncover the error in their calculations which reduces the sea level change to about 1.2 meters. I know you were only trying to be funny.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    May 13, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    GaryO,

    You say that global warming is standing on its own merits.

    Forbes on the 24th of February reported that for about 17 years and 5 months, global temperatures have been essentially flat. And that is despite about a quarter of all C02 emissions since 1750 climbing during the ten year period between 2000 and 2010.

    By those facts, global warming isn't standing at all.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 13, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    Ya --

    Drat those pesky Mormon Prophets/Seres/and Scientists;

    Elder (Doctor) Russell M. Nelson [and his God denying Heart/Lung machine]
    Elder (Doctor) Richard G. Scott [and his Godless Nuclear Energy programs]

    You see -
    God is interested mostly in our Salvation,
    but shares with us his secular knowledge and wisdom as well.

    The Holy Spirit manifests the truth of ALL things.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    May 13, 2014 2:02 p.m.

    So, Prodicus, why have the consensus-touting economists been so consistently wrong over the past decade?

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 13, 2014 2:00 p.m.

    Nate, about that sea ice, here's a quote from the Skeptical Science website: "Skeptic arguments that Antarctica is gaining ice frequently hinge on an error of omission, namely ignoring the difference between land ice and sea ice." The article then goes on to explain that while sea ice is slowly growing, land ice is decreasing rapidly, and it is the land ice that is more important. Melting sea ice doesn't appreciably affect sea level, but melting land ice does. There are a couple of reasons suggested for the increase in sea ice. But the overall message is that land ice is shrinking rapidly, and that is dangerous. So go ahead, stick your head in the sand of science denial. You may be under water when you finally come up for air.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 13, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    Shane –

    “If "global warming" had been studied without government interference and government imposition, it would either stand on its own merits or have gone the way of the "global cooling" fad of the 1970's.”

    Global Warming IS in fact standing tall and proud “on its own merits.” Only a diminishing herd of Right Wing ideologues deny its existence.

    Tyler –

    “that Antarctic LAND ice is melting . . .” And that’s pretty significant, since Antarctica is a CONTINENT and therefore land, unlike the Arctic, which is mostly ocean.

    Steve in Ohio –

    “ . . . this article is not based on science, but is propaganda, with a little truth mixed in.” Nope, it’s factual.

    Did you know that “the Flat Earth Society,” composed of people who believe the Earth is flat, is still fighting against “propaganda, with a little truth mixed in.”

    . . . Food for thought.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 13, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    @Nate – “Antarctic sea ice is setting new records.” levels since 1979, when measurements began.”

    Scientists have been aware of this for some time, but you left out the fact that Antarctic LAND ice is melting (which when it goes into the ocean can have a cooling affect – i.e., more sea ice). All of this is consistent with the climate science.

    Recall in our other thread – Jobs and Climate – where I mentioned that every time the denier side has offered up some “fact” that appears to disprove climate change, usually a quick google search shows that it was really just a well understood & answered factoid.

    Thanks for continuing to bat a thousand for your team…

    Actually, all the intellectual dishonesty aside, I think you guys are doing a tremendous service by forcing people to think for themselves and engage the science, rather than either blindly trusting scientists (something you’ve accused me of doing) or letting a pre-conceived ideology give them the answers.

    So thanks…

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    May 13, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    Those on the left have plenty of science denialism as well.

    As Gerson notes, most of the hysterical anti-GMO claims have long since been scientifically refuted. The case is similar with many of the claims made in support of supposedly environmentalist food fads (organic, locavore, etc), the real environmental benefits of which are effectively nil. (The only food fads which could have a large environmental benefit are vegetarianism/flexitarianism; that we should consume much less meat should not surprise anyone who's read the Word of Wisdom.)

    And those who trust Paul Krugman over the consensus in macroeconomics are the mirror image of those who rely on some of the leading "global warming skeptics." In each case you have someone who did some good scientific work long ago (microeconomics) but is now making overhyped claims defying the scientific consensus in another field where they have no expertise or real accomplishments, being well-paid to tell people what they want to hear rather than the politically inconvenient truth.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 13, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    @Joe Blow "appears unstoppable"

    And yet, in spite of all the speculation, Antarctic sea ice is setting new records. Extent in April was at the highest levels since 1979, when measurements began.

    My question again: do you believe the myth, or the measurements?

  • Steve in Ohio Galloway, OH
    May 13, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    This article appears to be written with a political agenda, as are many of the comments- persuade people that climate change is happening and is caused by man-made CO2 emissions. Does the author reference scientific articles to back up his claim? Like too many these days, he seems to be trying to bully others into believing as he does by name calling, ridiculing, and appeal to scientific "authorities". Just because you are a scientist doesn't make your investigations and conclusions valid!

    This article has nothing to do with science, nor the scientific method. The preposterous quote that "GMOs have 'been consumed by hundreds of millions of people across the world for more than 15 years, with no reported ill effects'". What do they mean no reported ill effects? Is that the result of a scientific study where populations consuming the GMO foods are compared to populations who do not, while correcting for other factors? No, because this article is not based on science, but is propaganda, with a little truth mixed in.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    May 13, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Scientists lost credibility when they allowed themselves to become political pawns.

    If "global warming" had been studied without government interference and government imposition, it would either stand on its own merits or have gone the way of the "global cooling" fad of the 1970's.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    May 13, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    Roland Kayser, the irony of that quote is that Bertrand Russell was a fool and a fanatic, continually sure of himself when he should have had some doubts.

    None of his serious work in philosophy and logic has held up well under the test of time.

    His more popular works- the cheap shots he took at Christians, those who were fighting totalitarianism, etc- can now be appreciated as the dishonest tripe they always were. His writings on ethics and critique of "traditional morality" from the basis of his own supposed moral superiority appear sadly ironic in light of the disastrous consequences of his immoral behavior in the lives of those closest to him (see Ray Monk's biography).

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 13, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    @Joe

    I can hear them all now. The SUN! Oh my I can't believe we forgot to include the sun! This is going to change everything.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 13, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    "the scientific truth that global warming comes from the sun, along with it's variability, and the distance and orientation of the earth to the sun, which is also variable. "

    Gee Kiddsport.

    I hope all of the climate scientists read your post. Possibly they just neglected to factor in all of these variables when they did their research. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    May 13, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    ...and liberals stick their fingers in their ears and yell, "Nya, nya, nay. I'm not listening," when you try to explain the scientific truth that global warming comes from the sun, along with it's variability, and the distance and orientation of the earth to the sun, which is also variable. Those variability factors are several orders of magnitude greater than the measly output of homo sapiens. As long as you refuse to recognize the Author and Designer of that celestial orb that keeps us from freezing or boiling away, you'll never understand anything.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 13, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    The real problem for some, well all of us at times I guess, is when science shows that some belief we hold dear is false. That is the test. In almost every case where science shows some matter of faith to be wrong - that person usually dismisses the science as wrong. This in turn makes it easier to dismiss other aspects of science for even less sincere reasons like denying climate change simply because of a political belief.

    I believe this has resulted in a large part of society lacking the ability to consider issues in a rational fact based way. Basing decisions more on what they want to be true or feel to be true rather rationally reviewing the available facts. I've heard too many politicians and religious leaders speak dismissively of science or even show outright contempt of science (or any higher education). It's all very disconcerting.

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    May 13, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    There's good reason that people are skeptical of scientific claims. It's this critical nature of our brain that helps separate truth from speculation. It's the key to moving scientific discovery forward.

    How many of us were, or possibly still are, 100% convinced that eating saturated fats as found in butter, cheese, whole milk, red meat and eggs is strongly correlated with heart attack, cardiovascular disease and stroke? How many billions on dollars have been spent on the production and consumption of low-fat, non-fat, non-dairy and meat substitute products in the certainty that these “terrible” foods would kill us? After all, the science on high-fat diet was settled, right? For 50 years we've been bombarded with dietary advice from every doctor, health expert, 10's of thousands of books and the media that saturated fat was very bad stuff.

    If you haven't caught up with the latest “science” on diet: google “meta-analysis American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 13, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    @Roland Kayser – “Bertrand Russell quote…”

    Maybe the best and most appropriate description of the growing anti-intellectual “distrust of our best & brightest” group of politically active citizens I’ve seen posted here.

    Science will always have doubts – it’s the difference between inductive and deductive knowledge, and this growing group of anti-intellectuals is very good at inserting ideology (or God) into the gaps of scientific knowledge… a strategy we should note (the only thing that gives me hope) that has always eventually backfired. And yet these people continue to believe in the project of magical thinking as a legitimate path to knowledge… crazy.

    It’s telling that when Reagan was elected something like 40% of all scientists were Republicans. Today that number is below 10%.

    Of course I have no doubt that this will be explained away by calling scientists a bunch of conspiratorial leftists (because if facts conflict with your ideology, you naturally jettison the facts), but given the basic disposition of most scientists (logical, evidence based thinkers) the truth is damning.

    But by all means, keep getting your facts from AM radio emotional button pushing, magical thinkers.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 13, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    Nate,

    But, what happens if it does.

    From Nasa dot gov yesterday.

    "The new finding that the eventual loss of a major section of West Antarctica's ice sheet "appears unstoppable" was not completely unexpected by scientists who study this area. "

    The right just may embrace these scientific findings because it plays right into what they want to hear. If it is "unstoppable" then we don't have to make any changes.

    Which appears to be their ultimate solution on most things.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 13, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Articles of Faith
    9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    =====

    Truth (i.e., Science) falls into this category as well.

    Nate
    Pleasant Grove, UT
    @Michael Gerson

    And what happens when it DOES...

    Conservatives can't even admit following GW Bush was wrong,
    let alone when Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck are.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 13, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    “How can you make serious political decisions based on scientific likelihoods when politics thrives on the feeding of ideological certainties?”

    There is no ideological certainty.

    There is only ideological certitude, especially if you’re referencing the wacky world of Right Wing Ideology. And yes, the resistance to Science in the certitudinous world of "Conservative" America is undeniable and unyielding.

    “Is a 40 percent increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution driving disruptive warming?” Well yeah. A 40 percent increase is a lot. We’ve already gone past the tipping point, but optimists say we can still remediate some of the worst effects of global warming . . . unless we cannot.

    It looks like GMO technology has arrived at just the right time. Instead of transplanting millions of displaced coastal denizens to higher ground, maybe we can just give them gills and let them stay where they are.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 13, 2014 7:57 a.m.

    @Michael Gerson

    And what happens when the sea level stays constant, the coasts don't flood, the fisheries don't shift, the ocean doesn't acidify, the water supply remains, the fields continue to yield crops, and the ecosystems don't vanish?

    (I would add: ...when global average temperatures don't rise, the glaciers don't melt, the ice caps don't disappear, and the polar bears don't go extinct.)

    Do you keep on believing in the myth, or do you adjust your thinking? Are you really willing to go wherever the science leads you?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    May 13, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    "...I met a South African health official who argued that AIDS could be treated with garlic because she believed that pharmaceutical treatment was a neocolonial plot. Resistance to evolution in America is often associated with conservative religion. And skepticism about climate change is correlated with libertarian and free-market beliefs...".

    Credo...

    As long as science confirms a pre-conceived bias...

    It's all good.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 13, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    The text book example of discrediting science was written by the tobacco industry. They exploited the fact that you can't prove a negative. For example you can say:

    "he didn't die from the bullet to the heart, he could have died from cardiac arrhythmia just be he was being shot"

    In other words, you can never be totally, absolutely, certain about anything, but science is our best bet for figuring out what is going on.

    The minute we reject science we are left with tea leaf reading, religion, or more probably, junk "science" information generated by the well funded special interests.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 13, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    God is our Kind, Loving Father, who by profession happens to be a Scientist, not a Magician.

    He has also given us a beautiful home,
    and told us to take good care of it.

    So we should ignore the false prophet college drop outs on the radio,
    and clean it up before he gets here.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 13, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    Michael,

    Flouridated water is bad for you, vaccines are causing autism, and the earth is only 6000 years old (and flat).

    We certainly don't need scientists to weigh in on matters where religion, politics or conspiracy theories have already provided perfectly good answers.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 13, 2014 12:38 a.m.

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves while wiser people are always full of doubt."---Bertrand Russell