Settled science..?

Order, order, order in the court!

IQ2U.S. sponsored a debate  (2007) on the global warming controversy: Resolved – global warming is not a crisis, for and against. In his opening statement against the proposition, Richard C.J. Somerville used the term settled science a few times to refer to the consensus on the AGW concept. Settled science..?

This term is an interesting example of the political nature of the debate on AGW. Settled law, is a term that is familiar to many from congressional hearings on supreme court justice nominees. Will the judge seek to overturn…Roe v. Wade? Is he an activist judge? Does he respect settled law, stare decisis? I think that AGW advocates are banking on the notion that many of their prospective supporters are politically liberal and will react positively to the settled law/science idea.

Well, there is no settled science. Scientists may mostly agree on something, or a theory may be generally accepted for so long that it seems settled, but all it takes is one set of observations to set the entire structure shaking. When Somerville talks of settled science, he really is saying, It’s done, over. Stop raising problems, you cranks. Shut up and sit down! Now, let’s make policy!!   Of course, he never actually addresses the objections.

A bit scary, very bureaucratic. A whiff of Stalinism. Come, come now, comarade. Comarade Stalin and Lysenko have made clear this point of genetics for years. Stop being an obstructionist, a wrecker!

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2 Responses to Settled science..?

  1. troutsky says:

    I believe his point is that there is enough consensus to proceed with policy making. Hold-outs are encouraged to remain sceptical and introduce findings but… time to act.If the consensus proves wrong, so it goes. If you seek perfect “settled” unanimity before acting…good luck.

  2. lichanos says:

    I agree that policy requires a lower standard of proof or certainty than scientific theory, but I don’t think he made that point at all.

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