Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Religion Versus Science

Throughout history the conflicts between religion and the scientific community have been explosive, emotional, violent and, occasionally, deadly.

When we think of science versus religion we often think of Galileo Galilei, whose on-going battle with the Catholic Church resulted in his imprisonment and, ultimately, in his death in 1642.

Galileo is best known for is his studies of astronomy, free fall, and his several inventions. His inventions include the telescope, microscope, compass and thermometer. Galileo studied medicine, philosophy and mathematics and taught mathematics at the University of Pisa and at the University of Padua.

While teaching his theories, Galileo gained a following of students that recognized his genius. In 1616 however, he came into disfavor with the church. Galileo, as a man of science, expressed his support of the Copernican theories that stated the earth and other celestial bodies rotated around the sun.

Unfortunately his teaching directly contradicted the teachings of the church and he was summoned to Rome and reprimanded for his "heresy". In 1633 he was sentenced to life in confinement. Even though his health was declining and became completely blind by 1638, he continued developing his theories and communicated, often in secret with his followers.

Over 300 years after his death, a statement by the Pope before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1992 is interpreted as the official rehabilitation of Galileo by the Catholic Church.

Any time an idea or philosophy becomes a religion it tends to lose all flexibility. True believers defend the orthodoxy at all costs and make every effort to silence, or even imprison or kill opponents.

Ultimately, it tends to all be about power. The church in Galileo's time had enormous power and wealth. It felt terribly threatened by Galileo's ideas. If people no longer believed the earth was the center of the universe, they might not continue to support the church with tithes, taxes and lavish gifts.

Today we have a rather strange twist on the old science versus religion battle. But, in this case, the "religion" is the orthodoxy of "global warming" or, as it is now more properly called, "climate change." The great religious leaders of climate change are still hounding, censuring and trying to silence the scientists who dare to question the established religion.

And, just as in the time of Galileo, it is still about money and power. There is the opportunity for great power and immense wealth in climate control. One Prophet of the new religion, former Vice President Al Gore, has already made millions of dollars, won a Nobel Prize and is poised to make billions. But the issue certainly isn't Al Gore. Governments and corporates stand to gain immense profits and power from the enforcement of climate control regulations.

For some time a rapidly growing number of scientists have realized that climate change models just don't work. We've had global cooling for eleven straight years and it now appears this cycle of cooling will continue for at least twenty more years. In addition, some models point to entirely different, and occasionally more dangerous scenarios going forward. And the solutions being proposed by the established global warming religion might make matters a whole lot worse.

The very unscientific efforts to hide conflicting facts, destroy historical data and marginalize those who dared to question global warming
all came to light when a huge series of emails were hacked and then released to the public. And, as is often the case, the cover-up quickly became worse than the original crimes.

The more the established global warming community attempted to explain the email, the obvious it became that the cover-up was long running and unacceptably extensive. The most recent "disclosure" that historical data was destroyed to "save space" is so laughable that all remaining integrity of the climate change community has been lost.

Science will ultimately prevail, as it always does. Those who forecast global may ultimately be proved correct. Or, it may be determined that the global warming heretic's ideas were censured or imprisoned under false pretenses.

But certainly the warnings about the dangers of turning scientific research into a political or religious cult should be learned and heeded.

Excellent articles that should all be read:

Financial Times:
Secrecy in science is a corrosive force By Michael Schrage

The Telegraph UK:
Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

Associated Press:
UK climate scientist to temporarily step down

US News and World Report:
Penn State Will Investigate 'Climategate'

Finally, a real and genuine tip o' the Wizard's Pointy Cap to Lee over at
Lee's Tid Bits who has been at the leading edge of this controversy for over a year. Like the scientists who dared to question the global warming orthodoxy, Lee has been subject to great harassment and persecution. Lee has constantly held his own. His blog is a must read in my book (for this and for many other reasons, including that he is just a great guy).


Unknown said...

Wow, humbled. Thanks Wiz.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

On most issues, Wiz, I generally make progress in terms of my understanding. On this one, unfortunately, I have to admit it. I'm far more confused than I was even 2 years ago. If I had to come up with some basic tenets, I guess it would be these. 1) Yes, clean up the environment as much as feasible. 2) Do it in a way that doesn't tank the economy (they say that "green" strategies help the economy - here's to hoping). And 3), Make sure that India and China are also on board. This, in that what the hell good would it (i.e., any strategy) be if they weren't?

Kentucky Rain said...

Excellent post Bob!! One of the best mini-treatises I have read on the subject. I have to say I'm with Lee on this one. Thanks Wiz!!

shoo said...

Funny that what us skeptics and "deniers" have been saying for years is now being shown to be true.

Furthermore, as many have pointed out, the software that was released is even clearer evidence than the emails. What was released there calls into question the software used by all climate researchers.

All researchers, climate and otherwise, should make available their software source code as well os their data. This should be a normal part of science in attempting to replicate the work of others. Alas, at least in the climate field, all the computer models are kept secret, as well as the data that drives it. Nobody should take them seriously until that is changed, and we certainly shouldn't be trying to drive policy based on this.

Kentucky Rain said...

P.S. Climate change is the most important issue facing the world today. It is far more threatening to mankind than any other single phenomenon. There are no software codes needed. All you have to do is step outside.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Setting sanity aside, let us say for a moment that MM is correct and stepping outside proves Man Made Global warming.

Adaptation would be more effective and cheaper than a program of greenhouse gas reductions which, even according to its proponents, would slow global warming by only around 0.2 degrees. In other words, it ought to be possible to accept the case for global warming – and, indeed, for an anthropogenic component therein – while still believing that the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen agenda represents a misallocation of resources.

We should all be Global warming “ skeptics”, after this heroic hacker's expose, in the literal sense of wanting to question.

I resent the notion that it somehow makes me anti-environment. I drive only when absolutely necessary. I walk or ride a bike to work and most appointments in town.

We are big on reusing and recycling and sourcing our food locally and all the rest.

I’m want clean air and water, on whales and rainforest's, and I have always thought it a pity that free market solutions are not more widely applied to environmental problems.

The natural world is too important to be left to the Government.

Bob Keller said...

I just can't be certain if MadMike actually read the entire essay or not... You can't agree with Lee on one hand and then claim Global Warming is the #1 most serious issue facing all mankind on the other.

But, setting all that aside for a moment, the biggest and most important ISSUE is the failure of the researchers to open their software source code for peer review COMBINED WITH their convenient deletion of all raw data.

This isn't just bad science or sloppy work, it is absolutely CRIMINAL. Billions of dollars and millions of lives are affected by what we now know is false and completely meaningless research findings.

And Mike wanting to simply dismiss the central principles of basic science is no better than those who claim creationism is science without a scant bit of actual evidence beyond the book of Genesis.

Which, of course, proves my basic thesis that Global Warming is nothing more than Religion.

Bob Keller said...

Oh, and Mike, Step outside in Houston today where we are having the earliest snowfall on record.

Using your logic that absolutely proves global cooling.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Have you ever seen all those tall fences on highway overpasses? The government put them there because ONE person threw ONE thing off of ONE of those overpasses and caused ONE accident where ONE person was killed. The government never does ANYTHING via a cost-benefit analysis. I certainly don't expect them to start now.

Anonymous said...

Gods mill grinds slow but sure........................................

Kentucky Rain said...

Wizard your statement about global "cooling" confirms my belief that you don't understand the concept of global "warming." It is counter-intuitive. The fact that it is cold and snowing in Houston today supports the entire global warming theory, which really marries into climate change. I could go on and on but no one here will believe me so I will skulk back to my place and watch as I get pilloried for supporting the mission in Afghanistan and the president.

Unknown said...

At the very least MM admits Man Made Global Warming is a Concept instead of a fact now. Shoo once said that it would take an ice age to cause doubts in the MMGW faithful.

Your total selective reading of this Column and comments speaks loudly of your apostolic devotion.

Mike, believe me when I say that I fully understand the "Not being believed" to which I say put up the evidence that supports the theory. As I have posting after posting. I recall you touting the Climate Models and the consensus as proof. Why should the Copenhagen Ponzi scheme go forward? Given the agenda driven, ethically devoid "science" that is rotting in the sunlight currently?

Your consensus has been tainted to the point of no return. The Climate models are hacked together wishware. Aside from the logic of its cold so it warm. Fish or cut bait.

As Flying Van says: "You cannot defeat something with nothing."

Skulking does not suit you.

Kentucky Rain said...

Thanks Lee. You are right that skulking does not suit me. In all sincerity I am no longer going to "skulk." Like you I have an opinion. If I have been insulting to you for expressing yours please accept my apology. I am getting very tired these days.....

Vigilante said...

If Lee's going to be thought of on the cutting edge of anything, I would prefer that he start by sharpening up his syntax and proof reading skills. He's worse than I am, and - God knows - I am not on the cutting edge of anything. But really, it's pathetic Lee. Have someone read your stuff before you post it. I make mistakes, too. But I at least make an effort to clean my pages up. Pathetic. Cutting edge? More like a blunt instrument.

Kentucky Rain said...

You got my back Vigil. Sehr Gut!

Vigilante said...

LOL, Mike!