By Kevin Meyer
The climate change world is in a bit of a tizzy this week over the resignation of Dr. Ivar Giaever, a nobel laureate physicist currently teaching at my alma mater, from the American Physical Society. What is his beef?
Being told, by a scientific society no less, that questioning is no longer acceptable. I thought that's what science is all about.
Well, Mr. Vice President [Al Gore], meet Ivar Giaever, a 1973 physics Nobel Laureate who resigned last week from the American Physical Society in protest over the group's insistence that evidence of man-made global warming is "incontrovertible."
In an email to the society, Mr. Giaever—who works at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute—wrote that "The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me . . . that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period."
Pretty smart guy. He's not the only one.
He follows in the footsteps of University of California at Santa Barbara Emeritus Professor of Physics Harold Lewis, a former APS fellow who resigned in 2010, calling global warming "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."
Other dissenters include Stanford University physicist and Nobelist Robert B. Laughlin, deceased green revolution icon and Nobelist Norman Borlaug, Princeton physicist William Happer and World Federation of Scientists President Antonino Zichichi. Our point is not that all of these men agree on climate change, much less mankind's contribution to it, only that to one degree or another they maintain an open mind about warming or what to do about it.
That last statement is the critical part. Whether or not climate change, especially human-triggered climate change, is a reality is not the point. Regardless of whether it is or not most of us probably agree that it is good policy to do what we can to lessen the environmental impact of human activity.
One of the least savory traits of climate-change advocates is how they've tried to bully anyone who keeps an open mind. This is true of many political projects, but it is or ought to be anathema to the scientific method.
The point is that we should never stop questioning – or try to prevent questioning – even when a large majority of very smart people believe a concept should be considered fact. Examples?
- The Earth is flat.
- The Earth is at the center of the universe.
- You must have an MRP system to adequately manage manufacturing operations.
- U.S. companies cannot compete with low labor cost countries like China.
In most cases the opinion of a group of smart people probably is fact. Luckily in some cases there were some strong-willed individuals, equally ostracized, who continued to question presumed fact.
Never stop questioning.