Climate Change Caused by Humans
Consensus Isn't Science
(What About Galileo?)

Consensus IS Science

The late Michael Crichton was fond of saying: "There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period." He repeated this theme in his fictional book, State of Fear, and this theme has become very popular with those that do not like the overwhelming consensus view on global warming - that humans are very likely the cause.

Historian of science, Naomi Oreskes of UC San Diego, states: "Scientific knowledge is the intellectual and social consensus of affiliated experts based on the weight of available empirical evidence, and evaluated according to accepted methodologies. If we feel that a policy question deserves to be informed by scientific knowledge, then we have no choice but to ask, what is the consensus of experts on this matter."

So whom are we to believe? Perhaps the example below will shed some light on why decisions related to science must be made based on the consensus, particularly if there is such a strong consensus:

You have not been feeling well so you do the intelligent thing and seek out 10 medical professionals for a diagnosis and treatment. Their responses are listed below:
#1: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#2: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#3: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#4: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#5: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#6: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#7: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#8: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#9: You have a serious condition that must treated immediately delay means serious health concerns

#10: You have a mild, natural condition that is not serious no need to do anything at this time

Doctors #1 - #9 are active, well respected, and well published in medical journals. Doctor #10 has not worked for years and has not published in medical journals.

This is analogous to the consensus about the human cause of global warming and the possible dire consequences of inaction.

Of course, you WANT doctor #10 to be correct but are you willing to gamble your health on the low probability of that doctor being correct?

What about Galileo?

Skeptics frequently invoke what is known as the Galileo Gambit. The idea is that Galileo presented views that were well outside the consensus view at the time but Galielo was right. Other scientists mentioned are Darwin and Einstein. Of course, these scientists were able to PROVE that they were correct and that the consensus was wrong. One never hears about the thousands of scientists that went against the consensus and ended up being wrong!

To date, not a single scientist has been able to demonstrate with a reasonable certainty a natural cause of the modern warming trend while also showing how human emissions of greenhouse gases is a minor forcing mechanism. NOT ONE.

Galileo Bozo
"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."
-- Carl Sagan



Scott A. Mandia
Professor - Physical Sciences
T-202 Smithtown Sciences Bldg.
S.C.C.C.
533 College Rd.
Selden, NY 11784
(631) 451-4104
mandias@sunysuffolk.edu
http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/

Last updated: 11/23/09