Can we agree to tolerate disagreement?
Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson’s “defection” from an alleged climatological consensus has been greeted with hysteria from some colleagues. His sin was joining the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which challenges the received wisdom.
The alleged scientific consensus is that mankind, in its industrial phase, is not only a cause but the pivotal cause of recent global warming/“climate change.” Also that our carbonic effusions are triggering not mild, normal, nothing-to-panic-about global climate variation but imminently catastrophic variation.
Is it okay to dispute these and related hypotheses?
Debate about complex scientific contentions isn’t a bad thing. New knowledge is gained both by positive investigation and by correcting errors and misinterpretations. One does not abet scientific inquiry by treating any challenges to a favored explanation as per se illicit, regardless of evidence or argument.
But Bengtsson reports that he has been subjected to enormous pressure “from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me . . . I see therefore no other way out . . . than resigning from GWPF. I had not been expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure . . . from a community that I have been close to all my active life.”
What’s the message? “Regardless of your reasons or credentials, don’t dare deviate from our ‘consensus,’ at least not publicly — or else we’ll make your life very very hard.” Whatever the motives and goals here, they have nothing to do with either the methodological or the social requirements of science.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.