Archive for July, 2006

The Scientific Method

OpinionJournal – Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan laments the inability of the scientific community to come together and deliver a solid answer on global warning. The reason why? The scientists have political agendas:

“You would think the world’s greatest scientists could do this, in good faith and with complete honesty and a rigorous desire to discover the truth. And yet they can’t. Because science too, like other great institutions, is poisoned by politics. Scientists have ideologies. They are politicized.”

I disagree. Certainly you can find purported scientists who are willing to subvert the truth to their agenda, in any field. But it is not enough to claim an agenda against the truth because the truth has not been discovered. You also need to establish that the questions we are asking, about global warming, are answerable with today’s knowledge, data, and technology. The answer the scientists might be forwarding is ‘I don’t know’ and there is nothing necessarily unscientific about that.

It seems to me what the scientific community has been saying is that the problem of global warming is phenomenally complex: the data are massive (many things to measure under all sorts of different circumstances) and future prediction has been near impossible. This is a scientific answer and possibly the best one we will have in the near term.