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Scientific concerns over Stern report

I have seen Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, read the book, and read the Stern report. As a scientist, I am appalled. Both authors present myriad dangers as truth – no doubts, a 100 per cent consensus. Yet a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science.

I have seen Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, read the book, and read the Stern report. As a scientist, I am appalled. Both authors present myriad dangers as truth – no doubts, a 100 per cent consensus. Yet a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science.

I am reminded of Trophim Lysenko, who used pseudoscience and myth-making to establish "scientific proof" of Marxist genetics. Lysenko dominated Soviet science for more than two decades by propaganda and ruthless liquidation of his opponents. When he was finally discredited, the Soviet Nobel Laureate Nicolai Semyonov wrote: "There is nothing more dangerous than blind passion in science. Given support from someone in power, it can lead to suppression of true science, and… to inflicting great injury on the country".

Popular knowledge of scientific issues is again awash with misinformation. Alarmists use the language of science to manipulate public perceptions by judgmental warnings. Scientists who challenge them are branded as a tiny minority of "sceptics". One of the few geneticists who survived... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I have seen Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, read the book, and read the Stern report. As a scientist, I am appalled. Both authors present myriad dangers as truth – no doubts, a 100 per cent consensus. Yet a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science.

I am reminded of Trophim Lysenko, who used pseudoscience and myth-making to establish "scientific proof" of Marxist genetics. Lysenko dominated Soviet science for more than two decades by propaganda and ruthless liquidation of his opponents. When he was finally discredited, the Soviet Nobel Laureate Nicolai Semyonov wrote: "There is nothing more dangerous than blind passion in science. Given support from someone in power, it can lead to suppression of true science, and… to inflicting great injury on the country".

Popular knowledge of scientific issues is again awash with misinformation. Alarmists use the language of science to manipulate public perceptions by judgmental warnings. Scientists who challenge them are branded as a tiny minority of "sceptics". One of the few geneticists who survived the Stalin era wrote: "Lysenko showed how a forcibly instilled illusion, repeated over and over at meetings and in the media, takes on an existence of its own in people's minds, despite all realities." To me, we have fallen into this trap. A genuine concern for mankind demands the inquiry, accuracy and scepticism that are intrinsic to science. A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse.


Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

NOV 2 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/5612-scientific-concerns-over-stern-report
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