Scientists condemn ‘political assaults’ on climate researchers

A group of 255 of the world’s top scientists today written an open letter aimed at restoring public faith in the integrity of climate science.

In a strongly worded reproof of the recent escalation of political assaults on climatologists, the letter, published in the US Journal Science and signed by 11 Nobel laureates, attacks critics driven by “special interests or dogma” and “McCarthy-like” threats against researchers. It also attempts to set the record straight on the process of rigorous scientific research…

The letter sets out some basic features of the scientific method. “Like all human beings, scientists make mistakes, but the scientific process is designed to find and correct them. But when some conclusions have been thoroughly and deeply tested, questioned, and examined, they gain the status of ‘well-established theories’ and are often spoken of as ‘facts’,” it says.

The document, citing theories including the age and origin of the Earth, the Big Bang and Darwin’s evolution by natural selection, says that anthropogenic climate change is now so well-supported by evidence that it has achieved the same status. It adds that owing to science’s adversarial nature, “fame” awaits any scientists who can prove the theory wrong.

“There is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change,” the letter says…

“Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence,” the letter says.

Its call for an end to “McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association” appears to be jibe at Republican senator, James Inhofe.

In truth, I wouldn’t limit the politics of the assault on science to one or a few Republicans. The whole panoply of creationists, fundamentalist nutballs, those pitiful cowards whose definition of political correctness is grounded in obedience to the rich and powerful – are opposed to reason and research, science and education.

Nothing new about it. They’ve had a decade or so of building their role as henchmen to the Oil Patch Boys, the evangelical school board demagogues, the talking heads of hate radio. That the American populace would rise up and kick out some of their political hacks they adored is taken as a direct affront. This is nothing more than I would expect.

Hey – they loved the original McCarthy last time ’round. Why expect different?

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