Enviroweb is the blog by a aquatic and environmental scientist Eugene Macri on all aspects of the environment,science, ecology, health, educational science and the politics involved. ©2006 All Rights Reserved E. Macri. Permission to reprint or use electronically as long as credit is given and we are notified.


Monday, April 03, 2006

George Will: Global Warming Expert or Mental Midget?

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Once upon a time there were people who couldn’t become scientists. Why? Perhaps they weren’t smart enough or maybe they just didn’t wish to go through the rigors of a scientific curriculum. So these people made up their own science format and called it: Political Science! Among the modern day practitioners of this witchcraft is none other than Dr. George “the pundit” Will. Of course, I am being a bit tongue and cheek here but political scientists are anything but scientists (there are a few exceptions including Dr. Howard Ernst of the Naval Academy who did a fine job on the book, Chesapeake Bay Blues).

Will’s anti-environmental bent has been around for years. Recently it manifested itself in the Jewish World Review (http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/will040306.asp) in the article, Let cooler heads prevail: The media heat up over global warming. Will sites data from the 70’s claiming that scientists then were predicting a coming ice age. His explanation basically is that the earth is either warming or cooling and that it’s the journalists who are fueling this debate, and so what if the earth is warming.

Yes, this man does have a PhD in PolySci as we used to call it, and so much for his critical thinking skills. I wonder if George realizes that in 30 years since 1975 the knowledge of environmental scientists and climatologists has changed dramatically. Computers have advanced and models have improved in the last 30 years would be an understatement. Almost all legitimate climatologists and environmental scientists accept the present Global Warming analysis with the exception of those who are funded by the coal or oil industry. Unfortunately, the media contrary to what Will has stated have actually given more press to the nonbelievers of Global Warming then to the actual science of it. This is because no matter how crazy an idea is on the right (or sometimes the left) the media assumes that they are on equal footing scientifically. The recent debate over evolution versus intelligent design is a perfect example of this.

Will’s knowledge of science is limited of course and his understanding of it warped by his political philosophy. He is right on a couple of things that China, and other nations must also be included any protocols and that Clinton knew this too. But he is a witchdoctor among many in this nation in the world of political science (which is an oxymoron). His simplistic and “absolute analysis of science” from the 70’s is typical of the rhetoric of the right. I call this the sound bite or bumper sticker mentality and it has no place in the halls of science.

We are in deep trouble scientifically in this country. We are a scientifically illiterate nation. Will fuels such stupidity and the people believe it. Like Robert Kennedy Jr. on the left and Michael Crichton on the right Will is one of the pundits who are not scientists, have little scientific knowledge but are eager to write and spread such nonsense. As I have mentioned before if these people wanted to be scientists why didn’t they go to the universities to become one (Crichton does have MD thank God he never practiced)? When I was an undergraduate majoring in biology we used try and get into PolySci courses to improve our overall grade point average. Since these courses didn’t seem to require too many IQ points or critical thinking skills.

To put it bluntly, Will’s take on Global Warming should win him the Mental Midget of the Week Award with all due honors, Congratulations ----Dr. Will.

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.

Hippocrates (460- 377 BC)


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