Climate Thuggery · 04 August 2011

By Peter Wood - Chronicle of Higher Education

Is anthropogenic global warming (AGW) a valid scientific theory?  Is it well supported by the empirical data or is it mostly an artifact of computer modeling?  I don’t have answers to these questions.  I stand, rather, on the side of those who favor rigorous scientific inquiry, transparency, and openness.  I am not a climate scientist, but neither do I cede the whole matter of answering such questions to the designated experts.  Good science doesn’t limit itself to the views of narrow-cast specialists.  Valid observations, corrective criticism, competing hypotheses, and rigorous testing can and often do arise from other sources.

It surprises me, however, that proponents of AGW, or what might be called the climate orthodoxy section of AGW theory, often respond to criticism and dissent with a kind of fury.  Far from welcoming discussion, they seek to suppress it. In doing so they jeopardize both their own authority and the prestige of the scientific community.

A month ago I posted on Innovations a brief item, “Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism,” about the machinations of one of Professor Michael Mann’s ardent defenders, Dr. John Mashey, who has taken a no-holds-barred approach to silencing Mann’s critics. Mann himself has deployed nuisance lawsuits in a similar fashion. He has sued Tim Ball—a Canadian global-warming skeptic, an environmentalist, and former professor of geography—for libel for writing that Mann “should be in the State Pen, not Penn State,” for his role in Climategate. Mann also threatened a lawsuit against Minnesotans for Global Warming for a satiric YouTube video titled “Hide the Decline.” (YouTube suppressed the original video. There is now a “Hide the Decline II.”)

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