Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Climate Change - should dissent be tolerated?

SHOOT: I disagree with the Economist. The measures needed to combat climate change are the same measures required to redefine economics and what is sustainable. Any chit chat that questions whether or why we should do this is part of the delusional consumer mindset that belongs to a defunct era.

ECONOMIST: Scientific dissent should be silenced. It can, it is true, do harm. When AIDS first reared its ugly head, no one knew what caused it. Gradually, the virus responsible was isolated, identified and then attacked successfully with drugs designed specifically to inhibit its reproduction. A few scientists, though, refused to accept the evidence, and some politicians used their arguments to justify inaction. Since one of those politicians was Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa, hundreds of thousands who might have been saved by an anti-AIDS policy grounded in scientific reality died as a result of his policies.
clipped from www.economist.com

This newspaper believes that global warming is a serious threat, and that the world needs to take steps to try to avert it. That is the job of the politicians. But we do not believe that climate change is a certainty. There are no certainties in science. Prevailing theories must be constantly tested against evidence, and refined, and more evidence collected, and the theories tested again. That is the job of the scientists. When they stop questioning orthodoxy, mankind will have given up the search for truth. The sceptics should not be silenced.

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