Consensus doesn’t establish fact

I find it ironic when proponents of the theory of man-made global warming, such as Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts, insist that the scientific debate on the subject is over and that consensus has triumphed over denial. (Dec. 24 guest commentary, “Copenhagen: An important step forward.”)

It seems to me that the need these advocates feel to make these assertions belies the fact that the exact opposite is true. If what they say is true, why must they keep repeating it? The last time I checked, scientific fact was established by repeatable experimentation, not consensus. Consensus has proved to be an unreliable measure of factuality, giving us such intellectual follies as the geocentric model that Galileo attempted to expose as a farce.

I do not claim to be a scientist, but I do understand some of the basics of the argument. It seems to me that every argument I’ve heard in favor of the theory of man-made global warming could be explained by natural causes. Some of the countervailing evidence, however, is difficult to explain in terms of human activity (e.g., the fact that while CO2 levels have continued to rise, global temperatures have basically plateaued since 1998).

I think before we cede our freedoms to the likes of Congressmen Waxman and Markey and President Obama, we should seriously consider what’s at stake. What they’re asking is that we give up the elements of our society that have made us prosperous and submit to higher costs of living on the basis of a highly suspect theory. I urge everyone to tell their congressmen to oppose these freedom-crushing proposals.

Peter Scougale