Wednesday, June 11th 2008, 4:22 PM EDT
In the The Daily Utah Chronicle by Andrew Cengiz, there is a very good article concerning the lack of debate on the "Global Warming" issue.
Academic freedom and academic courage are taking a major blow in the United States. Academic courage looks like Galileo, who opposed the Roman Catholic Church's Ptolemaic theory and was imprisoned. He sought truth despite the consequence and regardless of what was popular. This is the courage we are lacking.
Akin to the Catholic Church's control of exploring new ideas during the first few centuries, our government is failing to support and share research that doesn't support their agenda.
This control of ideas is most visible in the current debate surrounding the cause of global warming. There is much evidence and scientific testimony that humans are negatively affecting the Earth's temperature through release of greenhouse gases.
"Increased greenhouse gas concentrations are very likely to raise the Earth's average temperature," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on its website.
However, there is also evidence and scientific testimony that opposes this theory. Thirty thousand scientists, 9,000 of whom hold doctorate degrees, have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, which states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide...will...cause disruption of the Earth's climate."
If you've never heard of this, that's exactly my point. The causes and solutions to this important scientific issue are debatable, but for some reason, the debate isn't being discussed.
Discussion of this subject is impeded by the carelessness of our government. Speaking of the popularity of human-caused global warming, William M. Gray, atmospheric science researcher at Colorado State University said, "My fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong (because) they...know that they'd never get any grants."
Billions of dollars are given in grants for global warming research. Gray said he feels some of his colleagues are conforming to popularity and profitability.
While grants are an incentive for some, deadlines are a factor for government scientists. Auke Bay laboratory research chemist Jeff Short said in his 2004 article "The Corporate Corruption of Science" in American Welfare Institute Quarterly, "Intramural government scientists may be forced to release data prematurely, without the opportunity to examine it for errors or interpret it."
"Academic scientists supported by government grants are explicitly exempted," he added. "These exemptions should be extended to government scientists."
Our government needs to stop censoring credible scientists who hold different views. In September 2007, Virginia climatologist Patrick Michaels resigned because of his skeptic view of human-caused global warming.
"I was told that I could not speak in public on my area of expertise, global warming, as a state climatologist," he said.
Not only is the government censoring some of these scientists, but it is slandering them when they do speak. During Al Gore's LIVE Earth concert in July 2007, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said of climate skeptics: "This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors."
With such a strong arm in forming policy and public opinion, science needs a plan to ensure more honest and refined data.
"Scientific reform has yet to achieve the attention it deserves," Short said. "Scientists like to think of themselves as above all that."
Just as the Catholic Church's monopoly on information came to an end through Protestant reformation, a scientific reformation needs to take place. Sadly, the U seems to have given up on this academic conversation. On Nov. 29, 2006, Kevin Trenberth, a leading expert on global warming, gave, according to the official announcement, "a popular lecture for the general public." And on April 22, U President Michael Young signed the Presidents Climate Commitment.
A university should be the place that multiple ideas and opinions are shared and heard. Participating in these programs and lectures is not wrong, but giving no medium or attention to opposing views cancels the purpose of the critical education the U should be providing.
There is a lot of talk about the significance of academic freedom at our university. To have any type of freedom, there must be choice. To have true academic freedom, administration, faculty and students need to hear all sides fairly and without bias.
The media and government seem to be making up their mind on what common science is. They don't want to give the public choices. They're drawn to science that sells.
Our university needs to be a bastion of resistance to conforming to a single idea. Administration and faculty at the U have an academic obligation to-and should-present both sides without fear of being called heretics and traitors.
Academic inquiriy failing on global warming