In recent years the world’s oldest science academy has been taken for a joyride. Three centuries of neutrality have been impulsively abandoned.
To be a climate skeptic is to find oneself in an awkward spot. Eminent science
organizations have publicly declared that human beings are causing dangerous climate change. Among these are the US National Academy of Sciences, the Science Council of Japan, the Académie des Sciences in France, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
How can rational, intelligent people not take their word for it? How can someone such as myself – who lacks any scientific training whatsoever – imagine that my own misgivings deserve to be taken seriously when such esteemed bodies have spoken?
Yesterday a new report
was released that goes a long way toward answering those questions. Written by Andrew Montford, the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion
and the Bishop Hill blog
, it takes a close look at the misbehaviour of the world’s oldest science academy
The UK’s Royal Society was founded in 1660. For more than 300 years, Montford writes, it “adopted a position of aloofness from political debates, refusing to become embroiled in the controversies of the day.” Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the society’s journal explicitly declared that it was not the job of that organization:
to give an official ruling on scientific issues, for these are settled far more conclusively in the laboratory than in the committee room.