Yesterday’s headlines included Rasmusson’s poll results on how many people want the government to prosecute people who don’t believe in global warming. The title of the article, Little Support of Punishing Global Warming Foes, belies the seriousness of the actual results. Let’s summarize the results, (copied from the Rasmusson link):
- 68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming.
- over one-in-four Democrats (27%), however, favor prosecuting those who don’t agree with global warming.
- Most also oppose prosecuting those who don’t agree that global warming is real, although voters under 40 are more supportive of prosecution that their elders are.
- Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Obama is doing, 29% favor prosecuting those who disagree with global warming.
- But only 20% of Americans think they have true freedom of speech today. Seventy-three percent (73%) think instead that Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.
A few months ago I shared with a family member that some on the left want put people in jail who don’t agree with AGW; she was in disbelief until I sent her a few links. But I said, of course that is only the radical left. Most don’t feel that way. I was thinking well less than 5%. But this poll says I was wrong. How can it be that over 1/4 of Democrats think that we should prosecute people and corporations for disagreeing with their orthodoxy? Of course the response will be, because its so serious. We can’t claim free speech to allow someone to yell fire in a crowded theater, so we can’t allow free speech in political or scientific discourse.
This post isn’t about global warming per se, and I haven’t changed my thinking since this post, But I do find it ironic that the hysteria (and certainly the shrillness) of the debate goes ever stronger as the evidence* seems to get weaker. A Biblical worldview starts with our anthropology–we believe that we are created in the image of God and yet we are also fallen. The effects of the fall have corrupted everything, even our minds and reason, such that we know that even the best minds can be deceived. That knowledge should humble us and cause us be skeptical of claims that the “science is settled,” especially when climate science is an incredibly complex system. The claim that the science is settled, when the very nature of science suggests that nothing settled (rather, the best we can say is that the current scientific consensus supports XYZ), should warn us that something else is up.
*At least in terms of demonstrated feedback loops from CO2 to the climate; all the climate science agrees that the direct result of CO2 is insufficient to get the >2 degree rise that will lead to the catastrophic results–the debate is over the models that show that the effect from CO2 is amplified within the climate system. Yet despite NOAA’s claims that every year is hotter, they fail to note that the “rises” in temperature are so small they are well under the precision of their estimates! Those type claims should alert the reader that there is an agenda.