Science v Society the Politics Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The release of fossil fuels has been driving industrial and civic expansion for the past century and a half, and there is therefore a compelling reason to deny such causes: "some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (Oreskes). Just as in the debate over the heliocentric solar system, issues of political and/or economic motive are raised to cloud the science at issue.

What truly separates the global warming debate from the issues that Galileo dealt with, however, is that there really is hard science at the base of both camps with vastly different interpretations. This has made the contention all the more fierce, and personal accusations only seem more rampant now than during Galileo's trial due to the increased difficulty of a scientific attack. One example of this is Gore's insistence on using Revelle's name in connection with his crusade against carbon emissions, when it appears as though Revelle at least questioned if not doubted human involvement in the warming trend (Sheppard). There is a very real scientific question of whether or not humans are causing a warming trend, even among scientists who agree that a warming trend is indeed taking place, but the battle has turned into a political one about who said what and when they said it. Such politicization of the scientific research and findings on both sides of the global warming issue is only exacerbated by the absolute terms with which both groups make their claims, such as Dr. Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's assertion that "The debate about whether there is a global warming signal now is over, at least for rational people" because "the [computer] models got it right" (qtd. In Henderson). These models were designed by scientists looking for proof of global warming, and cannot be counted on to accurately predict all possible influences on the weather, yet the findings are presented as absolute fact in order to influence political decisions.

Such actions have consistently weakened the legitimacy of scientific findings since such inquiries first took place. It is somewhat gratifying to note that the objective pursuit of knowledge has continued nonetheless, but it can be difficult to know exactly what objective even means sometimes. The debate over global warming is far from over; perhaps n a few centuries the issue will be as clear as heliocentrism is now. Let's just hope we're there to see it.

Works Cited

Coleman, John. "The Amazing Story behind the Global Warming Scam."

"Gore's Grave New World."

Henderson, Mark. "Why Global Warming is Not Natural."

Oreskes, Naomis. "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change."

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