What About 'Global Warming'?

RECEIVED Wed., March 15, 2006

Dear Mr. Black,
    Your March 3 editorial [“Page Two”] decried the right's alternate reality, saying it shunned history, economics, and science. I assume that you would include "global warming." (I use the term loosely.) In a letter from the December 2005 issue of Discover, a reader complained that one article quoted an older scientist that "human-induced global warming is a conclusion arrived at by those who 'don't know anything about how the atmosphere functions,'" and another article saying that "few scientists of any persuasion question the reality of human-induced global warming." The editor responded without insults or name-calling, instead promising to assess what is actually known. "Most scientists" don't know enough about specific scientific fields, like meteorology, to have legitimate opinions, and they know it. (In a past article on nuclear weapons, you quoted a scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists admitting his own lack of knowledge on the subject – how refreshing!) However, history has also shown that older scientists can all be wrong. (The ether wind theory is an example.) The issue just isn't that clear-cut, yet you say that any one who questions "global warming" is crazy. You too don't let "real numbers, figures, and facts" get in the way. There are real grounds to question much of what people claim is true, right and left. (I realize all too well that Bush denies "global warming" only so he can enact policies benefiting his financial supporters. That is the political reality of both parties.) Could it be that we are so nasty today precisely because we are so unsure of ourselves?
Byron F. Hinderer III
Cedar Park
   [Louis Black responds: Thanks for staking out my position on "global warming" for me, but actually I didn't include it on purpose. I trust neither the left nor the right on this, both confuse politics with science and anecdotal evidence with serious systematic research. So you are dealing with conclusions I did not offer, because I don't have them.]
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