PEEK

Wall Street Journal Editor Slanders Al Gore, Nobel Prize and All Climate Scientists

Dr. Joseph Romm: Why can't conservatives accept the massive evidence that human emissions are the driving force behind our changing planet?
This post, written by Dr. Joseph Romm, originally appeared on Climate Progress

The bar for Wall Street Journal editorials, in the journalistic equivalent of limbo dancing, keeps dropping. In a piece titled, "The Science of Gore's Nobel" (subs. req'd), Holman W. Jenkins Jr. of the WSJ ed board, manages to slander the media, Al Gore, the Nobel Committee, and all climate scientists -- without offering any facts to back up the attacks:
The media will be tempted to blur the fact that his medal, which Mr. Gore will collect on Monday in Oslo, isn't for "science".... Yet now one has been awarded for promoting belief in manmade global warming as a crisis.
Why would the media blur the Nobel Peace Prize with a science prize when Gore isn't a scientist? They wouldn't, of course, but this imagined media blunder allows Jenkins -- a journalist -- to make the subject of his piece climate science.

What is especially bizarre about the WSJ piece is that Gore shared the Nobel Peace Price with thousands of scientists who form the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- but Jenkins never mentions that fact at all. Again, that's because he wants to attack the Nobel committee for "promoting belief in manmade global warming as a crisis."

In fact, the award was not given for promoting "belief" -- a pejorative word as Jenkins uses it -- but for promoting "knowledge" -- as the Committee said, the award was given for "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

By omitting mention of the IPCC, Jenkins can ignore the tremendous scientific evidence for the theory of human-caused global warming and the urgent need for action. Jenkins attacks the international scientific consensus without providing a single piece of counterevidence -- or any understanding of either the nature of the consensus or the difference between "belief" and "scientific knowledge." Because the consensus is so important, and now, so alarming, it is worth understanding what it is -- and what is isn't -- since conservatives either must ramp up their attack on it -- or accept the clarion call for immediate government action (something most of them cannot stomach politically no matter what the science says).

Let's start with what the consensus isn't -- ably set out by Jenkins:
What if the heads being counted to certify an alleged "consensus" arrived at their positions by counting heads?
It may seem strange that scientists would participate in such a phenomenon. It shouldn't. Scientists are human; they do not wait for proof; many devote their professional lives to seeking evidence for hypotheses (especially well-funded hypotheses) they've chosen to believe.
Less surprising is the readiness of many prominent journalists to embrace the role of enforcer of an orthodoxy simply because it is the orthodoxy. For them, a consensus apparently suffices as proof of itself.
Uhh, not even close. The scientific consensus is most certainly not established by counting heads (although, strangely enough, that is how we elect our leaders). Scientists do not devote their professional lives to seeking evidence for hypotheses they've chosen to believe (although that would be a good description of the people who study "intelligent design").
Dr. Joseph Romm is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he oversees the blog ClimateProgress.org.
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