Would you allow a sixth grader to perform brain surgery on you? Would you trust a kindergartner to manage your 401K? If you have an ounce of common sense, the answer is most likely - no.
So, when it comes to the "debate" over climate change and the science of its nature and cause, why the hell would you listen to Republicans/conservatives? This is a group of people who have actively decided to reject science, deliberately misunderstand it and vilify its most dedicated investigators.
In his 2005 book "The Republican War on Science," author Chris Mooney devastatingly reveals how "cultural conservatives have disregarded, distorted, and abused science on the issues of evolution, embryonic stem cell research, the relation of abortion to health risks for women, and sex education. In the process, we will encounter more ideologically driven think tanks, more questionable science, and more conservative politicians willing to embrace it." He was absolutely right. In the four years since the book's publication, Republicans and conservatives have used junk science to promote their business friendly, culturally traditionalist agenda and sought to discredit legitimate science and scientists with an orgasmic fervor usually reserved for Pentecostal revivals.
The curent battleground for the 'conserva-pub' jihad against science and intellectualism is climate change. They prefer to call it 'Global Warming' because it narrows the definition to one they believe they can more easily refute. You will frequently hear them cite some cold weather incident and triumphantly declare that it is proof that the Earth isn't getting hotter and any scientist who claims it is must be having sex with Satan AND Al Gore. It goes like this: "Hey, did you hear that it was only 8 degrees above zero today in Buffalo? That's the lowest temperature there on this date in 47 years. Where's your global warming now, huh?" Of course, the ALWAYS fail to take note that on that same day, some other city on the planet it recording it HIGHEST temperature ever for that date. It is simplistic argumentation from simpletons.
Now we have "Climate-gate", those hacked e-mails from a climate research school at a British university. Climate-change deniers are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, shouting from the roof tops, that these e-mails are the smoking gun that climate scientists are fudging the climate numbers and trying to silence dissenting voices. Dim-witted conservative blogger and Fox "News" gadfly Michelle Malkin called it "the scandal of the century." Republican Senator James Inhofe, whose intellectual heft is remarkably similar to a third grader, wants congressional hearings.
Out of 160 MEGABYTES of e-mails and data stolen from the university servers, the most damning quotes that they come up with are:
(NOTE: these experts are clipped from Fox "News" to display how the right wing media is characterizing the quotes)
"Professor Jones talks to Professor Mann about the "trick of adding in the real temps to each series...to hide the decline [in temperature]."..."
"Professor Jones tells Professor Mann: 'If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone" and "We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.'"
"Tim Osborn, discusses in e-mails how truncating a data series can hide a cooling trend that would otherwise be seen in the results. Professor Mann sent Professor Osborn an e-mail saying that the results he is sending shouldn't be shown to others because the results support critics of global warming. "
What is not shown are the various e-mails that express the certitude about climate change and the quality of the supporting evidence of its man-made causes. More importantly, what is on display here is the fundamental lack of understanding of science on the part of the "gotcha" crowd.
They know nothing of the scientific method and how scientists actually process data and interpret the results. They haven't the vaguest notion of scientific debate and consensus building through the peer review process. They take a few out-context quotes and hysterically fan the flames of this nontroversy into a "scandal of the century" bonfire.
Did they bother to go to reputable climate scientists and ask for an interpretation of the e-mails? No. They had the 'proof' that they needed that the tree-huggers were playing fast and loose with the truth and that was all they needed. So what do climate scientists say? Read it here. Scientist do not want to silence dissenting voices, what they want is the keep JUNK science out of the discussion. If a "peer-review" journal publishes BAD science, especially if done with a political intention, then it should be disregarded. If there is anything scientific that the conserva-pubs are good at, it is JUNK science.
It seems the conserva-pubs are so set in their mind that - not only isn't mankind contributing to global climate change, but that the change isn't even occuring - that they will stoop to anything, no matter how disreputable, to prove their point.
The question is: when will Americans stop listening to the uninformed speak as experts on subjects they know nothing about, when will we reject fear-mongering and scare-tactics, when will we turn off Fox "News" because it misinforms and distorts, when will we actually rely on smart people with real experience and education to guide us?
For those who still cling to the notion that "Climate-gate" is a real "scandal", my daughter is in kindergarten and I am sure she can spare the time to manage your 401K.