Friday, December 22, 2006

Skeptical Climatologists

Kevin Vranes of No Se Nada writes about impressions he got from a recent meeting of geophysicists [So what happened at AGU last week?]. Apparently, some climatologists are worried that they may have oversold climate change and supressed legtimate skepticism over some of the details.

This is a very important issue in science. It does not mean that warnings about climate change are totally wrong or misguided. What it means is that contrary opinions within the scientific community aren't getting attention for fear of diluting the important message that the public needs to hear.

It's an issue in other disciplines as well, such as evolutionary biology. Skepticism, which is the essence of science, doesn't play very well in the public arena. Scientists who are skeptical about some aspects of evolutionary biology are sometimes considered to be traitors to the cause of defeating creationism. I imagine that the same sort of thing might be happening in the field of climate change.

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