To the Daily:
I have officially given up on climate change contrarians and their complete disregard for science, the scientific method and any application of logical thought.
Over the past few weeks, a pseudo-controversy has raged over the so-called “Climategate” e-mail, which allegedly proves that the entirety of climate science is an elaborate hoax devised by liberals to turn the United States into Nazi Germany (or something equally inane and, frankly, unimaginative). Yes, some people claim this single e-mail from one relatively obscure scientist contains enough evidence to overturn the consensus of thousands of other experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Meteorological Society, the U.S. Department of Defense and numerous other scientific organizations.
As though this claim was not already ludicrous enough to disqualify it from any serious consideration, when the actual content of the e-mail in question is reviewed, there is no evidence of data falsification. Rather, the misguided scientist in question is talking about doctoring one of his graphs to exaggerate the trends in certain areas. While this type of manipulation is certainly unethical and not something I would ever defend, it is definitely not grounds to suggest that his original data, much less the data of all the scientists in the previously mentioned organizations, is in any way fake. If anything, this is merely a demonstration of the fact that scientists are no less susceptible to personal motivations than any of the rest of us, particularly in circumstances where certainty is demanded from a political perspective yet impossible from a scientific one. But these types of personal biases are acknowledged and addressed by the scientific establishment through the process of peer review and consensus.
Let me be clear: I have no intention of treating the consensus of climate scientists as some sort of religiously infallible and unquestionable truth. If legitimate questions can be raised over how a climate model is constructed or how data is interpreted, such questions should absolutely be addressed in the interest of advancing our understanding of this complex phenomenon. But if the best argument climate naysayers can construct is one based on factual and logical distortions, it does not serve any such interest. Instead, it cheapens public debate of an already intellectually challenging issue that has profound consequences for the future.
Eileen Divringi is an LSA sophomore.