The science deniers’ greatest hits

galileo“And yet, it moves.”

Thus muttered Galileo Galilei under his breath, after being forced by the Inquisition to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun, rather than the other way round. The public vindication of Copernican heliocentrism would have to wait another day.

Today, Galileo’s story is a well-known illustration of the dangers of both unchecked power and declaring scientific matters “settled.” Yet, throughout history, Galileo wasn’t alone.

Scientists once knew that light moved through space via the luminiferous aether – how else could its waves travel? In 1887 Albert Michelson and Edward Morley proved that it wasn’t so, thanks to a “failed” experiment that was actually designed to conclusively demonstrate the existence of this invisible medium. Poor Michelson suffered a nervous breakdown when faced with such unexpected results.

In 1931 a book published in Germany, One Hundred Authors against Einstein, defended the “settled science” of Newtonian physics and proclaimed that Einstein’s theory of relativity was a fraud. Einstein was reported to have replied, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

On these pages, I recently recounted the story of the early twentieth-century belief in Eugenics, a “science” widely adopted by governments around the world as a basis for social policy – with horrifying results.

Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warrens were ridiculed when they hypothesized that ulcers were caused by microbes, which “every scientist knew” couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Doctors were sure that peptic ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods. In frustration, Marshall drank a Petri dish full of cultured H. pylori, proving the “settled science” wrong.

Hopefully, the Nobel Prize he and Warrens received compensated for the illness that resulted.

And remember the government’s dietary guidelines, including the warnings against salt and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid urging Americans to eat more carbs and fewer fats? That didn’t work out so well, did it?

We all grew up knowing that life began in the “primordial soup” of the seas, sparked by lightning. A recent paper in Nature casts doubt on that theory, producing evidence that life may have begun in hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. The jury is still out on this one.

And that’s the point.

It’s worth keeping the above examples in mind when someone proclaims that surely we are much smarter today than we were in the past. That we can finally put our faith in scientific certainty, especially when journalists and politicians and subsidized scientists tell us that 97 percent of scientists agree on something. That once consensus is reached among experts, it’s important to stop listening to criticism.

If you have any doubts, just Google up the phrase “Science Says,” and view the parade of claims that carry that new and improved Good Housekeeping Seal of Infallibility.

Yes, reactionaries on the payroll of nefarious forces insist on reminding us that science is a process, not a destination. What difference does it make if a hypothesis has been artfully constructed to render itself immune to falsification by experiment?

Who cares if computer simulations enshrined at the heart of public policy have never made a correct forecast? How dare anyone imply that billions of dollars in government grant funding create perverse incentives for researchers to support the party line?

The important thing is that “settled science” can be used to spur the public to act.

And exactly what has the “settled science” of cataclysmic anthropogenic global warming convinced us to do? One thing above all: Deliver unprecedented power to politicians, activists, and bureaucrats.

Power to commandeer entire industries. Power to pump billions of taxpayer dollars into half-baked schemes cooked up by crony corporatists. Power to redistribute income on a global scale.

And to maintain this power, when cracks begin to show in the narrative, power to criminalize dissent, much as the Inquisition did to Galileo.

Real science is characterized by healthy skepticism, relentless questioning, and a constant testing and re-testing of theories, systems, and models. Casting dogma in stone – and then stoning non-believers – is a hallmark of intolerant religion, not science.

And when we finally wake up from our global warming-inspired public hysteria, our progeny will pat themselves on the back for being so much more advanced than we were. Before, alas, the cycle repeats again.


Bill Frezza is a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the host of the Real Clear Radio Hour.

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Comments (30)

  • Avatar

    Oneninetysix2zero

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    Prior to Gallileo, the scientific method did not exist. Gallileo was the scientist with verifiable evidence and the Catholic chuch were the ideologues.
    Not a good example for your article.

    Reply

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      Gator

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      The Cool Whip Cowboy rides again! And once again, bringing up the rear.

      “Roger Bacon (c. 1214 – c. 1292), an English thinker and experimenter, is recognized by many to be the father of modern scientific method”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#History

      So sorry Drewski, you are completely wrong once again.

      And Galileo is the perfect example for CAGW, as he went against the long held “consensus” of the faithful, just like skeptics are doing today.

      Found that paper yet? Or would you prefer to lie about finding it again, and having me rub your Pinocchio-esque nose in it once more?

      Reply

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        oneninetysix2zero

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        I stand corrected – Galileo was the first one to employ THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC METHOD utilizing mathematics as a cornerstone of this modern approach. I am sure you would agree, mathematics is essential for the understanding of astronomy just as it is in climate science.
        And to further your education, there were, in fact, many eminent natural philosophers and scientists long before Francis Bacon who had one or another approach to establishing scientific knowledge. And despite the many disagreements about which approach is best, there also have been many identifiable trends and historical markers in the several-millennia-long development of scientific method into present-day forms.
        So, half points Gator – a C-.
        However, as the Catholic Church DID NOT rely on the modern method or on any rational method for their own argument, they were very much the ideologues of their day much like sCeptics are currently and Gallileo was the historical Climate Scientist of his day.
        Luckily for mankind, sCeptics are a dying breed as evidenced by ALL (as in every single one) of the world’s nations signing on to the Paris accord.
        BTW, your comparison to Clinton supporters at a Trump rally as an equivalent to EVERY NATION ON EARTH accepting the reality of AGW was asinine, even for you.

        Reply

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          JayPee

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          I think you have just stated what an illiterate idiot you are.
          I invite everyone to read what has just been said and
          come to their own conclusions.
          My own surmise is
          you have just endorsed and even proven
          everything I have previously said.
          Thank you
          and may you have a pleasant hereafter
          no matter how ignorant.

          Reply

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            oneninetysix2zero

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            JayPee
            An illiterate idiot would be the one who has never provided any evidence in support of their bizarre beliefs.

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Well looks like Drewski can get a free ride now. Insult others at will. Well that is the way it works now I guess, Have ater Coolwhip? Ya jackass Hellarytard! Cause we know that it the truth!

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Coolwhip Rides again! Hee Haa! Giggy Up!

    • Avatar

      Me

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      Funny that da Mann got the tobacco laywers to back him up when your type was the same ones claiming Big Oil is the same as Big Tobacco? Amiright?

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Me

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        So a bit of hyprocracy going on there now isn’t it? Not like anyone missed that? LMAO!

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

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    You forgot to say thank you. I educated you once again, free of charge.

    And again, it is your religious belief that supports CAGW, and not the SM. Skeptics actually compare reality to alarmist predictions, and rightly reject a falsified hypothesis.

    Found that paper yet? 😆

    Reply

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      JayPee

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      Yes clown, provide it
      You have the burden of proof for your wild eyed extraordinary claims.
      Just because you jerks have been repeating your lies for more than forty years does not make them the standard even if you believe Hitler.

      Reply

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        JayPee

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        Sorry,
        the reply was aimed at zero= andrzejewski

        Reply

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          oneninetysix2zero

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          “You have the burden of proof for your wild eyed extraordinary claims.”
          JayPee,
          According to EVERY earth, space and atmospheric science organization PLUS every American intelligence and military organization PLUS every peak scientific organization PLUS every nation on earth, that scientific burden has already been met.
          10,00 peer-reviewed studies and the relentless drum beat of temperature records being broken and a shrinking cryosphere tends to do that.
          Speaking of studies, when will you provide one for that pet “theory” of yours?

          Reply

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            JayPee

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            Keep providing hilarious amusement andrzejewki.
            Nothing of what you say refutes anything I have said.
            Keep being a jerk
            Keep talking
            Keep ” proving ” by having the last word.

  • Avatar

    Simon Ruszczak

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    The “libtards” will never change their opinions, even when opposing facts are “staring them in the face”. They want to live in a fantasy world they’re going to save, because they’re the “good guys” (they believe).
    The web sites like this didn’t stop or slow down the AGW scam (one of a great many scams) but at least they “pissed off” the “libtards”.
    The only reason it’s coming to an end is the starting, “mini ice age”, otherwise the scam would have lasted decades more (one of it’s few benefits). Even when it’s in full swing, the “libtards” still believe in AGW !.

    Reply

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      oneninetysix2zero

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      Simon,
      The Earth has just experienced 16 straight months of record-breaking temperatures (hot) and global sea ice is the lowest ever recorded.
      These are the facts staring me in the face.
      What fantasies are you looking at?

      Reply

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        JayPee

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        You are a LIAR.
        What a jerk like you claims as fact is deliberately altered data.
        The data you resort to is a lie. ergo
        You are a LIAR !

        Reply

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          oneninetysix2zero

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          Yes yes JayPee,
          The liar is the one who can provide references (me) and the truth-teller is the one who can’t (you).

          Yoda: “The delusion is strong in JayPee, Obi One.”

          Reply

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            References ?
            Totally unnecessary when you can think for yourself’
            Not that you would understand.
            I stand by what I have said.
            That’s all that’s necessary.
            I don’t expect you to understand.
            You refer to volumes of idiocy as if it’s proof.
            It’s only proof of your lack of comprehension.
            But, enough
            I’m tired of talking to bird brains who think they’re intelligent but understand nothing.

          • Avatar

            oneninetysix2zero

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            “References ?
            Totally unnecessary . . . .”

            JayPee,
            Did you actually write that!?! And on a “science” site of all places!?!

            Obi One: “JayPee’s mind has been lost, Yoda.”
            Yoda: “Valuable, it was not, Obi One.”

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Hey Coolwhip, it wasn’t not so long ago your mann crush said that they didn’t need references or prof or stastics, they could just look out their windows and see climate change! Bwaaahahahaha!

          • Avatar

            oneninetysix2zero

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            “Fundamentally, I’m a climate scientist and have spent much of my career with my head buried in climate-model output and observational climate data trying to tease out the signal of human-caused climate change,” Mr. Mann told the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee at a hearing.
            “What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle,” he said.

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Yep, I know you are with the Siearra Club, Confirm or Deny?

          • Avatar

            Me

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            As fer your mann crush, well you can claim what you want but he said it! LOL! And after being confronted about it he backed off! LMAO and changed the tune again like your kind always does! Bwaaahahaha!

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            Me

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            Well since you’re somuchof a Climate scientist, LOL, well why is there still Ice in the Arctic that your kind said would be gone by 2 years ago? Bwaaaaahahahahaha!

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Drewski, ya can play yer games and get away with it to others, but in the end it will come back and bite ya.So come clean before this thing comes down and then you have to pay the price. Because we know you are a little man preaching the BS here. LOL! Or when it all falls you are going to be the one of the fallguys and the BSers will go away,scott free. LOL!

          • Avatar

            Me

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            You know this? or you desreve what you get?

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Now you stated here you are fundamentaly a climate scientist, so now you are the game, you are one of the people doing this, and when it fails you will be one that they go after because you were so vocal here. And it won’t be pretty.

          • Avatar

            Me

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            Escpeially when there are jobs being killed and trillions of dollars wasted, and peoples lives in the mix. Now Think hard about that. Because when it fails, I wouldn’t want to be you!

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