The “science” mantra

Thomas Sowell's picture

Science is one of the great achievements of the human mind and the biggest reason why we live not only longer but more vigorously in our old age, in addition to all the ways in which it provides us with things that make life easier and more enjoyable.

Like anything valuable, science has been seized upon by politicians and ideologues, and used to forward their own agendas.

This started long ago, as far back as the 18th century, when the Marquis de Condorcet coined the term “social science” to describe various theories he favored. In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels distinguished their own brand of socialism as “scientific socialism.” By the 20th century, all sorts of notions wrapped themselves in the mantle of “science.”

“Global warming” hysteria is only the latest in this long line of notions, whose main argument is that there is no argument, because it is “science.”

The recently revealed destruction of raw data at the bottom of the global warming hysteria, as well as revelations of attempts to prevent critics of this hysteria from being published in leading journals, suggests that the disinterested search for truth — the hallmark of real science — has taken a back seat to a political crusade.

An intercepted email from a professor at the Climate Research Unit in England to a professor at the University of Pennsylvania warned the latter: “Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act” and urged the American professor to delete any emails he may have sent a colleague regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

When a business accused of fraud begins shredding its memos and deleting its emails, the media are quick to proclaim these actions as signs of guilt. But, after the global warming advocates began a systematic destruction of evidence, the big television networks went for days without even reporting these facts, much less commenting on them.

As for politicians, Senator Barbara Boxer has urged prosecution of the hackers who uncovered and revealed the emails! People who have in the past applauded whistleblowers in business, in the military, or in Republican administrations, and who lionized the New York Times for publishing the classified Pentagon papers, are now shocked and outraged that someone dared to expose massive evidence of manipulations, concealment and destruction of data — and deliberate cover-ups of all this — in the global warming establishment.

Factual data are crucial in real science. Einstein himself urged that his own theory of relativity not be accepted until it could be empirically verified. This verification came when scientists around the world observed an eclipse of the sun and discovered that light behaved as Einstein’s theory said it would behave, however implausible that might have seemed beforehand.

Today, politicized “science” has too big a stake in the global warming hysteria to let the facts speak for themselves and let the chips fall where they may. Too many people — in politics and in the media, as well as among those climate scientists who are promoting global warming hysteria — let the raw data on which their calculations have been based fall into the “wrong hands.”

People who talk about the corrupting influence of money seem to automatically assume that it is only private money that is corrupting. But, when governments have billions of dollars invested in the global warming crusade, massive programs underway and whole political careers at risk if that crusade gets undermined, do not expect the disinterested search for truth.

Among the intelligentsia, there have always been many who are ready to jump on virtually any bandwagon that will take them to the promised land, where the wise and noble few — like themselves — can take the rest of us poor dummies in hand and tell us how we had better change the way we live our lives.

No doubt some climate scientists honestly believe that global warming poses a threat. But other climate scientists honestly believe the opposite. That is why the raw data have had to be destroyed before the latter get their hands on it.

This is tragically the case as regards many other issues, besides global warming, where data are made available only to the true believers and kept out of the hands of those who think otherwise.

[Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is] COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

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Locke's picture
Submitted by Locke on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 7:05pm.

Science has always been frightening to people like Thomas Sowell. But why is it more comforting to live in his world and watch the sun circle around the 6000 year old flat Earth with its witches and unicorns, all the while being careful not to venture too close to the edge?

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 12:49pm.

Holy melting icebergs! Science-gate.

It's not easy being the carbonunit

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 4:26pm.

a declared carbonunit.. shouldn't we be able to tax you?

Just asking...

Have a Safe and Happy New Year.. Stay warm it is getting colder out there..

"A little matter will move a party

but it must be something great that moves a nation.

~Thomas Paine"

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 6:01pm.

I hope you and yours have a Safe and Happy New Year also.

Carbonunit refers to carbon based life forms, and when choosing a blogging name I was down to either "carbonunit" or "snowflake", and for obvious reasons, I choose the former. I am already taxed enough I believe, and I am in no way related to carbon credits.

It's not easy being the carbonunit

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 11:16am.

your butts freezing..

Locke that's your argument.. "FLATEARTHER" weak very, very weak.

Try discussing some of that Science.. you know.. the Science that was proved to be falsified..!!

Data that had to be corrected.. Go ahead let's talk about the over 30 THOUSAND SCIENTIST that 100% disagree with AGW.. What about those guys are they FLATEARTHERS too???

"A little matter will move a party

but it must be something great that moves a nation.

~Thomas Paine"

Submitted by longhair09 on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 6:54am.

Not sure how familiar you are with Thomas Sowell's work but he is one of the few intellectuals actively in print today. I believe if you re-read him you will come to a different conclusion. He is not afraid of science at all only concerned with how it is manipulated by politics like da Vinci was by the Vatican or the way the Nazi did with race.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 7:28pm.

Scientists do make mistakes but they never quit until they have examined it to the end!

Science by religious leaders does produce flat earths, sun orbiting the earth, and even big turtles carrying the earth on it's back.
Church scientists have also predicted the end of the
world, on a certain past day now, scores of times which has not happened as of yet.
They really do need to stick to religious practices.
I know how they hate for things to change (as do the conservatives)
but they have lost a lot of credibility.

It also seems that when religion is in charge a lot of head chopping, heart removing, and limb chopping, and Iron Maidens are put to use.
Not to mention burning at the stake and river dipping on a pole.

They do need to teach their flocks to exert pressure upon political leaders--mainly by votes--but they really screw up trying to run governments.

Joe Kawfi's picture
Submitted by Joe Kawfi on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 9:19pm.

Man caused global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the liberal elite on the dumb masses in an effort to gain yet more control over people and their money.

Scientists the world over have stated that man is not causing global warming, and that this is all merely cyclical.

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 7:13am.

I know liberal elites is an accepted term for the do as I say, not as I do limo set, but these people are simply thugs from the Chicago/Daly and ACORN playbook.

Not only is global warming/cooling/climate change a hoax, it was presented as science just to see how far they could get without being challenged. Same deal as the health care bill. After pulling the wool over the eyes of millions of first-time, twenty-something voters and even some grown-up centrists in the 2008 election with the empty hope and change mantra, the logical thing for these liberal thugs to do was to see how much of the country they could hijack before the rest of us noticed.

Well, Rahm, Nancy, Harry and your puppet Prezbo, we have noticed and we think removing your enabalers in Congress is the quick fix. No need to wait until 2012 or risk that Republicans put up another set of clowns. No, you liberal thugs, we will act in a few short month against everyone who voted for health care just to please their party bosses of even those who got special deals for their own state - and even those who didn't get deals.

What is especially sweet about this - and the retiring and defecting Democrats know this only too well, the first time Obama voters who believed he would make their house payments and car payments won't be back to blindly vote for anyone with a "D" after their name. No coattails and a whole lot of disgust with incumbent fools in Congress.

This really is cause for optimism and a resurgence of common sense will help the economy as well.

Happy New Year for sure.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 8:22am.

You seem to use the word "elite" as a bad thing.
Its meaning is exactly the opposite. It means the very best of a group, leaders, standouts, higher intelligence and experience.

I don't though think it applies to any one political party.

As To Pelosi and Reid being Chicago thugs, Pelosi is a Californian who needs no money, and Reid is a devout Mormon. Rahm is a true Jew.
Obama was born in Hawaii, went to a Yankee school, Harvard, and has a genius I.Q. He is also a black man in the Presidency, the first!

As to climate change, if you believe that the earth is the same now as when it was created and hasn't changed it's climate since then, you are wrong.
It started with green oceans and no land and became with land by volcanic action. Oxygen was produced by this procedure and the changes began, at God's will!

We CAN change the climate with blocking the sun and at the same time make air unbreathable. (It is close now).

Why do "these thugs" want to "hijack" the country? What are they going to do with it? Hold for ransom for four years?

I don't recall any promise of house payments being made! Bush allowed many to have houses who made NO house payments and now the banks own dilapidated houses. (and yes, those minorities who voted for President Obama will vote for him again if he is nominated)

Same with much of the retail developments. The banks own about a trillion of that, or will soon. If not for the Bush/Obama bailouts, the bad numbers would be far more than they are now. All banks would have closed immediately. This would have caused most everything else to halt. Savings and investments would have evaporated. Too much for the government to save!

As to the vote next time, it might be better if you voted for the right person regardless of the initial after their name! There are some really stupid Rs and Ds! Not many Independents like me however are so stupid! We are about 30% now of the voters. We could care less what party we vote for at elections.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 11:20am.

and you sir are no independent..

Oh wait you meant depends on which way the wind blows..

"A little matter will move a party

but it must be something great that moves a nation.

~Thomas Paine"

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