Questioning Scientific Consensus
By John Stonestreet
The cover of the April 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine made me think of the Sesame Street song “One of these things is not like the other.”
Under the headline “The War on Science,” the cover added: “Climate Change Does Not Exist.” “Evolution Never Happened.” “The Moon Landing Was Faked.” “Vaccinations Can Lead To Autism.” “Genetically Modified Food Is Evil.”
Now the message was clear: Anyone who expresses any doubt in what National Geographic calls “the consensus of experts” is a crank or a nut. From the magazine’s perspective, no other explanations are even worth consideration.
And the article featured a reproduction of an 1893 map of the “Stationary and Square Earth” drawn up by a South Dakota businessman who insisted that the Earth was flat. It was an illustration, National Geo says, of how “we subconsciously cling to our intuitions” about the world even when experts tell us we are wrong.
Among the many things missing from the article is any acknowledgement whatsoever that many, if not most, of the critics of the International Panel on Climate Change are themselves eminent meteorologists and scientists, such as Richard Lindzen of MIT.
In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, Lindzen described the attempts to intimidate reputable scientists whose only “offense” is objecting to “alarmist claims about the climate.”
Similarly, many of the most articulate critics of Neo-Darwinism have never said that “evolution,” at least on the micro level, “never happened.” Some, like Michael Behe, even accept the idea of common descent. But what they all object to is the metaphysical and dogmatic pretensions of Neo-Darwinism, and the claim of its universal explanatory powers by its most ardent champions…
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