Consensus science

by Mark A. Monoscalco

On 3/28/12 fifty former NASA employees signed a letter to Charles Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator.

The letter requests NASA to refrain from making claims that CO2 is impacting global climate.  The fifty employees that signed this letter have a combined total of over 1,000 years of professional experience.  The entire letter can be read at this link:

The following are some of the highlights:

We believe the claims by NASA and GISS (Goddard Institute For Space Studies), that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

 As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

Why is this important?  We have seen other letters and petitions authored and signed by noteworthy scientist who question the link between man-made CO2 and global climate change.  This letter is important because Dr. James Hansen, director of GISS is one of the most outspoken advocates in favor of government action to restrict CO2 emissions.  Dr. Hansen’s congressional testimony in 1988 began the political process of regulating CO2 emissions.  The fact that Dr. Hansen’s peers now are publicly calling for him to “cease and desist” is stunning.

Among the many who signed this letter are 8 astronauts and 2 Flight Directors.  These are not people who make decisions without research and thought about the consequences.  One of the Flight Directors who signed the letter is Dr. Christopher C. Kraft who spent 24 years as Flight Director and Director of Johnson Space Center.  Dr. Kraft was Flight Director for the Apollo 13 mission.  He was responsible for the engineering decisions that save the lives of the crew after an explosion on the spacecraft in route to the moon.

The letter finishes with the following:

For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.

Dr. Harrison Schmitt is a former astronaut who left NASA to serve as a US Senator from New Mexico.  He now teaches at University of Wisconsin.  Walter Cunningham is also a former astronaut.  Walter Cunningham writes a blog titled “Space Views”.  This post from his blog is very well written:

This post should be read in its entirety.  The following are some of the highlights:

The question of human caused global warming should not be resolved on the publicized opinions of influential journalists, but in the court of scientific inquiry, based on the scientific data.

It is the job of science to develop the theories that explain our natural world. Scientific, theories, even those that evolved over centuries, are subject to challenge and change—when supported by the appropriate scientific data. This enables new hypotheses to modify, or even replace currently accepted “theories.”

For a new hypothesis to be accepted by the scientific community, it must be confirmed by considerable evidence and must survive all attempts to disprove it. The hypothesis claiming that human-generated carbon dioxide is a principal driver of the earth’s temperature has not satisfied either of these criteria.

Global warming alarmists could have made their case quite simply by 1) collecting and making available solid evidence to support their hypothesis, and 2) by defending it in the court of scientific inquiry, not in the court of public opinion. Instead, they refused to release their data that would permit other scientists to replicate their results–if possible.

Modern science has expanded human knowledge by extensive use of peer review.  Any new discovery or theory is published along with all supporting methods and data.  Then independent researchers try to duplicate the results.  If confirmed by independent experiment the new discovery or theory is accepted as valid.  Man-made global climate change has never been submitted to independent peer review.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has resisted all requests to allow peer review of the models or data used to make its prediction.  The IPCC has instead resorted to promoting its theory as consensus science.

Consensus science was the leading method for scientific discovery throughout much of history.  In 1491 consensus science believed that the earth was flat.  In 1542 the consensus in science was that the earth was the center of the universe and that the sun orbited the earth.

It is time for IPCC and the rest of the man-made global climate change alarmists to submit their theories, models, and data for peer review.

Mark A. Monoscalco is a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. His personal blog, from which this is re-posted, can be found at http://defendingcivilsociety.blogspot.com/

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