As a kid, I fantasized about being a scientist.
I liked science, technology, and mechanical things. I even had a great Gilbert Chemistry Set. Many hours were spent in our basement creating stinky stuff and looking at slides under the microscope. Some of those bugs from the back yard really looked cool under that microscope.
In high school I naturally gravitated towards chemistry, physics, and math. During our labs, I had visions of a white coated scientist working with great intensity on some fabulous creation.
Scientists were somehow removed from the things that constrained the rest of us. They could think freely about things, challenge everything, and constantly seek the truth. If they could truly free up their minds, there was no limit to the glorious things they could discover.
All of this was buried somewhere back in the old brain cells when along came Al Gore. “The science is settled”, he told us. He was speaking about something called Global Warming. Great gaggles of scientists had agreed that it was happening, he told us.
On the absolute face of it, this seemed nonsensical. If a scientist was what I had, since childhood, thought they were, someone who challenged everything and sought the truth, then, especially where something as complex as climate is concerned, nothing could ever be “settled”. I could not imagine two scientists agreeing on anything let alone a gaggle of them.
I have since discovered some scientists who don’t agree. Gore and those who agree with him call them Global Warming Deniers. Wow, here comes the cognitive dissonance. How can a scientist, one like I imagined as a kid, ever be a denier of anything? Differences in how they see things is how scientists pursue the truth or their best guess at the moment of what the truth might be.
Well, either something is broken, or my notion of what a scientist is, is wrong. I will, less than humbly perhaps, say my notion is correct, so something must be broken.
Temperatures have been going up some say. Temperatures have been going down, others say. Geez, it ought to be easy enough to agree on a measure and then just look at the data. Then, along comes email gate. (Many thanks to Tricky Dick Nixon for providing us with the “gate” suffix.) It seems that the data was cooked. Listening to the “everything is settled folks” talk their way around that revelation has been amusing.
I, however, am not getting where I want to go. I want to hear the pure debate. We think that THIS is right with a possible error of plus or minus something. I want to understand what the best minds think the situation is now. I want to carefully understand if anything needs to be done.
Until I see my kind of scientists coming up with these things, I will remain a “denier”. If I buy a curly cue light bulb, I will buy it to use less of our great planet’s very finite resources and, sure, to save some money.