Edward Wightman was the last person to be burned at the stake in England as capital punishment on April 11, 1612. His crime was heresy and publicly attacking Christianity. Now it wasn’t that Edward was not a Christian, he was said to have been very religious and an active writer on the subject of his faith. His actual crime and the one for which he was sentenced to death was his version of Christianity was not exactly the same as everyone else. Now I am using an extreme example of where dogmatic thinking could lead us, but in today’s modern society are we really that far off when we have celebrity scientists calling for “…criminal charges and jail time for climate change dissenters.”
Denier is a word that is better suited for the Spanish Inquisition rather than a modern science debate. Yes the issue of climate change should still be very much up for debate, despite the calls from the Left that it is settled science and we should all just fall in line like good little sheep. I do not deny that climate change is real. It has been happening since the beginning of time with our earth going through five different ice ages. I will even concede that a portion of it might even be manmade, but until science can give us the exact percentages that are caused by man versus those other factors we know to impact the climate like the giant glowing sphere of super-heated gas in the sky we call the sun, rotational and earth axis shifts and the normal cyclical nature of the climate this debate needs to remain open… especially where it concerns how we will adjust in terms of policy.
From a policy perspective saying that man is responsible for 100% of a 1 degree increase in temperature over the course of 100 years is one thing; saying that man is responsible for 5% of a 1 degree increase in temperature over the course of 100 years is vastly different. In the first scenario it might make sense to spend a trillion dollars to implement policies to counteract man’s influence, in the second spending a trillion dollars to alter the earth’s temperature by .05% of a degree may not make any financial sense. This is the crux of the Conservative argument because until we know those percentages we are simply shooting in the dark. Despite the fact that collections of scientists have finally upgraded their assessment from “likely” to “very likely” in recent years regarding man as the source of the climate change this still leaves a significant percentage that they are wrong. Considering we are talking about trillions of dollars why is it wrong to ask about certainties and percentages?
The New York Times recently added columnist Bret Stephens to their roster and the collective Left has had a conniption fit as a result with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions after his first column. The column he wrote that caused this backlash was a warning for climate scientists “against intellectual hubris.” I think the warning is long overdue as we have seen drastic prediction after prediction fail to come to pass. The Left is perfectly fine with legions of scientists making dire predictions to build up public support for their policies and when they fail to materialize are perfectly fine with those same scientists moving the goalposts on those same dire predictions. If these dire predictions keep failing when do we as a society get to question the science and the scientists who live in this cottage industry that depends on dire predictions for continued funding? No much like Edwin Wightman, Bret Stephens believes in the same concept, but his version of climate change is tinged with skepticism and so the Left must brand him a Denier least he win converts. Luckily for Bret Stephens we no longer burn our heretics at the stake… at least not yet.