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how-the-scientific-consensus-is-maintainedHuman Events:

This is a story about how the scientific consensus is often maintained on controversial issues, even when it is bad science—and how it can be challenged.


Anyone who has ever argued that the spectacular increase in order seen on Earth seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics—at least the more general formulations of this law—is familiar with the standard reply: although entropy (disorder) cannot decrease in an isolated system, the Earth is an open system, and entropy can decrease in an open system as long as the decrease is compensated by increases outside the open system. Isaac Asimov, for example, in a 1970 Smithsonian Magazine article, expresses the argument as follows:


Remove the sun, and the human brain would not have developed…. And in the billions of years that it took for the human brain to develop, the increase in entropy that took place in the sun was far greater; far, far greater than the decrease that is represented by the evolution required to develop the human brain.Scissors-32x32.png

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The rollout of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new draft regulation to limit greenhouse gases was accompanied by a brilliant political cartoon that showed a pair of hapless fellows with automobile mufflers protruding from their mouths, apparently to prevent any renegade CO2 exhalations from polluting the atmosphere with their climate-changing carbon halitosis. Call this part of the agency’s 97 percent solution, based on the frequently made claim that the number represents the percentage of scientists who blame climate change on human activity. The fact that this figure is fiction, as pointed out in an excellent review of the findings by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer in a recent Wall Street Journal article, deters the climate-catastrophe conjurers not one bit; the number is repeated as part of the climate-control catechism. And anyway, who’s going to quibble over a few percentage points when the fate of the earth is in the balance?


Or is it? Have the climate-change crusaders gone clinically mad, as Steven F. Hayward suggests? The answer is, it depends on how you regard their true motivations, or how you extend the likely consequences of their behavior.Scissors-32x32.png



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