Saturday, October 3, 2009

A letter to George Will

I just emailed this letter to George Will (georgewill@washpost.com) in response to his inane October 1 article about global warming.
- - - - -
Mr. Will,

Just a brief note to let you know that, in my humble opinion, you are a danger to the human race. You have let your political philosophy so infuse your intellect that you cannot look at anything objectively.

I received a Ph.D. in biology, for research on air pollution, in 1981, and have followed air pollution and climate change issues closely ever since. Your misrepresentation of science, and of atmospheric and climate science, is astounding. You must have no capacity for shame. Of course, it is easy to let one's firm, absolute beliefs shield one from petty things like shame and honor and honesty. After all, if you are right, you cannot be wrong.

My concern with climate change is first and foremost for my three daughters. I wish that you and other climate skeptics turn out to be correct, as I would not wish the unpleasant consequences we seem headed for on anyone. But the evidence has reached the point where
significant action to avert serious problems is past due. We are foolish to delay.

As a supposedly intelligent observer and writer, you have every right, and even obligation, to critically evaluate and comment upon alternative courses of action we might take to address the
climate-change challenge facing us. You even have the right in a free country to misrepresent the scientific evidence. However, when you misrepresent the scientific evidence, you do yourself, your children, and the rest of us, serious harm.

Risk assessment is the job of trained scientists. The folks doing the risk assessment have spoken, not with one voice, but with many. You ought to try to listen to them, rather than listen so intently to a few critics and ignore the consensus. Yes, consensus is valuable and important. That does not mean the consensus is always correct, just most likely to be so, especially the longer it exists and grows in strength.

Risk management is the job of politicians, that is, all of us. You confuse risk management and risk assessment at our peril. What if you are wrong this time? And even if you end up being correct, you have greatly damaged the understanding of the difference between science and politics. Science is about finding out why things work the way they do, not about supporting your political views. Cloud that difference and you put us back in the dark ages where those who knew they were right ruled knowing they were right and others were simply wrong.

---Denis DuBay.
Science teacher
Raleigh, North Carolina

2 comments:

  1. Do work Dr. Dubay!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your articulation between Risk assessment and Risk management worked very effectively for this argument... An excellent response to George F. Will's blatantly one-sided article.

    ReplyDelete