One more on this matter, then back to regularly scheduled programming. What disturbs me is that the “politics of personal destruction” has now invaded the realm of hard science. The use of the term “deniers” to label scientists who do not agree with Al Gore’s assessments is one aspect of this.
First, there is a consensus of climatological opinion that our planet is in a natural warm up cycle. This trend began well before human carbon dioxide {CO2} emissions, or any other gross physical human activity, could possibly have had any effect. That said, in recent decades, human activities have caused some degree of warming. Most of this appears to be non-greenhouse surface warming. On the other hand, there is some evidence of slight greenhouse tropospheric warming, caused in some part by human CO2 emissions.
The devil is in the details. There is no consensus on the extent of human contributions to global warming; or if it is even significant enough to take anything resembling the kind of radical actions suggested by Al Gore and other Global Warming Howlers. So far, a few scientists have had the courage to stand up publicly and urge a bit of moderation.
I recognize that both sides in the political discourse tend to cherry pick data and quote scientists out of context to make their points. That doesn’t bother me. That is part of the banter of public debate; point-counterpoint, thesis-antithesis, et cetera. If we stay awake long enough, the truth, which is somewhere in the middle, rises to the surface.
However, one of the reactions by the “Global Warming Howlers” is to swiftly, viciously, and shamelessly attempt to mar the reputations of any scientist who dares to question their hyperbolic claims of pending global catastrophe. There are shades of how the Bush Administration dealt with anyone who opposed a preemptive strike against Iraq. It has been suggested that the smear campaigns have caused at least some moderate scientists to keep their views to themselves.
The attacks follow a pattern:
*Call them ‘Global Warming Deniers,’ to connect the dots with ‘holocaust deniers.’
*Connect them with allegedly fishy opinions in other areas, such as ‘intelligent design.’
*Attack the sources of their funding; they worked on projects financed in part by oil companies, coal interests, the nuclear industry, conservative-libertarian think tanks, or even {gasp}, Big Tobacco.
*Label them as once good scientists who have gone senile, were bought off, or otherwise fallen from grace.
*Quote them out of context to say; “Here, even this right wing nut agrees with us.” [That was recently done to Doctors Roy Spencer & John Christy {University of Alabama at Huntsville}]
The treatment of Dr. Frederick Seitz has been a classic example: Here is some random global howling revealed by a quick google search:
“Dr. Fred Seitz, listed as a member of the
Friends of Science at the inaugural oil industry
funded Ottawa kick-off, has admitted to helping
tobacco giant RJ Reynolds spread out million of
dollars in health research grants during the 1970’s
and 80’s. Seitz’s role was to assist Big Tobacco in
creating the illusion that there was still some debate
over whether tobacco was a proven danger to health.”
“The evidence … convicts Seitz in the tobacco corporate
serial murders”

A press release by the National Environmental Trust announced:
“Scientist Who Spearheaded Attacks on Global Warming
Also Directed $45M Tobacco Industry Effort to Hide Health
Impacts of Smoking.”

Seitz has responded that R. J. Reynolds had given Rockefeller University $5 million a year for basic research. He and a team that included the late geneticist Maclyn McCarty directed the money toward non-tobacco-related efforts scuch as the study of prions, tuberculosis and other serious diseases.
I decided to do some fact checking. I could not connect Seitz with any research that directly tried to conceal the connection between smoikng and lung cancer. I found that RJ Reynolds money had funded studies of a number of things, such as the isolation and extraction of flavor esters from tobacco leaves, Catholic Life in rural America, and, indeed, prions
Dr. Stanley Prusiner won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work proposing an explanation of the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy {mad cow disease} and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; he actually coined the term prion. During his acceptance speech, Prusiner said, “I was extremely fortunate to receive much larger funding from the R. J. Reynolds Company through a program administered by Fred Seitz and Macyln McCarty.”
So there you are. The Global Warming Howlers would have us believe that flavor esters, rural Catholic life, and the discovery of prions were all part of a scheme to prove that tobacco smoking does not really cause cancer. Now the same mad scientists who were bought off by Joe Camel have resurfaced as the environmental moral equivalent of holocaust deniers.
For sources, just google. I recommend taking something like Ranitidine before you start.