Is Scepticism Back in Fashion?

Something unusual happened this week – a bunch of scientists became sceptics. Don’t be alarmed, they are not questioning climate change. According to the climate alarmists, no reputable scientist would ever do such a thing. After all, the paid government mouthpieces and billionaire climate doomsayers insist that ‘climate science is settled’.

No, this dose of scepticism concerned a rather small thing like Einstein’s theory of relativity – a mainstay of scientific theory since the 1920s.

Researchers at CERN, a European particle laboratory, found evidence that some particles called neutrinos actually travel faster than the speed of light. Such a suggestion has the scientific world abuzz with speculation.

First and foremost, the initial reaction by most scientists is that of doubt. Many are expressing the view that there must have been an error in the measurement process. Others are speculating about the amazing possibilities that such a discovery opens up.

Frankly, I have no idea whether neutrinos are moving beyond light speed and whether they will make the NBN technologically redundant or open up the possibility of time travel. That is for the scientists to argue about.

What does interest me, however, is the fact that such a discussion suggests that science is never really ‘settled’. No matter how accepted or widely adopted a particular premise is, a theory remains exactly that – a theory, to be challenged and debated by generations of scientists in their quest to reach new frontiers.

That is, of course, until you get to the science of climate change. Somehow this science is different.

Anyone that dares to question the public utterances of the prophets of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is denounced as a crank or a denier. We are constantly told by evangelical politicians that no ‘reputable scientist’ disputes the man-made global warming theory as justification for expensive and futile policy agendas.

The evidence of the futility of these policies is demonstrated by the stunning silence of the advocates when asked exactly what difference things like Australia’s carbon tax will make to the temperature of the atmosphere.

The answer (being effectively none) is as close to an inconvenient truth as we will ever likely see in our lifetime.

Perhaps the most important question is: how did we get to this stage?

How can it be that being sceptical of an observable, measurable and repeatable scientific experiment is deemed ‘rigorous scientific examination’ but questioning presumptive and dubious computer climate modelling is to be a modern day heretic?

The answer lies not in science but in belief. Climate change and its linked gospel of environmentalism is the new religion for many who have lost traditional faith.

Just as the heretics of yesteryear were isolated (and worse) by the Church for daring to question Canon law, the modern day ‘climate sceptics’ are marginalised by their peers and goaded by public pressure to conform.

Fortunately, there are some hardy souls who still believe that consensus or appeals to political authority are not valid scientific arguments.

In a week when one of the most enduring scientific theories of modern times has been called into question, it is appropriate to recall Einstein’s own response when challenged by a group of 100 scientists.

He was asked: ‘Doesn’t it bother you, Dr Einstein, that you’ve got so many scientists against you?’

He replied: ‘It doesn’t take 100 scientists to prove me wrong, it takes a single fact.’

Someone should remind our government representatives about that when they are trying to justify their new electricity tax on the basis of stopping climate change.

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