Wishing Upon a Star and Other Scientific Methods

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* By Jeff Schweitzer The Huffington Post *

We live in an era of amazing technological advances while our citizens descend ever deeper into the abyss of scientific illiteracy. Nowhere is that made more evident than by curious actions taken by state legislatures in Utah and South Dakota. Congressmen in these two states believe that scientific inquiry can be reduced to the fiats of legislation, and that objective truth can be discovered through the passage of state law.

Utah and South Dakota have passed resolutions that deny the reality of climate change, while condemning the scientists who have raised the issue. The resolutions are astonishing for their gross inaccuracies and proud promotion of fiction over fact.

After reviewing the current state of affairs, I would like to propose my own resolutions based on the novel idea that science can advance through political will. But let us begin with the actual language from Utah and South Dakota.

Utah: WHEREAS, global temperatures have been level and declining in some areas over the past 12 years; WHEREAS, Earth’s climate is constantly changing with recent warming potentially an indication of a return to more normal temperatures following a prolonged cooling period from 1250 to 1860 called the “Little Ice Age.”

South Dakota: WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide; WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age.

Fact: These assertions are factually and verifiably wrong: the last decade was the warmest on record, going all the way back to 1880. The 11 hottest years on record occurred in the last 13 years. These facts are robust, measurable and unambiguous. These measurements are not in dispute by the scientific community.

South Dakota: WHEREAS, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth. Many scientists refer to carbon dioxide as “the gas of life.”

Read more at The Huffington Post

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