Friday, July 14, 2006

The Force is Upon Us

As a postscript to my commentary of July 13th, "The Force is with them," I am compelled to cite another article, forwarded to me by a British contact, that more thoroughly discusses the rise of "consensus science" in relation to the alleged "debate" on the causes of global warming (if, indeed, such a phenomenon is occurring). The Financial Post (Canada) article, "Climate consensus and the end of science," by Terence Corcoran, is more philosophical in its critique of consensus science. Corcoran may be a closet "Objectivist," because his critique correctly identifies the conflict and illuminates the more abstruse roots of the deterioration of reason and the rise of "belief systems." Here are a few excerpts, to whet your appetite:

"Back when modern science was born, the battle between consensus and new science worked the other way around. More often than not, the consensus of the time -- dictated by religion, prejudice, mysticism and wild speculation, false premises -- was wrong. The role of science, from Galileo to Newton and through the centuries, has been to debunk the consensus and move us forward. But now science has been stripped of its basis in experiment, knowledge, reason and the scientific method and made subject to the consensus created by politics and bureaucrats."

Ayn Rand once quipped, "Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one." The relevance of that doesn't need explication here.

"In short, under the new authoritarian science based on consensus, science doesn't matter any more. If one scientist's 1,000-year chart showing rising global temperatures is based on bad data, it doesn't matter because we still otherwise have a consensus. If a polar bear expert says polar bears appear to be thriving, thus disproving a popular climate theory, the expert and his numbers are dismissed as being outside the consensus."


"Jasper McKee, professor of physics at the University of Manitoba and editor of Physics in Canada, asked recently: 'Is scientific fact no longer necessary?' Apparently it's not. 'In the absence of hard scientific fact or causal relationships, a majority vote of scientists can determine scientific truth.'"

This is not irrelevant to the subject, but I might add that these post titles were inspired by the climax of George Lucas's original Star Wars film (1977), in which Luke Skywalker, trying to shoot a fuzzy electronic torpedo into a vent leading to the Death Star's power center, hears a voice, "Use the Force, Luke. Don't think. Just feel." Or words to that effect. Just feel. Just believe. Never mind your reason, or the evidence of your senses, or your skills, or the fact that you blasted a lot of TIE fighters. Trust your feelings on this one. The Force is with you.

Force, of course, having a double meaning in the context of these posts.

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