June 2, 2009

The Gatekeepers

via Tom Nelson
FROM- Daily Tech

French Scientist Turned Politician Attacked Over Climate Skepticism

The scientific method dissolves into infallible opinion dictated by alarmists

True scientists have always sought to welcome dissenting views and encourage questioning the truth via the scientific method. However, throughout history there have sadly been those who would make a mockery of science and try to pervert it by suppressing dissenting views, and seeking to silence legitimate researchers diligently following the scientific method. Galileo Galilei was condemned by the Church for believing the earth orbited the sun, Hypatia of Alexandria was murdered for practicing math, and today respectable scientists are facing ostracism at the hands of climate alarmists.

When news broke earlier this month that French president Nicolas Sarkozy was considering Claude Allègre, a former government official, for a ministerial position, it should have been cause for celebration. After all, Mr. Allegre is a respected geophysicist who headed the Institut de Physique de Globe in Paris from 1976 to 1986, and was president of the French geological survey — the Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières — from 1992 until 1997. He even won the 1986 Crafoord Prize for outstanding work in fields not covered by the Nobel Prize.

Mr. Allègre was also seasoned in the ways of government, serving in the French Parliament between 1989 to 1994. He then went on to serve as minister for science and higher education under French President Lionel Jospin, between 1997 and 2000.

He did, however, have his political problems. First, he was a vocal socialist and the French people, while somewhat accepting of socialism, have mixed views on it, much like liberalism or conservatism here in the U.S. Secondly, he was very critical of the French educational system, which at the time was struggling. He called it a fat "mammoth" in need of slimming. He also accused the government of suppressing trade unions, saying that they were "chloroformed". These stances led to President Jospin eventually letting him go in 2000.

Since that time, Mr. Allègre has toned down his rhetoric on other topics, but he has taken up a new controversy -- becoming a vocal critic of the theory of global warming. And as a prominent geophysicist, Mr. Allègre has more than a leg to stand on, something that makes his opponents quite disconcerted and eager to condemn him.

So when French President Sarkozy reached out to Mr. Allègre about a cabinet position, his critics attacked. Ecologist Nicolas Hulot, a popular TV environmentalist, journalist and writer, complained, "(Allègre's appointment) would be giving the bras d'honneur to the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (It would be a) tragic signal six months before the Copenhagen conference, and an incomprehensible move coming from France which has for years been a country that has been an engine in the combat against climate change."

Alain Juppé, a former prime minister and foreign minister of the centre right party made similar criticisms over the scientist's climate skepticism. And the popular French newspaper Le Monde also echoed these alarmists' remarks.

Now Mr. Allègre has broken his silence, commenting, "I've nothing to say. I'm in my lab writing a scientific article. We are not in the Soviet Union; we can contest a scientific thesis."

What's truly alarming and grave about this situation is that it’s not Mr. Allègre's past political stances, nor the merits of his celebrated career that critics of his potential appointment are focusing on. It is his skepticism that man is responsible for global warming. These critics have transformed global warming into the new religion of alarm, and those who do not convert, will be condemned.

In doing so, they make a mockery of diligent climate researchers, both proponents of anthropogenic warming and climate skeptics alike. And sadly, such respectable researchers are in a dwindling minority as the alarmists gain greater control of research funding and publicity.


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