The dangers of not following the scientific method have been discussed here before, but yesterday the alert level went up a notch when ignorance hit our Upper House: Family First’s Senator Steve Fielding has announced he would like more research on solar flares as a potential cause of global warming. Apparently, he took part in a conference where the idea was suggested as an alternative to the more commonly accepted theory that global warming is the result of rising greenhouse gas levels. Alas, the conference organizers were as able to support their claim as the Pope is able to coherently explain the concept of the trinity, resulting in Fielding’s attempt to recruit Aussie scientists to task.
I can hear scientists from Oxford to MIT just lining up to Fielding’s call. I can hear Australia is already diverting its massive research infrastructure, including a vast array of orbiting satellites and telescopes, just to check Fielding’s “new” hypothesis. And on a more serious note, I already hear Fielding being knocked back by leading scientists.
The problem, however, is not Fielding’s ignorance in science; it is his ignorance in the scientific method. Unlike Fielding’s world, science is no autocracy; if someone wants to research something scientifically, there is no one out there stopping them. Anyone who wants to check solar flare theories is more than welcome to go ahead and do so. However, it is exactly this freedom that demonstrates the likelihood (or rather, unlikelihood) of the solar flare theory as an explanation to global warming, because if there was any basis for giving the theory a second thought someone would have jumped on that train. Just think how famous one can be if one was to legitimately prove the vast majority of scientists wrong on global warming! That would have been an achievement not unlike Einstein’s. The reality, however, is that this is not the case: the reality is that we have thousands of peer reviewed papers supporting the greenhouse gases theory for global warming and a very round zero number of acceptable papers supporting solar flare.
I think the main thing that troubles me with Fielding, other than an idiot like him representing me in Parliament, is that the guy goes to prove me right. I have said here before that there seems to be a link between religious faith and global warming skepticism, and Fielding is a case in point: one can easily see how this devout Catholic with his archaic agendas had turned into a global warming skeptic. In his view, if there is such a thing as global warming, then it is surely something created by god; solar flares go along with god’s doing much better than humans burning fossils. Not only that, since Fielding assumes his god to be merciful (again, despite all evidence leading the other way), he is unable to accept that this global warming is a bad thing for us. He’s not even able to accept the general contamination caused by burning fossils.
In short, Fielding’s view that we are the epitome of creation and that this world is our playground, a view fueled by his baseless religious dogma of choice, is at a point where through his vote it can lead Australia to imminent defeat against humanity’s worst enemy.