Letter to the Editor

Obscure view promoted as disagreement

Friday, February 10, 2006

To the editor:

A White House spokesman recently berated a reporter for "living in a reality-based world." "We live in an empire now," the spokesman continued. "We make our own reality." When scientific consensus denies politics, Republicans advance the Luntz strategy in congressional hearings and communications. They find an obscure minority view and promote it as though disagreement exists. This publication usually follows suit.

That Holmes Jenkins is an editorial board writer for The Wall Street Journal testifies to his writing skills but confers upon him zero expertise on climate-change science (Southeast Missourian, Feb. 5). Neither does it prevent him arguing the dangerously uninformed opinion that significant doubt exists about global warming and its cause.

To undermine the straw man that there is no proof of a connection, Jenkins displays scientific ignorance. In science, we cannot provide proof in the sense of absolute certainty. Just like physicians, scientists can only offer conclusions based on what the evidence suggests. That global warming is happening faster than at any time in Earth's history is unquestioned. That this is probably a consequence of human activity, though not certain, is also well-supported by the evidence. Jenkins' dismissal of computer models overlooks the fact that these are what allow us to reach into space.

In dismissing the consensus, Jenkins forgets that articles have not appeared in scientific journals endorsing his absurd view because, as the editor of the journal Science noted, they are neither written nor submitted. Where Jenkins seeks debate, none exists.

ALAN JOURNET, Cape Girardeau