Interesting happenings over at Boing Boing this week. Invited guest-blogger Charles Platt posted a series of posts (1, 2, 3 and 4) which dared to question the scientific soundness of anthropogenic global warming (AGW):
At the risk of stimulating outrage, I’m going to ask some questions about climate. No one disputes that planetary warming occurred during the second half of the twentieth century; the question is whether it was primarily anthropogenic (i.e. caused by human beings). The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the debate on this issue is over. I’m not so sure anymore.
Here on TDG, we often talk about how defenders of orthodox science sometimes get quasi-religious in their fervency, and hundreds of comments that Platt’s posts inspired are worth checking out to see some examples of this (of course, there are others worth looking at simply because they’re very informative). One of the scarier trends that I found seems to be a conflation of someone who queries AGW with Holocaust denialism (with the lesser charge seeming to be a conflation with Creationists).
Things got even more interesting at Boing Boing though when co-editor Cory Doctorow suddenly posted a slew of pro-AGW posts within half an hour of Platt’s last post (1, 2, 3 and 4). This rapid response led Platt to comment beneath one of Doctorow’s posts, “I think it is a little odd that a principal of BB feels he has to rebut some posts that deviate from the party line. I’ve never seen that before.”
Platt has since left the guest-blogging slot at Boing Boing early. Although he qualified his leaving by saying “of course I was not asked to leave!”, his final words seemed to imply something had happened:
I was dismayed by the anger response from two of the people involved, which made me wonder what else I might say that would trigger a similar reaction. Since I couldn’t predict it, and I didn’t want to provoke it, and I didn’t want to start censoring myself, it was easiest to stop.
By the way, I’m not arguing one way or the other on AGW – I’ve read both sides of the debate and there seem to be good points all round (as well as, on the flipside, nefarious influences and myth-making). My main point in posting is to look at the reactions to heresy against scientific orthodoxy.