Monday, March 30, 2009

Dyson Cool on Global Warming

It seems to me that global warming has become as much a hot button topic as Cuba, abortion, evolution or the Holocaust. That is to say, there are people on both sides with apparently deep convictions who make claims that strongly contradict each other. I counted myself on the side of believing that global warming was real and an apparent and compelling danger, that is to say until I read this past weekend's NY Times Magazine article on Freeman Dyson.

I have always had a lot of respect for this venerated icon of the scientific intelligentsia. I have put him up there with other greats such as Richard Feynman and Bucky Fuller. Even his daughter, Esther, is a well known and respected intellectual. So, when this article told his take on global warming, it gave me pause to reconsider my opinion about it.

You can read the article for yourself but here is my short take away from it. This is in my own words and not a reflection on the thinking of Freeman Dyson. Global warming has become politicized to the point where there is very little good science behind it. Global warming has become for the liberals what terrorism is for the conservatives, that is to say a rallying cry and red herring for distracting public opinion away from more compelling topics that need discourse and public attention.

I'm not saying that global warming is just some liberal revisionist's wet dream. But Dyson's position does motivate me to revisit Al Gore's Inconvenient Trust with a more critical eye.

3 comments:

Brian Slesinsky said...

There's actually quite a lot of good science behind it. When a real scientist like Freeman Dyson looks for holes that furthers the debate, but on the other hand, when I read something like this, I like to hear from the other side, too. The best place for that is realclimate.org, and they've written a response to Freeman Dyson's earlier article in the NY Review of Books.

Gibson Block said...

I was surprised to see the Holocaust included here. Who denies it who has any substance?

Anti-Zionists like Chomsky and Finkelstein don't deny it. The latter's parents were survivors.

Ahmadinejad denies it and he has a PhD in Engineering - and an axe to grind.

http://is.gd/wA1P

Plone Glenn said...

I don't believe any Holocaust revisionist has substance; however, that might be because I am not one. I mention it only because it is another example of a hot button topic. I apologize to anyone, other than Holocaust revisionists, who took offense by that reference.