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The “Settled” Science Becomes Unsettling

Glaciers grow while climate doom slowly retreats.

It has been 30 years since climate scientists first started warning the public of impending doom, culminating in a Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007. However, in the last decade, the voices of concern have grown increasingly tepid and muted due to the failure of catastrophic warming to materialize. A recent example of this backpedal occurred in Montana Glacier National Park (GNP), where signs stating that the glaciers would disappear by 2020 have been quietly  removed.

The reason for their removal is that the glaciers show no sign of disappearing. In fact, after a decade-long period of shrinking, it now appears the glaciers are growing.

GNP has replaced the “gone by 2020” statements with the more moderate notice that the glaciers will disappear in “future generations.” It is no longer the glaciers that are retreating but the claims of imminent disaster.

A New Danger

While such moderation is an indication of reality slowly catching up with the doomsayers, the backtracking is probably too little too late. A danger far more significant than global warming looms on the horizon: the death of trust in science.

Many people have lost faith in societal institutions. They don’t trust the media or politicians, and religious observance has been on the decline for decades. But largely holding its ground is science. Most may not be able to trust fake news, but scientific evidence and reason still are held in high regard.

What would happen to the fabric of society if these last trusted vestiges were to be shattered? Probably nothing good.

A whole generation has grown up hearing that precipitous climate disaster is “settled science.” The truth is that climate science is highly uncertain and vigorous scientific debate has been present all along. In the public eye, however, those who question the disaster narrative have been labeled “climate deniers.” As the climate refuses to warm as much as the IPCC predicted, more people shift slowly toward the more skeptical position.

At some point, a lot of people will understand that the mainstream narrative should be tempered. What they have been told was “settled science” may be riddled with fake news. The tendency toward blanket advocacy of one side of the climate debate has diluted trust in scientific reporting in the media.

The Red Pilling Effect

One hopeful outcome is the red pilling effect. That is, those who discover they have been duped in one area are likely to question other areas. In the case of climate, scientists best positioned to benefit from such awakening are those who have reported solid research and facts that contradict the massive media bias.

Of course, some of the “awakened” go too far and react by gobbling up any conspiracy theory that goes against established wisdom. Recent polls show that the beliefs in a flat earth, anti-Semitic tropes, and the faked moon landing  are on the rise. Red pilling can be a double-edged sword.

The “settled science” climate myth is being battered by facts on the ground. Reasonable people should demand more balanced coverage from the media on legitimate scientific inquiry into climate that doesn’t fit perfectly into the one-sided propaganda delivered for the last couple of decades. A commitment to truth and reason is more critical than ever. This will result in a more trusted media and a more fulsomely informed public.


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