Congratulations, global-warming denialists! You now how have Alex Cockburn on your side. This is line-for-line the Inhofe case, except that Cockburn’s Marxism makes him insist that the Conspiracy So Vast must have a corporate, rather than a governmental, source. It’s superficially coherent, though I can’t quite follow how it is that oil companies are supposed to benefit from the “hoax.” And someone should really tell Cockburn, and his comrade-in-arms George Will, that the “global cooling” threat imagined in the 1970s was supposed to operate on a time-scale of millennia, not decades, and wasn’t at all inconsistent with the analysis of anthropogenic global warming.
Has someone written the essay on the similarities between creationism and global-warming denialism? Both are expressions of a sort of anti-clericalism directed at science, which is after all our established religion.
The scientific enterprise has much better self-regulation built in to it than the clerical one, but that self-regulation is by no means perfect. People, including scientists, can do some pretty rotten things when big bucks and hot ideologies are on the table. In fields I know about, the science of tobacco and health and the science around drug treatment are pretty seriously corrupt, and of course drug-development research is a well-known cesspit. And lots of expert testimony doesn’t bear close scrutiny.
The anti-science movements increase the urgency of cleaning up the scientific slums, even as they generate a natural defensiveness that tends to blunt that effort. The consequence of not listening to Erasmus is to get Luther, and then Voltaire.