Undermining scientific truth (letter)by Chris HilderNews Weekly
, June 23, 2007
Your editorial, "Climate change: don't spoil a good story with facts" (News Weekly
, June 9, 2007), notes that "science is not, nor ever has been, about consensus, but about experimental and observational data and testable hypotheses".
I would like to explore this point a little further and suggest why consensus has been repeated almost ad nauseam
in the climate change debate.
Since the 1960s, what has been going on is a redefinition of scientific truth so that it is now equated to a sociological consensus amongst scientists.
The philosophical basis for this erroneous view derives from Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend who, in a rhetorical sleight of hand, conflated the sociology or history of science (i.e., what scientists do and what they think, irrespective of the degree of logic inherent in what they do or think) with the philosophy of science (i.e., the logical relations that must hold between scientific statements in order for them to be true).
The result has been the redefinition of scientific truth into a sociological rather than a logical concept.
Hence, the climate change debate worldwide is based on a hidden equivocation over the meaning of scientific truth.
As a result, scientists and politicians can technically pass off as scientific truth consensus opinions that may in fact be completely erroneous. All that counts is consensus, not evidence, and that is why the word consensus is so prevalent in the debate.
Scientists and politicians can get away with this deceit because no one questions what they understand or mean by scientific truth. This is merely another example of postmodernism surreptitiously redefining traditional concepts in order to advance ideologies by stealth.(Mr) Chris Hilder,