Throw us a bone, mister?

A magnifying glass

Royal Society dwells in rarified realm

In their philosophical banquet hall they dine on pure science. Their table groans under the weight of hypotheses, complex thinking and evidence. Their huge intellects, beyond the ken of we ordinary folk, address issues we cannot imagine and their highly skilled minds devise solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed.

We are grateful when at last the Royal Society academicians let us know what for our good they have decided to do, then we can express our appreciation for the care they take over us.

Yesterday, the Chief Science Advisor, Peter Gluckman, made a speech at NIWA in Auckland. He addressed, as was proper for a scientist in the exalted position of advisor to our Prime Minister, high questions of science and its practise and development. He referred to the Royal Society, in England, celebrating this year the 350th anniversary of its founding. What a wonderful society, wonderfully inspired and courageous in countless periods as it championed the cause of empirical, evidence-based truth and reason.

Too much dogma…

The good Dr Gluckman bemoaned the fact that “too many decisions are still based on dogma rather than knowledge”. How true that is. But see how that barb lands uncomfortably close to our admirable Royal Society. Does he know that the vexed question of anthropogenic global warming, about which he asserted later in his speech quite firmly: “I am not going to enter the debate about whether the world is warming and whether that warming is anthropogenic,” is ruled by the very dogma he appears to deplore?

… which I happen to accept

For in the same breath he demonstrates that very point, declaring, apparently without irony: “That is the position that has been reached by the global climate science community and is reflected in comments and conclusions of authorities and bodies far more expert than I: I refer for example to recent statements from the chief scientists of the UK, USA and Australia and the Energy Secretary of the USA, multiple national academies, and the recent UK meteorological office summary of evidence since the last IPCC report.”

The ancient motto of the Royal Society is “nullius in verba” which is Latin for “take nobody’s word for it” or “on the word of no one”.

Dr Gluckman appears not to notice the irony of his appeal to authority as he honours the Royal Society, created to be the most independent scientific institution in the Western world, taking orders from nobody, taking nobody’s word for a description of reality, but intent on investigating every matter with material evidence.

Royal Society must be dead — no longer insists on evidence

I would ask the noble doctor, advisor to our great leader, to bestow on us a small favour, a mere crumb from the Royal Society’s magnificent table. Would he please tell us what the evidence is to conclude that humanity is or will be responsible for creating dangerous warming of the earth?

With that high table overflowing with impeccable science, he cannot begrudge us this insignificant request. We, who expect nothing but the occasional audience with their high majesties to receive their wisdom, ask but this one small favour, that we hear the evidence that so moves the counsels of the high and mighty.

We, who lack the knowledge even to consult the learned books, would be humbly grateful to learn of this evidence from the lips of the greatest scientific adviser in the land.

We know all the leading authorities believe in AGW; now we humbly beseech to know why they believe it. The evidence is overwhelming and increasing; you must have memorised it and it must by now be very easy to describe. Even to commoners.

2 Thoughts on “Throw us a bone, mister?

  1. outtheback on April 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm said:

    Richard, you are a sceptic. But then, if it wasn’t for sceptics we would still believe that the earth was flat and the centre of the universe due to “overwhelming” evidence that it was so at the time. If I am not mistaken that was also a religion that wanted us to believe that

  2. Yes, yes and yes.

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