Let There be Doubt

What does it take to believe? In the case of a very famous Thomas, only after touching Jesus' scars did he declare, "My Lord and my God." Estimates today indicate the world now has over two billion believing Christians, yet none have touched Jesus' scars to substantiate their beliefs.

Arguably, most people are raised and/or educated to view the world based on a particular belief system. They then spend much of their life attempting to confirm the validity of their beliefs. Consider a very popular Christian apologetics book by Paul E. Little, Know Why You Believe. The title presupposes that the reader believes, but doesn't know why. In other words, in most cases, faith comes first, followed by a rational defense of that faith.

Indeed, it is a rare individual who can seek truth free of the biases of his beliefs. Something I ask myself regularly while doing research is, "Is this true because it simply is, or because I want it to be?" It is a question each person should ask when staking out a position.

Perhaps we should also pose a similar question to many of the policy-leaders, scientists, activists, and others who are aggressively promoting the idea that global warming is a crisis which must be prevented: "Is global warming a crisis because it really is or is it a crisis because you want it to be?"

According to a February, 2009 Rasmussen poll, "Nearly one-out-of-four voters (23%) say it is at least somewhat likely that global warming will destroy human civilization within the next century. Five percent (5%) say it's very likely." Another 39% believe that it is "not very likely." Only 27% of those polled believed that it is "not at all likely."

So, how many of the 62% of voters who believe there is some chance that "global warming will destroy human civilization within the next century," have actually looked into the science of climate change? Probably very few.

It seems that, as people are exposed to the science behind both sides of the debate, real doubt about the so-called crisis creeps in and their position changes. While doing research for the new section, Environmental Impacts of Climate Change, we ran across two debates co-sponsored by NPR and a program called IQ2US, which bear out this observation.

The first debate, held on March 22, 2007, was over the motion "Global Warming is Not a Crisis" and featured three debaters in support of the motion and three against the motion. Each debater was an internationally known expert on the subject. What's incredible is how much the audience's opinion changed after just one hour of debate: "In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided."

You can listen to the debate here.

The second IQ2US debate of interest was held on January 21, 2009, on the motion: "Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions Are Not Worth the Money." This time, the change in audience opinion after the debate was even more astonishing. NPR reports:

"Three experts argued in favor of the motion; three against. Before the debate, the audience at Symphony Space in New York City voted 16 percent in favor of the motion and 49 percent against, with 35 percent undecided. By the end of the debate, those arguing for the motion had changed the most minds: Forty-two percent voted in favor of the proposition "Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions Are Not Worth the Money," while 48 percent voted against it and 10 percent were still undecided."

You can listen to the debate here.

Climate change is a matter of science (not opinion!) and a matter that requires investigating. The reality is that we know very little about all of the factors involved in climate change. We do know that the earth has been both warmer and cooler in the past. We also know that the data gleaned from the real world is not confirming the models that the alarmists are relying upon to defend and promote their positions (click here, here, and here).

Dig into the science yourself in our newest section on the science of climate change (Environmental Impacts of Climate Change), spread the word, and let there be doubt.