My Dear Colleague Professor [James Hansen] By Dr. Nicholas Drapela
This piece was originally posted by Dr. Drapela on June 24, 2008 in response to James Hansen's June 23, 2008 testimony to Congress. Dr. Drapela enumerates the evidence that overwhelmingly demonstrates the false theory prattled by the elderly James Hansen has seen its day and so has, apparently, Hansen's esteem as a climate expert. Appearing more and more like a wild-eyed Al Gore, Hansen continues to beat the drums of global warming in the face of a contrary evidence punctuated by a deepening siege of cold climate.
My dear colleague Professor Hansen, I believe, has finally gone off the deep end. When you have dedicated the bulk of your career to a cause, and it turns out the cause has been proven false, most people cannot bring themselves to admit the truth. It is truly sad to read the rantings of this elderly man and see that they contain neither reason nor truth when compared to the volumes of daily literature being published in scientific journals today on climate change. It is not difficult to refute the words of Professor Hansen.
On the contrary, one feels it is almost unfair. Note that in his piece he never refers to factual data. It is not scientific, but 100% political. He does not use logical reasoning based on evidence, which is what science is based upon. Instead, he employs the following tactics, none of which are relevant to science:
The “consensus” card. I feel sorry for this human being. Not only is there no consensus on global warming in the scientific community, but I would wager that MOST scientists have discarded the theory today. Google the Oregon Petition on Global Warming which contains the names of 31,000 scientists who say global warming is essentially an embarassment to science today.
Errant, capricious statements. 99% certainty on global warming? This sounds truly more like a senile senior citizen that a lucid scientist. What is he talking about? Where did he get these numbers? Does he not read the scientific literature? I have to presume he does not!
A truly desperate, alarmist tone and wording. The global warming “time bomb”, the “present, dangerous situation”, “the perfect storm”, “global cataclysm”, “disasterous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.” These are the words of an apocalyptic prophet, not a rational scientist.
Attacking a scapegoat, presented as the very source of evil itself, namely petroleum companies, and attributing the lack of agreement between scientific data and his views to a vast, conspiratorial cover-up by “them”.
Ultimatums. Act now or you die. Right now. This very instant. Don’t think. You have 5 seconds to decide. I ask you, is this science or high-pressure salesmanship? But I cannot go on. The piece above is sad but actually a little bit scary to me. Scary in the same way that it was scary when Ronald Reagan was losing his mind in the late 80’s and was still the most powerful man in the world.
The fact that the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute apparently has the inability to use reason unsettles me. I’m worried about Professor Hansen. He evidently lives in a world where he is unaware of reality and only sees what he believes exists. Not only this, but he feels obligated to save modern society today by completely controlling it. “We must all sacrifice for the common good. Progress. Greatness.” The manifesto above sounds more like Lenin, Mussolini, or Hitler than I care to admit. Please, people, don’t base your beliefs on authority no matter who is talking. Base them on reason. Get the facts. There are many places to start, but you are welcome to start at my site (http://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/~drapelan/Climate%20Change.htm. The site is primitive, but will hopefully get you started on the road to your own assessment based on facts. At this site you can find documentaries, other professor’s talks, and references to the primary scientific literature. It’s a start. I urge you: Know the world for yourself.
Dr. Nicholas Drapela Oregon State University Chemistry Department
Dr. Drapela teaches bioorganic, organic, and general chemistry at Oregon State University.