Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the letter “Anthropogenic Global Warming” by Larry Spencer published Oct. 6.
Despite his poor writing, I will try and respond to Mr. Spencer’s latest letter. First, he does at least bring in a well-credentialed climate scientist to back up his views. I will just say that there are always a few people who glean different conclusions when sifting through the data. However, one of the problems with Dr. Spencer’s research is that he has preconceived notions of outcomes going into his work. Concerning the world’s ecosystems, he is a signatory to an epistle that believes the Earth and its ecosystems were “created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence.” He is also a staunch creationist, and his work is tainted by his religious beliefs. Dr. Spencer’s works has been highly criticized by the vast, vast majority of scientists working in the field, of all political views. There are also scientists who feel smoking does not contribute to cancer, but this doesn’t make it so. As Massimo Pigliucci stated, “It is always possible to find academics with sound credentials who will espouse all sorts of bizarre ideas, often with genuine conviction.”
Mr. Spencer also holds these beliefs, and on top of that, he lacks a fundamental understanding of science, scientific methods and processes, and how science works. I suggest he (and everyone) reads Making Sense Of Science, Separating Substance From Spin by Cornelia Dean. Of course, Mr. Spencer will find fault with this, as Ms. Dean works/edits for the science section of the New York Times.
Mr. Spencer uses the term “progressive” as a pejorative, but isn’t progress what human beings are always striving for? Anytime you bring in religion to back up science, it is regressive, a throwback to a time before science. Science believes in data. It is not a religion, Mr. Spencer, despite you trying to make it into one. And just because you find some scientists who back up what you are saying, does not make it true. One needs to read all points of view, have an open mind and understand science. Unfortunately, Mr. Spencer seems to only read the works of people who confirm his ideas. Robert Merton, professor of sociology at Columbia University, stated that the goal of science is the “disinterested pursuit of truth unmotivated by anything other than the desire for knowledge, and reliance on nature — not culture, religion, economics or politics — as the final arbiter.” The sources Mr. Spencer has cited in this and his last letter rely on religion, economics and politics as a basis for their “search for the truth.”
Mr. Spencer’s ideas are throwbacks and basically agree with a quote from Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC): “Better to follow the myths about gods (God) than to become a slave to the destiny of natural philosophers (scientists).”
Mr. Spencer, the world is passing you and your ilk by. However, in the interim, you are causing damage with your superstitious views. Use science, not, to use your own word, “geegaw” — the supernatural and magic have no place in science.
By the way, Mr. Spencer, the world is round, it revolves around the sun, it is older than 6,000 years and dinosaurs never lived with people. That documentary you so believe in, with dinosaurs being used as cranes to build the pyramids, was The Flintstones and was not real.
There is so much more to say to people like Mr. Spencer, but honestly, there is no point. He/they will never get science. Religion rules everything for them, but religion is not science.
Andrew Rosen, Wellington