By James D. Agresti
November 4, 2011
“We have presidential candidates who don’t believe in science,” declared New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg during a speech delivered yesterday at Columbia University. Bloomberg made this allegation in reference to the issues of global warming and evolution.
This “anti-science” accusation has become a common talking point of politicians and commentators, many of whom have no formal science education beyond high school. Bloomberg is an exception, having earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1964.
Yet, Bloomberg is still a person with little scientific experience who is accusing others of being anti-science for adopting a position on global warming held by more than 3,805 scientists with degrees in atmospheric, earth, or environmental science and 9,029 Ph.D.’s in varying scientific fields. All of these individuals have signed a statement affirming:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
Likewise, hundreds of highly credentialed Ph.D. scientists have signed a formal “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism,” which reads:
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
Some argue that certain polls of scientists showing that sizeable majorities have particular views constitute proof that contrary views are anti-science, but history is replete with examples demonstrating that scientific truth is not determined by a vote. An iconic example is that of Galileo, who wrote that when it comes to the sciences, “the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man.”
Correction (3/10/17): The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the global warming petition was signed by “more than 9,000 Ph.D. scientists including 3,805 atmospheric, earth, or environmental scientists.” As shown in the current article, the figure of 3,805 scientists is independent of the figure of 9,029 Ph.D.’s, not a subset of it.