The career scientist faced an overwhelming dilemma: recant his life’s work and deny his long-held beliefs – or face the wrath of his church.
Galileo was on trial for heresy, because he publicly opposed the existing belief that the sun revolved around the earth. Under pressure, Galileo changed his position, stating “I must altogether abandon the false opinion… that the earth is not the center of the world.” In exchange for his confession, Galileo received house arrest.
Today, climatologists and a few meteorologists face a similarly important career choice. The issue is not their positions regarding astronomical objects, but whether man and machine have combined to raise our planet’s temperature. Global warming theories do not put scientists in prison, but research money connected with those theories does put food on their table. Being on the wrong side of the issue, whatever that is, can ruin a career.
Billions of dollars is spent on global warming research in the United States alone. Most of the grant money has been doled out to scientists whose studies conclude that human activities have caused the earth to warm, it will continue, and the result will be disastrous. That represents the consensus of the scientific community, and that view is considered mainstream. Detractors call scientists who hold that belief alarmists or environmental activists.
A smaller group of scientists, some of whom also hold impressive resumes, possess a different view. They downplay the temperature trends, computer models, and predicted environmental disasters. Like the other side, they also earn their salaries and funding from grants. For the rest of their careers, they will be known as skeptics, or more derogatory terms like “energy industry lackeys”. They have become banished from the mainstream.
Scientists, who used to be viewed as impartial voices of reason, are now looked upon as pawns of their paymasters. Interestingly, their work produces long-range forecasts that will not be verified in our lifetimes. Like Galileo, we will not know who is correct until long after most of us are dead.