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Scientist: Debate on Controversial Science Is “Un-American”

David Klinghoffer


To the weaponized epithets “anti-science,” “science denial,” and the rest, you can now add “un-American” as a putdown for ideas in a scientific context that you don’t like. To a proposal to debate climate science claims in a “Red Team/Blue Team” format, endorsed by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, climate scientist Michael Mann responds that doing so would be “un-American.”

Julie Kelly write at The Federalist:

Then there is the interminably-petulant and prosaic Michael Mann, who routinely dishes out the “denier” name to anyone who crosses him, and recently compared himself to a Holocaust survivor. Mann told ThinkProgress that the red-team concept is “un-American” and a ruse to “run a pro-fossil fuel industry disinformation campaign aimed at confusing the public and policymakers over what is potentially the greatest threat we face as a civilization.”

Aha! Right there is the key objection to the entire exercise: the risk to their political power.

What a great idea, though, originally proposed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Kelly describes it:

It would work this way: A red team of scientists critiques a key climate assessment. The blue team responds. The back-and-forth continues until all the evidence is aired and refuted, followed by public hearings and an action plan based on the findings. It happens entirely out in the open.

And that is “un-American…” Right, because as a correspondent sarcastically observes, “What could be more American than blindly and submissively accepting decrees handed down from on high by the ‘authorities’?”

But in seriousness, this is something I’ve wanted to see in the evolution context for years: not a single one-off debate between advocates of Darwinian evolution versus intelligent design, but an ongoing dialogue, ideally in a published form, that seeks to drill down to the bedrock of what divides the two views. Sadly, if you substitute “evolution” for “climate change,” no doubt you could easily find Darwin defenders who dismiss that idea as “un-American” too.

Photo credit: Free-Photos, via Pixabay.