Byline: Anthony J. Sadar and Susan T. Cammarata, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The professional practice of pure science, like most other honorable life pursuits, has its opinion leaders, its majority opinion and its minority opinion. However, the mix of pure science with politics, which is necessary from a practical standpoint, has obvious pitfalls.
To some large or small degree, highly opinionated and domineering personalities, stilted viewpoints and sometimes malevolent politics must enter into the recipe. The opinions and domineering seem to flow more freely around the time of the year we call Earth Day (for those who aren't hip, that would be April 22 every year). When politicking dominates the perspective of pure science on any day of the year, we all lose.
In our combined 50 years of professional atmospheric and environmental science experience in government, academia, activism and consulting, we have observed a dichotomy between the real and the academic-bureaucratic worlds of environmental science.
Scientists and engineers who work hands-on in the trenches with real-world environmental-science challenges on a daily basis are skeptical of claims of a substantial influence on global climate from human activity.
Academicians who view the world from their computer screens, theories, limited field investigations and well-read published reports are not only true believers but avid promoters of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
The academics, whose student and public admiration and financial well-being depend on an urgent topic, have a powerful incentive to focus on a simple human-produced cause and therefore a human-correcting solution to the incredibly complex challenge of global climate warming. This narrow focus limits the creativity so necessary to scientific discovery that truly resolves issues and serves society efficiently.
Furthermore, because many students in general education are exposed only to superficial knowledge in science throughout their primary, secondary and college careers, such students as working, voting adults are relegated simply to trusting the consensus of experts on any even modestly complex science matter. For example, when the lies, damn lies and AGW statistics are proffered as proof that the Earth is warming because of the excesses of human comfort and that it will continue to do so if humans don't immediately get less comfortable, the insufficiently educated or uninitiated must simply comply. Let us offer an alternative.
We encourage everyone to begin to educate himself on this important topic by taking a look at the latest global temperature trend data through 2008. A good day to start your personal education might be Earth Day, and a good place to find the data of personal enlightenment is at the Web site of the National Climatic Data Center (www. …