Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I am working on a post titled, "Liberty without a Creator", until that is published I thought this article from the Wallstreet Journal Editorial Page was pretty interesting. It raises intriguing questions about Global Warming and the scientific community.

Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent a letter to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson requesting that he cease and desist in his company’s support of scientists who are skeptical about the global change theory, which basically says mankind exacerbates the Global Warming problem by our consumption.

Here are some key excerpts from the letter:

It is our hope that under your leadership, ExxonMobil would end its dangerous support of the "deniers."

Since when was it "bad" to challenge even long held and well supported scientific theory (which I am not convinced Global Warming is, yeah, I said it)? Isn't it actually a good thing to put a theory to the test against facts, and now that we are at it, is that not how a theory goes from being a theory to being accepted as fact?

...that ExxonMobil "come clean" about its past denial activities, and that the corporation take positive steps by a date certain toward a new and more responsible corporate citizenship.

That is an almost Gestapo-like statement in my opinion, "Confess your sins and be cleansed!
A study to be released in November by an American scientific group will expose ExxonMobil as the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate change denial front groups in 2004 alone.

Would anyone really have a problem with Exxon for doing this? To me it only lends objectivity to the whole issue and I commend them for their courage in approaching such a controversial debate from the dissenting side.

I will stop there and I think I have covered the message the letter was meant convey.

While one could argue that Exxon is only interested in seeing consumers filling up there SUVs without fear of damaging the planet, I though at least their angle raised some interesting questions.

1. Why are Senators, specifically Senators who profit from the sale of oil, so interested in seeing this debate end?

2. Does their personal interest in oil sales lend any credibility to their position as you would think they would prefer Americans be "deniers" in this particular debate?

3. Is it really honest to say that this debate is officially over and that we should no longer even question Global Warming and the human factor?

4. Does it take credibility away from scientists who would prefer that no dissenting debate be allowed?

5. Is it more scientific to assume something is wrong and find evidence to the contrary, or to assume it is correct and look for supporting empirical evidence?