Too hot? Too cold? Regardless, it must be global warming.
President Obama came to California. He saw a drought. He announced the cause to be global warming and left. How accurate was the president’s diagnosis of harmful, man-made climate change in stopping rain and snow? First, a bit of a reminder about what the president has called “settled science.”
Until 1982 “settled science” decreed that stomach ulcers were a result of bad diet, too much gastric acid, or undue stress. Then Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren shocked the medical community with an unlikely thesis: The real culprit for peptic ulcers more often was infection by the Gram-negative bacterium H. pylori, a common but sometimes dangerous agent in the gut that could be treated with antibiotics. The practice of gastroenterology was turned upside down.
Settled science insisted that annual mammograms were necessary to reduce the morbidity from breast cancer, on the logical hypothesis that only early detection could allow successful treatment of a disease whose contours were so poorly understood. Now, a new comprehensive Canadian study finds that there is no statistical evidence that a breast scan every year is any more efficacious in preventing morbidity than more sporadic testing.
In other words, nothing scientific is ever quite settled. Scientists debate the proper protocols through still more study and investigation in the arena of empirical give-and-take.