In February of 2010, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community was all-a-titter about the arrival of James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and all-around global-warming rock star. He gave a speech entitled “Global Climate Change: What Must We Do Now,” and, later in the week, participated in a protest against the university’s coal-fired energy plant.
I’m just wondering whether the adoring throngs of students who hung on every word (one grad student described the question-and-answer period as akin to teenage girls interviewing Justin Bieber after a concert) in his politically charged speech will be sent updates on his activities. Perhaps they should be given some sort of after-the-fact disclaimer: It now seems the good doctor was taking money from environmental organizations to forward their agenda — probably not a good supporting argument for his claim to objectivity. Of course, there were a few people suggesting that Hansen was a little weak on the truth before he was invited. But they seem to be absent from the list of speakers invited to UNC.
What’s really disturbing is the possibility that, if the Left manages to recapture its political momentum, there will be a general shift in the way we derive truth — from the induction-based scientific method of the last 400 years to the top-down deduction of the Middle Ages. No need to let those messy facts get in the way. This NAS article by William Young explains further.