Science and Technology
Why It Matters! How Junk Science Distorts Information and Decision Making
Whenever anyone makes a decision about anything they do it based on the best information that is available to them at the time. Whether the decision is about which toothbrush to buy or what college to attend, you have to have confidence that the information you are relying upon is accurate, but what if the information isn’t true?
In the last 100 years science has become of greater importance in public decision making. During this time there has also been a dramatic rise in junk science. Junk science is when the objectives of the scientists involved in a project are motivated more by some personal agenda than a search for the truth.
When Charles Lyell wrote his book Principles of Geology he was willing to include false information about Niagara Falls because it would help him in his hidden agenda against the Bible. Charles Darwin took Lyell’s book with him on his 5-year trip around the world; that book influenced him to write his own book On the Origin of Species. When Darwin published his book in 1859 he admitted that some of the best evidence against his theory was the fossil record, he just ignored it. When his book was published, one of his sharpest critics was Louis Pasteur who had proven that life cannot arise by itself out of dead matter. If Darwin and his supporters had really been interested in finding out the truth about the origin of species, they would have thrown Darwin’s book away and started over from scratch, but their agenda, just like Lyell’s agenda, wasn’t about truth, but about destroying the Bible’s influence in society.
Little has changed in junk science since the 19th century. Two of the latest casualties to junk science are the policies regarding claims about ozone depletion and global warming. In the 1980’s there were well-publicized claims about ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere including statements that “holes” had developed in the ozone layer. Ozone is simply a form of oxygen. Most oxygen is structured as O2, two oxygen atoms that are stuck together. In the upper atmosphere O2 molecules are sometimes split apart by solar radiation and the two O1 atoms then join O2 molecules to become ozone, which is O3. Junk science depends for its success upon two things, one that the general population is ignorant of basic scientific principles and that their claims will not be properly investigated by the media. The ozone scare illustrated both points all too clearly.
The ozone scaremongers made a number of claims that were either half-truths or simply false. In the 1980’s there was a slight reduction in the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. The first question that needed to be answered was what caused this to have happened? Ozone scaremongers immediately blamed a chemical called Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). They said that in laboratory tests CFC’s could destroy ozone. While this can be true, what they didn’t tell people was that CFCs are heavier than air and couldn’t get to the ozone layer miles above the earth. They also did not mention that in the 1980’s there had been two major volcanic eruptions; one in the Philippines and the other in Washington State. These eruptions pumped hundreds of tons of chemicals into the upper atmosphere that really can damage the ozone layer. But the most important thing about ozone is the one thing that they made sure didn’t come out.
Ozone is created by solar radiation splitting an O2 molecule in half. The O1 oxygen atoms then merge with O2 oxygen to create O3 ozone. Knowing what makes ozone also tells us why and where the thinning in the ozone layer, the so-called “holes”, will occur. The biggest single cause of ozone depletion is lack of sunlight and that occurs over the Arctic and Antarctic every year at the same time that the thinning in the ozone happens. God is not stupid. He created a world with self-correcting mechanisms. The more that ozone is needed in very sunny areas, the more that will be made by solar radiation. In the Arctic and Antarctic the sun is absent for months at a time and these are the two places on Earth that ozone is not needed.
Decisions made because of false information promoted by ozone scaremongers brought about legislation that cost America and the world billions of dollars, caused economic disruption, loss of jobs and all to accomplish absolutely nothing for the environment.
The same kind of scenario is playing out now with regard to claims about human caused global warming. Global warming is a fact, but only if you look at thousands of years of Earth’s climate history. The latest period of global warming started in the early 19th century with the end of the 500-year long Little Ice Age of the Northern Hemisphere. From the 13th to the 19th century was the Little Ice Age, during this period the Winters were longer, Summers shorter, plagues devastated Europe and in many years people starved. From the 8th thru the 13th centuries there was the Medieval Warming Period. During this time the Winters were shorter, the Summers were longer, harvests were better, the sea ice was significantly reduced allowing the Viking to discover Iceland and Greenland. When Eric the Red discovered Greenland in AD 1000 it really was green. The ice on Greenland had melted away because of the Medieval Warming Period. Looking back in history there is a 500 year climate cycle of warming and cooling and none of it has anything to do with human activity, its all because of the Sun.
But telling people the truth about global warming doesn’t make millions of dollars for out of work Vice Presidents, it also doesn’t provide a pretext for those who want to use global warming as an excuse for expanding government control over energy, which means controlling the entire economy.
The latest scandal, nicknamed “Climategate”, resulting from the release of emails from Penn State should not really come as a surprise to anyone. Junk scientists routinely throw out data that doesn’t fit their agenda.
Honest scientists seek the truth, wherever that may lead. Many of the greatest scientists have been Christians who started with the truth of God and the Bible to find the truth in God’s Creation. Junk science starts out with an agenda and then forces the scientific facts to fit that agenda, no matter how much it distorts the truth.
We should be good stewards of this world that God gave us to live in, but decisions about that stewardship should be based upon the truth.