‘Settled’ science?

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Regarding Jim LeJeune’s letter to the editor “Climate Change Is a Settled, Scientific Fact” (Jan. 26), I offer him this question, first posed by Galileo Galilei to the church in 1613: “Who would dare assert that we know all there is to be known?”

Here’s an inconvenient truth for the “settled science” crowd. No science, no matter how broad, will ever be settled. All scientific theories are provisional. There are always scientists poking around the edges of the most fundamental matters of nature, including the ones we teach to students as established fact.

Think of it this way. Almost all reputable scientists make their living challenging what others have agreed upon.

I’ve been known to riffle through those scientific journals of which Mr. LeJeune speaks. And I find articles galore that remind me that we’re forever refining and reforming our models of reality.

To be fair to Mr. LeJeune, I’ll stipulate that we can’t wait for any science to be settled before we take action. Otherwise we’d never do a thing. I’m just saying that the notion of settled science is an expedient political meme, a way to stifle dissent.

So let the Los Angeles Times censor away by refusing to publish letters from those who challenge climate change. Leave my hometown paper and its readers free to debate the issue. Because if the science of climate change is really and truly settled, why do its proponents keep trolling for research grants?


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