Friday, December 18, 2009

"Have you heard of the Heidelberg Appeal?"

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I don't expect Pat Buchanan to understand environmental science, but I would expect him to understand a document written in English. He invoked the Heidelberg Appeal as evidence that "4000 scientists including 72 Nobel Prize winners" do not believe that climate change is a problem. Buchanan then went on to call climate change the "biggest hoax" perpetrated on mankind.

What is the
Heidelberg Appeal? It's a document written in 1992 with signatories who call for the advance of science and warn against pseudo-science in the public sphere especially when drafting policy. If asked, I would feel very comfortable signing this document myself:

Text of the Heidelberg Appeal

Addressed to the chiefs of state and governments

Heidelberg, April 14, 1992

"We want to make our full contribution to the preservation of our common heritage, the Earth.

"We are, however, worried at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.

"We contend that a Natural State, sometimes idealized by movements with a tendency to look towards the past, does not exist and has probably never existed since man's first appearance in the biosphere, insofar as humanity has always progressed by increasingly harnessing Nature to its needs and not the reverse.

"We fully subscribe to the objectives of a scientific ecology for a universe whose resources must be taken stock of, monitored and preserved. But we herewith demand that this stock-taking, monitoring and preservation be founded on scientific criteria and not on irrational pre-conceptions.

"We stress that many essential human activities are carried out either by manipulating hazardous substances or in their proximity, and that progress and development have always involved increasing control over hostile forces, to the benefit of mankind. We therefore consider that scientific ecology is no more than an extension of this continual progress toward the improved life of future generations. We intend to assert science's responsibility and duty towards society as a whole. We do however forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet's destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.

"We draw everybody's attention to the absolute necessity of helping poor countries attain a level of sustainable development which matches that of the rest of the planet, protecting them from troubles and dangers stemming from developed nations, and avoiding their entanglement in a web of unrealistic obligations which would compromise both their independence and their dignity.

"The greatest evils which stalk our Earth are ignorance and oppression, and not Science, Technology and Industry whose instruments, when adequately managed, are indispensable tools of a future shaped by Humanity, by itself and for itself, overcoming major problems like overpopulation, starvation and worldwide diseases."[1]

What the Heidelberg does NOT say is even more important: it says nothing about climate change, polar ice caps, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, or any other specific item germane to any current debate. Heidelberg is merely a general invocation of the value of true science for solving the world's problems.

And Buchanan is scientifically proven to be an ass-hat.

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