Washington Post Columnist repeats falsehoods yet again
In an interview today, George Will seems to imply without saying so explicitly that maybe, just maybe, he was wrong when he falsely claimed — in two columns — that Arctic Sea Ice has grown to an extent not seen since 1979. But then he immediately distracted attention from that inconvenient revelation by uttering two additional falsehoods in one sentence.
Here’s the relevant part of the Q&A:
•Q: The big issue was about how much global sea ice there is now compared to 1979.
•A: And that of course was a tiny portion of the column. The critics completely ignored — as again, understandably — the evidence I gave of the global cooling hysteria of 30 years ago.
•Q: They like to pretend that there really wasn’t any hysteria back then.
•A: Since I quoted the hysteria, it’s a little hard for them to deny it.
So the sea ice thing was wrong, Will seems to concede, but let’s not focus on that because it was just a tiny part of the column. Meanwhile, can we just change the subject and get back to global cooling?
As numerous people have pointed out before, there never was a global cooling hysteria. Will can selectively quote any number of articles he wants, but what he says is simply false. Science writer John Fleck has documented this better than anyone else, in both a column in the Albuquerque Journal, and a scholarly paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. So, that’s the first falsehood in the sentence.
Then Will claims that his critics have “completely ignored the evidence I gave . . . ” Well, not even close. John Fleck didn’t ignore it, and neither did a host of other experts who documented how there was no global cooling hysteria. So, that’s the second falsehood in the sentence.
It seems almost impossible that Will is unaware that his assertion about global cooling hysteria has been proved false, yet he continues to repeat it. Knowingly repeating a falsehood? I’ll let you label what this is.
But even if Will were correct that scientists back in the 1970s believed the Earth was heading into an ice age, so what? As I’ve said in a previous post, scientists back in the 1940s thought pressures related to contraction of the planet were responsible for mountain building. By the 1960s, however, that theory had been disproved and a new paradigm had taken hold: plate tectonics. No one doubts plate tectonics today just because scientists believed something else 70 years ago. So even if some scientists in the ’70s believed cooling was on the way, where is the logic in the argument that this casts doubt on global warming?
Many argue that the Washington Post should censor Will. This is a profoundly bad idea. It would raise Will’s standing among the public, and the chilling effect of suppressing free speech would be a much bigger evil than whatever harm Will is doing to public understanding of climate change. (And I sincerely doubt that he’s doing much damage to that.) Even so, it sure would be nice to see a detailed article in the Washington Post analyzing everything Will got wrong — and continues to get wrong.