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On Truth, Fact, Values, Climate Change, and Doughnuts

By Peter Gleick, for the Environmental News Network
December 29, 2005

The ongoing brouhaha over the misuse of science in the political process – especially around controversial issues such as stem cells, evolution, and climate change – results from a conflict between facts and values, and persists because of a fundamental misunderstanding of science. Science is a process, not an end point. For those looking for absolute truths, we are more likely to find them in faith, religious teachings, or political ideology.

What does this mean for the difficult issue of climate change? While the vast majority of scientists seek knowledge to expand understanding, the few climate change “skeptics” seek only evidence that supports their worldview. It is this conflict between evidence and preconceived notions that motivates these skeptics, driving them to point to the hole in the doughnut to prove there is no doughnut. ... continued


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