Maple seeds

April 29, 2010

In my yard, and in much of northern New Jersey, maple seeds are falling. These seeds are ingeniously equipped with wings, one wing per seed, so that, as the seed falls, the wing rotates, helicopter-fashion, and is borne up by the wind; the point of this device is, clearly, to carry the seeds away from the parent tree as far as possible and allow for their widest possible dispersion, thereby increasing the chances of some of them taking root while at the same time making life easier for the parent tree. It is as good an example of teleology in nature as one could ask for.

Normally, I would greet these signs of continuing life with joy, even given the prospect of having to clean them out of the gutters. But this year I am somewhat troubled by their appearance. The house in which I currently live is the house in which I was raised, and I distinctly remember that, when I was young, these seeds would fall around the middle of May; I know this because it was around the time of my birthday, May 22nd, that I would sweep them off the back steps. It seems clear that the maple seeds are falling this year two to three weeks earlier than they used to. A friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday that he has noticed the same thing with respect to the dandelions on his lawn and the flowers in his garden. And, most strangely, we have had a series of thunderstorms here in March and April, something that I would normally associate with summer weather.

Take these observations for what they are worth; they are not scientific proof of anything. But they agree with an increasing body of evidence, from around the world, that suggests that the planet is heating up. For my own part, I accept global warming as a reality, I accept also the common view of climate scientists that human activity — the burning of fossil fuels — is largely responsible for it, and I think concerted action needs to be taken to change things, including, in the first place, a large-scale conversion to renewable sources of energy. Those politicians who work actively for such change have my support; those who deny the existence of the problem, or who do all they can to delay and undermine any effective response to it, do not.

In the Book of Revelation, after the blowing of the seventh trumpet (11:15), the four and twenty elders who sit before God on their seats fall on their faces and worship God, saying:

“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:17-18)

If one claims to be committed to a “culture of life,” then one ought to be committed to stop global warming. There are no two ways about it.

6 Responses to “Maple seeds”

  1. James G Says:

    Dr. Gilbert,

    I have great respect for you and I know we differ in opinion on several issues of prudential judgment but I cannot let a statement such as, “If one claims to be committed to a ‘culture of life,’ then one ought to be committed to stop global warming. There are no two ways about it.” pass without comment.

    I’m not going to try and dissuade you from believing in anthropogenic global warming but a man of your erudition cannot be unaware that this is one of the most disputed issues of our day and has become highly politicized. A discussion of the science has been thrown out the window and it has become more akin to a religion to many, especially the population controllers of the Culture of Death. To make such a broad, sweeping statement as you did is to ignore that fact as well as many recent developments such as the University of East Anglia scandal. Since you broached the topic with anecdotal evidence I would also point out that you yourself just experienced the coldest winter in recent memory.

    Dr. Gilbert, even were I to accept the premise of anthropogenic global warming, I will say to you the same thing I say to my boss on the subject, “I don’t see a downside to global warming; I think it’s a good thing.” We are constantly being bombarded with doom and gloom propaganda but it should be kept in mind that past periods of time have experienced warm periods with beneficial results. You cannot be unaware of the Medieval Warm Period nor the one that occurred during the Pax Romana when crop production rose and the European population boomed. Also to be remembered was the Little Ice Age that ended only relatively recently and the affects that had on global events. In history, global warming has been a boon for mankind.

    Logic alone dictates that warming has many potential benefits. Warmer temperatures cause more water to evaporate from the oceans leading to more precipitation. High carbon dioxide levels actually promote plant growth with optimal levels being much higher than we have now. In prehistoric times we have evidence of temperatures even warmer than now and the world was lush and verdant. To adopt the sky is falling mentality of the atheists and then to quote the Apocolypse out of context to make your point is something that I would have thought beneath you.

    Verily yours,

    James G

  2. dionysios Says:

    Here’s a different take on the topic that you might interested in:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/09/lindzen-earth-is-never-in-equilibrium/

  3. bekkos Says:

    James,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am aware that the issue of global warming has been the focus of much dispute — how much of it legitimate scientific disagreement and how much of it manufactured at the behest of various interest groups is another question. But I would stand by my claim, that the vast weight of scientific opinion supports the fact of a rapidly warming earth and the explanation that traces most of the cause of this warming to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, an increase traceable to human activity; the IPCC reports are an important testimony to this consensus. Michael Crichton notwithstanding, I do not think this body of scientific opinion is refuted by portraying environmentalists as deluded, blind adherents of a post-Christian religion; some of the most committed environmentalists I know are pious Orthodox Christians, including the current Patriarch of Constantinople; that is, to my thinking, a credit to the Orthodox Church and a testament to a living Christian faith, not a sign of post-Christian despair.

    Your citation of Michael Crichton’s article led me to do some research; in particular, I was struck by his curious advocacy of a return to the use of DDT and his rejection of the claim that second-hand smoking is hazardous to one’s health. Since you asked me to read his article, I would ask you, and anyone else who cares about this issue, to read carefully an article by the British environmentalist George Monbiot, titled “The denial industry.” In it, Monbiot shows, first, that ExxonMobil, the world’s largest corporation and a company that has a vested interest in promoting the burning of oil for as long as possible, has provided massive funding for front-organizations that disseminate climate change denial; secondly, Monbiot shows that this public-relations campaign is historically and institutionally connected with the campaign of the tobacco industry to muddle the issue over second-hand smoke inhalation. One particularly important climate change denier, a man named Frederick Seitz, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences who has been a major critic of the IPCC reports, has been on the payroll both of ExxonMobil and of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. One of the documents issued by something called the George C. Marshall Institute, an organization chaired by Seitz and funded by ExxonMobil, states the following:

    “We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution.”

    This sounds remarkably like what you say in your comment:

    “Logic alone dictates that warming has many potential benefits. Warmer temperatures cause more water to evaporate from the oceans leading to more precipitation. High carbon dioxide levels actually promote plant growth with optimal levels being much higher than we have now….”

    Monbiot notes that, after 1992, when the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a 500-page report on the respiratory health effects of passive smoking, the tobacco companies tried to fight this report by setting up front groups to circulate disinformation in the guise of scientific criticism. A public relations company, called APCO, advised Philip Morris

    to create the impression of a “grassroots” movement – one that had been formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight “overregulation”. It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one “unfounded fear” among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones.

    The coincidence of this public relations campaign with the themes one hears in Crichton’s article (“I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned…. I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it”) makes me very much suspect that Mr. Crichton is on somebody’s payroll.

    One climate scientist, Peter Doran, in an article published in the New York Times in 2006, specifically charged Crichton with misusing his research findings:

    Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.

    So, while I would agree with you that the issue of global warming has become highly politicized, I would submit that much of that politicization has been the doing of people like Crichton, funded by corporations like ExxonMobil, and spread by companies like Fox News, for the purpose of creating an appearance of doubt when in fact there is an overwhelming scientific consensus of opinion. As was stated in an internal memo of the tobacco company Brown and Williamson:

    “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

    As for the scandal at East Anglia University, where e-mails show certain researchers to have fudged some evidence, I do not condone it, but I also do not think that it materially affects the findings of the IPCC reports, which are long and detailed and based on thousands of pieces of evidence amassed by scientists around the world, not just at one English university.

    And, yes, I would stand with my statements. God will destroy those who destroy the earth. If one is committed to a culture of life, one ought to be committed to stop global warming. And there are no two ways about it.

    Peter

  4. James G Says:

    Dr. Gilbert,

    First, I don’t think Michael Crichton is in anyone’s pocket considering he’s dead; but even before, given his success as a novelist I doubt anyone could buy him. I didn’t link to his article because I support every idea the man has but because I thought he did an excellent job in describing the mentality of many Environmentalists, especially the kind I regularly encountered at the university. On the subject of DDT, there is a new book out on it that might be worth checking out.

    I am unfamiliar with Seitz whom you mention but I would point out that, as you know, discrediting him on the basis of his source of funding alone is the logical fallacy of attacking the messenger. Should we dismiss a priori every bit of research that is funded by Greenpeace or the Sierra Club; or the EPA and NIS which are highly politicized? After all, we know they have an agenda. Should I dismiss Monbiot whom you linked because he has a self-interest in the debate? In a politicized issue such as this, it would be impossible to find anybody on either side who is not somehow connected to Exxon or Greenpeace or Kevin Bacon for that matter.

    An academic yourself, you definitely know firsthand the infighting and political maneuvering of universities and other institutes. Well, the science side of the aisle is no different and probably worse because the amount of money involved is so much greater. Those who do not tow the party line are ostracized and excluded so are forced to seek support and funding wherever they can. Exxon and other companies would be stupid not to fund research that is favorable to them but that does not necessitate that the research is flawed any more than Sierra Club funding would.

    I really don’t know why you bring up the tobacco industry other than Monbiot mentioning it. But since we’re on it I would point out that the EPA study on second-hand smoke that Monbiot brings up has been highly criticized for its methodology and for drawing conclusions not supported by the data. I hate cigarettes as much as anyone, having lost my grandfather to lung cancer, but we cannot tolerate policy decisions (even good ones we support) being based on fraudulent science. We cannot abuse science in the hope of doing good.

    One topic I enjoy reading on is scandals within the scientific community (sort of reverse narcissism); and there have been many. Scientists are fallen human beings the same as everyone else and they are as prone to lie and manipulate as anyone. Even (especially) amongst highly praised researchers and heads of government agencies there have been scandals from fudging data to outright fabricating it to stealing credit for other scientists’ discoveries. In fact, I worry more about my fellow scientists because so many of them are atheists and lacking in the moral corrective of Christian principles and that is one less thing to prevent them from shortcutting for some perceived end. Alas, even scientists of faith are not immune and cannot just be assumed to be honest either.

    In one of my upper-division environmental engineering classes we had to read two books on environmental issues from a list. The ones I chose were Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn and The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg. Theo is trying to be the next Rachel Carson and far from writing a reasoned explanation of her thesis (that mad-made chemicals – i.e. pesticides – are causing hormonal damage to the environment and people) she instead engaged in scare tactics based on insinuations held together by the most tenuous of threads. In the end her argument was unconvincing because unsupported (a more likely candidate for the hormonal damage observed in the environment is the actual excessive hormones excreted by contracepting women).

    Lomborg’s book on the other hand was interesting and well written. I highly encourage you to read his work. Lomborg is a true blue environmentalist and a believer in anthropogenic global warming; but he not an alarmist and has had the temerity to say that much of the hysteria is overblown and that there are more efficient and more beneficial ways to spend our money, and for that he is attacked.

    A book you might also consider perusing is called Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years by Singer and Avery. The book discusses past periods of global warming and cooling with the main argument being that the Earth’s temperature is chiefly dependent on the energy output of the Sun. That the big light-bulb in the sky and its relative wattage would be the driving factor in the temperature of the EZ-Bake Oven we call Earth seems like a reasonable argument to me. Singer is not without his critics nor unable to defend himself but I would ask you to put the controversy aside and judge the book and argument on its own merits.

    As for his All-Holiness, while I wish he would spend more time lecturing the world on the moral evils and environmental devastation of hormonal birth control rather than greenhouse gases, I will admit that he is a man without guile who cannot be accused of having an agenda. I am not a man who would ever say that anyone without a science degree is incapable of understanding or judging the science of the matter; however, I do wonder how much time he has devoted to just that. Would it not be reasonable to assume that he has derived his knowledge from certain experts whom he takes at their word the same way that we all do? So while he may be sincere he may also be in error and I will follow my own prudential judgment on this issue.

    Do not misunderstand me Dr. Gilbert; I am no advocate for pollution or unbridled use of resources. There are plenty of environmental protection measures I support and I do worry about the consequences our actions have for ourselves and the planet. As I mentioned above, the consequences of the massive amounts of hormones being introduced into the water by contraception and only now being probed is an issue I care about and thankfully some environmentalists do as well. I think our reliance on fossil fuels is ill conceived as is dependence on any finite resource. I think we are monstrously stupid not to be utilizing the free solar energy and when I finally win the lottery you will probably be befuddled by the enterprises I spend my energy and resources on.

    As a man of science I hold it to a higher standard. I have examined what I can and am not convinced that anthropogenic global warming has been proven sufficiently to be basing major policy on. Further, I have seen nothing that compels me to buy into the hysteria and much to see warming as a net gain. I live in the deserts of Arizona and have not seen summer heat increase; in fact the record temperature was last reached here over 20 years ago. Frankly, I’m hoping rising oceans and the Big One crumbling California into the sea will combine to give me ocean front property. And when the time comes and I stand before my Maker and render an account I will bear a clear conscience in this matter because I used the brain and reason the good Lord gave me.

    James G

  5. bekkos Says:

    James,

    I have no desire or competence to place myself in our Maker’s shoes and pronounce a judgment upon your conscience. I only can state that your reasons, and the reasons of the authorities you mostly cite and rely upon, seem to me deficient, and, in using my own brain and reason, which were given to me by the same good Lord who gave you yours, I am obliged to disagree with you on some fundamental matters.

    I am glad to hear you disavow any advocacy for “pollution” or for “the unbridled use of resources,” although these terms are susceptible of a wide range of interpretations, and the particular meaning you give to them is unclear. I am more heartened to hear you concretely acknowledge that “our reliance on fossil fuels is ill-conceived as is dependence on any finite resource” and that “we are monstrously stupid not to be utilizing the free solar energy”; on these points I think we are fully in agreement; in fact, these statements seem to support my contention that a conversion to renewable sources of energy is sorely needed.

    For my own part, I would acknowledge that there are manifestations of environmental fervor about which it is right to be skeptical. Two weeks ago, there was a week-long conference on climate change that met in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a response to the failure of last year’s Copenhagen summit to produce any substantive agreement. The conference opened with a speech in which the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, chanted “Death to Capitalism!” A British government minister, asked to comment on why Her Majesty’s government was not participating in the conference although it had been invited, described it as exemplifying “watermelon environmentalism” — green on the outside, red on the inside. Given Morales’s speech, I must view this as a fair assessment. I also do not accept trying to set up “the rights of Mother Earth” as a basic principle of international law, as was done at this conference. I reject this, not because I don’t care about the earth, but because the earth is not a person, and cannot speak on its own behalf in a court of law or other public forum; only human beings can speak on the earth’s behalf, and human beings often disagree about what makes for sound environmental policy. Those disagreements presumably must be decided through a process of open debate in which the merits of the different positions are given a fair hearing; such a forum for open debate is what democratic society, with all its imperfections, is meant to provide, and I don’t think the decision can be made by summarily designating one group of people (e.g., “indigenous peoples”) the earth’s representatives and another group of people (“capitalists”) the earth’s enemies; to do so merely constitutes an attempt to circumvent the political and scientific process.

    On the other hand, I believe it also shows an attempt to circumvent the political and scientific process when authors portray the scientific process itself as essentially corrupted by political bias and deny the force of scientific consensus for public decision-making. Such an attempt, although it is sometimes linked with religious motives (so many scientists, as you say, “are atheists and lacking in the moral corrective of Christian principles and that is one less thing to prevent them from shortcutting for some perceived end”), breeds cynicism about the possibility of a common, reasoned acknowledgment of truth; to that extent, I think it undermines both democracy and religion itself, and encourages people to think of Christian faith as merely one cynical political option among the rest. I respectfully submit that your own position on climate change tends towards this stance of dogmatic cynicism.

    I would agree that “scientists are fallen human beings the same as everyone else and they are as prone to lie and manipulate as anyone.” What I do not accept is the inference that, therefore, scientific consensus counts for nothing; so far as I can see, if scientific method and academic procedures like peer review serve any purpose at all, they serve as a check on precisely this common tendency of fallen humanity to manipulate the truth to private ends — not an infallible check, certainly, but an important and necessary one, and one that is rightly respected by the public when decisions have to be made about pursuing the common good.

    I could propose a syllogism.

    A. “Scientists are fallen human beings the same as everyone else and they are as prone to lie and manipulate as anyone.”

    B. You are a scientist (by your own admission). Therefore

    C. You are as prone to lie and manipulate as anyone.

    Therefore (further):

    D. Why should I, a common citizen, with a doctorate in patristics and not in climate science, trust your views on global warming, particularly when you elevate the opinions of men like Michael Crichton, Bjørn Lomborg (“a true blue environmentalist”), and Fred Singer and of websites like http://www.heartland.org over the opinion of such bodies as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and other organizations representing a wide consensus of scientific opinion that anthropogenic climate change is real, that runaway, irreversible climate change could well occur if steps are not taken quickly to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, and that such a scenario would be a disaster for humanity and for life on the planet generally? When you dismiss the EPA and the NIS as being “highly politicized” and say, “After all, we know they have an agenda” (please do not include me in that “we,” because I know no such thing) — what reasons do I have for presuming that you yourself are not highly politicized and have an agenda?

    Some years ago, I encountered Lomborg’s book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, at a bookstore in Ithaca, New York. As frequently happens when I encounter new things in bookstores, I spent quite some time poring over it and trying to decide whether or not, given my dwindling finances, I ought to buy it. I eventually decided not to. Although the price of the book had something to do with this decision, mostly it was based upon my impression of the quality of the book’s argumentation. I remember in particular that Lomborg argued that peak oil is nothing to worry about, because, if one looks at past trends, one always finds that the price of energy tends to decrease over time; one can therefore conclude that, given human ingenuity and entrepreneurship, the increased efficiency of oil extraction and better methods of detection will prevail and will show predictions that the world is soon approaching a plateau in its oil production to have been false; increase of production will continue, the actual costs of energy will come down. Lomberg even, as I recall, offered to bet money on the proposition that, in five or ten years’ time (I forget which he said), the relative costs of fuel would have gone down. The book came out in 2001; I would have done well to have taken up that wager. Lomberg’s analysis, that extrapolates a picture of the future on the basis of a selective presentation of past trends, clearly ignores a most important factor, which is that oil is a finite natural resource, of which there is only a certain amount under the ground; if discoveries of new oil fields are becoming rarer, it is reasonable to conclude that there are fewer of them to find. Instead of acknowledging this reality, Lomborg writes as though the patterns of production and consumption that were set at a time when natural resources seemed unlimited could continue indefinitely into a time of growing resource scarcity.

    As I recall, Lomborg’s arguments on the global warming issue involved similar leaps of faith in the power of technology and the marketplace to overcome the constraints of physical reality. I would agree that technology and market forces have to be part of the solution to the problem of global warming; I have nothing against people making money if they do so in ways that promote the public welfare. But market forces and pursuit of short-term self-interest can also sometimes blind people to the existence of serious, long-term problems; global warming appears to me to be such a problem, and I am not convinced that market forces alone are sufficient to address it — particularly so when market forces hire people like Seitz and Singer to muddle the issues in a campaign to increase support for doing nothing.

    This is probably enough of a reply to your comment, although there are other things you said that really do seem to me to require some response; e.g., I brought up the tobacco industry because Michael Crichton, in the article to which you previously linked, raises the issue of second-hand smoke inhalation, and because Monbiot traces connections between climate change denial and tobacco industry denial in a way that seems to me convincing. I do not discount the possibility that high temperatures in Arizona, one of the hottest states in the nation, have not risen, though you say nothing about average temperatures, and in any case global temperatures seem to be rising fastest in places that are coldest, e.g. the Arctic, rather than in places that are already hot. As for the Patriarch of Constantinople, he sees issues of the environment, not merely as a matter of following the opinions of this or that scientific expert, but also as impinging upon Orthodox theology; he plainly sees his commitment to the environment as a corollary to his being an Orthodox Christian, and in that I think he is witnessing to something true and good about Orthodox Christianity.

    Finally, I have nothing against you following your prudential judgment, and I would defend your right, as a scientist and as a citizen, to prefer the views of Lomborg, Singer, and all the rest to the views of the IPCC, just as I would defend your right to support Governor Brewer of Arizona and the state’s new immigration law, SB 1070, if you wanted to, though I myself regard that law as odious. When I said, in my original post, that, if one is committed to a culture of life, one ought to be committed to stop climate change, and that there are no two ways about it, I did not mean to imply that climate change denial should be outlawed, or that climate change deniers should be excommunicated, or sent to a Gulag. I meant to imply that climate change deniers are wrong and are often guilty of factual misrepresentation, that anthropogenic climate change is, by common acknowledgment, a reality that is already occurring, and that to do nothing about limiting the dangers that that reality holds for the future is a gross moral irresponsibility. You are, of course, entitled to your prudential judgment, and I am entitled to mine, before the throne of the all-knowing God.

    Peter

  6. George Theokritoff Says:

    Dear Bekkos:

    There are some items that do not appear in James G’s contribution to the debate. With regard to the matter of e-mails at the University of East Anglia, there has been a thorough investigation
    (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8618024.stm) which recommended some procedural changes, such as improvements in record keeping, but found no evidence of deliberate manipulation of the data. And what if there really had been the sort of peccadilloes that James G draws to our attention? It could only have been laid at the door of a small group of scientists, tiny in comparison with the hundreds of climate scientists working in a large number of relatively small groups.

    People who live in glass house should not throw stones. But then James G. might not have known about the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. I first heard of this Institute in 1999 when I received a request, apparently addressed to scientists, to sign a petition addressed to the US Government urging rejection of the Kyoto accords; this on the stated grounds that there is no convincing scientific evidence that the human release of greenhouse gases would adversely affect climate. It further claimed that there is substantial scientific evidence that increased carbon dioxide would have a beneficial effect on plant and animal environments.

    In this connection, I would just like to state that the experiments confirming enhanced growth rates driven by increased carbon dioxide were carried out using vastly higher concentrations of this gas than even the present elevated values. And we should also keep in mind that plant growth is also importantly constrained by the availability of nutrients in the soil.

    Now we get to the interesting bit. This request was accompanied by what appeared to be an offprint of a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. I began to suspect some sleight of hand because the journal, contrary to universal practice, was not identified. I also noticed that the pagination of this “offprint” started with 1. Obviously, in any journal, the paper that appears first in any given volume would start with page 1. But in this case, I was not reassured at all. It looked as if it might just be too good to be true.

    Not wishing to jump to unwarranted conclusions, I wrote Petition Project, the sponsors, and asked for the name of the journal and whether or not it was peer reviewed. The response was that the paper had been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal but the review process had not been completed. Nevertheless, in view of the importance of the matter, it was decided to proceed in this way.

    Whether this is a deliberate attempt to mislead or outright fraud, I will leave to the readers to decide. But I find that there is a serious breach of ethics in issuing an “offprint” mimicking the format of a publication of the National Academy of Sciences, especially as it was accompanied by a short letter signed by Frederick Seitz., a Past President of the Academy. In fact, the Academy deemed it necessary to issue a statement unequivocally rejecting any connection with the Petition Project.

    Petition Project was back just a few years ago. Again, there was an “offprint” but this time identified as originating from the Journal of Physicians and Surgeons (2007) 12, 79-90. I found this distinctly odd because the “offprint” did not address the health effects of climate change. There are lots of scientific journals, almost all of which focus on one or other field of specialization. Climate scientists, for example, would naturally want to address the larger community of climate scientists. Why on earth would they address Physicians and Surgeons, honorable though these professions be? Matters cleared up a bit as soon as I found out that the Journal of Physicians and Surgeons is associated with the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine which is also the institution with which the three authors of this “offprint” are affiliated.

    To make up their own minds, I urge readers to google the Oregon Institute and open the Wikipedia entry. There they will find both sides, the Project and its critics.


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