Author: Dr Peter Ridd


Published: April 11, 2023


Originally Appeared In: The Spectator Australia

There is no surer proof that people are losing faith in the scientific establishment than the recent Rasmussen poll of Americans which found 60 per cent of respondents agreeing that, ‘Climate change has become a religion that “actually has nothing to do with the climate” and is really about power and control”.’ Even 45 per cent of Democrats agreed.

This is a staggering result considering the relentless barrage from almost every major science organisation on earth asserting that climate change is ‘real’ and dangerous. Despite all the indoctrination at universities, all the stories in the media by climate ‘experts’, a solid majority thinks they are being conned.

Why have so many people reached this conclusion?

It is not because the general population has been reading up on the history of climate science. I doubt those 60 per cent of Americans know that the climate was hotter when the Egyptians were building pyramids, that American wildfires burnt a far greater area in the 1930s than in recent decades, or that the Great Barrier Reef has never had more coral.

But they can smell a rat, and they can recognise a high-pressure salesman. The alarmist side has cried ‘Wolf!’ hundreds of times too many, and its treatment of those who dare to dissent only makes the rat smell worse.

The public everywhere realises how strange it is that all the effects of climate change are supposedly terrible – that there is nothing good. Consider somebody gazing out of their window in Montana, onto mounting snow drifts in minus 20°C temperatures – they might think it odd that a couple of degrees warmer could be such a universally bad thing.

But the scientific establishment argues that it will not just get hotter, it will also get colder. Do the institutions honestly expect us not to question the peculiar nature of this argument – however much we would like to believe them because we know we should believe ‘The Science’?

And one does not have to delve too deeply into the institutions’ evidence to see that a lot does not make sense. For example, last month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report again argued that the world’s coral reefs will lose 90 per cent of their coral with a trivial 1.5°C temperature increase – of which, it claims, we have already experienced more than one degree. But data from the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows that corals at the colder southern end of the Great Barrier Reef will grow at least 30 per cent faster in the event of such a temperature rise. Corals like it hot. Maybe corals living in the planet’s hottest water extremes are in trouble, but surely then, some of the corals in the cooler parts of the world must benefit from a little extra warmth? Not according to the IPCC.

And let us not forget science’s dirty open secret. Detailed checks show that roughly 50 per cent of the recent scientific reports, which have been peer-reviewed, are wrong. It is called the ‘replication crisis’. All the big science institutions have known about it for a decade, but they do not like to talk about it. It is too embarrassing. Perhaps the Australian Academy of Science could write an article to The Spectator Australia explaining the problem and how it proposes to solve it.

What other profession gets it wrong so often? Thank goodness scientists are not airline pilots.

The general distrust of scientists revealed by the Rasmussen poll was most probably turbocharged by the Covid scare, and especially by the manner with which dissenters were treated. For example, those who argued that it was possible the virus originated in the Wuhan virology lab, rather than the city’s wet market, were simply labelled racist. But, of all the huge cities and all the wet markets in all of China, what is the chance that Covid popped up, entirely naturally, exactly where virologists were experimenting with Corona viruses? The answer is very roughly just 10 per cent – at most. There are ten cities in China as big or bigger than Wuhan. It was always a valid question to ask about a lab-leak. Even the CIA has stated that the lab-leak theory is plausible.

But people want to trust science institutions. People want to believe that the Great Barrier Reef is almost doomed, despite the wonderful news about record coral cover. This is because if the reef is not doomed, they must face the possibility of something worse – that they have been deceived by institutions they have always trusted implicitly. Organisations such as the ABC and CSIRO, which we have traditionally put on a pedestal. People cannot handle that thought – not immediately at least – but they come around eventually. The Rasmussen Poll, and those 60 per cent of Americans who see climate change is a religion, proves that.

We must make it possible for people to trust ‘science’ again. But that means it must become trustworthy. So far, the science institutions are still in denial.