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Opinion Letters No such thing as ‘scientific proof,’ strictly thinking

This is in response to Vic Drummond’s letter arguing that man’s contribution to global warming is a false assertion because he can cite contrary “evidence.” The problem is that Mr. Drummond does not understand the scientific method. Evdence for this is his use of the term “scientific proof.” Scientists have long understood, strictly thinking, there is no such thing as “scientific proof.” Rather, an accepted hypothesis is one that has failed to be adequately disproved. This requires more than choosing only “evidence” which supports one’s hypothesis (called confirmation bias) as Mr. Drummond has done. Required is consideration of all the evidence, not just the evidence you select.

Drummond makes his argument even more complicated by asserting that global warming is a political agenda to support bigger government and that the U.S. government, under President Obama’s direction has brainwashed a very large number of climate scientists all over the world. Aparently, Mr. Drummond feels he has to deny global warming and any role played by man’s activity to generate it, in order to support his conspiracy hypothesis. Unfortunately, there is no way to disconfirm a conspiracy hypothesis that would be acceptable to one believing that conspiracy. Conspiracy believers always can deny the solid evidence and, when pushed, invent new “evidence.”

Ray Wheeler — Franklin, N.C.

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