The Skeptical Scientist
The name of a certain US scientist has been cropping up in environmental conservation and global warming discussions all over the world for all the wrong reasons. Be it in the media or in climate change forums, the name Dr. Soon keeps featuring. In fact, he was featured in a New York Times article in February where several discrediting things about him were reported.
Dr. Wei-Hock Soon is a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Soon, as he is fondly known, is one of those scientists who dispute the scientifically proven impact of human activity on global warming. Commonly known as the climate change skeptics, these scientists offer a myriad of ambiguous and absurd arguments on why human activity is not a significant contributor to climate change.
On a similar note, Dr. Soon alleges that climate change is a consequence of variations in the sun’s energy. He further alleges that pollution and GHGs pose an insignificant risk to humanity and to global warming.
Solving the riddle
One of the most frustrating and perplexing experiences for an environmental conservationist is to encounter a propaganda-peddling derailer. It is especially frustrating if the skeptic is bright and learned and hence exploits the gullibility of lesser minds to peddle lies regarding pollution.
There are many reasons why people choose to peddle lies or to embrace a different path whereas the benefits of a certain way of life are clearly known and proven. Some people usually decide to oppose just about anything and everything claiming it’s all a conspiracy hoax. These people usually influence a huge group of others by peddling propaganda and enjoying the following while witnessing ongoing environmental destruction.
On the other hand, there is a more selfish reason why an enlightened scientist can decide to counter scientifically-proven facts regarding global warming and pollution. The selfish reason is related to money and it comes from greed. According to the New York Times article, a scientist with a huge academic and political following, Dr. Soon’s singular sentiments are motivated by financial greed.
The financial incentive
First of all, Dr. Soon is neither a climatologist nor even an astrophysicist as he claims, but rather an aerospace engineer. Despite his relatively little formal training in climatology, the scientist has published many papers in the past years claiming that human activity has little effect on climate change. The man has become the darling of major energy corporations and anti-climate change lobby groups and politicians.
He is usually quoted as an accredited academic source by all who oppose environmental conservation agendas and he has played a huge role in increasing public skepticism on the effect of pollution on global warming. Anyway, his incentive was uncovered by Greenpeace, which reported that he had received over a million dollars from different companies in the fossil-fuel industry over the last ten years.
In a further discrediting move, Dr. Soon has not been disclosing the apparent conflict of interest in his published papers and he also appears to have violated other ethical guidelines. In his defense, the scientist or engineer claims that he only got the money for research and hence the source did not affect his findings.
However, it is now clear why some scholars come up with absurd findings and conclusions contradicting their fellow researchers. The explanation is simple; you do not bite the hand that feeds you.