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Letter: Our mistrust of scientists

A column by Cal Thomas in the June 3 West Central Tribune addresses the "false doctrine of global warming." It is a fairly lengthy column, and he cites many indications that this "doctrine" is dying.

On the other side, a major report was released on May 19 by our National Academies of Science. A panel of 20 American scientists has examined the climate change data, including data collected after the 2007 international report. Eleven of the 20 are at top American universities.

As seen at, the opening words are: "A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems..." Strong! Credible! I put a high weight on this panel's findings.

Getting back to the Thomas column, a striking line is found near the end, namely "...but also watch increasing numbers of scientists and eventually politicians to abandon the once 'certain' faith and to look for other ways to control our lives." Thomas evidently believes that scientists who bring an unpleasant message do so out of a lust for power.

I think Thomas suffers from paranoia. It is distressing that many climate-change denial columns feature words such as "hoax," "fraud," even "criminal." A calm discussion of facts is impossible where there is such mistrust. Granted, it is an American trait to be skeptical of educated people, so Thomas and others find a ready audience. They are like the guest that comes to visit wearing white gloves, finds a thin layer of dust on some surface, then spreads the word that the house is a mess.

Earl O. Knutson