In Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith murmurs that “sanity is not statistical.” This was before he was crushed by the totalitarian state into accepting consensus and loving Big Brother. During the 19th century, before the Michelson-Morley experiment, most scientists probably accepted the concept of the “luminiferous ether.” Did such acceptance make this now-defunct concept true?
By urging that we line up with “97 percent of climate scientists” (Inbox, Jan. 9), Graham Turk ’17 continues the notion that our attention should be immediately focused on eliminating anthropogenic sources of climate change, e.g., fossil fuels. (He furthermore offers an unfortunate ad hominem attack on William Happer *64, whose deep understanding of atomic and molecular physics might actually be quite relevant to radiation transport in the atmosphere.)
It is unlikely in the next few decades that fossil fuels will be displaced as the primary energy source for the global economy, especially in developing countries. Instead, we might hope that during this time climate scientists will refine their models, and other scientists and technologists would devote themselves to carbon-free power. Such power, which is already available as nuclear fission (and may be achieved someday by nuclear fusion) can provide the electricity needed to improve the world’s future economy without destroying the present one.