Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Suppression of Scientific Dissent

This past Monday Dr. Gavriel Avital, Israel’s Chief scientist for the Ministry of Education, was dismissed by his boss Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar. Rabbi Slifkin has the following to say about this incident.

This week, the Israeli Education Ministry's chief scientist, Dr. Gavriel Avital, was fired, for challenging evolution and global warming. I was amused to see that some people saw this as the "suppression of dissent from the scientific orthodoxy." In other words, "here's a scientist who presented a scientific case against evolution, but he was suppressed for political reasons!"

Of course, the facts are entirely different. Dr. Avital is an aeronautical engineer, not a biologist. And he did not present any evidence against evolution. Rather, he revealed himself to be a religiously motivated person who is unfamiliar with the situation (or distorts it). Dr. Avital is quoted as saying the following:

"If textbooks state explicitly that human beings' origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want students to pursue and grapple with other opinions. There are many people who don't believe the evolutionary account is correct."

Rabbi Slifkin claims "the facts are entirely different" but are they? Here are the real facts. Dr. Avital was appointed to the position of top scientist in December 2009 but prior to this appointment Avital had already publicized his doubts re Evolution in a video interview with Machon Meir. Furthermore, in Novemebr 2009, Avital had already made his position on Global Warming clear in the journal B’sheva. Yesterday, Avital claimed that Sa’ar was well aware of his views on Climate Change before hiring him (Ynet).

In February 2010, Dr. Avital once again voiced his opinion regarding the tenuousness of these two theories thereby sparking a furor amongst environmental activists and scholars. Basically they went nuts and demanded his dismissal. In March Avital promised to toe the Ministry line regarding Evolution and GW and the Ministry considered the whole thing over and done with. The furor should have died down. Unfortunately due to intense pressure from the academic left and the environmentalist lobby Avital was finally dismissed eight months after his public statements! Avital’s dismissal is clearly the result of the leftist establishment wielding its political power to suppress dissent from scientific orthodoxy and is unrelated to how he discharged his duties at the Ministry of Education


  1. The late Reid Bryson, Professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), known as the father of scientific climatology, considered global warming a bunch of hooey.

    Bryson was referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it. Here is what he said in 2007 (


    There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the “Little Ice Age,” he said in an interview this week.

    “However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We’ve been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It’s been warming up for a long time,” Bryson said.

    The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said.

    Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.

    “It’s like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It’s just a total misplacement of emphasis,” he said. “It really isn’t science because there’s no really good scientific evidence.”

    Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. “Consensus doesn’t prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe.”

    Bryson, 87, was the founding chairman of the department of meteorology at UW-Madison and of the Institute for Environmental Studies, now known as the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He retired in 1985, but has gone into the office almost every day since. He does it without pay.

    So, if global warming isn’t such a burning issue, why are thousands of scientists so concerned about it?

    “Why are so many thousands not concerned about it?” Bryson shot back.

    “There is a lot of money to be made in this,” he added. “If you want to be an eminent scientist you have to have a lot of grad students and a lot of grants. You can’t get grants unless you say, ‘Oh global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.’”

    …”There is very little truth to what is being said and an awful lot of religion. It’s almost a religion. Where you have to believe in anthropogenic (or man-made) global warming or else you are nuts.”

    Bryson didn’t see Al Gore’s movie about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    “Don’t make me throw up,” he said. “It is not science. It is not true.”


    The recent book "Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science", by Ian Plimer (professor of Geology at the University of Adelaide in Australia) provides a lot of references to the science of "global warming", especially from the point of view who question the "scientific consensus" (recall Crichton's statement that Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had).

    Product Description: In this controversial new book Australia's leading geologist makes the case that carbon dioxide is just one of many factors that drive climate--and a relatively insignificant one at that. Heaven and Earth engagingly and comprehensively synthesizes what we know--or think we know -- about the sun, earth, ice, water, and air. Heaven and Earth is a powerful argument against many of the punitive--and expensive--laws that are now being passed to 'protect' our environment. Remember the great Alar scare of 1989? Remember when we were headed toward a New Ice Age? Remember when the Arctic was melting but the Antarctic was not? And when ethanol was the answer to everything? Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth blows away the smoke and let's us look directly into the flame.