Just shy of 400 years ago, Galileo made a big name for himself. He modified a crude device we call the telescope, studied the stars, and pointed out to the Catholic Church that the earth revolved around the sun – not the other way around.

That name Galileo earned for himself was heretic. He was remanded to the custody of the Inquisition.

Today, of course, we have a secular society where all great ideas are based on scientific merit. The Inquisition is a historical anachronism that no longer threatens people with a different interpretation of the facts. And competing ideas are welcome – in fact, the more the merrier – because there is “strength in diversity.”

Just ask George Taylor, a scientist at Oregon State University who believes that the temperature variations we see today are the result of entirely natural variations that have occurred throughout the earth’s history and will continue to occur in the future.

Unfortunately for George Taylor, he holds a title that the global warming industry covets: State Climatologist. In fact, Oregon’s governor, Democrat Ted Kulongoski, wants Taylor removed from that position. He furthermore wants the position made into one that the governor appoints. State Democratic Sen. Brad Avakian agrees. He is introducing legislation to accomplish this. His concern is that global warming is so important to state policy that the governor needs a climatologist to act as a consultant. Make that a climatologist who agrees with the governor.

Taylor is not alone. David R. Legates, a climatologist at the University of Delaware is also under fire. Then there is David Deming at the University of Oklahoma, who told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about an e-mail he received following publication of a 1995 paper in the journal Science. Deming said a major global warming researcher wrote to him: “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” Deming explained:

“The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was a time of unusually warm weather that began around A.D. 1000 and persisted until a cold period known as the “Little Ice Age” took hold in the 14th century. … The existence of the MWP had been recognized in the scientific literature for decades. But now it was a major embarrassment to those maintaining that the 20th century warming was truly anomalous. It had to be ‘gotten rid of.'”

Hmm. Somebody should tell Oregon’s Gov. Ted Kulongoski. I bet Legates won’t be his new climatologist.

One of the more absurd criticisms of scientists who look at the evidence and see something besides global warming (formerly known as global cooling and an impending ice age during the 1970s), and where these scientists part company with the lemmings heading over the greenhouse gas cliff, is that the skeptics are being paid by so-and-so.

It would be intriguing, would it not, if every scientific paper contained an addendum listing the scientist’s source of income? Oh, not after the traditional money laundering that occurs between academia, foundations, wealthy donors and government to direct public policy – but before. Who’s pocket did that Ben Franklin come from? Perhaps then it would become obvious that a half-dozen environmental groups and the American taxpayer (the latter with a gun held to his head by the taxman), have paid for all the holier-than-thou global warming research making its way around the nation’s newsrooms as “independent science.” Suddenly, “academics” might cease to be the pious, public saints the press has painted them.

As for peddling a particular position that benefits primarily themselves, no entity comes anywhere near to governments. And when a group of governments (the U.N.) band together to create hysteria based on bought-and-paid-for science, one thing should be obvious: Those governments smell tax money, big-time, not very far down the road.

A “carbon tax,” one of the more popular, is somewhat akin to a tax on breathing. Call it a tax on exhaling. Better yet, from government’s perspective, it’s administered through business and industry, which are forced to pay for the overhead costs. That way, it doesn’t look like government is the bad guy. So we do well to remember: Taxes, like many things in life, always roll downhill. Only the end consumer ever truly pays taxes; everybody else passes them on.

A “carbon tax” (that is, a tax on thin air) is just one more expense that will be passed on to the consumer at the bottom of the government’s pyramid. This will do nothing to solve the intended problem (how does one “solve” natural cycles?), but it will immeasurably improve the lives of tens of thousands of bureaucrats and many power-hungry politicians. As to improving our lives, well – let me tell you about this bridge to nowhere that I’ve heard is for sale.

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