As such, the only scientist elected to the House of Representatives, Dr Dennis Jensen, has put his name forward. Ordinarily I’d be in favour of such a thing. (But then again, how often do any Ministers have expertise in their portfolios….)
Dr Jensen has made headlines by questioning the scientific consensus that humans are contributing to global warming.(Source: The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/climate-sceptic-mp-dennis-jensen-wants-to-be-science-minister–20130912–2tltt.html#ixzz2eknuPxj9)
Dr Jensen believes carbon dioxide is contributing somewhat to global temperatures, but not as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is suggesting.
Moreover, Dr Jensen does not think governments should be taking urgent action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. “In the climate area there is appeal to authority and appeal to consensus, neither of which is scientific at all,” Dr Jensen told Fairfax Media on Thursday.
“Scientific reality doesn’t give a damn who said it and it doesn’t give a damn how many say it.” It was wrong to accept the view of the 97 per cent of climate scientists who agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely caused by human activities, because “the argument of consensus … is a flawed argument,” Dr Jensen said.
Dr Jensen misunderstands the Appeal to Authority and what a consensus view in science means. An appeal to authority can be fallacious on two grounds:
- An appeal to a false authority. For example, if someone appealed to Dr Jensen’s authority as a scientist about his views on climate change, they would be making a false claim of authority. Dr Jensen is not a climate scientist.
- An appeal to a real authority but one that is not backed up by evidence or argument. I.e. One, if questioned about a position, should be able to provide some evidence or argument that the authority themselves provide.
Dr Jensen’s espouses a view that is essentially no different to post-modern relativists, anti-vaccination cranks and advocates of intelligent design.
Update: Who needs a science portfolio anyway... "For the first time since the creation of a science portfolio in 1931, Australia does not have a science minister."