Sir, – As a non-scientist I cannot have read one-hundredth of the number of scientific articles read by Robert May, yet I am familiar with at least a score (each citing a score more) questioning key parts of the theory that there is a threat of catastrophic man-made global warming. So when Lord May claims (April 6) that “not one” respected scientist is unconvinced, far from persuading me he only makes me doubtful of his other claims.
Moreover, by applying the term “denial” (with all its loaded undertones) to sceptical scientists; by referring to them inaccurately as “well funded” by the oil industry; and by likening those who stress the uncertainties of climate science to unprincipled lobbyists for tobacco companies, Lord May enters on the field of personal vilification – not a suitable place for a distinguished former President of the Royal Society.
There is a great deal more money and acceptability available to consensus scientists than to dissenters. This suggests that the work of the doubters should be taken very seriously, since it brings with it problems both of funding and of exclusion from the friendly embrace of the Establishment. I admire such people, much as I have admired other dissidents like Solzhenitsyn, Pastor Bonhoeffer – oh, and Galileo and Darwin.