Action Alert!

Discovered: 116,000 square miles of 'missing' polar ice cap

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 31, 2012

Non-scientists like me can often feel helpless in the public debate about climate change. We have neither the skill nor the training to rebut the latest claims by certified scientific “experts” who tell us that the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible. Yet we notice that other scientific experts disagree. In the circumstances, I think, it is reasonable to cite the principle of “probabilism,” and rely on the experts whose arguments we find more convincing.

But when I have done just that, some of my more-scientific-than-thou friends inform me that I cannot—simply cannot—ignore the clear evidence provided by the melting of the polar ice cap. Oh, yes I can. It turns out that cartographers now realize that those “undeniable” maps were wrong; they had reported the disappearance of about 116,000 square miles of ice in Greenland—which had not actually disappeared.

Ooops! This is not just a minor error. We’re talking about an area a bit larger than Arizona. If all that ice really had disappeared, it would surely have been evidence of something dramatic. But it hadn’t. It’s still there.

What’s the lesson here? Simply that we should examine the facts very, very carefully before formulating policies that could change the way we live. And while we're speaking about probabilities, it’s fair to say that Catholic prelates probably shouldn’t issue statements that seem to lend the authority of the Church to scientific hypotheses that remain unproven.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: FredC - Feb. 10, 2012 10:39 AM ET USA

    Government grants have corrupted scientists, who now shade the truth so their data supports the government's agenda. Compare the dollar value of grants to those who support global warming theory to those who do not. We have clear evidence of the corruption. We need to determine why the government has this agenda.

  • Posted by: clinnickr5320 - Jan. 31, 2012 11:16 PM ET USA

    Good and honest work. Good and faithful servant of truth. Thanks, Richard