Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet agronomist who denied the existence of genes. The characteristics of plants were determined by their environment, he said.
This was poppycock, but Lysenko's theory met with favor with Josef Stalin. Lysenkoism became dogma in the Soviet Union. This led to a predictable decline in Soviet biology, and an official Soviet repudiation of Lysenko in 1964.
But Lysenkoism lives on in Oregon, where Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants to fire the state climatologist because Prof. George Taylor doesn't think the modest warming we've experienced is due primarily to human activities. Dr. David Legates, Delaware's state climatologist, also is under pressure to make his science more Politically Correct.
Dr. Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain, thinks 2007 may be the warmest year ever recorded. The British Meteorological Office thinks there is a 60 percent chance that Dr. Jones is right.
When you learn that the 10 warmest years ever recorded all have been since 1994, you might get as scared as the global warming alarmists want you to be.
But first do something they don't want you to do: think. According to the data the Climatic Research Unit collects, the warmest year on record was 1998. That means it hasn't gotten warmer since then. All the data for 2006 aren't in yet, but it won't be as warm as it was in 2005, and may not be as warm as 2003.
To say the earth is as warm as its ever been since the invention of the thermometer isn't as scary as alarmists think. The mercury thermometer was invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714. That was in the middle of the Little Ice Age (1350-1900). Of course temperatures are warmer now than they were then.
Dr. Bob Carter, a paleoclimate researcher at James Cook University in Australia, notes that for most of the last six million years, average global temperatures were as much as five degrees Celsius warmer than they are today.
As each new piece of evidence weakens their argument, global warming alarmists try to shut off debate.
They claim a consensus which does not exist. The National Registry of Environmental Professionals took a survey last November, which indicated two thirds of its members think global warming is a serious problem. But a third do not.
Skeptics are, global warming alarmists say, a "fringe" who are paid by CO2-spewing corporations to express doubt. But numbered among the skeptics are some of the world's most renowned climatologists, such as Richard Lindzen of MIT and Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia. All have better credentials than does the divinity school dropout from whom alarmists take their cues.
Alarmists never mention that the vast majority of funding for climate scientists comes from government, or that skeptics are highly unlikely to receive research grants.
"Follow the money," said Alabama state climatologist John Christie, a professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. "To justify their funding, they have to show a huge problem."
You couldn't tell by reading the news accounts of it that the forthcoming report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is less alarmist than was its 2001 report. For instance, in 2001, the IPCC said melting ice could raise sea levels over the next hundred years by as much as three feet. The range the IPCC offers in this report is from 7 to 23 inches. Al Gore continues to talk about a sea rise of 20 feet, which should say all that needs to be said about his credibility.
This year's report also has dispensed with the infamous "hockey stick" graph which purported to show that temperatures in 2001 were the highest since the time of Christ. This is a left-handed acknowledgment of the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300) when temperatures were warmer than they are today.
The "hockey stick" was a fraud with a purpose. In 1995, Douglas Deming, a climate scientist at the University of Oklahoma, published a paper in the journal Science showing modest warming in North America over the last 150 years.
"A major person working in the area of climate change sent me an astonishing email that said: 'we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,'" Prof. Deming told William Tucker, who is writing a book about global warming.
A reporter for National Public Radio also called and offered to interview him, Dr. Deming said, but only "if I would state that the warming was due to human activity. When I refused to do so, he hung up on me."