Our Changing Climate

Dale C. Whitney

One of the issues that Ms. Lorentzen deals with [Letters, Jan. 17] is the question: What level of formal education and/or direct experience with the issue-at-hand do we require before giving credence to a scientist or any other supposed expert? And following directly from that is another question: Why should we listen to a teenager like Greta Thunberg (the Swedish teenager who has gained international fame by speaking out on this subject)?

Lorentzen’s letter takes pains to say that we should listen to our truly qualified scientists lest we literally fall into a burning man-made hell.But she also makes the “counterpoint” that sometimes we need to listen to non-academically-trained prophetic voices like that of little Greta.

The Jan. 23 Washington Post, for instance, stated that “...(US Secretary of the Treasury) Mnuchin said Greta Thunberg needed to study economics. So we talked to an economist. And he agreed with Thunberg.”

 Modern psychologists allow that paranoids are sometimes right. And in the Old Testament uneducated prophets like Amos and Jeremiah emerged out of the rural countryside to speak the often-embarrassing truth to power and are honored for this wisdom many generations later.

There may be a lot of uneducated quacks out there speaking dangerous nonsense, but once in a while a “natural prophet” like Greta or Jeremiah comes along and we must listen carefully to them to avoid disaster – despite their relatively humble origins.



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