(CNSNews.com) - Commentary from 400 prominent scientists from around the world, which was included in a U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report released last week, warns of a religious-like belief in global warming in the scientific community.
In opposition to the "consensus" reached by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year, the committee report, sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), presents writings and statements from scientists who expressed skepticism or disbelief in global warming throughout 2007.
"It seems that in the climatic area a new faith fight has broken out, which has all the characteristics of historical religion," warned professor Francis Massen of the Physics Laboratory in Luxemburg, one of the scientists included in the report.
"There is an unrestrained contest among media, environmental groups, and politicians to paint as dire a picture as possible," Massen added.
French climatologist Dr. Marcel Leroux, director of the Laboratory of Climatology, Risks, and Environment in Lyon, France, compared the current global warming culture to that of the Spanish Inquisition.
"The Apocalypse looms ever nearer! Without realizing it, or perhaps without wishing to, the average citizen is bamboozled, lobotomized, lulled into mindless acceptance," he said. "Non-believers are in the position of those long ago who doubted the existence of God."
But Dr. Kit Batten, managing director for energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal group, said the global-warming-as-religion is false. "There is no culture like that," she said.
The religious rhetoric used in the report was invented by the "skewed minority view" represented in the report, said Batten, who added that "there is nothing religious about belief in global warming. This is just rhetoric. As a scientist, I know how much rigor is brought in to this to make sure the data is fool proof. The rigor that is put into this [IPCC] analysis is very high."
Pat Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the libertarian Cato Institute and research professor of environmental science on leave from the University of Virginia, said the sheer number of international acclaimed scientists included in the report makes it hard to dismiss.
"They found an astounding amount of people who are in agreement," Michaels told Cybercast News Service. "These are not just creation scientists. These are huge names. There are too many people for these to be agenda-driven statements. Scientists are just getting tired of exaggeration on this issue. Global warming has become a religious crusade."
But Batten countered that the number of scientists willing to voice dissent has no bearing on the conclusions expressed by the many scientists in the UN's IPCC report.
"There are still far more scientists that have studied and support the conclusion that global warming is caused by humans" she said. "The studies of the IPCC do include the dissent, but their conclusions represent the consensus of the scientific community."
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