We appreciated Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick's views regarding letters and other reader submissions to the News Tribune (“A note from the editor: Keep those letters coming,” July 8).
Regarding opinion pieces that make scientific claims, the difficulty with the theory that the best solutions emerge is that most of us find it difficult to evaluate these claims, and the current editorial policy tends to give equal weight to true and false statements about science. Consequently, we’re likely to continue holding the views we already favor, regardless of whether they are based in fact. Perhaps Paul Simon said it best: "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
Americans simply can't keep shouting at each other. We have, globally as well as locally, very serious issues to address. To mount effective responses to challenges like climate change and COVID-19, we must do as climate activist Greta Thunberg has said many times: "Listen to the scientists." It is counterproductive and destructive to continue to allow 600-word opinions on science that contains patently false information without editorial comment.
There are valid scientific disagreements. How long will it take the Greenland ice sheet to melt? We don't know, but we do know we must act now because climate change has been occurring much faster than predicted. What form of alternative energy is best? How soon will a vaccine for COVID-19 be available? Again, we don't know all the answers, but we do know there are specific things we can do now to save lives.
The 600-word opinion pieces that relate to critical scientific issues should be solicited from respected local or nationally known scientists or doctors who are specialists in the appropriate fields. It is they who can best guide us to achieve something approaching consensus on sound policies. Only then will our legislators act to save us from ourselves.
David Gerhart and Gwen Plumb