"Another reason that arguing the politics through science is a poor approach to dealing with complex political issues is that such an approach has a disproportionately negative downside for scientific institutions and the process of science. Advocates for inaction on climate change who base their arguments on science (however flawed these arguments may be), being in the minority, can play David to the majority's Goliath. If David is caught exaggerating or simply making a mistake, the damage to science is small because not much is expected of an underdog, especially one repeatedly characterized as being out of the mainstream. But when those who present themselves as representing the science itself are caught, the damage can be dramatic. After all, if the "outsider" lies or makes a mistake, who cares? He can be (and typically is) dismissed as just a kook.... But if advocates who claim to represent the mainstream scientific establishment tell lies or make mistakes, they become an argument in favor of inaction. There is thus an asymmetry in the consequences of politicizing science that falls in the favor of those opposed to action."
-- Roger Pielke Jr., The Climate Fix, Chapter 8
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Why It Doesn't Matter if Matt Ridley is Wrong
A good point, which I'll use in relation to Matt Ridley's WSJ piece, which Media Matters calls a "dud":
Posted by David Appell at 12/20/2012 10:39:00 AM