Thursday, April 09, 2015

On "Is Climate Change Making Us Stupid?"

Two things caught my eye tonight. One was this Tweet by Roger Pielke Sr
motivated by this post by Judith Curry, "Climate change availability cascade," where she concludes
Is climate change making us stupid? I fear that the answer is ‘yes.’ This problem is exacerbated by politically correct climate change orthodoxy, enforced by politicians, advocates and the media in an availability cascade, which is destroying our ability to think rationally about how we should respond to climate change. As a result, we have created a political log-jam over this issue, with scientists caught in the cross-fire.
Most scientists are caught in the cross-fire. But some are doing the shooting. (And, no, I'm not naive enough to think the bullets are only going in one direction, either, but I do see an asymmetry.)

Personally, I'm getting very tired of being called stupid, hearing people called stupid, hearing scientists called stupid, and the media, and advocates, and Barack Obama, and the left as a whole. I'm getting tired of hearing that the scientific process has been "corrupted."

I'm getting tiring of hearing people, especially certain scientists, whine about “politically correct orthodoxy,” that there's no ability to think rationally (besides the ones making the claim, of course), that scientists are climate zombies, that the fix is in. It sounds like what it is -- nothing more than an excuse because these scientists' own ideas aren’t being widely accepted, their op-eds aren't convincing, they're not winning the debate, their science isn't more convincing. That's playing politics, the very thing they claim to see in others. And it’s playing the victim, which is always kinda pathetic.

It’s very simple for these scientists to fix the situation they're complaining about — provide better evidence. Put forth better science. Gather data and write papers than convinces others your ideas have merit, that what you’re claiming is real and right and that a different viewpoint is therefore required -- required because that’s what your evidence shows and your science says, not because you wrote some polemic on your blog or on Twitter.

Better evidence has always prevailed in science -- in fact, it's the only thing that ever has -- which is the real story of those peptic ulcers.

But stop maligning scientists as a group, stop whining they’re suppressing ideas, that the game is rigged, that those who accept the seriousness of AGW position are climate zombies. Stop saying everyone (besides you) is doing it just for the grant money, except for all the secret people you know who all support your position but they're too afraid to come out and say so because they have a mortgage.

Science is, and always has been, a battle of ideas, and not all ideas are created equal and not all ideas prevail. I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me you have to fight for your ideas, fight hard, but fight honorably, and if you don't win a battle, turn around and get up and head back in, but don't complain endlessly that the other side is cheating. They're not cheating. They're not stupid. They're not corrupt. And you're not fooling anybody.

3 comments:

Lars Karlsson said...

The people that are maligning scientists etc are doing it precisely because they don't have convincing evidence. For these people, to play fair means to lose.

John said...

Well, arguing against climate change has certainly, publicly culled out the naturally, and willfully, stupid.

Looks like Curry is vying for the Palinesque role of word-salad-slinger of the denialati.

Can't wait to hear the science "orthodoxy" from Tom "almost-perfect-vacuum-between-the-ears" Cotton.

John Puma

Mark Ryan said...

Bill Ruddiman's guest article at RealClimate seems quite a timely addendum to this post. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/04/a-scientific-debate/