"Thoughtful National Academy documents have no impact when ideology is the rule of the land."
-- Andrew D. Leavitt, Science, Feb 25, 2011, letter to the editor
"What political parties do we support?" Sax asked.
"I don't know. The usual array I guess."
"No party gets much support. Whatever works, you know."
Sax knew. That was the old tech position, held ever since scientists had become a class in society, a priest caste almost, intervening between the people and their power. They were apolitical, supposedly, like civil servants-empiricists, who only wanted things managed in a rational scientific style, the greatest good for the greatest number, which ought to be fairly simple to arrange, if people were not so trapped in emotions, religions, governments, and other mass delusional systems of that sort.
The standard scientist politics, in other words. Sax had once tried to explain this outlook to Desmond, causing his friend for some reason to laugh prodigiously, even though it made perfect sense. Well, it was a bit naive, therefore a bit comical, he supposed; and like a lot of funny things, it could be that it was hilarious right up to the moment it turned horrible. Because it was an attitude that had kept scientists from going at politics in any useful way for centuries now; and dismal centuries they had been.
-- Kim Stanley Robinson, Blue Mars
"Members of the fanatic group are taught to have a common hatred, a single foe, a devil."
-- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
Let's face it - the whole man-made global warming movement has been thoroughly discredited, and is in the final stages of its lifecycle.I honestly don't know how anyone reaches such a conclusion, except that they must only read web sites that agree with their preconceived notions and avoid all discussions of the science. Because the truth is that there is absolutely no doubt in scientific circles about the reality of a human influence on climate, for anyone who reads science journals or follows science journalism, and this is getting stronger all the time (and has been for at least two decades now).
To this day, I can’t stop laughing at some of the replies to, “Make up a prequel for a famous movie.” The responses included “Young Yeller,” “Flirts With Wolves,” “Conceived on the Fourth of October,” “Mr. Smith MapQuests Washington,” “There Goes Private Ryan—I Hope He’ll Be O.K.,” and my personal favorite, “We’re Running Low on Mohicans.”
“Abstinence works,” said Governor Perry during a televised interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune.
“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith responded.
“It works,” insisted Perry.
“Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?” asked Smith.
“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” said Perry, doggedly.
…he recalled something that Kuhn had written about Priestley – that a scientist who continued to resist after his whole profession had been converted to a new paradigm might be perfectly logical and reasonable, but had ipso facto ceased to be a scientist.
-- Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars, p. 147
While we’re certainly not close to the end of science – so many profound mysteries remain – we should be prepared to work harder for what we learn next. All the low-hanging facts have been found.Lehrer writes primarily about medicine and neuroscience, and certainly we're unlikely to discover a new component of a cell or even of the brain. But that's a very short-sighted point of view.