Earlier this morning Chris offered up a post entitled “Why are environmentalists missing a mild-weather opportunity?” It raises a pragmatic point about how the climate “debate” plays out in the public sphere and is well worth a read. Go ahead – I’ll wait.
Predictably – and by “predictably,” I mean that last night I e-mailed our climate guru, Brian Angliss, and said “when Chris’s post lands, here’s what’s going to happen,” and it has played out as though I had scripted it; the denialists have jumped on the post in an attempt to cast Chris and the rest of the S&R staff as “hypocrites.” One prominent anti-science type wants you to believe that the message is “we know weather isn’t climate, but let’s lie to people anyway!”
Like I say, as predicted.
The truth is that Chris’s post is part of a larger context. Read more
Case 1: In 1997 a prominent scientist made a bet with a colleague over a complex black hole issue that physicists were trying to figure out. This bet was very public and given the egos involved in the field of advanced quantum science, the stakes were huge.
Case 2: In a climate-related thread on S&R, a “skeptic” was asked point-blank: “What evidence would you accept that global warming is real? What tests would you have to see, in order to change your view?” This is a straight-up establishment of terms for consideration of any scientific question: what is evidence in favor of the hypothesis and what evidence disproves the hypothesis? Read more
I hope you made the time to read Wufnik’s post from Friday. Entitled “Surrounded by people ‘educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought,’” his analysis of our culture’s “active willingness to be deceived” represents one of the iconic moments in S&R’s history. If you didn’t see it yet, go read it now.
In addition to the questions the post explicitly addresses, it also raises other critical issues that deserve equally rigorous treatment. One point for further consideration, for instance, lies in his use of the word “educated.” I don’t think it’s terribly controversial to suggest that our society is, by a variety of metrics, more educated than perhaps any society in history. Those metrics would include factors like “number of people who attended college.” At the same time, we are significantly less educated if we pay more attention to factors like the much harder to quantify “capacity for critical thought.” Read more
Oh dear: Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’
It’s now clear that “Sir” Isaac Newton and a series of co-conspirators were guilty of several crimes against science, including:
- Conspiring to avoid public scrutiny
- Insulting dissenting scientists and equating them with holocaust deniers
- Manipulation of evidence
- Knowingly publishing scientific fraud
- Suppression of evidence
- Abusing the peer review system
- Insulting their critics
As this analysis makes clear: Read more