A tactic used by advocates of a particular viewpoint on anthropogenic global warming (e.g. we humans caused warming on our planet) is to make the claim that the science is “settled”. I covered this before.
Specifically I pointed out that science is never … ever “settled”. In fact, the very fundamental aspect of what makes science a profoundly useful to humanity, is that it questions and is free to question everything. All that is really required to do this are transparency, intellectual rigor, and the ability to accept the outcome of the analysis.
Moreover, I somewhat humorously pointed out that “Relativists” were “Newtonian-deniers”, as I purposefully used the language in this … er … debate … to point out that people are letting far too much heat, and far too little light into the discussion. Labeling skeptics as “deniers”, and making fundamentally false claims about a supposedly “settled” science simply denigrates the real researchers, and casts additional doubt upon the results of existing research … why would researchers need to cast aspersions onto their critics, unless their arguments or data was weak?
This said, I found a comic this morning that made me chuckle. I hope you enjoy it as well. More after the break.
Science is fundamentally in the disagreements. Its in the testing. Its in the data gathering and analysis. Real science and real data whether critics quite well, without activist types poking their heads in and muddying the waters.
The danger of this is when the scientist is themselves an activist, and can no longer be considered an impartial observer or theorizer of nature. When you have a particular world view that you want to push, you can, and often, will, even subconsciously, accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative. Moreover, you’ll take criticism of your results more personally … not because of the scientific criticism, but because it attacks your fundamental belief system.
It appears to me, as an outsider and a reformed/recovering ex-computational physicist, that all the heat going in to debating minutiae of climatological models, by activists who don’t really have a fundamental grasp of the underlying science, isn’t helping the scientific debate. Couple that with activist scientists pushing particular world views, eliminating valid criticism, and accentuating what they believe to be supporting evidence … some of which has been exposed as mere wishful thinking on their part …
… what we have is a general public whom are growing more distrustful of scientists and “scientific data and predictions”.
This hasn’t ended well for anyone connected with a scientific endeavor. We are being painted as a group with broad strokes due to the misbehavior of several of our colleagues.
In order to regain the trust and respect of the public, we have to make sure we divorce ourselves from activism about our results, and our efforts.
I won’t comment much on the AGW debate, other than to point out that the criticism that has been leveled against it and never really responded to in a meaningful manner (e.g. without the language of activist politics) in recent weeks has pretty much devastated any rational basis for building policy upon the “settled science” of AGW. This is as it should be.
Science is in the details, in the minutiae, in the disagreements, in the data, in the analysis. Correct results and reasonable theories will eventually win. Correct science and methods will eventually win. Activism will eventually lose.