Thursday, January 07, 2016
Another hokey percentage agreement with Warmism
Now it's about the opinions of economists -- but not any economists. A Law school surveyed "economists with climate expertise". Is it any surprise what they found? No economist with half a brain would risk his livelihood by going into that field if he was a global warming skeptic. All that the survey showed was that Warmists believe in Warmism. Not exactly startling
The Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University (NYU) School of Law recently published a report summarizing a survey of economists with climate expertise. The report was a follow-up and expansion of a similar survey conducted in 2009 by the same institute. The key finding: there’s a strong consensus among climate economics experts that we should put a price on carbon pollution to curb the expensive costs of climate change.
The survey participants included economists who have published papers related to climate change “in a highly ranked, peer-reviewed economics or environmental economics journal since 1994.” Overall, 365 participants completed the survey, which established the consensus of expert climate economists on a number of important questions.
In the 2009 version of the survey, the respondents were asked under what conditions the United States should commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 57% answered that the US should cut its emissions no matter what actions other countries take, while another 38% said that American emissions cuts would be warranted if many or all other countries commit to reducing theirs (as just happened in the Paris international negotiations).
In the 2015 survey, the number of expert economists saying that the US should cut its emissions no matter what rose to 77%. A further 18% said that if other countries agree to cut their emissions, the US should follow suit. In other words, there is a 95% consensus among expert climate economists that the US should follow through with its pledges to cut carbon pollution in the wake of the Paris international climate negotiations, and more than three out of four agreed that the US should take action to curb global warming no matter what.
Global warming: normal weather is a 'thing of the past', claims British scientist
I am not going to challenge the claim below that recent British weather has exhibited temperatures as high as 4.1 degrees above normal. What I am going to point out is what it implies. It shows that the temperature rises in Britain are NOT caused by global warming. Why? Because the official temperature recorders at NOAA and elsewhere have been able to find increases in global temperatures only in terms of hundredths of a degree. So British records are way out of the ballpark by global standards. Britain is experiencing LOCAL warming, presumably because of El Nino.
Normal weather is now a “thing of the past”, a leading climate change scientist has said, after storms and heavy rain caused devastating floods in parts of Britain.
December was record-breaking in both warmth and rainfall, according to the Met Office, with temperatures closer to those expected in April and May. For some parts of the UK, it was also the wettest December since records began in 1910.
Professor Myles Allen, leader of the Climate Research Programme at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute said: “Normal weather is actually a bit of a thing of the past.
“Here in Oxford we maintain the world’s longest daily weather record, we just beat the previous record by a whopping two and a half degrees and that record was set back in 1852.
“You’re not meant to beat weather records by that kind of margin and just like in athletics if you start doing so, it’s a sign that something’s actually changed.”
Provisional statistics released by the Met Office at the end of December showed that the average temperature in the UK last month was 8C, 4.1 degrees above the average and beating the previous record of 6.9C set in 1934. Last month was also the wettest calendar month ever in Met Office records since 1910.
Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Prof Allen said compared the change in weather patterns to an athlete doping: “What we’re doing is loading the dice if you like, or like an athlete popping pills, we’re changing the odds. And we’re seeing the odds on these extreme warm, extreme wet winters increasing. And we’re going to need to plan for it.
“You asked is this the new normal, well as I stressed, normal weather, unchanged over generations, is now a thing of the past. And if we’re building buildings and building infrastructure, we’re going to have to use climate simulations to work out what the weather will be like that that infrastructure will have to tolerate in 50 years’ time.”
THE “GREEN ENERGY” DELUSION
The supporters of the UN’s “climate agenda” are completely ignorant when it comes to building and maintaining stable, affordable electrical grids. green wash They, for example, are attempting to persuade (and if persuasion fails force) developed countries to transition away from powering their economies with hydrocarbon energy under the delusion that hydrocarbon energy can simply be replaced by what they call “green energy” without any diminution of the modern way of life that developed countries now enjoy.
Here is one such example from the Ceres Coalition:
“In order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world’s leading [political] scientists say we must:  Make ‘substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades and near zero emissions of CO2 and other long-lived GHGs by the end of the century’ [and 2] Phase out fossil fuels and move to 100% clean energy [solar panels and windmills].”
“Substantial emissions reductions” is thinly veiled language for reducing the burning of hydrocarbons for energy across the board and the phrase “phase out fossil fuels and move to 100% clean energy” means replacing hydrocarbons energy with primarily windmills and solar panels, which is the delusional part because these people obviously do not understand electricity.
What is electricity? Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conductor and ceases to exist when that flow stops. As such, electricity is a “non-conservable” phenomenon. When electrons flow through a conductor a magnetic field is generated around the conductor. This magnetic field drives the electric motors that do much of our work for us. The moment that the flow of electrons stops the magnetic field collapses and the motor stops immediately and can do no more work. When electrons flow through a conductor they “collide” with some of the atoms in the conductor; this generates the thermal energy that makes electric heaters and incandescent light bulbs work. When the flow of electrons stops the heater stops heating and the lights go out immediately. All electrical appliances are similarly “on” or “off” depending upon whether or not there is electricity flowing through the appliance in the moment. Add to that the fact that most electrical gadgets and appliances cannot tolerate fluctuating power levels and you can easily see why modern economies can run only on stable and dependable electricity.
When electricity stops flowing “first world” communities immediately become “third world” communities. What was the primary catastrophe that was brought on by hurricane Sandy in 2012? It took down the local power grid for several days and millions of people got to experience “third” world living for a short while. In their view, living without electricity even for a few days was a catastrophic experience. Never the less, that is what the UN’s climate agenda has planned for the world on a permanent basis—a lifestyle that is devoid of stable, dependable and affordable electricity. You see, when the UN gathers world leaders together to discuss “phasing out the use of fossil fuels” what they are really discussing is phasing out the availability of stable, dependable and affordable electricity and replacing it with unstable, intermittent and very expensive electricity. Why is wind and solar energy unstable, intermittent and expensive? Let’s explore.
Because of the “non-conservable” nature of electricity it must be generated at the very moment that it is being used. Even batteries are themselves small electrical generators that generate an electrical current due to a chemical reaction that occurs within the cells—a chemical reaction that can be reversed in some batteries when “recharging” them. So, when you flip a light switch, start your washing machine, turn on a microwave, air conditioner or the burner on you stove the electricity that powers those appliances has to be generated at that very moment at some power plant somewhere in the area and routed to your home via relays, transformers and transmission lines, i.e., the “grid”. The only delay that exist between the time that the electricity is generated and the time you use it in your home is the time that it takes for the electricity to travel from the generating plant to your home which is a fraction of a second.
The reason why hydrocarbon energy works so well in powering dependable electrical grids is because the burner at the plant can be fed more or less fuel in the moment to adjust the amount of electricity being generated at any point in time during the day or night to meet the continually fluctuating collective demand that is generated by all of the appliances that are connected to the grid, i.e., the “load”. The reason that solar panels and windmills will never be able to power an electrical grid without hydrocarbon, nuclear or hydroelectric power back up is because the power that solar panels and windmills generate is random and therefore cannot be matched to the “load”. An electrical grid powered solely by solar panels and windmills would not only be very expensive and environmentally damaging, it would, more importantly, be fraught with power surges and blackouts. Period. Why? Because the amount of electrical power generated by solar panels and windmills is not under the control of man; it is now and will always be intermittent; it depends upon cloud cover, time of day and wind speed rather than on the moment-by-moment “load” demand on an electrical grid.
As Epstein (2014) points out these intermittent “green energy” contributions to the power grid not only wreak havoc with the grid because they make it much more difficult to match energy output with energy demand. Germany has even been increasing its coal powered electrical generating capacity over the past few years.
Much within our modern civilization depends on a stable power grid and simply wouldn’t exist if powered by a grid that was constantly cycling between blackouts and power surges, as would be a grid powered by solar panels and windmills alone. Therefore, if you should hear a politician suggest that solar panels and windmills can simply replace hydrocarbon energy without a diminution in the quality of modern life be aware that you are listening to a profoundly ignorant person who has no real understanding of the nature of electricity. The fact that these intermittent and unreliable sources of energy have to be mandated by law in the first place should be your first clue that if allowed the freedom to generate energy in the most efficient and effective manner possible power companies wouldn’t bother with either wind or solar energy.
One of the arguments that today’s “political” scientists use to justify a completely unnecessary transition from hydrocarbon energy to wind and solar energy is that wind and solar energy is “free and plentiful”, but so is hydrocarbon energy “free”. Humanity didn’t coerce nature into creating coal, oil and natural gas. It did so on its own and this “natural” resource is free for the taking and using.
Key take-home point: Nature does not provide humanity with usable electricity, i.e., electricity in a form that can power an electrical appliance. None of the energy contained within wind, sunshine, nuclear reactions, hydrothermal, hydrocarbons, biofuels, biomass or flowing rivers is electricity. Without exception each one of these forms of energy in their natural state has to be converted into electricity via some form of technology in order to be used to improve people’s lives. What costs time and money is converting any one of these natural forms of energy into electricity. As such it is irrelevant what solar and wind cost in their natural state; what is relevant is whether or not they can be converted into stable, dependable electricity at an affordable price. Despite the numerous empty promises and assertions made by the world’s “political” scientists technology has only been able to turn wind and solar energy into unstable, undependable and expensive electricity.
When you couple their ignorance about the nature of electricity with the silly notion that drives the policy in the first place, i.e., the false notion that carbon dioxide a “pollutant”i that is threatening to cause “catastrophic” climate change, you end up with the disaster waiting to happen called the COP21’s draft agreement, which is in reality the most recent installment of their plan to not only prevent real economic development in the “third world” but to also completely demolish industrial civilization.
THE BIG PICTURE GUIDE TO CLIMATE SCIENCE & GEO-ENGINEERING
The complicated subject of climate change and geo-engineering (intentional human control of weather and environment) warrants our careful consideration. As with much science that has become politicized it requires a keen eye to weed out the hype from the facts. geoengineering
To help fellow scientists and lay readers alike Principia Scientific International has much pleasure in presenting Marian Calcroft’s ‘PSI’s Big Picture Guide to Climate Science & Geo-engineering.’
This 29-page PDF explains how the sun is by far the dominant force controlling our planet’s temperature and climate. The atmosphere actually acts as a refrigerator mechanism and regulates the cooling of the planet by convection and radiation into the top of the atmosphere.
Eventually equilibrium is reached between incoming Solar radiation and outgoing internally generated heat from the core, plus previously absorbed solar heat, cooling from the surface.
Calcroft shows that there is a growing schism between what is promoted as ‘accepted’ science by the academies and government-controlled institutions and what is known by independent scientists guided less by propaganda and financial inducements.
The independents understand that the human impact on climate by way of everyday emissions of carbon dioxide is grossly overstated. But the intentional manipulation of the weather to control the battlefield is well documented since the Cold War era. Also, it is true that volcanic forces within the planet, influenced by the gravitational forces in the solar system, are almost totally ignored by governments seeking tax hikes for our addictive ‘fossil fuel’ habit.
Geoengineering is the direct manipulation of the Earth’s Climate systems, mainly through the use of aerosol spraying into the upper atmosphere (aka ‘Chemtrails’) in conjunction with HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program) an ionospheric heater which produces electromagnetic pulses. Other methods are iron fertilization of the oceans, ‘carbon capture’ and sequestration of CO₂ by natural and by chemical means. These programs are applied by the military, scientists and governments for various reasons
Natural impacts, variations in Geo-nuke energy, manifest themselves in two ways, climate change and volcanic change. There is virtually NO monitoring of thousands of geysers, hot springs and tectonic plate fissures which gush all these Terrawatts of energy into the climactic equation. There is virtually NO evidence that volcanic activity is constant. The force that can keep 259 trillion cubic miles of rock at near boiling point is not a force to be ignored.
This most helpful PDF shows why carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a demon force in climate change. In fact, it is the gas of life itself.
Politicians and UN Policymakers have blurred the lines between particulate carbon (which in the air can be a pollutant) and CO₂ which is a non-toxic gas breathed out by all humans and is not a particulate but the main basic plant food.
Particulate carbon is what causes smog and visible smoke, and should be removed from the air 4 by smoke stacks etc. We already have the technology to do this and this treatment cost should be factored in to manufacturing costs, as should the treatment costs for all other forms of pollution we produce such as chemical, industrial, pharmaceutical, heavy metal wastes and toxic gases from ANY source. All pollutants of any kind should be cleaned up and treated at source BEFORE any release of “waste” into the environment.
This would give us a reality based cost of production of manufactured goods and for the services and modern “creature comforts” that we have come to enjoy. An example of a toxic gas that used to be released in large quantities but is now mostly cleaned up at source is Sulphur Dioxide (SO₂) which reacts with water to create acid rain.
Read Calcroft’s fascinating PDF and determine for yourself whether the truth is being told about the science and that we are all part of some great socio-political experiment.
Obama’s Climate Deal Leaves Blue-Collar, Rural Voters Out in the Cold
The past few weeks have been a remarkable time in environmental politics. Green groups have joined President Barack Obama in celebrating the global climate agreement reached in Paris, even though U.S. officials say none of the carbon reductions in the Dec. 12 deal are binding.
Remember, environmental groups have been campaigning for decades to drag the United States into legally binding carbon-reduction agreements that would be enforced by the United Nations.
But now, groups like Earthjustice and the Sierra Club are toasting non-binding numbers on a page as a historic victory. What gives?
Their real victory was winning applause from the United Nations for Obama’s go-it-alone carbon regulations without triggering an immediate political disaster back here at home. By calling the Paris deal non-binding, the president and his supporters evaded the U.S. Senate, which has the constitutional power to approve or reject treaties.
To justify this move, they argued that Senate Republicans could easily block the two-thirds vote usually required to approve a treaty. That may be true, but Republican opposition wasn’t the real danger for the White House and environmental groups. The disaster they avoided was the Senate debate itself, because the climate issue is deeply divisive and damaging for Democrats, no matter how much the environmentalist left tries to pretend otherwise.
Debating the Paris agreement on the Senate floor would be like having the “cap-and-trade” climate fight of 2009 and 2010 all over again. Back then, Democrats had huge majorities in the House and Senate along with the White House. For a time, they even had 60 votes in the Senate, enough to beat a Republican filibuster.
But even in early 2009, senior Obama officials were hedging. “It’s not going to be able to be done easily,” Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at the time, said in a speech to the Georgetown Climate Center.
One major challenge is “people’s real fear about what this will cost them, how much it will cost them on their electric bill, or what it will cost them in jobs,” Jackson said. She also hinted strongly at actions the EPA could take without Congress, referencing the debate over “what’s legal [and] what’s illegal” and how those legal issues “have to be carefully thought out and carefully choreographed.”
Soon after, 26 Senate Democrats sided with Republicans in a vote that put the brakes on cap-and-trade. They effectively banned the use of budget reconciliation, which could have been used to pass cap-and-trade with 51 votes instead of 60. Later, a cap-and-trade bill passed the House, but only just. Forty-four Democrats joined Republicans in opposition. By comparison, only eight Republicans voted for the bill.
The Democrats who opposed cap-and-trade mostly came from industrial, agricultural, and energy-producing states. Some lawmakers from those states, like Colorado’s Betsy Markey, voted for cap-and-trade anyway. Environmental groups ran a series of “thank you” TV ads in their districts, but it didn’t help. Markey was one of 63 House Democrats who lost their seats in the 2010 midterm elections.
After the House vote, the cap-and-trade debate dragged on for a year, then collapsed completely in the Senate. “[W]e don’t have enough Democratic votes,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said at the time.
Resistance from Democrats was so strong that only 35 to 40 senators may have voted for cap-and-trade, and the bill never got a vote in that chamber. Even without a floor vote, the division cap-and-trade sowed in Democratic ranks and the economic anxiety it caused among voters contributed to the loss of six Senate seats for the party in the 2010 midterms.
One day after the election, Obama signaled he would use EPA regulations to get what he wanted, but without forcing his party’s painful divisions on climate change into the open again. “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” Obama said. “I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”
So, lesson learned. No high-profile Senate debate over the Paris climate agreement. True, the White House will have to fend off some House and Senate disapproval motions aimed at EPA regulations that support the Obama administration’s promises in Paris.
Dozens of states have filed legal challenges against those EPA regulations, too. Those moves are important, but they don’t draw the same attention as a full-blown Senate debate over an international climate agreement—especially when that agreement hinders the U.S. economy and merely hopes that other countries won’t take advantage.
Of the 26 Senate Democrats who voted with Republicans in 2009 to put the brakes on cap-and-trade, nine are still serving.
Avoiding a debate over the Paris climate agreement and its impact on energy prices, jobs and the economy is a great deal for them—especially U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who are running for re-election in November 2016. As things stand, they can just hunker down and let the EPA do its thing.
But it’s a lousy deal for the blue-collar and rural constituents who voted for these senators. Their concerns about the economy, energy prices, and jobs were front and center during the cap-and-trade debate, and they should be front and center again after the Paris climate agreement. Instead, these voters have been left in the cold while environmental groups toast themselves and whatever they think was achieved in Paris.
Why Some of the Worst Attacks on Social Science Have Come From Liberals
The article below is not about Warmism but it does reveal the way in which Leftism can distort science -- something I have repeatedly shown in my own research and which has now been well-documented elsewhere by Haidt and others. The article retells two stories, of which I include only one below as the article is a very long one. It tells the Chagnon story, which I also folloeed at the time. See here. To global warming skeptics the Leftist dishonesty will be very familiar. Leftists generally sbordinate facts to ideology. They need to
I first read Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science when I was home for Thanksgiving, and I often left it lying around the house when I was doing other stuff. At one point, my dad picked it up off a table and started reading the back-jacket copy. “That’s an amazing book so far,” I said. “It’s about the politicization of science.” “Oh,” my dad responded. “You mean like Republicans and climate change?”
That exchange perfectly sums up why anyone who is interested in how tricky a construct “truth” has become in 2015 should read Alice Dreger’s book. No, it isn’t about climate change, but my dad could be excused for thinking any book about the politicization of science must be about conservatives. Many liberals, after all, have convinced themselves that it’s conservatives who attack science in the name of politics, while they would never do such a thing. Galileo’s Middle Finger corrects this misperception in a rather jarring fashion, and that’s why it’s one of the most important social-science books of 2015.
At its core, Galileo’s Middle Finger is about what happens when science and dogma collide — specifically, what happens when science makes a claim that doesn’t fit into an activist community’s accepted worldview. And many of Dreger’s most interesting, explosive examples of this phenomenon involve liberals, not conservatives, fighting tooth and nail against open scientific inquiry.
When Dreger criticizes liberal politicization of science, she isn’t doing so from the seat of a trolling conservative. Well before she dove into some of the biggest controversies in science and activism, she earned her progressive bona fides. A historian of science by training, she spent about a decade early in her career advocating on behalf of intersex people — those born with neither “traditional” male nor female genitalia.
Eventually, as a result of burnout and other factors, Dreger’s work in this area waned, and she moved on to other projects. Through some of the social networks she had developed in her intersex work, she became interested in the broader world of scientific controversies, and began investigating them as thoroughly as possible — interviewing hundreds of people, chasing down primary documents, and so on. What she found, over and over, was that researchers whose conclusions didn’t line up with politically correct orthodoxies — whether the orthodoxy in question involved sexual abuse, transgender issues, or whatever else — often faced dire, career-threatening consequences simply for doing their jobs.
Two examples stand out as particularly egregious cases in which solid social science was attacked in the name of progressive causes. The first involves Napoleon Chagnon, an extremely influential anthropologist who dedicated years of his life to understanding and living among the Yanomamö, an indigenous tribe situated in the Amazon rain forest on the Brazil-Venezuela border — there are a million copies of his 1968 book Yanomamö: The Fierce People in print, and it’s viewed by many as an ethnographic classic. Chagnon made ideological enemies along the way; for one thing, he has long believed that human behavior and culture can be partially explained by evolution, which in some circles has been a frowned-upon idea. Perhaps more important, he has never sentimentalized his subjects, and his portrayal of the Yanomamö included, as Dreger writes, “males fighting violently over fertile females, domestic brutality, ritualized drug use, and ecological indifference.” Dreger suggests that Chagnon’s reputation as a careful, dedicated scholar didn’t matter to his critics — what mattered was that his version of the Yanomamö was “Not your standard liberal image of the unjustly oppressed, naturally peaceful, environmentally gentle rain-forest Indian family.”
In 2000, Chagnon’s critics seized upon a once-in-a-career opportunity to go after him. That was the year a journalist named Patrick Tierney published Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon. The book — and a related New Yorker article by Tierney — leveled a series of spectacular allegations against Chagnon and James V. Neel Sr., a geneticist and physician with whom Chagnon had collaborated during his work with the Yanomamö (Neel died of cancer shortly before the book’s publication). Among other things, Tierney charged that Chagnon and Neel had intentionally used a faulty vaccine to infect the Yanomamö with measles so as to test Nazi-esque eugenics theories, and that one or both men had manipulated data, started wars on purpose, paid tribespeople to kill one another, and “purposefully with[held] medical care while experimental subjects died from the allegedly vaccine-induced measles,” as Dreger writes.
These charges stuck in part because Terence Turner and Leslie Sponsel, two anthropologists who disliked Chagnon and his work, sent the American Anthropological Association an alarming letter about Tierney’s allegations prior to the publication of Darkness in El Dorado. Rather than wait to see if the spectacular claims in the book passed the smell test, the AAA responded by quickly launching a full investigation in the form of the so-called El Dorado Task Force — a move that led to a number of its members resigning in protest. A media firestorm engulfed Chagnon — “Scientist ‘killed Amazon indians to test race theory’,” read a Guardian headline — and he was forced to defend himself against accusations that he had brutalized members of a tribe he had devoted his career to living with and studying and, naturally, had developed a strong sense of affection for in the process. A number of fellow anthropologists and professional organizations came to the defense of Chagnon and Neel, pointing out obvious problems with Tierney’s claims and timeline, but these voices were drowned out by the hysteria over the evil, murderous anthropologist and his doctor-accomplice. Dreger writes that Chagnon’s “career had essentially been halted by the whole mess.” (Chagnon’s memoirs, published in 2013, are entitled Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes — the Yanomamö and the Anthropologists.)
There was, it turns out, nothing to these claims. Over the course of a year of research and interviews with 40 people involved in the controversy in one way or another, Dreger discovered the disturbing, outrageous degree to which the charges against Chagnon and Neel were fabricated — to the point where some of the numerous footnotes in Tierney’s book plainly didn’t support his own claims. All the explosive accusations about Nazi-like activities and exploitation, and the intentional fomenting of violence, were simply made up or willfully misinterpreted. Worse, some of them could have been easily debunked with just a tiny bit of research — in one case, it took Dreger all of an hour in an archive of Neel’s papers to find strong evidence refuting the claim that he helped intentionally infect the Yanomamö with measles (a claim that was independently debunked by others, anyway).
In the end, Dreger published the results of her investigation in the journal Human Nature, recounting the full details of Chagnon’s ordeal at the hands of Tierney, and the many ways Tierney fabricated and misrepresented data to attack the anthropologist and Neel. Darkness Is El Dorado is still available on Amazon, its original, glowing reviews and mention of its National Book Award nomination intact; and Tierney’s New Yorker article is still online, with no editor’s note explaining the factual inaccuracies contained therein.
This should stand as a wake-up call, as a rebuke to the smugness that sometimes infects progressive beliefs about who “respects” science more. After all, what both the Bailey and Chagnon cases have in common — alongside some of the others in Galileo’s Middle Finger — is the extent to which groups of progressive self-appointed defenders of social justice banded together to launch full-throated assaults on legitimate science, and the extent to which these attacks were abetted by left-leaning academic institutions and activists too scared to stand up to the attackers, often out of a fear of being lumped in with those being attacked, or of being accused of wobbly allyship.
It’s hard not to come away from Dreger’s wonderful book feeling like we’re doomed. Think about all the time and effort it took her — a professionally trained historian as equipped as anyone to dig into complex morasses of conflicting claims — to excavate the full details of just one of these controversies. Who has a year to research and produce a fact-finding report that only a tiny percentage of people will ever read or care about?
If anything, all the incentives have gotten worse; if anything, the ranks of dedicated, safely employed critical thinkers in a position to be the voice of reason have thinned. In all likelihood, the coverage today would be far uglier and more prejudicial than it was when the scandal actually broke.
Science can’t function in this sort of pressure-cooker environment. The way things are heading, with the lines of communication between scientific institutions and the general public growing increasingly direct (a good thing in many cases, to be sure), and with instant, furious reaction the increasingly favored response to anything with a whiff of injustice to it — details be damned — it will become hard, if not impossible, for careful researchers unencumbered by dogmatic ideology to make good-faith efforts to understand controversial subjects, and to then publish their findings.
We should want researchers to poke around at the edges of “respectable” beliefs about gender and race and religion and sex and identity and trauma, and other issues that make us squirm. That’s why the scientific method was invented in the first place. If activists — any activists, regardless of their political orientation or the rightness of their cause — get to decide by fiat what is and isn’t an acceptable interpretation of the world, then science is pointless, and we should just throw the whole damn thing out.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 1:35 AM