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posted by n1 on Thursday October 30 2014, @04:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the taking-personal-responsibility-for-humanities-failings dept.

The NYT reports that Naomi Oreskes, an historian of science at Harvard University, is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction called “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future,” that takes the point of view of an historian in 2393 explaining how “the Great Collapse of 2093” occurred. “Without spoiling the story,” Oreskes said in an interview, “I can tell you that a lot of what happens — floods, droughts, mass migrations, the end of humanity in Africa and Australia — is the result of inaction to very clear warnings” about climate change caused by humans." Dramatizing the science in ways traditional nonfiction cannot, the book reasserts the importance of scientists and the work they do and reveals the self-serving interests of the so called “carbon combustion complex” that have turned the practice of science into political fodder.

Oreskes argues that scientists failed us, and in a very particular way: They failed us by being too conservative. Scientists today know full well that the "95 percent confidence limit" is merely a convention, not a law of the universe. Nonetheless, this convention, the historian suggests, leads scientists to be far too cautious, far too easily disrupted by the doubt-mongering of denialists, and far too unwilling to shout from the rooftops what they all knew was happening. "Western scientists built an intellectual culture based on the premise that it was worse to fool oneself into believing in something that did not exist than not to believe in something that did."

Why target scientists in particular in this book? Simply because a distant future historian would target scientists too, says Oreskes. "If you think about historians who write about the collapse of the Roman Empire, or the collapse of the Mayans or the Incans, it's always about trying to understand all of the factors that contributed," Oreskes says. "So we felt that we had to say something about scientists."

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Entropy on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:08PM

    by Entropy (4228) on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:08PM (#111588)

    Their rampant use of wood fueled camp fires caused a ice age, resulting in untold destruction. If they had simply
    implemented a government carbon credit system and used battery powered camp fires(hopefully something environmentally
    friendly like lead or lithium) then they could have avoided the whole ice age deal.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:17PM (#111592)

      Their rampant use of wood fueled camp fires caused a ice age

      What? You should probably re-read your comments before posting...

      Hint: Wood fires have almost no effect on global climate. Carbon in trees is part of the biosphere and hence the carbon cycle. It has not been sequestered. This is why plating trees to "offset CO2 emissions" is ridicules, unless they plan to ram these trees down the frack holes in 40 years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:32PM (#111601)


      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:51PM (#111611)

        Let no sarcasm be lost upon this group.

      • (Score: 1) by Entropy on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:33PM

        by Entropy (4228) on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:33PM (#111663)

        Well then the only possible lesson in light of your clear wisdom is they should have run around less. Running has been proven to increase CO2 output.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:21PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:21PM (#111676)

        That's BS.

        Planting trees does a lot to sequester carbon; as long as it's tied up in a tree, it isn't floating around in the atmosphere in the form of CO2. Of course, trees don't last that long, but they do usually last many decades, and frequently centuries. When they die, the carbon is released (either quickly, in the case of fire, or slowly, in the case of decomposition by microbes; I can walk around in parks near me and see tree trunks that are years old). If there's more trees alive at any point, then there's more carbon being locked up in them overall. So yes, planting trees does help things, but it's a temporary fix: you have to keep planting them, make sure they have land to grow in, and not just chop them down later and use the land for apartment buildings.

        There's two carbon cycles, the short cycle and the long cycle. Trees are in the short cycle: when you burn wood, you're releasing carbon that hasn't sequestered for that long (a century at most, usually). Oil is in the long cycle: when you burn oil, you're releasing carbon that's been sequestered for eons. So the effect is much worse for the latter, though we could make up for it some by allocating more room for forests and planting more trees everywhere (and then not just using them for more firewood too).

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Friday October 31 2014, @12:08AM

          by FatPhil (863) <> on Friday October 31 2014, @12:08AM (#111730) Homepage
          Add to that the fact that if there's any charcoal left over after burning the wood, the nett result is that there's less carbon put back in the atmosphere than there was taken out of the atmosphere when the tree was alive. Of course, a few barbies later, and the cycle completes...

          However, I'm not sure you were replying to BS, you were probably replying to a throwaway quip.
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by cyrano on Friday October 31 2014, @07:30PM

        by cyrano (1034) on Friday October 31 2014, @07:30PM (#112019) Homepage

        About half of the dioxin in our atmosphere comes from burning wood...

        To state that woodfires have no impact on global climate may be true, may be not, but there's a lot more to healthy living than global climate...

        The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. - Kali []
    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:51PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:51PM (#111634)

      I tend to disagree with you.

      Unfortunately, you inevitably grow larger as time passes by and will eventually take over Soylent News, and then the entire universe.

      Life's a bitch.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by GeorgeScuttles on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:14PM

    by GeorgeScuttles (4499) on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:14PM (#111591)

    Seriously, FUCK YOU if you want to blame climate scientists. Large numbers of them lost their jobs or were persecuted for being too vocal. Further, the deniers aren't part of the consensus in the scientific community and are rather viewed as nut-jobs. If you want to fault something, fault the government and the way that entrenched industry has a bigger say than the individual. Scientists made the message loud and clear, some politicians even heard (e.g., Al Gore). Corporations and existing money prevents action.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:30PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:30PM (#111599) Journal

      In other words, vested interests will stay around until they have dragged the society and them self into a hellhole. Any good solution to this?

      Welcome freak weather and scorched places where anything living will be fried at daytime. Flooded coasts etc.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Friday October 31 2014, @12:11AM

        by edIII (791) on Friday October 31 2014, @12:11AM (#111731)

        Any good solution to this?

        Kill them? That's about all I got really. It's pretty damn effective at removing their influence too. Even better, it's not a one trick pony. You can keep doing it.

        While I understand what he is saying that scientists need to take a stronger stand (they do), that doesn't excuse the rampant anti-intellectualism in our culture either. Who will be on the other side of the table to listen to the scientists?

        The only other solution is to evolve and change. Which is what we are desperately trying to do, and those entrenched vested interests want to go the exact opposite and create more chaos and needs for control.

        So many, many ideas we have now about how infrastructure, energy, agriculture, finances, etc. that we could be trying to do. I fully believe we are capable of feeding and clothing the entire planet and giving everyone something to do.

        Problem is the people. A lot of literally unwashed masses without education and sophistication, that sleep on the floor, and defecate in the open. I *still* believe we could even solve *that*.

        All of the technology is here. All of the knowledge has been obtained. Where is the will?

        Those that have power and influence, and can change things, have fully abrogated whatever contracts they had with society to serve society. There is no real culture of being in service to your family, community, country and then world anymore. We have become a nation of individuals, yet wholly insufficient to care for ourselves alone. A nation of obese idiots eating terrible food (while destroying food worldwide with money driven, not humanity driven, GMO programs). As long as Kardashian is on the screen, people only seem to care to get fucked up on legal & illegal drugs, fed with bad food, and enjoy hedonistic pleasures. We even celebrate those who become rich and wealthy, and then act like spoiled petulant little children. We are nation that celebrates gang bangers who figured out how to operate a camera and a microphone, and not a nation that celebrates people like Tyson creating educational videos and unraveling the mysteries of the universe. Maybe that's a bit harsh, but I see this country more and more like Idiocracy every day.

        Greed is an end in of itself now, and defends itself well by hiding itself behind complex and unable to be understood analyses of our economy and appeals to national ideals like free markets and capitalism. How do you talk about the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men, when those evil men cry foul and then inundate people with very poorly understood math and science (by the masses)? Instead of having the arguments, those evil men will just inundate their media distribution channels with more brain rot and advertisements, and basically just push out FUD and misdirection. Vested interests are very good at arguing and playing sides against each other to preserve the status quo. Combined with an apathetic populace quickly losing its intelligence and sophistication through outsourcing of production and a gradually failing educational system. This creates a situation of unimaginable inequities across the board, but particularly with information asymmetry and fair access to resources.

        Scientists *have* fought vested interests quite vocally, but those vested interests also *paid* some of those scientists to betray what they knew was right in the great and well established traditions of Keyhoe and Kettering that knowingly killed and harmed millions upon millions of people worldwide for 50 years. Only a few decades was it possible to claim ignorance and Keyhoe *knew*. So when I say kill em.... I also mean some of the scientists. Your only other option is some form of justice or social correction, whatever. Justice is heavily skewed by money (also corrupt) and can take 20 years even with very dedicated and passionate people to change just a single instance of selfish wrongdoing.

        The killing is required, because it's tragically obvious by now that the democratic process has been fully hijacked in terms of the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative. We have nobody we can trust in government to work for our benefits anymore. Every bill passed is just superficial lip service with rider bills that they hope will go unnoticed by activists. Look how hard we have to fight just for the ideal that information should be content agnostic and that businesses shouldn't have the right (period) to manipulate the flow of information to their advantage? Can't even get Net Neutrality really going, and that has major vocal support with grass roots, MegaCorp assistance, and an FCC that is ostensibly supposed to serve the *consumer*.

        Instead, we spend most of our times concerned about little bits of flesh that aren't even human yet (or external) and who's penis is going into who's hoo-hah. We argue about petty shit instead of arguing about real problems.

        If you don't want the killing, then we need to create a new intellectualism based independent party, and run for *every* political seat we can. Period. You need to *fully* unseat *both* the Democrats and Republicans to push change through non-corrupt political parties we put in office. Good news is that the Supreme Court is full of old people that could easily die soon without us doing anything. Even with that though, if we could achieve a super majority in government we could start pushing Constitutional Amendments out to enshrine some ideals and regulations in right away to make them permanent. Even just get rid of the Supreme Court in it's entirety. We don't need it, when what we need to do is rewrite the damn thing with anti-weasel speak to be explicit.

        1) Congress shall make no law, or cause to be effected in any way, attempts to serve or regulate more than a single item of interest.

        2) All information, intended to made public, shall be made to freely flow through any public channels, electronic, physical, or otherwise, without any alterations of any kind by government, other citizens, or the source itself. Information transmitted publicly shall be made equally available to all, with no attempts to control the destinations or consumption of information. Exceptions are only for false information that when released, may cause immediate undue panic and harm by misrepresenting imminent harm to life or property, or correct information that is released in such a way as to deny other citizens the same rights.

        Now, I see that as clearer and without a need for the Supreme Court to interpret. Information is free. It can be spoken by a person, or transmitted electronically. No mention of governments or Congress in there. It's free to flow unimpeded, and therefore explicitly no entity can cause it to be altered, including the speaker. You can't take back what you say. So no bullshit where a rich person tries to brow beat somebody into submission because something *true* was said, even if they were the ones making the mistake of saying it. The information itself is Constitutionally protected during transit, and just stops lawsuits in their tracks unless the information can be proven incorrect. Being very explicit it states that all information transmitted across public channels (parks or internet) is immutable, unstoppable, and every citizen has a right to consume it equally without interference or monitoring (quasi-Net Neutrality). DMCA type take downs would be utterly impossible unless the information itself was also copyrighted. No more using it as an anti-free speech tool. It also prevents you from yelling fire and performing DOS attacks against public channels. In accordance with the 1st Amendment (mine) it also *only* talks about speech, being information. You can't argue about anything other than information flowing when arguing about this version of the 1st Amendment.

        There are very reasonable things we could do to bring Democracy 2.0 to the US. Plenty of pretty good ideas. I want a pony too. Sorry to say, I don't think change is really possible. We are heading for the end and it will be brutal. Worst part is, most of the people that have an idea of what is coming and that we need to stop it, are also intellectuals and pacifists. We lack the brute force and stupid ultra violence to actually go out there and even throw a pie in the face of some of these people that need bullets instead.

        There is no solution to this that is reasonable. All of them include a great majority of us growing up, learning to be willing to sacrifice for a better future, and in short, become like Federation Citizens where almost every single one of them is super educated and could give a TED talk on something in about 30 minutes.

        Nope. On a planet full of poor starving abused people, drugged up people, greedy execs, crooked politicians, religious zealots, and tired and unhealthy people... you're fucked. Look around and realize where you are. 7 billion people on this planet, and most of them not capable of being anything close to a Federation Citizen, and millions of them are just homicidal and sociopathic like ISIS or Goldman Sachs.

        You can kill em if you want. I don't have enough Manifest Destiny in me left to give enough of a shit about humanity and this planet anymore to care if we make it 500 more years. Not enough to kill for it at least, and I'm nearly certain that is what it would take to affect actual change worldwide, or just in the US.

        I guess I'm a bit dark today. I think I made the mistake of watching raw television with commercials last week, and I was unwillingly exposed to Fox News for about an hour talking about Ebola and the President that wants to kill us.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:15PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:15PM (#111674)

      I second this "FUCK YOU". Fuck this guy who blames the scientists. It's not the scientists' fault that people are stupid. Scientists are not our society's leaders; they have zero power, and worse, they have to argue against moneyed interests who don't care about long-term problems and only about short-term profits.

      The scientists had some good reasons to be conservative, too: they've made other predictions in the past which turned out to be wrong (because the science and technology was not as well developed back then), so to avoid becoming "the boy who cried wolf" and getting ignored altogether, they became more conservative with their predictions. However, at this point, all the scientists are in agreement about climate change. But it doesn't matter, because no one is listening.

      The only people who deserve blame are our leaders, the corporations who fund them, and the morons who vote for them.

      Fuck you, Naomi Orestes.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday October 30 2014, @11:28PM

      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 30 2014, @11:28PM (#111719) Journal

      I don't know...blaming climate scientists for being too conservative seems about right. You have good arguments as to *why* they are so conservative, but that doesn't defend their being so conservative.

      OTOH, I believe, from the summary, that he's projecting a more drastic change than is reasonable. I occasionally envision all of Antarctica melting (unlikely, but possible) and the consequent rise in sea levels, submerging most of most islands, but I don't consider entire continents being rendered uninhabitable to be plausible. Humans, after all, are tropical apes, and every continent will continue to have a coastline, which won't get much warmer than the ocean. Also, if Antarctica melts, that will open lands for inhabitation that haven't been inhabitable since Gondwanaland broke up.

      What, however, I consider a much more likely scenario is that the stresses of adaptation will lead to a major war, and *that* might well cause a small continent to become uninhabited. Especially if it leads to biological warfare rather than (or in addition to) nuclear.

      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31 2014, @12:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31 2014, @12:52PM (#111864)

        I don't know...blaming climate scientists for being too conservative seems about right.

        1. Climate scientists are not the leading cause for climate change
        2. Climate scientists are not the ones who are ignoring the warnings of climate scientists.

        If you prefer an incorrect car analogy:
        I would love to blame someone else that I don't have a car, but having never bought a car, that's kind of ... wrong.
        Blaming scientists for something you failed to do (heed their warnings) is also kind of ... wrong.

        FakeBeldin (not bothering to reset passwd ;)

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 31 2014, @12:30AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 31 2014, @12:30AM (#111740) Journal

      Large numbers of them lost their jobs or were persecuted for being too vocal.

      Does this "large number" happen to be greater than zero? I googled for "lost jobs" associated with "climate researcher", "climate scientist", and "climatologist". Each time, I only found one case, Professor Lennart Bengtsson claims to have been forced out of a position with the Global Warming Policy Foundation (a skeptic-side think tank) by pressure from his fellow scientists. That's the only one.

      Corporations and existing money prevents action.

      i think you forgot to mention the bit about committing economic suicide. Corporations and existing money are the only forces that don't like dysfunctional economies.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:24PM (#111596)

    Sure, blame the messenger. We should also blame MADD - [] - for drunk drivers killing us on the roads. Or Greenpeace for low whale numbers. Or those pesky oceanographers for that giant garbage patch in the pacific.

    Let's grab the pitchforks!! Like in The Simpsons, to make sure that an asteroid is never a danger in the future, burn the observatory!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:24PM (#111621)

      Err ... maybe you should re-read the summary. She doesn't blame the messenger for delivering the message. She blames the messenger (whether correctly or incorrectly) for bringing the message not clearly enough.

      So, to make an analogy:

      The messenger, as she would wish for: The enemy will attack in a week! We must be prepared!
      The messenger, as she claims the scientists do: The enemy might attack, possibly in a week, but we can't say for sure. But we better are prepared.

      Of course, I'd say if the king dismisses the second message because, after all, it isn't absolutely sure that the enemy will attack, it's still the king's fault if the enemy attacks and the country isn't prepared.

      And anyway, the truth is that the real messengers all say that the enemy will attack (they slightly disagree on how the strength of the enemy's army, though), but the enemy has sent out his own false messengers telling that there will be no attack, and that all the messengers saying otherwise are wrong. And the king believes the false messengers because preparing for an attack would be expensive.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:24PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday October 30 2014, @09:24PM (#111677)

        She's an idiot. Scientists have already made quite clear their predictions, it's up to the rest of us and our leaders to take the proper actions. Scientists aren't PR people, their job is to do science, not be great arguers. If you want that, go find some trial lawyers. There's a reason scientists went into science instead of courtroom law or politics.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by gznork26 on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:53PM

    by gznork26 (1159) on Thursday October 30 2014, @05:53PM (#111613) Homepage Journal

    She's not the only one to write about the future of climate change from a fictional perspective. I recently wrote a 7-part series of short stories about just that, but the blame doesn't lie with scientists -- it's those who think they can profit from it. The first story starts here... []

    Khipu were Turing complete.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @10:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @10:47PM (#111706)

      Nice stories. I think they could be great stories, with the right editor. Found a typo for you in part 5:

      “What war?” Ferd said.

      “The one were about to start.
      “The one we're about to start.

      • (Score: 1) by gznork26 on Friday October 31 2014, @12:18AM

        by gznork26 (1159) on Friday October 31 2014, @12:18AM (#111736) Homepage Journal

        Thanks for spotting that. Even with the right editor, do you suppose there's a venue for that sort of thing?

        Khipu were Turing complete.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31 2014, @01:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31 2014, @01:03AM (#111751)

          I have no clue about markets for SF, but this page popped up with a quick search (using,

          Getting "found" might be part chance and part sweat? Who knows, you might be the one that soylentnews launches into a great career!!

          • (Score: 1) by gznork26 on Friday October 31 2014, @02:36AM

            by gznork26 (1159) on Friday October 31 2014, @02:36AM (#111772) Homepage Journal

            Kinda been there and done that, but it was a while ago. Venues wanted an exclusive on the story, so it could't be offered publicly like on my wordpress blog. Plus there's the fact that I didn't set out to write a series, so there wasn't a story arc sketched out when I started. I just wrote each one as it came, and decided where it should go and who it would be centered on one by one. That breaks the traditional way of constructing a story, and probably hurts my chances overall, but it's my style and has been for years. I'd be happy just getting a following. There are over 100 stories on the blog now, some of which seem to get random page hits from students looking for something. Also, since I don't focus on a genre, they'd have trouble pegging me, too. Whatever. If you enjoyed it, then I've made at least one person happy.

            Khipu were Turing complete.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jmorris on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:27PM

    by jmorris (4844) on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:27PM (#111622)

    Where to even start with this story. So much stupid, so little time to snark it.

    Scientists aren't supposed to 'shout from the rooftops', they aren't supposed to be politicians either. They are supposed to do good science and publish results that can be repeated by others. And that is IT. If astronomers spot an asteroid heading toward us it isn't their job to lead a public awareness campaign. Because they will suck at that; odds are no scientist has the skills for good PR. No, they publish their numbers and hold a press conference and from there they let the rest of the world decide how to deal with it.

    Scientists have in fact did too much 'yelling' over AGW and other political tainted subjects, to the point they are damaging their reputation among the general public. This is quickly growing to be an even bigger problem than the worst case AGW scenario itself. We have a lot of problems and political systems where mass representation is the order of the day. The masses do not, can not and will never have direct knowledge sufficient to decide many current issues. If they can no longer trust Science to give them purely factual information they can't make rational decisions.

    As an example, lets take my own reaction to AGW. I'm not a climate scientist, I do not even play one on TV. But I am better read than the average citizen, generally interested in science, etc. So what do I see? I see no twenty year old climate models that predicted current reality. I see a world where the actual models are closely held secrets instead of published and peer reviewed. I see Michael Mann get away with that totally busted 'Hockey Stick' scam. And while on Mann, lets have a closer look at him shall we? He is doing everything a scientist shouldn't, the very things this story is exhorting them to do. Is he a politician or a scientist at this point; I certainly can't tell. And it doesn't matter because I don't care, I noticed the forest instead of the one tree. He is still accepted, not only in the big government science community he works in but throughout climate science and science in general. Meaning they do not disapprove.

    I see anyone who accepts a dollar of 'big oil' money forever cast out from the clubhouse of 'Science' yet taking billions from the vast government and allied NGO complex with trillions of dollars riding on a bet that AGW theory can get them vast new sources of tax revenue will never get a scientist's motives questioned. In other words, while progs only see some scientists tainted I'm willing to write em all off. It is no longer possible to get trustable results from this field of science, period. No repeatable results, no way to do the work to eventually get them without taking vast sums of money from interests with large financial interests in the results.

    • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Thursday October 30 2014, @07:14PM

      by pnkwarhall (4558) on Thursday October 30 2014, @07:14PM (#111639)

      You lost me at "Scientists are supposed to...."

      Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by jmorris on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:18PM

        by jmorris (4844) on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:18PM (#111655)

        Read it as 'science, as defined' in that anyone who tries to practice politics wearing a labcoat and trying to appropriate the goodwill of Science into the service of a political movement should be called out, condemned and otherwise shunned by actual scientists to avoid the loss of respect for their own work.

        If you are researching how the world works and publishing reviewed and repeatable research you get to call yourself a scientist. But you don't get to offer up your opinions as to what the policy implications are of that research while wearing the labcoat. Perfectly OK to take it off and enter the arena of ideas over in the political world, but you don't get to call your opinions objective science.

        To illustrate, for the sake of argument we will handwave away all of the objections to AGW and take as a given that it is real, it is manmade, etc. Ok, Climate Science has delivered the facts. Now the other sciences, economics and politics all get a say on what we should do about it. Is it easier to mitigate the effects than eliminate CO2 emissions? Is a crash program to put fusion into production the best answer? Or how about the Greenpeace founder's assertion that the situation is dire enough to justify a massive fission investment. Do we just kill 90% of the human population and eliminate the problem at the source? And so on. Mann is in fact less qualified to hold forth in the public square on those issues than Al Gore. Mann isn't trained in any of the fields required to assess those options, at least Mr. Gore IS a politician and politics and public policy are most certainly on topic in the debate. Mann is about as qualified as us here on public fora debating the issues.

        And because he IS accepted, both by the policy makers and the other scientists, we get a problem of the public losing the ability to see a difference between a scientist and a politician.

        Another example. Ebola. The head of the CDC looks more like a politician than a Dr. Of course a quick review shows he IS a politician wearing a labcoat. He isn't even convincing, creating mistrust in the public and a creeping suspicion he cares more about Africa than keeping it out of the US. His JOB is keeping it out of the US. The WHO would be right to speak up about policy implications, not our own CDC. Watched Franklin Graham last night and he had no opinion on a quarantine in itself but did have an opinion on the impact on his work. He said what he would like is a direct air bridge to the US, give him a military transport weekly to ferry supplies and people and it would be an instant improvement and would make the quarantine question moot as far as his work goes. So the preacher is more rational, knowledgeable and generally helpful than the scientist? When did we slip into bizarro world?

    • (Score: 2) by zafiro17 on Thursday October 30 2014, @07:27PM

      by zafiro17 (234) on Thursday October 30 2014, @07:27PM (#111642) Homepage

      I have no mod posts, but you have my appreciation. This is the sort of comment that drives me to SN. There's been too much bloviating around recently and not enough earnest discussion. Keep it up, bro. Here's a virtual mod point for ya, right here ----> [X]

      Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 31 2014, @12:41AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 31 2014, @12:41AM (#111743) Journal

      I should add that Michael Mann has on other occasions delivered shifty and biased research just in time for an important conference or IPCC report or as a rapid response to threatening new theories (most recent example was a hit piece [] on the "stadium wave" theory []). His stuff is great for rapid deployment of -talking points, but it takes years to clean that research up to the point it is scientifically useful.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30 2014, @06:48PM (#111633)

    In the real world, people know that climate change is a fact. In the US, naysayers stick their heads into the sand and make a lot of noise with their asses.