Thursday, September 4, 2014

When their research has social implications, how should climate scientists get involved?

My response to this Guardian position.

Taking a position as a political advocate means that you are no longer adhering to the prime directive of objectivity that is the due of true Scientists. In many ways you are no longer open to dissent when pressing your objectives with emotional zeal. You have become a believer.

If protecting your reputation is important than it is incumbent upon any professional to distinguish between their work and their hobbies.
Many climate alarmists have embraced the "Precautionary Principle" as the basis for their prescribed remedies, making them, in effect insurance salesmen. My understanding is that if you want to keep the price of insurance down, consumers must be persuaded to buy it, not compelled. The hard evidence so far leads many of us to discount the need for such a policy.

Political advocates prophesizing that the Arctic will be ice free by 2014 or that a child in New York will never know what it is like to throw a snow ball doesn't sell many insurance policies.

It devolves into the realm of opinion which by its nature, even if supported by evidence is subjective. I might take the evidence that red cars are more likely to be charged with speeding than blue cars. Yet that is only my opinion that your red car will get a ticket.

In order to come to a political solution opinions are important, but they must be distinguished from a scientists work, otherwise they become an inflexible dogma.

The point is that Political Advocacy is not Science. Everyone in a free society has the right to an opinion on political solutions, especially scientists. But, an opinion, even from a scientist, cannot be regarded with the same validity as an experimental deduction.

Indeed many scientists hold conflicting opinions on the best course of action we should take even if CO2 touches off a violent series of positive feedbacks.

It would be refreshing for a lay person like myself to see more debating and defense of prescribed actions in the public arena.

Either I have missed it or I have not seen a serious public rebuttal of: 1) The evidence that shows the climate has not warmed over the last 10 to 15 years despite an increase in CO2. 2) The polar ice is increasing in size. 3) There is no evidence that the number of tropical storms has increased. I think most of us are open to conflicting evidence when presented honestly & without bias.