The War on Science … Not?

For the last week or so, I’ve been reading, and re-reading, an article called perspective: It’s not a war on science. The reason I’ve been doing this is because I noticed that a number of people seemed to regard it as an excellent article, and I’m trying to work out why. It’s not that I disagree with it specifically, it’s that I’m just not sure why it seems to be regarded as so good. I’ve also been – at times – rather dismissive of the sociology of science, and I’m wondering if maybe I’m missing something (which is entirely possible) and I thought I would use this article to try and see if I can work out if I am missing something and, if so, what it is (I’m hoping that my more informed commenters might help).

The article is very US-centric, but the basic presmise is essentially that

[w]hat appears to be a war on science by the current Congress and president is, in fact, no such thing. Fundamentally, it is a war on government.

I’m not entirely sure I quite see the distinction. I don’t think anyone regards the war on science as being driven simply by an intrinsic objection to the science; it’s because of what the science implies. So, why does that it is motivated by an objection to the government somehow make it not a war on science?

The article then says

To be more specific, it is a war on a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied over the past century.

I realise that a great deal of research is now publicly funded, but I suspect many researchers would argue that this doesn’t imply that their research is somehow deeply aligned and allied with their governments. However, that governments utilise knowledge is not really a huge surprise. I’m not quite sure what the alternative is; be less well-informed so as to prevent governments from becoming too powerful?

The rest of the article is really just various ways in which science has influenced society, and seems to present an unduly negative perspective. Science has produced many benefits for society, even if some have benefitted more than others and even if, in retrospect, we would have done many things differently. We don’t have a control, so we can’t really say if the net effect of scientific knowledge is positive or negative; we can only really try to learn from what we regard as past mistakes and try not to make them again.

It was, however, the final two paragraphs that I had the biggest issues with (Victor, I think, also has some issues with this, so would be good if he could expand on his views).

Science is not some magic force for progress and democracy. It is a powerful agent of global social and environmental change. Our choices are stark and not entirely happy. We can continue to place the full burden of supporting social values on government, further centralizing power to regulate technology, industry, and society. Alternatively, we can reject the claims that modern technological enterprises are “too big to fail” and seek to dismantle them.

There is one other path. Much as we have sought over the past two decades to put sustainability at the heart of technology, business, and policy innovation, now is the time to do the same for social responsibility, and to redouble our efforts in support of both objectives. Science, business, and government have together made the modern world what it is. All three must step up to ensure that future societies are worth inhabiting—and they must do so in concert with global publics. None of the three can any longer pretend that they stand outside politics. Democracy depends on it. So does the future our children will inherit.

What is this actually suggesting? How do we dismantle modern technological enterprises? How do science, business, and government step up to ensure that future societies are worth inhabiting? I’m not even necessarily disagreeing with these as goals (the future societies are worth inhabiting especially) but I don’t know how this is meant to happen? Is it meant to happen within our current framework? If so, that would seem to require either convincing current governments to do what would be deemed necessary, or electing those that will do so. If not, then how is these goals meant to be ensured without violating important norms of democracy?

To be clear, I do think that science plays a big role in our societies, and that there are things we could do to try to ensure that scientific knowledge is used in a way that is optimally beneficial (however we might define that). I’m all for people getting involved in advocating for what they think would make society better, but I don’t really see how science, or scientists, have some special mandate to ensure this. However, as I said at the beginning, maybe I’m just not understanding what is really being presented here. If anyone has a better idea of what is being suggested (and aren’t put off by what has become a rather long and convoluted/confused post) feel free to elaborate in the comments.

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198 Responses to The War on Science … Not?

  1. John Hartz says:

    Trump and his gang may not be waging a total-spectrum war on science but they sure as heck are waging a war on climate science and certain other scientific fields. In addition, they are waging an all out war on the natural world.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: You conclude your OP with:

    If anyone has a better idea of what is being suggested (and aren’t put off by what has become a rather long and convoluted/confused post) feel free to elaborate in the comments.

    If history is a guide, this OP like other rambling OPs before it, will likely generate a yuge number of comments, 🙂

  3. > I’m not entirely sure I quite see the distinction

    Think harder. You aren’t trying. Try to see beyond your own biases.

  4. WMC,

    Think harder. You aren’t trying. Try to see beyond your own biases.

    That was largely why I wrote the post the way I did, so not quite sure how pointing it out helps. What I was getting at is that when people refer to a “war on science” I think they’re well aware that it’s not motivated by the science specifically, but by what the science implies. So, this article pointing out that it is motivated by a dislike of “big government”, which has supposedly grown on the back of scientific advances, doesn’t somehow (as far as I can see) mean that those who refer to a “war on science” are not aware of what motivates those who are attacking science. If all the article is really saying is “the war on science is not really a war on science, but a war on what science implies, or what science has produced” (big government, supposedly) then my response might be “okay, but so what?”

  5. I should add, that when I said “I’m not entirely sure I see the distinction”, I was simply meaning that even if what motivates them to attack science is how it’s been used, or might be used in the future, that doesn’t mean that they’re not attacking science.

  6. I still think you’re missing the point. The essential is “What appears to be a war on science by the current Congress and president is, in fact, no such thing. Fundamentally, it is a war on government. To be more specific, it is a war on a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied over the past century”.

    The war is not on what science implies (well, some of it is. But that’s not the bit that the post you’re quoting is talking about). Nor is the idea that science has produced the govt (the post gets a bit lost in the middle, so this is easy to get confused about). Read the last sentence I’ve quoted again 🙂

  7. finnpii says:

    If chemistry led to the FDA, and electronics led to the FCC, climate science could lead to the FCA – the Federal Climate Administration. Imagine an endangerment finding not only for CO2, but for methane, water vapor, farming, livestock, forestry, transportation, architecture, construction, and so on, and the economic impacts if the foundational science is wrong. It makes obvious the need to be certain that the science is correct. Adherence to the fundamentals of the scientific method is what’s needed. Biases must be confronted. Talk of a war hardens positions.

  8. Joshua says:

    =={ What I was getting at is that when people refer to a “war on science” I think they’re well aware that it’s not motivated by the science specifically, but by what the science implies. }==

    I’m not sure that is true. I think it is similar to the phrase “anti-science,” which is, IMO, often to imply that “conservatives” are “against evidence.” My sense is that it is meant to imply that conservatives are ignoramuses, that they are inherently against the scientific process. In general, I see it as a pejorative that is often used against “conservatives” – and I think both phrases of “war on science” and “anti-science” are largely ineffective because of their lack of specificity. As such, they are easily used to justify an “us against them” struggle.

    But I also reject the notion that it is a “war on government.” That phrase also suffers from a lack of specificity. It isn’t even a war against big government, as the same “conservatives” that claim to be “against big government” are just fine with big government when that big government advances the policies they like. It is a war on government that seeks to advance left-oriented policies.

  9. Joshua says:

    WMC –

    What is your point? Is there a particular reason that you’re being cryptic?

  10. John Hartz says:

    Does anyone reading this thread dispute the fact that the fossil fuel industry has, for at least three decades, conducted a Propaganda War against mainstream climate science and prominent climate scientists?

  11. The war on science is a war by industry and corporations against what they see as excessive regulation; of course any regulation is excessive to them. Climate science is just the latest target of opportunity.

    Science is what tells us that CFCs destroy ozone, that CO2 is warming the globe, that lead is harmful, that Mercury is harmful, that tobacco causes cancer, that seatbelts save lives, etc., etc. Remove the science and you remove the basis for regulations.

    It’s a policy based on the assumption that ignorance is bliss.

  12. Steven Mosher says:

    [w]hat appears to be a war on science by the current Congress and president is, in fact, no such thing. Fundamentally, it is a war on government.

    I’m not entirely sure I quite see the distinction. I don’t think anyone regards the war on science as being driven simply by an intrinsic objection to the science; it’s because of what the science implies. So, why does that it is motivated by an objection to the government somehow make it not a war on science?

    ##########
    Targets versus collateral damage.
    It’s not that hard.

  13. John Hartz says:

    As long as the Koch brothers and their ilk control a goodly number of US Senators and Representitives, the war on government regulation of business will continue unabated. The Koch brothers themselves are driven both by idealogy (think Ayn Rand) and by unsatiable greed.

  14. Nick says:

    I’m currently reading the linked article. So it’s very important to comment before I finish..;)
    I will note that it is possible to have a war on science and a war on government at the same time: these people are not conducting a surgical strike. And they are attacking earth sciences, not the science of information and technology that empowers them and builds their gi-normous ‘mothers of all’ weapons,
    Got to the end, the last two paras are enormously unsatisfying.

  15. the article in question is probably not worth reading. I skimmed it, did not see much interesting content. What did I see seemed like smoke and mirrors or distinctions that make no difference.
    Regulation of industry is the concern and the science that shows why regulation is necessary is the most successful tool in the box for anyone who wants to see industry regulated to minimize harm to individuals and the ecosystem. That is what the war is about. It is a war on science because the science is so compelling at court. Science-based regulation protects us and cuts into profit. This isn’t rocket surgery.

  16. russellseitz says:

    Doesn’t John Hartz understand that eb=nvironmental propaganda wars have more than one side and are the bread and butter of a sizable segment of the advertising , PR and lobbying industries?

    This is a case of bipartisan misbehavior, but “the Republican war on Science ” is not just a slogan invented by an impeccably partisan individual- it has become an exercise in one of the higher arts of advertising: self-fulfillling prophecy .

    Less well advertised, but equally partisan is the War on Republican Scientists–Steve Schneider wasn’t kidding about climateball being a contact sport. Ask former Representative Bob Inglis, who spoke at MIT today.

  17. John Hartz says:

    Russell Seitz: You asked:

    Doesn’t John Hartz understand that eb=nvironmental propaganda wars have more than one side and are the bread and butter of a sizable segment of the advertising , PR and lobbying industries?

    You can bet your seet bippy that I do.

  18. John Hartz says:

    Three current examples of how the War on Science is alive and well in the USA are described in…

    Networks Covering March For Science Provided Platform For Climate Deniers by Kevin Kalhoefer, Media Matters for America, Apr 24, 2017

  19. Steven Mosher says:

    John it’s not a war on science. It’s a war on the regulatory state and the technocratic state… fought on the land that belongs to a couple of scientific feilds.

    Religion, long ago, might have been construed as a war on science, a war on a particular way of knowing. Mysticism could be seen as a war on science. Science is not a set of facts. It’s a behavior. A way of knowing and controlling the world that has proven to be superior to other ways of knowing.

    Republicans don’t like the regulatory state. The war will be fought on all fronts..take no prisoners. If your field of science is used in furtherence of that state expect to be attacked. Don’t take it personally. If you don’t like war find a way to make your science like Switzerland. If you act like a collaborater, don’t think you can play the victim card.

  20. Willard says:

    By “war on Republican scientists” Russell is referring to Jim Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, and Richard Alley, no doubt.

    In other news, Freedom Fighters say the darnednest things:

    The inciting event is a lightly fictionalized version of the Reichstag fire, but a careful student of history would note that a decade after the Reichstag fire, most of German society still looked pretty much like it had in 1925. No, I’m not excusing Nazi atrocities in any way shape or form, nor discounting the sweeping changes that Hitler did make. But they didn’t gut-renovate the economy, wipe out all religions that competed with the state, and completely reorganize society in the space of a few years; they left much of the economy and the culture alone.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-25/no-the-handmaid-s-tale-is-not-unexpectedly-timely

  21. WMC,

    I still think you’re missing the point……” Fundamentally, it is a war on government. To be more specific, it is a war on a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied over the past century”.

    My point is that either science is being attacked, or it is not. Certainly seems that there are attempts to undermine our scientific understanding, which some might refer to as a “war on science”. That this might be motivated by a desire to attack a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied doesn’t really make it not a war on science. From the perspective of a scientist who thinks that society should be informed by our scientific understanding, the motivation behind attacks on science is somewhat irrelevant.

    Also, I rather dispute this simplistic characterisation of science. It seems to me that the article has bundled all forms of technology into a single term (science) and is then claiming that this thing they’ve called science is somehow strongly aligned with this form of government that some people don’t really like.

  22. Steven,

    Targets versus collateral damage.
    It’s not that hard.

    Well, yes, but from the perspective of those who might want to defend science, I can’t quite see what difference it makes. If the war is really on the form of government to which science has supposedly become aligned, how does that influence how one should respond? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t really. I don’t think scientists would see defending the current form of government as the best way to defend science itself.

  23. izen says:

    It is tempting to parse the article as just another neo-con Randayn advocacy for small government because collective action (regulation) constrains individual (economic) autonomy. Since the US has partially granted individual status to business enterprises, allowing they can hold religious and political views and can use ‘their’ money in support of those beliefs, it can look as if the “War on Science” is really about the Kochtopus defending the bottom line.

    But it may go deeper. IIRC I first encountered the phrase ‘War on Science’ in connection with the attempts to block the teaching of Evolution and/or introduce Creation/ID into the educational system. I suspect it goes back to the Scopes, Little Rock monkey trial; at least.

    Hostilities were not motivated by economic interest in that conflict.

    The claim is made that science brings harms as well as benefits and as a government funded, promoted aspect of human societies, it should, or ought, to be constrained by individuals rather than its institutional sponsor. There are no extant or historical examples of this approach successfully applied.

    I always think the life of Thomas Midgely is a exemplar of the two-edge nature of scientific utility. Three times he invented something that would benefit humanity. or at least the user of his invention, and was hailed as a genius. Twice science subsequently discovered his invention did more harm than good and after much ‘war on science’ regulation was eventually imposed.
    The third invention was intended only to improve his own life.
    It killed him.

  24. andrew adams says:

    Steven,
    Republicans don’t like the regulatory state. The war will be fought on all fronts..take no prisoners. If your field of science is used in furtherence of that state expect to be attacked. Don’t take it personally. If you don’t like war find a way to make your science like Switzerland. If you act like a collaborater, don’t think you can play the victim card.

    I agree with your characterisation of the “war on the regulatory state”, but the last bit is nonsense. Why should scientists have to accept the framing of idealogues who want to wage a war on a kind of government they object to? If people are levelling accusations at them or their work which they feel are unfair then they have every right to object. Just because others label them as “collaborators” it doesn’t make them so. If I decide to wage my own “war” on some kind of enterprise which I object to that doesn’t then make people involved in that enterprise fair game for any kind of crap I throw at them.

  25. BBD says:

    Ha. I get to the end and find that AA has pre-empted me.

    Look, Steven, the onus is not on science to change itself. It is on the ideologues to recognise that in their war on regulation, the collateral damage is everything and everyone. That little blind spot is the problem, not science or the use of scientific evidence in formulating regulatory policy.

  26. > If the was is really on the form of government to which science has supposedly become aligned, how does that influence how one should respond?

    Ah, good, you have got there. Which is the familiar unhelpful Sun-Tzu “know your enemy” stuff. Or in this case, as SM alludes to, know how to make this powerful group of people not-your-enemy. And the answer I would propose is to carefully shape your message to make it clear to those people that your “science” is not opposed to their cause.

    That means obvious things like not taking obviously party-political anti-Trump signs to MOS. Like this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/gallery/2017/apr/22/best-march-for-science-signs-in-pictures#img-3

    Via RS, I found this: https://www.marchforscience.com/statement-on-idea/ They “cannot ignore issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia and stoatophobia”. But they have nothing to say about political attacks. So, you can see where their priorities lie.

    In particular you shouldn’t blur things together. If you’re in favour of “evidence based policy” that’s excellent, so am I, but you shouldn’t confuse that with advocating for bigger government and more money for science; or even for arguing against cuts.

    > their war on regulation

    I think it is regrettable that “the left” (is even that fair? Most people, actually) don’t seem able to see that the level of regulation we have is a problem.

  27. WMC,

    Or in this case, as SM alludes to, know how to make this powerful group of people not-your-enemy.

    Well, okay, I can see that. I do think (as I think you do) that some of what was presented at the March for Science would further alienate such people, which isn’t helpful.

    If you’re in favour of “evidence based policy” that’s excellent, so am I, but you shouldn’t confuse that with advocating for bigger government and more money for science; or even for arguing against cuts.

    I think I agree with this, but am not sure I quite get it. Are you simply suggesting that advocating for evidence-based policy is not the same as advocating for bigger government, or more money for society? If so, then I agree. In fact, it seems quite plausible to me that we could have a strong committment to evidence-based policy, and a strong science base (in the sense of somehow properly funding fundamental research that might help to inform policy) without necessarily needing to have a big government. So, I don’t quite buy the claim in the article that science has aligned with the form of government that is being attacked. It may well be that such a form of government has developed partly because of what has been provided by science, but that isn’t quite the same as science itself having aligned with this form of government.

  28. Steven,

    Republicans don’t like the regulatory state. The war will be fought on all fronts..take no prisoners. If your field of science is used in furtherence of that state expect to be attacked. Don’t take it personally. If you don’t like war find a way to make your science like Switzerland. If you act like a collaborater, don’t think you can play the victim card.

    Okay, I better understand the underlying suggestions, but I largely agree with BBD and AA. Most scientists regard science as a process that allows us to tend towards emergent truths; “truths” that should be independent of politics. These “emergent truths” are open to all. If some groups are attacking this (or undermining our scientific understanding) in order to make political gains, then I don’t think scientists need (or should) regard themselves as aligned with the other side of this political argument. They can defend science, without having to align themselves in such a way.

    I will admit, however, that some of the overtly political statements associated with the March for Science probably don’t help to make this lack of alignment clear and probably doesn’t help to reduce polarization. Of course, choosing to attack science as part of an attack on a form of government that isn’t liked doesn’t help to reduce polarization either.

  29. > it seems quite plausible to me that we *could* have a strong committment to evidence-based policy, and a strong science base (in the sense of somehow properly funding fundamental research that might help to inform policy) without necessarily needing to have a big government

    Yes, we *could* have such a thing, but I don’t think we have, and I don’t think that people looking from the outside – let us say, the Republicans – will see anyone in MfS world trying to make that clear. Indeed, I think – as I said – that the exact opposite is the case: the MfS itself, and many of the people “on it’s side” are blurring the distinction. Mostly because most of them don’t even realise that the distinction exists. To most of them, it is “obvious” that evidence-based-policy requires “more science and more government”. And so we’re back to what the original article was trying to say.

    Take, for example, GW. Do we, really, actually, need increased spending on GW research? No, we don’t. Because we already have quite enough science to inform policy. We could stop funding it now and still have quite enough science to inform policy. Do we see scientists advocating for evidence-based-policy? We see them mouthing the words, yes; but we don’t see them arguing against subsidies for government pet projects.

  30. WMC,

    To most of them, it is “obvious” that evidence-based-policy requires “more science and more government”. And so we’re back to what the original article was trying to say.

    I don’t agree with this (in the sense that I don’t think that scientists necessarily actually think this), but I agree that this could be a reasonable interpretation of what has been happening.

    Take, for example, GW. Do we, really, actually, need increased spending on GW research? No, we don’t. Because we already have quite enough science to inform policy. We could stop funding it now and still have quite enough science to inform policy.

    Agreed. The irony, though, is that it is people like Curry, Christy, Pielke Sr, Koonin etc who are arguing for “Red Teams”, not scientists who probably agree that we have sufficient science to inform policy. My own view is that the reason we don’t want to stop funding it now is not because we need more information, but because any major reduction in funding would be used to then undermine the information that we all agree is probably sufficient to inform policy.

    We see them mouthing the words, yes; but we don’t see them arguing against subsidies for government pet projects.

    You may need to define “government pet projects”. Scientists will clearly advocate for their “pet projects” (they’re human like everyone else). However, as to them making argument against government pet projects in general; I’m not sure why you would expect them to. I think one can argue for evidence-based policy, without expressing strong views (for, or against) what the actual policy should be.

  31. I should probably add that another reason to not stop funding GW research is that it is also still an interesting scientific topic, independently of its current societal significance.

  32. verytallguy says:

    I think it is regrettable that “the left” (is even that fair? Most people, actually) don’t seem able to see that the level of regulation we have is a problem.

    The level of regulation is indeed a problem. The lack of regulation of banking led directly to the 2008 crash, for instance.

    The naive ideology that removing regulation inexorably leads to a more perfect free market is regrettable.

  33. > The naive ideology that removing regulation inexorably leads to a more perfect free market is regrettable.

    I just knew someone would say that. And you wonder why the Republicans think you’re fools.

  34. verytallguy says:

    And you wonder why the Republicans think you’re fools.

    Fact free bombast may boost your ego but isn’t very convincing

  35. Marco says:

    “Republicans don’t like the regulatory state. The war will be fought on all fronts..take no prisoners. If your field of science is used in furtherence of that state expect to be attacked. ”

    Too simplistic. You’ll have to add that this is primarily the case if the regulation has an easily-observed economical impact on businesses. (most) Republicans don’t mind regulations that suit the ideology, such as putting restrictions (or even prohibitions) on teaching of evolution, on education about contraception methods, or on abortion, to name but three areas where it is hard to see how the regulatory state is “reduced” by the proposals by the Republicans, and sometimes just outright furthened (like when states require mandatory counseling if someone wants to have an abortion).

  36. Chris says:

    William Connolley

    I think it is regrettable that “the left” (is even that fair? Most people, actually) don’t seem able to see that the level of regulation we have is a problem.”

    Which regulation?…and a “problem” for who??

    And I assume that your problem with the “level” of regulation is that it’s too high (rather than too low although you don’t specify this).

    In the context of the subject of this thread I would have thought levels of regulation are a secondary (and highly political) concern.

    Obviously we need regulation. We don’t want children in our societies working in mines or sweatshops (it’s unfortunate that we don’t regulate against companies exporting malpractice abroad), we’d like to encourage people to stop smoking and companies encouraging young people to do so (ditto re exporting), we recognize that there is an issue with fishstocks in the seas around N. Europe and we need to address this with regulation (evidence-based – science involved!) etc. etc.

    Which are the problematic regulations? and who are these a problem for?

    Would you like, for example, to stop regulations now (“we have enough regulations already” in the same way as you consider it might be appropriate to stop funding climate science?

  37. andrew adams says:

    I think it’s a bit naïve to expect that where there is a politically motivated attack on science and scientists (whether they are the direct target or mere “collateral damage”) that any response can, or indeed should, be non-political. Also that there is some kind of behaviour which scientists could adopt which would make those responsible “not their enemy”.

    Whether those signs on the MfS were “helpful” or not, there was always going to be a political element to it, and no doubt some of those who attended were not scientists themselves but were others wanting to show their support for science (and rightly so) as well as others who saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate against Trump for wider reasons.

    Ultimately the actions of the Republicans and those who share their aims aren’t caused by the unreasonable behaviour of scientists, they are pursuing their own ideologically motivated agenda, and the notion that scientists (or indeed anyone else) should moderate their behaviour to appease the most extreme and partisan elements in society is pretty dangerous.

  38. Chris says:

    I’d like to consider this from a UK perspective and leave out, for the moment, the anti-science stuff in the US which is much more about political factionalization than it is in the UK.

    My slightly unassembled thoughts on this are:

    1. anti-science sentiment is far less prevalent in the UK compared to the US. There isn’t the astonishing political factionalization here compared with the US and nor do we have the (somewhat associated) religious conservatism (where anti-science efforts are directed towards teaching evolution, woman’s reproduction, anti-gay (gay reorientation!) and some specific biological research fields – research with blastocytes and stem cells – the latter two, incidentally, are legitimate areas where alternative, non-scientific inputs are entirely valid). Alternatively, Europeans are broadly more comfortable with collective approaches to governing our societies and problem solving.

    2. My feeling is a lot of the anti-science stuff in the UK is really “anti-expert” sentiment (not all of this, and climate science is partly a special case see 4. below). The Daily Mail pursued a long campaign against the science on MMR long after the scientific issues were resolved and to my mind (imputing motives, I’m sorry) this is associated with a “we know what’s right for everyone – ain’t everything awful” approach to selling newspapers. Now one of the targets is global warming – one of the other main UK newspapers, the Telegraph is similar with respect to global warming science.

    Note that a rather general anti-expert sentiment exists even amongst a (hopefully) small group of social scientists who feel comfortable, if not openly superior, about their ability to write “authoritatively”, (and sometimes nannyishly!) about subjects, especially global warming, that they choose not to learn about scientifically-speaking.

    3. This “anti-expert” thing is associated in the UK with quite a long-standing effort to disempower people with particular expertise (we wouldn’t necessarily call them “experts”). Teachers have been subject to this for quite a while now (massive top down performance assessments), the health profession is getting this now (morale in the NHS and amongst GP’s is particularly low) and academic staff in Universities are also under fire (research assessment exercises, corporatisation of Universities). Clearly if all of these formerly valued professions are being assessed and monitored as if (a) they might not be up to scratch and (b) they need to be engaged in some massive UK wide within-group competition, then there are clearly those that govern us who think “we know best – aren’t all these people with expertise awful” which rather goes along with the general “Daily Mail” ethos (see two above) which IMHO is a real drag on UK society and wellbeing).

    4. Anti-global warming (GW) science fits in with the above but IMO has an extra consideration. The issues are extraordinarily hard – governments don’t know how to address these, don’t want to face the implications and are very happy to play along with the perception from the anti-science groups that the issues aren’t sufficiently resolved to take action.

    5. The internet – where all this stuff is disseminated and generally bounced around.

  39. > Obviously we need regulation. We don’t want children in our societies working in mines or sweatshops…

    This is not true. We do not need that regulation. We’re a rich society, children working in mines is economically valueless. If that’s the kind of thing you’re saying to Repubs, no wonder they think you’re big-state fools.

    Notice that none of the rest of you are pushing back on this nonsense.

  40. andrew adams says:

    Chris,

    Excellent comment. I do think that AGW “scepticism” in the UK is of a similar nature to that in the US, you only have to look at the political orientation of any prominent sceptics. It just isn’t so prominent here because that political faction has been smaller and less influential up to now, although unfortunately this seems to be changing.

    Other than that, my only gripe would be that you omitted the most notable recent example of anti-expert sentiment being manipulated to promote a political agenda, which is Brexit.

    Brexit is also relevant to your point about regulation. It’s notable that in our eagerly awaited (by some) new world, freed from the yoke of dictators in Brussels, the best examples of the new freedoms Brexiters can come up with are being able to buy odd shaped bananas (which we’re not prevented from doing anyway) and obsolete and inefficient light bulbs, and decimate our fish stocks (and those of other countries in the process).

  41. Notice that none of the rest of you are pushing back on this nonsense.

    1. I’m leaving it up to you two.

    2. There’s a reason I try not to write posts that are explicitly political (although this one has ended up being so).

    3. I do find it interesting that this appears to have degenerated into a “you’re a fool if you don’t agree with me”, which does seem rather ironic.

  42. andrew adams says:

    Oh come on William, the fact Chris used a couple of slightly hyperbolic examples doesn’t invalidate his basic point. And child labour laws are a perfectly good example of regulations which have been beneficial in the past even if they not so necessary these days (and I wouldn’t say they are completely unnecessary now).

  43. Chris says:

    Interesting William –

    I’m really trying to invite you to be specific since you’re mostly speaking in mantras and condescension (rather like the Daily Mail I can’t help noticing!). A number of people have invited you to be explicit.

    Anyway it doesn’t matter – your focus is political (except that you choose not to focus)… that’s OK..

  44. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    WMC

    “Notice that none of the rest of you are pushing back on this nonsense.”

    What? In the few minutes between yours and his posts, and you carefully avoided his other examples.

    And earlier you said:
    “I think it is regrettable that “the left” (is even that fair? Most people, actually) don’t seem able to see that the level of regulation we have is a problem.”

    Which is essentially has no meaning, so is literally nonsense. It’s a bit like me saying the level of gambling is a problem, or the level of house ownership is a problem.

    If you think you know the answer of how to convince fools they’re fools, then spit it out.

  45. Chubbs says:

    I’ve seen a couple of recent utube videos of republican congressmen fielding questions on climate change. The response, over a chorus of boos, has been climategate. No mention of over-regulation or any other conservative position or idea.

  46. BBD says:

    WMC

    To go back to the other bit of Chris’s comment – the bit you did not address – *which* regulations do you see as a problem and *who* are they a problem for?

    No way am I jumping into this dark pool until I know a bit more about what rusty spikes might be at the bottom…

  47. BBD says:

    Eh. I should have refreshed the page and kept shtum.

  48. John Hartz says:

    Steven Mosher: In a comment addressed to me, you state:

    If you act like a collaborater, don’t think you can play the victim card.

    I reject your suggestion that I am playing the vicitm card. Rather, I’m expressing what I have observed over the past 15 years aor so as I immersed myself into the “Climate Wars.”

    The stark reality (and my bottom-line) is that we don’t have the time to transfaom the political-socio-economic environment that we function within. When it comes to mitigting manmade climate change, time is not on our side. The time and energy that we spend gumming stuff to death has a signifigant opportunity cost.

  49. John Hartz says:

    BBD:

    Eh. I should have refreshed the page and kept shtum.

    You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

    Been there, done that.

  50. John Hartz says:

    Recommended reading for all commenters opining about conservative politics in the US…

    I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong. by Rick Perlstein, New York Times Magazine, Apr 11, 2017

  51. John Hartz says:

    The concluding paragaphs of Perlstein’s article cited above…

    But another answer hides in plain sight. The often-cynical negotiation between populist electioneering and plutocratic governance on the right has long been not so much a matter of policy as it has been a matter of show business. The media scholar Tim Raphael, in his 2009 book, “The President Electric: Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Performance,” calls the three-minute commercials that interrupted episodes of The General Electric Theater — starring Reagan and his family in their state-of-the-art Pacific Palisades home, outfitted for them by G.E. — television’s first “reality show.” For the California voters who soon made him governor, the ads created a sense of Reagan as a certain kind of character: the kindly paterfamilias, a trustworthy and nonthreatening guardian of the white middle-class suburban enclave. Years later, the producers of “The Apprentice” carefully crafted a Trump character who was the quintessence of steely resolve and all-knowing mastery. American voters noticed. Linda Lucchese, a Trump convention delegate from Illinois who had never previously been involved in politics, told me that she watched “The Apprentice” and decided that Trump would make a perfect president. “All those celebrities,” she told me: “They showed him respect.”

    It is a short leap from advertising and reality TV to darker forms of manipulation. Consider the parallels since the 1970s between conservative activism and the traditional techniques of con men. Direct-mail pioneers like Richard Viguerie created hair-on-fire campaign-fund-raising letters about civilization on the verge of collapse. One 1979 pitch warned that “federal and state legislatures are literally flooded with proposed laws that are aimed at total confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens.” Another, from the 1990s, warned that “babies are being harvested and sold on the black market by Planned Parenthood clinics.” Recipients of these alarming missives sent checks to battle phony crises, and what they got in return was very real tax cuts for the rich. Note also the more recent connection between Republican politics and “multilevel marketing” operations like Amway (Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is the wife of Amway’s former president and the daughter-in-law of its co-founder); and how easily some of these marketing schemes shade into the promotion of dubious miracle cures (Ben Carson, secretary of housing and urban development, with “glyconutrients”; Mike Huckabee shilling for a “solution kit” to “reverse” diabetes; Trump himself taking on a short-lived nutritional-supplements multilevel marketing scheme in 2009). The dubious grifting of Donald Trump, in short, is a part of the structure of conservative history.

    Future historians won’t find all that much of a foundation for Trumpism in the grim essays of William F. Buckley, the scrupulous constitutionalist principles of Barry Goldwater or the bright-eyed optimism of Ronald Reagan. They’ll need instead to study conservative history’s political surrealists and intellectual embarrassments, its con artists and tribunes of white rage. It will not be a pleasant story. But if those historians are to construct new arguments to make sense of Trump, the first step may be to risk being impolite.

  52. > I’m leaving it up to you two.

    Yeah, fair comment. Its not as if I didn’t know exactly how this was going to go. I’ll blog it myself 🙂

  53. verytallguy says:

    I do find it interesting that this appears to have degenerated into a “you’re a fool if you don’t agree with me”, which does seem rather ironic.

    Well, quite. I shall await a substantive argument without expectation.

  54. Chris says:

    Some other thoughts about the nature of modern science which seem relevant:

    1. Up until some diffuse period around the early 60’s through the 1970’s (perhaps starting with Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring) science was considered a pretty unalloyed force for good (notwithstanding military applications) and the 20th century saw great popular (“March for Dimes”, war on cancer, eradication of smallpox, amazing new materials etc. etc.) scientific advances. Problems associated with some of these advances (lead in petrol; toxic paints, Reyes syndrome from aspirin etc.) could be hidden away by misrepresentation until these were addressed by various regulations (presumably of the type that at least one poster here decries!). Science and scientific advances were positive and beneficial and there was no market for broad scale misrepresentation

    2. Things are different now. Many of the issues that science addresses are problematic, scary and concern specific interests – e.g. global warming, antibiotic resistance and the possibility of succumbing to increasingly resistant infections, ocean food stock threats, even smaller scale scientific issues (bovine TB in the UK – cull badgers or address this differently?). Even though scientists still retain a very positive image in polls of professional reliability and trustworthiness, science has lost the lustre it had in the early, mid 20th century. There certainly isn’t the feeling of scientific advances towards an increasingly wonderful future That’s unfortunate but that’s how the world is now IMO.

    3. I think that has to be considered as a backdrop to discussions on anti-science. Science is rather more susceptible to disparagement and attack now. Even at a less political level (though some of this is political) people feel comfortable disparaging science in relation to perceived problems with experimental reproduction (“The Reproducibility Crisis”) and scientific error (“Why Most Published Research Findings are False”) and misdemeanour. Some of this focus on negative aspects of science is/may be justifiable.

    4. Personally (changing the subject a little to stimulate some discussion?) I don’t believe the problems in 3. just above, are as serious as some make out and some of these are used to “beat up on” science as part of a generalized anti-science thing. The problems in science nowadays IMO are more to do with the fact that there are too many people doing science, that a vast industry of sub-standard on-line journals have arisen that are filled with largely un-useful and ignorable stuff that people devote time to doing (this doesn’t mater to science as a collective effort since it’s just ignored but it seems extraordinarily wasteful to me). I’m sure there may be more problems but that will do for now…

  55. John Hartz says:

    Chris: I find your comments to be most insightful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  56. John Hartz says:

    The world we inhabit…

    The future we’ve been warned about is beginning to saturate the present. We tend to imagine climate change as a destroyer. But it also traffics in disruption, disarray: increasingly frequent and more powerful storms and droughts; heightened flooding; expanded ranges of pests turning forests into fuel for wildfires; stretches of inhospitable heat. So many facets of our existence — agriculture, transportation, cities and the architecture they spawned — were designed to suit specific environments. Now they are being slowly transplanted into different, more volatile ones, without ever actually moving.

    We’re accustomed to hearing about the tragically straightforward cases of island nations that will simply disappear: countries like Tuvalu and Kiribati that face the possibility of having to broker the wholesale resettlement of their people in other countries. Yet there must also be, in any corner of the planet, and for each human living on it, a threshold at which a familiar place becomes an unfamiliar one: an altered atmosphere, inundated by differentness and weirdness, in which, on some level, we’ll live on, in exile. The Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht describes this feeling as “solastalgia”: “a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’ ”

    Some communities will face new problems and varieties of weather; in others, existing ones will intensify. Already-vulnerable societies — the poor, the poorly governed — may be stressed to grim breaking points. Consider the mass starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia, where a total of nearly a million and a half children are predicted to die this year — and that climate change is projected to worsen the kind of droughts that caused it. Consider, too, a 2015 Department of Defense report, which framed climate change as a geopolitical “threat multiplier” that will “threaten domestic stability in a number of countries,” and cited a study showing how a five-year drought in Syria contributed to the outbreak of the current conflict there. Nonetheless, denial is coming back in fashion among the most powerful. We have a president who dismisses climate change as a hoax, and a budget director who belittles government programs to study and adapt to our new reality as a “waste of your money.”

    Still, we insulate ourselves from the disorientation and alarm in other, more pernicious ways, too…

    Our Climate Future Is Actually Our Climate Present by Jon Mooallem, New York Times Magazine, Apr 19, 2017

  57. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    It’s a war on the regulatory state and the technocratic state…

    […]

    …Republicans don’t like the regulatory state.

    As Marco discusses above…that, of course, is bullshit.

    Never forget, “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.” Don’t forget that Republicans thought that the state regulating a health insurance mandate reflected “personal responsibility” before Obama enacted one (at which point it became “tyranny.”)

    It is a war being fought for rightwing ideology and against leftwing ideology. And it is a selective fight against regulations along those lines.

    For example:

    It isn’t a fight against the state regulating abortions.
    It isn’t a fight against the state regulating whether local law enforcement has to report immigration status.
    It isn’t a fight against the state regulating same-sex couples marrying.
    It isn’t a fight against the state regulating what bathrooms transgender people can use.

    Republicans voted overwhelmingly for a presidential candidate who sent out tweet after tweet advocating that we disregard the evidence provided by science and have the government regulate the travel of American citizens who were fighting Ebola (and any travelers from Ebola infected countries).

  58. cm says:

    I am not sure if anyone mentioned this (had to skim some of the comments after awhile) but people have been scared of science for ages and ages. This makes it easy for those who have an interest in blocking certain science for financial reasons to do so. I also doubt that Republicans honestly disbelieve or have no confidence in the science, I just think they honestly don’t care that they might harm others in pursuing their economic goals. They aren’t stupid, just a bit psychopathic (if that’s a word) and maybe far too focused on the present.

    I’m not sure I see that a war on science and a war on government are the same – I can kind of see your point but I think any fear or opposition to each come from different places. I also think the article uses the ‘war on science’ to talk about something slightly different, and positions it by claiming that we have instead a war on government and then conflates the two. Maybe I should read it again…

  59. seaice1 says:

    Science is a method for increasing knowledge and understanding. Essentially, to be scientific you must accept the outcomes as “knowledge” of some sort. You are then free to do whatever you like policy-wise without losing the title “scientific”. You may agree that CO2 is warming the world, but think we should not do anything about it because our descendants will be richer than us, so they should pay for the damage. You may think vaccines prevent disease with little side effects, but believe that compulsory or coercive vaccination is wrong. Being scientific does not commit you to any particular action.

    Some people wish to retain the title “scientific”, but find the knowledge provided makes it politically or psychologically difficult to pursue their preferred policies. They must either find sufficient justifications to continue their preferred options, or they can reject the knowledge from science. They are quite happy to accept the outcomes of science except where they contradict their desires. I am not against science, they say, I am just against Climate “science”. or evolution “science”, or vaccine “science”.

    However, science is the process of obtaining this knowledge. You either accept it all to be called “scientific”, or you do not. Cherry picking the bits you like is rejecting the process of science. Therefore those that try to justify their scientific status but picking one area of science to reject – by ether literally or metaphorically putting quote marks round that bit if science, are waging war on science.

    You could close down the EPA, NASA etc without waging war on science and still achieve the aims of small Government, but that is politically difficult. Far easier to dismiss the outcomes, then close them down. Even if your principle objective is small Government, you are still waging war on science to achieve that aim if you dismiss or belittle the evidence.

  60. cm,

    I also think the article uses the ‘war on science’ to talk about something slightly different, and positions it by claiming that we have instead a war on government and then conflates the two.

    This was similar to my view. I think the article uses an incredibly broad definition of “science” (anything related to science and technology), whereas I would think of science as the process of trying to understand something. The article then seemed to use this incredibly broad definition of science to argue that it’s really a war on government. I’m happy to accept that what is driving the antagonism towards science, is not the science itself, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not being attacked. I’m more willing now (than when I first read it) to accept that scientists should maybe take some of this into account (science is meant to be inclusive, what can we do if some feel excluded?).

  61. seaice1,

    Science is a method for increasing knowledge and understanding.

    Agreed, science is a method/process for increasing knowledge (tending towards emergent “truths”). What is done with that knowledge is not – IMO, at least – really science and science doesn’t define what should be done.

  62. Joshua says:

    cm –

    =={ I just think they honestly don’t care that they might harm others in pursuing their economic goals. }==

    How do you know they don’t just differ with your opinion as to what harms result from pursuing various economic goals? Keep in mind that “the right” is fully convinced that “the left” doesn’t care what harms result from pursuing its economic goals.

  63. John Hartz says:

    In the big scheme of things, science conributes to the common good. US Libertarians do not place a high value on the common good. Libertarians such as the Koch brothers and their ilk have an enormous impact on US politics because of the wealth they have accumulated. The maldistribution of wealth in the US and globally is anathma to democaracy and the common good.

  64. I see that my attempt to stop discussions here drifiting into politics is failing. A general comment. I think generalisations are rarely valid.

  65. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: That’s what happens when you post a mushy OP. 🙂

  66. JH,
    Well, yes, fair point 🙂

  67. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ I see that my attempt to stop discussions here drifiting into politics is failing. }==

    On a climate blog? Good luck with that. 🙂

  68. Joshua,
    It’s mostly worked so far.

  69. Joshua says:

    Fair enough. At least in a relative sense…

  70. John Hartz says:

    ATTP:

    It’s mostly worked so far.

    ROFL! 🙂

  71. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    We do not need that regulation. We’re a rich society, children working in mines is economically valueless. If that’s the kind of thing you’re saying to Repubs, no wonder they think you’re big-state fools.

    Children working in mines and sweatshops in far away countries where there is little to no regulation can generate immense economic value. Think Walmart.

    Children working in mines and sweatshops in far away countries where there is little to no regulation can generate other things too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Savar_building_collapse
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/28/india-sweated-labour
    http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Miningandquarrying/MoreaboutCLinmining/lang–en/index.htm

    About 11% of the world’s children work for shit wages in unhealthy, unsafe conditions.
    That’s roughly 170 million children.
    https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/

    Personally, I do not give a rat’s ass what Repubs think about anyone’s level of intelligence.
    They are far from cornering the market on that particular asset.

    Much of the so-called War on Science comes down to this:

  72. izen says:

    I don’t know what point the stoat was trying to make about regulation,but the war on science is between knowledge and ignorance. Science generates knowledge. That may imply a need for regulation and that elicits a response that seeks to generate ignorance in opposition as a means of avoiding the regulation for economic reasons.

    The main theatre of action in the war on science is clearly in the field of climate research. Thats iswhere the big guns on both sides are lined up.

    But sometimes the small skirmish on a different battle-front can show more clearly the basic nature of the war that gets obscured in the chaotic maelstrom of the main battle.

    This is a story of pig farming in North Carolina. It grew rapidly as an industrial process until there were 10 million pigs in the State. But no sewage system to cope with this as there would be if the human population had more than doubled. Pig waste was just allowed to form lakes. Inevitably there were health problems, and rivers killed when mega-tonnes of pig sewage seeped into the water-table.

    The State passed a law stopping any more big pig farms much to the annoyance of what was now a major industry in the state.

    Research was carried out into the issue of health impacts from living near big pig farms and whether the lakes of sewage were preferentially sited near black communities.

    Although the research appears to have been kosher, it was aggressively attacked by the pig production industry with all the weapons we know so well from Climateball. How those attacks were promulgated by the media is the subject of this paper.

    http://www.chss.uqam.ca/Portals/0/docs/STS%20900X/Stocking-journlaists-controversy%20(PUS).pdf

    This is a border clash in the war on science, triggered by regulation and between knowledge and ignorance about the targeting and harms that the lagoons of pig sewage were having on the smaller human population of the State.

  73. I think Joshua cut through the discussion to identify that this “war on science” (and the related war on regulation/large government) is about ideology.

    I don’t think it is essential that the discussion avoid politics. I think it is essential that the discussion be constructive in some “search for knowledge” sense and that the discussion be conducted in good faith. Over the past few months, as Real Climate moderators have decided to delay posting of the completely moderated comments, thus throttling the conversation there, this has become my primary climate change blog for discussion. The hide and hush comments and commenters allows me to get rid of folks who don’t engage in good faith and that’s a relief.

    We live in dark times where the planet is waking and changing in response to the wild success of our species. We are in an uncomfortable spot on a malthusian population curve as a species and though we are a species capable of appreciating and creating stupifying beauty and technology, we are also an apex predator and we have painted ourselves into a corner. Cornered predators are challenging to share space with. I think our ideological disagreements are partially about how we deal with the predicament we find ourselves in. Our species has a plethora of value systems to choose from in any instance and the different value systems create some nasty conflict, like the current war on science. btw, the “war” meme is quite tiresome. I long to live in a post-war environment. War is over, if you want it. read that somewhere long ago.

  74. John Hartz says:

    We cannot discuss collective actions to either mitigate or adapt to manmade climate change with out talking about politics. Public policy is, by definiton, created by and implemented through political processes.

  75. verytallguy says:

    I think Joshua cut through the discussion to identify that this “war on science” (and the related war on regulation/large government) is about ideology.

    I’m not sure about that. I think it’s more about [tribal] identity – the ideology of those denying scientific facts is actually pretty inconsistent, see comments above on what is and isn’t supported from a regulatory perspective.

    What is consistent is identity with a particular group, and defence of group beliefs against outsiders. Entirely regardless of facts.

  76. John Hartz says:

    Let’s not go overbaord on the “knlowedge vs Ignoraance” framing. Not all scientists are pure as the driven snow. The scientists who prostituted themselves for Big Tobacco are a case in point.

  77. JH,
    The point is more about the overall goal of the scientific endeavour – generating knowledge/information, than about individual scientists. Ideally, society should be aiming to use that knowledge/information to inform decisions that we might be making.

  78. John Hartz says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    A report by a leading research body monitoring the Arctic has found that previous projections of global sea level rise for the end of the century could be too low, thanks in part to the pace of ice loss of Arctic glaciers and the vast ice sheet of Greenland.

    It’s just the latest in a string of cases in which scientists have published numbers that suggest a grimmer picture than the one presented in 2013 by an influential United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The new Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic report presents minimum estimates for global sea level rise by the end of the century, but not a maximum. This reflects the fact that scientists keep uncovering new insights that force them to increase their sea level estimates further, said William Colgan, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, who contributed to the sea level rise section.

    “Because of emerging processes, especially related to the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet, it now looks like the uncertainties are all biased positive,” Colgan said.

    Scientists keep increasing their projections for how much the oceans will rise this century by Chris Mooney, Energy and Environment, Washington Post, Apr 26, 2017

  79. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Unfortunately, we live in a very messy socio-economic-political environment.

    PS – Have you given any thought to expanding the title of the website to: “And Then There’s Physics & Public Policies.”?

  80. Have you given any thought to expanding the title of the website to: “And Then There’s Physics & Public Policies.”?

    No, not really. I prefer to write about things that I at least think I understand well enough to comment on, even if I am wrong about that 🙂

  81. > pig farming… appears to have been kosher
    Fnarr!

  82. John Hartz says:

    Out of curiousity, how many of you have read The War on Science by Shwan Otto?

    I have it on my stack of books to read but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    I’m somewhat surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned or referened on this thread — I may be wrong.

  83. John Hartz says:

    OOPS! I embedded the wrong link into The War on Science in my prior post. It should be:

    BTW, the complete title of the book is:

    The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About

  84. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: It appears that i did not particpate in the discussion thread of your post reviewing Otto’s book. I suspect that some of the commentary posted on its thread has been duplicated here. Regardless, i particularly like the concluding paragraphs of your OP.

    If it is indeed the case (as it seems) that this postmodernistic thinking has influenced views within society, is there anything we can do to change this? My impression is that it’s not simply that people don’t always understand science all that well, they also don’t really understand how it is undertaken, or the basics of the scientific method. One issue might be that when scientists engage publicly, they tend to see their role as explaining their own research. This is clearly important, but maybe we also need more people who just discuss science in general, rather than simply focusing on the specifics of their own work.

    Of course, that would probably lead to accusations that they were speaking outside their area of expertise and, potentially, that they were engaging in advocacy and – hence – destroying their objectivity. My cynical view is that some of this is intentional attempts to prevent more researchers/scientists from speaking publicly as that might highlight views that are based on the slimsiest of evidence, if any evidence at all. I do think, however, that researchers/scientists have an obligation to communicate with the public and that the public would benefit from a better understanding of how science works and the basics of the scientific method. That’s only my view, though. Others may think differently.

    Science Wars by …and Then There’s Physics, Aug 4, 2016

  85. Willard says:

    > answer I would propose is to carefully shape your message to make it clear to those people that your “science” is not opposed to their cause.

    And so another Freedom Fighter reiterates that what we have is a failure to communicate.

    As if reality did not truly have a liberal bias:

    After every new US census, states have to redraw their congressional districts to divide up their populations fairly. But in practice, these districts don’t always end up equal: Federal judges recently ordered Wisconsin lawmakers to redraw maps of the state’s legislative districts, after finding the districts had been shaped to favor Republican candidates. Allegations of gerrymandering are also playing out in states like Texas and North Carolina.

    […]

    The breakthrough? Computers, although Duchin calls them “a double-edged sword” when it comes to redistricting. “On one hand, they give you the ability to make more and more precise gerrymanders,” she says. “But on the other hand, now recently for the first time, they give you the ability to detect gerrymanders.” She explains that powerful algorithms can search district maps to find outliers, using multiple compactness scores. “If the current map really stands out among 10,000 alternatives, that’s probably a red flag.”

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-04-16/mathematician-who-s-using-geometry-fight-gerrymandering

    Teh Donald’s election is a direct consequence of Republican gerrymandering, a gerrymandering that is also a direct consequence of Democrat’s negligence.

    ***

    “Regulatory state” is a pleonasm and teh Donald can’t be fighting against it – he’s only playing the good ol’ Nixon playbook. The main problem troglodytes have is that they are disappearing. We will conserve the best the 20th century brought: social liberalism. It is now part of our background. So much the worse for Moshpit’s and our Stoatness’ libertarian utopias.

  86. Steven Mosher says: “If you don’t like war find a way to make your science like Switzerland. If you act like a collaborator, don’t think you can play the victim card.”

    I agree with andrew adams: “If people are levelling accusations at them or their work which they feel are unfair then they have every right to object. Just because others label them as “collaborators” it doesn’t make them so.”

    Also in Europe conservatives are less enthusiastic about solving climate change. They do not think that the goal justifies the means and that it is fine that scientists are collateral damage. The US Republican politicians should show more personal responsibility for their own actions.

    Also a majority of Republican voters want to solve climate change, and large majorities favour renewable energy. The problem probably also has an ideological component (“war on government”, etc.), but the extent of it and the extremism (politicians calling climate change a hoax) is likely fuelled by corporate donations to politicians in save districts who do not have to fear their constituents.

  87. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    In the War on Science, the first casualty is the National Space Science and Technology Center office building at UAH.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/04/update-on-possible-ecoterror-attack-at-uah/

    Roy:
    CLARIFICATION: I didn’t mean to imply the motive for the shooting was necessarily financial, although the perps could have been paid to do what someone else was afraid to do on their own. It’s more likely they are religiously motivated, hoping to Save the Earth. Of course, the evidence that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for life on Earth is not part of their religion.

  88. William Connolley says: “Take, for example, GW. Do we, really, actually, need increased spending on GW research? No, we don’t. Because we already have quite enough science to inform policy. We could stop funding it now and still have quite enough science to inform policy.

    I do not think that information to inform policy saturates. If we had better information, smaller confidence intervals, we would know better how fast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stay below an impact and risk level that is seen as politically acceptable.

    One could argue that the past decades have shown that politically the confidence intervals are not important, only the question whether climate change is real or not. This is suggested by the complete denial of climate change by some Republican politicians and by Republican operative Frank Lunz who said that the political battle would be lost if people knew that scientists generally agree climate change is real.

    But, in principle, is should matter how bad it will be and how certain we are. What worries me the most is the uncertainty, the societal impacts we do not even think of now or hugely underestimate.

    When it comes to adaptation to reduce the impacts of climate change, the collaboration between scientists and (local) governments/corporations/citizens is quite good (at least on the continent). Here better information is definitely useful. This requires information on local changes and on changes in extremes. That is a lot more difficult than the global averages.
    http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2016/02/climate-change-adaptation-variability-extreme-weather.html

    More climate change and means a higher need for good prediction for the coming days, season and years, to be able to plan ahead and reduce impacts. As long as civilization does not go down, more climate change would be good for the funding of meteorology and climatology. If scientists only cared about funding, they would keep the mouths shut and root for more global warming.

  89. gator says:

    Always entertaining to hear a Brit tell me, an American, about what the Republicans think. I doubt someone living in another country can truly understand what the Republicans think. It’s hard enough for those of us here who have to live with them. But here’s a hint — the ones in power are not “thinking” in grand terms like WMC things they are. They are thinking — what will make me, my family, my donors rich. They are thinking — what do I have to do to stay in power? Grand theories of regulation or desire for lack of regulation are simply tacked on to support those two goals.

    Re the March for Science being political? Again, if you don’t live here, I don’t think you understand. And a few anti-Trump signs don’t make a march. You’re falling for the anti-science narrative. Science is anti-republican when Trump wants to get rid of the EPA because science inconveniently shows that pollution is harmful. When the law says scientific evidence cannot be used to shape policy. Thinking that people marched because they think that will get them grants or funding is why thinking people think Republicans are stupid. Hasn’t that been the line against climate change research for a long time? Stupid.

  90. gator says:

    David Brin has some thoughts about this running through his blog.
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/04/declining-trust-in-rising-fear-of-our.html

  91. russellseitz says:

    WC observed :

    “Via RS, I found this: https://www.marchforscience.com/statement-on-idea/ They “cannot ignore issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia and stoatophobia”. But they have nothing to say about political attacks. So, you can see where their priorities lie.

    In particular you shouldn’t blur things together. If you’re in favour of “evidence based policy” that’s excellent, so am I, but you shouldn’t confuse that with advocating for bigger government and more money for science; or even for arguing against cuts.”

    Former White House Chief of Staff and Presidential campaign chairman John Podesta , not so much:

    He waged war on evidence – based policy at the White House . where OSTP made no public objection to his commissioning a climate wars playbook theat emphasized polemics ” cannot be handcuffed by data ” —

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2016/10/ad-john-podesta-ex-masters-of-disaster.html

  92. John Hartz says:

    Another manifestation of the Trump Regime’s war on climate science is embedded in the Paris Climate Accord. Even if Trump and Congress do not cancel the US particpation in the agreement, the Regime will not undertake the actions necessary to comply with it. The latest political manuevering over the Paris Agreement within the Trump Regime is nicely summarized in…

    State Department Memo Boosts Case to Stay in Paris Climate Pact by Jennifer A Dlouhy & Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg News, Apr 25, 2017

  93. suggestion: use the hush or hide function on the folks here who are abusive, too partisan or ideological. I love that function. There are several regular commenters here that automatically disappear thanks to that option. It’s great. You can avoid being baited into a rancorous back and forth by using the function.

  94. Vinny Burgoo says:

    smallbluemike, that sounds like the old killfile function in Usenet. I didn’t know you could do that for blog comments. Guidance, please. (I’ve had a quick google but no luck.)

  95. Apart from being able to moderate/delete comments as an editor of the blog, I don’t know how hide comments.

  96. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/blog-killfile/?src=api
    I use waterfox as my primary browser. It supports the blog file add-on. This add-on does not work in comments on every blog site, but it works on ATTP. Once installed, you hover over a comment and the “hush” and “hide” functions show up as commenter killfile hyperlinks.

  97. Vinny Burgoo says:

    OT contd: Dur! I forgot to include ‘killfile’ in my search terms. smallbluemike probably means this addon for Firefox and Chrome:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/blog-killfile/

    I have loaded it and the hush/hide options appear without rebooting. /OT

  98. I lost track of the fact that this was an add-on function that I had installed. I just find it showing up on certain wordpress websites and I love the function. There used to be a way to disemvowel commenters. I think that was a moderator function, but it was hilarious to see someone try to maintain their lunacy with nthng bt cnsnnts

    It would be done, but was generally too mch wrk.

  99. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Crossed in the mail!

  100. I did not know about that. Very useful, thanks.

  101. John Hartz says:

    More about the Republican war on science…

    Today, just four days after hundreds of thousands of people marched for science, the Senate introduced a bill that would substitute politics for scientific judgment in every decision the government makes about public health and the environment. If enacted, the legislation would cripple the government’s ability to effectively carry out laws that protect us, putting everyone at more risk, especially communities of color and low-income communities that are more exposed to threats.

    The ill-named Regulatory Accountability Act (House version here with coverage) does nothing more than stack the deck in favor of private companies at the public’s expense. It would paralyze agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, drowning them in red tape and compromising their public service missions. It is way more dangerous than other legislation that grabs headlines (such as the bill to eliminate the EPA) because, in this political environment, it actually has a chance.

    Senators who support this legislation will be turning their backs on the role of science in making all kinds of decisions. Safety standards for the food we eat. Rules that protect construction workers on job sites. Limits on work hours of pilots and air traffic controllers. Protections for children from toys laden with harmful chemicals.

    “This bill is a weapon aimed right at public health and safety protections,” said UCS’s Andrew Rosenberg in a statement. “This bill doesn’t support accountability—it removes accountability from the industries subject to regulation.”

    The Regulatory Accountability Act is a bad idea. It is also not a new idea. The legislation was introduced in the last Congress, and the Congress before that. In 2015, my former colleague Celia Wexler called the Regulatory Accountability Act a “zombie bill,” legislation that has failed repeatedly in the past but keeps getting resurrected…

    The Regulatory Accountability Act Subverts Science and Must Be Stopped by Michael Halperin, Union of Concerned Scientists, Apr 26, 2017

  102. Willard says:

    > You can avoid being baited into a rancorous back and forth by using the function.

    Can you hide your own comments, Small Blue?

    Asking for a friend.

  103. John Hartz says:

    All things considered, I give ATTP high marks for tamping down the rancour (except for when he’s debating Rich Tol). To ATTP’s credit, the generally positive tone of discussion threads on this site mirrors his overall polite demeanor.

  104. Willard says:

    Let’s try not turn this into another moderation thread, please.

  105. just tried it and the answer is yes. You can hide your own comments, then you can unhush them and restore. very nice little add on. I think this killfile addon is on-topic given some of the more bizarre things that have I saw on this thread. enjoy!

  106. Willard says:

    > I think this killfile addon is on-topic

    I don’t think so, but then many comments aren’t. As long as it adds something and is unobtrusive all is well, as the Yi-King would declare.

  107. Pingback: Perspective: It’s Not a War on Science – Stoat

  108. Steven Mosher says:

    Joshua. Yes it’s a fight on ideological grounds.
    And yes you will find sine regulations that right wingers defend. But to argue that they support the regulatory state…seems a stretch. I hate taxes. I’m against all taxes. .

    Ah wait. Sin taxes on tobacco. I don’t mind..

    The point. Finding a few inconsistencies in a position is child’s play..no ideology is free of them . Republicans hate the regulatory STATE… yes of course run along and find a few examples here and there ..doesn’t matter. .doesn’t change the fundamentals. And do not confuse entitlements with regulation.

  109. Steven Mosher says:

    suggestion: use the hush or hide function on the folks here who are abusive, too partisan or ideological. I love that function. There are several regular commenters here that automatically disappear thanks to that option. It’s great. You can avoid being baited into a rancorous back and forth by using the function.

    ///////

    THERE is a great article posted on wuwt about how people will choose to avoid reading material that threatens their identity.

    Observation.. The political fights here tend not to be personal and are quite tolerable. I haven’t seen any thing I would call rancerous. Ymmv.

  110. Willard says:

    Another interesting question is: who’s warring exactly?

    Hint:

  111. Willard says:

    More to the point:

    [Teh Donald], the King of Shame, has covertly come to the rescue. He has shamed virtually every line-cutting group in the Deep Story—women, people of color, the disabled, immigrants, refugees. But he’s hardly uttered a single bad word about unemployment insurance, food stamps, or Medicaid, or what the tea party calls “big government handouts,” for anyone—including blue-collar white men.

    In this feint, [teh Donald] solves a white male problem of pride. Benefits? If you need them, okay. He masculinizes it. You can be “high energy” macho—and yet may need to apply for a government benefit. As one auto mechanic told me, “Why not? [Teh Donald]’s for that. If you use food stamps because you’re working a low-wage job, you don’t want someone looking down their nose at you.” A lady at an after-church lunch said, “If you have a young dad who’s working full time but can’t make it, if you’re an American-born worker, can’t make it, and not having a slew of kids, okay. For any conservative, that is fine.”

    But in another stroke, [teh Donald] adds a key proviso: restrict government help to real Americans. White men are counted in, but undocumented Mexicans and Muslims and Syrian refugees are out. Thus, [teh Donald] offers the blue-collar white men relief from a taker’s shame: If you make America great again, how can you not be proud? [Teh Donald] has put on his blue-collar cap, pumped his fist in the air, and left mainstream Republicans helpless. Not only does he speak to the white working class’ grievances; as they see it, he has finally stopped their story from being politically suppressed. We may never know if [teh Donald] has done this intentionally or instinctively, but in any case he’s created a movement much like the anti-immigrant but pro-welfare-state right-wing populism on the rise in Europe. For these are all based on variations of the same Deep Story of personal protectionism.

    On the one hand, rich guys who vote themselves viagra.

    On the other, men suckered into a pipe dream.

    For whom is this war?

  112. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    =={ Republicans hate the regulatory STATE… }==

    That’s true. Except it isn’t true. They loves them some regulations from the STATE and don’t like other regulations from the STATE. They even switch up on which regulations they love and which they hate depending on external circumstances.

    For example, they be lovin’ them some trade regulations these days. Because the person they voted for is advocating for ’em. Last year they would have hated those very same trade regulations.

    About the only Republican who has been consistent on STATE regulation of the economy lately is Sarah fucking Palin. Now THAT’S too funny.

  113. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    =={ I hate taxes. I’m against all taxes. . }==

    And here you fall into the trap fairly typical of online combatants, extrapolating from an unrepresentative sample, and even worse from a skeptical perspective, extrapolating from yourself.

    Now many Republicans do say that they are against ALL taxes, but most don’t; for example most Republicans aren’t against taxes to pay for the military, or to fund medicare.

    And it has been shown over and over that even when push comes to shove, and cutting taxes means cutting services, many of the objections among Republicans for taxes just magically disappear (prolly just coincidence).

    Along those lines, pretty much everyone HATES ALL taxes, but Republicans do make hating taxes an ideological identity badge…that they can just quietly take off when the REGULATORY STATE (AHH, RUN FOR THE HILLS) starts talking about cutting services. And there’s a difference between hating taxes and being against taxes, as being against taxes means that you have to accept a cut in the services they pay for.

    It will be interesting to see how the “hatred” of taxes plays out in the next few weeks when massive tax cuts are being proposed to appease the “HATE TAXES’ crowd…and it means either spiking up the deficit or cutting services.

  114. Joshua says:

    =={ yes of course run along and find a few examples here and there . }==

    The “here and there” state regulations I mentioned are some of the most fundamental planks underlying Republican ideology these days…the insurance mandate (that Republicans used to love before Obama loved it too)…abortion…reporting on immigration status.

    Fundafuckingmental. Not just a “few examples here and there.”

  115. seaice1 says:

    Addition to my previous comment to clarify why I think the article is wrong. It groups together cutting the budget of the EPA with deleting databases. The former is a legitimate (if misguided) remit of Government. The latter is a war on science.

    If we separate these issues out we have more clarity. The current POTUS wants to reduce Govt size and remove powerful agencies. The Govt. has the power to do this, but not the politcal agreement. In order to gain the political agreement they wage a war on science. That is, they deny the results, dismiss the results, they try to hinder the dissemination of the results both directly and by muddying the waters with disiformation.

    Whilst you could look upon not funding science as a war on science, I don’t see it that way. Not funding is not actively attacking. Anti-science, yes. War on science, no

    The article says it is not a war on science, because the target is excessive spending and government capture by agencies. However, these could in principle be tackled without a war on science. The war on science in necessary because you can not get political agreement to shut down science agencies unless you first weaken them in the eyes of the public.

    I think it would be helpful to keep the issues separate. Cutting EPA funding is politics. Calling global warming a hoax and gagging public sector workers is a war in science.

  116. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    All politics = marketing.
    Republicans market themselves as small Govt, it’s irrelevant if that is true or not.

  117. Steven Mosher says:

    That’s true. Except it isn’t true. They loves them some regulations from the STATE and don’t like other regulations from the STATE. They even switch up on which regulations they love and which they hate depending on external circumstances.

    1. They hate the regulatory state.
    2. You can of course hate the regulatory state and still
    Enjoy specific regulations.
    3. There is no important contradiction here.

  118. John Hartz says:

    Does a “police state” fit under the “regulatory state” umbrella? Here’s why I ask…

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly tells critics to change the law or “shut up.”

    10 Signs Trump’s Top Homeland Security Cop Wants to Drag America Into a Paranoid Apocalyptic Police State by Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet, April 25, 2017

  119. Joshua says:

    That’s good.

    You can hate the regulatory STATE and still enjoy specific regulations…wait for it….from the REGULATORY STATE.

    I love me some libertarian logic.

    Once again, they “hate” the regulatory state but they aren’t against the regulatory state, because they like the product of the regulatory state. Kind of like I hate going to the dentist but I am not against going to the dentist.

    Anyway, I do understand. Haters gotta hate.

  120. Joshua says:

    I’ll also note that I don’t agree with with everything from Haidt, and there’s a lot of his stuff I really don’t want to go along with, but he is a force to be reckoned with, and he’s got a lot of stuff about the link between “conservatives” and authoritarianism, and so do a few others..

    But what could that have to do with the REGULATORY STATE, right?

    Of course, there’s no reason to think that there’s any connection between the REGULATORY STATE and authoritarianism, right?

    Of course not….. Who would think that authoritarianism in any way has anything to do with a REGULATORY STATE. I mean it’s not like authoritarians regulate, and SO trying to say that an authoritarian state wouldn’t be REGULATORY STATE would be a laughable attempt to create selective definition of what a REGULATORY STATE is. I mean some people might say that authoritarian states enact a lot of regulations around, if not the necessarily the same regulations that a liberal democracy might enact, because people of different ideologies advocate for different kinds of regulations….But obviously people who might say that would be wrong.

    No one but a fool would make such an argument. I mean locking down the borders, requiring women to have ultrasounds or enacting laws that make it illegal for them to have abortions, forcing municipal law enforcement to report on immigration status, you know, stuff like that, aren’t REGULATIONS so they aren’t part of a REGULATORY STATE.

    And that’s why conservatives HATE the AUTHORITARIAN STATE, because you know, those aren’t regulations.

  121. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    Steven

    “1. They hate the regulatory state.
    2. You can of course hate the regulatory state and still
    Enjoy specific regulations.
    3. There is no important contradiction here.”

    I doubt they ACTUALLY hate it. I would suggest they say they do simply as a marketing ploy.
    Does Coca Cola really think it’s “The One” or does Pepsi really believe they’re “The taste of a new generation”?
    No, of course not, they simply want sales.

    The Republicans want power, and they attempt to take power by marketing themselves in a particular way.

    In terms of the contradictions, it’s important to point it out as an attempt to undermine the marketing.

  122. Joshua says:

    I agree with Nathan, who is being much more succinct than I (not difficult, I admit) –

    =={ The Republicans want power, and they attempt to take power by marketing themselves in a particular way. }==

    Yes, and their marketing slogan (that apparently Steven has swallowed hook, line, and sinker) is that they hate the REGULATORY STATE even when they love them a STATE that REGULATES. One that REGULATES a whole lot. Just not the same regulations that people with different ideologies advocate for.

  123. barry says:

    1. They hate the regulatory state.
    2. You can of course hate the regulatory state and still
    Enjoy specific regulations.
    3. There is no important contradiction here.

    What is a ‘regulatory state’, and what model/s is meant to be the preferred anti?

    This line of argument has lacked specifics throughout the thread. Is there any actual meat?

  124. Steven Mosher says:

    “Whilst you could look upon not funding science as a war on science, I don’t see it that way. Not funding is not actively attacking. Anti-science, yes. War on science, no”

    If the trump Administration decided to reprogram all dollars allocated to developing GCMS to a program to rigorously test and V&V models is that a war on science. ..

    Is reprogramming all dollars to studying natural variability a war on science?

    If you object to that funding change are you at war with science?

    Unrelated question. . If the department of education tried to fund scientific studies on race and intelligence are people who object anti science?

    There is all sorts of science we refuse to do…animal experiments.. experiments on people.. why is that? Well because the science ( and maybe truth) can be at odds with what we value. Perhaps ignorance is bliss in some cases
    I’m not surprised there is some science Republicans want to squash.. especially science that conflicts with a love of liberty.. ( I include this fir willards amusement)

  125. barry says:

    This line of argument has lacked specifics throughout the thread.

    From proponents.

  126. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    Steven

    “If the trump Administration decided to reprogram all dollars allocated to developing GCMS to a program to rigorously test and V&V models is that a war on science. ..

    Is reprogramming all dollars to studying natural variability a war on science?

    If you object to that funding change are you at war with science?”

    No, but some of it is stupid… Like a lot of what Trump does.
    What would be a war on science is to do all of that badly with a predetermined outcome. And then use that to declare science ‘BAD!” (using Trump-speak)

  127. “… Much as we have sought over the past two decades to put sustainability at the heart of technology, business, and policy innovation, …”
    Where, When, How ? ? ?

  128. John Hartz says:
    April 26, 2017 at 3:08 am
    Russell Seitz: You asked:
    Doesn’t John Hartz understand that eb=nvironmental propaganda wars have more than one side and are the bread and butter of a sizable segment of the advertising , PR and lobbying industries?

    You can bet your seet bippy that I do.
    __________________________________________

    Why no mention of the fact that the actual core of this War On Science is that the right wing takes it as their Right of Free Speech to blatantly and maliciously and without restrain lie about what the science and scientists are actually revealing and reporting?

    [Chill. -W]

    Endlessly quibbling over fine details does not mean any of the fundamental Climate Science understanding is in jeopardy!

  129. SM writes: “There is all sorts of science we refuse to do…animal experiments.. experiments on people.. why is that? Well because the science ( and maybe truth) can be at odds with what we value. Perhaps ignorance is bliss in some cases”

    No, this is wrong. We *do* refuse to do certain experiments – but not because ignorance is bliss. In fact,I can think of almost no circumstance where the desired information isn’t still sought, but through more acceptable means. I.e., we don’t strap children into car seats and smash them into walls at 40 mph because they would often get injured or killed. So we devised crash test dummies to simulate children.

    Ignorance in science is never bliss. It makes ‘knowledge’ an illusion. It’s a nagging, annoying open wound. Take the Standard Model and General Relativity; one or both are probably wrong. Physicists know this. It bothers them. Ask one of this ignorance is blissful.

  130. Joshua says:

    =={ Unrelated question. . If the department of education tried to fund scientific studies on race and intelligence are people who object anti science? }==

    This, I think, captures the point well. It isn’t really about “a war on a science” or being “anti-science.” It’s about a “war on their/our science” and being “anti-their/our science.” it’s about leveraging science to advanced ideological agendas and identity orientation. And as we’d expect, we see symmetricsl claims that the other side does it and our side doesn’t.

  131. Susan Anderson says:

    Katharine Hayhoe does a good job of explaining why Republicans don’t like the science.
    http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/political-scene/an-evangelical-climate-scientist-talks-to-david-remnick-about-winning-over-climate-change-skeptics

    Can’t find a transcript so will have to type out some snippets here:

    not pulling out the science … if you don’t agree … “You’re an idiot” – that’s the absolute worst thing you can do in any argument, really

    It works if we’re already convinced and we want the information to inform our decisions.

    doubtful is a better word … connecting over a value or a concern that we already share …. I talk about something that I know we agree on, until we’re nodding along together, and only then do I do some explaining about how things have already changed in the places where we live and how we expect them to change in the future

    Does this mean loss of personal liberties and destruction of the economy and complete control and all that? ,,, the real reasons people object

    Acting on climate means incredible loss. It means loss of our comfortable lifestyle, it means loss of freedom, it might mean government telling you what to do

    “I agree with you, things are changing and we need to prepare. The problem I have,” he said very honestly, is “I don’t want the government setting my thermostat.”

    [this administration, at first hopeful] I don’t see the hope. They’re doing things that make no common sense. [shoring up coal industry] decisions that make no sense from an economic perspective, let alone from a climate perspective.

    At the federal level, I’m not very hopeful. But at the state, at the city level … majority … economics … build resilience … [the work continues]

    Objections have nothing to do with science … nothing to do with religion … they have to do with solution aversion.

    Behind closed doors “Oh yes, of course it’s real. But I don’t want to fix it!” It’s easier to say it isn’t real.

    Politically it’s scary to come out of the closet. …. Inglis … was beaten in the primaries in his own state.

    Republicans are taken into this room with a protrait of Bob Inglis and beaten into submission. … “here is what will happen to you too.”

    Breaks my heart … Christian … Genesis, we’re responsible … Revelations, don’t destroy the earth … middle, loving your neighbors and caring for those who are in need … faith has been hijacked by our politics

    This is a rough extract, it would be much better if you heard the original. And don’t, please, dump on religion. It’s only 90% of people, and insulting them is not helpful. She makes the point well.

    Now, going off on my own, and probably undermining my own message, I am tired of people abroad thinking they know all about what’s been going on here in the US (did you know that my state of Massachusetts voted 60 to 33 for Hillary; 61 to 38 for Obama in 2012?) . Dr. Hayhoe provides a good window on the subject.

  132. Susan Anderson says:

    On judgments from abroad, here’s a little vignette. I spent a lot of time in the 90s and oughts staying in hostels in the UK southwest. I was in St. Just when two German teenagers who happened to be in the bunkroom one night decided to blame me for GW Bush. It appears they had forgotten that Germany did some stuff in the 1920s and 1930s that was not unrecognizable in the US these days. I was “that person”. I don’t blame people for finding us abhorrent, but I and my friends are doing everything we can think of to stand up to the monstrous and powerful takeover of all branches of government (including courts and local authorities in 31 states) financed by vast and growing sums of money, enabled by giveaways.

  133. angech says:

    gator says:” I doubt someone living in another country can truly understand what the Republicans think.” well done in a South Park episode though not about republicans.
    William Connolley says: l 26, 2017 at 8:05 am “I’m with her picture” Definitely.
    Nathan Tetlaw says: April 26, 2017 at 11:35 am
    “If you think you know the answer of how to convince fools they’re fools, then spit it out.”
    William Connolley says: April 26, 2017 at 9:52 am “I just knew someone would say that.”
    ad later.”Its not as if I didn’t know exactly how this was going to go”
    To WC Those who seek enlightenment need it.
    Marco says: April 26, 2017 at 10:07 am His comment on ideology
    “on teaching of evolution, on education about contraception methods, or on abortion,”
    would seem to cover a few of the topics that most of us here would have the same point of view on despite the other differences.
    William Connolley April 26, 2017 at 11:08 am “This is not true. We do not need that regulation.”

    I have issues with some of WC’s view of the world but he certainly takes no prisoners. Nor does SM. They form part, with ATTP, of that group of people, many here, who believe in taking action to help other people and the world out. The other view, which I lean to but cannot spell is Laissez faire. This might be caused in part, Willard, by my working with people to give them good advice. The overarching message I found from this is that people, in general, do not value advice. They will reluctantly take it when they pay for it and follow it sometimes.
    Free advice is not tolerated at all. Mandated advice by well meaning well motivated people is actively hated.
    Re the actual subject Trump is supposedly draining the swamp so areas he does not like get cut. Scientists in those areas, tough.No science war there.
    In other areas, Military and Silicon Valley I would say he and the American people are and always have been aggressively pro science. Increased funding in those areas will happen.
    Re the current Climate stuff a lot of it is needed and valued for the military. More satellites will be the go for observation, defense , attack, mining and farming.

  134. Steven Mosher says:

    “This, I think, captures the point well. It isn’t really about “a war on a science” or being “anti-science.” It’s about a “war on their/our science” and being “anti-their/our science.” it’s about leveraging science to advanced ideological agendas and identity orientation. And as we’d expect, we see symmetricsl claims that the other side does it and our side doesn’t.”

    agree 100%.. in the end both sides would like to use science ( the big bat) because

    1) its our most reliable way of knowing
    2) we respect it
    3) it tends to be more “objective” or at least tries to control for bias

    but if that bat is used on a cherished value, then of course we have a whole contrarian matrix to use on science.

  135. Steven Mosher says:

    “Ignorance in science is never bliss. ”

    True. But that was not the claim I was making. yes IN SCIENCE ignorance is never bliss, unless
    you count the bliss of not knowing BEFORE you start the investigation.
    Or
    Science may tell me that I will die in 5 years.
    Frankly, I prefer ignorance. In life I may prefer ignorance. In science, I prefer it only as the start
    of the problem solving process. I want to remove the bliss of not knowing, with the bliss of knowing. But not all of life is science. I find for example that when I run across someone who believes in god and is happy, that it is not my job to remove their bliss. They have a belief. It works for them, some would die without that belief. Not all of life is science and so there are times and places where ignorance is bliss. Not knowing is a wonderful thing. Keats had a term for it.
    Negative capability.

    I guess what I question is the universal value of truth. There are easy thought experiments you can do on this question. And yes, W james has a wonderful related essay.

  136. Steven Mosher says:

    “What is a ‘regulatory state’, and what model/s is meant to be the preferred anti?”

    The regulatory state is basically the un elected bureaucracy.

    The preferred Anti?

    One version.. (willard will enjoy)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Liberty_Amendments

    ” Limiting bureaucracy: He proposes an amendment to limit and sunset federal regulations and subject the existence of all federal departments to stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years.”

  137. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    “The regulatory state is basically the un elected bureaucracy.”
    Why is it that it is basically a problem for the US? Gets very little traction elsewhere.

    “but if that bat is used on a cherished value, then of course we have a whole contrarian matrix to use on science.”

    And this is where you ARE anti-science.

  138. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    “Science may tell me that I will die in 5 years.
    Frankly, I prefer ignorance. In life I may prefer ignorance. In science, I prefer it only as the start
    of the problem solving process. ”

    However, what you are active in is attempting to turn knowledge INTO ignorance. To actively use un-truth to undermine truth; so the analogy is not useful. it’s not passive it is actively undermining the attempt to understand a serious issue.

    “Not knowing is a wonderful thing.”
    YES, BUT WE DO KNOW wrt climate change. That’s the problem.

    What you are doing is akin to telling smokers it’s safe to smoke; and encouraging the expansion of the cigarette industry for Groooowwwwwtttthhhh.. Basically to keep wealthy people wealthy.

    That’s the sad truth; all this ‘anti-science’ and small govt political argy bargy is basically a battle amongst wealthy ‘elites’ for control and you have been conned into believing one side’s marketing strategy.

  139. Steven Mosher says:

    You can hate the regulatory STATE and still enjoy specific regulations…wait for it….from the REGULATORY STATE.

    I love me some libertarian logic.

    #######

    Perfectly logical.
    I hate the regulatory state. If that regulatory state decides to grant me a benefit. ..that I don’t believe I deserve. . I will still enjoy the regulation. Duh. It would be illogical for me not to enjoy it.

  140. Steven Mosher says:

    ER Nathan. …
    I happen to believe in agw.
    There are many libertarians who do.
    I can’t think of a single finding in ar5 that I disagree with.

    Shrugs.

  141. dave s says:

    As a mere Brit, my limited understanding it that “war on science” is a hyperbolic description of a real political problem, and it isn’t specifically a Republican war.

    On the second point, Republicans have been prominent in science and environmentalism, including setting up the EPA, but are now a minority in a Republican Party dominated by the outcome of the Tea Party, the religious right, and Trump. So the party line is anti-science, but a significant proportion of Democratic Party politicians are just as bad on issues such as AGW.

    The “War” is relabelling of anti-science which is largely ideological, including the anti-evolution movement dating from the 1920s, the young Earth creationists from the the 1960s, and the Dominionists who regard Creation as expressly provided for All American exploitation.

    It’s also free-market ideology, the persuasion technique of delegitimising experts by fake doubt to maintain sales of tobacco, coal and oil. Which has been remarkably successful in the UK, where intelligent people read the Daily Mail or Daily Telegraph and are convinced that climate science is too wrong, unconfirmed or vague to be worth giving any real attention. Not a priority when England’s Glorious Place In The World is being restored by Brexit.

  142. seaice1 says:

    Steven Mosher.
    “Is reprogramming all dollars to studying natural variability a war on science?

    If you object to that funding change are you at war with science?”

    The funding change itself is not a war in science. If you employ genuine scientists to do the work and honestly appraise their output.

    However, I believe that such a funding change would not be possible without a war on science. In order to justify the funding change you would need to lie about the current scientific output, otherwise you would look an idiot. It would not look good to say “current science is very clear that CO2 is currently one of the major forcings for climate, but I want to put all our resources into investigating natural variation, for which there is no evidence.” It would probably be impossible to structure such a programme without denying the current science. How are you going to get people to work on it?

    Changing funding is not the same as reducing funding as it implies a commitment to fund some science. Reducing funding could be a war on science if motivated to prevent the knowledge being discovered. It could also be a war on Government size. The author of the article says it is about Govt size and we cannot say for certain what the motivation is. This allows them to claim that there is no war on science.

    My alternative definition does not permit this escape.

  143. JCH says:

    They will not be studying natural variability… based on the tax reform numbers, they will be studying arithmetic.

  144. JCH says:

    Republicans have been prominent in science and environmentalism, including setting up the EPA,

    There was no opposition to reorganizing existing functions into the EPA from the Democratic Party, which started the movement toward the forming of the EPA.

    Resources and Conservation Act of 1959, introduced by:

    James Edward Murray (May 3, 1876 – March 23, 1961) was a United States Senator from Montana, and a liberal leader of the Democratic Party. He served in the United States Senate from 1934 until 1961.

    For Nixon, it was a political necessity of the era… like wearing political bell bottoms.

  145. If a funding change is perceived as a punishment for results that are inconvenient for political reasons or for the donors of the politicians I would see that change as part of a war on science. That hurts the freedom of science. That puts a price on scientists honestly reporting what the evidence tells them. That cannot be good for science and for society.

    I do not understand how people who say they value freedom can agree with a misinformation campaign or a war on science. That is an assault on our freedom to make rational live decisions. It gives the impression that with “freedom” the mean personal power to dominate others.

  146. John Hartz says:

    I often wonder if engaging in lengthy conversatons about rather amorphous concepts isn’t a way for particpants to escape the reality of what’s happening in the wold, A case in point…

    Farhia, a 25-year-old Somali pastoralist, has moved four times in the last four months trying to follow expected rains which, on each occasion, failed to arrive. She is not alone.

    Oxfam is now warning the drought in East Africa, where nearly 11 million people are already affected by food shortages, is threatening to become a humanitarian “catastrophe”.

    Issuing a “desperate” appeal for the international community to meet a request from the United Nations for about £1.5bn of aid, the charity also said the worst drought in living memory demonstrated why the world must act to reduce global warming.

    Looming ‘catastrophe’ in East Africa proves why world must tackle climate change, says Oxfam</strong by Ian Johnston, Independent, Apr 27, 2017

  147. Joshua says:

    =={ I love me some libertarian logic.

    #######

    Perfectly logical. }==

    Yes, well libertarian logic isn’t by any means necessarily illogical. There are other attributes as well. For example, binary logic i.e., “Since there are sometimes negative unintended consequences to government action, therefore all government action should be avoided. …(well…except those actions that dovetail with my own political ideology in which case we should ignore the potential for unintended consequences).”

    But the attribute of libertarian logic I was pointing out there was libertarian magical counterfactual logic*. You know, “Let’s hate on the REGULATORY STATE by selectively defining only those regulations that I object to as part of a REGULATORY STATE and excluding the regulations that I like from coming under the umbrella of a REGULATORY STATE by dreamily fantasizing about a magical libertarian regulation-free Utopia that would clearly be better than what we have now even though such a state has never existed in the history of the planet and despite that we know that many of the countries with the most freedom and highest living standards are among those countries with high levels of STATE REGULATION.

    * Sometimes referred to as the “We’d be better off if we were living in places that resemble Somalia” gambit.

  148. Joshua says:

    =={ but if that bat is used on a cherished value, then of course we have a whole contrarian matrix to use on science. }==

    I wonder how much of the contrarian matrix is climate change-specific enough that it wouldn’t be descriptive of “realists” or of combatants in pretty much any polarized context. From a bird’s eye view, it probably would look like a collection of argumentative fallacies.

  149. izen says:

    @-SM
    “The regulatory state is basically the un elected bureaucracy.”

    While that bureaucracy may be unelected, that does not mean that it is independent or neutral. It is usually extremely responsive to a section of the society they administrate.
    In most mature democracies regulatory capture was achieved a long time ago by the rich and corporate interest.

    http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/periods/tudors/elizabethan-social-and-economic-legislation

    “Social and economic legislation occupied a great deal of time in Elizabethan Parliaments…. Hundreds of bills were initiated concerning industries such as the manufacture and trade of cloth, leather, and iron; poverty, unemployment and vagrancy; agrarian regulation of land use especially for grain and timber; and the enforcement of morally acceptable behaviour. While some such measures were official in origin, many others arose from particular local issues or were promoted by interested parties, especially companies and corporations, who lobbied for advantageous changes to the law.”

  150. Willard says:

    Here’s the inspiration of the Contrarian Matrix, J:

    Gorgias is the author of a lost work: On Nature or the Non-Existent (also On Non-Existence). Rather than being one of his rhetorical works, it presented a theory of being that at the same time refuted and parodied the Eleatic thesis. The original text was lost and today there remain just two paraphrases of it. The first is preserved by the philosopher Sextus Empiricus in Against the Professors and the other by the anonymous author of On Melissus, Xenophanes, and Gorgias. Each work, however, excludes material that is discussed in the other, which suggests that each version may represent intermediary sources (Consigny 4). It is clear, however, that the work developed a skeptical argument, which has been extracted from the sources and translated as below:

    1. Nothing exists;
    2. Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and
    3. Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.
    4. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgias#On_the_Non-Existent

    Most contrarian lines have merit. It’s the rope-a-dope from one line to the next that matters most.

    Compare and contrast this argumentative structure with teh Koonin‘s.

  151. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    From a bird’s eye view, it probably would look like a collection of argumentative fallacies.

    Hey!
    It looks like a collection of argumentative fallacies from the trenches and foxholes too…

  152. Willard says:

    For a contrarian line to be a fallacy, there would need to be some kind of reasoning. Most of the time, they’re just throw-away lines. So the paralogism needs to be found in what is being conveyed implicitly. Take teh Koonin’s “but CO2 is small”. On the face of it, it’s true. But let’s unpack the argument:

    (1) CO2 is small
    (2*) What is small is not that important.
    (3*) CO2 is not that important.

    Both (2*) and (3*) are dogwhistled. We can’t be sure it’s what teh Koonin is conveing. OTOH, his remark that CO2 is small would fail to be of any relevance otherwise.

    Hence why Lacis’ response to teh Koonin starts with:

    Only 1% to 2% . . . that may sound small and insignificant . . . but it isn’t.

    It is well known that the normal human body temperature is about 310 K. Furthermore, it is also well known that a seemingly small change (up or down) in absolute body temperature by only 1% (3.1 K, or 5.6 F) would make one sicker than a dog, and, that a 2% change in body temperature (up or down by 6.2 K, or 11.2 F) will virtually guarantee a dead body. From this, it should be sufficiently clear that, when viewed in absolute energy terms, the viable margin between life and death in the Earth’s biosphere is remarkably narrow – so much so that a seemingly insignificant 1% to 2% change in the total energy of the global environment will invariably result in serious disruption of the established infrastructure of life in the biosphere.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/andy-lacis-responds-to-steve-koonin/

  153. izen says:

    So in attempting to negate the ‘CO2 is small and insignificant dogwhistle Lacis manages to repeat ‘small’, ‘insignificant’ and ‘1%-2%’ twice more.
    Along with some scientific numbers and symbols and stuff that was TL;DR

  154. Hank Roberts says:

    > we can reject the claims that modern technological enterprises are “too big to fail”
    Amend that.

    Many modern technological enterprises are too big to fail _safely_.

    Or as J. Baldwin of the old Whole Earth Catalog put it, “you don’t know how to use a tool until you know six ways to break it.”

    When the tool is a refinery or fission plant, well — educate the workforce.

  155. Willard says:

    > So in attempting to negate the ‘CO2 is small and insignificant dogwhistle Lacis manages to repeat ‘small’, ‘insignificant’ and ‘1%-2%’ twice more.

    Indeed, izen. AndyL needs to attack meaning, while contrarians are mostly peddling words. Meaning is almost secondary for contrarians’ business model. Just like Freedom Fighters, they rinse and repeat their favorite expressions.

    Here’s a symptom of it:

    I went to the linked website, but did not see anything about “equivalence classes”. Perhaps you can explain yourself (for a change).

    The website does in fact summarize some of the high level issues, each of which has been debated with many thousand sentences, here and elsewhere, so I do not see just what your point is, contra mine. The detailed debate clearly exists. I just want to make is easily visible.

    This excerpt shows he doesn’t know what’s an equivalence class. It also shows he can’t even distinguish between syntax from semantics. For DavidW, “CO2 is small” would need a node and “CO2 is insignificant” would need another node.

    DavidW from the Heartland Institute advertizes himself as a logician. I’ve never seen such level of imposture, and I went to academia. You just can’t make this up.

    ClimateBall is a word placement discipline.

    Today’s word is “war.”

    Let’s be thankful that it’s not “science.” Yet:

  156. It has been mentioned that folks may choose to limit the things/data/opinions they read and that limitation is counterproductive. I think that is true to a certain degree, but that degree is exceeded when the other parties are posting information known to be false or are willfully misrepresenting the significance of information/data. For these reasons I am cautious about using the killfile hush hide function.
    Tamino has a post up today that seems to relate to the questions being raised in this war on science discussion. here is a quote from that piece:
    “I am a climate researcher, professor for physics of the oceans and have worked for eight years as advisor to the German government on global change issues. I regret to have to tell you that hereby I cancel my subscription to the New York Times in the wake of you hiring columnist Bret Stephens. Let me explain my reasons.

    When Stephens was hired I wrote to you in protest about his spreading of untruths about climate change, saying “I enjoy reading different opinions from my own, but this is not a matter of different opinions.” I did not cancel then but decided to wait and see. However, the subsequent public defense by the New York Times of the hiring of Stephens has convinced me that the problem at the Times goes much deeper than a single error of judgement. It concerns its attitude towards seeking the truth.”

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/cancelling-the-new-york-times-because-truth-is-now-more-important-than-ever/

    A question of “attitude towards seeking the truth.” very nice way of putting it, but might be hard to calibrate. Kind of like pornography versus art: many of us think we know it when we see it. Most of us are probably right most of the time. Be careful about screening out information that might challenge your positions. That also fits well with maintaining an attitude towards seeking the truth.

    Hope this thread is declared dead or closed soon. Should we check for a pulse on this horse?

    wild day on CO2 numbers yesterday:

    April 26, 2017: 412.63 ppm
    April 26, 2016: 407.41 ppm

    Noisy number, of course, but still… 412!!! yikes

    Not a reassuring number. A new all time high during the time our species has been on the planet.

    Mike

  157. Willard says:

    > Hope this thread is declared dead or closed soon.

    This would go against the first rule of audits: they never end.

  158. John Hartz says:

    I have a suggested additon to the Laws of Blogging

    “Mushy OPs beget mushy comment threads.”

  159. Willard says:

    Nobody else but you makes you go mushy, JH.

    I don’t find argumentation theory that mushy.

  160. Vinny Burgoo says:

    What’s your definition of ‘mushy’, John Hartz? In the bits of this thread that I’ve read you have celebrated, quoted at length and linked to articles that say stuff that isn’t true. Presumably such verbosity isn’t ‘mushy’, so what is?

    (Isn’t true? Your Mooallem quote, for example: ‘Consider the mass starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia, where a total of nearly a million and a half children are predicted to die this year – and that climate change is projected to worsen the kind of droughts that caused it.’)

  161. izen says:

    W-“Can you hide your own comments, Small Blue?
    Asking for a friend”
    SBM-“For these reasons I am cautious about using the killfile hush hide function…. Be careful about screening out information that might challenge your positions. That also fits well with maintaining an attitude towards seeking the truth.”

    (grin)
    Bad enough having your ‘Morton’s daemon’ imitated by Gurgle with out surrendering it to a self-inflicted algorithm.

    Mushy or conceptual diversity.(!?)

    If the Koonin -v- Lacis articles are part of the ‘war on science’ it would seem to consist of pre-battle pep talks to your own troops. Nothing Koonin wrote is going to persuade climate scientists to his point of view. In fact the blatant use of well refuted zombie memes is likely to have a backfire effect. It was intended to engage with those that already agree with his POV.
    Lacis was also preaching to the choir. Unless you buy the deficit model of ignorance.

    Perhaps it is inevitable given the vast disparity in size and firepower of the two sides in this ‘war’ that one side resorts to guerrilla tactics, and will only fight on a battleground of its own choosing, with the odds stacked.
    The closest we seem to have got to actual conflict, rather than internally directed propaganda, is the Lamar Smith hearings.

    A minor skirmish in which both sides claimed victory IIRC
    Canadian history may give a better indication of how the conflict may progress if government forces change sides, or stop being effectively ‘neutral’.

  162. Willard says:

    > What’s your definition of ‘mushy’,

    Please, Vinny. One parsomatic game per thread. We already have “war.”

    Don’t wait until I ask you about your definition of “definition” or remind you of what Sir Karl thought of these games. Hint: it may involve a fire poker.

    And for CAGW memes, it’s next door.

  163. Chris says:

    Tomorrow’s Science mag has some interesting and relevant articles and book review:

    A series of articles on “The Vaccine Wars” which is a bit more of an anti-science skirmish than a war although with real life casualties:

    “As once common diseases of childhood fade from public view, it is understandable that parents’ attention would shift from the fear of disease to concerns about risks of the vaccines themselves. The articles in this issue debunk myths old and new about these risks, while acknowledging the real, rare vaccine injuries that do occur. The data on these pages make clear the power of vaccines to vanquish disease—an impact that far eclipses their minute risks. Identifying the best ways to convince hesitant parents of this calculus in an age of internet-fed misinformation is an ongoing challenge for researchers.”

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6336/364

    The benefit from the misinformation about the effects of vaccinations seems to be diffuse- conspiracy theorists, internet armchair pundits, and lazy journalists with agendas love it, Andrew Wakefield was expecting to gain financially from his flawed “science” and in general it plays a small part in generalized science/expert disparagement.

    “A State of Denial – Case studies of climate censorship in Wyoming reveal the insidious nature of modern science suppression, by Gabrielle Wong-Parodi (this is a review of “Behind the Carbon Curtain The Energy Industry, Political Censorship, and Free Speech” by Jefrey A. Lockwood).

    “Amid growing concern that environ­mental science will be suppressed by the new administration, scientists and others across the United States have been racing to archive federal climate data. Jeffrey Lockwood’s Behind the Carbon Curtain, which tells the story of corporate and political climate science censorship in Wyoming, offers a glimpse into the many forms that scientific suppression can take, giving tangible ex­amples that will do little to quell the grow­ing fear many concerned citizens are feeling around the country.”

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6336/385.1

  164. John Hartz says:

    A Climate War of a different sort…

    Germany fired back at Rick Perry’s criticism of Europe for not living up to its vow to fight climate change, saying the U.S. energy secretary’s suggestion to renegotiate the landmark Paris accord is “absurd.”

    The 2015 global agreement to limit global warming-causing gases already lets nations adjust their own emissions targets, making it pointless for the U.S. to reopen talks in hopes of winning more favorable terms, said German environment ministry spokesman Michael Schroeren.

    “That is, in the first place absurd, and secondly from the U.S. point of view completely unnecessary,” Schroeren said in a statement to Bloomberg. “The Paris accord is a dynamic accord. It allows signatory states much flexibility.”

    His comments come a day after Perry chided Germany and other European nations for “cheerleading” the Paris deal while allowing their own pollution to increase, particularly from coal plants. The former Texas governor said he would urge President Donald Trump to stay in the accord and renegotiate the terms to hold other nations responsible.

    “Don’t sign an agreement and expect us to stay in if you’re not really going to participate and be a part of it,” Perry said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York on Tuesday. “We need to renegotiate it. They need to get serious.”

    Germany Calls Rick Perry’s Push to Rework Paris Climate Agreement ‘Absurd’ by Joe Ryan & Brian Parkin, Bloomberg News, Apr 26, 2017

  165. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Fodder for a new OP on the “hiatus”…

    A new climate model developed by Yale scientists puts the “global warming hiatus” into a broader historical context and offers a new method for predicting global mean temperature.

    Research by professor Alexey Fedorov and graduate student Shineng Hu indicates that weak El Niño activity from 1998 until 2013, rather than a pause in long-term global warming, was the root cause for slower rates of increased surface temperature. The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, also finds that volcanic activity played only a minor role.

    “Our main conclusion is that global warming never went away, as one might imply from the term ‘global warming hiatus,’” said Fedorov, who has conducted extensive research on the oceans’ role in climate. “The warming can be masked by inter-annual and decadal natural climate variability, but then it comes back with a vengeance.”

    El Niño and the end of the global warming hiatus by Jim Shelton, Yale News, Apr 26, 2017

  166. John Hartz says:

    Another manifestation of the Climate War in the US….

    Nearly three years ago, hundreds of thousands of people assembled in the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. The event came as world leaders were gathering for a United Nations summit focused on climate action and as countries around the world were moving toward what would become a landmark accord the following year in Paris to collectively combat global warming.

    How times have changed.

    When demonstrators flock to Washington on Saturday for the next iteration of the People’s Climate March — a date that coincides with the 100th day of the Trump administration, which during its short tenure has begun to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, ease regulations on the fossil fuel industry and ponder pulling out of the Paris climate agreement — the tone is likely to be more confrontational.

    Climate activist Bill McKibben, an author and co-founder of the advocacy group 350.org, was a driving force behind the 2014 march in New York. In an interview with The Washington Post over email, he spoke about how the motivations this time around are different, even if the sense of urgency remains. “The climate movement will convene in D.C. to show that the election didn’t cancel physics,” McKibben wrote recently about the symbolism of Saturday’s march. “Politicians need to be reminded, even as they do the bidding of the industry, that the rest of us are watching,”

    How is this weekend’s climate march different from its predecessor? ‘Now, the task is full-on resistance.’ by Brady Dennis, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Apr 26. 2017

    Note: Unlike last Saturday’s Marches for Science, there are no satellite Peoples Climate marches.

  167. Nathan The contrarian matrix is not anti science. You can think of it as variations on the classical tropes of scepticism.

    They are just tools.

  168. Opps, I see what willard wrote.

    Some of the lines have merit, and there is no canonical way of telling when a player crosses the line.

  169. “Indeed, izen. AndyL needs to attack meaning, while contrarians are mostly peddling words. Meaning is almost secondary for contrarians’ business model. Just like Freedom Fighters, they rinse and repeat their favorite expressions.”

    otherwise known as the stupid pet trick.

    I think one could take the contrarian matrix and construct a bot that would play the lines.
    also
    its funny to watch skeptics respond when you play a gambit, like sacrificing Mann to open other lines.

  170. BBD says:

    angech

    Take BBD “but 2% is small”. On the face of it, it’s true. But let’s unpack the argument:

    (1) 2% is small
    (2*) What is small is not that important.
    (3*) 2% Is not that important.

    False equivalence invalidates your comparison between surface area of the US incorrectly used as a proxy for the entire planet and the efficacy of trace quantities of CO2 as a climate forcing.

  171. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    Steven

    “Nathan The contrarian matrix is not anti science. You can think of it as variations on the classical tropes of scepticism.”

    it is because those using it, aren’t really doing science. They’re using it as a tool to undermine; as you admit it’s about ideology.

  172. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    “I think one could take the contrarian matrix and construct a bot that would play the lines.
    also
    its funny to watch skeptics respond when you play a gambit, like sacrificing Mann to open other lines.”

    purely ANTi-science.

    Basically you’re a post-modernist.

  173. John Hartz says:

    Perhaps Willard should do a guest post about the contrarian matrix.

  174. John Hartz says:

    A current Hot Button issue in the war on climate science…

    Climate Scientists Cancelling Their New York Times Subscription Over Hiring of Climate Denialist Bret Stephens by Graham Readfearn, DeSmog, Apr 27, 2017

  175. BBD says:

    Basically you’re a post-modernist.

    I think there might be some truth in that. SM may expand further, but IIRC his academic background is relevant.

  176. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Perhaps Willard should do a guest post about the contrarian matrix.

    Rules of the contrarian matrix:

    1st RULE: You always advance the contrarian matrix.

    2nd RULE: You always advance the contrarian matrix.

    3rd RULE: If someone says “Damn! – I stand corrected!” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.

    4th RULE: Minimum two guys to a fight.

    5th RULE: At least one fight at a time.

    6th RULE: No shirt-ripping, no shoe-thumping.

    7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to. (Audits never end.)

    8th RULE: If this is your first night in the contrarian matrix., you HAVE to comment.

  177. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    purely ANTi-science.
    Basically you’re a post-modernist.

    This discourse on identity-politics is but one hegemonic, culturally-embedded, partial-narrative of many.

    I think Mosher is actually a closeted romantic.

  178. John Hartz says:

    The Very Reverend… You wrote:

    This discourse on identity-politics is but one hegemonic, culturally-embedded, partial-narrative of many.

    It is also confined to the commenters experiences in a handful of Western democracies. For instance, a discussion among Chinese bloggers about the “war on science” would likely be much different than we see here.

    PS – My advice to my grandchildren: Learn to speak Chinese.

  179. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    My advice to my grandchildren: Learn to speak Chinese.

    That might help for a little while…
    Once The Singularity occurs, we will all converse in executables.

  180. BBD says:

    Ah, the Rapture of the Nerds…

  181. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    “I think Mosher is actually a closeted romantic.”

    🙂

  182. “Basically you’re a post-modernist.”

    Nope. try again.

  183. “It is also confined to the commenters experiences in a handful of Western democracies. For instance, a discussion among Chinese bloggers about the “war on science” would likely be much different than we see here.”

    Interesting. While I’m here in Beijing (again, this commute to work is one of the longest I’ve had ) why dont you suggest what a “chinese” discussion would look like and I’ll share it around for laughs.

  184. “I think Mosher is actually a closeted romantic.”

    Err.. romanticism is a simple inversion of the enlightenment. In critical theory a “romantic” would be a part of the “New criticism” or organicism. Post Modern and Post structural theory takes romantic theory apart.

    Think of this way. Romaticism ( as art theory and political theory) tends to focus on the great individual.. The artist is basically in control of his text.

    In Structuralist and post structuralist theory, this basic tenet is rejected.

    So “romantic” err no. But I have actually read the texts and not just wikipedia

  185. angech says:

    Shame about the work. Hope you have some time off to visit the Great Wall and the Terracotta warriors. Those hills all over the place are buried tombs of old kings. Anthropogenic mountain making 3000 or more years ago. Knee high.

  186. Steven Mosher says:

    “I think there might be some truth in that. SM may expand further, but IIRC his academic background is relevant.”

    Hmm . I started as a math /physics major. The problems didn’t keep me up at night. Switched to philosophy, literature and linguistics. Focus was Frost and American modernist. Eliot Williams etc. Some romantics ..byron. In philosophy mostly continental. Nietzsche Sartre husserl. It was northwestern after all. Also philosophy of language and logic. Quine.
    Grad school theory of criticism. . Aristotle, Coleridge, too many others. ..Derrida and then Morse Peckham. .behavioris the and pragmatism. .In philosophy Rorty.

    At some point I got the crazy idea of applying Shannons information theory to texts..so I did that graduate student think and started auditing statistics classes. Then I got the programming bug and decided I should do natural language generation. The point being that romantic theory assume’s this god like author ghost in the machine so having a computer generate text seemed like a good test. People would look at the words and try to decipher the soul of the author. .which was actually just code. .by this point post modernist thought just looks like a different set of rules for generating text. Anyway the construction of texts at that point was a combination of chom sky deep grammar and some other rules.. at that point fraternity brothers working on event based war gaming(think trees and markoff models ) enticed me to be a merchant of death.. and I went to work for Northrop and had to do a lot of reading and take classes in IR stealth and radar stealth. .. pretty standard background ..haha.

  187. Steven Mosher says:

    “Shame about the work. Hope you have some time off to visit the Great Wall and the Terracotta warriors. Those hills all over the place are buried tombs of old kings. Anthropogenic mountain making 3000 or more years ago. Knee high.”

    Looks like I’ll be commuting for a while so there will time for site seeing eventually. The forbidden city is number 1 on my list.. last time the line was too long so I skipped it..

  188. Pingback: One no Trump | izen

  189. John Hartz says:

    History will record that the most significant battles in the Climate Wars were fought in the courts and on the streets, not on comment threads in the blogosphere. For example,

    I spent a couple days this week with the climate kids. I heard about their visits to Washington museums and to see the Constitution. I watched as they sang and danced at DC Metro stops, playing Kendrick Lamar simultaneously on two phones to get twice the experience. I talked to them about their hopes and fears about this case, about why so many American adults — 47% according to a Yale survey — don’t understand humans are causing global warming. They explained why they’re marching and speaking here even at a moment when they worry adults might not listen.

    The kids suing Donald Trump are marching to the White House by John Sutter, CNN News, Apr 29, 2017

  190. angech says:

    Sounds good. Hope the pollution levels are not to high and you have a good bus driver.

  191. Willard says:

    > If this is your first night in the contrarian matrix., you HAVE to comment.

    This is a ClimateBall rule, Rev. You also forgot the 0th one.

  192. John Hartz says: “History will record that the most significant battles in the Climate Wars were fought in the courts and on the streets, not on comment threads in the blogosphere.

    Fully agree. The war on climate scientists will not stop because the unreasonable suddenly find the scientific evidence convincing. The Intercept has an interview with a profession climate change denier:

    So I went back to my office and I re-read Hanson’s testimony. And Joe was correct. So I then I talked to the climate skeptics who had made this argument to me, and it turns out they had done so with full knowledge they were being misleading.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/04/28/how-a-professional-climate-change-denier-discovered-the-lies-and-decided-to-fight-for-science/

    There is no way to convince people who already know they are wrong. Thus the first sentence of the article was rather disappointing:

    The hardest part of reversing the warming of the planet may be convincing climate change skeptics of the need to do so.

    The hardest part is to not get distracted by the industrial production bullshit. Just like it is hard not to get distracted by the lies, mayhem and incompetence of Trump, but the main thing people should know is how he is hurting the lives of normal citizens.

    The war will stop when the power of the fossil fuel companies is broken and they can no longer bride US politicians (“campaign contributions” and media (“ads”). Responding to the bullshit is what I can do best, from afar, but if you are a normal citizen, please work on getting money out of US politics and accelerating the transition to renewable energy.

  193. John Hartz says:

    Todays People’s Climate March will have a positive impact on US pulbic opinion. It’s size and diversity will also cause elected officials, including Trump himnself, to take notice.

    On what could be a record-hot day, tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to assemble in Washington on Saturday. Their large-scale climate change protest will mark President Trump’s first 100 days in office, which have been punctuated by multiple rollbacks of environmental protections.

    The People’s Climate March, which originated with a massive demonstration in New York in September 2014, picked a symbolically striking day for its 2017 installment. Temperatures could exceed 90 degrees and possibly set a record for April 29 in the District — which would greatly amplify the movement’s message.

    Marchers are sure to be only further galvanized by a move taken by the Environmental Protection Agency late Friday. The agency announced that it was beginning an overhaul of its website, including taking down a long-standing site devoted to the science of climate change, which the agency said was “under review.” (The EPA did link to a snapshot of how the page had looked on Jan. 19, before the Trump administration.)

    Climate March expected to draw massive crowd to D.C. in sweltering heat by Chris Mooney, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Apr 29, 2017

  194. John Hartz says:

    The headline of this posting speaks for itself…

    As President Trump prepares to mark 100 days in office, we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky. Amy Goodman spoke to him on Monday night at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The conversation addressed climate change, nuclear weapons, North Korea, Iran, the war in Syria and the Trump administration’s threat to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Amy Goodman began by asking him about the Republican Party.

    Chomsky on the GOP: Has Any Organization Ever Been So Committed to Destruction of Life on Earth?, Democarcy Now, Apr 26, 2017

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  196. russellseitz says:

    Victor, why don’t you work on getting PR out of US environmental science , so the market can accelerate the transition to renewable energy, instead of fighting its way to better PV materials through a bankruptcy ridden wall of subsidized silicon and wind farms progressing faster than dumb grids can carry their output to peak loads>

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