I always figured that, while I’ve been ashamed of a number of things, I’m incapable of shame about being a scientist by training. The following item from today’s “Best of the web” makes me reconsider:
Redoubling Their Efforts
“Undaunted by a rash of scandals over the science underpinning climate change, top climate researchers are plotting to respond with what one scientist involved said needs to be ‘an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach’ to gut the credibility of skeptics,” the Washington Times reports:
In private e-mails obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of “being treated like political pawns” and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times.
“Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules,” Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails.
Some scientists question the tactic and say they should focus instead on perfecting their science, but the researchers who are organizing the effort say the political battle is eroding confidence in their work.
“This was an outpouring of angry frustration on the part of normally very staid scientists who said, ‘God, can’t we have a civil dialogue here and discuss the truth without spinning everything,'” said Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford professor and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment who was part of the e-mail discussion but wants the scientists to take a slightly different approach.
We almost have to wonder if this is a joke. These so-called scientists are in trouble because they have long acted like aggressive partisans rather than honest seeks of truth. Is it really possible that they think they’ll get out of trouble by doing more of the same? It’s almost as if a politician, having pursued unpopular policies and suffered a rebuke at the polls, decided to push even harder for the same rejected policies. Except that any smart politician would know better.