Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Science Bullying

I found myself overdue for a good talk on Global Warming, and someone popped in with a comment about it at our Reason table. (Part of the reason for the comment was the bringing up of the theme of “Bad Science” – I was informed that the topic at the table was to be GOS - Good Ol’ Science, so I was surprised at this, though “Bad Science” commentators, like Ben Goldacre of the Guardian, often have a good point to make.)
Climate Change, or Global Warming is often brought up in the media and often by politicians. You would think that people should talk about this all the time. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard some people say that they are afraid of it, or are very concerned about it. People should talk. It isn’t good to be afraid, especially about things that aren’t personally threatening you, and it isn’t good to be afraid to talk about your fears or concerns, ever. But that’s not how it is. 
Lots of people love science: There’s no doubt about that they love the practice of science, they love hearing about it, and they love the things that science offers us, including the technical improvements and discoveries we share in our modern life. Perhaps it seems reasonable to some, since science is the societal boon that it is, that some sciences can and should be singled out to become political propaganda campaigns, to indicate to us that they should become our purpose in life, first to fear and react to the dangers science poses to us, and secondly to reorganize our society in ways that would alleviate that fear.
Case in point, a science called Climate Science, with roots in other sciences, such as Meteorology, Chemistry and Geophysics, becomes selected as one of the causes célèbres of the modern, or ‘Green’ environmental movement, and simultaneously by the population control movement. As such it has taken on a certain sheen and political character that is unmatched by other fields of science. Am I the only one who finds this suspicious? Why is there a science we now have to vote into office? Is it because this science, alone, predicts doom, where others only show the way forward? Perhaps - On this I am willing to obtain other arguments. It would be quite facile, I admit, to believe that the Climate Change movement is merely a new kind of fascism, but for the calls to silence those who disagree with the aims and goals of those who are the motivated believers.
We now have calls for global action by United Nations personnel, ostensibly because of the Precautionary Principle. They could be calling for the world to eliminate hunger or war, or hatred between nations, but they have decided to aim low for some reason, they are asking for carbon pricing (which will raise money for governments, obviously). The governments can promise to hand the money back to the people, but the mechanism is clear, it’s another tax on someone, and benefits world governments, who are the members and sponsors of the UN. Good for them, I suppose. Alternatively, countries could elect to eliminate emissions in other ways, but some of these could cause societal dislocations. [Case in point, the Peruvian government, because of UN imposed rules, has elected to issue a pair of solar panels and 3 low-wattage light bulbs to each house in the Andes the UN rules prevents them from extending the grid to.]
I’m all for elevating the hard work and facts of Climate Science, just like any other scientific area, but the political movement for political change due to global warming, and the media exaggerations of the claims that scientists make, have contributed to an atmosphere (Honest, that’s not a pun.) in which people simply don’t feel as free to talk anymore. There are lots of things I haven’t said about this on my side, and lots, I’m sure, on other sides that need to be reflected, but I wanted to simply set a tone for individuals to talk about what they believe and why they believe what they do free from bullying. 
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