Paul Matthews’ post “The Victims of Climate Alarmism” made a simple but telling point about the potential effects on fragile minds of scientists spouting nonsense. I wanted to comment on the article, being something of an expert on fragile minds, but felt inhibited, since comments have taken off in a quite different direction, as is inevitable on a blog, and to be welcomed.
Not to overlook excellent comments by John Ridgway, Dennis Ambler, Hunter, Ron Clutz and others, the thread over the past four days has been largely dominated by a three way conversation between Brad Keyes, Andy West, and Alan Kendall.
Serious-minded blogs sometimes give an estimated reading time for their serious articles, like twenty minutes for something really hard. I’d recommend about two hours for reading and understanding the hundred odd comments at Paul’s post. And that’s despite the fact that there’s hardly a single link to some exterior source. It’s all happening in the brains of the participants. For comparison, take a shoofty at any article at the PhDs-only Conversation.com which typically relies on autocitation and choral repetition in the comments for its dramatic effect. Here, you have to think. It keeps our readership down to manageable proportions, thank Gaia, but on the downside, the bastards can continue to get away with murder.
The question raised in this conversation, to grossly oversimplify, is this:
Are scientists (and we’re talking about ex-presidents of the Royal Society here, not just your average geography teacher) more like Pinocchio, the naughty puppet, or like Josef Mengele?
Anyway, here’s a comment (one of many) by Brad Keyes (03 Nov 18 at 11:18 pm) on Paul’s post.
I don’t know what else to do with it except publicise it here for those who find the thread under Paul’s post too long and erudite. What I’d really really like to see is a cast iron case made that Sir Paul Nurse or the Reverend Brian Cox are not just long nosed sawdust-brained marionettes, but something else. Then we could have a libel action and a real debate.
[…] Whoever asked me “don’t you essentially have to believe in a conspiracy among scientists”, the answer is yes and no. There is an empirically obvious passive conspiracy going on, a conspiracy of silence, omission and inaction, that involves an appallingly large quantity of individuals, each of whom has chosen omerta (from the Italian for “mortgage”) over truth in an unforgivable violation of whatever scientific values their field still pretends to hold dear. By truth I mean, in this case, honest communication with the other 8 billion people on the planet: the muggles. If you don’t believe me, you can’t explain the rise and rise of Oreskes, whose entire modus operandi is to miseducate everyone who’ll listen to her about how science works, and whose sole opponent in the science-education wars is YOURS FUCKING TRULY. I would dearly like to see someone with academic clout denounce Oreskes as a traducer and enemy of science. That might even redeem my vestigial faith in humanity. But I’m still waiting. In the meantime, it’s up to me—a person nobody has any prima facie reason to take particularly seriously—to bust a Harvard Prof’s vile myths. Pro bono. Not only pro bono, but at a measurable opportunity and financial cost to me per annum.
It’s left to the reader to identify 5 other conspiracies of silence that obtain across broad swathes of academia, and whose existence is proven by the kinds of shit our enemies get away with, not just with impunity but without a decibel of protest from anyone “serious.”
These people are not as good as the ‘good Germans.’ Ordinary people under the Third Reich had to choose between being killed and letting others be killed. That is a hard choice. There could be good people on both sides of that choice, and I assume there were good people that stayed silent, while other people, who were (not necessarily, but probably) better than them, spoke up.
No such excuse can save the scientists who’ve passively watch their colleagues delude eight billion people about how science works.
They are bad, or at best ethically valueless, people. Not necessarily bad, but not even slightly good. They haven’t had the micro-courage to voluntarily assume a piddling career risk in order to help arrest the dismantling of an entire generation’s understanding of science, and counting. As I said, such cowards might not be evil, but for all the good they’ve done they might as well not have been born.
If I sound unreasonable, I can only beg your pardon and remind you that, being courageous, I cannot comprehend the alibis of the lily-livered. My empathic powers, normally reliable, might well be blocked in this case by the psychological distance between a moral person and a moral non-entity.
But fuck’ em. I say to such pygmies:
“Unless you risked assault or assassination, you have no excuse for not speaking up. Don’t tell me your sinecure in climate [insert Greek stem] ology was at stake, because nobody cares. That was a complete wank anyway, a glorified welfare scheme for the most unemployably-dim percentile of PhDs. You’re lucky we’re not asking for a refund of the hundreds of thousands of pounds you embezzled pretending to be a scientist despite adding nothing to human knowledge. Keep whining and we might have to rethink our lenience.”
But active conspiracies? Conspiracies to go out of one’s way and lie? These seem to me very limited in scope, where they exist. Very few scientists ARE lying. But that’s all it takes to keep the rot going. The vast, nameless, talentless bulk of climate-science backup dancers don’t have to do or say anything (including science), they just need to collect their cheques every month.