Science debate is over

De aanleiding tot de protestmars van Amerikaanse wetenschappers tegen het wetenschapsbeleid van de regering Trump, die volgens plan op ‘Earth Day’ (22 april) zal plaatsvinden, was natuurlijk de door de huidige regering ingezette ontmanteling van het klimaatbeleid van Obama. Maar waarschijnlijk uit vrees dat dit platform te smal zou zijn om veel mensen op de been te krijgen, werden de doelstellingen verbreed. Nochtans doet de keuze van de dag waarop deze mars zal worden gehouden vermoeden dat deze weer rijkelijk met groene klimaatsaus zal zijn overgoten.

Onder de titel, ‘March for Science: Why scientists say this isn’t a political protest’, schreef Ellen Powell voor ‘The Christian Science Monitor’:

Many researchers have raised alarms about how science will be treated in the new administration’s policy decisions. Thousands have embraced the March for Science as a wake-up call, but others say a different approach is most constructive.

As Donald Trump has gone from the campaign trail to the White House, one constant has been scientists’ concerns about prospective Trump White House science policies, on matters from rising sea levels to green energy. Numerous efforts to articulate the value of impartial science are underway – and one, the March for Science, already has hundreds of thousands of supporters.

On Wednesday, the group behind the March for Science announced that the march will take place on Earth Day (April 22). Born on social media, the movement has rapidly gained traction with Americans concerned about the Trump administration’s support for “alternative facts” and nomination of climate change skeptics to key Cabinet posts.

Nationwide, most scientists share at least two similar goals: to preserve independent research, and see objective evidence brought into policy decisions. But the march itself is considered more contentious. Organizers say they hope to send Washington a message about the value of scientific evidence, and experts suggest that their protest may influence politicians going forward. But others advocate a more personal approach, cautioning that the protest could alienate the very Americans that scientists most need to reach. …

Lees verder hier.

Het is een wonderlijk initiatief. Immers, voor zover de regering Trump zich heeft laten inspireren door opvattingen van klimaatsceptici, die altijd hebben gepleit voor ‘evidence-based science’ en – vaak tevergeefs – de desbetreffende instellingen om betrouwbare data (bijvoorbeeld temperatuurmetingen) hebben verzocht, is de achterliggende vrees naar mijn gevoel geheel misplaatst, ja zelfs paranoïde.

De vraag, ‘Exactly what are scientists marching ‘for’?’, is dan ook gerechtvaardigd. Dit is de titel van een ‘posting’ van Judith Curry, die daarover het volgende schrijft:

The smartest people on the planet want to oppose Trump & the best they can come up with is a march in support of themselves?

Roger Pielke Jr.

A mega March for Science has been planned for Earth Day (April 22) in Washington DC.  The web site states:

The March for Science demonstrates our passion for science and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists. 

The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

Of course, the poster child for partisan ‘mischaracterization of facts’ is statements by members of the Trump administration regarding uncertainty surrounding the causes of climate change. President Obama and his Call Out the Climate Deniers campaign apparently elicited no concerns about partisan mischaracterization of facts from the science establishment.

Scientists fear what ‘might’ happen under the Trump administration — they are working from rumors, leaks and a few public statements by individuals connected with Trump’s transition teams.  These are the same scientists pushing for ‘evidence based’ policies  — go figure. …

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) – which is joining the March – had a blog post describing the positions on climate change and science of important individuals in the Trump administration: Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, Wilbur Ross, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke.  Read the blog post.  To me, Trump’s team looks like it has a healthier attitude to science than did Obama’s team, who sought to scientize policy debates and politicize science debates..

The scientists’ big concern is ‘silencing of facts’. This concern apparently derives from their desire to have their negotiated ‘facts’ — such as  the ‘consensus’ on climate change — dictate public  policy. The scientists who are marching seem not very interested in science as a process based on continually evaluating evidence and reassessing conclusions through reasoning and impartial habits of mind.

The scientists are not just out to defend ‘facts’ — they fear funding cuts and limits to immigration.  They also seem very attached to safeguarding the academic scientific community and the elite institutions that support it. …

So far, the March for Science seems to be shaping up as a self-serving navel gazing exercise for scientists — sort of a ‘we don’t like Trump’ tantrum. The impression that this will have on policy makers and the public will be to cement scientists as a politicized special interest group, just like any other lobbying group. In short, I very much fear that this March will do more harm than good. …

Aldus Judith Curry.

Lees verder hier.

Wat klimaat betreft kan het altijd nog gekker.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhierhierhier en hier.