1.25.2010

Science Needs a Martin Luther

I wonder how long it'll be before liberal arts academics will start disillusioning brainwashed undergraduates with regard to the Global Warming hoax. All four of my readers have heard me howl on this topic before, but there's more embarrassing evidence in recently proving that the "Science" behind global warming was in fact politics. Seriously, when will people who teach in high school and college start saying to students, "Climate change is a perennial feature of Nature, and is wholly unpredictable so far as we can tell." Because unless we start saying this, these zombie children will give up material progress altogether in the name of stopping a crisis that isn't real.

It pisses me off. I used to have a real high regard for science. I thought of it as a noble pursuit, having to do with Truth. But it has become so infected by money, as I have argued before, that we genuinely do need a Scientific Reformation -- the institution needs to be purged of its corruption. Starting with this guy, the head of the IPCC:

No, hell with him -- how about we start with the IPCC itself. What a joke. Here's another annoying article about it.

3 comments:

pure_sophist_monster said...

I posted this a tech comm list serve a while back. I think it connects here:

PRE-RECORDED:
I just wanted to share the following story and related links. The long and short of it is that hundreds of emails composed by scientistsvworking in and around the area of climate change were recently hacked and made public.

"The e-mail messages, attributed to prominent American and British
climate researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments — in some cases derisive — about specific people known for their skeptical views. Drafts of scientific papers and a photo collage that portrays climate skeptics on an ice floe were also among the hacked data, some of which dates back 13 years."

While part of me is worried about what these emails will do for
skeptics, the other half (well, maybe 3/4) of me (the rhetorician and tech comm scholar) really does see this situation as cultivated by
Science (as opposed to science, to borrow Latour's distinction). If
scientists (of a certain stripe) see what they do as somehow distinct
from the value-laden discourse/work of rhetoric and persuasion, then
they better sure as s--- not get caught doing it. That said, many of the emails I have looked at (which is itself already a problematic act, I know) seem to be intensely aware of the political/rhetorical
implications. Note the Times article's discussion of the word "trick" appearing in one of the emails.

There are also concerns about access to the emails themselves and the implications of researchers and faculty members having their "work
product" made publicly available.

Thought this might be a good conversation starter here or elsewhere. I know I plan on discussing it in class very soon.

LIVE:
There were two points I was trying to make here. This first, with respect to "skeptics": discovering that scientists were working to find the best way to persuasively present findings (something that all scientists always do) will lead some to assume that because persuasion is a part of science it is somehow less-than TRUE. I would agree with you Casey that politics and money are a part of scientific inquiry. I would even agree with the argument that this can, at times, move science in some questionable directions. But the argument that it makes science illegitimate is to throw the baby out with the bath water and to assume that there was a time when science did not do this. Even Plato had an axe to grind and an audience to please. Are the dialogues bullshit because they aim to persuade? In other words, doing science AT ALL is an argument. Investigating this and not that is an argument. Science may aim to be value free but science is itself supported by values, by politics (by rhetoric).

The second point is that because science, since the Enlightenment, has made (and here is a sweeping generalization - but you make in your post) objective TRUTH its goal, it is very bad about acknowledging the point I just made. It acts as if it is operating solely in the realm of objective truth and therefore has no way of justifying itself or its choice of methods.

If facts are different from opinions, which science supposes and most people accept, Climategate does create the problem you describe. However, "discovering" that science proceeds rhetorically through politics is not to point out anything new or particularly damning. But, then again, I am but a crow!

Casey said...

I think I catch your drift here--and actually I don't disagree. The only thing I can't figure out is if you believe that doing science must inevitably be accompanied by doing politics.

Now this is a separate question from the point you made about how doing Science is an argument. I agree with your point there. But that's "macro-politics." That's like, challenging grand narratives style politics.

I'm just talking about politics that stay within the grand narrative.

So, it's one thing to do what Galileo did. That's macro-political science. And I find that kind of mix of science and politics to be awesome, and welcome. But before Galileo published his papers flipping the universe on its head and undermining the church's authority, his data was collected rather "purely," or apolitically, was it not?

Am I drifting in the right direction?

Is it impossible for someone to simply, purely, and without a material motivation, want to know whether the earth's atmosphere is stable, warming, or cooling? Or not?

pure_sophist_monster said...

I finally come down with this: wanting to do it at all is an argument, a choice, a motive, a motivation. That is, the WANT is "political."

As to material motivation, I would add that even immaterial motivation is motive.