Well, yes George

The attack on climate scientists is now widening to an all-out war on science. Writing recently for the Telegraph, the columnist Gerald Warner dismissed scientists as \”white-coated prima donnas and narcissists … pointy-heads in lab coats [who] have reassumed the role of mad cranks … The public is no longer in awe of scientists. Like squabbling evangelical churches in the 19th century, they can form as many schismatic sects as they like, nobody is listening to them any more.\”

Views like this can be explained partly as the revenge of the humanities students. There is scarcely an editor or executive in any major media company – and precious few journalists – with a science degree, yet everyone knows that the anoraks are taking over the world. But the problem is compounded by complexity. Arthur C Clarke remarked that \”any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic\”. He might have added that any sufficiently advanced expertise is indistinguishable from gobbledegook. Scientific specialisation is now so extreme that even people studying neighbouring subjects within the same discipline can no longer understand each other. The detail of modern science is incomprehensible to almost everyone, which means that we have to take what scientists say on trust. Yet science tells us to trust nothing, to believe only what can be demonstrated. This contradiction is fatal to public confidence.

And we\’d all be most grateful if you could do economists the same honour.

You know, maybe bother to try and understand the very basics of the craft (the definition of economic growth would be a useful start) before you start insisting that we\’re all doomed?

7 thoughts on “Well, yes George”

  1. The Pedant-General

    “Views like this can be explained partly as the revenge of the humanities students.”

    Oh for pity’s sake. Does he even think about what he writes? How many environment correspondents have a decent hard science/maths/engineering type degree?

    Even he himself merely has – as Rutherford would put it – a mildly advanced form of stamp-collecting as a degree.

    Now to the specifics. He hasn’t actually engaged with Gerald Warner’s article at all. The clue is in the title: “Government ‘scientific advisers'”

    Not scientists, but government scientific advisers. The irritating kill joy busybody types who pulled the 14 unit max out of their arses.

    Which makes them political stooges much more than they are scientists, but who abuse the mantel of dispassionate scienitific research to meddle with everyone’s lives.

    What a tosspot.

  2. Does George actually believe anything he writes? Better yet, does he actually read it after he’s finished writing to see if it makes sense?

    Take his statement that science has become so complex even scientists in neighbouring branches of the same discipline can’t understand what their colleagues are saying. Coming from someone with a BSc in Zoology who makes his living campaigning about climate issues, that’s a bit self-defeating to say the least.

    Then again, most climate change scientists seem to come from other scientific disciplines as well, which probably explains why the so-called argument for anthropogenic global warming is so full of holes.

    But the classic has to be the central thrust of his whole argument. As far as I can work out, George thinks the public are distrustful of the supposed threat from because they distrust scientists. He then points to the hatred and derision the passionate and persuasive Al Gore attracts</i< as evidence for this.

    Sorry George, but Albert G's BA from Harvard is in something called “government”. At best his scientific education beyond High School amounts to a couple of mandatory “science for dummies” courses the university required all arts majors to complete. And that’s the reason ManBearPig is attracts such hatred and derision; not because he is a scientist, but because he isn’t one. Well, that and his obvious stupidity and self-serving interest in boosting the warmist agenda.

    Compared to journalists and politicians the public still do trust scientists. Where any distrust does arise it usually comes when scientists expose the fibs of other scientists.

  3. Very o/t, sorry, but @Remittance Man – what happened to the blog? Nothing in my reader for a while, and your link is to last year. I’m missing the view from the dark continent, and Risaldar-Major, and, um, the nice pictures.

  4. This is risible.

    The fundamentals of science, are enough to lead the uninitiated to ask the very questions which drag AGW straight into the mire.

    For example: If tree rings give us a good measurement of what the temperatures were centuries before we had weather stations, why don’t recent tree ring measurements correlate with directly measured temperatures?

    Science is just logic. The banishment of magical thinking.

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