Science scorned

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
467,
Page:
133
Date published:
(09 September 2010)
DOI:
doi:10.1038/467133a
Published online

The anti-science strain pervading the right wing in the United States is the last thing the country needs in a time of economic challenge.

“The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That's how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” It is tempting to laugh off this and other rhetoric broadcast by Rush Limbaugh, a conservative US radio host, but Limbaugh and similar voices are no laughing matter.

There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research. Take the surprise ousting last week of Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican senator for Alaska, by political unknown Joe Miller in the Republican primary for the 2 November midterm congressional elections. Miller, who is backed by the conservative 'Tea Party movement', called his opponent's acknowledgement of the reality of global warming “exhibit 'A' for why she needs to go”.

“The country's future crucially depends on education, science and technology.”

The right-wing populism that is flourishing in the current climate of economic insecurity echoes many traditional conservative themes, such as opposition to taxes, regulation and immigration. But the Tea Party and its cheerleaders, who include Limbaugh, Fox News television host Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who famously decried fruitfly research as a waste of public money), are also tapping an age-old US political impulse — a suspicion of elites and expertise.

Denialism over global warming has become a scientific cause célèbre within the movement. Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”. The Tea Party's leanings encompass religious opposition to Darwinian evolution and to stem-cell and embryo research — which Beck has equated with eugenics. The movement is also averse to science-based regulation, which it sees as an excuse for intrusive government. Under the administration of George W. Bush, science in policy had already taken knocks from both neglect and ideology. Yet President Barack Obama's promise to “restore science to its rightful place” seems to have linked science to liberal politics, making it even more of a target of the right.

US citizens face economic problems that are all too real, and the country's future crucially depends on education, science and technology as it faces increasing competition from China and other emerging science powers. Last month's recall of hundreds of millions of US eggs because of the risk of salmonella poisoning, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are timely reminders of why the US government needs to serve the people better by developing and enforcing improved science-based regulations. Yet the public often buys into anti-science, anti-regulation agendas that are orchestrated by business interests and their sponsored think tanks and front groups.

In the current poisoned political atmosphere, the defenders of science have few easy remedies. Reassuringly, polls continue to show that the overwhelming majority of the US public sees science as a force for good, and the anti-science rumblings may be ephemeral. As educators, scientists should redouble their efforts to promote rationalism, scholarship and critical thought among the young, and engage with both the media and politicians to help illuminate the pressing science-based issues of our time.

Comments

  1. Report this comment #13445

    Anurag Chaurasia said:

    Scientists should educate the society regarding various scientific issues to make it top political agenda of any country.
    Anurag chaurasia,ICAR,India,anurag@nbaim.org,anurag_vns1@yahoo.co.in,+919452196686(M)

  2. Report this comment #13448

    Johan F. Prins said:

    It is a pathetic comment on the American right. Believe me, I am not on their side but their criticism of science is spot on. Even Limbaugh looks like a superliberal when he is compared to the physics community; and the way in which this community safeguards mainstream scientific dogma. It is hilarious that NATURE has the arrogance to criticise Limbaugh while this publication drives one to believe that the BIBLE was better "peer-reviewed" than the trash that is regularly published in NATURE! My, my, how much more of taxpayers' money must be wasted on the delusion into which physics has moved after Bohr, Heisenberg and Born, went against Einstein's impeccable physical insights. Science stinks at the moment because it is controlled by bigots against who Limbaugh just cannot compete in any way. Science can only blame itself NOT the American right!

  3. Report this comment #13450

    Ross Barton said:

    Mr. Prins: I absolutely agree with you comments. Nature should be ashamed at the totally biased stance they've taken on the issue of climate change. Time and science will ultimately reveal the truth and Nature will not have made a good showing.

  4. Report this comment #13451

    Jonathan Cole said:

    So according to Mr. Prins, not only climate change, but quantum mechanics too is a "delusion"? Aside from the irony that his comments are posted using technology made possible by the "delusional" science he decries, Mr. Prins makes the editorial's point most effectively. Once we start down the path of rejecting or banning any science that happens to conflict with our personal philosophy, politics or prejudices (and the evidence be damned), there's no end to it--or to the damage we do ourselves.

  5. Report this comment #13452

    Robert Gertz said:

    It would be easier, Mr. Prins, to debate your point if you would make one. You've made serious but vague charges without describing what you're talking about. What the devil does "the delusion into which physics has moved after Bohr, Heisenberg and Born, went against Einstein's impeccable physical insights." mean, sir? Are you making some claim based on a principle or a specific paper or set of papers or is this just bizarre hot-air? As for Mr. Barton, you agree with what? That modern physics should be dismissed? Mr. Prins didn't even get to the usual rant about climate change. What papers on climate change are you criticizing Mr. Barton? What science in them is flawed and do you have anything to back that up?

    Americans have always been nervous about elitism and elites and some scientists do lend themselves to criticism at times for using 'jargon' to create a line between them and the public. But that is pseudo-science and pseudo-intellectualism. In the end facts and observations are the solid basis of science-if these people can't provide that, then they have no argument and they should be challenged on this.

  6. Report this comment #13453

    Anthony Kerwin said:

    I agree with Anurag Chaurasia. We live in a scientifically illiterate society as evidenced by Libaugh's and Beck's contentions — dangerous though they are, they are not in it for the good of society. Scientists, if not great communicators themselves, should work with those who are to reach as broad an audience as possible. Keep in mind that our political "leaders" will not lead unless we show them the way. If they are shown that science is important to us, it will become important to them.

  7. Report this comment #13454

    Johan F. Prins said:

    Thanks Ross Barton: I do agree that we should have open minds about all issues. Nature has NOT!! That is easy to prove! My ideas about climate change has not yet been formulated because the arguments from both sides have been to a certain extent emotional. The decision to be made is on which side we must err. This is a difficult decision after you realise that you cannot trust the integrity of scientistst anymore: For example, the physics community is far more dogmatic than any religious grouping can ever be accused of bing: And I am stating this as fact after my career as a physicist. If the branch of science which claims to be objective and claims that they only base their arguments on logic, is so bigoted that they spend billions of dollars looking for "a particle" called the Higgs boson (which cannot exist since "particles" do not exist), then it has become impossible to believe any scientist in the world. Yes, the time has come that the majority of citizens with common sense confront these charlatans.

  8. Report this comment #13455

    Johan F. Prins said:

    I have only now seen Jonathan Cole's post: "Once we start down the path of rejecting or banning any science that happens to conflict with our personal philosophy, politics or prejudices (and the evidence be damned), there's no end to it--or to the damage we do ourselves." Very well said Mr. Cole.: you have just now described Nature's philosophy accurately. This Journal will NEVER publish anything that conflicts with its own bigoted philosophy and prjudices: I have enough facts on this that I can prove this easily in an open court. This is exactly where our problem lies: Science has become corrupt and the ordinary lay person with common sense has become tired of assuming that the bigots in control of science know better.

  9. Report this comment #13456

    Wesley Button said:

    It seems as if as society has moved away from religion and community, a certain group of people has placed a whole lot of faith in the rise of science and technology and it?s ongoing evolution. Whether it?s people who look forward to cyber-warfare or dream of an interconnected world, the common factor seems to be a belief that such developments will benefit humanity or possibly usher in a new utopia.

    Is this a realistic worldview? With billions of people mired in poverty, the biggest new breakthroughs seem to come in the form of weaponry or consumer gadgetry, hardly the most noble of fields. Forgive me my cynicism, but I don?t think that science has been quite the panacea that many people in the first half of the 2th century thought it was. Fundamental realities of poverty, economics and ecological destruction seem to persist while new UAV?s and ipads are rushed off the line.

  10. Report this comment #13457

    Johan F. Prins said:

    Robert Gertz posted: "It would be easier, Mr. Prins, to debate your point if you would make one. You've made serious but vague charges without describing what you're talking about. What the devil does "the delusion into which physics has moved after Bohr, Heisenberg and Born, went against Einstein's impeccable physical insights." mean, sir? Are you making some claim based on a principle or a specific paper or set of papers or is this just bizarre hot-air?"

    The delusion is so obvious that it is hilarious. I have now tried for nearly 10 years to raise these issues but has been blocked by Journals like Nature to publish it. I know you will now immediately conclude that I am a crank. This is the most powerful weapon used by scientists against people who are not specialists in science but ask uncomfortable questions. Now, I am a qualified scientist who got my doctorate from Thomas Jefferon's University in 1966-1967, and I have had a good carerer in diamond physics. My credentials are above suspicion. It should be easy to confirm this on the internet. Whether, I agree with global warming or not is not at issue, but I do agree with any concerned citizen in the world that science has become rotten and scientists should not be trusted. The time has come to really place science under the loop. I can vouch that theoretical physicists have been barking up the wrong tree for nearly 100 years now!

  11. Report this comment #13458

    David Cook said:

    Both sides have their points to make. The attacks on stem cell research remind me of the 18th century French church's attack on inoculation because it interferred with God's providence. On the other hand, while quantum physics accounts for 1/3 of our economy, natural selection has, as WHAT DARWIN GOT WRONG suggests, been better for creating post hoc explanations than earth shattering predictions. If we pushed more Schroedinger and less Darwin in highschool and used Bohr's "it-works-whatever-the- ultimate-Truth-of-the-situation" approach, perhaps we wouldn't create the political backlash we are creating.

  12. Report this comment #13460

    Mark Fletcher said:

    Abuse of science for political purposes is in no way restricted to the right; there are many examples from both parties: Obama suppressed EPA research that did not support restricting carbon emissions, Bush did not like stem cell research, Reagan did not like research into acid rain and Carter did not like economic research showing that gasoline shortages were caused by his price controls, not by a true scarcity of oil.

    The subtitle of this article refers to economics in particular. Economic science tells us that the current recession was caused by loose monetary policy at the Federal Reserve and by decades of federal government intervention in mortgage lending, supported by politicians of both parties. Note that the recent financial legislation did not address either of these issues, treating the relevant science with scorn in favor of populist soundbites about Wall Street greed. Economic science also tells us that recovery will not be aided by naive Keynesian redistribution of spending, whatever Bush and Obama have claimed.

    If you are looking for a serious discussion of policy based on scientific knowledge, it appears that you will not find it in Nature. But who cares! Altogether now: Blue team good! Red team bad! Baa! Baa!

  13. Report this comment #13461

    Jean-François Foncin said:
    "acknowledgement of the reality of global warming" is not the problem : global warming has been a fact for three centuries after the "little ice age". The problems are 1) the extrapolation of global warming to the current and next centuries; 2) the basis of such an extrapolation, which should rest on the probability of its cause. Valid scientific discussion of the latter should in consequence be an evaluation of probabilities. The a priori probability for it to be anthropogenic is 1/7, since seven galcial episodes followed by global warming occured since the Pliocene in the absence of human influence. The conditional probability for it to be due to anthropogenic emissions, notably of carbon dioxyde, is evaluated through the approximate (finite differences) numeric resolution of systems of higher order partial differential equations, which are unstable (chaotic) relative to intial (border) conditions; a probability cannot be evaluated for the resulting solutions. Perhaps the "right wing" people are good Bayesian mathematicians after all.
  14. Report this comment #13463

    Radoslav Bozov said:

    "which cannot exist since "particles" do not exist), then it has become impossible to believe any scientist in the world. Yes, the time has come that the majority of citizens with common sense confront these charlatans"
    Dr. Prins, studying diamond physics obviously have made you see only the beauty of it, that may have made you "blind". Particles do exist although their dynamics definition is not as easy as watching diamonds. Common sense is not a scientific tool for driving invention of good technologies. Good theories are.

    Dr. Fonkin, the problem is that human activity accelerates global warming by taking carbon in -4 oxidation and then converting it to +4, relying on plants to fix it. However, much -4 carbon has been released, and much more will be once the polar cap is gone. Once we have so much potential energy that we shifted from within encapsulated space of earth through drilling into the atmosphere, something has to compensate it. Well guess what, here is where water comes into place. Einstein was right, God do not play dices.

  15. Report this comment #13466

    Russell Seitz said:

    While the Republican War on Science was in large measure a Democratic invention , its escalation into a War on Republican Scientists should give pause to think tank denizens on both sides of K-Street.

  16. Report this comment #13469

    Wesley Button said:

    Scientists have given us pollution, an 80 hour work week, a victimized third world, and nuclear weapons. How dare someone question them!

  17. Report this comment #13473

    Chris Mesenburg said:

    Beck and Palin both have 'special' needs children. Those needs could have been met before birth with a bit of stem cell genetic modification or engineering, in order to enlighten them as to the Truth of our monkey heritage and the Darwinian world we live in. Have any of the tea party Neanderthals been sequenced? You betcha not!.

    Oh what a happy and productive homo species we would be if we spent the better part of our time as living organisms praying and sleeping and sloughing off, forever looking forward to the time of our permanent being up with the stars with a million virgins waiting for the men, and a global shopping bazaar for the women.

    The skeptics and laggards of our planet will forever retard scientific progress that could lead us to a happier civilization until their gene pools die off, like they already are in our technoscientific world culture.

    Pray, which way have you thrown your lives? Following a thousands of years old mythological story book written by schizophrenics anonymous members that would be institutionalized in today's world.

  18. Report this comment #13479

    vallie hodges said:

    Theory: Right wingers in government, academia, science and media, stupid and bad. Left wingers in government, academia, science and media, smart and good.

    Following, "Nature Journal of Science" = left = smart and good.

    Abject politicalization. Disgustiing.

  19. Report this comment #13485

    Bjoern Brembs said:

    Indeed, some comments here prove the editorial true: medieval, anti-science dogmatism is rising sharply in the US. This appears, presumably, to be the backlash of more than two generations of botched educational policies and, consequently an educational system on par with developing countries. Anybody not convinced just needs to read some of the comments above.
    If memory serves me well, analogous editorials in the past have never failed to trigger responses verifying the editorial.

  20. Report this comment #13490

    Garnier Alexandre said:

    Ridiculous article, which finishes off the already broken credibility of Nature.

    The funny part of the story is that the right-wing has always been more pro-science than the Left.

    During the French leftist Revolution, many scientists have been put to death with the following statement: "La République n'a pas besoin de savants, uniquement d'équité"

    "The Republic doesn't need savants, only equality".

    When will the ridiculous politicians at Nature (I don't call them scientists) realize that they were wrong on global warming, the biggest lie ever created?

    When the truth will break out, I'll be at the funeral of this journal.

  21. Report this comment #13494

    Anthony Carter said:

    Nature does itself a great disservice by lumping together a broad swathe of opinion makers. If Nature is seen as partisan its voice will not be heard on important issues like climate change. The blanket criticism of Fox News Channel is especially pernicious given the broad range of opinions that are expressed on many of its talk shows.

  22. Report this comment #13503

    Johan F. Prins said:

    David Cook wrote: "If we pushed more Schroedinger and less Darwin in highschool and used Bohr's "it-works-whatever-the- ultimate-Truth-of-the-situation" approach, perhaps we wouldn't create the political backlash we are creating.". I agree on Schroedinger but not on Bohr who has been responsible for leading physics into Alice's Wonderland. This already started with his model of the atom. Two reasons suffice (there are many more). Firstly an "electron" around the nucleus cannot have momentum since its total energy is less than its rest mass energy; Secondly an electron circling a proton cannot generate a magnetic moment. A magnetic moment is only generated when opposite charges move relative to each other on a circular path around an axis. Only then does Ampere's law applies. In the case of Bohr's hydrogen atom, both the negative charge and the positive charge moves IN THE SAME DIRECTION around the centre-of-mass. The total circular current is thus exactly zero. It is Bohr's, Heisenberg's and Born's insistence that momentum playse a role when an electron is bound at a nucleus, which led to non-sensical physics

  23. Report this comment #13504

    Johan F. Prins said:

    Radoslav Bizov wrote: "Particles do exist although their dynamics definition is not as easy as watching diamonds. Common sense is not a scientific tool for driving invention of good technologies. Good theories are.". Well give me a definition of a "particle". Like someone in the audience asked J J Thomson: Excuse me Sir-How can you discover "a particle" which nobody has ever seen?" The only thing proved by ALL experiments on electrons is that an electron has a centre-of-mass: That hardly makes it a particle, or else the Sun should also be a particle. The actual "common sense" deduction should be that an electron has mass-energy with a centre-of-mass. Then the immediate further "common sense" deduction is that an electron is a harmonic wave which like all harmonic waves EVER has an intensity equal to its energy. Thus the intensity of an electron wave IS NOT a probability-distribution but its mass-energy. Once you accept this straightforward "common sense" conclusion, the "virtual physics" which had been done by Heisenberg, Dirac, Feynman, Glashow, etc. falls away and we are back to reality: This is the only path to a good theory..

  24. Report this comment #13505

    Johan F. Prins said:

    Steve Black posted: "Set up your experiment where you achieve/demonstrate room temperature superconduction on doped diamond substrate without Cooper Pairs and invite the media to record the event. With the ensuing media frenzy, I am sure that other physicists around the world will try to reproduce your results."
    I am sorry to wake you up to reality: Ever since I published my original results, the physicists working on superconduction have seen to it that by gossip I am discredited. Not a single one of them ever wrote a paper to show why my physics must be wrong. Why? Because my result shows without a doubt that the presently accepted dogma (BCS etc.) is wrong. When you approach the press to demonstrate anything they phone trhe "experts" on superconduction who advises them that I am a crank (hangover from Pons and Fleischman). In this they are of course very ably assisted by Journals like Nature which sorts out the grain and publishes the chaff. Since 2003 I could not get anything past an editor or referee. The worst is the assinine reasons they give to reject my manuscripts. I will have better success to convince the fundamental Christian's that Christ was not the Messiah, than to get correct physics published in Nature!

  25. Report this comment #13513

    Dhruba Naug said:

    Mr. Cook,

    Your statement that natural selection is not predictive is overly broad and therefore incorrect and useless. Numerous examples spanning the entire range of taxonomic groups are available to show the predictive power of natural selection. Even a cursory examination of basic biology textbooks would provide you with these examples. Natural selection has undergone 150 years of rigourous scientific scrutiny and its basic idea has been upheld time and again. Don't you think it's a little presumptuous for a single book (which has been around for only a few months now) to disprove all that?

  26. Report this comment #13515

    Gary Gaulin said:

    I have years of experience with this very real problem that boils down to the scientific community not paying attention to the real scientific issues and as a result lost its credibility with relatively well educated people. The US is now in a growing "culture war" because of this complacency with those in the "middle" expected to prevail as will the emerging Theory of Intelligent Design.

    In case anyone wants to study the real problem here's a link to many examples (before and after this page) of what is most causing this to happen:

    http://www.talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1084505#post1084505

  27. Report this comment #13516

    John Durham said:

    To Mr. Prins-
    "My ideas about climate change has not yet been formulated" Nor, it seems, have your ideas about correct grammar.

  28. Report this comment #13518

    Johan F. Prins said:

    Are you English or American? It does not matter really since both these nations have raped English grammer for years; even though their citizens are usually unilingual. English has not been my mother tongue (in which we do not waste valuable time with adding on or removing s's); but even so I can argue science with people like you who allow idiots to run physics departments at your universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, CalTech, MIT etc. etc. Their grammer might, according to you, to be more perfect than mine, but their knowledge of elemenrtary physics is abyssmal! No wonder ordinary people with common sense are becoming more and more disgusted with science.

  29. Report this comment #13520

    Anti Supernaturalist said:

    ...Hi, JFP had you used spell check; it would would have indicated that 'grammer' is really 'grammar'. You could gain international attention if you found a compliant fundie preacher who would burn copies of Nature claiming that Nature is a disgusting threat to continued islamic and xian textual literalism. Methinks that Nature knew what it was doing by denying you print access.

    <b>in the US children are deliberately miseducated</b>

    US children are not too stupid for science, they never get a chance to learn it. Fundie dominated school boards frighten teachers and promote lying texts in the name of fundie ignorance. Science will survive nicely elsewhere even if it dies here in the Empire of Fools.

    <i>? US denial of evolution exceeded only by Turkey</i>

    Live Science web site has posted information to help understand the problem of American miseducation, and by taking a multinational perspective shows how ignorant Ameristan is compared to Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe. But not Turkey — Turkey is the only country out of 34 listed whose religious ideology wallows in grunting deceit alongside the US.

    Another institutional vector of mental disease worldwide: the RC church whose pedophile protecting pontiff on 2 May 2010 knelt to venerate the fake "shroud" of Turin! Straight out of Kafka, this Holy Faker has sway over what? -- 500 million believers. RCism and fundie invaders are plagues in latin america and africa.

    Europe resists fundies because Western Europe is vastly better educated, more politically balanced, more agnostic, and anti-clerical than the US.

    ? <i>Stopping the spread of supernaturalism</i> in the US means attacking fundies head-on, especially the Dominionists who want to overthrow the Republic and replace it with a xian dictatorship. With declining real income for most workers over the last decade continuing, I expect right-wing pressure will increase for the middle class to think and vote against its own interests.

    The MI-theocratic complex knows how to protect itself and to put blame for frightening the sheep on scientists and other "godless" atheists, illegal aliens, "high" taxation (Exxon paid no federal tax for 2009) -- <i>anyone but themselves</i> ? Their children may attend private schools and afford the most expensive educations that money can buy. They are not evolution deniers. They are global warming deniers, but that is merely a matter of adoring first the one true divine source, quarterly returns.

    If you want to read about the future US — then read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood — published 25 years ago — it is a portrait of the US which appears more likely every day. Or, look to Iran . . . it's the fundie model of godly government.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  30. Report this comment #13523

    Dan Luke said:

    Well, well; this Nature article certainly produced plenty of evidence of the effectiveness of the war on science. Intelligent Design? Global warming hoax? All we need are the anti-vaxers and HIV/AIDS deniers to complete the rogues' gallery.

    Does anyone remember when we all thought the information age would be one of enlightenment? Seems so sadly naive, now.

  31. Report this comment #13525

    James Macdonald said:

    Science has been corrupted by the IPCC and CRU (climategate) by not doing the research into what caused the warming and cooling cycles of the past including ice ages every 100,000 years. Ice ages dominated our climate 9i0% of the time in the last million years. Warm periods in between have been relatively short, about 10,000 years. They blatently stated that the science was settled before doing the necessary research. The IPCC was setup with one purpose in mind---to show that man and CO2 were responsible for the warming from 1978 to 1998. Climagte models were tuned to this period, but failed when temperatures levelled off and even fell after 1998.They used an artificial positive feedback of water vapor to match that warming. The majority of government funding went to scientists who agreed with their position on global warming. Independent scientists like Prof., Richard LIndzen, MIT, Prof. Roy Spencer and scores of other scientists have shown that the main drivers of the climate are decadal ocean oscillations, some with a 30 year cycle causing variations in weather pattenrs and the amount of clouds. A 1% change in the amount of clouds can account for all the temperatue changes in the 20th century. Solar variations also play an important part. In particular, the litle ice age was thought to be caused by

  32. Report this comment #13526

    James Macdonald said:

    To finish where I was cut off------the little ice age was thought to be caused by the "Maunder Minimum", a long period of little or no sunspot activity. Volcanoes, especially thye super volcanoes like Yellowstone, also have a major impact on climate. None of these variables are included in the climate models. Therefore, how can the models predict anything? Oh, by the way, 4300 ocean buoys show that the oceans are not warming. In Antarctica, which holds 90% of the worlds ice, it is increasing and getting thicker.

  33. Report this comment #13527

    Robert Burns said:

    This is from Nature?s Community Guidelines:

    ?6. Stay focused on science and research

    This is a website about science for scientists and researchers. There are lots of other websites you can use to discuss other topics. Please keep within the bounds of a topic as initiated. Do not sway the discussion towards your own pet topic or set off on a tangent. Be succinct.

    8. No libel or other abuse

    You must not make or encourage comments which are:

    * defamatory, false or misleading; * insulting, threatening or abusive; * obscene or of a sexual nature; * offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory against any religions or other groups.?

    It seems that Nature did not follow their own guidelines in this editorial.

    The piece is about politics, not science. And I guess the writers of the editorial thought they were not defamatory, insulting or offensive when talking about right wingers and the Tea Party folks.

    More to the point, it is easier for Nature to throw stones at political groups than to debate the science. It is even easier when you do not differentiate between ?global warming? and ?man made global warming?.

    In Thomas Sowell?s "Book The Vision Of The Anointed", he writes about ?arguments without arguments?. I think that is what your editorial is, an argument with out evidence.

  34. Report this comment #13529

    Michael Lynch said:
    I am very interested in science but I believe the reputation of science as impartial, factual and truth seeking has been damaged by the manner in which climate scientists have conducted themselves.

    I believe that the uncertainties in climate science have been deliberately downplayed, the language of climate scientists hysterical and political, the public outreach arrogant and rude and the willingness to discuss alternative points of view non-existent. This leads me to distrust the message that climate scientists promote.

    It is simply my opinion but I would be willing to bet it is shared by a lot of others. If I saw a new culture of transparency, tolerance and openness wash through the climate science community it would be a great thing for science.

  35. Report this comment #13531

    John Q Dallas said:

    The problem with science is scientists. Too many have the notion that if you can't measure something, then it doesn't exist. But they readily admit their math does not even add up and they can't predict the weather more than seven days in advance. Schrodinger came up with a cat experiment to show the limitations of quantum theory, but some respected scientists will tell you that a cat can be both dead and alive simultaneously. Now nothing exists until you measure it is the mantra. At the same time every possibility exists somewhere. This latter is, of course, their mathematical answer to free will. Many scientists are teaching there is no God. If there is no God, then genocide is a viable and acceptable option for curing global warming and other suspected ills. Genetic engineering for creating a species that can traverse the galactic voids and avoid impending annihilation would be the most logical course of action. A God that predetermined everything must be as large as the universe, which is equivalent to saying that God is the universe. But a God that can allow free will and structure amid chaos must be a God that can laugh and cry. If there exists no God, there exists no greater purpose for all of this; and all of this sound and fury signifies nothing. Proving there can be no God cannot stop humans from wanting there to be one ? or for keeping our control freak government from trying to create our own.

  36. Report this comment #13532

    John Wheelahan said:
    So, there seem to be some issues in particle physics. We need a UN committee to find a consensus. Call it the IPPP (Intergovernmental Panel of Particle Physics) and spend a few years and millions of dollars consulting experts. Then there could be a consensus and no need to do any more silly observations on physical particles.

    Now, about the absence of any proof that global warming is dangerous or man made..... Oh, sorry, we have consensus on that! The Nature editorial has missed the point, choosing instead to insult those scientists who dissent from "consensus" junk science. Words such as denier are best kept for political or religious ideologies.

  37. Report this comment #13533

    Right Klik said:

    Politicization of science and innumeracy are all too common at every point along the political spectrum. It's unfortunate that nature has elected to engage in denialism over the existence of these problems on the political left.

  38. Report this comment #13534

    Steve Jandreau said:

    The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media.

    This is a perfect expression of the Right-wing Nihilism

  39. Report this comment #13535

    Johan F. Prins said:

    To attack a message by using "grammar", displays the mentality which has made physics a "fundamentalist religion" that "burns" all other publications when it is different from mainstream dogma!
    Once a theory has been canonised by the physics church, no "heresies" are allowed. This is why the phycisists in control of the physics church do not even understand the implications of the most elementary laws of physics. There are many examples of elementary physics to demonstrate this: For example (i) Newton's laws (which invalidate Heisenberg's uncertainty relationship for position and momentum); (ii) Coulomb's law (which invalidates the presence of a electric field energy around a solitary charge); (iii) Ampere's law (which invalidates the presence of a magnetic moment for a Bohr atom); and many, many more, Try and point these facts out in a journal like Nature: A snowball has a better chance to survive in hell!

  40. Report this comment #13538

    Konrad Hartmann said:

    A note to the editors of Nature -
    Sadly this editorial is receiving wide and somewhat negative coverage across the internet. This would appear to be due in part due the use of the phrase "Denialism over global warming". I would like to point out to the editors of Nature that "Denier" is seen as a term of vilification amongst those skeptical of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. "Anti Science" is also a term viewed as offensive by those CAGW skeptics worried about the supplanting of the traditional scientific method with what is referred to In the popular vernacular as "Post normal science"

    As the editors of Nature and it's readers would no doubt be aware, the unproven hypothesis of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hinges on water vapour feedback from minor CO2 radiative forcing. Research that has been based on empirical evidence rather than computer modeling has indicated that any such feedback may be neutral to negative. It is looking increasingly likely that the catastrophic CO2 warming hypothesis is incorrect.

    I would like to advise the editors of Nature to distance themselves from the use of offensive terms with regard to the CAGW debate. Due to the significant expenditure on what is increasingly looking like a non problem, it is likely that a major blame game is about to begin. We do not live in the age of Big Brother. Rather, due to the internet we live in the age of Little brother, and Little Brother is watching and recording. When looking for those to punish for what may be the world's largest hoax, the vengeful will only have to search the internet for terms such as "denier", "denialisim", "contrarian" and "big oil shill" to identify the guilty. As I indicated before – Little Brother is watching and recording. Be a little more careful :)

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