Saturday, January 05, 2013

Eli Found Another Daniel Sarewitz Comment

Whilst poking about the INTERTUBES, Eli came across the generator that Daniel Sarewitz uses to prepare his Nature columns.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, might think this produces but a pale imitation of the real thing, but Eli knows Artificial Intelligence when he reads it.

UPDATEThingsbreak is a bit more direct:"Sarewitz seems to really love telling science what it “must” do, and it’s all rubbish. . . There are good arguments to make about how we can go about increasing Republican acceptance of science. But those arguments involve changing the way Republicans relate to science, rather than changing the institution of science itself.


And now on to the Sarewitz column
------------------------------------------

Imagine if academics sat down with ordinary people like you and me and ironed out some real solutions to our energy crisis.  But first, the US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity.

With the election season over, maybe you’ve forgotten about energy, but I certainly haven’t. It would be easy to forget that the problem even exists, when our headlines are constantly splashed with the violence in Uzbekistan, the authoritarian crackdown in Gambia and the still-unstable democratic transition in Zambia. 

But the energy problem is growing, and politicians are more divided than ever. Democrats seem to think that energy can just be ignored. Republican politicians like Marco Rubio, on the other hand, seem to think that unscientific rhetoric will substitute for a compromise. 

As 2012 begins, we are entering the most important and decisive period for US science and technology policy since the late 1940s. After 60 years dominated by growing federal expenditure, US science now faces a long period of budgetary stasis, or even contraction.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. America's pragmatic culture has long been assumed to favour applied investigation over fundamental science, a notion that goes back at least to Alexis de Tocqueville's nineteenth-century classic Democracy in America.

But the Republican party of Marco Rubio is not the Republican party of Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt wouldn’t just filibuster, he'd compromise because he'd understand that the fate of the country, and his own political career, depended on a lasting solution to the problem of energy.

It's good to see the talks between the president and congress getting off to a solid start, but we know there will be plenty of partisan fireworks before any deal is cut. If I had fifteen minutes to pitch my idea to politicians, I'd tell them two things about energy. First, there's no way around the issue unless we're prepared to spend more: and not just spend more, but spend smarter by investing in the kind of national infrastructure that makes countries succeed. That's going to require some tax increases as well, but as they say, "them's the breaks."

Second, I'd tell them to look at Norway, which all but solved its energy crisis over the past decade. When I visited Norway in 2002, Mwambe, the cabbie who drove me from the airport, couldn't stop telling me about how he had to take a third job because of the high cost of energy. I caught up with Mwambe in Oslo last year. Thanks to Norway's reformed approach toward energy, Mwambe has enough money in his pocket to finally be able to afford a television set for his kids.

During the cold war, scientists from America and the Soviet Union developed lines of communication to improve the prospects for peace. Given the bitter ideological divisions in the United States today, scientists could reach across the political divide once again and set an example for all.

That's all it takes. Don't expect to see any solutions as long as politicians insist on playing a high-stakes game of blackjack with one another. America's got to call a time-out.

15 comments:

MikeH said...

Sarewitz is a VSP. They all use the same opinion generator.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Serious_People

Pinko Punko said...

Please keep piling on this guy- I can't believe how terrible he is. But use nice words, because you know, civility!

What would happen if Keith the K had a sit down with this guy? Would they try to Outserious each other?

Gaz said...

"Given the bitter ideological
divisions in the United States
today, scientists could reach
across the political divide once
again and set an example for all.
That's all it takes."

Well that's great. I'm so very glad someone finally found a solution.

It was there, staring us in the face, all this time.

Anonymous said...

You see, there's a difference on how people see science. there are those who say:
1) it's a search for the truths for better understanding of the universe
and then there are those who say:
1) it's a search for the truth for better understanding of the universe so
2) mankind can benefit from it
3) ...????
4) profit !!!

As I currently prefer the more simple explanations of things in life I'm of the first opinion.

J Bowers said...

A major flaw with Sarewitz's reasoning is that he appears to assume that the political divide can be visualised as the halfway point on a straight line between two fixed points, and scientists can simply put themselves at that point. Politics is no such thing. It's more like a blob that changes shape constantly due to external forces, with lobes that grow and shrink unpredictably as factions gain strength, and somehow the scientists would need to be able to predict where the centre of the area will be at any time.

Anonymous said...

Republicanism takes a lurch to the right and science is supposed to follow to ensure balance?

Lars Karlsson said...

The Way Things Break on Sarewitz.

"There are good arguments to make about how we can go about increasing Republican acceptance of science. But those arguments involve changing the way Republicans relate to science, rather than changing the institution of science itself. The only thing science “must” do is continue to get results. How people make use of the process is a vital but secondary concern."

ligne said...

lets say for the sake of argument that scientists do follow Sarewitz's advice, and attempt to position themselves between the parties. what happens when the Republicans take their next violent lurch away from the real world?

will the scientists be expected to reposition themselves? or will they be too tarnished by their previous association with Insufficiently Pure Thoughts, and we need to find a whole new batch to replace them?

inquiring bunnies wish to know.

Russell Seitz said...

It wasn't supposed to be this way. America's pragmatic culture has long been assumed to favour applied investigation over fundamental science, a notion that goes back at least to Alexis de Tocqueville's nineteenth-century classic Democracy in America.

Neither jackson or Toqueville ever imagined a franchise so universal as to include blog commentors and talk show hosts.

Jason Miller said...

"And now on to the Sarewitz column" should be the Thomas Friedman Op/Ed column - "Why Nations Fail". The text following is from the NYT not Nature.

Anonymous said...

Scientists: "2+2=4"

GOP: "2+2=6"

Sarawitz: "Scientists, reach out to the GOP -- offer up 2+2=5"

Scientists: "OK, we'll meet the GOP half-way and now agree that 2+2=5"

GOP: "2+2=8"

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Anonymous said...

s/Sarawitz/Sarewitz/

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Hank Roberts said...

Jason -- it's a joke, son.

He's saying, Sarewitz reads like he uses the same generator: the problem changes but the recommendation stays the same.

Caerbannog has it right.

Repubs: Be like Nixon.
Clinton: If you insist
Repubs: Be like Reagan
Obama: If you insist
Repubs: Be like Nehemiah Scudder ....

Philip Clarke said...

Off topic, and delete this if I'm getting redundant or boring but hypocrite and liar Anthony Watts has waded into a thread at McIntyre’s now largely irrelevant blog on the AGU’s ‘condoning’ Peter Gleick with a predictably ad hominem and nasty sneer at Gleck’s physical appearance and an attack on the AGU’s ‘professional ethics’.

http://climateaudit.org/2013/01/05/agu-honors-gleick/#comment-391369

Ethics, Watts? My comment in response was to point out that Watts permits the moderators on his blog to log in under false names and pose as commenters to promote the blog party line.

A CA commenter accused me of protesting too much about anonymity on the interweb, and so I corrected him ....

“Not quite. Anthony Watts, who runs the flagship ‘sceptic’ blog, claims to believe in ‘open discussion’, he deplores ‘sockpuppetry’, his stated policy is that ‘Internet phantoms who have cryptic handles, no name, and no real email address get no respect here’. He tells us that ‘I try to give everyone a fair shake on this blog’, he insists that ‘Guest authors and moderators are expected to adhere to this policy’

And yet his moderators are free to assume false names and post as ordinary commenters. When ‘Smokey’ was posting, moderated by erm, himself, unsurprisingly, he or she always seemed to get more than a fair crack of the moderator whip- with opposing posts edited, snipped for no good reason, or held up while ‘Smokey’ formulated an answer. I’m not sure this contributes much to the debate.

It’s just a blog, and clearly no crime has been committed, however the charges of dishonesty and hypocrisy seem pretty much proven. If Watts is unable to own up to this petty subterfuge, what else is he happy to mislead his readers about? How many of the posts there are actually by staff?

Sadly, Mr Persaud (Nigel to his friends) was having none of it

"there are very large differences between Gleick’s impersonation of a Heartland document in order to obtain documents and the use of pseudonyms on blogs. Gleick’s conduct was illegal, while there is nothing illegal about the use of pseudonyms on blogs. Blog policies here discourage coatracking topics and it seems to me that your complaints about moderation at WUWT are coatracking in a discussion of AGU."

Unsure of what 'coatracking' is, I posed a few simple questions in Nigel's direction

"Fair enough. Mr McIntyre, however given that Mr Watts posts here, and the two of you seem to have something of an association, and given your very public and admirable commitment to the principles of transparency and freedom of information, perhaps you could pass the following questions to Anthony?

1. Is it the case that 'Smokey' and moderator 'dbs' (Dave Stealey) are in fact the same individual?

2. Is the poster 'D Boehm' also Dave Stealey? ( a simple 'Yes', 'No' or 'Unknown' will be fine)

3. Approximately how many posts at WUWT are actually by moderators (a percentage or an absolute number is acceptable)

4. Does Mr Watts have any comment on the the fairly clear breach of his own blog policy by his own staff?

If you don't wish to publish this, a response to my supplied email address would be equally appreciated.

yours, in the spirit of climate auditing,

Phil Clarke

I'll let you know if and when I recieve a response to my polite and utterly reasonable questions.

Russell Seitz said...

Bishop Hill has turned a most unepiscopal purple at the suggestion that his decade long obsession with sporting goods amounts to an obsession, denying that hockey sticks are really his stock in trade.

Perhaps John Massey should sample the website and report on the incidence and rank of 'Mann' among proper nouns there.

The Bish and his acolytes seem positively snitful at the notion that McIntyre's discomfiture at AGU meetings stems from the high frequency with which non-oilpatch geophysicists fall down laughing when the mining statistician's mouth moves.