Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Return to Normal Science

In a letter to Nature, disparaging "on line" science that some are seeking funding for Eli reads

The governance of science including the whole system of quality assurance, depends on specialist access to resources and publication.  A new and radical engagement of the public in reality and crowd sourced science is calling this into question.
It would be easy to dismiss such 'reality' experiments as a stunt --- as frivolity leading to demagoguery.  But social media are increasingly influencing mainstream scientific communication and could stimulate a pread in reality science, blurring the demarcations on which the legitimacy and quality assurance of science traditionally depend.
Dr. Inferno would demurr as would such blog scientists as the Tall Bloke but Eli was mildly amused to see the signature line
Jerome R. Ravetz, Peter Healey, Steve Rayner
Institute for Science Innovation and Society
University of Oxford UK
The Rabett would have enjoyed listening to the conversation along these lines in Lisbon a couple of years ago rather than the tutt tutt about climate scientists that emerged.  It is worth revisiting Gavin Schmidt's response to that invitation
I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position. 
You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.
Isn't consensus wonderful?

No comments: