An organizing moral of Judaism is Rabbi Hillel's, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for
me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” to which Eli, and several others would add "If not me, who?"
If not now, when? and If not me, whom? are the two questions that no Honest Broker dare answer. David Appell at Quark Soup drives the n+1st stake into the heart of that broken image, first as farce
. . .I was talking to someone in management at a national lab, and they told me on the QT that there is a white paper going around high-levels in Washington, written by a space scientist (unnamed) at another national lab (also unnamed), that warns of a 99+% chance of an 240-meter asteroid strike on Earth in 2029.and then by showing how Carl Sagan, and E.O Wilson answered the accusations that they were "advocates" and not to be trusted when a churnalist tried to pin that on them. As Wilson said
. . . .he was recently fired for "advocacy" -- if you can believe it -- because his paper includes policy prescriptions to address the threat, which he estimated could cost up to $800 billion, a number no one in Washington wants to hear.
Even worse (yes, it gets worse), there is a sealed court-imposed gag order on him brought by a House committee, whose Republican chairman insists more research is needed, and with the sequester there's no money in the budget to address the problem anyway and he'd prefer it just go away.
It is reasonable then to ask what scientists are expected to do when they hit upon a serious environmental problem. Whisper in the ear of a journalist? Entirely and chastely refrain from publishing outside technical journals, hoping the results will be discovered by nonscientists?In the April 5 issue of Science (appears open) Bassam Shakhashiri (2012 American Chemical Society President) and Jerry Bell (Chair of the committee drafting the new ACS policy on climate change) write
F. Sherwood Rowland was a central figure in the late–20th-century controversy about the effect of chlorofluorocarbons on stratospheric ozone. For years, he engaged audiences ranging from students to members of the U.S. Congress. As an exemplary scientist-citizen, his focus eventually led to the worldwide ban on these compounds. Rowland spoke to all scientist-citizens when he asked: “Isn't it the responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn't it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?…If not us, who? If not now, when?This, of course is the road that James Hansen is traveling down.
Eli's friend Andy Revkin (well we are Facebook buddies) really needs to man up. There is not a middle to some roads. Pretending that there is, is both dangerous and dishonest, to your reputation, and to your friends.