Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Pros From Dover Once More

So recently Reiner Grundmann is playing the Roger Pielke Jr. Pros from Dover bit about how physical scientists need leave the hard work of getting anything done on climate change to the social scientists because the physical scientists are so bad at it.  The origin of the phrase, although made famous in the movie M*A*S*H comes from the book

"Hawkeye would walk confidently into a pro shop, smile, comment upon the nice condition of the course, explain that he was just passing through and that he was Joe, Dave or Jack Somebody, the pro from Dover. This resulted, about eight times out of ten, in an invitation to play for free. If forced into conversation, he became the pro from Dover, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, England, Ohio, Delaware, Tennessee, or Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, whichever seemed safest."
Frankly, this ploy has been long used by social scientists (not all, but enough) and policy types (lots and lots) who have not the least idea about how to handle problems based on physical and biological reality but would like to cut themselves a piece of the pie, as large a piece as possible. 

It would, at least for Eli, not be a bad thing if the ones playing it actually knew what they were doing and might save the Congressman's kid, but the Rabett is exceedingly unimpressed by the players of this ploy who at least to his jaundiced eyes are mostly trying to control the debate.

Of course there were tweets, and several people, including Eli were a bit miffed, but Eli was at least nice enough to invite Reiner to the party.  Oliver Bothe had a winner
As soon as Eli finds a good bass player RaptorClan will definitely go on tour but till then on to the blogs, including ATTP and of course Klimazweibel

The Rabett finds this pretty boring, has other stuff to do, note the lack of posts, and really has not contributed much.  If anybunny wants to know, Eli just pointed out, rather obliquely, that Grundman, like Pielke Jr and Kahan only seems to look at one side without really considering what makes (climate, ozone, tobacco, acid rain, etc) for a hard problem is the well organized and financed opposition to action and that what has/is being done to try and find solutions must be evaluated against that mark, not in isolation, but whatever.  Still in the middle of this Hans v. Storch came out with the amazing:
In other words: physicists (and other natural scientists), back into your baracks! If you individually want to be part of the social processes of choosing among options and of deciding, come back without the attiitude of knowing better than others of what is an appropriate response to the problem. The same applies for social scientists, even if their field of knowledge is different from that of natural scientists but also important.
As Eli remarked there are half a dozen ways of Godwinizing that one, but, never fear gentle readers, what better way than what Sherry Rowland said in 1998 in a White House meeting on climate change
"Is it enough for a scientist simply to publish a paper? Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to actually do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?… If not us, who? If not now, when?"
Eli knew of that quote a long, time, but when the Bunny went looking for a source, lo and behold, what popped up was another Klimazweibel post, an appreciation of Rowland written by, you guessed it, Reiner Grundmann.  Even within the Grundmann's context, v. Storch is scorched
His advocacy probably serves as role model for some activist climate scientists. There is one big difference. Rowland operated as individual scientist, not as part of a wider institutionalized body (such as the IPCC). He was an open advocate for CFC controls and did not hide behind 'the science'. He knew that there was controversy about the science and that his research was not shared by many, for quite some time. This did not deter him from making his case patiently, without trying to demolish his adversaries. And adversaries he had many, both inside and outside academia. 
and further in the comments
you are welcome to post Rowland's engagement with regard to climate change.

He did not strike me as a main protagonist in climate change debates, neither was climate change his main area of research. He was very much interested in questions of air pollution, examples are Mexico City and methane leaks from pipelines. In all these cases he made policy proposals that were practical. And he did the same the CFC case.
 which is just utter nonsense.  First of all, and a minor point, it is Luisa and Mario Molina who have been key to both investigating and helping control air pollution in Mexico City, not Sherry.  Second, Sherry Rowland's research on methane leaks was in the context of their contribution to climate change
Since methane accounts for up to 25% of the gases causing the so-called greenhouse effect, plugging leaky pipes in Eastern bloc nations could make an important dent in efforts to forestall global warming, the UCI scientists reported today in the scientific journal Nature.

"Methane is different," said research team director F. Sherwood Rowland, the UCI chemist who discovered in the mid-1970s that the Earth's protective ozone layer is being destroyed by chlorofluorocarbons, another variety of chemicals also implicated in global warming. "Because its lifetime is about 10 years, if we take away just 10% of (the world's methane) emissions, we can get methane in the atmosphere back in balance."
Rowland was concerned greatly with greenhouse gas driven climate change in 1990, but also Rowland was actively engaged, as is Molina today, in trying to both delineate and solve the problems.  Eli would refer Reiner to the summary of the 1997 White House meeting and Rowland's comments endorsing the IPCC as authoritative and calling to action

And as far as Rowland not being a part of wider institutionalized bodies, one only has to read the National Academy press release memorializing him
Rowland was elected to the NAS in 1978 and served as foreign secretary from 1994-2002. The Institute of Medicine elected Rowland in 1994. In 1995, he was a key figure in the creation of the InterAcademy Panel, an international organization of national science academies that has since grown to include the academies of more than 80 countries.
Sherry Rowland was a very nice guy, but he also was a strong advocate for policy based on science and not the paper cutout that Grundmann has sitting in his office.  Kind of reminds Eli of the Republican version of Martin Luther King.


Anonymous said...

Since Oliver wants content:

Here's where it is shown that Reiner appeals to a taxonomic argument, which are not known for their durability:


Here's where it is shown that hard-nosed scientists may take Reiner's argument as an invitation for a reversed takeover:


Here's where it is shown that Reiner's wicked claim (it's not really an argument - even if he says that he "argues" he doesn't) that framing is a game-changer:


Here's where it is hinted that Reiner's story requires some kind of linear model:


(More on that later.)

Here's a simple reminder that CFCs are still with us:


Here's where it is shown that Reiner's "fantasy" dismissal and "who, me?" stance were unjustified:


To where it is shown that Reiner is self-citing Breakthrough stuff, start here:


Here is reminded that between the wicked framework and Breakthrough stuff lies a Gnome underpants plan and deligitimization:


Here's where we show that the Breakthrough's Gnome Plan gets inserted in a counterfactual:


Here we are.

Now, I need to pull the linear thread and see where it leads.

Richard Erskine said...

As an illustration of how to, shall we say, get to the bottom of a problem (albeit somewhat less complex than AGW). I offer up this story of how British Cycling put together a “conference’ of experts of all matters relevant to the nether regions. The list included the following competencies:
- Tribologist;
- Reconstructive surgeon;
- Vulval health consultant;
- Saddle designers;
- and no doubt others.
Apparently, forensic analysis of the facts by relevant experts leads to solutions. Crazy world.


Anonymous said...

Woooo Woooo! There's yet another Woo Woo train comin' through!

This one loaded with even more sociologists than the last one.

Hopefully nobody told the woo woo train engineer the bridge is out.

Anonymous said...

A Dialog on Nature:


Don't miss Roger Jones' comment:


I predict it'll turn into yet another expertise angelology.

Anonymous said...

Oh Noooz! Neonicotinoid insecticides have killed off all of our pollinators! What should we do? Ban neonicotinoid insecticides immediately as suggested by our natural and physical scientists?

Or should we have a crackpot woo woo social scientist named Reiner Grundmann, a man clearly without a clue how hard science really works call a committee and study the problem.

Maybe we should have a committee of incompetent and irrelevant social scientists decide whether we should form a committee or not to study the problems of committee formation. Yeah, that it. Woo Woo all the way down.

Anonymous said...

And for many decades, nay, centuries thereafter the men of Science seethed with rage and stewed in bile, for verily it was as the philosophers had foretold, that with sweet and honeyed words they coaxed the oxide of carbon out of the skies and into hiding places unknown deep in the forests, earth and seas. And the philosophers saw it was good, and prospered.

Bryson said...

I'd rather we left the philosophers out of it-- we're very much a mixed bag, including, as I like to think, some good apples. As to the substance, I'm at a loss, having looked at some of the back-and-forth, to see a constructive point Grundman could possibly have been making. The reason (the philosopher said) why some of us might well think that climate science is the primary guide to dealing with climate change is that, as for many problems, a sound descriptive understanding of the likely consequences of different courses of action is (or should be) enough to get the ball rolling. The evaluation of serious policy alternatives probably also includes questions of economics, social and international equity, etc. But the values at stake are sufficiently widely shared to constrain the range of reasonable responses and give rise to a serious socio-political response. Moreover, I think the political and financial support for climate denialism strongly suggests that even well-informed opponents of serious climate policies agree.

Anonymous said...

If we're to take corporatist crap seriously, please note that Reiner's a sociologist, or more precisely an STS guy.

The historians' default stance toward STS guys is usually less than appreciation - take Reiner's CFC's story.

Philosophers (of science)'s appreciation of STS guys is lesser than that. Since they're the academic honey badgers, this stance may be overfitting.

Thank you.

EliRabett said...

Eli likes people like Bryson who think as he does. As the bunny pointed out over at the Onion

H.vS: (65) Among other things (and there are many), what physical science can contribute are estimates of risk (64) and physical ways of eliminating emissions and evaluations of there efficiency, unless you believe in magic. Oh wait. . .(56)

Moreover, as Eli noted over there, this is not a wicked problem as DEFINED by Grundmann, there are stopping rules such as when our greenhouse gas emissions go to zero or atmospheric CO2 concentrations return to 300 ppm (or 350 if you want to be generous. James of Jules and James points this out today on their blog.

Bernard J. said...

I've always considered 'interpretivist social science' to be an oxymoron.

Grundmann nicely adds another data point to that impression.

Bernard J. said...

Apparating late to the party (BJ always has trouble getting out of the inglenook) I note that Eli has already made the point of stopping rules. There are at least two more rules though, at the other end of the response spectrum:

1) when the fossil fuel runs out
2) when the planet heats up sufficiently that it shakes off the pests that gave it the fever.

The two rules are not mutually exclusive.

JohnMashey said...

''Climategate'' and The Scientific Ethos, published in Science, Technology & Human Values
maybe read to help assess the calibre of Grundmann's scholarship and journals that publish such.

Bernard J. said...

In case anyone is in any doubt as to the "calibre of Grundmann's scholarship and journals that publish such", let me offer my own assessment, having close professional contact with many (-> 100s) of physical, ecological, and social scientists who publish in climate science...

That assessment is "none", and "not much better", respectively.

JohnMashey said...

Bernard J: but say what you really think :-)

In Grundmann's paper, a sample of sources includes:

Douglass, David H, and John R. Christy. 2009. ‘‘A Climatology conspiracy?’’,

Funtowicz, Silvio O, and Jerome R. Ravetz. 1993. ‘‘Science for the Post-Normal Age.’’ Futures 25: 73-92.

McKitrick, Ross. 2010. ‘‘Understanding the Climategate Inquiries,’’ accessed 26 June, 2011, http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/rmck_

Montford, A. W. 2010. The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science. London: Stacey International.

Pielke, Roger Jr. 2007. The Honest Broker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pielke, R. A. J. 2009. The ‘‘Trick’’ in Context. Available at: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/12/trick-in-context.html.

Sarewitz, Dan, and Samuel Thernstrom. 2009. ‘‘ Climate Change E-mail Scandal
Underscores Myth of Pure Science.’’ Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2012, http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/16/opinion/la-oe-sarewitzthernstrom16-2009dec16

And of course we find "Phil Jones spoke of a ‘‘trick’’ to ‘‘hide the decline"
etc, etc.

What could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous said...

So the question remains, why did 'Nature' publish this piece of tripe?

Gosh, I wish they would publish one of my essays! Should I send in one my 'hard science' solutions as a Letter to the Editor? Probably I should do that every year since they change so fast nowadays.

Dano said...

Dano hears it on good authority that a decent chunk of research looking at the social side of urban greenery and urban nature is going to be cut to the bone. One presumes that other disciplines will experience similar, so the point may be moot. Or muted.




Fortunately, the endangered STS movement survived the end of the Cold War in various southern hemisphere refugia, where philosphy department consortia have brought forth journals to broaden the STHV gene pool with authors named Clive as well as Bruce , and even some Shielas named Naomi. The editors of those boasting impact factors have been able to sail north to join other flagship journal barnicles, assuring their continuing list to port.

John should pass the baseball cap in Silicon Valley to see if there's anyone onery enough to fund the political sociology of the sociology of science.