It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whither and Whence Social Biases in Climatology?

At least in the US, the financial pressure is probably not toward overstating the climate change problem.

Here's a data point for consideration in the "in it for the gold" argument.

2 comments:

James Annan said...

I've only looked at part of the Smithsonian exhibition, but saw nothing to justify the complaints in that article.

http://forces.si.edu/

Do you see what they are complaining about?

Michael Tobis said...

What appears is unobjectionable. One might object to what doesn't appear. I saw a similar exhibit on Arctic climate change at the Field Museum in Chicago, and found similarly that it seemed actually afraid of drawing any attention to the context of greenhouse forcing and the implications for daily life far from the Arctic.

My point, though, is that I find myself a bit terrified every time I say anything construable as alarmist, and relieved when I can say something "mainstream", like that I don't think Quiggin makes any sense.

There is always social pressure toward the some center of gravity, I suppose. All the outliers in teh denial camp almost surely feel social pressures as well. (In fact, I sometimes have half a mind to move back to the Systems Engineering Department at Carleton in Ottawa just for the purpose of exerting social pressure of my own on Tim Patterson, who richly deserves some.)

The question is where that center of gravity lies. I am sure it is different in different countries with different scientific and political cultures, but in the US the center of gravity is certainly far more Polyannaish than IPCC's. (You can ask frequent RC poster Pat Neumann where he thinks the pressure lies.)

I think you and I more or less straddle the consensus, so you might be more comfortable in some places and me in others. What interests me is that in some places, the political center of gravity is far from the scientific center. This leaves me thinking that the political isn't working well.