Why communicate science?

by Judith Curry

Don’t think you need to teach the public a lot of science facts. Instead, show what science is, what it means, why we need it. Find a way to have a presence. Choose what to comment on, how to be involved, and what actions and issues to engage in. Be a source of wisdom. – Carl Safina

Too often, when scientists discuss communicating science, they are referring to ways of effectively ‘activating’ science to convince the public to do (or not do) something.

On the Backpage of APS News, Carl Safina has a refreshing essay entitled Why communicate science?  Some excerpts:

Communicating science takes time away from research, from teaching, from being home; from something else we need to be doing. The time is not adequately compensated. Doing interviews with reporters, or visiting legislators, has no assigned “impact factor” that boosts vitae-value. Appearing on the radio or TV or in the news, giving talks to civic groups, writing op-eds or articles geared to “popular” audiences, or even a translational book for the general public; all count little, sometimes nothing, towards tenure. Sometimes they actually hurt. Communicating science can be seen as unprofessional. Peers may think less of you. It may seem absurd that many scientists would think it unprofessional to explain science, but that thinking is a fact in academia. And anyway, communicating is the job of communicators such as professional science writers.

All the above reasons not to communicate science are valid. Next question: Are those reasons sufficient? Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein apparently didn’t think so. Granted, we’re not them. We all juggle priorities and make compromises on how we can and must spend our time. But it’s my conviction that scientists should elevate communicating science as something important and worthwhile. That brings us to “Why.”

Some scientists believe we should communicate because public support is crucial for continued public funding. That’s circular and self-serving. In the long run, it’s likely self-defeating. Simply explaining that the space program resulted in such marvels as Tang and Teflon–two oft-cited benefits of science that, in fact, everyone can live without–doesn’t adequately elevate the power of science above everything else vying for public money, such as military spending, bank-bailouts, infrastructure, etc., etc.

I believe it’s important for people to get to know scientists as people, as members of civil society in their communities. And I believe the message is not one of facts, nor reports about the latest research, but of the overarching and deeply penetrating grandeur of science: how it uniquely has the power to unlock the secrets of life and the universe–and how scientific thinking can help people evaluate claims, think for themselves, and demand proof.
Science teaches people to be skeptical of claims. In fact, a scientific approach–using information to sort through one’s own biases, and demanding proof as a way of evaluating conflicting claims–is necessary for good citizenship. It is necessary for avoiding being preyed upon by people with ambitions, ideologies, and advertisements.

Scientific thinking requires us to consider all available information bearing on a question, to face the possibility that even our own best guess was wrong, and to advance what we know even when it’s different than what we thought we knew. Scientific thinking is what everyone could use.

By being ferociously honest, science has given us real comprehension of our place in the universe, in time, and in the splendid pageant of life. Science has curiosity, self-motivation, and the quest for what’s real. Science is often magnificent, and occasionally–let’s face it–truly awesome.

Science–being the collective endeavor of scientists–isn’t perfect. Scientists are people. People make mistakes. Scientists have egos, jealousies–science is human. But science is an attempt to avoid what’s worst about being human and to bring out what’s best. It doesn’t have the hubris to think it knows everything. It holds no dogma. It is a system for working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices.

As science progresses through time, it has a strong tendency toward correcting its misperceptions, accepting those corrections, and spiraling in on the truth.

Since science tries to honestly know what’s going on, and good decisions require at least that, scientists are often those best-informed to advise society on what should be done. Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.

Many scientists believe they should avoid “advocacy.” If scientists decide not to engage, less-informed policy makers, pressured by less-objective advocates, will make decisions anyway. They’ll often do so without the benefit of the best advice they might have gotten, or without anyone arguing on behalf of the facts.

When I was in grad school working toward my PhD in ecology, I was told by a member of my own PhD committee that doing applied work toward solving problems in society, “is for people who aren’t smart enough to get a PhD.” Did they mean I was not smart enough? Should I prove how smart I am by not being concerned about the world’s problems? Apparently so, because later, a professor at an ivy-league school told me–with apparent pride–“We solve puzzles, not problems.” Well, that’s the ivory tower for you. But even in the ivory tower, the rent comes due.

By estranging itself from people and problems, science suffers a perception of irrelevance–a perception science itself too often chooses. To the extent that scientists think they’re above society’s problems, and academic institutions give no credit to the communication activities of faculty members, and scientists cast aspersions upon colleagues who try to engage with decision-making in the wider world, that is the extent to which science helps facilitate dilemmas that it could help to solve. In practice, science cedes to less benevolent interests much of its own power to help guide society.

Good communication skills are learned, but talent and instinct are also involved. While I do think we have a responsibility to share what we know, it’s not for everyone. On this, one has to be one’s own judge. Some people are best as teachers, others add illumination to hotly debated issues such as climate science. The important thing is to find the right fit, and feel the right balance, for you. But the other important thing is: do something. Wield the knowledge, the value, or just the informed perspective that you have.

So what messages should scientists “communicate?” Many scientists assume that to “communicate science” would be to translate scientific findings, putting journal articles into plain language in a press release, in case anyone’s interested. And sometimes it is. But that’s not what I’m getting at.

I’m getting at something less prescriptive, more amorphous, more persistent and more penetrating. I’m saying that scientists should be a much greater presence in society, should be brighter on the public’s radar, and that how, exactly, we do it, is up to each of us.

The public doesn’t need to keep up-to-date on journal publications. What people do need to know is that scientists are people, that science is an honorable, trustworthy, and powerful endeavor that people should look to for answers, and as a way to help think through decisions. Every child asks, “Why is the sky blue?” People need to know that scientists are the ones among us who never stopped asking that question–and who found the answer.

242 responses to “Why communicate science?

  1. Brilliant!
    Balanced.
    A Beautiful mind.

    • Just like Georgia’s foremost science communicator, Represertative Broun:

      He further edified his constituents as to the place of radiative forcing in the scheme of things at this September 27 event :

  2. So the climate sensitivity is as blue as the sky? Hmmm, I thought it was as white as the clouds.
    =============

  3. Judith, Safina makes a lot of sense. I would love to have more scientists engage society. Any one of the 40 or so of my past associates in the R&D laboratory where I worked for 35 years would do a great job. They were happy lot, quite accomplished but showed some humility when discussing complex subjects. But please no more Jim Hansen. With him all climate questions have been answered. I just finished his 2010 book, “Storms of my Grandchildren”. It is so filled with absolutes I had to keep thinking is this a scientist speaking or a politician.

  4. The only reason for “communicating” science (to a public disinterested in it) is to extract money from the same public, in the form of grants and the likes. Cue Ike’s leaving speech, a general dumbing down of science and widespread intellectual if not actual prostitution of career-minded scientists.

    • The book Orwell wrote in 1948 [1] and Ike’s leaving speech in 1961 [2] were both warnings that government science might be misused to replace our form of government with a tyrannical one.

      http://www.george-orwell.org/1984

      Climategate emails and documents in 2009 showed the validity of those warnings. The responses of world leaders and leaders of nations since 2009 confirmed that this was not the work of a few rogue scientists.

      http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/climategate-30-year-timeline/

      [1] George Owrell (Eric Arthur Blair), Nineteen Eighty-Four (“1984″) (Secker and Warburg, London, 8 June 1949)

      [2] Ike’s (Former President Eisenhower’s) warning about the future

  5. Thanks, Professor Curry,

    Science is one path to Reality,Truth, God and one requirement is ferocious honesty in order to comprehend and to accept our place in the universe, in time, and in the splendid pageant of life.

    Post-1945 science has been another matter: http://omanuel.wordpress.com

    • Tyrants have difficulty getting “right-sized” and accepting that a Higher Power is in control. Thus Climategate showed that UN’s IPCC reports were based on biased global temperature data.

      Despite many benefits from the decision to form the UN on 24 Oct 1945, Allied scientists and leaders of Allied nations were apparently outmaneuvered and convinced to abandon documents that limit our government, like:

      1. The 1776 US Declaration of Independence
      2. The 1787 US Constitution, ratified in 1788
      3. The 1789 US Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791

      That may be why the global climate debate continues while leaders of the scientific community refuse to admit deceit in past government reports or to address experimental observations that undercut the basis of AGW dogma.

      • Despite efforts of post-1945 tyrants to control information and hide a Higher Power, precise experimental data and observations have shown conclusively that a FORCE at the Sun’s core [1]:

        1.Made our elements, starting with H from neutron-decay

        2. Explosively ejecting them five billion years (5 Gyr) ago

        3. Atoms of elements reacted to make chemical compounds

        4. Formed Earth in layers from poorly-mixed stellar ejecta

        5. Continued to bath Earth’s surface with energy needed to

        6. Reorganize HCNO compounds into reproducing life forms

        7. That produced religions, arts, music and modern science,

        8. Creativity recognized in constitutions of diverse nations

        9. At 1 AU and continued out > 100 AU beyond planet Earth

        http://www.nature.com/news/voyager-s-long-goodbye-1.11348

        Self-centered terrestrial tyrants cannot hide that FORCE !

        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        [1] “Neutron repulsion,” The APEIRON J. 19, 123-150 (2012) http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

  6. Scientists need to stop being a mother; figure.

    “Too often, when scientists discuss communicating science, they are referring to ways of effectively ‘activating’ science to convince the public to do (or not do) something.”

    Be productive for a change.

  7. After the the 3 Rs higher education was supposed to teach young people how to think not what to think. I think that’s been lost because everyone these days is smarter than Socrates.

  8. I have to admit, I had a problem with this sentence, ” Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.” There are plenty of biases in academia, and often academic scientists are just a guilty as any others in giving the folks who sponsor their work the answer they desire.
    When I talk to non-technical people about science, I usually talk about science being a creative destruction process. Good scientists work with the constraints of a field to find better explanation for the phenomena being studied or observed. Sometimes that degenerates into a war between camps who ascribe to the old vs. the new theory. This conflict is what makes science interesting. It’s why science if the province of the incorrigible younger siblings challenging authority rather than the most favored first born whose authority is part of their birthright or birth order.

  9. Communicating Science, in the end, is all that Science comes down to. The net reward and outcome of Science is the communication of that advancement, that insight, that next decimal point or great breakthrough or foundational proposition or diligent confirmation or rare unambiguous disconfirmation or exception building one generation of dwarf upon the prior all the way back to Newton and Halley and earlier.

    Communication is all the Scientist really creates, really produces, really ultimately is. Left to the mouths and hands of others, this communication I promise you will become corrupted and unsatisfactory and untrue should you not pay it close attention.

    The original authentic voice of the Scientist expressing the Science, correcting the error, unwinding the spin, taking back the Science from those who exploit and undermine it by turning it inside out, throwing up barriers to understanding it, contorting it to their ends. Over and over we see headlines in mass media that give exactly the opposite import to a piece of research than the actual conclusions of that paper. We see ulterior motives and obfuscation coloring and distorting the Science.

    This happens more when the issues are great and pressing matters of life and death and personal profit and personal liability, but it also can happen in the most abstract of topics. And these attacks on the communication of Science by outsiders, but exploiters who are not Scientists by any means, are the best reason to communicate Science more.

    All the Scientist is, all they’ve ever worked toward or are working toward is embodied in the truth of their Science. An attack on that is an attack on your person, your goals, everything you have put into all the work you have ever done. Attack back.

  10. I think I’m going to fall into a diabetic coma after reading this. “Science is human.” Oh good grief.

    Anthropomorphizing “science,” and imbuing it with all these rosy virtues, is part of the problem in the CAGW debate.

    Science isn’t “the collective endeavor of scientists.” It is a method for gaining knowledge. It isn’t honest, ferociously or otherwise. Scientists are honest, or aren’t. It doesn’t try to know things. Scientists do, or don’t. It doesn’t have curiosity and self -motivation. It has no self!

    And it sure as hell isn’t “a system for working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices.” Somebody hasn’t read a newspaper (or blog) in decades.

    Science is a method of learning about the physical world. Period. It is no more human than math, engineering, construction, or ditch digging.

    And “[a]cademic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth?” Oh please.

    It boggles the mind that the author of this article could criticize anyone else for hubris.

    Scientists are human beings, meaning among them are saints and sinners, donors and thieves, creators and destroyers, men/women of integrity and liars. Scientists, through their efforts, have given the world immeasurable benefits, and also immeasurable harms (particularly in the last century).

    Paeans to science like this are always made by those who wish “science,” meaning scientists like themselves, had more “impact,”meaning power over policy, than they currently have.

    And the real answer to why scientists (meaning climate scientists in the context of this blog) “communicate science?” Because progressives are progressives first, and everything else, scientist, professor, or writer, second.

    After ingesting this much sugar, I feel like I need a shot of insulin.

    • “I think I’m going to fall into a diabetic coma after reading this. “Science is human.” Oh good grief.

      Anthropomorphizing “science,” and imbuing it with all these rosy virtues, is part of the problem in the CAGW debate.

      Science isn’t “the collective endeavor of scientists.” It is a method for gaining knowledge. It isn’t honest, ferociously or otherwise. Scientists are honest, or aren’t. It doesn’t try to know things. Scientists do, or don’t. It doesn’t have curiosity and self -motivation. It has no self! ”

      Science is human. Human is science,
      Science is your culture. Your culture is human.
      5 centuries ago, not so much. But we are in a different world.
      Everyone should be familiar with science otherwise they aliens
      in the modern world. And we have too many aliens in our world.
      Of course this is not the same as everyone should be scientist- but they
      should have a broad understanding of science. E.g they should some knowledge about nuclear weapons- how else can they begin relate to topic of national security.
      For citizens to vote they need to understand the world they live in, that is impossible unless one some understanding this technological world which brought into being by science.

      “And it sure as hell isn’t “a system for working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices.” Somebody hasn’t read a newspaper (or blog) in decades.”

      I would say a democracy is a system of “working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices”- I can’t think what else it’s good for. Hmm. Well I have to think about it.
      But anyhow, a very important aspect of science is “working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices”.
      It also is interesting in terms of “puzzles”- so it has entertainment value.
      And has very practical basis- it only addresses that which could be resolved. Other than that, what else is science?

    • +1 on many levels. and I wont quibble with the bits I find objectionable.
      ( the motive seeking )

    • Well put. And even before you got your shot.

    • Ya, elevating Science to another Cause among Causes. Just what we need.

      Young people need to get interested in the question: “How would you go about finding out about something that’s somewhat or very mysterious?”

      Pure contemplation? Some trial and error and observation? Checking the mathematical connections between certain events to see if that suggests or proves something we didn’t expect?

      How do they really want to satisfy their curiousity?

      A dose of history, with all due respect to the past, to show how different answers to those questions affect the world and society. Plus periodic doses of interesting biographies; Rutherford, Faraday, Feynman come to mind. Many, many others.

    • And the real answer to why scientists (meaning climate scientists in the context of this blog) “communicate science?” Because progressives are progressives first, and everything else, scientist, professor, or writer, second.

      And right-wing ideologues are right-wing ideologues first and everything else second.

      ;-)

      And what a ridiculous notion: that ‘all climate scientists are progressives and all climate science is progressive politics in disguise’.

      Idiot.

      • lurker, passing through laughing

        So there is not a consensus. Good. A first step.

      • BBD: And what a ridiculous notion: that ‘all climate scientists are progressives and all climate science is progressive politics in disguise’.
        Idiot.

        Agreed. Only nearly all. Even though they are after all carefully selected and funded by politics, and politics is what stands to make such massive advanced from climate scare stories, not every last trace of integrity has (yet?) been expunged.

      • Except progressives have a declared and detailed plan to reshape society and humanity, utilizing every possible institution and avenue. There’s a century of published material to back that up, going back at least to the Fabians. “Right wing ideologues” have no such agenda, nor can you point to one.
        Except to pry the progressives loose from their stranglehold on government, media, and academia.

    • @GaryM, your eloquence ring true, I concur. I would only add science is a fundamental methodology to gain knowledge of nature (science is fundamentalism and when it strays from it’s method fundamentals it ceases to be science).

  11. Communicating science like Feynman does in Cargo Cult Science is salutary. Communicating your own science, tooth and nail, is advocacy and is non – salutary, like gate – keeping.

    Feynman goes to the heart of scientific integrity with this:
    “If you’re doing an experiment you should report everything you think might make it invalid – not only what you think about it.’ …’it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself that is missing in cargo cult science.’

  12. Since science tries to honestly know what’s going on, and good decisions require at least that, scientists are often those best-informed to advise society on what should be done. Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.

    Many scientists believe they should avoid “advocacy.” If scientists decide not to engage, less-informed policy makers, pressured by less-objective advocates, will make decisions anyway. They’ll often do so without the benefit of the best advice they might have gotten, or without anyone arguing on behalf of the facts.

    I’m not so sure that scientists can be always be considered to be the “best-informed” – or the source of the “best advice” available.

    As Matt Ridley has shown quite cogently, in The Perils Of Confirmation Bias:

    Climate scientists and their media champions equate [...] scepticism [wrt the so-called consensus view] with scepticism about, say, the theory of evolution. Yet evolution is an explanation of facts; dangerous man-made climate change is a prediction about the future. Theories about the future are always less reliable than theories about the past.

    Ridley also notes:

    In the first half of the twentieth century, eugenics was a theory about future danger, based on prediction, demanding short-term pain for long-term gain and insisting that its tenets were beyond reasonable challenge.

    Speaking of the similarities between the “communication” of the theory of global warming and the theory of eugenics … Richard Lindzen has an excellent essay, written in 1995, that is well worth reading in full, Science and Politics: Global Warming and Eugenics [h/t Bebben via comment at BH]. Lindzen summarizes:

    [T]he interaction of science, advocacy and politics in both the global warming and eugenics cases share a number of characteristics:

    Powerful advocacy groups claiming to represent both science and the public in the name of morality and superior wisdom.

    Simplistic depictions of the underlying science so as to facilitate widespread ‘understanding.’

    ‘Events’, real or contrived, interpreted in such a manner as to promote a sense of urgency in the public at large.

    Scientists flattered by public attention and deferent to ‘political will’ and popular assessment of virtue.

    Significant numbers of scientists eager to produce the science demanded by the ‘public.’

    [and he concludes:]

    Scientists characteristically suppose that when science is claimed as the basis for political action, that the action will be subject to frequent review as the science evolves. It is, therefore, worth repeating that the political ‘product,’ the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, remained unchanged for 40 years – well beyond the demise of the underlying ‘science.’ The point is that political actions are rarely simply a ‘product’ of science, and that once science has served its supportive function, its political role is essentially over. [emphasis added -hro]

  13. Many scientists believe they should avoid “advocacy.” If scientists decide not to engage, less-informed policy makers, pressured by less-objective advocates, will make decisions anyway. They’ll often do so without the benefit of the best advice they might have gotten, or without anyone arguing on behalf of the facts.

    Scientists should make it very clear when they are speaking outside their area of expertise, when they are making statements that are their personal opinion, and when they are making statements that are based on their political and ideological beliefs.

    When scientists make statements that are based on their political and ideological beliefs – which many do now days – and misleadingly try to pass them off as their professional opinion based on science, the scientists should be reprimanded.

    Scientists have a habit of arguing for policies that they don’t have any more understanding about than the taxi driver or the guy standing next to them in the pub. Examples are climate scientists advocating carbon pricing and renewable energy. Climate scientists know squat all about these subjects, yet they have strong opinions about what policies should be implemented. Most of the top climate scientists in Australia have strong opinions and are strong advocates for carbon pricing and renewable energy. They have little specialist knowledge in either. But they have a strong belief in Green Left Progressive ideologies so they advocate carbon pricing and renewable energy, just because those ideologies advocate them.

    • Indeed. The human drive for status, altitude, authority is deep-seated, and scientists are notoriously motivated by it. Einstein and Feynman may have been exceptions; Newton and many others were not.

      Nullus in Verba, indeed.

      • Brian H,

        Thank you for your comment and for alerting me to my comment from a few days ago, given WebHubTelescope’s recent comments about renewable energy and his vitriol about those who do not accept his belies. This bit of my comment above is particularly relevant:

        Scientists have a habit of arguing for policies that they don’t have any more understanding about than the taxi driver or the guy standing next to them in the pub. Examples are climate scientists advocating carbon pricing and renewable energy. Climate scientists know squat all about these subjects, yet they have strong opinions about what policies should be implemented.

        WebHubTelescope’s recent comment http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/13/week-in-review-101312/#comment-253781 advocates renewable energy and derides anyone who does not agree with his irrational beliefs.

        Not that I am trying to imply WHT is a climate scientist.

        My response with a simple calculation of the capital cost of renewables versus gas generation, is here: http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/13/week-in-review-101312/#comment-253876

      • Yes, and when the Invisible Hand* starts to squeeze in earnest (as it may have already), blood and guts will squirt all over the furniture.

        * Real prices will be paid in the end.

      • I beseech thee, in the bowels of Christ, consider that you might be wrong.
        ===========

  14. “Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.”

    A true howler.

  15. Carl Safina provides good insights on “Why communicate science?” Seeking Truth is one key.

    As science progresses through time, it has a strong tendency toward correcting its misperceptions, accepting those corrections, and spiraling in on the truth.

    An ancient foundational principle of wisdom is:
    Proverbs 18:17 ESV

    The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

    From this we have the scientific principle of examining objective evidence and testing hypotheses and theories against that evidence. It also requires allowing all sides to present their evidence and papers.

    In communicating science, a similar guiding principle is:
    Proverbs 16:13 NIV

    Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
    they value a man who speaks the truth.

    Providing “truth by giving objective evidence to policymakers is a key reason for “Why communicate science”. This is especially important when massive financial expenditures are at stake.
    Safina asserts: “Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.”
    That may be reasonable in non-political issues with few financial drivers. However, with the large sums involved in pharmaceutical research, modern medical ethics requires that clinical studies must use double blind studies to avoid biasing results. When policies need to be established based on science, then political issues are often intertwined. Washington is awash with vocal environmental and energy lobbyists. Consequently climate scientists are often strongly pressured by environmental and political advocates.
    Unfortunately, academia is self selectively very politically biased. e.g. Republicans Outnumbered in Academia NYT 2004

    Professor (Daniel) Klein found a nine-to-one ratio of Democrats to Republicans on the faculties of Berkeley and Stanford. That study, which included professors from the hard sciences, engineering and professional schools as well as the humanities and social sciences, also found the ratio especially lopsided among the younger professors of assistant or associate rank: 183 Democrats versus 6 Republicans

    This very liberal bias is very obvious in the IPCC reports, the ClimateGate emails, and in advocates like James “Death Train” Hansen.
    I submit that strong measures are required to ensure objective unbiased results in climate science, similar to the double blind tests in medical research. These challenges in discovering and communicating science are eloquently discussed by John Christy in his 20 September 2012 testimony before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee US Congress:

    I’ve often stated that climate science is a “murky” science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do. As a result what passes for science includes, opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by preselected groups. This is not science. . . .
    Since the IPCC activity is funded by US taxpayers, then I propose that five to ten percent of the funds be allocated to a group of well-credentialed scientists to produce an assessment that expresses legitimate, alternative hypotheses that have been (in their view) marginalized, misrepresented or ignored in previous IPCC reports (and thus EPA and National Climate Assessments). Such activities are often called “Red Team” reports and are widely used in government and industry. Decisions regarding funding for “Red Teams” should not be placed in the hands of the current “establishment” but in panels populated by credentialed scientists who have experience in examining these issues.

    What this proposal seeks is to provide to the Congress and other policymakers a parallel, scientifically-based assessment regarding the state of climate science which addresses issues which here-to-for have been un- or under-represented by previous tax-payer funded, government-directed climate reports. In other words, our policymakers need to see the entire range of findings regarding climate change.
    am” reports and are widely used in government and industry. . . .
    Thus, if the country deems it necessary to de-carbonize civilization’s main energy sources, then compelling reasons beyond human-induced climate change need to be offered that must address, for example, ways to help poor countries develop affordable energy. Climate change alone is a weak leg on which to stand to justify a centrally planned, massive change in energy production, infrastructure and cost.

    I encourage readers to read all of Christy’s very thought provoking testimony as an example of excellence in communicating science to policy makers and legislatures.

  16. Hmmm … wonder what “bad” words I might have used that sent my comment (with only two links) to moderation.

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/09/why-communicate-science/#comment-251314

  17. i think scientists are brilliant

    • … that’s a stupid I say.

    • I might just puke.

    • very pious of you to say so.

    • lolwot

      You may “think that scientists are brilliant” but that is immaterial

      They’re just “human beings”, like entrepreneurss, economists, engineers, fire fighters, etc.

      Safina gets a bit carried away with the importance of scientists in the overall scheme of things.

      Yeah. A small percentage of them have made some remarkable discoveries that have improved our lives, but most of them are “just humans”, like the rest of us.

      Max

    • + 1 lolwot. These fools don’t know what they owe or to whom.

    • Idiocy aside, including my own snark, what astonishes and dismays me constantly about ‘sceptics’ is their obvious loathing of science and scientists.

      What the hell is that about? Seriously now.

      • It’s loathing of bureaucratic science, bureaucrats and suppression.

      • ‘Suppression’? ‘Bureaucratic science’? This sounds like a conspiracy theory. Are you a conspiracy theorist?

      • You’re part of it. You’re trying to suppress skeptical voices.

      • You’re part of it. You’re trying to suppress skeptical voices.

        What? The ‘sceptics’ don’t have a scientific basis for their rejection of the scientific consensus. Nice the way you expand your conspiracy theory to include me – simply because I point out the *fact* that you lot have nothing.

        You sound paranoid, but I suppose that goes with the territory.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        ‘‘That’s because you are a climate change denier …….. Which of course means that your opinion is worthless’

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/#comment-251743

        Nothing to do with suppression then?

      • Latimer

        Let’s have the quote in full:

        That’s because you [Latimer] are a climate change denier who is also denying paleoclimate evidence and modern studies of accelerating ice mass loss from both the GIS and the WAIS. Which of course means that your opinion is worthless.

        As anyone can see, this is simply stating the obvious. Any opinion based on a rejection of most of the available evidence is worthless.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        You mean that I am a ‘denier’ because I agreed with the latest IPCC sealevel predictions?

        Must sure be a lot of ‘deniers’ around. Mostly in that ‘scientific consensus’ you occasionally like to quote.

      • No, Latimer, I said that your opinions are based on a rejection of most of the available evidence. This renders them worthless.

        Even your claimed acceptance of the AR4 SLR projections feeds the blindness:

        You mean that I am a ‘denier’ because I agreed with the latest IPCC sealevel predictions?

        As previously explained, the ‘latest’ IPCC SLR projections are excessively conservative because they exclude ice sheet dynamics. While not wholly worthless, these projections are misleading and obsolete. Hence your claimed partiality for them.

        Its both simple and self-evident. I’m surprised you don’t get it; clever chap like you.

      • Latimer Alder

        @BBD

        I am basing my opinion about sealevel on the latest available work from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which you might claim to be the best summary of ‘climate science’. And is germane to government policy decisions all around the world.

        If and when they change their opinion, I am happy to revisit my thoughts.

        That you are convinced that things are different because of later work is, of course, your privilege. But it is no reason to label me as a ‘denier’ – a term I find rather offensive.

        Seems to me that there is a great and unfortunate tendency among alarmists to make wild and scary predictions which cannot be defended against even my inexpert level of first level questioning. And then to give up and start screaming about ‘denial’ in a childish and petulant manner.

        One who truly believed in their cause..and had studied it to the level needed to demonstrate its correctness would surely be able to do a lot lot better than this. The argument ‘I must be right because you are a denier’ is laughably inept.

        Caricature…but only just

        BBD: The world is going to end in 2100 because we’re all going to drown
        LA: Don’t believe you and nether does the IPCC or the sea level data. show me where I – and they – are wrong.
        BBD: It is, it is, it is. So there
        LA: Still don’t believe you. Where’s the evidence?
        BBD: Denier! Your opinion is worthless

      • (Eck, this commenting system is a nightmare.

        This should be here:)

        Well, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I called you a ‘clever chap’. But you are unquestionably a denier ;-)

        And willard is right: you can’t read (parse). See comments above, again.

      • If and when they change their opinion, I am happy to revisit my thoughts.

        I will hold you to this when AR5 is published.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        ‘I will hold you to this when AR5 is published’

        Fine. I’ll be happy to look at their predictions and their reasoning again then.

        And if the real sealevel data starts to show the rate increase that it soon must if your prediction of 5000 mm by 2100 is to be achieved (*), then I’d be happy to support beginning to think about the major infrastructure works that might be required in the last half of the century.

        But until then, we can cross sealevel rise of our immediate list of KlimatAngst problems.

        What’s next?

        (*) recall that sea level rise will need to average nearly twenty (20) times its current rate over the next 88 years to get there. And if the current rate continues for another 20 years (as it has since 1992) the required rate will be 25 times over 68 years. And so it goes…..the numerator is reducing a lot less fast than the denominator..and the result just keeps on getting tougher as time goes by.

      • LA

        What’s next?

        Whoa. Let’s not gallop away.

        And if the real sealevel data starts to show the rate increase that it soon must if your prediction of 5000 mm by 2100 is to be achieved (*), then I’d be happy to support beginning to think about the major infrastructure works that might be required in the last half of the century.

        That’s an egregious straw man :-) . The current best estimate for SLR by 2100 is between 0.8m – 2m. The Eemian highstand was ~5m. Childishly obvious misrepresentation might provoke a petulant response on my part and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

        Since you aren’t familiar with the latest research you should find this survey interesting. The thing to note is that if the embayed ice shelves impeding glacial outflow at the WAIS margin disintegrate, the gravity-driven drainage of the ice sheet proper accelerates. The collapse of Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 and subsequently increased glacial flow rate provide an instructive case study*.

        The WAIS is a marine ice sheet; it is entirely grounded below the datum because the bedrock beneath it has sunk under the weight of the ice (isostatic depression). As glacial drainage thins the ice sheet from above, the margins will begin to float (freshwater ice is lighter than seawater). This buoyancy causes stress fracturing along the margin. The accelerated marginal disintegration of the thinning and buoyant ice sheet allows seawater to penetrate further. Rapid and irreversible collapse ensues, relentlessly propelled by gravity-driven glacial drainage down the gradient of the ice sheet to the datum. That’s how you get from >1m SLR by late this century to ~5m by half way through the next.

        A further complicating factor is SLR from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS). An increase in MSL raises sea level along the margin of the WAIS. This would increase the stress on the margin and exacerbate fracturing and instablity, accelerating disintegration. Very interesting things happened to the GIS in 2012. This summer ‘albedo flip’ is exactly the kind of melt-accelerating phenomenon discussed in Hansen (2007), along with the non-linear nature of ice sheet collapse.

        You can deny all of this, but it will not go away. All that happens is that you become increasingly isolated and out of touch. You will not be taken seriously, and worse, people will make mock.

        ***

        * For the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf and its effects on glacier flow rates, see:

        Rignot E, Casassa G, Gogineni P, Krabill W, Rivera A and
        Thomas R 2004 Accelerated discharge from the Antarctic
        Peninsula following collapse of Larsen B ice shelf Geophys.
        Res. Lett. 31 L18401

        Rignot E and Jacobs S S 2002 Rapid bottom melting widespread near
        Antarctic ice sheet grounding lines Science 296 2020–3

        Scambos T A, Bohlander J A, Shuman C A and Skvarca P 2004
        Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the
        Larsen B embayment, Antarctica Geophys. Res. Lett.
        31 L18402

        Shepherd A, Wingham D, Payne T and Skvarca P 2003 Larsen ice
        shelf has progressively thinned Science 302 856–9

        Shepherd A, Wingham D and Rignot E 2004 Warm ocean is eroding
        West Antarctic ice sheet Geophys. Res. Lett. 31 L23402

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        No loathing of ‘science and scientists’ in general from me, mon brave.

        But I’m not so sure about climate scientists and their hangers-on. They don’t collectively seem to have a fantastic track record of integrity, probity and straight-dealing. But quite the reverse. A thoroughly unpleasant bunch, I would not lightly do business with.

      • BBD,

        I would trust Latimer’s opinion of unpleasantness, if I were you.

      • willard

        You are right of course. The man clearly knows whereof he speaks.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard, @bbd

        Fear not. I wouldn’t do business at all with you two guys, You may sleep easy.

      • Oh O!

        “tighten their belts, do more for less and make subsidies go further”

        toot-toot

      • Tom

        You mistake your man. I’ve argued for well over a decade that the UK should have radically expanded its nuclear baseload capacity rather than chasing after wind.

        You weren’t to know, but now you do.

      • John Carpenter

        Scientists by nature are skeptical….. so they are skeptics….
        So does that mean the scientists loath what they do and themselves?
        Seriously, try again.

      • “loathing”? examples?

        … didn’t think so.

      • Well, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I called you a ‘clever chap’. But you are unquestionably a denier ;-)

        And willard is right: you can’t read (parse). See comments above, again.

      • BBD,

        Don’t worry, no one takes you seriously.

      • Then why are you trolling me? Just for the simple joy of being an idiot?
        :-)

      • You find joy is odd ways.

      • One thing AR5 won’t be doing is saying that the evidence indicates basal lubrication is a major cause of concern.

      • What prompts you to say that, steven?

      • I cheated and read the drafts.

      • Drafts aren’t final versions. Can you be more specific?

      • Thank you steven. Now, I would be grateful if you read my response to Latimer above very carefully. Compare what I say about the WAIS ice shelves etc, and the GIS albedo flip (follow link for implications for surface melt and compare with ZOD).

        Now, be truthful – did I mention basal melt even once?

        ;-)

      • You mentioned AR4 and accelerated ice sheet dynamics. I just assumed you knew you were talking about basal lubrication.

      • I asked you a very specific question about a specific comment. Stop wriggling and answer it please.

      • How amusing. Just call me a dishonest denier. I don’t care for all the games between now and then.

      • Oh dear steven. Can’t say ‘sorry, I was wrong’? Never mind, I’ll help you:

        Sorry BBD, I’ve read your lengthy and informative comment carefully, as you suggested, and I can find no mention of basal melt whatsoever. The entire comment provides a detailed gloss on your previous responses to LA, explaining the role of embayed ice shelves in stabilising the WAIS, and the high potential for instability should these collapse. I also note the importance of surface melt on the rate of mass balance loss from the GIS.

        I really have no idea why I started blithering on about basal melt, but this isn’t the first time I’ve made an arse of myself by picking a fight with you in comments.

        Because I’m here in good faith and I’m not a miserable little rodent, I won’t play stupid, evasive games with you. Instead, I’ll just own the error and leave it there.

        Sorry for the confusion – I’ll read your comments a bit more carefully next time rather than just jumping in with irrelevancies. I know how annoying this can be.

      • I actually am sorry. I like a good argument and thought you might have potential. I was mistaken.

      • But steven, there was nothing to argue about. You were mistaken to bring up basal melt but unfortunately lack the common decency to admit it.

      • If I was wrong to bring it up show me the SLR estimates without it.

      • Actually, don’t bother. You didn’t understand our last argument and you probably won’t understand this one.

      • If I was wrong to bring it up show me the SLR estimates without it.

        Previous estimates are incomplete, conservative and obsolete. Things are moving on, rapidly.

        Basal lubrication is a *facilitator*. GIS basal lubrication is enhanced by summer surface melt and increases summer flow rates of outflow glaciers. As ever, the IPCC is being very conservative in its wording. Here – again – is this year’s stunning GIS albedo flip. Here’s the GIS ice surface temperature data. That’s where the melt water comes from. Draw your own conclusions about mid-term effects on glacial outflow rates.

        The really important factor is ice shelf disintegration, both for GIS and WAIS. See my response to LA above and the ZOD (4.2.3.5.2) and (4.2.3.5.3). Remember, basal lubrication is a facilitator. Remove buttressing ice sheets and it has *more effect*.

        See Pritchard et al. (2012). Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves.

        What are you really interested in? Pushing your contrarian agenda or getting at the facts? The science or the crypto-denialist messaging?

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Your graph seems to show that the summers in Greenland have been a bit warmer than usual in the last few years. And you say that this is raising the sea level more quickly than would otherwise happen.

        Can you please show a sealevel graph where this effect is already evident? If not, how long do you estimate it will be before the effect actually shows up in the sealevel data? Two years worth of unusual melting ought to be showing up pretty soon. I need to make a note in my diary to look again for comparison.

        TIA

      • See Van den Broeke (2011) Fig. 4 Cumulative sea level rise contributions (1989–2009) from the AIS (blue) and the GrIS (green) and their sum (red). Dashed lines indicate uncertainty margins

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Thanks.

        I looked at the paper you cited. Here is the ‘money quote':

        ‘This represents an average contribution of the ice sheets to SLR of 1.1 ± 0.4 mm year-1 over that six-year period, which agrees well
        with the estimate based on SLR residuals (1.0 ± 0.5 mm year-1)’.
        [From Section 4. Discussion and Conclusions]

        Being generous, a contribution of 1.1+0.4mm = 1.5mm/year is 15 cm per century. My trusty school ruler tells me that this is almost exactly 6 inches. And it also tells me that six inches is the depth of two standard UK housebricks laid with mortar.

        Is this extra 15 cm/ 6 inches in 100 years the amount that you are asking us to be so concerned about? Or do you have something else in mind? If so. please point me to it and its supporting observational evidence.

        I note also that the paper draws attention to the ‘important interannual variability ‘ Here’s what they say

        ‘the year-to-year contributions to cumulative SLR are very variable’.

        Perhaps we should treat plots of only two and a half years temperature data (as cited in your post above) with considerable circumspection. The paper suggests that a better indication would be achieved by using a ten-year average.

        TIA

      • LA

        Being generous, a contribution of 1.1+0.4mm = 1.5mm/year is 15 cm per century.

        The rate of mass loss from both the GIS and the WAIS is accelerating. You are doing what AR4 did (although for very different reasons): you are applying a *linear* extrapolation when the nature of the change will be non-linear. I’ve been through the ice sheet dynamics with you already (no response from you, I note). I’m not going through it all again.

        I note also that the paper draws attention to the ‘important interannual variability ‘ Here’s what they say

        ‘the year-to-year contributions to cumulative SLR are very variable’.

        Oh look mum: a childishly transparent misrepresentation. The full quote is unambiguous:

        Although the long-term trend is clearly positive and appears to be accelerating (Rignot et al. 2011), the year-to-year contributions to cumulative SLR are very variable.

        Can’t get no, I can’t get no…

      • Latimer Alder

        @bbd

        Please see my reply here

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/09/why-communicate-science/#comment-252879

        which has sadly become misplaced.

      • http://permalink.lanl.gov/object/tr?what=info:lanl-repo/lareport/LA-UR-09-00247

        This has a very clear explanation in it why the basal lubrication is so important.

      • steven

        Just upthread, I said this:

        The really important factor is ice shelf disintegration, both for GIS and WAIS. See my response to LA above and the ZOD (4.2.3.5.2) and (4.2.3.5.3). Remember, basal lubrication is a facilitator. Remove buttressing ice sheets and it has *more effect*.

        Now, let’s turn to this excerpt from the Price draft paper:

        Perhaps more importantly, the simulations confirm that the longest standing bogeyman in glaciology, the so-called “marine ice sheet instability,,12,13, is alive and well. According to this hypothesis, if a glacier rests on a bed below sea level that slopes downwards inland, its retreat into deeper water will be re-inforced by acceleration and thinning until the bedrock slope reverses (and the glacier encounters shallower water) or until some other “braking” mechanism halts its retreat In the case of Helheim glacier, retreat was halted in 2006 by a combination of shallower water and the re-establishment of a floating ice tongue, which provides some resistance to flow5,7. Had that not occurred, Nick and colleagues show that shoaling bedrock topography would have stopped the retreat several 10’s of kilometres farther inland.

        In Greenland, there are few places where the bedrock topography remains below sea level far inland from the coast. Therefore, according to the work by Nick and colleagues5, for most of Greenland’s outlet glaciers, dynamic mass losses are expected to be short-lived. One exception is beneath Jacobshavn Isbrae, Greenland’s largest outlet glacier, where a deep bedrock trough extends far into the ice sheet interior. Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, Jacobshavn continues to accelerate, thin, and retreat to this day14.

        In Antarctica, the story is quite different. Here, many hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of the ice sheet rest on bedrock below sea level. The observations in Greenland and the model simulations by Nick and colleagues suggest that the potential for large-scale ice sheet instability in Antarctica is indeed real.

        Remember that in the first of my comments that I was obliged to link for you because you apparently hadn’t read it before commenting, I was principally concerned with the WAIS.

        Finally, there is something we should bear in mind with regard to the Price hypothesis. Even if it is correct (which is by no means certain) SLR driven by disintegration of the WAIS will cause perturbation at the GIS ice-ocean boundary to resume.

      • Perturbations at the ice-sea interface can only produce a limited effect on the GIS. It would reverse once the susceptible ice had flowed. You would get an acceleration followed by a deceleration of ice flow. That is why the higher estimates from ice flow were not included in the AR4 estimations. There was not a consensus that basal lubrication was as large a problem as some believed and so far the evidence has supported those that didn’t support the inclusion of those estimates. The fact is that basal lubrication was the worse of the hypotheses presented and to term it just a facilitator is ludicrous. As far as the bogeyman in the paper goes, perhaps there is a reason why they termed it bogeyman. It may be as likely as the monster being under your bed. I didn’t link the paper as support for a particular model, just for the explanation of why basal lubrication was important.

        Carlos Santana Feat. Everlast – Put Your Lights On – YouTube

      • I can’t pass up linking it again.It was too difficult to work into the conversation to not play

      • steven

        Either you have devastatingly severe comprehension problems or you are just being a prat. I don’t know what else I can say given the number of times I have repeated myself, linked to previous comments and external references and generally endeavoured to clarify and support what I have said.

        For the very last time: I didn’t mention basal lubrication because – as you *originally* suggested – it isn’t of primary importance. The issue is the WAIS, disintegration of embayed buttressing ice shelves and the inherent instability of marine ice sheets. Nothing whatsoever to do with basal lubrication. I cannot bring myself to repeat another word of what I have said – again and again and again – above.

        Your commentary has taken on the same twisting, amorphous quality I recall from previous discussions. And you have now posted a video clip. Perhaps we can call it a day.

      • LA

        The paper itself presents its results in a linearised format. I used the same format in an extrapolation in exactly the same way as the IPCC did.

        We’ve been through this. The AR4 linear extrapolation is incomplete and obsolete because it excludes non-linear response by ice sheets. See all comments on non-linear ice sheet dynamics upthread. Read them this time, as they were written in response to your misconceptions and for your benefit. I already know this stuff.

        When last I looked, this acceleration was not immediately apparent in the published data.

        The reduction/recovery in global SLR associated with the 2010 El Nino is going to mask so slight a change (assuming your calculation and the assumptions you made are correct).

        Shall we reconvene then to see if the prediction has come true?

        Yes, let’s do that. There should be lots of other trend changes we can discuss by then too. Bookmark this comment.

      • @BBD

        Not sure that I agree at all that a change from 3mm/annum to 4mm/annum should be called ‘so slight a change’. Increasing to 5mm/annum by 2026 etc etc..should soon be pretty apparent.

        But I’m cool with the idea that we park the sealevel discussion until 2016. Put it for the moment in the category ‘waiting for more experimental data’ and we can discuss other stuff.

      • BBD, buttressing had disappeared prior to AR4. The ice flow trend had already increased and that increased trend was used in calculations of future SLR. If the primary concern is the loss of buttressing you have a situation where it is just as likely to decelerate as accelerate from that linear trend and, in the long term, more likely to decelerate. If the problem were basal lubrication there was likely to be an increasing acceleration for a considerable length of time. As my link pointed out, once the ice flow has come to equlibrium with the loss of butressing, dynamic ice flow is no longer is an issue. That is why I mentioned basal lubrication. It is the elephant in a room of fleas when it comes to dynamic ice flow. You are worried about fleas. I agree that we should just drop it for now. Perhaps we can pick it up again after AR5 is published with new SLR estimates.

      • steven, you appear unable to distinguish between the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

        Either that or you are a terminal buffoon.

      • BBD, ice flow dynamics is sort of similar down there except perhaps it flushes in a different direction, I’m not sure about that. You are still talking about fleas barring the bogeyman scenario. If you can’t find more likely bogeymen out there you simply aren’t trying to find things to be afraid of.

      • BBD, ice flow dynamics is sort of similar down there except perhaps it flushes in a different direction, I’m not sure about that.

        Let’s sort out the confusion. The discussion of non-linear SLR driven by non-linear ice sheet dynamics is all about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Not the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). The WAIS is the only marine ice sheet on the planet. And that makes all the difference in the world.

        Your own reference says exactly what I have been saying all along:

        Perhaps more importantly, the simulations confirm that the longest standing bogeyman in glaciology, the so-called “marine ice sheet instability, is alive and well. According to this hypothesis, if a glacier rests on a bed below sea level that slopes downwards inland, its retreat into deeper water will be re-inforced by acceleration and thinning until the bedrock slope reverses (and the glacier encounters shallower water) or until some other “braking” mechanism halts its retreat.

        [...]

        In Antarctica [...] many hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of the ice sheet rest on bedrock below sea level.The observations in Greenland and the model simulations by Nick and colleagues suggest that the potential for large-scale ice sheet instability in Antarctica is indeed real.

        The second paragraph refers to the *West Antarctic* Ice Sheet: The Only Marine Ice Sheet In The World ™. Please, take a moment to read it again.

        Everything I have said so far will make much more sense if you hold the distinction between the WAIS and the EAIS and the GIS firmly in mind. I hope this finally clears up the muddle.

      • BBD, nobody knows how realistic the bogeyman scenario is. Here is a press release

        http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_129988_en.html

        for this study

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018211000423

        that indicates the WAIS has been fairly stable for a considerable length of time including a period of time where global temperatures were 2C higher than those at present. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to worry about the bogeyman scenario but it does mean there are conflicting views and, like so many things in climate science, more data is needed before we start to panic. I think the idea that more data is needed is the consensus view right now.

      • I think the idea that more data is needed is the consensus view right now.

        First off, I agree wholeheartedly with you on this.

        On the paleoclimate fun stuff:

        Dr Fogwill looked at the cosmic radiation levels in exposed rocks in moraines, where weather and landscape erode ice to reveal bare rock, along the Heritage range of mountains near the central dome of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

        They found that the moraines had been developing for at least 200,000 years, suggesting ice has covered the area for at least that long – meaning the ice-sheet would have survived the last warm period in the Earth’s climate.

        The Heritage Range and *central dome* of the WAIS is here.

        This is where Fogwill finds ancient moraine deposits on ancient ice, which is no surprise. It doesn’t tell us anything about the rest of the WAIS over the last 200ka. It doesn’t tell us about the rest of the WAIS during the Eemian interglacial (~130ka – 114ka).

        The relationship between the WAIS and mean global sea level during the Eemian is interesting.

        The Eemian sea level highstand was ~5m above present sea level. The big question is: where did all that water come from and where is it now?

        The only plausible candidates for where it came from and where it is now are the GIS and the WAIS.

        While the WAIS can exist as a marine ice sheet at *current* sea levels, it would be unlikely to survive in its present form if MSL increased by ~5m.

        Parsimonious reasoning points to the WAIS being a major contributor to the Eemian MSL highstand.

        Unless it was mostly Greenland melt after all ;-)

      • It is right next to the Ronne ice shelf. I suspect he picked that location for that reason. Typically I am skeptical of anything that involves paleo work and that would include past sea levels. I will admit when it comes to sea levels it is instinctive skepticism since I have never looked at the issue.

      • [This study] indicates the WAIS has been fairly stable for a considerable length of time including a period of time where global temperatures were 2C higher than those at present.

        Well no, all Fogwill is suggesting is that the *central dome* of the WAIS might be ancient ice. Not the whole ice sheet. From F11:

        The implication is that although the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) may have fluctuated in thickness during glacial cycles, the central dome has remained intact for at least 200 kyr and possibly even for 400 kyr.

        The age of the central dome doesn’t tell us anything about the rest of the WAIS, nor is Fogwill suggesting that it does, but the hypothesis argued in F11 is interesting for several related reasons.

        There’s general agreement that MSL would rise by ~5m if the entire WAIS disintegrates and ~3m if ice caps remain on the mountainous underpinning of the sheet (eastern border; possibly Marie Byrd Land).

        It seems very likely indeed that the WAIS was a substantial contributor to the Eeminan highstand. The water had to come from somewhere and there are only two plausible reservoirs: the WAIS and the GIS. The emerging view is that the ~5m was made up of about 2m from the GIS and ~3m from the WAIS. F11 fits very well with this picture. Constraining the WAIS contribution to ~3m supports the ~2m estimate for the GIS contribution. It also provides a little more evidence that studies claiming >6m for the Eemian highstand are over-estimates.

        Anyway, this was very interesting and thanks for posting the link. Here’s the full paper if you are interested.

        By all means be sceptical about paleoclimate reconstructions, but don’t be suspicious and rejectionist. That’s not the same thing at all.

      • Thanks for the link the methodology was pretty interesting.

  18. “But science is an attempt to avoid what’s worst about being human and to bring out what’s best. It doesn’t have the hubris to think it knows everything. It holds no dogma. It is a system for working around bias and cutting through preconceived notions and prejudices.”

    Unfortunately, the more rabid warmists have consistently demonstrated precisely the opposite.

  19. ‘Science is human’? Say, is the spider’s web the spider? Science, while created by humans, like the contents of our libraries becomes part of a world of objective knowledge, Karl Popper’s ‘ world 3′ as distinct from World 1, our physical world and ‘world 2,’ world of our conscious experience.

    Popper argues the world 3 is not a fiction but exists in reality. Through our human tools of critical language and mathematics, it has tremendous impact on world 1, mediated through the second world. Not only does it exist but it transcends and becomes independent of its makers, for our theories have implications and create new problems, eg Maxwell, undreamed of by a theory’s creator.. and these may generate new theories.

    Only with the development of an exsomatic descriptive language, a language like a tool hat develops outside the body, a linguistic world 3, can problems and standards of rational criticism evolve. (Popper considers that it is the reluctance to accept the existence of this third world that constitutes a central problem of the humanities. Hence ‘science’ cannot be separated from scientist creators.)

  20. The question perhaps should be, ‘What should scientists try to communicate?’

    I think we can see that what they have been communicating for 30 years in biology, sociology, climate science, etc., is not the answer to that question.

    What scientists should be communicating (passing from their brain to the brains of their audience) is the sense of wonder that caused them to take up science. The curiosity that drives them. The questions they are trying to answer.

    When the importance of those questions is in fact communicated, the world will dive in to see how the answers are found. Tens of thousands read Darwin and Huxley to find out about speciation. Hundreds of thousands have donated their computers’ spare capacity to help find ET. Huge numbers have served as lab rats or controls to help scientists cure diseases.

    I find it astonishing that this question is being raised. The world has wanted to know about science for more than a century. They come knocking on scientists’ doors.

    The question that should be asked is what role should scientists play in public life beyond the scientific sphere. And here–from eugenics to climate change–the performance of scientists is very much open to question.

  21. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The emancipation of man via forms of government promoting the “general good” and life in a free society that accords protection to all on an equal basis, argued d’Holbach in 1770, is not an impossible dream:

    “If error and ignorance have forged the chains which bind peoples in oppression, if it is prejudice which perpetuates those chains, science, reason and truth will one day be able to break them” (Si l’erreur et l’ignorance ont forge les chaines des peuples, si le prejuge les perpetue, la science, la raison, la verite pourront un jour les briser).

    A noble and beautiful thought, no doubt, but was d’Holbach right? That perhaps, is the question of our time.

      — Jonathan Israel
        A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and
        the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy

    Climate Etc folks often forget that the Founders and Framers of modern science, were no less radically progressive, than the Founders and Framers of American republican democracy!

    Indeed, many of the greatest Enlightenment thinkers were Founders and Framers of *both* modern democracy *and* modern science, eh? ;) :smile: :grin: :lol: :!:

    Conclusion  History advises us plainly, that the founders and framers of modern science should celebrate radical progressivism … not shrink from it! ;) :smile: :grin: :lol: :!:

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The above principle “The founders and framers of science — past, present, and future — uniformly embrace radical progressivism” has this common-sense corollary:

      •  “It is neither necessary, nor feasible, nor even desirable, that scientists nor politicians nor enterprise leaders should all think alike.”

      The reason is that science, democracy, and enterprise all fail without continuous innovation, eh? ;)   :smile:   :grin:   :lol:   :!:

      The necessary check-and-balance to the radically progressive vision of science is of course supplied by Nature … “Nature cannot be fooled.”

      For this reason James Hansen’s radical scientific vision of “Accelerating sea-level rise this decade” is tightly coupled to a progressive vision for governance and enterprise: Long-term ecological harms outweigh short-term economic gains.”.

      These considerations are pure Common Sense, eh? ;)   :smile:   :grin:   :lol:   :!:

  22. Some points to like and some points for concern:

    On the positive side:

    “how scientific thinking can help people evaluate claims, think for themselves, and demand proof.”

    This, I believe, is the key. This view allows everyone to evaluate the evidence for themselves and draw their own conclusions regardless of the scientific consensus. This view justifies any view that is based on evidence, and rejects the idea that scientific authority holds validity in and of itself.

    “As science progresses through time, it has a strong tendency toward correcting its misperceptions, accepting those corrections, and spiraling in on the truth.”

    On the negative side:

    “Since science tries to honestly know what’s going on, and good decisions require at least that, scientists are often those best-informed to advise society on what should be done. Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.”

    Science is valuable and relentless in the search for truth. However, there is no guarantee that any individual scientist or group of scientists is a “non-biased reservoir of truth.” Quite the opposite: we can be nearly 100% certain that all individuals are driven by at least some motivations beyond the “unbiased” truth, and we can’t ever know what all of those motivations are or if or how much they bias the work of the individual.

    It is essential to recognize, and for the public to recognize, that it is not individual scientists, but the *enterprise* of science as a whole, that spirals in on the truth. Because humans are subject to individual biases, the scientific enterprise depends heavily on competition between scientists. It is this competition – not high-minded principles – that drive science to spiral in on the truth.

    Nor is it possible to know how long it will take to obtain that unbiased truth via the scientific enterprise, or if any particular problem will ever be tamed by unbiased answers. Many issues in science remain matters of opinion for decades and longer, particularly if they’re not amenable to experiments. Often, scientists must wait on advances in technology to make experiments possible.

    Take Away:

    Overall, I see way to much of the “grandeur of science” and way to little recognition that science is susceptible to biases and unknown unknowns that can render it helpless for decades at a time in the face of certain problems.

  23. “Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.”

    Scotty, beam Carl up! Now! He’s in trouble!!! No! No! Wait! Beam Science up! It’s in trouble! No! No! Wait! Just beam me out of here!
    —–
    “By estranging itself from people and problems, science suffers a perception of irrelevance–a perception science itself too often chooses.”

    How the heck does science estrange itself? Maybe these words just fell together accidentally.
    —–
    “By being ferociously honest, science has given us real comprehension of our place in the universe, in time, and in the splendid pageant of life. Science has curiosity, self-motivation, and the quest for what’s real. Science is often magnificent, and occasionally–let’s face it–truly awesome.”

    It lives! The monster lives!
    —–

    Just do it.

  24. Communicatiion may be irrelevant. There will never be another dam or nuclear power plant or more drilling. America is pretty well broken down politically after having been severely wounded by corruption of traditional morals and customs and even the basic principles of Americana—e.g., respect for individual liberty, self-determination, personal responsibility, property of others—even the lives of unborn infants. The Golden Goose and Golden Rule are cooked.

    After the Morality Crunch now comes the ENERGY CRUNCH and there’s no debate about that. The only thing that is up for debate is how many additional business-hating liberals and Leftists must the productive haul on their backs as they trudge up and down the mine shafts.

  25. “By estranging itself from people and problems, science suffers a perception of irrelevance–a perception science itself too often chooses. ”

    Irrelevance is vastly under-rated. Estrangement is the precondition of successful scientific behavior.

    • You mean like Edison not minding so much going deaf? Still, it was tiring of burning his fingers using candles that is said to have motivatged Edison to invent the evilincandescentbulb.

      • randomengineer

        I like your point here and it needs repeating. Science itself gives us the alternative to elderly light bulbs in the form of LED lighting. These are modern wonders. The problem isn’t the science itself, it’s the advocacy of LED “believers” who try to enforce adoption via government fiat, encourage their adoption via scaremongering (e.g. polar bears), and otherwise interfere in the lives of everyone. If they simply invented the damn bulb and went on to their next muse then science would be doing what we all admire. Instead, we have idiots writing about the need to communicate science and wondering why nobody admires them.

  26. Why communicate science? To distinguish junk thoughts/hypothesis (such as AGW/CAGW CO2 warming BS) with real physical world with experiments and repeatable results.

  27. One of the the best communicator of science:

    I wish he were here with us and would love to hear what he says about AGW.

    • I don’t think you would like it. The notion that Feynman would be skeptical of AGW is dumb. Go find the world’s most brilliant working physicists (not some octogenarian). Ask them. They’re alive. You cannot hijack them the way you’ve hijacked Feynman. They have pulses and voices. You misrepresent/use them, and they can come and kick your butt.

      Not saying Muller is brilliant. Have no idea. Questions were put to him. He had his own questions. Read his answers. Feynman? Who knows. But the odds are he would not differ much from Muller. With Feynman all you can do is pull a guess out of your shady place, and ditto for me.

      That’s why you’re afraid of them: the living ones. They can say your curve fitting is stupid. Feynman can’t. You know that.

      • JCH

        You are basically wrong in opining that Feynman would not have been skeptical of the premise of potentially catastrophic AGW as posited by James E. Hansen (or IPCC).

        This premise does not meet his rather tough, but well-defined (and well documented), threshold: it is not corroborated by empirical scientific evidence (actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation).

        Max

      • No, you’re wrong. Your side picked Feynman for one reason: he’s dead.

      • I wouldn’t bet on it, of course we don’t know, but nearest we can get to his views is possibly Dr. Joan Feynman (who was an astrophysicist NASA- JPL) the younger sister of Richard Feynman.
        She is not exactly a CAGW, actually opposite; in number of works she has promoted the idea of solar variability.
        Few years back I sent a short email regarding some of my initial ideas (some recently shown in the graphic form), Dr. Feynman reply was long, detailed and the most encouraging.

      • The above was addressed to JCH

      • I would bet on it because I would never lose. He’s dead. Maybe he thought his sister is an idiot. Mine certainly is.

      • JCH, that was very telling.
        farewell

      • There is nothing about her work that would place her at odds with other NASA scientists concerning AGW.

      • De Nile of Ra is risen, or risible, something like that.
        ===========

      • Feynman would have accepted CAGW. He’d would have written a book about it warning the world of the danger.

        And climate skeptics would have savagely attacked him.

      • If you say so, whoever you are.

      • David Springer

        JCH | October 10, 2012 at 8:13 am |

        “I would bet on it because I would never lose. [Feynman's] dead. Maybe he thought his sister is an idiot. Mine certainly is.”

        Feynman’s sister was likely a genius because that runs in families. Idiocy runs in families too.

      • Why would Feynman be sceptical of something deriving from radiative physics? As for the false dichotomy between AGW and CAGW you all love so much – it’s a nonsense. The amount of forcing depends on the atmospheric fraction of CO2 which will be determined by tCO2e emitted over time.

        I think JCH is exactly correct here: you have hijacked Feynman’s name. It is shameful.

      • JCH

        My “curve fitting” agrees with the following results.

        Latif:
        Forecasts of climate change are about to go seriously out of kilter. One of the world’s top climate modellers said Thursday we could be about to enter one or even two decades during which temperatures cool.

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17742-worlds-climate-could-cool-first-warm-later.html?full=true&print=true

        Swanson:
        Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global ean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions

        http://deepeco.ucsd.edu/~george/publications/09_long-term_variability.pdf

        In contrast, IPCC projects for a warming of 0.2 deg C per decade.

        Don’t you like linear regression (curve fitting)?

      • Latif is confident AGW is ongoing. Never stops. Swanson is confident AGW is on going. Never stops. You expect temperature to drop to the level of the 1970s, and you think AGW is a hoax. They do not think that.

        Not even remotely close.

        Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2 B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity. … Swanson, Sugihara, Tsonis,

        Wrap your little skeptical head around that one.

      • You expect temperature to drop to the level of the 1970s

        I did not say that. I said a flat (zero) warming trend for the period 2000-2030, which is a drop from its maximum of about 0.2 deg C per decade for the period 1970-2000.

        http://moyhu.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/empirical-model-wuwt-style.html

      • you think AGW is a hoax.

        I did not say that. What I say is I don’t agree with IPCC’s claim of 0.2 deg C per decade warming for the period 2000-2030. You can call it whatever you want. But that statement is not supported by the data. The climate pattern is governed by the enormous heat stored in the oceans. This pattern has been unique for more than 100 years, and it is not going to change in the next decade or two. This pattern says little warming in the period 2000-2030.

        http://moyhu.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/empirical-model-wuwt-style.html

      • Girma, I went back and found the 1970 reference and agree I probably misinterpreted what you meant by it.

        I think GMT will continue to gradually go up over the next few years, and it will be rising rapidly by the end of this decade.

    • According to Feynman’s teaching, IPCC’s guess disagrees with observations => http://bit.ly/SPzOHn

  28. Seems like Carl Safina’s getting into difficulties with his personification of science, ‘Science tries’ ‘Science suffers’… Confounding science and scientists in hiis *discourse,* (say, hi, fan) muddles the distinction between the- value-laden- confirmation- bias-need- fer- grants activity that can dog scientists human endeavours and the 3rd world status of the actual science , scientists’ hypotheses and theories ‘out there’ that can be tested against reality and possibly confirmed, refuted or maybe trigger new and unforseen problems, hypotheses and theories.

  29. There are two kinds of scientists: those doing routine work but requiring the training and skill of a scientist and research scientists who are expected to work in the abstract and come up with new ideas. We need both kinds. When I worked as a research scientist I had many friends in the arts world aided by my wife, a poet, painters, writers, actors and I often compared my creative work wiith their’s. I think the kind of pleasure we got was similar. I used to say how lucky I was to be paid to do something I really enjoyed. Not that I was paid a lot but I did make fortunes for others.

    I grew up in a farming commuinity: people used to say that give the boys a bit of fencing wire and they could repair anything, the tractor, ther car, the radio. Farmers were often self-taught and many successfully did research. Science is not only practiced in academia or those with degrees. It is part pf human nature to want to solve problems. So people should forget about exclusivity in science. Every scientist should be able to explain his or her work to any one willing to listen. Why do you think journalists trumpet the latest scientific discoverys?

    • David Springer

      Maybe we need farmers to do more evangelizing about farming and less actual farming. /sarc

      Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

    • All human knowledge is an abstraction. Only morons and lazy whingers think any job is routine.

      There is a third kind of scientist/engineer. A commercial scientist/engineer who invents new technology, new methods, new chemistry, etc. to solve real-world problems cost-effectively. Most innovation and patents come from this third group.

  30. He sounds naive, like a journalism student telling the physicists what science is, not like a scientist speaking to scientists. Turns out he is a a writer/activist and he teaches journalists how to communicate science. He should start reading this blog, he might learn something.

    • David Springer

      “He sounds naive.”

      He sounds like a self-absorbed dickwad with delusions of grandeur.

      Evangalism is for religion not for workaday people doing their jobs. Some scientists need to get over themselves. They’re acting like Jehovah’s Witnesses fercrisakes. Maybe they should go door to door with phamplets describing the great and important revelations they have to share. LOL – douchebags. Unbelievable.

      • Someone’s got a chip on their shoulder……

      • David Springer

        If by that you mean I have an aversion for douchebags and confront them wherever I can then you’d be correct.

        Something you won’t find in Reader’s Digest “It Pays To Increase Your Word Power” :-) :

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=douchebag

        The term “douchebag” generally refers to a male with a certain combination of obnoxious characteristics related to attitude, social ineptitude, public behavior, or outward presentation.

        Though the common douchebag thinks he is accepted by the people around him, most of his peers dislike him. He has an inflated sense of self-worth, compounded by a lack of social grace and self-awareness. He behaves inappropriately in public, yet is completely ignorant to how pathetic he appears to others.

        He often talks about how cool, successful, and popular he is, yet never catches on to the fact that he comes across as a total loser. Nevertheless, he firmly believes that he is the smartest, most desirable, and most charming person in the room… and will try to bad-rep anyone who would threaten to expose this facade.

      • Look up ‘projection’ while you’re at it………………….

      • David Springer

        Yeah, yeah… look up anonymous coward next time you get a chance.

      • If mamma could hear you badmouthing like that without being asked.

  31. David Springer

    Can’t the same be said for fire fighters, police, military commanders, people who pave our roads, drive school buses, yada, yada, yada? You think what you do is less critical than a million other things that keep the trains running on time?

    Shut the F up and do your jobs.

    • Back up to what Jim said, there is like 1/3 of this essay that is insightful, in fact he makes the point of your first 2 sentences. Then the rest is the obligatory “noble” boilerplate. A lot of the problem is, it’s hard to fill up a page with the truth and only the truth.

      • David Springer

        It gets tiring hearing the same old lines from AGW boffins:

        “If only we could communicate better people would understand we are right.”

        “If only the public knew more science people would understand we are right.”

        It all boils down to these boffins thinking their conclusions are infallible. That’s not science it’s religion. I don’t mind religion so long as it isn’t used to prescribe public policy and in this case that’s exactly what’s being done.

      • One day soon.

        Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God.

        King & Priest.
        We’ll see…

  32. Latimer Alder

    Safina says

    ‘What people do need to know is that scientists are people, that science is an honorable, trustworthy, and powerful endeavor that people should look to for answers’

    An excellent proposition in the abstract and one I would certainly have signed up to four years ago.

    But then I started to take a closer look at ‘climate science’. It is harder and harder for me to believe it now. I used to reassure myself that it wasn’t the scientists who were polluting this idea…just their activist hangers-on. Then along came Gergis and Lewandowsky and Climategate. And another set of scales fell from my eyes.

    It seems clear that whatever set of principles people stick to in climatology they are a very long way from the ideals presented by Safina and Feynman. And from most of my chemistry professors only 35 years ago.

    • Latimer,

      I have no interest in raking over climategate again but I’m not sure how you are drawing conclusions about climate science from Gergis and Lewandowsky. Gergis screwed up, it was pointed out and the paper was withdrawn – it happens in all areas of science. And if you are going to make judgements based on bad papers there are plenty on the “skeptic” side. Lewandowsky isn’t even a climate science paper, it is a social science paper.

      • I’ve made no judgements at all about ‘sceptic’ papers or mainstream papers in climate science.

        Gergis screwed up royally after having shown her thoroughly unpleasant side – neither honourable nor trustworthy. She even had to have a flunkey do the withdrawing. Any idea if we will ever see the ‘revised’ paper?

        And, if you stand in Climatology Central, never venture outside and think that there are nasty beasties and werewolves anywhere off campus, then maybe it is possible to pretend that Lewandowsky has nothing to do with you. Stand just a little further away and its a paper by an academic about belief in climate science.
        Then you can come down to the Dog and Duck and explain to the regulars why there is a distinction at all. It was actively promoted by ‘climate scientists’, the questions were answered by ‘climate scientists’ and Lewandowsky is an active participant at a ‘climate science’ website…the hilariously mistitled ‘Sceptical Science’

        And I’m not surprised that you’ve no interest in raking over Climategate once more. ‘Honourable?’ – fail, ‘Trustworthy?’ – fail, ‘Powerful?’ far too much.

      • Latimer,

        I don’t know the current status of Gergis’s paper but my point stands – a possible flaw in her paper was spotted prior to publication and it was put on hold so it could be reviewed, this happens and there no shame in this for the authors and it says nothing about climate science as a whole. Of course for you guys it’s not enough for scientists to be wrong or make an honest mistake, you have to impugn their honesty and integrity as well. Well that says more about you than about her. As for a “flunky” doing the withdrawing I suggest you check out David Karoly’s credentials before referring to him in such terms.

        WRT Lewandowsky, you say that it’s “a paper by an academic about belief in climate science”. Well that’s my point – questions about how people’s political beliefs influence what they “believe” about science is in the realm of social science. I’m sure your mates down the Dog and Duck are capable of telling the difference between that and an actual climate science paper, ie one that studies the physical mechanisms that govern our climate. His paper wasn’t based on responses from climate scientists, it was based on responses by commenters on blogs. Yes, he has contributed to SkS, no shame in that, but anyone can write blog articles on climate science, I’ve done so myself, and I would be very surprised if someone made judgements about climate science on the basis of anything I wrote.

      • Latimer Alder

        @andrew adams

        Umm…I think your recollection is at fault wrt Gergis.Her paper had passed through all the peer review stage, been accepted for publication, was quoted in AR5 first draft, published and announced with great fanfare by press release as the final proof the hockey stick from the Southern Hemisphere. Gergis then snottily refused to release her data (‘we shall not be entertaining further correspondence on this matter’) It was only after all this supposed quality control by the conventional routes that blogger ‘Jean S’ quickly discovered the significant errors that caused the withdrawal.

        It was not withdrawn prior to publication, but post it. And the error was found by a blogger…not a ‘climate scientist’. Hilarious. Peer/pal review? Epic fail.

        Happy to compromise on the fact that Lewandowsky’s gimcrack paper is about ‘the social science of climate scientists’ or something similar. Though I doubt if 1 in 1000 would care about the distinction. As was nearly said about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings ‘Oh No, Nof F…g Deniers Again!’.

        It was supposed to be published last month, then this, but seems to have dropped from view after the press release announcing it. Do you have any news on when we can expect it?

      • Latimer,

        My recollection is that the error in the Gergis paper was spotted after it was accepted for publication but before it was actually published, but either way it had certainly gone through the review process so it’s probably not an important distinction. According to the authors they spotted the problem themselves around the same time it was spotted by a commenter at CA but they did still give credit to McIntyre for the fact that CA had highlighted the problem, which is fair enough. But however it came to light they did the honorable thing and accepted there was a problem and put the paper on hold immediately.

        I do think it fair to ask why the error was not picked up in peer review. AIUI the problem was that the screening method they actually used differered from what was described in the paper so I’m guessing the reviewers made a judgement based on the screening method as they described it without checking their actual calculations. Never being involved in either publishing or reviewing papers I have no idea what the standard procedures are, but as a layman it does seem to me that this kind of thing should be spotted.

        But even if the review process was inadequate that is hardly Gergis’s fault and whilst she has obviously lost some face over this I still don’t accept it reflects badly on her honesty or integrity. And I’m certainly not going to judge her badly because she got into a fight with McIntyre.

      • Sorry, I meant to add that I have no idea what the status of Lewandowski’s paper is. TBH, I’m not really that interested in the paper itself, I just find the reaction to it amusing. My (possibly unfair) attitude to these kind of papers about motivated reasoning and the like, such as the ones which Dr Curry quotes here from time to time, is that they tend to be statements of the bleeding obvious and so not particularly interesting.

      • @andrew adams

        Apologies. I my first line I wrote ‘judgement’. My meaning would be clearer if I used ‘distinction’.

      • Andrew, I believe that highly publicized but horribly flawed papers are becoming more important than they were prior to Climategate. In addition to Gergis and Lewandowski, I would cite Anderegg, Prall et al as examples of two things–first, horrible science and second, lightning rods constructed as such. They are stakes in the ground used for rallying the troops and highlighting the differences between sides.

        Hell, even Judith cites Anderegg, Prall et al. And it is garbage. It is junk science. It is important despite it being junk science.

        That’s why Mosher and I wrote a book about Climategate–so the incidents covered in it wouldn’t fade into the mist and we wouldn’t be left with the characterization of it as ‘boys will be boys.’

  33. “Many scientists believe they should avoid “advocacy.” If scientists decide not to engage, less-informed policy makers, pressured by less-objective advocates, will make decisions anyway. They’ll often do so without the benefit of the best advice they might have gotten, or without anyone arguing on behalf of the facts”

    Good to see see Judith supporting scientific advocacy.

  34. Ian Blanchard

    A bit of a curate’s egg of an article – interesting comments about what scientists should be attempting to communicate (the methods of science and the ‘why it is important’ issues), but falls down a bit when it gets to discussing scientists as unbiased purveyors of truth.

    Even ignoring the issues of advocacy that infects some of climate science and GM science (take a look at Collide-a-scape’s most recent article), there is the point that some areas of science are almost combat sports between two or more competing ideas, with scientists commonly becoming rather entrenched in their thinking and discounting the evidence presented by their challengers. In most areas of science, this is not all that significant for the day to day lives of the general public (Kissinger’s quote about academic disputes being so vehement because the stakes are so low), but the self-correcting aspects of the scientific method tend to be slow (Max Planck’s quote about science proceeding one funeral at a time).

    On another note, from my experience it is not always the best researchers who make the best science communicators, and also some are better suited to writing and others to talking about science. Neither of the best two lecturers I had as an undergraduate were active researchers, focussing instead on their teaching commitments – both were exceptionally enthusiastic about the Earth Sciences and would have been very good at communicating complex ideas to an interested lay audience. By contrast, one of our Professors had written an excellent and highly readable text book but his lectures were amongst the dullest around (OK, not helped by being late on Thursday afternoons and with him having a Birmingham (UK) accent).

    • +1 “curate’s egg”

    • Joshua, Joshua, where are you Joshua?

    • I’m sure a friend of mine would wish to point out that there is nothing wrong with a Brummie accent. Just so long as it’s Villa Brummie and not Blues Brummie

      (UK football joke)

      • Latimer

        Actually I was trying to keep things easy for our US friends – he wasn’t strictly Birmingham, more Black Country (so Wolves or Walsall rather than Villa or Birmingham City). Imagine that droning on in a dark lecture theatre at 6pm on a Thursday…

  35. Latimer Alder

    Safina also says:

    ‘Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth’

    Wow – just wow!

    I am not surprised that he has strong academic connections. But no apparent first hand knowledge of anything outside academia and journalism.

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

    It may be true that, compared with journalists of his acquaintance, some academic scientists may be relatively unbiased on their topics.

    But that’s really not a very high barrier to climb. Being less dishonest than journalists is hardly a Gold Star recommendation of probity. And you need only read the Climategate e-mails to see that substantial numbers of senior climatologists couldn’t even manage that hurdle.

    • randomengineer

      ‘Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth’

      Wow – just wow!

      Latimer, correct. The closest thing to truth humans have are the scientists and engineers working on stuff that we humans use and rely upon e.g. GPS to aircraft to mars rovers.

      Academic scientists by contrast merely hold opinions. Given the notion that most of these will be mistaken to some degree, academia is a reservoir of people trying really hard to get it right.

      There is a class of scientists everyone respects, that is, JPL folks and those like them. The ones who do the impossible, the ones creating the future. Most folks don’t have such a favourable impression of climate scientists.

      When I started looking at climate science in earnest was around the time when you had a twit named Oreskes claiming the absurd — that people were skeptical of hockey sticks because they were paid to by eeevil oil companies — and worse, said twit was widely quoted as the reservoir of trvth and wisdom by what were obviously ideologues.

      My impression then was that when you have a branch of science that needs to be buttressed by that which is obviously ideological hackey (“right wing people have no neurons and we can prove it” etc.) then it might be a lot of things but SCIENCE is not one of them.

      And my impression holds. In 2012 Lewandosky (sp?) is merely the latest version of the Orsekes argument, which back then was merely the latest version of Jared Diamond’s comically wrong argument, which was merely the latest eco-left version of… (and so on.) All you have here is ideology looking for a sciency sounding platform with the same political hacks pounding the same malthusian drums as years before.

      I’ll go back to lurking for a few months again now. Periodically I come here to read to see if any progress has been made. Answer? Not really, and Lewandosky (sp?) if anything is proving the pattern that the left (the ideological side) continues to unabashedly lower the bar. It won’t be long before high school level opinions are lauded as brilliant so long as they purport to show the superiority of the believer position. I thought Orsekes was the nadir of academic endeavour. I was wrong.

  36. Judith Curry

    “Communicate science?”

    Yes, indeed. Here’s a good example:

    The recent Nobel Prize awards in Physiology or Medicine for basic stem cell research to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka or in Physics to
    Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for discoveries on quantum systems.

    That’s REAL science that needs to be “communicated”

    [As opposed to the political ballyhoo surrounding “Mickey Mouse” Nobel “Peace” Prize awards for newly elected US Presidents (or newly un-elected US Vice Presidents).]

    But to use “science communication” in order to “sell” a political agenda (such as CAGW)?

    No.

    That’s simply trying to misuse a position of scientific expertise to indoctrinate and brainwash a gullible public and would fall under your category of “reasons not to communicate science”.

    [As would communication to pander for public funding, as you point out.]

    Max

  37. Scientists are basically just people – as are fire fighters.

    Firemen sit around the firehouse playing checkers or reading training manuals waiting for the alarm to go off – when it does they act, often heroically, sometimes saving lives.

    Scientists don’t put out fires, but their work can also benefit society. Most of them work for an industry, where they contribute to the success of the enterprise and are rewarded for their achievements accordingly. Others work in academe or on government-funded research projects in support of a political program or agenda.

    Should firefighters “communicate” to the public about their profession?

    Why not? (If the public is interested.)

    Same goes for scientists.

    But just don’t make a big deal out of it.

    Max

  38. Why communicate science?

    To educate the population about how the universe works and their place in it. Non-scientists benefit and even enjoy such knowledge. It not only broadens their minds but helps to dissuade popular, yet invalid superstitions passed down from the ancients.

    As Oscar Wilde put it: ““We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”” (Some scientists quite literally)

    The truth born of science often surpasses man’s own imaginative attempts. For example science communicators like Richard Dawkins have remarked that that the scientific truth of common descent and evolution of life is far more awe inspiring a narrative than the dry and dull superstitious fictional accounts of creation fabricated by primitive cultures all over the world.

    A scientist is one the most important and noble profession of man. A Discoverer of Knowledge. Next in line are probably the Teachers who communicate this knowledge to the public.

    But a Communicating Scientist? The best of both worlds. Both a Discoverer and Teacher which is the apex of human achievement. They don’t have an Olympics for Science Communicators, but they probably should.

  39. When a crime is committed, or when a civil dispute is being resolved, the lawyers on each side do hire scientists, or so called expert witnesses, and they explain the science to people who are generally not scientists, but who must determine which is right and which is wrong. It is currently accepted that the scientists in arson cases used bad science for many years and people have been executed based on bad science. There is good and bad science. Bad science can last for years. Peer review and consensus is best used for staying on the same path. If it is the right path, peer review and consensus is a good thing. If it is the wrong path, peer review and consensus is a very bad thing.

    Scientists should explain their Theories, but, in the end, they don’t get to decide. If a Scientist can’t convince an Engineer, then they had better examine their Theory. If a Scientist easily convinces everyone, then they had better examine their Theory. If a Scientist is not skeptical and will not examine their own Theory, then everyone else had better be skeptical.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/proceedings_of_the_national_academy_of_sciences/index.html?inline=nyt-org

  40. Don’t think you need to teach the public a lot of science facts. Instead, show what science is, what it means, why we need it. Find a way to have a presence. Choose what to comment on, how to be involved, and what actions and issues to engage in. Be a source of wisdom. – Carl Safina

    Yes, teach us what you know, what it is, what it means, why we need it, what might be wrong with it, everything about it, because, in the end, we will make decisions based on what you taught.

    • We will go over every thing you teach us and we will question all of it and determine if we think you are right. In the end, we will elect people who will make sure your recommendations are followed or we will elect people who will make sure your recommendations are not followed. We will hope and some will pray that we judged you correctly, but we will decide.

      • That brings to mind that, as an Engineer and a Rocket Scientist, I would never try to provide Temperature Control for a Massive System with a Manmade fraction of a trace substance.

        That puts my BS Detector in overdrive.

  41. Communication Science 101: Learning how best to inform the public that pink slime in burgers may result in a 30% increase of zygomycosis in swimming pool cleaners and why scientists developed pink slime to begin with.

    • “why scientists developed pink slime to begin with”

      The free market developed it. Nice and cheap. The food industry is always looking at ways to produce more food more cheaply, they’ll hide how it’s done as much as possible though. Very similar to soylent green. As long as no-one knows…

      • Movements come and go and now we see that it is sociologists, psychologists and philosophers who are most interested in studying the effects of the Left’s monomaniacal pursuit of Ayn Rand’s industrial man, with a malice aforethought in their hearts.

  42. WHAT SCINCE IS

    “As he formulates his final theory, the scientist subjects it to intensive criticism. Seeking to make it as useful as possible, he asks himself: Is this proposed law universal throughout the extent of space and the passage of time? Does it lead anywhere? Does it predict one state of affairs as arising out of another? Can it be transposed from one frame of reference to another and still remain valid? And finally, because of his innate passion for orderliness, his aesthetic appreciation of things which are meet and fitting, he asks: Is this theory as elegant as possible? Could I formulate it more succinctly?

    Now comes the moment of verification and truth: testing the theory back against protocol experience to establish its validity. If it is not a trivial theory, it suggests the existence of unknown facts which can be verified by further experiment. An expedition may go to Africa to watch an eclipse and find out if starlight really does end relatively as it passes the edge of the sun. After a Maxwell and his theory of electro-magnetism come a Hertz looking for radio waves and a Marconi building a radio set. If the theoretical predictions do not fit in with observable facts, then the theorist has to forget his disappointment and start all over again. This is the stern discipline which keeps science sound and rigorously honest.

    If a theory survives all tests and is accepted into the canon of scientific law, it becomes a fact in its own right and a foundation for higher spires of thought. Abstract though it may be, a theory which has been proved can suggest new hi-fl sets or hybrid cattle just as surely as do experiments with electricity or stock-breeding. It serves as a starting point for new theories just as surely as any experience on the plane of protocols. Galileo’s formula for the increasing speed at which a body falls freely near the surface of the earth became a single example of Newton’s law of gravitation. Newton’s law, in turn, became a single special case in Einstein’s theory that gravitation is a manifestation of the geometry of space and time. At this moment some child in a hamlet somewhere may be preparing himself for the work of constructing a “unified field theory” of both atom and cosmos, in which Einstein’s sweeping concepts of relativity will appear as mere details.”

    The Scientist
    Life Science Library
    By Henry Margenau, David Bergamini
    And the Editors of LIFE
    1966

    • –e.g., take an unimaginably large number like… say like, squaring the speed of light, and imagine that is the factor you need to understand the relationship between two concepts, “mass” and “energy” and then save time by taking a trip at a speed that is faster than the speed of light and get there before you start.

  43. ‘Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.’ Safina.

    Say ‘scientists’ as ‘a thing,’ a ‘reservoir?’ Elsewhere Safina is pesonifying ‘science ‘ as an actor. Safina seems a bit confused but overlooking the metaphoric oddities, might we no ask have there not been times in the historical record, and quite recently at that, when the academy might jest be regarded , not as a non-biased reservoir but as a slough of bias.*

    * Guess Thomas Kuhn, on paradigm science, ( Structure of Revolutions) would disagree Safina on non-bias? Thinking CRU emails, guess some of of the denizens here would too.

  44. One point Carl didn’t touch on is that a prime imperative to communicate lies in the shrinking of conventional portals for science communication (specifically traditional journalism). I made this point in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment column here: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/filling-the-science-communication-gap/

    and WMO Bulletin here: http://www.wmo.int/pages/publications/bulletin_en/archive/60_1_en/60_1_revkin_en.html
    – Show quoted text -

  45. ‘A prime imperative to communicate lies in the shrinking of conventional portals for science communication.’ AR 10/10 @ 10.37am:

    ‘Shrinking portals,’ then it’s important not ter gate keep, keeping the portals open fer contending theories, not jest the consensus science..Re science communication, maximize quality, observe Feynman’s ‘bend over back- wards objectivity and don’t fool others or yerself.
    Say, ‘That’s how the light gets in.’ (Cohen.)

  46. What helps to keep the communication “ferociously honest” is competition. Pal-review, gate-keeping, tribalism that ostracizes heretics, and all the other games designed to limit competition do not advance understanding of the universe. There always will be disagreement and deliberate obfuscation by partisans. The best way to proceed is through open debate engaged on all playing fields by all who have something to say. Democracy is messy, but it beats despotism.

  47. Commercial scientists/engineers have to communicate to lay people all the time. They are called clients and customers. If you cannot explain complex technical issues to an 8th-grade science student level, you really don’t understand the subject.

    Scientific ignorance is the reason why many academics pooh-pooh communication with the public.

  48. randomengineer

    The “Climate Rapid Response Team” puts paid to the notion that the “communicate science” notion is typically a lie intended to manipulate ior evoke a response.

    The CRRT paints themselves as neutral and impartial referees in the manner of impartial science doing naught but correcting reporting flaws.

    So a climate scientist or acolyte decrees that fewer tornadoes is proof of global warming. The denier camp says it proves naught. The CRRT rappels in from their black helicopters to slay the denier position. The world must have scientific correctness and justice! A year goes by, this time one with more tornadoes. A climate scientist decrees that more tornadoes is proof of global warming. The denier camp says maybe it proves naught. The CRRT again rappels in to slay the oil company funded denial camp in their slumber.

    The CRRT doesn’t “correct” absurd alarmist positions. Ever. It strictly goes after skeptic positions (or better, any position that isn’t alarmist flavour du jour.) It is not impartial. It is not neutral. It doesn’t paint the face of fact based impartiality. Ever.

    Point is, it’s astounding to think that there are people who can’t seem to realise that the CRRT is ideologically partisan, not neutral as they contend. If science communication re climate were restricted to repeatable facts (not conjecture, not statistical torture, etc) then there would be no obvious partisanship. However, there is, so Safina’s essay is simply nonsense.

    Why pick on the rapid response team? I’m not. They’re simply an easily viewed representation of the entire stinking problem. In the grand scheme the CRRT is not atypical. The alarmist side claims the impartial scientist image. This is the one that NASA and JPL et al actually live by and is visible to an adoring public. They abuse the image of JPL et al to give false endorsement to their speculations, claims, and lies.

  49. lolwot, yer don’t hear how antiscience that sounds? Science doesn’t evolve out of authoritarianism, the Inquisition, science is heretical, open investigation with discoveries quite often coming from people outside the closed academe.

    • It’s not democratic where the lowest common denominator with a fake hick accent makes all the decisions. The people outside the academe work in a free-market jungle where cheating and stealing count as much or more than merit.

      Your little pretend tea-bagger paradise is just a Glenn Reynolds wet-dream.

  50. Well at the moment I am in a darkroom and I am imaging the levels of specific EGFR and HER2 mouse antibodies on the surface of cervical cancer cells. The antibodies have been used to target chemotherapeutic containing nanovectors to these cells.
    I am in the middle of writing begging letters asking for money from taxpayers and from people who donate to charity. I think I owe the people who fund me as much time as I can spare to explain what I do, how I do it, why I do it and the possible outcome.
    I explained how my nanovectors worked to a hairdresser on Saturday and I did not need to fiddle my data so as not to confuse her.

  51. Just one point. Science is not brainwashing children in the public schools to believe in a particular point of controversial eco-advocacy (ie. you llittle kiddies MUST be concerned about yours, and your parents’ carbon footprints). One of the reasons climate scientologists promote the idea that our understanding of a particularly complex bit of nature is “settled” is so they can pretend it’s ethical to brainwash the youngsters. Leave little children out of the politics. Teach them what science is, what statisics is, what politics are at a gross level, and let them become the adults they will be if they’re NOT brainwashed.

    But then, we don’t even know how NOT to brainwash our children, I suppose. So it becomes a matter of very particular public policy concern as to which values are okay to inculcate, and which should be off limits. For me, NO climate science in K-12 public schools, period. No Earth Day celebrations, no other forms of overt eco-activism. You can teach “don’t litter.” You can teach, “recycle,” or even “reduce, reuse, recycle,” or “clean up your own mess, don’t leave it for another to do.” Once the kids get a little older, that’s no excuse for indoctrinating them. If they’re curious, now teach chemistry, physics, calcus and statisics and economics. But that’s it. Communicating science in primary school is about teaching the history and the tools, not about giving the student a belief set. I don’t include evolution in this as a belief set, BTW. We’re far past the point of accepting evolution. We are NOT past the point of near universal acceptance of CAGW.

    Once they’re in college, you can have at them.

    That’s my opinion.

  52. People learn fastest when they are very young. Young children learn multiple languages before school age. We must teach science to young children and also teach them about uncertainties and that science sometimes determines something is correct and later, science determines that something different is correct. We must teach them that everything we teach them is what we believe to be correct, but that they must challenge everything we have taught them.
    This is very difficult because we believe what we believe and we do want them to believe what we believe.
    We have four children and all of them do disagree with a lot that I do believe. That does disturb me that they don’t believe as I do, but it does please me that they challenge me and everyone else before they believe anything. I do want my grandchildren and the generations that follow to be like our children.

  53. For such people ‘communicating’ science means advocating a particular ideological position using science as ammunition. For an example, please note Andy Revkin, who loves talking about communicating science when he means advocating for political policies.

    This is very simple. No one is encouraging the ‘communication’ of physical chemistry or population genetics. The writer himself is a prime example – note his reference to ‘solving problems.’ By that he assumes you know his implied meaning, and share it. This is just a rebranding of propaganda as a more neutral term: communication. Reporters report facts. You choose to call yourself a communicator rather than a reporter for a reason. Communicators communicate a message, not the facts.

  54. Carl Safina is, of course, majorly involved in ocean conservation activism, as the founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute.

    I have loved science since I was old enough to know the word — and have studied it and followed its advance all my too-many years. My knowledge of basic science and physics has literally saved my life more than once.

    And yet….

    That said, Carl’s opening quote used here again simply says: “Listen to us, we are the experts.” He promotes the idea that scientists should promote, well, Science and Scientists, not facts and not especially basic science knowledge itself. His long piece sounds so reasonable — and yet something about it it sticks in my craw when I try to swallow it.

    The general public should have been taught enough basic science to be able to sort through at least a Science Times article on almost any subject, and determine if the basic conclusions are liable to be correct given the data. They should know enough to see through weak, small sample studies (the latest being the death of the Great Barrier reef based on a survey of 47 individual reefs out of several thousand), they should understand basic statistics and maths. They should certainly know enough of the scientific method to know that if two major journals have published conflicting peer-reviewed papers, one of the papers (or both) is wrong and that as far as ‘science’ is concerned, we are back to ‘we don’t know’ on that topic. They should know a finding is not ‘true’ until it has been independently replicated by another reputable science team.

    In short, citizens should be well-enough educated to not depend on those wishing to be the ‘Sources of All Wisdom’ — many of whom don’t have the ability to admit or say “We don’t know.”

    • There are people who believe in Consensus and Peer Review and those people are not really required to Actually Think about anything or decide anything. Their major mission in life is to attack and criticize Skeptics.

    • Ian Blanchard

      “…In short, citizens should be well-enough educated to not depend on those wishing to be the ‘Sources of All Wisdom’ — many of whom don’t have the ability to admit or say “We don’t know.” ”

      Or sometimes even more importantly, to say ‘We got that wrong’.

  55. Academic scientists, particularly, are the closest thing civilization has to a non-biased reservoir of truth.

    So they have taken over the positions of priests in society.

    Feathering of their own nest I say.

  56. “Don’t think you need to teach the public a lot of science facts.” – Carl Safina
    There is no such thing as science facts, there is knowledge and there are facts, some proven by the scientific method. Science is a methodology thats all the rest is politics !!

  57. Gary and Beth and Latimer and others (to whom I apologise for not naming them) have said it. Oh, honourable mention to the curate’s egg person. Well said.

    My question is, why is ‘communicating science’ – which could cover just about anything – being discussed in this way? Is it about funding? Is it about raising the profile of people who call themselves scientists?

    The reality is, most science is never communicated, never has been, and never will be. Why? Because there is simply no point. Even in Victorian times, when the sum total of recorded knowledge was many factors less than it is now, no-one could be across it all.

    So, it comes down to selective communication. Notice how the paper carefully elides over which bits should be singled out for ‘communication’.

    Why is that central issue avoided, I wonder?

  58. Latimer Alder

    @bbd

    You cited a paper that showed two and a half years only of temperature data. In response I asked when you thought we might see some real observational evidence in the sealevel rise.

    You cited a second paper, which I read. Among the conclusions was a caveat against using only a few annual measurements because of the large interannual variation.

    The paper itself presents its results in a linearised format. I used the same format in an extrapolation in exactly the same way as the IPCC did.

    Finally the paper – in a throwaway remark – says that the mass loss of the ice sheets is accelerating. Tracing this quote back to its source we see it comes from Rignot et al 2011.

    Taking their base data of 2006 (475 GT/annum) and simply extrapolatiing their acceleration factor, (36GT/annum^2) we see that by 2011 there should already be an extra 0.5mm per annum rise in the annual seal level rise since 2006 sealevel because of this acceleration (simple calculation available on request).

    When last I looked, this acceleration was not immediately apparent in the published data.

    Do you have an estimate for when it should begin showing up? By my reckoning by 2016 it should be approaching a whole 1 mm/annum ..taking the rate from 3mm to 4mm per annum and should be easily discernible with modern equipment.

    Shall we reconvene then to see if the prediction has come true?

    Or if you have a different means of calculation, please show it.

    TIA.

  59. Oh not again. Every time someone here starts badly losing an argument, they jump to the end of the main thread to hide how badly they are doing.

    The discussion will continue here, or not at all.

  60. Doug Schaefer

    What seems to me missing here is a discussion of the alternative. If we dismiss climate science because some of its proponents have ‘gone too far’ in their predictions, what are we left with? Non-science? anti-science? There are prominent political figures (in the US) who reject science rather broadly. If they are to lead the world, where does it go?

    I am content with the notion that we need not adhere to scientists who may be overstating climate-change risks. But the notion that science should not (cannot) inform policy looks wrong to me.

    We can bet, as we do now, that continuing to increase the net energy absorption of the atmosphere will do us all no substantial harm. The Curry-uncertainty admits that approach; rapid, major policy reversals appear expensive, and the global economy is weak just now. For these reasons, the current ‘burn all you can find’ approach seems the likely path for the next decade at least.

    With luck, this will do us all no substantial harm. But if the evidence against it continues to accumulate, to whom should we turn for answers? Scientists? Some other group? Please specify.

    • “But if the evidence against it continues to dissipate, to whom should we turn for answers? Scientists? ”
      There, FIFY.

      Definitely not the ‘scientists’ who concocted the fake data in the first place!

  61. Communicating science to the masses in democracy; is a noble thing.
    Unfortunately, the phony GLOBAL warming has nothing to do with science. Expensive witchcraft is NOT science! THE TRUTH WILL WIN

  62. Here’s an example of a geologist explaining the geologic context for discussion climate change(s) – The Whole Story of Climate: what science reveals about the nature of endless change by E. Kirsten Peters (Prometheus, November, 2012) — see climatewholestory.com — “If we view climate changes as our enemy we will always be defeated, for climate will always change. . . What may matter most is not our carbon policies, but whether we invest in adaptive strategies that can serve us well when change inevitably arrives on our doorstep.”

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