Monday, July 19, 2010
Karma--the Black Hearted Version
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
Did I mention he was spearheading the death of science? Why yes, I see I did, and so he was. I try to be Christian about such men's deaths but it's particularly difficult here as his 'right balance' was skewed way away from being honest. Hope Hell's not too hot for you, bud.
Labels: Steven Schneider