Science Communication: Training for the Future

Thu, 2011-09-22 04:30Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Science Communication: Training for the Future

Yesterday I arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, for another installment of an enterprise to which I’ve been increasingly devoted over the last year: Training scientists in communication, public engagement, and media outreach. Working with the National Science Foundation, but also sometimes on my own, I’ve now probably been involved in training over a thousand scientists in these, er, “arts.”

In this, I’m just one part of a much broader communication and outreach wave that is sweeping the science world. This wave, in my view, has built up for two related reasons: 1) ongoing frustration in the research community over the failure to get its knowledge “out there”—successfully disseminated—especially on controversial subjects like climate change and evolution;  2) the decline of science coverage itself in the traditional media, and the concomitant rise of the new media. This development is both exhilarating and  also rather terrifying, because it increasingly places the scientist him- or herself in the position of serving as a direct-to-public communicator, rather than in the old role of communicating through an intermediary (the journalist).

My co-authored 2009 book Unscientific America noted these trends and called for greater outreach efforts—and now, I’m also heavily involved in trying to realize the vision. As a result, I think it’s worth laying out some conclusions I’ve drawn so far from the “sci comm” training enterprise, as well as to describe what appear to be the next steps. (This is also something I’m going to be talking about more at two conferences coming up: The Soil Science Society of America annual meeting in San Antonio in October, and the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union this December in San Francisco.)

To me, the key tension at the center of this exercise is between “theory” and “practice.” And we have to ensure it’s a productive one.

Any good science communication training event, or curriculum, will include elements of both theory and practice. But there is vastly more theory out there than you can usually cover, and any training—especially if your time is limited to a few days, as ours are–must largely focus on the practical.

And yet we can never forget that theory must inform practice—indeed, theory could potentially significantly revise practice.

The central question thus becomes: As modules across the country and world develop to spread knowledge about the practice of science communication, at what point do we need to build in an entire “Level 102” that does a better job handling the theory? And indeed, while the “practice” is generally more stable, the theory itself is always growing and changing. That’s because scientific knowledge itself is increasingly rapidly about what we might call the psychological dynamics behind science communication–to the point where some researchers are proposing a “science of science communication” that is definitely not a part of our current trainings.

How do we take this into account? That’s the question I want to address, but first, let’s say more about what these two elements, practice and theory, comprise.

The Practice. This is what, at least with NSF, we spend most of our time on. It ranges from what I call “jargon-busting”—teaching scientists not to use words that only they understand—to emphasizing the core need to design a message in a strategic way, rather than a haphazard one, and how to do that. It also comprises the “rules of engagement” for interacting with those old media journalists still trolling around, and the “rules of creation” as scientists venture into direct communication with the public, often using new media: How not to induce “death by PowerPoint” in the audience, how to make a video, how to create a blog and Tweet, and so on.

Some of these elements of “practice” are unlikely to be changed by anything that happens in the realm of “theory.” For instance, I can’t see any possible world in which psychology is going to teach us that using jargon is actually a good way for scientists to reach non-scientists. Nor can I see any world in which having a disciplined message is not going to be better than an unorganized data dump.

Theory. The “theory” of science communication encompasses a variety of different elements, and is interdisciplinary in nature. It includes “models” to describe the scientist-media-public interaction: What are the channels of communication, how is the message encoded, transmitted, decoded, and so on. It involves normative debates about what the goal of communicating science to the public actually is. It involves analyses of science communication efforts—what “frames” are used, and how do they influence media coverage and public opinion?

But I think that even in the realm of theory, this is rather standard stuff, and doesn’t much get at the really deep developments that are coming.

This sort of dawned on me last week, when I came across a paper in Climatic Change purporting to demonstrate, using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, that scientists have different personalities than members of the general public, and that this deep seated difference impairs communication. It has also been dawning on me as I survey all the growing research on motivated reasoning—how subconscious emotional impulses and moral values drive our interpretations of technical information, particularly in contested areas, and how opening people up to new knowledge often has far less to do with delivering the facts than getting their defenses down, through practices like, say, self-affirmation.

This is a young and burgeoning field, but already it is clear that psychology and cognitive neuroscience are going to tell us much more than we currently know about which types of messages actually reach people, which types of people actually make good messengers (to what types of people), and so on. Frankly, I see us heading into a world in which we will develop a “science” that is capable of explaining, at the level of the brain, why certain narratives or “frames” provoke emotional responses in audiences that not only engender  more openness to information, but also motivate people to take actions. We’re talking about the “Yes, We Can” model of science communication.

Integration. Some aspects of the “standard stuff” about science communication theory—and a few morsels of the less standard stuff—get into current science communication trainings. For instance: I now realize that when I do mock interviews with scientists in which I play Stephen Colbert, or when Alan Alda does improv comedy trainings for scientists, we’re essentially playing a game that turns on emotion and personality. We’re tossing Myers-Briggs “thinkers” into the deep water of “feeling” and showing that there is a different and more engaging form of communication than the wonk-technical. (I say this even though I have caveats about the Myers-Briggs approach and the research in this area. But I am nevertheless pretty certain that we are going to find broad personality differences between the average scientist and the average member of the general public.)

So far, though, the more cutting edge theory is not influencing—that much—the science communication practice. At least not that I can see. We need to take that much farther. There ought to be a Science Communication 102 level curriculum to complement the practical, training-oriented approaches. I know some universities are moving in this direction—that should continue.

Ultimately, what does a “science of science communication” look like? Maybe, something like this.

Picture a targeted audience, whose broad values are known, being reached by a scientist-communicator who begins with an emotional appeal that resonates with those core values. The scientist-communicator makes sure that the audience feels—not thinks, but feels—agreement, affirmation, and shared ground with the speaker before delivering any information, especially controversial information. Then the presenter goes on to embed scientific information in a narrative that follows a dramatic structure and leads to an emotionally satisfying resolution. The audience then “responds”—heart and head, except of course, all of this is actually in the head–and the connection is perfect.

Some of the best science communicators already do precisely this, by instinct. But in the future, science itself will be able to tell us who they are, and why what they’re doing actually succeeds.

And ultimately, we’re going to have to teach science communication accordingly.

 

Comments

I don't think anyone can be "right" on this issue because there are plenty of unknowns about how we proceed and whether we should do anything at all.

I think what happened is that the greens from the 70s were desperately looking for an issue that would grab public attention. They had "save the trees" and "save the whales" etc but those things had limited appeal.

Climate change tied to emissions gave them a new issue and they grabbed on.

The thing is those greens were leftists to the core and that was their main motivation and so climate change became a political issue. It became something with which they could battle and demonize the right. The right fought back because that's what happens in a political battle.

So we have a political battle instead of an environmental/economic discussion. Blame the leftist tree huggers.

 

... the fossil fuel econocmic interests who feed money to professional deniers... they spread their message  more effectively than a 'treehugger' because they can pour millions to create doubt. It works with you, you buy it.

If you want to be completely honest, you must also allow for the possibility that the claims made by climate alarmists might actually not be all that convincing?

I actually am a trained and experienced scientist and have good familiarity with the science of global warming.

 

No, there is not a possibility the "alarmists" are overstating the case. Probably understating, judging by recent observations of alarming disasters.

 

I used to practice a bit of the ol' "sweet science" myself, so we have that in common.

Glad to see that, as a "scientist", you're not at all arrogant, and you obviously keep an open mind.  Keep up the good work, professor!

I actually am a trained and experienced scientist and have good familiarity with the science of global warming.

 

No, there is not a possibility the "alarmists" are overstating the case. Probably understating, judging by recent observations of alarming disasters.

 

I know the science.  what do you know? nothing; who's paying you to make this post?

 

 

"I think what happened is that the greens from the 70s were desperately looking for an issue that would grab public attention."

So how do you reconcile the fact that the science for AGW was first established in 1896? How many "greens" were around between 1896 & the 70's?

"The thing is those greens were leftists to the core and that was their main motivation and so climate change became a political issue."

So listening to scientists & the advice of major scientific institutes worldwide has made the conservative governments in Europe who believe in the science a bunch of green leftists? Just how right wing are you Rick?

"It became something with which they could battle and demonize the right."

It became something where the conservatives in the USA, Canada & Aus favoured the fossil fuel industry over other businesses & in many cases accepted massive amounts of fossil fuel industry money, to sell out the interests of the general public in favour of the fossil fuel sector.

http://www.dirtyenergymoney.com/overview.php?type=politician

http://www.independentaustralia.net/2011/politics/the-liberal-party-receives-millions-from-fossil-fuel-lobby/

"The right fought back because that's what happens in a political battle."

The right fought back because they are defending their cash cows.

"So we have a political battle instead of an environmental/economic discussion. Blame the leftist tree huggers."

So convenient.

 

the science may have had it's genesis in 1896 but nobody noticed for almost a hundred years. Enviros are slow sometimes.

 

What makes European governments conservative? there's nothing conservative about the entrenched debt system and universal everything care that defines pre crash Europe (yes the bubble will break shortly)

 

How right wing am I? I don't think of myself as right wing. I just think a culture based on borrowing is a culture based on  bad math and we're getting near the end of the road.

Did you know for example that the interest the US pays in interest on national debt is about the same amount that China expends on it's military.

Don't ask for a source on that - it's just something I heard - but the point is -  big debt has big consequences

 

 

Okay I looked it up: Chinese Military budget for 2011 is about 95 B

US interest payments on debt for 2011 is about 435 B 

One thing these 2 figures have in common is both are going up fast.

 

so - not equal at all 

That should read 20,000 - 30,000 years.

As  the comments, so far show, this new science communication can not come too soon.
Not that these trolls will ever get it, but fewer and fewer observers will buy their nonsense - a regurgitated, memorized litany of absurd skeptic arguments and concern trolling.  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Sailrick, there is nothing in the new science communication that could change these guys minds. They are political & industry creatures. No amount of factual science will change their position. They don't think for themselves. They are dictated what to think by their political parties &/or paid by either them or industry to oppose the pro science stand.

The ones that are paid to oppose it, will never change even if the politics change. It's simply a job to them & they will keep opposing as long as someone is paying them to oppose. Wheras the rusted on political creatures here will eventually change their position, like what happened with the smoking & ozone hole issues. But it wont be until conservative parties accept the science en masse first. Then they will dutifully follow & without the slightest guilt say they thought they were doing what was right.

 

 

Chris,

We are definitely looking forward to your talk at the upcoming meeting of the Soil Science Society. Often overlooked, being underfoot, soils are a complex ecosystem that support life and are central and important in concerns like climate change, as well as water and air pollution. We are hoping to get a little of “the Practice” of science communication to pass along some soil science to others.

Best regards,

James Giese

Soil Science Society of America

Share the Story of Soil: www.soils.org/Story

Are we deleting comments now guys?? What I had to say was perfectly harmless and quite far from the adhom comments of Phil et al. I actually commented on the subject of the article, isn't that the idea?

Wow, just wow!

I prefer the systems that hide comments that may not be wanted. Set it up so that comments with a negative rating (or any comments the mods choose to hide) are hidden but can be viewed if the reader chooses to click on the offending commenters name. Yes I know my comments would be hidden but I still think it's a good way to go. Broadminded even.

Yes, the current open voting on the comments means that deniers who frequent this blog to ply their trade can vote down legitimate posts & allow their hyperbole & opinion to reign supreme.

 

"comments with a negative rating (or any comments the mods choose to hide) are hidden but can be viewed if the reader chooses to click on the offending commenters name."

I don't agree. Go & ask WUWT if they will accept the same sort of advice & allow comments that call them deniers to be allowed, but hidden, so people can still click on them.

If you infringe the comments policy, you infringe the comments policy & should be deleted.

 

 

 

Wuwt comment section as it turns out is mostly a boring echo chamber where dissenting voices are shouted down or deleted. That's why I just about never read comments there and never comment myself.

In my opinion desmog comment section is considerably better than wuwt comment section. I read and consider arguments here and I even notice once in a while that I may be wrong about something believe it or not (you might try that sometime)

If you want desmog comments to be at the level of debate of wuwt comments, you're setting the bar low.

Hank, it was never like that & was brought about by you & your brethren. You guys are here to derail, oppose, distract, obfuscate. We both know that.

It is rare now to see a comment from you, David S, Recycle not & Rick James that is actually constructive, offers valid opposing viewpoints & provides links.

Brendan created a post a few pages back where they explained the new changes & re-affirmed the comments policy. A policy as far as I am concerned, is rarely followed by you guys. Here is again:

"DeSmogBlog does not censor comments based on political or ideological points of view. However, we will delete comments that are abusive, off-topic or use offensive language.

When speaking to the state of climate change science, we encourage commenters to include links to supporting information as this helps enrich the conversation. Users who make unsubstantiated claims can expect their posts to be deleted and, if they persist, their account to be deactivated.

Petty name-calling and/or a pattern of disrespect towards other DeSmogBlog users will also result in account deactivation."

http://www.desmogblog.com/improvements-desmog-comment-forum-and-reminder-about-comment-policy

 

As far as I am concerned, you guys infringe the comments policy with virtually every comment & I am not sure how & why you are given such freedom to infringe those rules so frequently. I can only assume that the desmog team are lenient in enforcing that policy.

With virtually every post I am asking you guys for evidence. It is rare that you provide it. Which means you are just trying to muddy the waters with opinions & falsifications.

 

 

 

 

 

Phil,

I made a comment about the actual article that was in no way abusive nor could it be seen as an attack on anyone here and it was deleted.

You followed my comment (and another from Ralph that was deleted) with your standard name-calling attack, paid deniers etc, and your comment still stands?
 

The owners of this blog are showing their true colors. There is no debate welcome here, civilized or otherwise. All the writers are paid to be here and they are obviously playing to the choir.

So I ask you Phil, as a fellow rational being; Is this really what you guys want here? Will this move the AGW discussion forward? I doubt it.

"I made a comment about the actual article that was in no way abusive nor could it be seen as an attack on anyone here and it was deleted."

But Hank, you conveniently gloss over the rest of the policy which you infringe with every single comment. Here it is again bolded Hank:

"When speaking to the state of climate change science, we encourage commenters to include links to supporting information as this helps enrich the conversation. Users who make unsubstantiated claims can expect their posts to be deleted and, if they persist, their account to be deactivated."

You cannot imagine how frustrating it is to debate people who are arguing from opinion, provide no facts to back their assertions & then demand that their opinion is allowed to carry as much weight as one with evidence.

It's why the denialism industry is so keen to bypass peer review. They want opinion to be allowed to stand for consideration along side of peer review.

"You followed my comment (and another from Ralph that was deleted) with your standard name-calling attack, paid deniers etc, and your comment still stands?"

Hank. This blog is about acknowledging that a paid denier industry exists & exposing it. It also acknowledges & examines the followers of that denialist industry & how they both knowingly & unknowingly adhere to & parrot denier memes. It is undoubtedly in your interest to have that acknowledgement & scrutiny disappear.

Have you asked WUWT to stop using "warmist" & "alarmist"? Where is your consistency?

"The owners of this blog are showing their true colors. There is no debate welcome here, civilized or otherwise."

Hank......you constantly infringe the policy...what do you expect!!

"All the writers are paid to be here and they are obviously playing to the choir."

Hank, in case you hadn't noticed, this blog is not about providing a platform where the fossil fuel industry can freely post articles or lobbyists from the denial industry. It's about exposing them....hello?!

I certainly hope they ( the journo's here) are getting paid. We need more of them willing to stick their necks out against the fossil fuel juggernauts. They ought to be applauded. It takes guts.

 

"So I ask you Phil, as a fellow rational being; Is this really what you guys want here?"

Personally. I want you to start backing your opinions with some facts. A link or two from a reputable source? The repetition of the fossil fuel memes, opinion & right wing anecdotes are getting a little monotonous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petty name-calling and/or a pattern of disrespect towards other DeSmogBlog users will also result in account deactivation."

phil m quote:"They are political & industry creatures"..petty name calling?

phil m :"They don't think for themselves"....disrespect?

phil m:"

What took you so long to reveal your hand? The troll alarm went berserk the moment you started posting on this blog."...disrespect?

pm.."Wow, it's like Rick Perry & Michelle Bachmann had kids & then let them loose in here"..hmmmm i am starting to see a pattern here

pm..."It shows how easily you can be manipulated into echoing whatever repubs are telling you. History shows on this blog, that facts are the last thing you check"...respectful?

pm...was this cited? i must have missed the notation..."

Climate depot is an exxon funded Republican site Ralph. No wonder you thought it had the "climate change facts".

cited?

That's why it's important western countries make the first move in regards to abatements. We have benefited from it for the last century or so & at Copenhagen we said to China & India, look, you guys are growing pretty quick & are causing most of the emissions per country. Then they (China & India) turned around & said, get stuffed, you have caused most of the damage & want us to pay to fix it? Get real, you have a higher per capita CO2 use than us & you export all your emissions to our countries to supply your goods. This reeks of imperialism.

Meanwhile, China sees the new cleantech boom & is positioning itself as the new world leader in this field. Like I said before. There is no instant cleantech switch. It will take decades to transform to a cleantech economy & probably many more for much of the transport sector. The energy production side is not so hard to overcome. It's the transport sector. Particularly logistics (air, shipping,trucks) where there is no quick transition, as well as things like plastic.

pm...

and best no citation of all...(ok this has been only ten minutes of searching)"No, just the 98% of world scientists & 100% of major scientific institutions are." on claiming to know what causes global warming

 

"phil m quote:"They are political & industry creatures"..petty name calling?"

Don't see how.

"phil m :"They don't think for themselves"....disrespect?"

I meant in regards to climate science. Skepticism & denialism are two different things. You guys fall into the later category. You are not skeptics & therefore don't think independently in regards to climate science. You are deliberately coming form a position of belief & ideological confirmation bias.

http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/component/content/article/112-blogs/681-be-sceptical-of-climate-sceptics

"What took you so long to reveal your hand? The troll alarm went berserk the moment you started posting on this blog."...disrespect?"

I am supposed to respect a troll? How low am I supposed to go? He deliberately comes onto this board with a troll name (Ralph Nader) & posts troll comments. Why am I supposed to respect that again? Would I be accepted on WUWT with a name like David Koch , where most of my posts were provocative & opposed the theme of the board?

"pm.."Wow, it's like Rick Perry & Michelle Bachmann had kids & then let them loose in here"..hmmmm i am starting to see a pattern here"

There were 13 comments before that statement of mine. 9 out of those 13 were almost straight out of fox news. They were essentially all right wing dogma. Anyone agreeing with the story, had 9 conservative viewpoints hijacking the conversation before even starting. All without fact & all just regurgitated Fox news viewpoints.

http://www.desmogblog.com/world-warms-environmental-protections-put-back-burner

"pm..."It shows how easily you can be manipulated into echoing whatever repubs are telling you. History shows on this blog, that facts are the last thing you check"...respectful?"

Why should respect be shown for someone with an established history of falsification & lack of providing facts?

"

Climate depot is an exxon funded Republican site Ralph. No wonder you thought it had the "climate change facts".

cited?"

Here you go. I thought it was well known fact.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Climate_Depot

http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1126

http://www.desmogblog.com/marc-morano

 

"

pm...

and best no citation of all..."

 

Which bit did you want citation for? Please indicate the exact sentence. You provided three paragraphs. While I can't & don't provide citation for every word I say. At least I provide links in the majority of my arguments. The same cannot be said for virtually every denier post in here.

 

Again. Another story has been successfully derailed by deniers.

The story started with a discussion about how science can be best communicated with the public. Instead, it's kicked off by Rick as usual with a right wing view of the world. Where the science is still "unknown" & we shouldn't do anything at all.

Word for word, play by play, straight out of the lobbyists play book. Repeatedly used by Rick ad nauseum. Polar opposite to what the science community is actually saying.

How he is allowed to continue with such frequent falsifications is beyond me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i wasnt saying that respect should be shown, i was commenting on the fact that it is a rule here that you seem to continue to relay to us ,yet you dont follow.

also, i wasnt asking for you to get the citations for me when asked, i was showing your inconsistency by asking everyone else to follow the rules yet you dont by not citing.

 

maybe you are the troll phil

Phil;

 

I think the "deniers" are just trying to add some point in the efforts of improving scientific communications. Don't you think much of what is propagated today is just a bit hard to believe? Now the reason we don't see any global warming is that it is trapped in the deep oceans?

 

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Environment/2011/09/19/18708941.html

 

I'm no climate scientist but if this is the best way to communicate the issue it's just plain awful. First we are supposed to believe that the deep oceans are now heat magnets???? What happened the basic concept of convection where the density of matter expands as it heats up and rises?

Phil, we are all just looking for answers here but most of the stuff I hear about global warming today is a lot to swallow.

Before the PR message about deep heat in the oceans the prevailing concept for the lack of heat was sulfur dioxide emission from china we're blocking them. At what point does Phil M say give me a break?

 

"Don't you think much of what is propagated today is just a bit hard to believe?"

No.

"Now the reason we don't see any global warming"

Now Ralph, you might find this surprising, but I don't ask for evidence/citation/links for everything. Just things I know that are verifiably false. Please provide evidence to back your statement that we don't see any global warming.

"Phil, we are all just looking for answers here but most of the stuff I hear about global warming today is a lot to swallow."

I believe that is possible for some of you, but not all of you. It might be hard to swallow, but it is fact. I'm sure neither of us could step into the role of a brain surgeon, or oncologist, or an astrophysicist, or a geneticist. But we don't doubt the things they say. We trust their expertise. You probably never even considered opposing scientists like Stephen Schneider in 1979 or James Hansen in 1988 when they spoke publicly & to congress about the issue.

You werent there to protest the paper by Roger Revelle & Hans Suess in 1956. Or Charles Keeling in 1957. Or the report by the National Academy of Sciences in 1979. Or the UNEP/WMO conference in 1985. Did you protest conservative Margaret Thatchers address to the UN about global warming in 1989?

http://newanthropocene.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/the-signal-emerges-from-the-noise-climate-politics-history/

No. Admit it. You didn't start opposing it or found it hard to swallow until politicians started talking about a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme. Admit it. The science wasn't a concern for you until you heard there would be a possible hit to your back pocket. Or your political party opposed it. Or industry sympathetic blogs told you it was all a hoax.

"At what point does Phil M say give me a break?"

Mate, this is serious stuff, researched by serious people. There is no hoax, there is little doubt, there is 100% agreement by all major scientific instituions on the planet it's happening. While I'm sure they have senses of humour, I know they don't collaborate worldwide on a joke. They are not being alarmist. They are being conservative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No link but a quote from Kevin trenberth revealed during cliamtegate "It's a shame we can't account for the lack of warming..."

You can research the lack of statistically signifigant warming by googling it. When Hansen first presented his predictions in 1988 all of the three scenarios, high medium and low emissions have been proven wrong based on the amount of C02 we have emitted.

 

In 1979 Stephen Schneider was all about global cooling, not global warming. He flipped for some reason, maybe he saw where the research grants we're going.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwvUz0mtrOk

 

Phil I guess for me the crying of wolf has gone on for too long. I'm still caught up in the last scare that was going to kill us all acid rain and the ozone hole. I'm too busy dedicating all my time to reducing CFC's and I don't have time to worry about carbon emissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"No link but a quote from Kevin trenberth revealed during cliamtegate "It's a shame we can't account for the lack of warming...""

So you base your evidence on an out of context email?

"You can research the lack of statistically signifigant warming by googling it."

Why didn't you just provide a link if there is this evidence. Please provide it from a reputable scientific institute & no, some guys blog doesn't count. Here is the actual warming evidence.

http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

http://www.csiro.au/science/Changing-Climate.html

 

"In 1979 Stephen Schneider was all about global cooling, not global warming."

Exactly right. In fact, most of the scientists back then, it was fair to say, were mostly skeptics & none of the major scientific institutes backed it. The evidence & the case was slowly built upon to where now, the evidence is overwhelming & the majority of scientists know it's happening & 100% of the worlds scientific institutes back it.

"Phil I guess for me the crying of wolf has gone on for too long."

Ralph, climate change is a bit like a cancer. Once you learn you have it, there is no instant fatality upon hearing the news. It can in some cases take many years of slow insidious illness, that progressively gets worse if untreated. Fortunately for us with AGW there is no fatality at the end & it's fully treatable. But things do get progressively & slowly worse or uncomfortable left untreated. It takes a long time & the effects you will see in our generation will be small in comparison to the next generation.

You may not have kids yet, but when you do, your desire to preserve the future for our kind becomes so much stronger.

 

 

The ozone hole has peaked, or nearly peaked, and will recover due to replacing CFCs. (Google on Montreal protocol).Acid rain was reduced by installing scrubbers. And while we're discussing the standard right wing litany of problems that "never happened" but in reality were fixed, the Y2K problem was solved in time for the new millenium by the tedious work of a lot of programmers and/or by the replacement of antique hardware and software.

We can also solve the energy problem although it will be harder inherently. The fossil fuel industry does not want it solved, even though we are running low on recoverable oil.

Obviously, you haven't read Rasool & Schneider's paper.

What scientific papers do you reference for your conclusions. I would be interested on examining those on acid rain.

 

The ozone hole has peaked, or nearly peaked, and will recover due to replacing CFCs. (Google on Montreal protocol).Acid rain was reduced by installing scrubbers. And while we're discussing the standard right wing litany of problems that "never happened" but in reality were fixed, the Y2K problem was solved in time for the new millenium by the tedious work of a lot of programmers and/or by the replacement of antique hardware and software.

We can also solve the energy problem although it will be harder inherently. The fossil fuel industry does not want it solved, even though we are running low on recoverable oil.

Obviously, you haven't read Rasool & Schneider's paper.

Chris,

Happens I am taking a course in writing a book -- any kind-- from a writer whose written in several genres including non-fiction. She says "Our brains have changed in the past 10 years. We learn in visual images."

I am going to ask her next class if she has a specific references or more info. Her book on writing is up for a state literary award, she is very experienced with the publishing. 

Will post further info.

mine was on topic, chose to call out phil m philosophy on thought and was edited out. no way you let us make points and have the same guidelines for the alarmists. why was my last comment not allowed?

I agree, there's definitely a double standard here. And this bull about not posting opinions without links?? My opinions don't always have links to back them up, because they are MY opinions. And isn't that what the 'comment' section is for? To post a readers own opinion?

I figured the comment section was to add something that wasn't there - some other viewpoint - generally by expressing some exception to an article or some comment ... or alternatively, to stroke the ego s of individuals who may have some personal difficulty with criticism.  And by the way Phil is doing a great job.

"I agree, there's definitely a double standard here. And this bull about not posting opinions without links?? My opinions don't always have links to back them up, because they are MY opinions. And isn't that what the 'comment' section is for? To post a readers own opinion?"

 

Hank, the comments section of this site is already over run by deniers. Many people probably don't want to engage or enter into debate here because of the imbalance of deniers & the language you guys use, like "the fact is", "In my world", "that's a fact", or "it's caused by". Or you go off on a tangent of socialism & communism. Or suggestions of conspiracies or one world governments.

Every new post is now overrun by deniers with unsubstantiated claims. The world moved on from religious dogma centuries ago, where they realized , they needed facts to explain what was happening around them, not just opinion.

" My opinions don't always have links to back them up, because they are MY opinions. "

No problems, so don't allude, insinuate or state that they are somehow fact.  The posts by the desmog team are always backed by several links enforcing their argument. It's a bit unfair to be constantly under attack by deniers who demand that desmog is unequivocally wrong, but provide only opinion as evidence.

Check this link for facts vs opinions:

http://www.thenewsmanual.net/Manuals%20Volume%203/volume3_56.htm

"And isn't that what the 'comment' section is for? To post a readers own opinion?"

Yes, but this forum & probably most others you participate in have rules. I & probably many others that view this website believe you are here to derail, obfuscate, distract, spam & dominate a topic with either right wing or denier views. If you want a forum where all of your type of comments will be accepted, why not go to WUWT, climate audit, climate depot, Jo Nova, Bishop Hill, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, right wing news etc? You will have dozens if not hundreds of people that will agree with your opinions.

Propaganda works by rumor & opinion. As far as I am concerned, too much of science is under attack by industry & political propaganda, that people all too willingly accept without fact checking. They then pass those opinions & rumors onto even more gullible people. Hence the attack on science we see on AGW, Biology, Virology, Oncology etc we see today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"My opinions don't always have links to back them up, because they are MY opinions."

 

This is a problem in America.  People think their opinion on a highly complicated science, that they are poorly informed about, is meaningful.

Science is not decided by radio and television talk show hosts, scientifically illiterate congressmen, political think tanks, journalists,  or you and your buddies sitting around having a brew and discussing climate change.  Scientists decide science, and they have decided.

The decisions is nearly unanimous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One quibble about the phrase scientists "decide" science.

Interesting choice of words but to be more accurate scientists study things, conduct experiments and draw conclusions which may be overturned in the future. "Deciding" is a problematic term unless you're talking about George W Bush being "the decider".

Non scientists often misinterpret their work and argue with other non scientists who also misinterpret.

In addition to this, history clearly shows that human knowledge is faulty and in constant need of readjustment. Its not unreasonable therefore to take the findings and assertions of experts with a grain of salt.

"Science is not decided by radio and television talk show hosts, scientifically illiterate congressmen, political think tanks, journalists,  or you and your buddies sitting around having a brew and discussing climate change."

No?  So how is science actually "decided", then?  Let's see:

"Scientists decide science, and they have decided.  The decisions is nearly unanimous."

Aha!  So they take a vote, just like the Miss Universe Pageant.

Thanks for explaining that.

 

Let me repeat the comments policy again, since you believe you only need to stay on topic for your post to be accepted.

"

"DeSmogBlog does not censor comments based on political or ideological points of view. However, we will delete comments that are abusive, off-topic or use offensive language.

When speaking to the state of climate change science, we encourage commenters to include links to supporting information as this helps enrich the conversation. Users who make unsubstantiated claims can expect their posts to be deleted and, if they persist, their account to be deactivated"

 

As far as I am concerned, you guys infringe the comments policy 90% of the time. Rum, I don't think I have eve seen a post from you that doesn't infringe every part of the policy.

 

Generally communications is a two way dialogued. When climate science figures this out, perhaps their radical ideas will be adopted by the mainstream, until then they can keep calling the majority of the population deniers and continue to have their ideals rejected.

Denials exists because people love to deny ideas and concepts that defy logic, common sense and basic scientific concepts.

A good start to "communications" would be for climate science to distance itself from radicals like Hansen that attend protest rallies. (Tough to claim objectivity when you are willing to arrested for a scientific theory)

Start denouncing the Hansens, the Manns and the AL Gores for the radicals that they are. After all we all recognize that the ocean will not rise 20 feet and that the issue is not as dire as claimed.

Excellent point. And one that was made in a comment by someone else on the first day of this article but has since been deleted. Why? I just don't get it?

I've read everything that philm wrote about the rules but that comment clearly didn't offend, did it?

the nature of deleting comments is that mistakes are made, comments are misunderstood and somebody accidently checks the little delete box. Can't be helped over the long run.

"Denials exists because people love to deny ideas and concepts that defy logic, common sense and basic scientific concepts."

Like how smoking being good for you was just common sense & logic?

 

"Start denouncing the Hansens, the Manns"

Why stop there eh?! Why not just all scientists? Lets go back to religion for facts or just ask industry directly what the correct facts are?

 

What you advocate is false balance, just like the mainstream media tends to engage in.

There is science, and there is the politically motivated climate change denial PR machine, one of the biggest and best funded dis-information campaigns in history.

as David Archer has said, the target audience of climate change denial is laymen, not scientists.

It's not science, but PR, dressed up to look like science.

what you want is the equivalent of having a spokeman for those who believe that the 1960s moon landing was faked, every time there is a news story about NASA

That may seem like an exaggeration to you, but it is not.  This is how absurd the conversation  about climate change has become.

Examples are here:

 

GOP congressman Rohrbacher suggests trees cause global warming

Speaker of the House Boehner says CO2 emissions nothing to worry about because humans breathe CO2 in and out. Brilliant.

Michelle Bachman says there have been no scientific studies showing CO2 is harmful.
 I guess she missed the ~10,000 (up to about 2006) published research papers behind the IPCC’s 2007 4th Assessment Report

GOP Rep Fred Upton says there can be no global warming because God won’t allow it to happen.

And of course Sen Inhofe says its all a big hoax.
 Sure Senator, the entire world scientific community is just trying to get more grant money.

Barton and Ihofe get more oil money than any other legislators, in the House and Senate, respectively.
 
Minnestota GOP senator claims to have studied all 13 fields of science related to climate change. Just so you know, no climate scientist would make such a claim.
 
“Turns out that the self proclaimed “No. 1 global warming denier in Minnesota” one Michael Jungbauer, a man, whom in his own words, has “studied all 13 disciplines of science” contained in the IPCC reports, and now sits in the Minnesota state senate.. The problem is, he is not a scientist.”
 
http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/06/cage-match.html
 
Bottom line: He doesn’t even have a bachelor degree in any field of science
 
Christopher Monckton has no scientific background, his only higher education being in journalism. Yet, he is Chief Policy Adviser at the Science and Public Policy Institute a global warming skeptics group.
 
This is who Republicans brought to a U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing as an expert witness, in 2008.
 Energy and Commerce Committee Minority Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) referred to Monckton, in his opening remarks, – as being “generally regarded as one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable, experts on the skeptic side”.
 Global warming is not a matter of popular opinion, its a matter of science. Monckton is an activist, not a scientist. And what he claims is science isn’t. He is known to make completely absurd claims, like that industrialization helps the environment and that global warming will be beneficial.
 
And then, in May 2010, U.S House Republicans chose Monckton as their only expert witness for a hearing at the Select Committee On Energy Independence and Global Warming.

One of Inhofe’s star witnesses at Senate committee hearings, that he chaired, was science fiction writer Michael Crichton.
Inhofe obviously can't tell the difference between science and science fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their are thousands of qualified scientists who deny the catastrophic climate change claims. every day a new one emerged to fight back against the cloak of secrecy and slander that awaits anyone who speaks out and says the emperor has no clothes.

We are expected to believe what a small radical group of scientists have to say when all of their predictions have been nullified? We haven't seen the global warming predicted at all,Hansen is claiming objectivity while attending cliamte rallies. Stephen Schneider told the media that global cooling was the scientific consensus, Kevin Trenberth thinks it;s a shame they can't account for the lack of warming and Micheal mann makes up fake graphs. These are the only people you hear from, scientists lacking credibility that would not cut it in any other field.

The fact of the matter is that climate scientists are vetted for beliefs before they get in and their is no money to objectively look at the issue, only fame and fortune if you can churn out papers pumping climate change. No evidence is ever supported just an appeal to believe authority figures. Since acid rain didn't get us, nor did the ozone hole and this theory seems full of holes, until we see some real statistically significant warming, don't expect too many of us to get alarmed.

 

 

"Their are thousands of qualified scientists who deny the catastrophic climate change claims"

There you go again with the use of catastrophic. It's not a term that most climate scientist use lightly. It's a common denier term used to exaggerate the position of climate scientists. If there is no "catastrophe" like in say the movie 2012, or sudden impact etc & if we only see slow sea level rises & warming, slow temp warming, slowly more drought & flood, then they are wrong eh? Where was the catastrophe?

Secondly, the key word missing from your sentence above was climate scientists. Even better.....publishing climate scientists. Do you go to a biologist to learn about space & the solar system? Why not ? They are both scientists. That is the difference between thousands of qualified scientists & publishing climate scientists. When you look at it from the professional angle, you find that there are next to no publishing climate skeptics scientists. Please look at the graphs in this link.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

"These are the only people you hear from, scientists lacking credibility that would not cut it in any other field."

That's rubbish. I participate & read daily many blogs with many publishing or working climate scientists who aren't the names you mention.

http://www.climateshifts.org/

http://www.skepticalscience.com/

http://www.realclimate.org/

http://tamino.wordpress.com/

http://rabett.blogspot.com/

http://deepclimate.org/

"The fact of the matter is that climate scientists are vetted for beliefs before they get in"

That is rubbish also. The peer review process is very strict. Do you think Nature & the opposing journal Science would collude when some skeptic scientist has the 100% evidence to blow it all apart? Each journal would be super eager to have their journal as the journal that published the paper that put it all to rest.

Besides, skeptic scientists are often asked for open debate away from rigged platforms like heartland & they either refuse or are summarily shown where they are wrong if they do attempt debate. Like the recent Pielke Snr debate on skeptical science. Albatross completely demolished his arguments & science.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/sks-responses-to-pielke-sr-questions.html

http://climatequotes.com/2011/02/10/study-claiming-97-of-climate-scientists-agree-is-flawed/

Interesting. If 90 out of 100 climate scientists jumped off of a bridge would you? That is really what we are all asked to do. I might think about the issue myself before jumping head first.

This argument is rolled out all the time because evidence is fleeting or contradictory. I agree that it is difficult to be definitive in a topic matter that has as many variables as climate science but when you are always wrong it may be time to be skeptical.

Becoming a professor at a university in any field is not easy. You have to get through an udnergrad, masters and a phd. All the while getting the top grades, do you really think someone that was not indoctrinated into the CAGW theory would actually make it? Anyone who has ever been at a university knows that if you agree with the prof your grades are higher.

After you have spent nearly a decade sucking up to the likes of people like Hansen who believe that if you disagree with them you are a denier, then you have to get published and go through the peer review process to get tenior.

I could write pages about what is required to be a professor but suffice to say they weed out non-believers in this process. After that their is no research grants to doubt AGW but billions to back it up.

I put little stock in climate science and more in other fields that are not so vested with the adoption of the AGW theory into political circles.

 

At the end of the day I'd like some evidence please, not references to authority. When we see some warming expect the deniers to disapear. Since we don't see much warming expect sceptics.

 

Their are thousands of qualified scientists who deny the catastrophic climate change claims. every day a new one emerged to fight back against the cloak of secrecy and slander that awaits anyone who speaks out and says the emperor has no clothes.

We are expected to believe what a small radical group of scientists have to say when all of their predictions have been nullified? We haven't seen the global warming predicted at all,Hansen is claiming objectivity while attending cliamte rallies. Stephen Schneider told the media that global cooling was the scientific consensus, Kevin Trenberth thinks it;s a shame they can't account for the lack of warming and Micheal mann makes up fake graphs. These are the only people you hear from, scientists lacking credibility that would not cut it in any other field.

The fact of the matter is that climate scientists are vetted for beliefs before they get in and their is no money to objectively look at the issue, only fame and fortune if you can churn out papers pumping climate change. No evidence is ever supported just an appeal to believe authority figures. Since acid rain didn't get us, nor did the ozone hole and this theory seems full of holes, until we see some real statistically significant warming, don't expect too many of us to get alarmed.

 

 

Monckton may be a self agrandizing blowhard, buts he's also highly accomplished in mathematics and he questions only the magnitude of warming to be expected from human derived emissions.

Thats it. He doesn't deny the science, he only questions magnitude of warming - which is something every scientist naturally questions. That's why the variability of warming expected is so large. The scientists don't know what's coming and they freely admit that by projecting a large range of future temperature possibilities and a large range of melt off possibilities.

They just don't know so let's quit pretending they do.

"which is something every scientist naturally questions."

But he is not a scientist, let alone a climate scientist.

"That's why the variability of warming expected is so large. The scientists don't know what's coming and they freely admit that by projecting a large range of future temperature possibilities and a large range of melt off possibilities."

The point is, they know there will be warming & are warning us, the consequences for most of us wont be good.

"They just don't know so let's quit pretending they do."

Rick to Oncologist: You mean you know I have cancer, but you don't know when, or if I will die, or how much pain i will be in? Stop pretending you are a doctor!! Give me some precise answers! Time...date  & threshold of pain thankyou!!

Oncologst: *sigh*

I'm sure in that situation you would listen to the advice Rick, despite them not being able to give you answers to any of those questions.

 

 

 

 

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