“GoreBull Warming?” I say it out loud to myself as I’m reading the questions I’ve just been pelted with. One after the other from a fellow scientist I used to work with prior to my teaching days. “GOREBULL WARMING?!?!” Now I’m mad as I say it. And I’m not mad at him. He is asking me good questions. But the friend with whom he is arguing? Sure, I get the witty word play. I get the attack on the work of Al Gore and minimizing global warming. It’s witty, I’ll give you that, skeptics. But what made me most angry is the lack of logical and critical thinking skills being used here. What made me angry was that somehow, while the rest of the science world is allowed to change models or modify them as new technologies become available, this same courtesy is not afforded to those scientists in the earth and climate sciences. No, in these fields any modification to a model is somehow indicative of some horrific failure on their part.
But allow me to shed some light on the double-standard. I spent years working as a neuroscientist. I worked on various diseases and disorders, but I will focus on my years working on Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease has been at the forefront of neuroscience research (at least until Pfizer recently decided to pull the plug on all of its research and development on it–the fallout of which is to be determined in the whole field). Alzheimer’s remains a disease that will impact millions of lives of loved ones, and will cost billions in medical bills. For companies, that spells dollar signs. But research on Alzheimer’s disease has been riddled with problems and failures from the very start. Companies have focused much energy on a drug that cuts a certain protein but to little avail. They’ve found a drug that will SLOW the disease; but it will not stop it, and it certainly does not cure it. YET! For neuroscience this is an achievement. Progress was made. We understand just a little bit more than we did the day before. Sure, many people are frustrated that there is still no cure, but have people turned their backs on the researchers? No. Pfizer’s choice was motivated by billions of dollars in a newly available tax return for them–it had nothing to do with their scientists. Globally, researchers are still at it. They’re modifying their models. Neuroscientists fail repeatedly, but they keep at it without the world blasting them to pieces. I can say all of this, because I am a Neuroscientist and this was my job for quite a few years.
So what makes it acceptable for the scientific method, a method that has been with us for thousands of years, in which questions are asked, models are proposed and then adjusted accordingly as new information is brought in, results communicated, what makes this method acceptable in following for all sciences save those related to climate science? Because the reality is the second a scientist in any field reporting on climate change waivers or indicates they are altering a current model of any kind suddenly we cannot trust them. Suddenly the credibility of that scientist is in question. Other fields spend 20 years just working modifying and re-modifying the same model over and over, but they’re seen as an expert and revered. The media flocks to them for their opinion. The same cannot be said for any scientist working in an area that involves climate science. They may be sought out as an expert, but they are by no means treated with the same degree of respect by the public or media.
How many of you take a prescription medicine? How many of you sit and read the labels of side effects? Or better yet watch one of those commercials with the happy smiling people running freely through a field of flowers while a litany of absolutely horrific side effects are listed for that drug? But you take it. You will still take that drug. So you are affording the pharmacologists, the chemists, and team members from that company the opportunity to essentially use you as a guinea pig. Yes, these drugs pass regulations. Yes, they are helpful in what they do in many ways. But many of these drugs have serious adverse effects. These drugs that are supposedly helping you, are actually harming you in many ways. But you will trust them. Why?
Yet a glaciologist who just has the technology available to them to map the bedrock of Greenland which underlies the ice sheets tells you that this information now has to be factored into the models of how glaciers move and suddenly everything out of any climate scientists mouth is made up. We can’t trust them. They’re always changing things. “That makes them seem unrealiable”- direct quote from a message I received. It’s not them being unreliable! It’s them having access to new technology that’s now allowing them to be able to more accurately revise their own models.
It comes down to this—science is not meant to be politicized. Science is supposed to be a very pure, peer-reviewed system in which research can operate with the scientific method to model and revise models to make progress.
Climate science was acknowledged long ago. The risks were determined in the early 1900s. Look it up. Better yet, I’ll make a blog just dedicated to that topic alone. So what happened? Money. Money happened. The First World was built on fossil fuels. It’s no secret that these companies are huge donors to our politicians. Just trace the Koch Brother funding.
I don’t want this blog or this website to be political or politicized in anyway. Which is the purpose of this post. I am determined to highlight and afford those amazing scientists working in these fields the same opportunity to have their incredibly important work highlighted and accessible to the public. You can sit and try to debate this all you want. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
So I begin my blog with answers to burning questions with a few requests:
Treat all scientists working in this area with the same respect and regard you would any other hardworking researcher.
Please listen to the facts and think through the explanations.
Please be aware of things like bias—which I will talk about as well.
The scientists are presenting us with FACTS. That are proven and backed up.
There is no “fake news” here.
Certainly ask questions. That’s the entire point of this blog and website to begin with, but do so in a respectful manner.
I thank you in advance for reading. If you have questions as I move along, please do not hesitate to hit that contact button and email me. Or go ahead and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next post…..