Saturday, September 19, 2015

I Don't Think They Understand the Term "Academic Freedom"

A group of 20 university professors are hoping the federal government will try to prosecute climate change skeptics. The group sent a letter to the White House earlier this month comparing those who are a bit doubtful regarding man-made global warming to the tobacco industry.
We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change…The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done
Guess it’s time for me to find a lawyer because I’m in the skeptic category when it comes to just how much influence the fossil fuel industry has on climate change.
Since the globe actually hasn't warmed in 18 or so years (depending on how you choose to measure it), it's a bit of a stretch to blame global climate stability on fossil fuels. It might even be true, but proving it's a bad thing is difficult.

As for the charge of fossil fuel fuel interests paying to have research done to confirm their point of view, well I suppose it's happened, but it would be a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money the government has dumped into the global cooling warming change stability industry in academe. And as for the intellectual honesty, one has only to look at the revelations from "Climategate" and the ever shifting heat records (which always seem to have the effect of cooling the past and warming the present), to know that the government/acadmic axis is not above shading the truth.

And as for the so called social "sciences", fresh from Dienkes' Blog: Political (non) diversity in social psychology
Political diversity will improve social psychological science

José L. Duartea1, Jarret T. Crawforda, Charlotta Sterna, Jonathan Haidta, Lee Jussima and Philip E. Tetlocka

Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity – particularly diversity of viewpoints – for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving. But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. This article reviews the available evidence and finds support for four claims: (1) Academic psychology once had considerable political diversity, but has lost nearly all of it in the last 50 years. (2) This lack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mischaracterize liberals and conservatives alike. (3) Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority's thinking. (4) The underrepresentation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination. We close with recommendations for increasing political diversity in social psychology.

Climate science is probably worse, and environmental science in general not much better.

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