Hysterical predictions that haven’t panned out have taken a toll on the credibility of scientists, and one would think environmentalists would want to be more careful about how they state their case going forward. Just 39 percent have “a lot of trust” in information received from climate scientists, according to a Pew Research poll released this week. Only 28 percent say they believe climate scientists understand the causes of global warming, and 19 percent say climate scientists know what should be done to address it.
One thought that comes to mind: If there really were a worldwide climate apocalypse, would not more people be experiencing it? The current situation looks more like: Poor and vulnerable people are suffering from local climate changes they lack the resources to cope with.
The big picture is murkier and more complex. It is worth remembering that much of the Netherlands is below sea level and held in place by dykes. But then the Dutch have engineers…
In any event, apocalypse (a-crock-a-lypse?) marketers do not even need to be consistent:
The Union of Concerned Scientists curiously seeks to enforce what it sees as the consensus view on climate but refuses to acknowledge the solid consensus view that genetically modified organisms are safe. It says genetically engineered crops “have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and environmental impacts.”
Its brethren in the scientific community can’t even pretend to go along with this. One called UCS’ stance “at best wildly misleading and at worst an all-out fabrication.” Another wrote: “It would be nice if a leading, highly trusted scientific group held itself to the same evidence-based standards it holds others, but that is not the case.” More.
It’s not so hard to understand. The only way that Chicken Little can keep his game going, in the end, is by creating real fear instead of fake fear: Fear, for example, of career ruin, reputation loss, fines, and imprisonment. And, historically, that is how he has done it.
Incidentally, Union of Concerned Scientists got started during the Viet Nam war, which could be the reason their rallying cry seems to be A-crock-a-lypse Now!
See also: A scientist shares his cyberbullying story: The anonymity that the internet offers can free academic scientists of the restraints that would typically govern their public behaviour. So trolling becomes the new peer review.
It might surprise people who get their science history from Joe Bullroar and Bimbette Fluffarelli of Airhead TV, it was not at all clear centuries ago that Galileo and Copernicus were correct about the basic structure of the solar system. Many respected astronomers thought them obviously wrong for evidence-based reasons. It took decades to be sure who was right.