[ RadSafe ] "overwhelming" number of scientists andclimatechange

Dan McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Fri Jul 27 12:03:37 CDT 2012

Hi Karen:

Whenever an issue is primarily driven by politics & media, I become
distrustful of all statements.  Since the "climate change" debate started,
it has been far less about science and more in convincing the masses via
the media. If I had to do geology that way, I would have chosen a different
career path.  I'm pretty good with a horse & rope and handling cattle...
perhaps I would have been a better cowboy.

Because of the politics, the open exchange of scientific information in the
subject of climate change has been strangely altered.  Grants for research
are in part controlled by political forces, and so the "body of work" has
become possibly jaded.  No wonder that the debate is so vociferous and
journalists & politicians seem to write & say more than bona fide "good
faith" scientists.

Science doesn't lend itself well to media "Sound Bites".

My first, knee-jerk response is skepticism to absolutist statements,
especially about the aggregate opinions of a bunch of self-absorbed
scientists.  It only takes one scientist to be right. In that, "science" as
a discipline is replete with examples of "jumping to conclusions" followed
by the more skeptical, bona fide research of those interested in the data
and facts, when their voices are allowed.  These scientists face a dual
audience these days - but instead of their peers being the first line of
argument, it is now a debate first with non-peers, that of the media, with
journalists & politicians who have no training in that specialty, but are
full of strangely arrogant opinions.

Karen, it is very hard to prognosticate or guess at future events
especially in complex systems.  Perhaps we will know more conclusively in
our lifetimes, but, in my opinion, likely not.  I believe that this is one
of those debates that only time will reveal what truth there is in the
various arguments.

Try a good, strong Irish Tea... Those ginger-haired Irish know a good tea!

Best regards,

Dan ii

On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM, Karen Street <Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>wrote:

> Troll? OK, this is continuing, so with Jeff's indulgence....
> Note: I use the term scientist in its most narrow sense, for people with
> PhDs who do research that results in peer review publication in the field
> being discussed.
> I came on this list because I had questions about things nuclear after
> Fukushima. I became pro-nuclear in 1995 while writing a paper for a writing
> class, after losing a lot of my hearing so I could no longer teach physics.
> (I now have cochlear implants.) I thought nuclear and coal probably equally
> bad, and was unconcerned about climate change, but am grateful that I never
> made public announcements, never said, "it's the sun" until after I began
> reading. The sources of web information on nuclear power at that time were
> environmental types, and physicists. I never encountered anyone who was
> pro-nuclear who was not an academic type until much later. The pro-nuclear
> scientists I read said that much more important than air pollution was
> climate change. I read much more about both.
> I began presenting on and writing about nuclear power as I went
> increasingly deaf, and then began to do even more as I began to hear again
> after becoming bionic. I learned very quickly that for perhaps 3/4 of the
> audience, the facts don't matter. Many have no way to communicate their
> opposition to nuclear power, they often aren't articulate (eg, many say,
> what about nuclear waste? and I ask, what about nuclear waste? and most
> can't answer). And the facts really don't matter.
> I do presentations on climate change and nuclear power. I provided this
> group a link to a blog post that describes how effective inclusion of what
> social scientists say about why we don't listen to the facts is to helping
> people listen to the facts, at least in these two presentations. Since
> frustration is frequently expressed on this list about people who get the
> facts wrong, I thought that this process might be of interest to some on
> the list.
> It immediately degenerated into, "climate change isn't happening and the
> causes are natural". I've seen similar posts a number of times in the year
> or so I've been on the list. Social scientists say that most people use
> reasoning on controversial social issues to show that they are good and
> trustworthy members of the group, much more often than to explore the
> issues. Like so many lists, the set of acceptable topics expands (beyond
> radiation safety in this case)—this list has allowed gratuitous attacks on
> scientists and their work in a field that none of you, so far as I know,
> have studied. (Yes, knowledge of geology and physics and such gives us the
> background to understand some of the more complicated arguments, but that's
> not a PhD and peer review work in climatology, and few of us have tested
> our understanding with those in the field.) The overwhelming majority of
> climate scientists have a number of agreements about what is understood and
> how well after many decades of hard work, beginning during the US Civil
> War, seeing what has survived serious and multiple challenges (
> http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107). The attacks
> came from people on this list with experience talking to like-minded
> people. BTW, the PNAS paper was written after frequent and vicious attacks
> on science and scientists.
> I am curious what people believe about controversial social issues, in
> part because I am genuinely interested in how people think, and I do change
> my mind even on issues which I've thought about some and for which I have a
> preferred answer. I don't expect to learn anything from anyone who
> denies/is skeptical of scientific consensus, as I began with skepticism and
> so read extensively and am now convinced, and because I am rarely impressed
> by arguments which necessarily include the idea that scientists aren't as
> intelligent, thoughtful, moral as ... When people on this list began their
> attacks on scientists, I asked some very simple questions to see if they
> could explain to me what they believed beyond, "the people in that group
> are not moral, intelligent...." I heard from some of you on list, and 3
> people contacted me off list, and I have now one partial answer. I don't
> know, I can't recall the numbers, scientists don't/can't possibly
> understand, the solutions cost too much, I don't like the kind of people
> who believe in climate change, those who disagree with me are unwilling to
> examine the issues—these aren't answers to the questions, OK, what is
> happening then? and, What are the causes?
> Franz, I hope that your sore threat improves and that the glass of wine at
> ambient temperature helps/doesn't impair the process. I have a sore throat,
> and am wondering if I too should open a bottle of wine..... I'm getting
> sick of peppermint tea.
> > RADSAFErs,
> >
> > Please forgive me!!!! I have no sour throat, but a sore one....... I
> helped myself in the meantime with a glass of Spanish redwine at ambient
> temperature. Good night!
> >
> > Franz
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ---- franz.schoenhofer at chello.at schrieb:
> >> Jerry, Terry, Karen,
> >
> > I wondered the last days, whether I was on the right list - climate
> change, global warming and the like instead of radiation protection,
> nuclear energy (and the like). Karen seems to be a (polite) troll, because
> she changes (again politely) the subject away from radiation protection.
> She uses a lot of psychological tricks, like "I am curious what you believe
> on global warming" and similar. If you really want to know my "opinion",
> which does not count at all: I have no opinion, because I have (except
> common sense) no knowledge about climatology nor paleoclimatology. Do you
> or anybody else on this list believe that the climate will behave as  being
> determined by an opinion poll????????This is absurd!!!!!!
> >
> > Jerry, as for your belief on having another beer: This is a very clever
> decision and I would like to join  you, but unfortunatély I have in spite
> of the high temperatur in Vienna a sour throat and this means I should not
> drink any cold liquid - and a warm beer is the worst drink I can think
> of!!!!!!!
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Franz
> >
> >
> >
> > ---- Jerry Cohen <jjc105 at yahoo.com> schrieb:
> >> Karen,, I am curious--how do we determine what the overwhelming number
> of
> > scientists believe  or not believe. Of the 100 or so scientisst who I
> might
> > personally know, almost all of them believe that concern over global
> warming is
> > nonsense. Of course, the number of scientisists who I might personally
> know is a
> > small frection of the total number, but I suspect it might be a
> representative
> > sample. Has anyone done a statistically valid survey on the subject?
> > As to what do I believe-----
> >     I believe I'll have another beer.
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: Karen Street <Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>
> > To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
> > <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
> > Sent: Tue, July 24, 2012 12:12:54 PM
> > Subject: [ RadSafe ] since we're talking about climate change
> >
> > In the past and just now, people on this list who don't accept climate
> change
> > have posted that they don't accept climate change.
> >
> > I am curious as to what you do believe.
> >
> > Please avoid explaining that the overwhelming number of scientists are
> wrong or
> > read this or that this great scientist thinks other scientists are wrong.
> >
> > • Is Earth warming, and at what rate (in °C/decade)?
> > • What is the cause? Don't use the word natural, but give particular
> mechanisms,
> > such as Earth is moving closer to the sun.
> >
> > When I ask climate skeptics/deniers these questions, it feels like
> pulling teeth
> > to get answers other than, "you're wrong, you child of Satan." Or the
> ones about
> > natural or scientists are just wrong or here is my scientist (inject
> name of
> > novelist or journalist) who disagrees.
> >
> > I really am curious.
> >
> >
> --
> Best wishes,
> Karen Street
> Friends Energy Project
> blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php
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Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
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HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

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