The Island of Doubt

Randy Olson says:

There comes a point where the public DOES want to see the science community stand up for themselves.

And as if on cue comes the release of another round of once-private emails among members of one section of the National Academies of Sciences alerting us to efforts to do just that. The NY Times has a Greenwire story on it, but you need to read the actual emails.

How can we sit back while many of our colleagues and science as a whole is under massive attack?” asks Paul Ehrlich.

“People who have an open mind are wondering about the absence of any coordinated and
publicized response to recent anti-GW advocates on the part of the mainstream scientific community,” writes Paul Falkowski.

“Nothing short of a massive publicity campaign to educate the citizenry about what our best science is saying and why will reverse this trend,” points out William Jury.

Falkowski, who instigated the email exchange, explains his motivation for going on the offensive:

I think every approach along these lines is necessary to help excise a poison that has been poured into the well of rational thought and scientific facts over the past 20 or more years. Over that period of time, a term entered the political parlance: “junk science”. That term was used to expel scientific, valid conclusions from the political dialogue – and to claim every scientific discussion required an alternative viewpoint, regardless of how absurd the argument. This type of ambivalence, even negativity, about scientific data has entered our common lives in many ways, from education about evolution in high schools across the nation to the issue of climate change. I am not trying to be a saint – I am trying to get the NAS members with whom I am associated to be proactive about the issues that are critical to our childrens’ children.

There you go, Randy, Is that what you’re talking about? Until now, the emails have been available only through pseusdoskeptical sites like Watts Up With That and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. But there’s no point in hiding them now that they’re out there.