Friday, February 27, 2009

What The Caine Mutiny Can Teach Us about Global Warming Scientists

One thing about blog articles is they are designed to make the reader think.  This characteristic sets them apart from the majority of academic journal articles that are written largely for career advancement, to satisfy grant requirements and/or to parade the sheer brilliance of its authors (a feature that is usually somewhat more illusory, presumptive and self deluding).
Typical journal articles do not invoke the classic Bogart movie The Cain Mutiny in their title, as this blog posting does.  It does so to raise an important question about the status of scientific knowledge and the dangers posed by appeals to authority as a determinant of "truth" and trust in matters of scientific knowledge.
This is a topic familiar to anyone following the ongoing saga of climate politics.  Almost weekly, aspects of existing authoritarian "consensus" science are challenged by empirical evidence that should see such tyranny vanquished, e.g. the latest data on "disappearing" Arctic Sea Ice.
But sadly, this kind of appeal is usually heavily vested in the political rhetoric of politicians impoverished for substantive ideas, a clear understanding of economics and public policy and integrity -- o.k. that's just about all politicians, but one can hope.  Thus, the appeal to scientific authority is a common ruse amongst green-washing policies and the type of environmental dogma that heavily promotes such programs as wind turbines, but fails to address issues of cost competetiveness, need and alternatives.
So, the logical question is why does this appeal to scientific authority persist and why is it endemic to all ecomyths?  The answer is simple: it is a concerted and standard. ideological strategy employed by activists to promote environmentalist dogma. 
Conversely, we can seek to have public debate over such topics, free of the politicization of science.
But just not in a world that hands the mantle for advice to a bureaucracy such as the IPCC, and not under the present US regime which seems to view activism as science and vice versa, but then it is an administration well steeped in Orwellian usage of the English language.  Change is apparently now a slogan and not an action or a process of improvement.