Well, the bad news is that a whole bunch of scientists are going to have a march on Washington … on Earth Day.
Why is this a bad idea? Three reasons. There’s no clarity on what they are marching for. There’s no clarity on what they are marching against. And they are marching on Earth Day.
Here’s what I mean about clarity. If you ask anyone on the street what Donald Trump’s message was during the campaign, you get a variety of answers. Build the wall. Make America great again. Drain the swamp. Bring back the jobs. Different answers, but almost everybody can tell you something that Trump stood for.
Now, ask people what Hillary’s message was … crickets. The problem was she didn’t have a message. A few months after the election, and hardly anyone can remember what she stood for … nor do we have any idea what the scientist are marching for.
You see, Hillary proved that being AGAINST something is not sufficient. She tried to run as the “anti-Trump”, and managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
And now, the scientists are doing the same thing. They think that casting themselves as the anti-Trump scientists is sufficient, even when they are not at all clear about what they are against. It seems they are driven by their fears rather than by any event or actual danger.
Well, that’s not entirely true about them not being for anything. Here you go, here’s what passes for their message:
“Yes, this is a protest, but it’s not a political protest,” said Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a lead organizer of the march. “The people making decisions are in Washington, and they are the people we are trying to reach with the message: You should listen to evidence.”
“Listen to evidence”? That’s it?
You mean like the evidence that showed beyond question that Donald Trump couldn’t win the election? You mean like the evidence that Michael Mann and the Climategate conspirators made up out of the whole cloth? You mean like the evidence of Ioannidis who showed that most peer-reviewed published scientific research is false? The evidence that Ioannidis referred to when he said that “Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked“? That evidence?
But setting the weak and uncertain nature of the “evidence” aside, that is the among the most pathetic slogans imaginable. Why?
Because every single person that I know who hears “You should listen to evidence!”, including myself, scientists and non-scientists alike, will say the same thing:
I AM LISTENING TO EVIDENCE, FOOL, DON’T INSULT ME!
And the “people making decisions in Washington” will all say the same. Find me one person who thinks they are not listening to the evidence … you’ll look for a long time. All of us believe we can tell gold from fools gold.
I feel sorry for these folks. They are most likely good scientists in their fields, but they truly are out of their depth organizing either a march or a movement. A public march is only worth doing if you have a clear and compelling message. You need to show people a path from here to the desired future, offer real actions people can take, and urge people to take those actions. But “You should listen to evidence”? Where does that go?
Not only that, but they are marching on Earth Day! Talk about the height of cluelessness. Do they really think that becoming just another part of the highly politically polarized and generally anti-human Earth Day circus is going to make them more visible, more viable, or more believable?
Do they truly think that hanging out with people who advocate “de-development” and forced population reduction and who think that humans are a “plague on the earth” will burnish their scientific credentials?
On Earth Day the scientists will be in the middle of the usual pseudo-scientific parade of “iridologists”, and “reflexologists”, and folks who think turning out their lights for an hour shows they are virtuous, and homeopathic snake oil salesmen, and people against some war somewhere … on what planet is this possibly of any benefit to science? Whose brilliant scheme is this? Find that person and fire them immediately.
All that having the march on Earth Day will do is dilute and distract from the scientist’s message … not that that will make much difference given the pathetic message. But again, whose bright idea is this? You want to march on a day when nothing is going on, when every camera in town is focused on you alone.
Finally, these folks don’t seem to understand the position of scientists in society these days. Wearing a lab coat doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Today, I laughed to see that Bill Nye the Science Guy’s lab coat was a prop in a SuperBowl ad for Tide detergent. Oh, they got Bill’s lab coat whiter than white … but they couldn’t clean up his reputation, or that of science. Remember what Ioannidis found out: these days, most peer-reviewed results are false. And don’t think that people haven’t noticed. We’ve seen too many “evidence-based” predictions of impending doom from eminent scientists, predictions that have all crashed and burned. No atolls sunk in the ocean. No 50 million climate refugees by 2010. No “population bomb” exploding. No food riots in the streets.
Here’s the rude truth.
In the US in 2017, for a large segment of the populace, too many scientists are just stuck up elites in lab coats who want to lecture us on how we should live.
For those people, scientists are right up there with Hollywood dilettantes like Leonardo DeCaprio, taking a helicopter from his mega-yacht in the Mediterranean to the airport, where he boards a private jet to New York to tell us all how we’re eco-criminals for burning too much fossil fuel. And just like the scientists, DeCaprio keeps telling us we should “listen to the evidence” … riiiight, we’ll get on that straightaway …
And now, for that same segment of the electorate, guess what they see happening. The scientists are having a hissy-fit because people are no longer listening to their terrifying lectures about the horrible dangers of, well, everything—margarine will kill us this week, but next week butter will kill us and margarine is OK, this week diesel cars will save Europe, next week diesel cars are choking it with pollution … and as a result, more and more people are like “Talk to the hand, the head’s not listening!”.
And in a stunning move that couldn’t possibly go wrong, the elite scientists have decided to strike out against the Trumpian Oppression Of Noble Scientists and march around Washington in their lab coats and lecture us some more …
Really? That’s their plan? We’re gonna bow to the irresistible force of the lab coat?
And here’s the best part. This is the message of the lecture from the scientific elite—we plebes, as well as the “people making decisions in Washington”, are either not smart enough to recognize evidence when we see it, or we are deliberately ignoring evidence.
Yeah, that’ll fetch ’em all right, tell us we’re stupid! That will convince us to change our evil ways … after all, insulting your opposition worked so well for Hillary …
So I implore all scientists, please don’t add your names to this foolish attempt. Don’t go on this march around Washington to lecture us on why we’re wrong. It will just piss people off and further damage the reputation of science and scientists. We’re lectured out, you’ve cried “wolf” too many times. Stay home and enjoy the day.
Four AM on a rainy morning … yeah, I am a night owl … all the good things of life to you all.
PLEASE, if you are commenting, QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all understand your subject.
46 thoughts on “Scientists, Please Don’t March”
I love four AM on a rainy morning. Best time to walk the dog.
Willis, I suspect that some of these would-be marchers simply have too much time on their hands. After all, they’re feeding at the public trough and don’t have to produce real results, just publish, publish anything, but publish.
Back in a previous life I handled tech marketing for a visualization system for supercomputing the difference between the gov supercomputing sites and the commercial supercomputing sites (read pharma, household products, aerospace, etc.) was huge. In Hamburg I listened to some scientists from the Max Planck Institute discuss their problems modeling paleo weather I asked them what their resolution was, answer, “We think we’re good down to 250 Km squares.” Just think, modeling a square (well cube, taking the atmosphere up to 250 Km…) like taking SFO, Tomales Bay, up to almost Eugene, OR, and east to Tahoe, down to Mammoth and saying you’ve got the weather 1000 yrs ago nailed! For those not familiar with that area of CA, it’s coastal with water (cold water), the Coastal Range of Mountains, then transitions to intermittent desert – the Central Valley (water shortages), then mountains (Sierra Nevada) including Lake Tahoe and a well attended ski resort Mammoth. That should represent a point of climate Bwahahahahahah, not going to happen! Even today, when they’re pushing about 1000x the compute power, they’re limited to ~50 KM sides.
Meanwhile folks at P&G were modeling chemical reactions producing Downy. They’d been producing it at the time for some 48 years. They just discovered what caused some batches to burn and become worthless. It took a real model using fluid dynamics which showed an unsuspected fluid turbulence which lead to a reverse flow in the reactor. Changing the shape of part of the reactor eliminated the problem and the losses. The computer paid for itself, the software, and all the manpower for 5 years with that one discovery!
Let them march, we’ll be defunding the party shortly, then maybe they can find real work in the commercial sector where we’ll all can benefit.
Oops, launched the post when I meant to error correct.
I thought it was a good post, apart from the grammatical error. This is the Internet – we don’t sweat the small things.
Except when you get the pedant from hell. bwahahaha !!
“Listen” to the evidence?
So, while it was 55 degrees F when I woke up and is now almost 67 degrees, since I didn’t hear the temperature change, it didn’t?
Maybe they should “follow” the evidence, as in following that Lemming to see where it goes.
Are you taking bets? I think you are missing an important dynamic here. These scientists think their problem is they are not communicating effectively (i.e., not supressing contrary views). In that context, if they don’t march, they’re not being “heard” like other anti-Trump groups who are getting all the media attention. They also might believe if they don’t come out as openly anti-Trump, they will be purged later when the revolution comes.
I bet they will march, and I bet they will enlist some celebrities to help them get noticed (I’m not counting Michael Moore, since he shows up uninvited anywhere he can vent his bilious ranting to a crowd). Leo DiCaprio is an obvious choice, but how about Matt Damon — he actually played a scientist (named Michael Mann!) in Interstellar? He already knows how to wear a lab coat.
If you can, please join Anthony to observe the march & report your observations.
Scientists are going to have a march on Washington. Why? That’s what some scientists can do better than anything else.
Proof: Questions from HSC physics exams in 2000 and 2010
2000: Two HSC students, Kim and Tran, are at a grass ski slope that is 6·00 m high. Both Kim and Tran are wearing frictionless grass skis. Kim has a mass of 68·0 kg (including skis). Tran has a mass of 56·0 kg (including skis). Initially they are both at rest, Kim at the top of the slope and Tran at the bottom. Kim slides down the slope and collides with Tran. (a) Calculate Kim’s speed immediately before the collision. (b) After the collision, Kim moves with a speed of 6·26 m s–1 at an angle of 30·0° from his initial direction of travel, and Tran moves off at an angle of 30·0° on the other side of Kim’s initial direction of travel, as shown in the diagram.
2010: Magnetic resonance imaging is a current technology that uses superconductors. Identify two other technologies that use superconductors. Evaluate the impact of these technologies on society and the environment.
Now, in 2017, some of those 2010 high school students are scientists. And they are marching.
There was an article in the Australian press recently about how science had been dumbed down to attract girls to study. It didn’t give any examples, but noted that teachers thought equations scared girls.
Actually seeing your examples is truly horrifying.
Would this be considered some kind of evidence?
” No food riots in the streets.”
Unless, you live in some Socialist country, say, like, Venezuela.
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There may be food riots in Venezuela, but it won’t be because of the socialism as much as it will be because of all the outside interference from countries that “know that socialism doesn’t support klepto-capitalism, where big business steals all the wealth.” Take away the US supported NGOs that are troubling the country, and there probably would be a pretty good society there by now.
Don’t underestimate the power of Chavinistas. They never hesitate to jail an opposition leader.
The trouble in Venezuela is that the government was getting all that lovely oil money. It used it to buy influence with it’s neighours. When the US (and other countries) started fracking, etc – no more oil money. No it has no money, it’s influence has also vanished. You know, influence, that stuff you use to buy meat, vegetables, etc.
Scientists are supposed to be doing RESEARCH, not make political statements and/or support political propaganda,
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I would say “please do march”. Take their pictures and publish for all to see! Make them feel proud.
Marching and protesting has become a big stupid joke in the eyes of those not associated. A pic of those clowns will be worth a thousand words. Kind of like a “wanted ” poster or mug shot.
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Yes, and then forward to their supposedly apolitical institutions. About time there were consequences.
For me marching equals seventies, communists, and terrible cluelessness on life, universe and everything. Time fixes it for some. But the phenomena will be with us forever.
What will be tomorrow’s climate alarmism?
How about marching in a clown suit, holding a sign that says, “I am a scientist. Send money.”
Pingback: Listen to the evidence: polar bears are thriving in current sea ice habitat | polarbearscience
This inspired me to write:
Polar Bears International is promoting participation in this march as a way to “save the polar bears”.
Dr. Susan, it’s an honor. For those who don’t know her, Dr. Susan Crockford is one of the world’s premier experts on polar bears. Her website is the premier polar bear site for up-to-date information. She is also one of the people most responsible for telling the truth about the bears rather than getting caught up in the media myths.
And yes, Dr. S., it’s no surprise that PBI is jumping on this bandwagon … thanks to you, they’re running out of bandwagons to jump on.
Regards and thanks,
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Willis, don’t forget her sci-fi thriller “Eaten.”
Can Willis or anyone else help me with this problem? In 2010 Phil Jones had an interview Q&A with the BBC and listed the warming trends from 1850 to 2009. This during their Climategate fiasco.
First trend was 1860 to 1880 0.163 c/ decade
Second trend was 1910 to1940 0.150c
Third trend was 1975 to 1998 0.166 c
Fourth trend was 1975 to 2009 0.161 c.
But now using the York uni tool the trends are——-
1860 to 1880 0.113 c/dec
1910 to 1940 0.129 c/dec
1975 to 1998 0.172 c/dec
1975 to 2009 0.188 c/dec
Why have the two earlier trends dropped and particularly the first trend 1860 to 1880 has dropped from 0.163 c to 0.113c ?
I’m using HAD 4 L&O, but there is a global HAD 4 Krig and that shows a higher trend for 1860 to 1880 of 0.167 c.
Just for interest I checked the trend from 1910 to 1945 and found it to be 0.140 c/dec or higher than Jones’s second trend is now. BTW HAD 4 global Krig was 0.151 c/ dec for 1910 to 1945. What is going on?
I just wish Willis or somebody would write a summary of the temp since 1850 or 1880 and of course since Dec 1978 as well? But just for now will someone give me an answer to Jones’s HAD temp warming trends since 1850? Willis , anyone?
Here’s Jones’s 2010 BBC Q&A link.
And here is the York Uni data-base tool. Note that Cowton etc allowed RSS V4 TTT but not UAH V6, but only UAH V 5.6. Of course RSS V 3.3 TLT included.
ngard, the short answer is that they change the historical temperature records all the time … go figure.
I’m in moderation, why?
More than two links in a comment …
Listen to the evidence?!?
Skip the lab coats. How about they march in their rattiest work-around-the-house clothes and hold hand-lettered signs made from the flaps of liquor cartons that say
Will Make Stuff Up For Food
No Earth Day would be complete without Pogo’s “We have met the enemy and he is us”, the defining moment of environmentalism.
(This image may be a copy but it’s higher resolution than the other choices Google showed me)
Speaking of lab coats reminds me of a bit of trivia regarding the music video for Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me With Science.
Magnus Pyke, the actor playing the doctor refused to wear a white coat in the video. He said it wouldn’t be right since he wasn’t a real doctor.
I get the same impression of many of the climate ‘scientists’.
Just testing for moderation blockage AGAIN.
Willis, you know “Scientists, Please Don’t March”
translates to “thei’ll be marching till the funding money well is drying”.
Wait and see. Streets emptied for another Hoax marching.
I just wish they were honest about celebrating Lenin’s birthday, instead of disguising it as something else.
Goodness, I’d forgotten that detail. It was a big deal when Earth Day started.
On further research it doesn’t seem like Lenin had anything to do with it.
It may well be happenstance… but my recollection (very fuzzy after all these years) is that many of the folks who originally organized it as “Earth Day” were well aware of the fact it was also Lenin’s birthday, and were quite pleased that it was so. In fact, the first “Earth Day” in 1970 was Lenin’s 100th birthday, IIRC.
I believe that it was debated, whether to switch the date to avoid that coincidence, and they overwhelmingly decided to keep the date.
Lenin’s birthday was April 22, 1870. This was while Russia was still on the old Julian calendar, which most of the Catholic world left in 1582 and England and colonies left in 1752. Russia did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until January 31, 1918 (old calendar) which was followed by Feb 14 (new calendar), dropping 13 days.
However my wife the librarian tells me for cataloging purposes, birthdates and other historical events are listed in the calendar in effect at the time rather than converted to Gregorian dates. So if Russia had adopted the new calendar the day before Lenin was born, we would record his birthday 12 days later, or May 4th. [Calendar conversions between 1800 and 1899 remove 12 days from the Julian date; those between 1900 and 2099 drop 13 days].
While it may not have been the reason April 22 was chosen for the first Earth Day, I have no doubt some of the people behind it were aware of its significance to Soviet Communism.
Thank you Alan for that bit of clarification. I’d forgotten about “the days that disappeared” from our calendars.
“Do they really think that […] is going to make them more visible, more viable, or more believable?”
It’s all about “more visible”. If you see a problem, raise awareness, make placards, make a hashtag, wear a costume, get on TV, but don’t DO anything; let the state fix it. The problem is “us”, the solution is “them”.
Some people just like to call for protest marches, and others like to join them. I doubt that many real scientists will though. “Listen to the evidence” is pretty funny, given that it is in obscure (to the public) journals, behind a pay-wall.
Like you show you’ve got to have the right placard when you’re a serious protester, here’s my favourite from “Father Ted”
Once they all have similar ones they will be ready to march.
On another topic you mention is this hatred that many have for “humanity” I see it as an attempt to break the link to creation and man being the peak and final act. I know you have other ideas but that is how I see it.
Here I got drawn into yet another of your posts.
And again I can’t help but appreciate such a well articulated opinion – disagree as I might with the overall premise.
You see, I’m looking at it from the scientists’ angle. OF COURSE none of their data is absolute. No self respecting man or woman of science would EVER claim “I am 100% right and by the way my hightech crystal ball said we all must wear plaid from now on”.
Their problem I suppose is that they believe that this is implicitly understood by everyone.
A scientist is JUST AS EXCITED to be proven wrong, as s/he is to be proven right. Either scenario means that more data has been acquired. More knowledge. That is always a good thing.
Or perhaps many have taken to speaking in absolutes, because saying “OK here’s the data, we’ve got an x margin of error and column 4 and 7 need triple-checking. Based on that we got so far, there is a 78-82% chance x is going to happen within y years, and a 94-98% chance x+z will happen over y+10 years.”just meant what people HEARD was: “maybe, I have no idea. I just think so.”
Tell me this: Do you dismiss the axiom “The house always wins” because there’s a slim chance you might leave Vegas with more money that you had when you arrived? Do you dismiss data collected by people all over the globe, because they disagree on whether our odds for a jackpot are 0.5% or 1.1%? Because they didn’t predict the ball would bounce and land on 8, but were right that over the course of a day black and red would have a 50/50 average?
Einstein called his postulation of a cosmological constant his “biggest blunder”. Now it turns out he might have been right all along. That is SCIENCE. No absolutes. Only ever a search for more knowledge, and a sharing of discoveries.
What science is sharing with us right now is this: things are happening. We see them happening. They gathered the data.
Because of his accumulated data, scientist a projects a probability. Scientist b has a different set of data, and calculates a different percentage. They both share their findings, a third scenario emerges. ALL THREE papers however agree: The house wins. The ice is melting. Our odds suck.
My daughters and me were in France last year. Among other things, we visited a few vineyards, and I learned something new: It is getting too hot for the vines currently growing in southern France. The quality of the wine suffers, the plants weaken. If this were a brief phenomenon, like a hot spell lasting, say, 10 years, the vineyards would recover. They don’t.
This is directly translating/paraphrasing an old lady we met, who was proudly showing us the vines she’d planted with her own hands. Some of them she’d been caring for since she was young woman, (amazingly, those still produced crops. Most were 15-25 years old though). “They do not like the weather. It’s wrong for them now. This continues, they will die. Further north, they would thrive now I think. But they are too old to move. Like me.”
So, naturally, I asked what she thought about climate change.
“I don’t know about these things. I know my vines. I know people bring plants from Spain. They like it here, now. It happens, yes? Once they made wine in England. Not very good. Now they try again, and it’s better. It happens.”
I might march for her and her vines, but who would listen?
The same people who tell me the Northwest Passage is not suddenly frequently passable for the first time in human memory?
shiarrel, thanks for a most confusing post. I really have no clue what your main point is. You wander in and out of the casino apparently playing roulett, you discuss things with Einstein, you go drink wine in France … but what is your point? Perhaps you could boil your main issues down to an elevator speech so we could understand what you’re getting at.
PS—The Northwest Passage is NOT “suddenly frequently passable for the first time in human memory”.
In other words, tugs, half of them with icebreaking capacity, are spending more time in the Arctic due to increased involvement in the oil and gas industry. So are icebreakers on coast guard and research duties. What else do we have? “oil/fuel tankers, drill ships, seismic vessels, cable vessels, and buoy tenders”. This is an increase in OIL EXPLORATION, not a change in the underlying ice.
I assume you did catch the part that said:
Numbers are going up … but NOT because of the weather.
Color me unimpressed.
Willis, the point was twofold:
Borderline ad-hominem attacks to scientists who express concern over the current administration is counterproductive. I CAN see how their approach might be worth debating over.
Science is not dealing in absolutes. If you expect 100% certainty and detailed prognoses which will come true exactly as predicted, use a crystal ball. If you expect anything other that 5 scientists, 7 hypotheses … see above. If however 80% of them agree that there is a 95% chance that something will happen, get your Wellies.
“I assume you did catch the part that said: […]”
I did, thank you. Patronizing however, even if unintended, is also counterproductive.
“Numbers are going up … but NOT because of the weather.
Color me unimpressed.”
Apologies for the confusion. “Suddenly” in this context certainly meant “50+ years is sudden when compared to the span of tens of thousands of years.”
I have similar data to yours, though it diverges on a significant matter:
“Since about 2000 the Arctic summer sea-ice coverage has steadily declined. As a result, there were periods of time in late summer when the Northwest Passage was wholly or largely ice free. With increased access, more icebreakers and government and research vessels traveled to and through the passage.
In addition, an increasing number of adventurers began making the transit in smaller watercraft, but the passage also became more attractive to commercial interests. A cruise ship had first traversed the passage in 1984, and in the early 21st century, the number of such voyages increased steadily. The first transit of the passage by a large bulk carrier occurred in 2013 when the Nordic Orion, with a load of coal and escorted by icebreakers, sailed from Vancouver, enroute to Finland. The following year a cargo ship, the Nunavik, completed the journey without an icebreaker escort.”
In other words, the tugs and icebreakers navigating the passage is a RESULT of it being more easily accessible.
The oil has always been there. Up until recently, the ice was too thick to make it a commercially viable opportunity.
Same goes for use as a shipping lane. Icebreakers have existed for some time. Why are the cargo ships sailing only now? Because 1 cargo ship plus 20 icebreakers is too expensive. If you need only a few … or none …
Oh, and France? Just a “boots on the ground” report. Data collected in person. On location. Not very scientific, because no numbers. But I thought it was interesting. If you feel otherwise, disregard at your leisure.
shiarrael February 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm
Shiarrael, THIS is exactly why I ask people to QUOTE THE WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO, because I’ve dealt with your kind before.
You’ve now accused me of making ad-hominem attacks without a scrap of evidence to back it up. No link, no quote, nothing but your nasty mouth to support it. I will not discuss your wild misunderstandings of what I actually said until you point out whatever you’re upset about.
I don’t know what response you get when you try this kind of attack elsewhere, and I don’t know if your friends put up with it, but I will not be your random punching bag. I hit back twice as hard.
So if you want to have a discussion, start over. What is it you object to? What is wrong with it, and why? I’m here to discuss.
“The March for Silence” (Greg Gutfeld) is over. Judith Curry has comments.
This quote struck me because I had just read John Le Carre’s new book “The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from my Life”, an autobiography. Another writer said to him:
True, never count on a happy ending in his novels. As a matter of fact they would be totally depressing all the way through if he didn’t write so well. It turns out he was the son of a lovable, charming, high flying con-man who ruined everybody else’s life. But his memoir is not depressing. He’s got great stories about him meeting everyone from Richard Burton to Yassar Arafat. Writer or con-man, what’s the difference, he says, they both are very good at creating convincing stories with their imagination.
Back to Mr. Nye, optimism is good if you are young and innocent, not so good if you have an agenda and con others into following it.
More from Judith Curry
Hello my friend! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include approximately all significant infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.