..The entire [Swifthack] episode is an unfortunate case study of our increasingly Unscientific America–an example of how the media distorts a story, partisanship spins the details to suit a particular agenda, and scientists are ill-equipped to manage the PR fallout. I am saddened to observe the state of broad perception of climate science, but not surprised. Further, this is not “the public’s” fault. It’s up to us in the scientific community to figure out how to stay on message. If we aren’t prepared to speak up for ourselves in a united voice about the state of the planet, others with less noble intentions will. And we won’t like the result.
In your ‘note’, you take issue with the concept of staying on message:
Real scientists don’t have a “message.” Politicians and ideologues and science journalists have “messages,” and they have seduced many scientists to betray their science and “speak up in a united voice.”
You are spinning my words out of control. And I find it particularly amusing that a group intent on disputing evolution could have the audacity to accuse anyone else of betraying science. By staying on message, I mean that scientists must be clear when talking about science. As Phil noted, when we don’t, others with a particular agenda will distort what’s said for their own political purposes, and the important message about climate will get lost. [As you’ve just demonstrated].
You accuse Chris and me of being “ideologues..who have perverted science with their hard-left ideology..damaging science in ways that scientists haven’t even begun to comprehend.” That doesn’t even make sense. My allegiances never fell neatly on one side of the aisle and my decisions are dictated by content. As far as global warming, I go with the best science available.
You call me a “science-journalists-with-an-agenda” who is “toxic to science” collaborating with “fools and opportunists” in the scientific community, before going on an incoherent ramble about invoking a “science-civil war.” Now it doesn’t do much good to address these kind of ridiculous remarks, so I will just make one point directed at what I percieve as your primary concern–the same I made in comments in the original post–and notably, the part you chose to omit:
While working on Capitol Hill, I became increasingly frustrated over the number of scientists that would arrive from universities, NGOs, and industry, who ultimately had the same goal regarding upcoming legislation, but a very jumbled mix of presentations with no notion of overlapping efforts. This is an institutional problem–much of which results from competing for limited resources and funding. On top of that, many scientists brought complicated p-values and figures yet did not explain to staffers what they represented. Meanwhile, psuedoscientific groups with a particular agenda were often well organized, articulate, funny, and could pack a briefing room by serving food. Now science, of course, should never be about lobbying. However, it is important to work across institutions and groups if we are to engage decision makers when we share common goals.