Be Prepared for the Looming War on Science

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 3, 2010 1:35 pm

Apparently the GOP is planning hearings examining alleged ‘scientific fraud’ behind global warming. Details here


Comments (16)

  1. RK

    Entirely appropriate to determine
    1) if actual science was used to determine some models, including all inputs…especially with an emphasis on examining solar activity, not just human activity, and
    2) is the planned reallocation of money through taxation and regulation more about politics, not science
    3) Would there be a greater beneficial impact to mankind by spending the “billions” predicted needed for global warming on things like common diseases (malaria), better vaccines and water purification technologies than taxing CO2? Whats the “alternative investment cost”?

    Seems like this is entirely appropriate to prevent a huge waste of resources that can better mankind when used elsewhere.

  2. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    I’m torn on this, part of me says “Why not get it all the facts out in the open so we can get to the bottom of it? ” But another part of me says “Great, another gov’t committee waisting time and money.”

    Given what’s at stake (End of civilization as we know it VS Needless taxation and gov’t control) I think it’s worth the time and effort. As long as it’s a bi-partisan committee I think an inquire is for the greater good.

    If there are scientist “cooking the books” in order to get more tax payer or lobbyist funding (on either side of the issue) I want to know about it!

  3. Sorbit

    The other question is, would these committees be competent enough to investigate the data? Who will do the investigating?

  4. Walker

    The other question is, would these committees be competent enough to investigate the data?

    No. SATSQ.

    In general, scientific funding is about to be crushed. Unless you know a program manager at DHS or in the defense sector, forget about it.

  5. Abe

    @RK – I agree with your first two points. It’s important to make sure how accurate and worthwhile the data you have is when using it to plan a course of action. Your third point though is ridiculous, I’m sorry. The reason everyone’s up in arms and taking action about global warming is because it is drastically changing the world as we know it. Common disease, vaccines, and water purification technologies (which already exist in abundance by the way) all would be totally moot without a check on global warming.

    Yes it’s important to give proper attention to how resources are used, but declaring all global warming research worthless because one or two scientists made mistakes/falsified their reports is ignorant and close-minded at very best. If that were the case we could completely dismiss all religions as idiotic ponzie schemes the moment another idiot stands up and does something abhorrent (which I’m sure has already happened multiple times in the few seconds it’s taken you to read this).

  6. Sheril,

    At AoE, I have a very different take on this and I think continuing to apply the metaphor of “war” only feeds the cloud of hyper-partisanship that leads to further disengagement among the majority of Americans…claims about the war on science have become part of liberal identity politics, for the rest of the public it is just considered more elite rancor.

  7. If we adults don’t understand enough to do the job, maybe we should donate a bit more to science education for our young. It is not encouraging to me that of all the readers of this blog, only 3 have made a donation on the Intersection’s Science Blog Page.

    Remember that, when we are gone, or retired, this world will be governed by the children of today and I am frankly not impressed by the examples we are setting up for them to follow.

  8. Bob Thomas

    . Sheril is not acting too partisan. Poor science shouldn’t be equated with a political party. Framing it as such is a massive problem, so stop it. The elections so the most recent past show that we need more passionate defense of our ideals, not less.

  9. Nullius in Verba

    “Common disease, vaccines, and water purification technologies (which already exist in abundance by the way) all would be totally moot without a check on global warming.”


  10. Bob Thomas

    I apologize for the terrible grammar. I was typing too fast on a phone. I meant to refer directly to Matthew Nisbet and his attempt to lecture Sheril on the art of communication.

  11. cray

    Yes, now all the little children(read future deadbeat Democrat voters) will be taught to worship Jeebus and Glenn Beck. Karl Marx save us!!!!!!

  12. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    @9 – And how is referring to “hearings examining alleged ’scientific fraud’ ” as “War” not framing?

  13. Bill

    So THIS is where goofy left wingers come to trade “Republican War on Science” conspiracy theories.

    LOL. Just keep telling yourselves that you’re smarter than everyone you don’t agree with. I mean, why not? It works for my 10 year old!

  14. @8, You’re kidding, right? Like I wait all year until the one time this blog asks for Donors Choose monies? I’ve given to DC on my own, and for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. So those “3” donors are probably the only 3 blogreaders who *haven’t* already given to DC earlier in the year. That’s probably a *good* sign.

  15. Chris Winter

    So, Bill — have you read the book you refer to? Have you looked into the various Web sites that document some of the events described, like the one for the Union of Concerned Scientists?

    Or did you just decide that you don’t like hearing about such things, and therefore decided they must be a pack of lies?


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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