We expect hired shills of the mindless dirty energy industry, their shameless bribed puppet politicians, and the corporate-owned mainstream media slaves to ignore, lowball, downplay, misinform, and just plain blabber bald-faced lies about global warming and all of the misery that it spawns upon us all.
But we often caution visitors here that almost all scientists (except for a very few brave ones) are guilty of doing much the same to at least a small extent. One way they do this is that they feather their reports with words like ‘maybe’ and ‘could’ and ‘might’ and ‘possibly’, when they damn well know that they should instead be using words like ‘will’ and ‘inevitable’ and ‘certainty’…
And we also often warn in our typically scathing critiques of scientific articles, books, and reports on just about any topic to do with climate, or the environment, or the weather, that scientists are pulling their punches in what is termed “scientific reticence”, in order to avoid ridicule, abuse, and even death threats if they dare to tell it like it is…
Aware that many people are likely skeptical of our claims of scientific lowballing, we decided to flesh out a few excerpts from a documented perspective on “scientific reticence” to support our often stated contentions that scientists tend to lowball their conclusions.
We do this in order to provide a little clearer explanation of why scientists tend to be over-cautious, so that hopefully more informed people will learn to read behind the watered down lines to realize that the future is going to be worse than predicted and that we need to do something to bring other uninformed people onboard with the effort to slow down global warming and it’s increasingly adverse side effects.
Below are a few relevant excerpts from the book The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice, taken from Chapter 1, titled ‘The Rising Sea’, which discusses “scientific reticence”. A link to the content on Google Books follows the excerpts along with a link to find the book at a library near you (if you live near the ocean or it’s tributaries, this book lays it on the line regarding rising seas).
It is quite true that reputations can be inalterably affected not only by presenting poor data and poorly drawn conclusions, but also from crying wolf or even exaggerating effects of good data. “Scientific reticence” is a well-known phenomenon defined by philosophers of science as “resistance by scientists to scientific discovery.”
The phenomenon of scientific reticence is in full swing around the debate over sea level change, present and future. …in the case of climate change, the forces resisting estimates of sea level increases are more complex and subtly different. Now the fear…is of crying wolf in response to new discoveries — that is publishing information that ultimately turns out to be wrong to the detriment of the scientists career. Even the investigators who make the new discoveries are reluctant to sound the alarms their findings demand. NASA climatologist James Hansen sees the current climate change situation as causing many scientists to be more worried about crying wolf than “fiddling while Rome burns”.
Hansen is really accusing his colleagues of scientific cowardice in the face of what he sees as overwhelming crisis.
Hansen: “I believe there is pressure on scientists to be conservative. Papers are accepted for publication more readily if they do not push too far and are larded with caveats. Caveats are essential to science, being born in skepticism, which is essential to the process of investigation and verification. But their is a question of degree. A tendency for ‘gradualism’ as new evidence comes to light may be ill suited for communication, when an issue with a short time fuse is concerned”.
“I suspect the existence of what I call the ‘John Mercer effect’. Mercer suggested that global warming from burning fossil fuels could lead to disastrous disintegration of the west Antarctic ice sheet, with a sea level rise of several meters worldwide. This was during the era when global warming was beginning to get attentions form the United States Department of Energy and other science agencies”.
“I noticed that scientists who disputed Mercer, suggesting that his paper was alarmist, were treated as being more authoritative. It was not obvious who was right on the science, but it seemed to me, and I believe to most scientists, that the scientists preaching caution and downplaying the dangers of climate have fared better in receipt of research funding”.
“Drawing attention to the dangers of global warming may or may not have helped increase funding for relevant scientific areas, but it surely did not help individuals like Mercer who stuck their head out. I could vouch for that from my own experience. After I published a paper (Hansen et al. 1981) that described likely climate effects of fossil fuel use [which after 3 decades has proven to be correct], the Department of Energy reversed a decision to fund our research”.
So, on the very last point above, dont believe all those ludicrous deniers when they cry wolf that scientists cry wolf just to get more funding.
Parting points. Realize and remember that all past scientific predictions have always fallen short of what eventually became reality.
For example, how many times have we observed scientists noting revelations like “the polar regions are melting 100 years ahead of schedule”. Did you hear that the rising sea levels that were supposed to be reached by 2100 are now being moved back to 2050 by a few scientists?
And about the warmer temperatures, the droughts, the wildfires, the increasing intensity and frequency of catastrophic weather that we are experiencing. No scientist ever predicted all that…so what else is going to transpire that was not ever predicted?
Realize too that we have never seen a headline or news story about a scientific prediction that was an overshoot where scientists were too ambitious in their predictions. If that had ever happened, we would never had heard the end of it…
Every scientific prediction we now observe, we personally know to be understated, if for nothing else but the fact that “scientific reticence” prevents the use of circular cascading feedback loops and their irreversible tipping point thresholds in climate modeling.
So the bottom line point for you to take away from all this is that the future is going to be worse than expected, and it is going to be worse much sooner than predicted: ever heard of “abrupt climate change”? And we have recently started to hear the mention of “cataclysmic global warming”.
We need to all get involved and force denier politicians to address greenhouse gas emissions; see the link to our “Do Something” information below…
Link to The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice on Google Books.
Link to preset search on WorldCat.org for The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice at a library near you (might have to enter your zip code).
The page at the following link has several links including a climate knowledge base and info pertaining to the circular cascading feedback loops of global warming. Caution: for folks that tend to be worrisome, anxious, or do not sleep well at night, it might be best to skip the latter info but you should pass it along to anyone that has an anxiety deficiency syndrome.
If you or someone you know want to “do something” about the deplorable situation, here is a direct link to our new “Do Something” page and here is a direct link to our page on how to create a free website or blog, and here is a link to our “Activism” page; there are similarly named clickable “buttons” at the top of each page to link to these pages. Also, there is a ‘Do Something’ section in the right sidebar that has some different tips on how to fix America and the planet.
If you have any questions, suggestions, requests, or proposals, you may either send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment at the bottom of this webpage.
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