Fear of Retaliation: Global Warming and Nutrition

I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating: Science and job don’t mix very well. Career demands can make it hard to tell the truth as you see it. A scientist named Norman Rogers put it like this in relation to global warming:

Mainstream climate scientists are asking for trouble if they become skeptics [about man-made global warming]. They may lose their jobs, their papers may not be published and they may lose their grants. Thatʼs why most skeptics are older or retired or from outside of the mainstream – they are less vulnerable to retaliation.

He could have added that global-warming skeptics will have difficulty recruiting others, such as graduate students, to work with them and will face disdain from their colleagues.

I saw this in relation to the work of Ranjit Chandra. At Berkeley, when I told other professors about my doubts, one of them replied: Talk to X. He’s had doubts about Chandra for 30 years. I spoke to X. This was correct. I didn’t ask X why he’d never said anything publicly about it because the reason was obvious: He feared retaliation.

8 Replies to “Fear of Retaliation: Global Warming and Nutrition”

  1. Maybe he didn’t have any hard evidence.

    Natural Selection skeptics are looked at oddly, too. I wouldn’t hire one for department head, even for a Chemistry department. Now, Lynn Margulis has been fond of saying Darwin was entirely wrong about everything, but that’s not what I mean. It’s one thing to fit another theory to the evidence, and something else to deny the evidence because it doesn’t square with what you would have liked to fit to it.

  2. One example for economists:
    Priceless: How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/07/priceless-how-the-federal_n_278805.html

    The article makes good points regarding the asserted influence/pressure that you talk about, Seth.

    If you read that article, I think that it’s wrong in assuming that the people at the fed are clueless and the disasters happen by accident. If you understand that the fed first and foremostly just prints “money” and that the fed has private owners, you understand that there really is an agenda behind it. But as long as you think they want to “do the right thing”, the assumption of cluelessness arises.

    That some or even many professionals got blinded by their “science” I assume to be the case. Decades of school and university can achieve that.

  3. Speaking of global warming, I would really like to understand the lengths the monetary-market system i.e. its main beneficiaries/representatives, go to achieving ends through ideological manipulation and inadvertent control. Got any ideas about peak oil? Here in Britain there are ‘transition’ town movements organizing themselves ready for ‘the crash’ because they insert, we are so ill equipped for self sufficiency should things ‘go wrong, all-of-a-sudden’. I’m really not one for conspiracy theories, at least I try to maintain some degree of skepticism. However when it comes to peak oil, I really struggle to decide what to believe in. It would be great to see a discussion on these issues. I am a young student, and I just am not sure what to believe at a point in my life that I think it is quite important to understand what’s actually going on. There are so many people my age (early twenties) giving up their university educations, for farm work etc, because they think that a crash is imminent and the lifestyles we’re leading are simply unsustainable and destructive. How am I meant to know what to do, when there are so many blurry lines when trying to determine fact from fiction? Any thoughts on this subject would be much appreciated! Particularly with regards to Peak Oil! Are oil company’s/political/economic/corporative think tanks creating fear through scarcity as a means to gain in more profits and to implement more control structurally? Fear a means to socially stratify increasingly to gain in control? Perhaps I do sound like a conspiracy theorist, but for me they are real concerns, I don’t know whether I am deluded to consider these possibilities; as how could they be ‘proved’ any how. I mean everyone clearly has AN opinion. I do realize that our behavior is influenced ideologically in part and so I would like some ideas on what directions to take when considering such a reality. Any ideas, please, would be great! Thanks.

  4. I’d guess that situations like Peak Oil have been faced thousands of times during human history: A key resource is running out. Until oil was discovered that key resource was whale fat, used for lamps. Sometimes it really does run out before an alternative is found and the society disappears. The book Collapse describes several examples. Much more common, however, is that disaster is averted because innovation allows the society to move to overexploitation of something else. Without plastics for example, a great deal of modern society wouldn’t be possible. Yet you don’t hear about Peak Metal or Peak Wood — the innovation happened before the catastrophists could start scaring people. On the other hand, I believe that overexploitation is really common and the main reason humans migrated all over the globe — to find places where the food supply hadn’t yet been overexploited. Now there is nowhere else to go. Perhaps rising food prices will eventually cause people to start growing food in cities.

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