Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Earth Science Politics

Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method 821

A few weeks ago, we discussed the discovery of a diamond planet in orbit around a pulsar. One of the researchers behind the discovery has now written a followup article about reaction to the news from the media and laypeople. Quoting: "The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been. How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists. ... Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings. People on the fringe of science would be quoted as opponents of our work, arguing that it was nothing more than a theory yet to be conclusively proven. There would be doubt cast on the interpretation of our data and conjecture about whether we were “buddies” with the journal referees. If our opponents dug really deep they might even find that I’d once written a paper on a similar topic that had to be retracted. Before long our credibility and findings would be under serious question. But luckily we’re not climate scientists."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method

Comments Filter:
  • by xyourfacekillerx ( 939258 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:35AM (#37385586)
    Not sure what the discussion of climate science has to do with the discovery of a diamond planet, except clearly the author is bitter about how the public has scrutinized climate science. Yes, the "method" of science is similar in the disciplines of astrology and climate science - in general - but not even close in practice. Yes, the public has not widely adopted what the majority of scientists believe about global warming (and what the majority of scientists believe depends on which scientist you ask!) But so what? There's good reasons for that.

    This whole "If you're not a scientist, then you can't possibly disagree with what a scientist says" mantra is getting really old. It's wrong. Regardless where I stand on man-made global warming, no matter what, scientists and science are not infallible. I don't blindly have to accept whatever Mr. Scientist lists as absolute fact just because I have no degree. More importantly, statistical methods and conclusions from correlated data (as in the global warming debate) just DON'T carry the same logical force as objective, emperical, experimental science - they couldn't possibly.

    Besides, the author ignores the fact that the public and media scrutinity occurred because scientists themselves can't agree on the facts. Either side you look at is calling the other side straight up bad scientists. Fake scientists. Or they'll ignore that the other side has scientists at all and say "oh, it's just news pundits and politicians who don't know anything saying we're wrong". However, the media for the most part simply framed debates occurring within the realm of science itself. Scientist vs. scientist, not Stupid Joe Plumber vs. Scientist. Sorry, but scientists brought this one on themselves, and lashing out by calling the public clueless mental midgets like this jerk in the article suggests we've been, that's not going to help you out.
  • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ajo_arctus ( 1215290 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @08:49AM (#37385728) Homepage


    demanding trillions of dollars


    coercive force of law


    to dictate what mileage automobiles get

    I see

    outlawing 100W incandescent light bulbs

    With hyperbole like that, I take it you're somewhat against the idea of reversing man-made global warming and trying to save our planet. Look, I'm sure you're an intelligent person. If you can't see that it is totally insane to continue using 100W light bulbs, there is no hope for any of us. You can light an entire house using less energy than that single 100W bulb would use, and the little photons of light would be perfectly adequate.

    Look around you. See what is happening and get a god damn clue. Once you've done that, stop using the idiotic language you used above and become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    My apologies if you were trying to play devil's advocate (though if that's the case it was a bit pointless -- I don't think the scientists are asking why the climate scientists get so much stick -- I think they know already), but it didn't come across that way. If you were just trolling, grow up and do something useful.

  • It's Al Gore's fault.

    Imagine yourself as an Average Joe who just managed to grind his way through a few basic high-school science courses. You don't know or care about science, it was just a course you had to take, and ideally would have liked to skip. Sort of like gym class is to geeks.

    Most people were first introduced to the theory of global warming by Al Gore (already a Bad Guy to conservatives) telling them that their Dodge 3500 is killing polar bears and going to flood New York. BUT, they could prevent this by buying carbon credits (I think we can all agree that the current implementations of carbon credit schemes are...flawed, at best). Oh and he owns a carbon credit company but he didn't mention that bit. Then he flies off in his private jet back to his giant house with a heated pool. Oh and by the way, solving this problem will involve CHANGE and might require HIGHER TAXES.

    So now Joe Average understandably thinks this whole global warming thing looks mighty fishy and doesn't like the implications. He goes online to do a little research and has a few choices where to get his info from (assuming he didn't unintentionally use a biased search string like "global warming scam"): he can go to these sciencey websites using gigantic words, or he can go to these little blogs that say CLIMATE CHANGE IS A SCAM and are reinforcing all his worst suspicions. He spends the night reading through these blogs, and it all makes sense! That science stuff is confusing but this explains the whole conspiracy in a language he can understand. And look! Just follow the money! As long as this climate change thing is real that means money for scientists researching it and for renewable energy companies! It HAS to be a scam!

    And a climate denialist is born.

  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:07AM (#37386758)

    Yeah, it's Al Gore's fault that the guy you're describing is a moron.

    Even if Al Gore had never said a word about climate change, Joe Average wouldn't change his mind. It's not Al Gore who Joe Average hates, it's the ideas that Al Gore represents. If George W. Bush all of a sudden became a defender of climate science and green technology, Joe Average wouldn't change his mind about climate science and green technology, he'd change his mind about George W. Bush.

  • by AmonTheMetalhead ( 1277044 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:28AM (#37386986)
    The most important thing for me is to be aware of (the possible) change that is going on. If you know what the impact is of a 1C rise in global temperature over 1 year, you can prepare for it.
    For me, it's certain. The climate is changing. Whether that change is man-made or not at this point is irrelevant, what is relevant is how are we going to cope with said change?

    Can we revert it? Can we adapt? Should we revert it? Should we adapt?
    Being prepared for possible disasters beats covering your ears & going NANANANANA
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @10:53AM (#37387294) Journal

    ignoring the fact that the "solution" is far, far worse than the "problem"

    Economic alarmists said the same thing about removing lead from petrol, they said the same thing about Reagan's cap and trade system on sulphur emissions, they said the same thing about banning DDT for agricultural use, reduction of CFC's, etc, etc. In fact they say the same thing whenever there is talk about regulating what can/can't be dumped on the commons.

    So blind, egotistical self righteousness trumps brown people getting enough food to eat. Yeah, that'll work.

    It has for at least the last 200yrs, and pretending AGW has no ill effects on "brown people" is just a continuation of that blind, egotistical, self righteous, attitude.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake