Is “Consensus” a Synonym for “Bullying”?

So this is rich—Nature magazine is editorializing against “bullying” in the scientific community. It seems there’s a problem with bullies (and sexual harassers) at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, which gave rise to this chin-stroker:

No Place for Bullies in Science

Picture the scene: You are an enthusiastic young scientist, with, you think, the world at your feet. You have an exciting offer to join a world-leading research institute in another country. And then, to your dismay, you find yourself in a workplace where everything feels wrong. Your supervisor intimidates you and you receive upsetting e-mails, but the institute leadership seems indifferent. You are alone in a foreign culture, and you don’t know what to do. Your friends tell you to complain, but you are afraid of repercussions — and of losing the opportunity you fought so hard for. And, anyway, you don’t know who to trust.

This has apparently been the situation for years for some young researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. Details of their struggles with alleged bullying by one of the directors — Guinevere Kauffmann — erupted in the media in the past two weeks. . .

We will never know how many promising scientific careers around the world have been brought to a premature end because young researchers felt they could not continue to work under a bullying senior figure. But it should stop. Now. Those affected must be shown that the system will protect them if they choose to speak out. Institutions should ensure they have explicit policies in place for dealing with bullying, and, as part of that, define what constitutes bullying. And senior scientists who see colleagues behave in an inappropriate way should speak out.

It shouldn’t need pointing out that the most egregious bullying in the science world is toward anyone who dissents in the slightest regard from the very narrow orthodoxy of climate change.

The most recent case in point is Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado, who has just published an article in Issues in Science and Technology (a National Academies of Science publication) entitled “Opening Up the Climate Policy Envelope.” Pielke does not dissent from the basic climate “consensus” much at all, but he has earned the bullying of the climatistas essentially for the sin of embarrassing Al Gore (among others) for calling b.s. on some of the favorite harum-scarum claims that the data don’t back up.

Among the findings of Roger’s paper is that despite all of the renewable energy hype and international “breakthroughs” like the Paris Climate Accord, the actual results show that current climate policy has been a total bust.  These two charts tell the story very well:

The real “climate denialists,” Roger argues, are the people in the climate policy community who aren’t willing to face up to the realities of the problem as they themselves have defined it. As he argues on his blog:

My paper highlights a few of these important assumptions, which are well past the point of looking fantastical in the sense that if you are aware of them, you really cannot believe that they are remotely plausible. It thus takes some serious effort in denial — the far more important form of climate denial I argue — to advocate climate policy business as usual with a straight face.

I argue for opening up the policy envelope to consider a wide range of new possibilities in hopes that climate policy might perform better than it has in the past.

What has been the response? Naturally he got slagged hard by the climatistas, urging readers to ignore Roger’s article, as Matthew Nisbet noted on Facebook and  Twitter:

This morning, ClimateNexus shamefully and outrageously sent out the equivalent of an under-the-radar political robocall, attacking Roger Pielke in an anonymous email sent to thousands of list subscribers. Instead of engaging with the ideas in his new essay at Issues in Science & Technology, a magazine published by the National Academies, the email slurs him as a fellow traveler with deniers and as evil personified. Such attacks are an example of what Steven Pinker in his new book so eloquently identifies as anti-Enlightenment tribalism. In this case, Climate Nexus trades reason and evidence in favor of vitriolic attacks on behalf of left-wing goals of 100% renewables and Democratic socialism.

One of the interesting Facebook comments to Matthew’s note comes from Richard B. Rood, a professor of climate and space sciences engineering at the University of Michigan. Prof. Rood relates the following story:

A few years ago, the Ford School of Public Policy invited Roger to speak. I was asked to provide commentary. In the run up to the seminar, I received emails from faculty saying that Roger should not even be allowed to speak. My commentary was more in agreement than in contradiction, which was not what the organizers expected. This is one of many places when my students see the behavior of their elders, they look forward to the passage of time and moving past the tribalism.

This is a good example of the “tolerant” left in action. Don’t hold your breath for a Nature magazine editorial critical of bullying from this corner of the scientific establishment.


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