Drafting Scientists into Politics

January 11, 2017

Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them.  But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.

Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting?  How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations?  How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing?  It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating.  Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.

Take the challenge of climate change.  In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.  But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.

Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem.  But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.

– Barack Obama, Farewell address, 1/10/17


As progressives lament the impending inauguration of an administration that rejects the idea of human-caused climate change, a newly launched group says we should stop holding our breath waiting for politicians to embrace science. Instead, scientists should become politicians themselves.

The group—named 314 Action after the first three digits of the number pi—has a mission to encourage politically engaged scientists to run for office at all levels of government, to connect them with traditional sources of campaign funding, and to get as many scientists elected during the 2018 campaign cycle as possible. The hope is that with more politician scientists speaking sense on issues such as climate change, they will serve as a counterbalance to the anti-science policies that have arisen mainly on the right.

“Running for Congress in 2014 as a chemist and a breast cancer researcher, I felt like I was locked out of a lot of the traditional networks of Democratic donors,” Shaughnessy Naughton, the board president of 314 Action, told me. “It’s a hinderance for people coming from nontraditional political backgrounds.”


32 Responses to “Drafting Scientists into Politics”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s nice that scientists are “thinking about” getting into politics, but the politicians are already up to their butts in the “politics” swamp, and Tillerson is doing an excellent job of obfuscating where he really stands on climate change by repeating the same old talking points.

    Tillerson is testifying right now. I have been watching for over an hour now, and the man is slick, well-prepared, and no dummy. Much of the verbiage in these hearings is staged and scripted, with both the left and right trying to make their points—-those on the right lobbing softballs and those on the left trying to “catch” the nominee. Haven’t heard anything yet about whether he has made the necessary financial disclosures, and that may be the only thing that will slow down his confirmation. Live feed of the hearing here:


    I was part of a group of ~30 folks from a coalition of environmental groups that visited Senator Warner’s NO VA office on Monday to encourage the Senator to fight Tillerson’s confirmation. Made a visit yesterday to Senator Kaine’s NO VA office to do the same. I would encourage everyone to visit their Senator’s offices, call on the phone, send letters and emails, sign web petitions—-that is the order of greatest effectiveness. The staffers tally every contact and expression of opinion from constituents, and DO pass it on to their Senators.

    I’m quite concerned that Tillerson is likely to be confirmed easily, especially considering that the Repugnants have the votes. All the Democrats (and any sane and honest Ruprugnants, if there are any left) can do is use procedural delays to slow this and the other confirmations down. Any Crocker who has a Democratic Senator needs to contact them and give them a push, particularly on the financial disclosure and confict of interest issues..

    (PS Sessions also made all the right noises during his testimony. Looking bad there also)

  2. — “Take the challenge of ghost proliferation. In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign efforts to reduce ghosts, doubled our own efforts on that front, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet from excessive ghosts. But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of ghosts; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: decreased work productivity and related economic disruptions, and waves of haunted refugees seeking sanctuary.

    — Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.” —

    Any sane person on the planet will say “Wait a minute!! You’ve never proved ghosts exist in the first place!” The IPCC proceeded out of the gate on the premise that man-caused global warming was a foregone conclusion; skeptic climate scientists vehemently disagree, pointing out flaws in that premise from horizon to horizon. You fellows dismiss them out-of-hand as some (unproven) minority that just happens to be bribed to do by Exxon or whatever ‘enemy du jour’ you choose. I say show your own pals and the rest of us the evidence backing this up, and you-all don’t even give it the ol’ college try, despite 20+ years of claims – from Gelbspan, Oreskes, et al – that such evidence exists.

    But now I have one more question – since no less than three of my comments containing web links have not apparently been permitted to appear here, will this one be permitted, since it has no links?

    • So, click on the hyperllink for my comment above, change the last number from a 2 to a three, and see where it takes you. It would appear I’m prevented, through some means, of now posting comments with links in them.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Whine, whine, whine. Your links were likely just more of your insane and puerile BS on GlobsOfS**TFiles or American Stinky Thinking or WUWT, and by definition should have been “disappeared” by any sane algorithm on the grounds of general uselessness.

        Unfortunately, that’s probably not the case and you’ve just been caught by the gremlins of WordPress, as I have over the past week. Live with it.

        BTW, have you developed your exit plan yet? With far more “talented” types like Tillerson, Pruitt, Perry, et al now whoring for fossil fuels at the highest levels of government, Heartland will have little use for hacks like you and will soon be cutting back—-it’s only smart business.

        And “ghost proliferation”? Lord love a duck, but that is WEAK! And LAME! You try too hard.

      • andrewfez Says:

        When you post hyperlinks to WUWT on other internet property, that increases their rank in a search engine topic search. Just break it up with ‘page name dot com’ type publishing where it doesn’t create a hyperlink. If you post too many hyperlinks WordPress will think you’re a SEO spammer and you’ll get a bad wrap in the program. WordPress just released an update too.

        • Fascinating. Attempted to re-submit my comment reply from days back via a different login, and that failed too. Could be an unexplained word length barrier, not necessarily restricted to me.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Keep it up, “unexplained word length barrier”. and try even harder. Anything that works to keep Russell off Crock is A-OK in my book!

          • andrewfez Says:

            It’s been a long time since I’ve looked around on my WP dashboard but it’s possible there is a maximum or such can be set by the admin.

      • andrewfez Says:

        Peter your Alexa rank for Climate Crocks is 402,377 or you are the 402,377th most popular website in the world. That translates to about 250,000 visitors per month to your site or 3 million per year (rough estimate, I’ve heard Alexa isn’t too precise). That means every time one of the denialists posts a link to WUWT or other sites of similar nature, Google takes note and ranks them higher in the search engine searches, more so than it would if the selfsame link were posted on some obscure low traffic site, more than likely (I’m not a SEO person).

        • Nope, some other glitch is happening. I posted the reply to the person below with no problem right after posting a no-link reply to you here – which did not instantly appear as the one below did.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            More whining from Russell. I had several comments “disappeared” during the past week, and none of them contained any links. WordPress gremlins. We don’t want to see your links anyway, Russell, because they are all denier bullshit and waste our time—-stop trying to post them.

            And Andrew HAS given us a hint as to what your “exit plan” may be—-you will now post links to boost the stats and Google ranking of WUWT and American Stinky Thinking and other denier sites. Probably won’t pay as well as Heartland whoring, but if it keeps you off the welfare rolls, I’m for it—-I’d hate to think any of my tax dollars were used to support you.

          • rcook Says:

            Well, in another attempt to see what’s causing the blockage, it isn’t merely restricted to a single login method.

    • You, Mr. Cook, are a damned disgrace.

      • Pretend you are in a courtroom in a ‘crimes against humanity’ case against me and others. My attorney asks you, “How do you demonstrate this to the jury, without offering mere unsubstantiated opinion?”

        And your answer is?

        • please…..

          “How do you demonstrate this to the jury, without offering mere unsubstantiated opinion?”

          Science and scientific FACT is not in any way “unsubstantiated opinion”.

          I very much hope that all of you who make money from promoting anti-science are held to account, but alas, that is unlikely. Instead, it will be your children and grandchildren who will suffer from your conscienceless support of evil and/or idiocy.

          • Anonymous commenter ClimateNicole, not only is the judge and jury waiting for you to offer hard evidence, not mere unsubstantiated opinion, that I am any sort of disgrace, with your new outburst now, they are similarly waiting for you to offer hard evidence that “all of you [meaning me, skeptic speakers and skeptic climate scientists] who make money from promoting anti-science” are actually in a pay-for-performance arrangement with illicit money providers sourcing their cash from the fossil fuel industry; and that what is offered by skeptics IS actually anti-science. All eyes on you now. Have you really not thought of how you would respond if you said such things in a courtroom?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Don’t play Russell’s game with him, Nicole. He’s just trying to get people to respond to his BS so that he can turn in a time sheet with more “billables” to the folks he whores for.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          My “Exhibit A” at your trial will be the first thirty seconds of this video clip of YOU, Russell the lying POS, in full living color, speaking at a Heartland conference. You have NO business commenting on ANYTHING related to science, and particularly climate science, Russell—-you are just a paid whore for fossil fuels and EVERYBODY knows it—-stop trying to BS your way out of it.

          Your “crime against humanity” is akin to someone practicing medicine without a stitch of medical training. The difference being that a fake doctor will likely only be killing people one at a time (manslaughter, negligent homicide) while you and the other deniers are going to be responsible for the deaths of potentially millions, which DOES rise to the level of a “crime against humanity” (as well as nature, morality, common sense, honesty, decency, etc, etc).

          • Dude. Under cross examination, your beloved “Exhibit A” would be shot down in the most spectacularly embarrassing way, because my lawyer would show the balance of the video all the way to the end and ask YOU directly where in the video or where within my body of work that I ‘practice climate science without a climate science license’. Then my lawyer would ask you what my lies were and how you specifically dispute them, and then – here’s the killer – you’d be asked what proof you have that I’m paid / instructed / orchestrated to do what I do.

            The reason why I have no fear of any ‘crime against humanity’ effort aimed at me is because I know you and others can’t deliver on your accusations, and the sidesteps y’all put out are ammo on a silver platter every time. For you to have an exit strategy is just something you can use to save face when your pals start wondering about you. For guys like Al Gore, Oreskes, Sheldon Whitehouse, etc, they are the ones who will really be needing one to save their public legacy.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            “Dude” you call me? Listen up, asshole. I won’t be on the stand for one minute at your trial for crimes against humanity—YOU will be though, and for a very extended time. My role will be as an investigator for the prosecution, and your “body of work” will sink you. Even if I DID somehow end up on the stand, the “asked and answered” objection (look it up) will be heard at every question put to me, since your “body of work” is out there for all to see and the truth you deny is easy to find.

            I will say it again—-you have NO science background, as you freely admit on the video, and have NO business involving yourself in ANY discussion regarding AGW. You practice science without any science knowledge, and that helps delay action against AGW. YOU will be asked why you involve yourself in commenting on climate sites, and the ONLY credible answer is that you do it for money, since you don’t know or understand the science. I am confident that any jury in this country will find you guilty of a number of things.

    • Harry Twinotter Says:

      Russell Cook.

      “I say show your own pals and the rest of us the evidence backing this up, and you-all don’t even give it the ol’ college try, despite 20+ years of claims – from Gelbspan, Oreskes, et al – that such evidence exists.”

      Please back up this claim with facts.

      I have been reading the documented evidence for over 30 years now.

      • Right. First, the so-called ‘documented evidence’ I speak of regarding ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’ dates from exactly late May 1991. You’d know that if you read my GelbspanFiles blog and my other online articles dating back to 2010 – where I’ve already backed up my claim with facts.

        So, BOOM! You cannot have been reading that ‘evidence’ for more than nearly 26 years. But let’s pretend that you did. Since I’ve already provided what you ask for within the body of my work, it’s your move now. Where, within Greenpeace, Desmogblog, etc material is actual physical evidence (full context document scans, undercover video/audio transcripts, leaked emails, money-transfer receipts, etc.) proving skeptic scientists were paid to fabricate demonstratively false science papers, reports, assessments or viewpoints — material that could stand up in a courtroom evidentiary hearing proving a pay-for-performance arrangement exists? If you’ve read it all this time, you should be able to point everyone — me, other skeptics, and all your pals now looking to you — DIRECTLY to it, and not just to an entire book, website, or video.

        All eyes on you. Stand and deliver.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Here’s Russell, again trying to take us back 26 years to 1991 when we’ve just had the three hottest years on record (all in a row), arctic sea ice doing unprecedented things due to AGW, the Antarctic ice shelves breaking off in country-sized pieces. and the Antarctic glaciers going into irreversible decline. He ignores all the science and just keeps playing his one note song of “prove it” WRT to the denier whores and why they do what they do. What a waste of time!

          I DO appreciate the humor Russell displays by talking about “backing up his claims with facts (lies)” and the even funnier “body (dead) of his work”. LMAO at his self-delusion.

          He references his blog—GlobsOfS**TFiles. I must once again warn everyone that visiting there is dangerous to one’s health. I have mentioned before that I suffered a temporary loss of IQ points, dizziness, and nausea after visiting, but others who have gone there have reported that soon after they visited they began to suffer from hyperflatulence, halitosis, hemorrhoids, erectile dysfunction, toenail fungus, and excessive nose hair growth. You’ve been warned!

          All eyes on you, Russell—–go away!

        • Harry Twinotter Says:

          Russell Cook.

          Please back up this claim with facts.

    • Glen Bennett Says:

      Do you drive a car with an internal combustion engine? One periodically fills the tank with gasoline that weighs 5.6 pounds per gallon. Where do you think that mass went to when it is necessary to refill the tank? Same concept applies to heating oil and to natural gas,(it is a little less intuitive), aviation fuel goes somewhere. Humanity has been using the atmosphere as an open sewer for hundreds of years. Do you honestly believe there is no price to pay? The scientific principal has been known and demonstrated for decades. It is reproducible in laboratories. Global warming has climate impacts.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Actually, the accepted range of weights for a gallon of gasoline ranges from ~5.9 pounds to ~6.3 pounds per gallon depending on it’s density, with 6.183 pounds per gallon being the most commonly cited figure.

        Small difference, and the really significant number is that burning ONE gallon of gasoline produces ~20 pounds (Yes, TWENTY POUNDS) of carbon dioxide.

        So burning up the just over 90 pounds of gasoline in a 15 gallon automobile tank produces about 300 pounds of CO2, and THAT figure says it all about using the atmosphere as an “open sewer”. I have often said that anyone who buys 15 gallons of gas should also be required to haul off 300 pounds of a symbolic “something” and dispose of it properly—-sand, rocks, marshmallows, horse manure, 300 loaves of moldy bread, dead cats—-whatever—–and that they not be allowed to buy any more gasoline until they did so.

        (And that 20 pounds from each gallon does not take into account the added carbon footprint from all the energy expended exploring for the oil, drilling wells, refining, transporting, and putting up all the billboards saying “Buy BP!”)

        • Lionel Smith Says:

          In the day when refuelling aircraft, or checking their fuel state, we worked in pounds (Imperial). On refuelling the SG of the day was an important number to convert the gallons (Imperial again) delivered by the tanker into pounds for calculating A/C take off weight. Things got more interesting when refuelling aircraft like Lynx helicopters where the capacity was in litres and the weight in kilograms but the tankers were still delivering in gallons (imperial).

          Some aircraft shuttle their fuel around internally to move the CofG to match the change in Centre of Pressure of the, typically, wing as airspeed changed. Concorde needed to do this many times during a flight.

    • survivalacres Says:

      Russel – you could start here, gain some knowledge and stop being an idiot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GScqoBz9Mhc

  3. survivalacres Says:

    “in just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.”

    This is called Propaganda Politics. Oil, from any source, still consumed, has done nothing to reduce climate change. Don’t look too closely here.

    Renewable energy remains dependent upon fossil fuels (carbon emitting) and does little to nothing to reduce climate change. Don’t look too closely here either.

    The Paris Accord, like the Kyoto Protocol, was woefully inadequate and even wrong about what level dangerous warming even is, has already been exceeded anyway (but not widely reported, but still true), fails to account for many other factors and feedbacks, was not enforceable, and as we’re finding out, easily broken. In other words, absolutely useless. Hansen was right, as were many others.

    We can go on pretending that our propaganda politics has a lasting legacy of ‘progress and effort’, or we can face the consequences of our self-delusion. Which will it be?

    Don’t bother answering – as I already know the answer to the obvious.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “I already know the answer to the obvious”, you say?.

      So do many of the rest of us, but thanks for pointing out “the obvious” to us once again—-maybe someone will pay attention before it’s too late.

      I will again tout the book BRIGHTSIDED: HOW POSITIVE THINKING IS UNDERMINING AMERICA by Barbara Ehrenreich, 2009, as a partial antidote to our self-delusion.

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