It’s Easy to Become a “Scientist” – there is an App for that!
Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
No need for you to feel “scientifically challenged” anymore; there is an App for nearly everything now. It appears that one of the easiest ways to become a “scientist” (concerned or not, my personal view) is to join the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). That group has already millions of members (so it claims) and you are most welcome to join. No experience or other credentials required — if anything, just a few dollars from your wallet.
Really; I’m not kidding. The UCS is just one of several so-called “widely recognized scientific bodies” that pretend to know what’s good for you and everyone else on earth. And it’s so easy to join and to become another one of their many “scientists,” concerned or not. You can endorse any of their many campaigns by adding your name, address and contact (email) information, and (may also add) a small donation to support their latest outcry over what is being claimed to ail the world.
For example, one of the latest examples of the UCS’ admonitions wants you to sign a letter to “Chairman Lamar Smith,” Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, that starts out as follows:
“We are writing to halt your baseless and unprecedented interference in an effort by state prosecutors to determine whether ExxonMobil [EM] suppressed and misrepresented the work of its scientists. Your actions undermine the ability of private citizens and organizations to expose fraud and abuse of science.”
It goes on from there.
Now, let me explain how you are getting hoodwinked.
To begin with, this email-letter (if you are already a bona-fide member) asks you to respond by sending a fully pre-written and pre-signed email — with your name already filled-in at the appropriate space. All you need to do is add your address, including City, State & ZIP.”
Voila, you have done your “scientific-concern-duty” of the day and elevated or re-confirmed your scientific status. Believe me, it’s easier than changing your flight ticket to anywhere.
Becoming a new member of this illustrious organisation is not much different. It’s very easy to become one of their “scientists.” No need to pass any university courses, spend years studying (at whatever cost) or work for next-to-nothing for a while – none of that drudgery. You can circumvent all that by signing one of their many petitions and the like and, instantly, you have become a “concerned scientist.”
And after you have signed up and (perhaps) paid a few dollars to this group, you’ll become a member in good standing, by my experience forever.
And, please remember, it’s claimed to be all about “doing good” for nature, protecting the climate and similar good causes like protecting you (and/or the rest of the world) from the “abuse of power.”
Who would not want to subscribe to those idea(l)s?
Abuse of Power
According to the UCS, their new concern is about the “abuse of power.” Specifically, their latest admonition is about what they claim as “abuse of power” by Lamar Smith to (in UCS parlance) “bully climate scientists and to stall progress on global warming research for years…” The UCS wants you to “Add your name to our letter demanding Chairman Smith stop this abuse of power and cease his attacks on UCS and other private organizations.”
By my reckoning, if there is any abuse of power, the UCS and like-minded organizations are at the fore-front. Apart from the missing proof (primarily experimental) of the carbon-dioxide-climate concept, all science is based on — and can only advance with — free and un-restricted communication of ideas and observations. Even one (critical) observation can change the common view and common teachings of thousands of others.
While the UCS, (simply due to the size of its “membership” [see above]), certainly swings some political influence, that “power” is rather abusive by itself, primarily because the name of this group alone suggests a high scientific standard that simply is not there. I call this a gullibility trap.
With technology advancing all around in leaps and bounds, it can be difficult enough to just follow the major developments and even more so to discern wheat from chaff. So, if you can become a “concerned scientist” and part of a multi-million member organization with a small donation of a few bucks or, perhaps, even without any at all, who in the world, can be faulted for jumping at that opportunity?
With one “stroke of genius,” i.e. a click of the mouse or so, you might think to have not only become a scientist but also voiced your concern to a high-level government committee chair and have done your good deed of the day. Could there be a better win-win-win situation than that?
Add to that the new “common… school curriculum” that fosters intention (or effort) over knowledge (or achievement) and you are in good company, i.e. that of millions of other “concerned people.”
Really, the UCS is using that EM claim as an excuse to call upon its sizeable world-wide membership base (estimated to be in the tens of millions) to push all kinds of ideas. Some of those ideas and propositions may even sound reasonable, at least on first sight (without having read the “fine print”). However, <i>in toto,</i> as I surmise, most signers fall into a gullibility trap and are not on the win-win-win side but on the lose-lose-lose side of the equation.
Win or Lose
Of course, the real question is WHO, in the end, is on which side. To give you an insight on this struggle, you might want to read the statement by UCS president Ken Kimmell of May 20, 2016. In that, Kimmell complains about “The [House Committee] letter states that the House Science Committee is “conducting oversight of a coordinated attempt to deprive companies, non-profit organizations and scientists of their First Amendment rights.”
Wouldn’t you know, it appears that, all of a sudden “what’s right for the goose is NOT right for the gander.” It’s perfectly right for the UCS to complain about EM and other companies, but not for any of those companies to even inquire about the UCS. I would not want to bet on which side is going to win that legal struggle. In my humble opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court justices were already hoodwinked by the EPA in order to have determined that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a “pollutant.”
The current efforts by the UCS and similar groupings to have courts of law make determinations on questions of a scientific nature, mostly with end-runs around the true scientific questions are highly detrimental to society at large. That kind of approach is not a path forward to the advancement of any society. Neither is bullying to find presumed “skeletons” in a company’s internal correspondence from decades ago. If anyone’s opinion, expressed in some internal organization’s meeting, decades ago, with or without his/her knowledge or understanding of all other pertinent facts can now become the subject of litigation in courts of jurisprudence, what is anyone “allowed to voice anymore?” This is a witch-hunt reminiscent of the 17th century or so, Lysenkoism (20th century in Russia), McCarthyism (20th century in the USA), and more recent “thinking” elsewhere.
Some of those modern “politically-correct” thinkers even appear to be upset if you would like to express your own opinion or ask some questions.
Your Questions and their Consequences
The kind of medieval witch-hunt or McCarthy-era thinking that one comes across these days is on the path to rapidly abandon the most cherished aspects of the U.S. Constitutional Amendments and basic principles of democracies around the world. For example, Robert C. Post claims that “American professors mistakenly confuse academic freedom with their individual right to free speech, said Post, dean and professor at Yale Law School, in a Feb. 25, 2016, talk at Columbia Law School…” in a speech at Columbia Law School.
He also appears to opine that the on-again-off-again investigations by a number of U.S. State attorneys into statements questioning governments’ claims about aspects of “climate change” were “outside the protection guaranteed by free speech.” Post’s reasoning, so I understand, is that “97 % of scientists claim…”.
Apart from this claim of “97%” being entirely false in itself, at best a statistical mis-construct, even if it were a valid observation, it would not be a scientific proof. Just another reason why becoming a scientist is more than signing an application for membership, asking a question, or expressing a concern.
Regrettably, certain folks, like Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and some others appear to opine that thinking is not appropriate for you or me. In their mind, as I reckon, the constitutional right of freedom of expression only applies to them and, presumably, other similar visionaries endowed with divine wisdom. It is especially interesting to note the discrepancy with the introductory statement about the State of Rhode Island as found in the Information Please Almanac. There it claims “From its beginnings Rhode Island has been distinguished by its support for freedom of conscience and action…” Clearly, the Almanac must be mistaken or, as Larry Bell at Newsmax calls it: Galileo has many modern-day companions.
The type of sought-after legal fact-finding by Whitehouse et al. is a step backward in the evolution of scientific discovery and fact-finding over past centuries. If this current litigious ideology continues much longer, it will throw mankind back into the dark ages.
Science advances by open discussion, consideration of theories, and constant questioning. Science does not advance by (people’s) laws or judicial courts where there is a limited input (like from a plaintiff and a defendant) where no-one else has “legal standing” in that court.
Science advances by developing a theory, evaluation of all conceivable variables, influences, tests, outcomes, then conducting tests, accurate observations and analyses thereof and, finally, providing proof (or disproof) of the theory. Even when all that is “under the hood,” one might still be mistaken as instruments could have malfunctioned, some variables been overlooked and so forth.
Becoming a scientist or undertaking good scientific research is not as easy and simple as the UCS, similar organisations or some politicians may want you to believe. Suffice to say that neither being a U.S. Senator nor signing a petition by the UCS makes you a scientist. That “App” needs (much) more work!
Adding your name to UCS petitions or to any call for prosecution of “skeptics” may just have the opposite effect of your intention.