Top weatherman slams partisanship among scientists
William Hooke, an associate executive director the American Meteorological Society has written an excoriating critique of his colleagues in Eos magazine, taking aim at scientists’ constant demands for funding, the nannying of the public that pays their wages, and the jettisoning of political non-partisanship. The complexity and costs of science have been growing. Urgent societal challenges (in education, environmental protection, foreign relations, maintenance of aging critical infrastructure, national security, public health, and more) demand quick fixes even as they compete with the funding for science. Society has asked scientists for more help, even as research budgets have remained relatively constant. Relations have been strained on both sides. How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument. At the same time, particularly in Earth OSS, as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship. When people like Mark Maslin are telling the public that their research shows that collectivism is right, it’s hard to argue with Dr Hooke.
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